“by 1968 the Us Military Had Effectively Lost the Battle for Vietnam” Explain Why You Agree or Disagree with This View. Essay

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It can be argued that by this stage, US objectives in Vietnam had not been completed and any further involvement would have only been causing more damage to the current situation. However, it is important to understand the factors leading to failure in this period in the war. Throughout US involvement in Vietnam, the military faced the clear problem of destroying Vietcong insurgency in the South. This was no easy task as the enemy they were up against was resilient, and highly intelligent in many aspects that were not initially recognised. The first major engagement in Ia Drang may have proved ultimately to be an American victory, but it presented the fact that fighting the VC would not be won through area wars, but purely a through test of which side could drain enemy troop numbers fastest in an attritional war. The VC was able to conscript up to 200,000 men a year, outnumbering the US. These were not just typical soldiers, they were fighting a war for freedom which had been going on for centuries, and this contributed to their overall passion and perseverance in the face of a much more advanced enemy. In comparison the standard American troop was conscripted via a date of birth drafting system, and kept in Vietnam for a year. Many troops were not committed to their duty in Vietnam and did not always see why they were actually putting their lives on the line. Not only were the VC more committed to the war, they were also greatly underestimated by the US and were not expected to have the advanced tunnel systems and weaponry they used. In summary, Americans simply believed their enemies were technologically inferior peasants, when in reality the VC were well aware of Vietnamese terrain, quick to improvise and extremely dedicated to their cause. Before Ia Drang the US had already commenced Operation Rolling Thunder, the strategic bombing of North Vietnam. Despite

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