Was the War worth it?
Nghia M. Vo
         If the Americans called it the Vietnam War (it was fought in Vietnam), the communists knew it as the American War, or the "War of Liberation" or the "Anti-US War of National Salvation." The South Vietnamese labeled it as the "War against Communist Aggression" or simply the Anti-communist War (it was fought against the communists).

         The war was thus fought through different perspectives and lenses "not simply to reunify the country but to reunify in such a way that all opposition to the party had been destroyed." Saigon fell to a "more brutal tyranny that was more effective, in part, because it was more brutal. The end-result has been the largest sea diaspora in the world. The truth of this war "lies buried with its victims, with those who died, and with those who are consigned to live in an oppressed silence for now and for the coming generations-a silence the world called peace."

         It is regrettable that the South Vietnamese and the U.S. had lost the war by halfheartedly fighting it. Had they won, they would have avoided:
         -the communization of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia,
         -the killing of more than 60,000 South Vietnamese after the war through repression, revenge, or other reasons,
         -the suffering of more than one million South Vietnamese officials and soldiers who were sent to reeducation camps to rot,
         -the suffering of two million civilians who were sent to the NEZ,
         -the "dark years" of 1975-85 where southerners suffered through misery, lack of food, and war in Cambodia,
         -the "rape of Saigon" through the blatant confiscation of private and state property in South Vietnam, the control of Saigon and South Vietnam, and the enslavement of southerners.
         -the forcing out of Vietnam of two million of boat people, half of them having drowned at sea,
         -the war in Cambodia where 60,000 Vietnamese soldiers lost their lives along with untold civilian Cambodians
         -the killing of two million Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge,
         -the establishment of a corrupt and oppressive regime in Vietnam, which is much worse than the Diem or Thieu's regimes.
         -the continuing lack of freedom and the worsening of corruption in Vietnam,
         -the untold suffering and lack of freedom that persist to this day. The pre-1975 southerners are still shunned in their own land and denied top positions. If they were lucky to hold governmental positions, the latter are lowly or unimportant ones.
         And the list goes on and on.
         We have failed the people of South Vietnam and by extension the people of the world by not acting aggressively and decisively during the war. Although the American effort was valiant and commendable, in the end it was not enough to protect peace and autonomy in South Vietnam.

        Please read the rest in Forum 7: FACES OF THE WAR.
Back