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1. Reasons for the loss in Vietnam
Many South Vietnamese believed that the United States would help them from their northern rivals; with solders and aid. However, the republic of Vietnam (RVN) and American governments lost the war because the leaders of South Vietnam relied too much on America, while Washington lacked resolution.
American forces relied too much on their modern weapons and equipments. They only applied conventional war tactics against the unconventional warfare of the enemy. Americans were overconfident with their new technologies and used them in the wrong place. The war in Vietnam required not just technology but also psychological strategy.
The communist North Vietnam received strong support from other communist block of countries. Vast military aid came from Moscow and Beijing. It is estimated that the military aid that North Vietnam received from the Soviet Union and red China was tens of billions of dollars (Chattarji, 54). More over, North Korea and Cuba possibly joined the war to help North Vietnam. In essence, America was not only fighting Vietnam but all of the communist countries.
The air raids on North Vietnam could have been more efficient if they had been executed quick and intensely. Escalating air strikes became a complete failure, particularly when the Hanoi regime did have any valuable things to lose from the strikes.
2. My Lai Massacre
There was no one cause for the My Lai Massacre, nor can it be pointed out that one particular cause stands out or dominate the others. Rather the massacre at My Lai resulted from amalgam of various factors that effectively contributed, in their own particular ways, to the massacre. The following are some of the causes.
During the war in Vietnam, all Vietnamese, whether foe or friend, were called “gooks” by the American solders. They dint know that the name “gook” was an insult synonymous with the name “niggers” back in America, and they used it without thinking racism. The Vietnamese felt that they were not being treated as people, and an enmity resulted. Out of this, a rule of “mere gook” developed where the American solders considered the Vietnamese just as gooks and not as humans. Therefore, it did not matter what was being done to the Vietnamese because they were lesser humans. The racism, together with revenge, hatred and fear, soon turned into rape, murder and torture.
It was a common practice by American solders to respond by air strike or artillery whenever they received fire from snipers. This was usually done regardless of the proximity to the villages or civilians. As a consequence of this war tactic, more bombs were at Vietnamese that the entire Europe during the Second World War (Kurland, 116).
One of the strategies of American solders in Vietnam was to kill the Viet Cong in large proportions to prevent replacement. Victory for American troops was the high count of dead bodies and low kill ratio was defeat. The commanders were constantly under intense pressure to produce more copses.
As a consequence of the My Lai massacre over 500 Vietnamese were killed, and many women and girls were raped. Even the plans and animals w ere not spared. The mangrove forests for example were sprayed with chemicals and completely destroyed. And despite all these atrocities, only one solder was ever punished; jailed for three years.
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