The United States involvement in the Vietnam War is debatable and controversial. Some hold to the notion that U.S. intervention was necessary and critical to the suppression of Communism and vital to prevent South Vietnam from coming under North Vietnamese rule. However, those who oppose U.S. involvement in the conflict have steadfast reasons for rejecting the U.S.’s participation in a war that didn’t directly affect the U.S. and resulted in a high number of casualties at a tremendous financial expense.
Not a U.S. Concern
Anti-involvement theorists argue that the U.S. shouldn’t have invaded Vietnam because Vietnam’s internal conflicts and political battles didn’t directly influence or affect America. Even though U.S. politicians, military experts and leaders of foreign affairs generally agreed that Communism violated democracy and infringed on political freedoms, conflicts in Vietnam posed no direct threat to the U.S. government or to the freedoms Americans enjoyed. Some believe that the U.S.’s invasion of North Vietnam was a form of bullying, designed to make the U.S. appear as the dominant world power, even though it had nothing to gain from engaging in the conflicts. Vietnam's civil war was not the U.S.'s business and it should have stayed out of the conflict.
Cost of War
The cost of the Vietnam War was astronomical. Economists report that the Vietnam War cost the U.S. $111 billion during war time, which calculates to $738 billion by 2011 standards, according to the Congressional Research Service. World War II and the 2003-2010 wars in Iraq were the only U.S. conflicts that were more costly than the Vietnam War. When that much money is spent on foreign interests, it increases America’s debt and leaves fewer resources for programs and interests at home. Some argue that the cost should have inhibited the U.S. from getting involved.
Vietnam War-related American deaths totaled 90,220, including those who died on battlefields and those who died from other causes related to the war, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some 47,434 soldiers died in battle. Only the American Civil War and World War II had more U.S. deaths than the Vietnam War. Some political theorists argue that the loss of life wasn’t worth the sacrifice, and soldiers weren't adequately prepared to face the enemy. U.S. soldiers fought on foreign soil in jungles, often engaging in hand-to-hand combat, and weren’t trained or equipped to handle those conditions. U.S. soldiers were often ambushed by the Viet Cong and strategic North Vietnamese troops who knew how to maneuver in the jungles and use guerrilla tactics. U.S. troops weren't prepared to face this style of warfare.
The U.S. invaded Vietnam and engaged in a war that was unwinnable. Half a million U.S. troops and 700,000 South Vietnamese troops were no match for the 250,000 soldiers in North Vietnam, according to Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 speech, published at ABC-CLIO.com. Even if the U.S. sent more troops to support the South Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese wouldn’t be able to protect or sustain their post-war military successes. Their lands had been ravaged by war and they had few resources to rebuild their nation. War left the nation in ruins.
The Vietnam War didn’t just result in the deaths of American and Vietnamese military personnel -- including U.S. soldiers who were drafted by the U.S. government. Many innocent Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong and Cambodian civilians, including women and children, were victims of the bloody battles, bombings and raids. Military strategists and politicians, such as Robert Kennedy, stated that the invasion of Vietnam and continued U.S. support would only lead to the extended slaughter of civilians -- a weight on American’s conscience that couldn’t be ignored or overlooked. America shouldn't have involved itself in a war that contradicted its national conscience.
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