[FoRK] Military history lesson

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Wed Jul 21 05:52:04 PDT 2004

J.Andrew Rogers wrote:

> My corrections to what appears to be the from memory recital of a 
> publik skool history education. 

Admittedly I went to public elementary schools. But this is Canada - we 
actually have an education system.. and we learn critical thinking.
Makes us behave differently from our neighbours to the south. But just 
for the record, I attended 2 private high schools, one of which made
a point of recruiting the best US teachers, seeing as it had "American" 
in its name.

History as taught in 1975 seems drastically different from what is 
taught now.But then american schools teach creationism now too.

> On Jul 20, 2004, at 5:33 PM, Owen Byrne wrote:
>> I'm sorry - but the US couldn't defeat Vietnam
> That is a really strange way of putting it.  Viet Nam was actually the 
> first war after WWII where investment in technology gave the US a 
> decisive advantage on the battlefield.  A lot of other countries, 
> notably the USSR, copied many tactics and technologies developed for 
> and during the Viet Nam conflict.  If you look at the kill ratio in 
> Viet Nam, the US enjoyed very high conversion ratios and superior 
> command of the battlefield, far higher than in Korea.  ARVN forces, 
> equipped with American weapons and with rudimentary US military 
> training, also had good conversion ratios.
> Total KIA:
> US = 47k +  ARVN = 227k 

> NVA+VC = 1.1M

These are what US army figures? They are lower on one side (the US) and 
higher on the other. Spun as usual.
You left out the roughly ~ 5 million civilians.

> The lowest casualty estimates, based on North Vietnamese statements 
> which are now discounted by Vietnam, are around 1.5 million Vietnamese 
> killed. Vietnam released figures on April 3, 1995 that a total of one 
> million Vietnamese combatants and four million civilians were killed 
> in the war. The accuracy of these figures has generally not been 
> challenged. It is unclear how many Vietnamese were wounded in the war.
> Of the Americans, 58,226 were killed in action or classified as 
> missing in action. A further 153,303 Americans were wounded to give 
> total casualties of 211,529. The United States Army took the majority 
> of the casualties with 38,179 killed and 96,802 wounded; the Marine 
> Corps lost 14,836 killed and 51,392 wounded; the Navy 2,556 and 4,178; 
> with the Air Force suffering the lowest casualties both in numbers and 
> percentage terms with 2,580 killed and 931 wounded.

> The part of history that matters:  By the time US troop strength had 
> parity with the NVA/VC forces around 1968, the NVA/VC were suffering 
> catastrophic losses far beyond the replacement rate such that by 1969 
> the US side greatly outnumbered the NVA/VC.  It is generally 
> acknowledged by historians on both sides that if the US had not 
> decided to withdraw for political reasons that the US would have won 
> within two years.  We know now that the Tet Offensive was the last 
> gasp for the NVA, a Hail Mary play, which was a military failure.  
> Unfortunately, this coincided with the beginning of a structured 
> reduction in combat action against the NVA by the US, effectively 
> giving them a free pass after they had already blown their wad and 
> failed. 

> In essence, it was a military victory in every sense of the word.  For 
> various non-military reasons, when it was time to make the final 
> killing blow the US walked away. 

You left out this little titbit
"After Tet, Westmoreland said that the enemy was almost conquered and 
requested 206,000 more troops to finish the job."



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