I visited Vietnam for the first time in 2014, almost 50 years after the end of the American War.
The nation is thriving. Tourists love the country. :-)
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (also known as the Việt Cộng) on April 30, 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War …
The city was renamed Hồ Chí Minh City, after the Democratic Republic’s President Hồ Chí Minh. …
The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation in history. …
Evacuation of CIA station personnel by Air America on the rooftop of 22 Gia Long Street in Saigon on April 29, 1975. Photo: Hubert van Es / UPI
Have you seen The Fog of War?
Academy Award®-winner for Best Documentary Feature, THE FOG OF WAR is the story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President Kennedy and President Johnson, Robert S. McNamara.
Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.
The title derives from the military concept of the “fog of war” depicting the difficulty of making decisions in the midst of conflict.
Robert McNamara’s 11 lessons from Vietnam
From Robert McNamara’s 1995 book “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam“:
We misjudged then — and we have since — the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries … and we exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions.
We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience … We totally misjudged the political forces within the country.
We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values.
Our misjudgments of friend and foe, alike, reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders.
We failed then — and have since — to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces, and doctrine. We failed, as well, to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.
We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement … before we initiated the action.
After the action got under way, and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course … we did not fully explain what was happening, and why we were doing what we did.
We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people’s or country’s best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose.
We did not hold to the principle that U.S. military action … should be carried out only in conjunction with multinational forces supported fully (and not merely cosmetically) by the international community.
We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions … At times, we may have to live with an imperfect, untidy world.
Underlying many of these errors lay our failure to organize the top echelons of the executive branch to deal effectively with the extraordinarily complex range of political and military issues.
The USA lost the Vietnam war. It was un-winnable from the start.
I’d argue that they’ve lost the wars in the Middle East since. None of McNamara’s lessons were learned.
G.W. Bush is most to blame for the stupidity and waste of military action.
I’m disappointed Obama did not do more to reverse the damage wrought during the Bush years.