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The current time is: 10/22/2017 2:43:10 AM
 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles
AuthorMessage
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
"This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/28/2017 11:37:41 PM
Very interesting read and basically makes the case that in the South Vietnamese countryside with the peasents the VC/NVA loss went a long way towards winning the "hearts and minds." That it smashed the belief of the inevitable victory of the NLF/NVA and lead to a major increase of recruits for the local militia's and ARVN. It also goes a long way towards validating what Trump has been saying about our current media. There is also a in-depth look at the iconic photo of the on spot execution of a VC prisoner by General Loan. How the media used, omitted or miss-used context and perception and sometimes outright lied. Anybody else read this?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/29/2017 2:09:17 PM
"The notion of Tet as a psychological victory is one of the reasons the battle has inspired America's enemies ever since. Rather than holding the enemy up to its planned objectives, as Pike recommended, the United States lowered the bar, and defined the level of victory down to the point where the enemy actually met it. This propensity to give America's enemies credit simply for trying is not limited to Tet, and it is a fatal practice in wars of perception. It gives the enemy power and recognition unearned and undeserved."

To clarify Pike's recommendation,
"Assessment of the degree of failure must be built on an assessment of the enemies intentions. If intentions in the offensive were limited, then the failure was also a limited one; if more ambitious then a major one. And if the enemy intention was a knock out-punch then, quite obviously, the failure was monumental."
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1075
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/29/2017 2:45:19 PM
Did the US know in advance the VC/NVA objectives? It would be difficult to say that they weren't meeting their objectives while a gun battle is occurring in the US Embassy unless these objective were known in advance.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/29/2017 3:18:49 PM
Riain,

They never took over the US Embassy and never got inside the US Embassy but rather a adjacent office and dormitory building that one surviver of the assult unit retreated to.

Yes they had a very good idea of the objectives in advance and the book goes into detail of the intel captured and uncovered in the months before. The reality is they never really believed it because it was so built on false assumptions and pie in the sky appraisals. The belief was that the attacks on the cities were diversionary to take the attention away from Khe Sanh and the DMZ.

Plus with respect the objective of breaking the political will of the US wasn't theirs. Their objective was to spark the "general uprising" of the people and desertion of large numbers of the ARVN to the NLF to overthrow the Saigon government and replace it with a coalition lead by the NLF giving the US no option but to depart. More than one document with this was captured in the months leading up.

Edit sorry it might have been 2 that got into the office building on the Embassy compound.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/29/2017 9:23:08 PM
Oh boy, is this still even a remote issue? Tet was, of course, a psychological victory. It was also a real victory. I offered de facto indications that US success in Nam was not based in reality. Like the idea that the US won in Vietnam: great psychological victory, until it withdrew to give a chance to allow its puppet state claim the victory.

How about those poor bastards escaping from the rooftop of the US Embassy? How about the total collapse of ARVN forces? I guess we have to put them down as US psychologial victories as well?

Geez, why wasn't Saigon renamed "Washington", rather than "Ho Chi Minh City"? I mean, they only achieved psychological victories, right? The US incursion into Viet Nam was so successful that it probably proves the reason why Vietnam now has a president, Senate and Congress, and used "American" as a second language.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/29/2017 11:14:57 PM
Brian,

Thanks for showing a open mind and a willingness to discuss.

Edit Now I remember why I don't post that often.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson
, Posts: 3319
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/30/2017 2:22:22 AM
Geez, why wasn't Saigon renamed "Washington", rather than "Ho Chi Minh City"?

Brian,

 You do understand the military operations that conquered Saigon were several years after Tet ? Just wondering, because you are comparing apples and oranges here.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1075
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/30/2017 4:51:03 AM
The US would have to react very fast to gather all the intel they ignored, create a believable and positive spin and then put it out there while the attack is in progress. I don't think it would be good enough to spin it after the fact.

If it could be done, and I doubt that, then it is certainly possible that the tactical victories could reduce the backlash against the war.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/30/2017 7:54:51 AM

Quote:
Very interesting read and basically makes the case that in the South Vietnamese countryside with the peasents the VC/NVA loss went a long way towards winning the "hearts and minds." That it smashed the belief of the inevitable victory of the NLF/NVA and lead to a major increase of recruits for the local militia's and ARVN. It also goes a long way towards validating what Trump has been saying about our current media. There is also a in-depth look at the iconic photo of the on spot execution of a VC prisoner by General Loan. How the media used, omitted or miss-used context and perception and sometimes outright lied. Anybody else read this?
--John R. Price


Hello John,

I am trying to dig back in my memory but wasn't the press reporting that the US had been caught with its pants down?

