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Essay/Term paper: Vietnam and gulf war

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American History

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on American History: Vietnam And Gulf War, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

"No new taxes." This is a quote that most all of us remember

from the 1992 presidential election. Along with it we

remember that there were new taxes during that presidents

term in office. There are a myriad of promises made and

things done in a presidential election year that have

questionable motives as to whether they are done in the best

interest of the people or in the interests of the presidential

candidate. These hidden interests are one of the biggest

problems with the political aspects of government in modern

society. One of the prime examples of this is the Vietnam

War. Although South Vietnam asked for our help, which we

had previously promised, the entire conflict was managed in

order to meet personal political agendas and to remain

politically correct in the world"s eyes rather than to bring a

quick and decisive end to the conflict. This can be seen in

the selective bombing of Hanoi throughout the course of the

Vietnam War. Politically this strategy looked very good.

However, militarily it was ludicrous. War is the one arena in

which politicians have no place. War is the military"s sole

purpose. Therefore, the U. S. Military should be allowed to

conduct any war, conflict, or police action that it has been

committed to without political interference or control

because of the problems and hidden interests which are

always present when dealing with polit United States

involvement in the Vietnam War actually began in 1950

when the U. S. began to subsidize the French Army in South

Vietnam. This involvement continued to escalate throughout

the 1950"s and into the early 1960"s. On August 4, 1964

the Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred in which American

Naval Vessels in South Vietnamese waters were fired upon

by North Vietnam. On August 5, 1964 President Johnson

requested a resolution expressing the determination of the

United Sates in supporting freedom and in protecting peace

in southeast Asia ( Johnson ). On August 7, 1964, in

response to the presidential request, Congress authorized

President Johnson to take all necessary measures to repel

any attack and to prevent aggression against the U. S. in

southeast Asia ( United States ). The selective bombing of

North Vietnam began immediately in response to this

resolution. In March of the following year U. S. troops

began to arrive. Although the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

specifically stated that we had no military, political, or

territorial ambitions in southeast Asia, the interests back

home were quite a different story ( Johnson ). The political

involvement in Vietnam was about much more than just

promised aid to a weak country in order to prevent the

spread of communism. It was about money. After all, wars

require equipment, guns, tools and machinery. Most of

which was produced in the United States. It was about

proving America"s commitment to stop communism. Or

rather to confine communism in its present boundaries But

most of all it was about politics. The presidential political

involvement in Vietnam had little to do with Vietnam at all. It

was about China for Eisenhower, about Russia for Kennedy,

about Washington D.C. for Johnson, and about himself for

Nixon ( Post ). The last two of which were the major players

in America"s involvement in regards to U. S. Troops being

used ( Wittman ). The military involvement in Vietnam is

directly related to the political management of the military

throughout the war. The military controlled by the politicians.

The micro management of the military by the White House

for political gain is the primary reason for both the length and

cost, both monetary and human, of the Vietnam War (

Pelland ). One of the largest problems was the lack of a

clear objective in the war and the support to accomplish it.

The predominant military opinion of the military"s role in

Vietnam in respect to the political involvement is seen in the

following quote by General Colin Powell, "If you"re going to

put into something then you owe the armed forces, you owe

the American People, you owe just you"re own desire to

succeed, a clear statement of what political objective you"re

trying to achieve and then you put the sufficient force to that

objective so that you know when you"ve accomplished it."

The politicians dictated the war in Vietnam, it was a limited

war, the military was never allowed to fight the war in the

manner that they thought that they needed to in order to win

it ( Baker ). To conclude on the Vietnam War, the political

management of the war made it unwinnable. The military was

at the mercy of politicians who knew very little about what

needed to be done militarily in order to win the war. There is

an enormous difference between political judgment and

military judgment. This difference is the primary reason for

the outcome of the Vietnam War ( Schwarzkopf ). The Gulf

War in the Middle East was almost the exact opposite in

respect to the political influence on the war. In respect to the

military objective of the war the two are relatively similar.

The objective was to liberate a weaker country from their

aggressor. The United Nation"s resolution was explicit in its

wording regarding military force in the Persian Gulf. The

resolution specifically stated "by all means necessary."(

Schwarzkopf ). The President was very aware of the

problems with political management of warfare throughout

the war. He was very determined to let the military call the

shots about how the war was conducted. He made a

specific effort to prevent the suggestion that civilians were

going to try to run the war ( Baker ). Painful lessons had

been learned in the Vietnam War, which was still fresh on

the minds of many of those involved in this war ( Baker ).

The military was given full control to use force as they saw

fit. Many of the top military leaders had also been involved in

the Vietnam War. These men exhibited a very strong never

again attitude throughout the planning stages of this war.

General Schwarzkopf made the following statement about

the proposed bombing of Iraq in regards to the limited

bombing in Vietnam, "I had no doubt we would bomb Iraq if

I was going to be the Military Commander." He went on to

say that it would be absolutely stupid to go into a military

campaign against his, Iraq"s, forces who had a tremendous

advantage on us on the ground, numbers wise. It would be

ludicrous not to fight the war in the air as much, if not more,

than on the ground ( Schwarzkopf ). The result of the Gulf

War in which the military was given control, as we know,

was a quick, decisive victory. There were many other

factors involved in this than just the military being given

control, particularly in contrast to Vietnam, but the military

having control played a major part in this victory. In

conclusion, although there are some major differences

between the two conflicts one fact can be seen very clearly.

That is the fact that the military is best suited for conducting

wars. Politicians are not. It is not the place of a politicians to

be involved in the decision making process in regards to war

or military strategy. The White House has significant control

in military matters. That control should be used to help the

military in achieving its goals as it was in the Gulf War where

George Bush said specifically to let the military do its job.

The only alternative to this is to use political influence in the

same way that it was used in Vietnam. If we do not learn

from these lessons that are so obvious in the differences

between these two conflicts then we are condemned to

repeat the same mistakes. Lets just pray that it does not take

the death of another 58,000 of America"s men to learn that

the politicians place is not in war but in peace ( Roush ).

Works Cited "Interview with General Norman

Schwarzkopf, Commander-in-Chief, Central Command."

Frontline WGBH Educational Foundation. PBS, College

Station. 9-10 Jan. 1996. "Interview with Secretary of State,

James Baker." Frontline WGBH Educational Foundation.

PBS, College Station. 9-10 Jan. 1996. Johnson, Lyndon B.

"The Tonkin Gulf Incident." Message to Congress. Aug. 5,

1964. Department of State Bulletin 24 Aug. 1964: n.p.

Leyden, Andrew P. "The Operation Desert Storm

Debriefing Book" Internet Page. University of Notre Dame

Law School. 15 Feb. 1995. Pelland, Paul. E-mail to the

author. 25 June 1996. Post, James N. E-mail to the author.

26 June 1996 Roush, Gary. Statistics about the Vietnam

War Internet Page. Nov. 1993. United States, Joint

Resolution of Congress H. J. RES 1145. Aug. 7, 1964.

Department of State Bulletin 24 Aug. 1965. Wittman,

Sandra M. "Chronology of the Vietnam War." Vietnam:

Yesterday and Today Oakton Community College. Skokie,

Illinois. 16 May 1996: n.p. Wenglar 

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