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1965 – 1968. Review Stuff. Pleiku Ia Drang. Part I. Escalation. Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare. After Ia Drang, Vietminh/Vietcong decided to stretch the war out No conventional battles Hit and run guerrilla tactics They only need to not lose, right? U.S. will eventually tire of the fight.

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review stuff
Review Stuff
  • Pleiku
  • Ia Drang
prolonged guerrilla warfare
Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare
  • After Ia Drang, Vietminh/Vietcong decided to stretch the war out
    • No conventional battles
    • Hit and run guerrilla tactics
  • They only need to not lose, right?
    • U.S. will eventually tire of the fight
lbj felt forced to fight a limited war
LBJ Felt Forced to Fight a Limited War
  • goal  prop up South Vietnam, nottopple North Vietnam
  • Why?
    • U.S. public won’t stand for high casualties
    • Soviet Union and China might not stand for an invasion of the north
    • Vietnam War sold as a defensive war  we are there to ‘help’
  • Thus, no invasion of North Vietnam
  • No bombing of Haiphong Harbor
    • We might hit Soviet or Chinese ships
war of attrition
War of Attrition
  • This strategy says that the U.S. will win when we have killed such a large percentage of the enemy that they are unable to field a fighting force
  • Why was this the necessary strategy?
    • Seizing land is irrelevant; the guerrilla ‘fish’ simply swim to other parts of the ‘ocean’ and then return when the U.S. troops are gone
  • Crossover Point? - ____________________
slide10

To accomplish attrition U.S. Used a Three-Pronged Strategy

  • Search and Destroy Missions-
    • Find VC and kill them
  • Destroy Vietcong friendly villages-
    • “ dry the sea the enemy swims in”…
    • free fire zones...
  • Bombing campaign- destroy North Vietnam’s ability to wage war…
    • a major target here was the Ho Chi Minh trail.
    • Quote: “We’ll bomb them back to the stone age.” (U.S. general). Problem? __________________
    • Later estimated that it cost $10 to destroy every $1 of NVA or VC materiel
robert mcnamara personified war
Robert McNamara Personified War
  • Secretary of Defense under JFK and LBJ
  • He had been the president of the Ford motor company and had been a huge success because of his reliance on meticulous review of statistics to improve his business
  • Body counts, war of attrition, etc. It is running the war from numbers on paper
war of attrition conflicts with battle for hearts and minds
War of Attrition Conflicts with Battle for Hearts and Minds
  • What does this phrase ‘Hearts and Minds’ mean? _____________________________ ___________________________________
  • Attrition says:
    • demolish villages
    • Use defoliants like agent orange
a little more about defoliants
A little more about Defoliants
  • Room in American War Crimes Museum
  • Destroy cover and food for guerilla fighters.
  • Bad for the U.S. because… world outrage, loss of villager support, and riots at home.
  • It is against the law to use weaponize poison ever since mustard gas was used in WWI. U.S. argues that it is using poison against plants in areas where no one lives.
  • The problem is… poisons, most notably the most famous (Agent Orange) doesn’t just evaporate after it kills plants. It ends up killing people too. There were other agent colors in Vietnam.
  • It is extremely difficult to test a person for Dioxin poisoning, which is what you can get from Agent Orange. For example it was used on Victor Yashenko in the Ukrainian election campaign. It costs about $1500 - $2000 dollars even today to test one person for Dioxin exposure. U.S. never has to admit what it has done. Still debated…
what is the impact the u s strategy on the u s soldier
What is the Impact the U.S. strategy on the U.S. soldier?

-Mere Gook Rule …brutality is OK

  • Inflated body count (for promotion) makes it impossible for the U.S. gov to tell how well it is actually doing
  • Killing is anesthetized
    • … poem…
gilded baskets poem

VS

Gilded Baskets Poem

“Eight Six Foxtrot- Eight Six Foxtrot.

This is One One Zulu. Over.

The woman in blueCarried the weight swiftly, with grace,

Her face hidden by her Conical rice straw hat

One One Zulu- this is Eight Six Foxtrot. Go.

Roger Eight Six. I have Fire Mission.

Dink in the open, Grid: Bravo Sierra

Five Six Niner, Four Six Five, Range:

Three thousand, Proximity; Eight hundred, Over.

The two heavy baskets

balanced on tips

of the springing Chogi stick

Glided close to the hard smooth path

Read back, One One Zulu.

Roger Copy, Eight Six.

Shot on the way, wait.

Shot out, Eight Six.

A sighing 105 mm round slides through its parabola. Then the explosive tearing at the steel which surrounds it, And the shrapnel catches the gliding baskets, And they crumple with the woman in blue “

u s morale begins to drop
U.S. Morale Begins to Drop
  • “You don’t fight this enemy rifle to rifle” (translation) “infantry are bait”
  • ‘search and avoid’ tactic
  • ‘fragging’

Hmmm… No VC here either…

the math doesn t work
The Math Doesn’t Work!
  • One study showed that, if one assumed a kill rate that matched that of the highest 6 month period between 1965 the end of 1968 and assuming that U.S. wasn’t fibbing its #s about body counts, which it was, that it would take 15 ½ years to sap the communists’ ability to wage significant resistance
  • Why a problem?
    • TOO LONG!!!
despite evidence to the contrary administration gave rosy reports
Despite Evidence to the Contrary, Administration Gave Rosy Reports
  • Westmoreland tells congress in 1967- “ We can see the light at the end of the tunnel”
  • In private, there is a much gloomier outlook…
    • McNamara later admitted that he knew the war would not be won years before he shared this opinion publicly
the changing makeup of the u s forces
The Changing Makeup of the U.S. Forces
  • In 1965, most of the troops were volunteers…
    • Gung Ho attitude
    • Soldiers want to be there
  • But as the war stretched on and American troop strength grew and volunteers finished their year-long-tour…
    • more and more of the men were draftees
    • Why does this matter?