My view is that America and the international press were shocked that these communists, whose military could never match that of the US, was able to pull this off.

Hell, Johnson was telling the world that the US was close to victory, was he not?

So was Westmoreland. To the Washington Press Corps just before Tet.


Quote:
"With 1968, a new phase is now starting. We have reached an important point when the end begins to come into view."


Isn't that a valid statement to say that the US was caught looking. After all US intel had information 25 days before Tet indicating that the north would attack. All they lacked was the exact date.

Post war there was evidence that the north wanted to disrupt the US Presidential elections and that is why the 1968 date was chosen.

So does the book tell us anything about the US preparations for Tet, John. Were the forces on heightened alert?


As for your reference to the media today and Trump's assertion that it is all fake and lies, you may have swallowed the Kool-Aid John.

There are a number of learned people who equate Trump and his tactics with the tactics of dictators of the '30's and denigration of the media is one of the first steps toward control. This President bears careful scrutiny.

John I don't like what happened to those brave men and women who came home from Vietnam to disapproval from their fellow citizens. That was wrong.

But after Tet, the feeling that the US was involved in a war that it could not win and one in which it should not have been involved in, began to increase in intensity. The soldiers who had done their country's bidding were caught in that crossfire, and unfairly, as I said.


Cheers,

George




John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/30/2017 2:44:29 PM
Riain,

The thing is , and the book goes into these facts in some detail, Johnson, Westmoreland, Wheeler and others were warning about the North and NLF offensive in the month or so prior. I have to check from who but I believe in one speech or interview they even say the offensive may be comparable to the Battle of the Bulge.

The book brings out the fact that the US didn't ignore the intel. Miss-interpret and not fully believe would be better terms but the reality is they prepared for it militarily and warned the press it was coming. Now I will agree the warnings came with few details but do so would have been telling the other side you are reading their playbook.

Even the press knew something was coming with at least bureau's cancelling all Christmas and New Year holidays thinking it would be the month before.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Wayne Wachsmuth
Shippensburg, PA, USA
Posts: 218
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/30/2017 2:53:14 PM
Lots of BS on both sides of this subject but as an active duty participant there are several things that must be told. We had intel warning of the attack and US units were on the alert for it but SVN units less so because of the holiday. The VC got through the fence at the embassy compound but never into the embassy contrary to reports that evening by "Uncle Walter".
The VC really took a hit from which they never recovered and the NV forces ran the show for the remainder of the war. The "general uprising" never happened contrary to expectations by the planners and when the dust finally settled at Hue no more SVN territory was controlled by Communist forces than before so they lost much of the VC cadre for no gain. The US "leaders" (and I include some military too). were always in the "sunshine" mode in public pronouncements and did not give an accurate picture of the progression of the war. As revealed in a post war interview between Peter Arnett and Dean Rusk the State Department had been giving target data for strikes in the Hanoi area the NVN through the Swiss embassy the show that we could hit any target and give the NVN govt. the ability to move civilians from the target areas to reduce civilian casualties. I don't know if civilians were moved out but AAA was sure as Hell moved in! But I was not involved on the ground being busy supporting the Marines at The Sanh with B-52 strikes during Tet.
The psychological problem was due to the misleading statements by US officials and mischaracterization of the action by the media with the end effect looked at as a negative for the US effort when it was a real military defeat for the Communists.
Oh, one other thing. The arrival port for returnees had a great deal to do with the reception. I came back from three Arc Light tours to my base in South Dakota and NEVER heard a bad word, everyone was supportive of our efforts, so while returnees coming back to big cities especially on the west coast were not given the respect they deserved by people who had forgotten how the chain of command in a democratic form of government works that again is what made the evening news so was looked at as the norm.


Long time ago,

Wayne

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/30/2017 3:55:47 PM
George,

And the press reports were wrong. As Wayne notes US forces were on alert and the reality is that the leaves granted and amount of time on leave for ARVN was reduced.

What did they "pull off"? There was no general uprising, no mass desertion of the ARVN to their side, no collapse of the ARVN and no ground held for in the large majority of cases longer than a few hours. The whole point in trying to fight a insurgency is to get the insurgent forces out in the open, rob them of their mobility and decimate them with your superior fire power. That is what happened.

