The lost war at home

One of the common laments from pro-Vietnam War commentators is that "We lost the war at home." Militarily, it wasn't as if the Vietcong were on the verge of overrunning a panicking Saigon or anything... The problem was that the US public lost the political will to continue the fighting. The fault, of course, ultimately rests with some variant or other of weak-kneed communist sympathizer or "isolationist."

As it turns out, the members of the US armed forces fighting in Vietnam were frequently antiwar. Not only did they realize its futility, they didn't think they should be killing and dying for this backwater nation halfway across the world. For example, "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" was one of the most popular songs on US military radio and in US military clubs in the fighting zone. Vietnam veterans were often fervent antiwar protestors, even testifying to congressional committees about how US forces needed to get the hell out of there.

What I wonder is if all these grimacing after-the-fact patriots blame soldiers as well as hippies for the lost war at home. I've never heard one say so.

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Cognotive bias and revisionism

If I recall correctly, part of Hitler’s appeal as he rose in prominence was to say that Germany would have won the Great War (WWI) if only the nation hadn’t been betrayed by its weak-kneed leaders into signing an armistice. This was during the Great Depression, when people were frustrated and looking for someone to blame. Hitler offered a message his audience liked to hear: Our problems are not our fault; they are the fault of this or that traitorous scapegoat. Militant indignation, not introspection, is the appropriate response!

People have predictable cognitive biases – modes of thought that are rewarding to the thinker, even if they don’t prove to be especially adaptive. We know, for example, that people like to feel in control; thus many people feel greater anxiety flying than driving, even though all evidence suggests that flying is the much safer alternative. Similarly, many people feel safer living in an environment in which they can carry a concealed weapon because it conveys a sense of control. The fact that four police officers – armed, trained and wearing body armor – can be gunned down by a lone assailant will do nothing to dissuade them of this feeling.

Thus I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a veteran’s views today might differ from the views he held while in the field. Where you stand depends upon where you sit in the grand scheme of things, and today’s veteran’s are in a different place physically and socially than they were in 1968.

People know that

People know that conscription lowers morale and a low morale lowers effectiveness. I'm not sure what it is that you find surprising or that you think anyone else would find surprising in this.

The Vietnam veteran I know best was a communist sympathizer and a fan of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Mao Zedong - like many others of his generation . He joined the war because he was drafted. This cut deeply into his life. It is no great surprise that he was not happy about being drafted or about the war.

The draft was also an important factor in the opposition to the war at home, for obvious reasons.

Self-Fulfilling Defeat

If you're going to lose, then indeed the war efforts are useless and might as well have been done without, and you've been fighting for nothing, all those who died died for nothing, etc. And then why didn't the US surrender immediately? Or Nazi Germany?

Hindsight is 20/20.

When defeat is certain, no one will fight. See the abrupt scramble for refuge at the end of the VN war. If those people had *known* earlier that SV would fall, they'd have taken steps earlier instead of scrambling like that. But if they had *known*, then others would too, no one would fight, and the scramble would just have happened earlier.

And so the fact is, until the traitors in Congress surrendered, no one *knew* than the NV would win, not even the NV, not even the members of Congress. The traitors who surrendered indeed turned the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands into a fight for nothing, and condemned a million vietnamese to concentration camp, and 3 million cambodians to death.

My question was more like

My question was more like why don't people fault the great numbers of antiwar soldiers who as early as 1965 or 1966 were opposed to their own personal involvement in the war and, more generally, the US government's? They were a major force in changing public opinion, which loosely translated into a lack of congressional support.

Were they significant?

Were there significantly more veterans who opposed to war than who supported it? Were the proportions changed significantly between potential draftees and veterans? Or was it just the media coverage of such?

The media lied about the nature of the war (it was not US vs VN. Far more SV troops than US troops died fighting communism), they covered the communist atrocities and blamed them on resistors. Why should we trust them at all when they show a few loud people opposing the war? How was this consensus worth more than the current "Scientific Consensus" on AGW?

Whatever weight a few shouting veterans may have had, it was nothing as compared to the weight and leverage provided by the traitorious politic-media-university Establishment.

WWII or war in Korea were far more atrocious than war in Vietnam; "nice people" living "thousands of miles away across the ocean" were bombed (including my family in France!) who didn't ask as much (yes they DID!). Why weren't the veterans opposed to THAT war? Because the left-controlled OWI and other media Establishment were massively spewing pro-war propaganda during WWII, and pro-communist propaganda during VNW.

Yet, the Nazis evil as they were NEVER had plans to invade the US, whereas the Communists DID (and indeed managed, in the end). Which was a war of defense and which was a war of aggression?