VS

protest against the war grew between 1965 and 1968
Protest against the war Grew between 1965 and 1968
  • Carleton story
  • LBJ said he was “caught in the middle of the ocean standing on a piece of cardboard” by the Vietnam War
in 1967 lbj took the gloves off
In 1967, LBJ Took the gloves off…
  • His real goal/passion was Civil Rights –major Civil Rights Bill in 1964…
  • However, he was unable to fully fund both of his goals: war and civil rights, so he ended up underfunding both
  • The Phoenix Program
    • Mainly run by the U.S. – carried out by ARVN
    • Eliminate VC sympathizers… very bloody, very effective… very questionable, morally (some CIA agents later admitted that many people were killed due to personal vendettas, etc.)
hansen name vietnam 1965 1968 note taking guide
Review

Pleiku

Ia Drang

Part I Escalation

Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare

After Ia Drang, Vietminh/Vietcong decided to _________________________________

No ___________________________

__________________ guerrilla tactics

They only need to ______________, right?

U.S. will eventually __________________

LBJ Felt Forced to Fight a Limited War

goal  prop up South Vietnam, not__________ ____________________________________

Why?

U.S. public won’t____________________

_____________________________ might not stand for an invasion of the north

Vietnam War sold as a defensive war  we are __________________________

Thus, no ___________________ North Vietnam

No bombing of ___________________________

We might hit ___________________ ships

Part II. U.S. Strategy

War of Attrition

This strategy says that the U.S. will win when we have ____________________________________________ that they are unable to field a fighting force

Why was this the necessary strategy?

Seizing land is irrelevant; the guerrilla ‘fish’ simply_________________________________ _________return when the U.S. troops are gone

Crossover Point? - ____________________ ________ _____________________________________________

To Accomplish Attrition, the U.S. used a 3-Pronged Strategy

Search and Destroy Missions-

____________________________

Destroy Vietcong friendly villages-

“ dry the sea _____________________”…

free fire zones... _________________ ________________________________

Bombing campaign- destroy North Vietnam’s ability to wage war…

a major target here was the_____________ __________________________________.

Quote: “We’ll bomb them back _______ _________________________.” (U.S. general). Problem? __________________

Later estimated that it cost _____ to destroy every _______ of NVA or VC materiel

How to measure success in a War of Attrition?

________________________

Robert McNamara Personified the War

Secretary of Defense under ______________

He had been the president of the Ford motor company and had been a huge success because of his reliance on ____________________________ _________________________________________

Body counts, war of attrition, etc. It is running the war ________________________________

Part III. Down Sides of the U.S. Strategy

War of Attrition Conflicts with Fight for Hearts and Minds

What does this phrase ‘Hearts and Minds’ mean? _____________________________ ___________________________________

Attrition says:

__________________________

Use defoliants like ________________

Hansen Name ___________________Vietnam 1965-1968 Note-taking Guide
slide29
What is the Impact of this Strategy on the U.S. Soldier?

Mere Gook Rule …________________________

Inflated body count (_________________ ) makes it impossible for the U.S. gov to tell__________ ______________________________________

Killing is _______________________

… poem…

U.S. Morale Begins to Drop

“You don’t fight this enemy rifle to rifle” (translation) ____________________________ _______________________________________

‘search and avoid’ tactic - __________________ _______________________________________

‘fragging’- _____________________________ _______________________________________

Part IV. The U.S. Public is Lied To

The Math Doesn’t Work

One study showed that, if one assumed a kill rate that matched that of _____________________ ____________________________ between 1965 the end of 1968 and assuming that U.S. wasn’t fibbing its #s about body counts, ____________, that it would take _______________to sap the communists’ ability to wage significant resistance

Why a problem?

____________________________

Despite Evidence to the Contrary, the Administration Gave Rosy Reports

Westmoreland tells congress in 1967- “ We can see the ____________________________________ “

In private, there is a much gloomier outlook…

McNamara later admitted that he knew the war would ________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________

Part V. As the War Stretched On, Problems for the U.S. Grew

Rapidly

The Changing Makeup of the U.S. Forces

In 1965, most of the troops were ______________…

____________ attitude

Soldiers _____________________

But as the war stretched on and American troop strength grew and volunteers finished their ______ __________________________...

more and more of the men were ________

Why does this matter?

Protest Against the War Grew

Carleton story

LBJ said he was “caught in the middle of the ocean standing on a piece of cardboard” by the ________________

In 1967, LBJ Took the Gloves Off

His real goal/passion was Civil Rights –major _____ _________________________________________…

However, he was unable to fully ____________ _________________________________ : war and civil rights, so he ended up underfunding both

The Phoenix Program

Mainly run by __________ . – carried out _________________________

Eliminate _________________… very bloody, very effective… _____________ _________________________________ (some CIA agents later admitted that many people were killed due to personal vendettas, etc.)

1967 khe sanh
1967 -- Khe Sanh
  • Where is it?
  • What is the story?
  • What does it remind American political/military advisors of?
khe sanh continued
Khe Sanh (continued)
  • LBJ vows to hold it… he does… 10-15 thousand VC die in the attack compared to 250 Americans…
  • Westmoreland calls it the biggest victory of the war…
  • But… he’s wrong…
tet offensive
Tet Offensive
  • What is Tet?
  • What is the Tet Offensive?