Militarily the US/ARVN was a hell of a lot closer to victory than the NVA/NLF. technically aren't you referring to Westy's "Light at the end of the tunnel" remark?

They had intel from three months before and even longer. See my post to Riain.

Very little evidence pre-Tet a lot of evidence after Tet proved to do so.

Yes the book uses the first 7 chapters set the stage from both perspectives and go through the intel gathered and preparations from both sides. I think you would be surprised to know just how shoddy the preparations of the VC were in some cases. For instance the unit that attacked the Embassy wasn't some hand picked elite unit but a thrown together at the last minute group including service and supply and a cook.

The main Embassy building was never breached. That is a fact. A bureau chief from one of the majors was sending a story back to the US hours after the attack that the VC occupied the ground floor and there was at that time a major room to room battle taking place to retake it with many US casualties. While this story was being dictated a reporter in the room listening called one of his contacts at the Embassy whose office was on the 2nd floor. Getting the true story and hearing no gunfire or explosions over the phone he tried to stop the transmission of the false report. The bureau chief told him the guy he was talking to couldn't be at the Embassy and he was sending the lie.

I'm not a supporter of Trump and I partially agree but the media isn't blameless.

If the media can go a long way to taking a country to war with distortions, spin and half truths why can't it take it out of a war with the same? Does it need governmental control to be propaganda?


Edit With the Westy speech. Is it fair to take one line of a interview or speech and focus only on that line without the context of everything else said? Was the government as Wayne said "on the sunny side" in its descriptions of the situation? Yes without doubt. But does that mean that the sky is falling side is 100% true? The fact is that very significant progress had been made since the introduction of US ground forces.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson
, Posts: 3319
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 1:48:49 AM
Wayne,

 Fascinating comments, thank you for your "in-theater" view of what was happening at the time. "the NV forces ran the show for the remainder of the war." -- yes, my father got to RVN shortly after Tet and the VC were pretty much history at that point. His unit got attacked, but it was by North Vietnamese regular army units that the absurd international situation of the war allowed to shelter in Cambodia while pretending that Cambodia was neutral territory.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

BWilson
, Posts: 3319
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 2:23:32 AM
Does it need governmental control to be propaganda?

John,

 That is a great question. Honestly, it deserves a thread of its own, but I'll toss in a couple of observations.

 The apparent answer to your question is IMO "no", and that begs the question of, if not the government, then who is served when the "news" is presented as a form of propaganda ? As a very distant aside, I edited Wikipedia for years. One of the reasons I stopped editing was that I realized Wikipedia was being used as a propaganda platform by many different agents. The lesson for me was that "propaganda ain't just for the government!"

 Historically, the media has been tainted; the term "yellow press" was used long before the Vietnam War. At some point during the Vietnam War, major players in the press took a political stance and reveled in their ability to stir up segments of the American populace and change government policy. Of course, that wasn't journalism per se, it was the naked exercise of political power -- and a troubling one ... because it was done by a group of people who were not elected by the people and who ultimately bore no responsibility to the people for the consequences of their actions. Viewed roughly, "the press" was a group of corporations who used their influence to change national policy. That, as a people, we did not view the (television) journalists as the public relations face of these corporations, speaks volumes for how narrowly we were taught to interpret the word "corporation".

 This was followed by Watergate and the downfall of Nixon, a very real "coup" for the media corporations. In the late 1970s, talk of the "Fourth Estate" flowed freely in academia ... but a key omission was that no one was wondering what mechanism the news corporations had for policing themselves -- that is, ensuring via an ethical code that their product was above all professional, balanced, and not partisan. The formal presence of this element has been lacking in the American press from the start, and is very obviously on display today. In the 1970s, those in academia were not even pointing out that journalism was largely the product of corporate activity -- a characteristic that was a huge red flag.

 Predictably, the military reacted to the press adopting a partisan stance. This was very visible during the 2003 Iraq War, in which journalists were allowed close contact with U.S. forces only if they were "embedded" -- meaning the military was exercising a degree of direct control over them. 14 years on down the road, we have reached the point where a presidential administration is also reacting to the partisan stance of the press by shunning some of their members and engaging in disputes with press figures on media like Twitter.

 I am not comfortable with either the approach of the military or that of Trump's administration concerning the press, but I firmly believe the press needs to reform themselves by establishing a strong ethical code and a professional approach to reporting that prides itself on being balanced vice being partisan mouthpieces for corporate operators. There is more, much more, to their partisan stance than simply the personal views of individual reporters ... but to realize who is driving the views that media corporations present would require a transparency of their operation that does not exist at present.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 7:10:02 AM
The late 60's were an incredibly volatile period of social unrest in the US.

The Vietnam War was highly unpopular especially when viewed through the lens of black Americans who were rioting in the streets. (Black day in July, Detroit, 1967)

They already felt that they were fighting that war in disproportionate numbers. I have seen numbers that seem to refute that contention but that is what they believed.

1968, the year of the Tet offensive was also a year of unrest. Martin Luther King was assassinated in April of 1968.

There were social problems and problems of unemployment and inequality. And young men were dying in a far off place and many did not wish to go.


Is the suggestion then that the media fomented this social unrest and that the heightened anger toward the Vietnam war would have been quelled had the reports on the Tet offensive been more positive?

It is my personal recollection that that horse had already left the barn. Many Americans and for that matter, people across the world who were also staging protests against the war, were marching.

BW suggests that the mainstream media have now taken a partisan stance in dealing with the Trump administration and have taken similar approaches both during and after the Vietnam War.

I don't subscribe to the Steve Bannon led paranoia that implicates a deep state in government that must be deconstructed or that the press is the propaganda arm of the deep state.

Given what I have observed of Mr. Trump throughout that mindlessly long campaign, fraught with blatant lies and whistle blowing, and now his Presidency, I think that some agency has to monitor what he says and does.

Cheers,

George

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 1:20:40 PM
George,

The main reason for unrest in the African American community was Civil Rights, Vietnam and their perception of the unfairness of the draft was but a small part of the injustice they rioted against.

Tet was late Jan early Feb 68 so the MLK assassination didn't influence the Tet reporting or reactions. The unrest in 68 was influenced by Tet and how it was portrayed by the media. So yes the media fomented social unrest that followed by emboldening the anti-war movement by the spin and in more than a few cases outright lies.

No the suggestion is that the media picks a side and uses words and images to manipulate the public to see things from that side only. That this started long before Tet in Vietnam. That "more positive" would only have been telling the truth, you know reporting the news in a fair and balanced way.

Did you believe that a agency was needed to monitor what our previous President, who you personally supported, said and did?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 2:12:50 PM
George,

You go through D-Day, Normandy, the Breakout, Market Garden, the clearing of the Sheldt(sp?) Estuary and the opening battles of the Hurtgen Forrest in WWII in the West and you've driven the Germans out of Russia in the East in WWII. The war isn't over but you can see light at the end of the tunnel. Then the Germans use their last strategic reserve and their best remaining troops on a surprise offensive. After some initial success none of the major objectives are achieved and within a short time but at great cost none of the captured territory is held. Should you stop the bombing of Germany, stop all offensive actions and go on the defensive, declare the war unwinnable and within a year start a drawdown of US troops.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 2:29:18 PM
John, the "agency" to which I referred is the press. You folks are very fortunate that you have such an assertive press.

The use of the word agency could imply a special group raised to monitor Trump alone.

I didn't intend that and I can see how my choice of word could be misinterpreted. I should have just said, "media or press".

So all democratically elected governments may be kept in line and accountable, the more assertive and free the press is. They are as much a check on the excesses of government as any official policy, I believe.


John the anti-war protests were very much part and parcel of the civil rights movement for black and white Americans.

Black Americans had been clamouring for equal treatment when it came to the economy and to the vote.

We all recall the civil rights marches of '64 and '65 in Alabama. Certain voting rights were attained.

But black Americans were poorer than white people. That doesn't mean that their weren't poor whites.

When Pres. Johnson changed the qualification standards for the draft, a lot of very poor Americans now became eligible for service.

So from 1966 to 1969, nearly a half million recruits were taken in and if my numbers are correct, 41% were black.

That appeared to some black Americans that the US wanted to fight this war on the backs of black Americans all the while denying them the full and fair experience of citizenship at home.


It was noted by the black civil rights activists that in some southern states, there were no black people on the draft boards. There were racists and white supremacists on the boards in some states. They were deciding whether some black kid had to go to war.

The Black Panther movement was growing and correct me if I'm wrong but there were black soldiers in Vietnam who identified with that movement.

There were comments from returning black soldiers that this was not their war. They were quoted right and left

MLK suggested that blacks should become conscientious objectors. The most famous of those was Muhammed Ali in 1967.

How do we explain a race riot at a military base in North Carolina in 1969?

Black soldiers suggested that they were under more strict disciplinary measures than white soldiers. True or not, it means that there were disgruntled black soldiers, most of whom did their duty and some who were decorated for it. You can still be brave and do your duty while expressing concern for unequal treatment within the forces.

Black Americans in polls were more firmly against the war in Vietnam than white counterparts.

John, we cannot separate the war from the civil rights movement. Americans were protesting this war before and after Tet.

I think that your statement that the war was largely unrelated to black protests in the '60's is incorrect. In fact, the war may have highlighted the problems associated with being black in America.

I just want to add that it is right to honour those who served and it does not dishonour them to protest the conduct or indeed, participation in the Vietnam war. Soldiers may only do as their country asks.


Cheers,

George













John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 3:32:13 PM
George,

Your numbers are wrong.

The numbers of draftees, does not include those not drafted are as follows, 1966--382,010, 1967--228,263, 1968--296,406 and 1969--283,586 for a total of 1,190,265. That is directly from the Selective Service Website.

88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian. 10.8% were African American.
From history-world.org/vietnam_war_statistics.htm

I'm not saying that Americans weren't protesting before Tet. I'm saying that the media played a big part in why they were protesting and that much of the reporting was slanted to encourage them to protest. And I'm saying that the slanting hit its height at Tet.

AS for your idea that the war and Civil Rights movement are inseperable I don't agree partly because its based on wrong assumption of African American participation in the war.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 4:27:44 PM
Interesting difference in the data John. The percentage of blacks in the population was what 11% and you are saying that they served in numbers slightly under their representation in the population.

I was referring to a specific period from 1966 to 69. John do you recall the McNamara 100, 000 Project and the New Standards recruits. It was sold as a "salvage" project.

Were there a disproportionate number of blacks and latinos in that recruiting measure? I believe that 38-41% were black.

And if so, that fact caused great concern among the black American population who didn't see Vietnam as an opportunity. It looked like the recruitment quotas were being filled up by blacks.

But you are missing my point which is that black Americans did not feel that they had equal rights in America. They suffered from lack of education and lack of opportunity.

And they were marching and fighting at home for equal rights as Americans.

Many resented sending their boys to Vietnam to fight for the goals of the US government when they weren't treated equally in their own country.

I'm sure that you have read some of the comments of black veterans and their resentment of having to fight a war while their people at home were treated in some places as second class citizens.

So to sum up. My numbers were based on a three year period in a very volatile period in race relations in America.

You are arguing that in the overall period of that long war that black participation on the basis of population was bang on.

You have ignored the fact that many black Americans did not wish to fight a war for a government and country that did not respect them.

Civil rights are all about respect and equality and I think that black America did not feel that it had either and that extended to the war.

Are you suggesting that without the press and the way that it reported the civil rights movement and the war protests, there would have been no civil rights movement including the protests over the war?





John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 5:57:27 PM
George,

And again your numbers are wrong. It is mathematically impossible for 41% of troops being African American during the years of maximum US troop levels in Vietnam if only 10.8% of the total number of troops who served in Vietnam from 64 to 73 were African American. I'm going off the top of my head here but 2.4m served in Vietnam so 11% would be 264,000. So for your numbers to be correct your saying that very few African American served in 64/65 or 70 to 73. Then add in that there were 1.1m drafted in the period you specify and 40% of that number would be what 440,000. You are buying into a myth.

I haven't said one word about how the press reported the Civil Rights Movement. What I did say was the issues can be and were separate and but a small part of African American grievances. That I reject your conclusion because your conclusion is in part based on assumptions made from bad information.

---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 7:29:23 PM
Okay John.

No comment on McNamara's 100,000 Project? The New Standard recruits?

I am addressing as specific period in the war starting in 1966 in which it is stated in many places that black Americans were drafted in higher numbers than whites or Latinos. The 41% statistic is quoted in a number of publications. If it is incorrect then I would be happy to be corrected.

And I am suggesting that the knowledge of this military and social experiment was seized as proof to black activists that they were being discriminated against in the military as much as in the civilian world.

Project 100,000 came on stream at a critical period of social unrest in the US.

You have been commenting on how the press influences issues. You did so in your first post John.

And were there any disgruntled black American soldier? Were there any who, while in Vietnam, were staunch supporters of the Civil Rights movement and for a few, the Black Panther movement.

I don't think that I have bought into a myth. You may have your head in the sand and while you dispute numbers you ignore the relationship between the war, black soldiers and civil rights.

But that's OK. I need more than a numbers dispute from you to dispel my contention that social unrest and the fight for civil rights crossed over to the military and the war.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 9:24:09 PM
George,

There were 320,000 total in the program and it also included the tall, short, over and under weight, near sighted and those non citizens who couldn't speak English all that well. I found no concrete evidence that it was majority African American. if there is some show me. Personally it was a bad idea not so much in theory but in implementation and with McNamara in charge that doesn't surprise me at all.

For the 3rd time I checked the official government records on the draft, the statistics of race for those who served in Vietnam and the statistics of those who were KIA while serving in Vietnam and your number are WRONG. Check the Selective Service site, or Department of Defense site or any of the Armed Services site or if you don't trust the government read "All That We Can be" by well known and well respected sociologists Charles C Moskos and John Sibly Butler.

I'd say that everybody in that "social experiment" was being discriminated against even if the depariging "McNamara's Moron Corps" didn't fit. Oh by the way in Vietnam we fielded the best educated force the world had ever seen with 79% being high school grads or better.

The major media outlets were on the side of Civil Rights for the most part. They had a positive influence with Civil Rights.

There were disgruntled soldiers of every race. And there were soldiers of every race who supported the Civil Rights Movement while they were in Vietnam. With respect Johnson was white and his dream was called the Great Society and it wasn't for whites only.

You've bought into the myth on the numbers and percentage and since they are wrong your conclusions on all the rest need to be re-thought. If the number aren't to the level you believe than the then the degree of unrest that crossed over isn't as high and its effect more limited.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 10:10:04 PM
George,

OK now I know where you got the 41% and what the bug is about "McNamara's Moron Corps."

Try this link
http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/stevens/africanamer.htm

"During the height of US involvement, 1965-69, blacks, who formed 11% of the American population, made up 12.6% of the soldiers in Vietnam. The majority of these were in the infantry and although authorities differ on the figures, the percentage of black combat fatalities was a staggering 14.9%, a proportion that subsequently declined."

That quote from John Sibley Butler the next from David Coffey.

Project 100,000," a Great Society program launched in 1966, attempted to enhance the opportunities of underprivileged youths from poverty-stricken urban areas by offering more lenient military entrance requirements. It largely failed. Although more than 350,000 men enlisted under Project 100,000 during the remainder of the war, 41 percent were African American and 40 percent drew combat assignments. Casualty rates among these soldiers were twice those of other entry categories. Few Project 100,000 inductees received training that would aid their military advancement or create better opportunities for civilian life

I would add one point though the Project 100,000 program was ended in 1971 so it didn't last until the end of US combat involvement in 73.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 10:20:08 PM
I hope that you're not just being deliberately obtuse John.

I don't dispute your numbers for the whole war. So let me try again.

What I am trying to tell you is that during a particularly intense period in the civil rights movement there was also a perception that more blacks were being drafted than whites. It reinforced the belief that blacks were being used and abused by the government and that the shortage in recruits was being made up by drafting blacks in particular.

If you haven't found evidence that there were a high percentage of blacks drafted during the Project 100,000 period, then you aren't looking. I can't find a single essay, thesis or news article that doesn't describe the percentage of blacks drafted under Project 100, 000 as anything less than 38%.

So please tell me why that figure is incorrect. Again John, I am talking about the 350,000 who were drafted during that Project 100,000, not the whole war.


Quote:
There were disgruntled soldiers of every race. And there were soldiers of every race who supported the Civil Rights Movement while they were in Vietnam. With respect Johnson was white and his dream was called the Great Society and it wasn't for whites only.


Do you expect me to believe that the racial tensions in the forces in Vietnam weren't real and that there wasn't a great bond that developed among black soldiers, that their concern for inequality in the military had nothing to do with inequality back home?

The concern for black freedom and equality was not just run of the mill soldier grumbling. They knew what was going on at home.

There have been many pieces written on the problems with racial discord in Vietnam that erupted in the rear and on bases at home.

From Colin Powell, a major in 1968


Quote:
“Our men in the field, trudging through elephant grass under hostile fire, did not have time to be hostile toward each other. But bases . . . were increasingly divided by the same racial polarization that had begun to plague America.”


Look I know that his war has great meaning for you John but you can't just deny that these issues existed in civilian and military life. And yes, I think that they are related.

BTW Lyndon Johnson from a Canadian perspective was a grade A ass. He once physically assaulted our PM Mike Pearson at a meeting in Washington. Pearson had said something negative at a talk that he gave at a US university and Johnson didn't like it. Mike Pearson was a war veteran who served in WW1.




George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 3/31/2017 10:33:31 PM

Quote:
Project 100,000 – Also known as McNamara’s 100,000, Project 100,000 was a controversial plan to provide remedial training to recruits who could not pass the military’s physical or written aptitude tests. This program was created for two reasons: first to provide men from disadvantaged backgrounds with the training needed for them to succeed in the military and later in civilian life; second to provide more troops for the military to relieve the pressures of the draft quotas. The program was instituted in 1966 and 40,000 men were brought into the military with a goal set of 100,000 men per year after that. The project was accused of being racist because almost 40% of the new standards men, as they became known, were African American and about 75% of all new standards men ended up in the Marine Corps, guaranteeing that a higher percentage of them ended up in combat roles as compared to non new standard men. In 1971 the program ended when Congress stopped basing military quotas on aptitude test scores.


source: Texas Tech University, Vietnam Center and Archive: Robert. S. McNamara Resources

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 472
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 4/1/2017 12:28:45 AM
George,

Did you follow the link I gave?

Project 100,000 lasted 5 years with aprox 350,000 men in it total. Of that 350,000 total 41% were African American and 40% ended up serving in combat units in Vietnam. That program ran from 1966 to 1971. That is 350,000, and not all of them were drafted some volunteered and some were given the choice the army or jail, over a 5 year period when 1.4 million were drafted and a like number volunteered or extended their service by reenlisting. So that is 70,000 a year average of which 28,700 would be 41%. So if 40% ended in Vietnam that would be 11,480. What would that work out to with troop levels of 350,000 to 550,000 or as a percentage of the total male African American draft age community, or total African American population? Remember the US even in the 60's was a lot bigger than Canada.

In 1966 African American made up 9% of the US Army but by 1976 that was up to 15%. But I hate to tell you that the reason wasn't a higher percentage being drafted but by reenlistment rates over 200% higher that Caucasian Americans. Civil Rights took hold faster and if I may better in the military than in civilian life.

I'm not saying that racial problems didn't occur or racial tension didn't exist but that war or no war they would have happened and the war didn't create or worsen the problems between the races. That the issues of the war and Civil Rights are separate and not interconnected in the way your are trying to make them.

My information on Project 100,000 came from the link I posted and that is a University of Illinois edu link.

P.S. LBJ was a war vet from WWII and the Civil Rights Movement was particularly intense the entire decade of the 60's and into the early 70's
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5313
Re: "This Time We Win;Revisiting the Tet Offensive"
Posted on: 4/1/2017 6:48:32 AM
I followed a lot of links John. It appears that you now agree with my numbers though you are trying to minimize the effect that those numbers had on racial unrest and the civil rights movement. You are again trying very hard to show that overall, throughout the whole period of the war, that black Americans were not drafted at a rate that was higher than white Americans.

You see no association with racial unrest in Vietnam and racial discord in the homeland. Two separate and unrelated animals, is that it?

That they are part and parcel of the racial problems that have plagued the US since the civil war and which were heightened greatly during the '60's seems clear to me.

So at that time when the draft rate for blacks appeared to be very high, it certainly appeared that America which had to raise quota to continue to fight the war, would do so on the backs of black America. That was the perception and that helped to fuel civil unrest.

Colin Powell acknowledged what I am saying John. Domestic racial discord was reflected in the military.

So I am finished with this topic. Over the years I have learned that your objectivity when it comes to this war is questionable.

From what you have said here, you seem to have a rather pollyanna view of race relations in your country in the '60's.

You may be the most well read person on the topic of this war on the forum. I acknowledge that. But you seem to have forgotten that your cities were burning and that there were conflicts between the races in the forces, in Vietnam. I think that the latter is reflected in the former.


LBJ? Still an ass. You don't hoist the much smaller leader of an allied country and Nobel peace prize winner by his lapels because you disagree with a speech that he gave on your foreign policy. Not even if you're the President of the USA. Mike Pearson should have given him a swift one in the goolies but he wasn't that type of man.