Was American involvement in the Vietnam War justifiable? Beginning on the first day of November in 1955, the second Indochina War was fought between North Vietnam, who was communist, and the government of South Vietnam, that was anti-communist. For the most part the war was fought in the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and lasted approximately 20 years. There is a large debate amongst many people about whether the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam war is justifiable or not, but it is clear that their actions led to many more negative effects than positive ones.
These effects hurt both the United States as well as Vietnam. One significant reason that American involvement was unjust is that it left many veterans with mental illnesses, which they struggled with for the rest of their lives. Another large reason that the United States should not have been engaged in the Vietnam War is that a large amount of the American population was against the idea of it, causing internal conflict as well. Although most of the effects from the American intervention in the war in Vietnam turned out to be negative, there is still a positive impact it had for the country.
After the end of the Vietnam war, the country was in a bad state economically leaving many financial issues and more. Because of the United States, a large amount of refugees had the ability to flee the country in order to be safe from the bad conditions. A large concern that many people have, as well as a reason that people believe the United States involvement in the Vietnam War was uncalled for, is the results it had on the veterans who were part of the war. No matter how many positive effects American’s part in the war had, they were not enough to outweigh these harmful side effects that were left with the soldiers.
A large portion of the veterans returned to America following the Vietnam War with a mental disorder known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is also known as PTSD. This is a mental illness that forms in people who have been a part of a dangerous or particularly shocking or terrifying event, and a prime example of this is fighting in a war. There are many different symptoms that are associated with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder, which can develop as soon as a few months following the traumatic event, and they can also last up to through the rest of the soldier’s life.
The many symptoms that are included with PTSD include experiencing disturbing flashbacks or dreams related to the event that caused it all, being on edge or anxious almost always, and difficulty remembering significant parts of the traumatic event. More of the soldiers than we would like to think returned to the United States with some form the mental illness, and have been in the “process of overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” (Alsina Risquez 99) ever since their homecoming.
The purpose of this source is to “return to the fore an emphasis on the politics of dissent in the study of US Vietnam War cultural production. ” A limitation of this source is that it focuses largely on the literature and culture during the time of the Vietnam War and less on the effects the war itself left. For a lot of the veterans, they had a hard time trying to go back to normal society in the United States, after spending so much time being involved in a war. It was a large adjustment, having to change their lifestyles so much in very short period of time.
We are fortunate now because scientists and doctors have discovered more information about PTSD, but the people during this time period were less fortunate. After the return of soldiers, we still did not have enough knowledge about the mental illness, including how to treat it and aid those in need. These fighters struggled with rejection and simply the feeling of being alone in the time following the war. This would not be the case if the United States had not been involved in the Vietnam War. During the time of the Vietnam war, people of the United States had many mixed feelings regarding whether or not
America should have even been involved in it. There was a lot of citizens in the U. S. that strongly believed that it was not a good idea for our country to participate in this war. The people with these beliefs had no problem showing their thoughts, participating in rallies to stand up for what they believed in. One would think that if there was a large part of the country that was speaking out about how incorrect a decision was, the president of this country would decide to go with what the majority wanted.
But this was not the case when it came to the American involvement in the war of Vietnam. The president of the United States during this time, Richard Nixon, chose to ignore these protests in the beginning and continued having the country be a part of the Vietnam War. But then, in the year of 1970, President Nixon announced that troops belonging to the United States were soon going to invade Cambodia, things escalated much more than anticipated. “This announcement created one of the nation’s biggest crises since the urban unrest of the 1960’s.
College campuses, high schools, and towns across the nation became the scenes of protests and rallies, many of them violent” (Jacobs 5). After this it was clear that the people of America believe that they should not have United States troops in Vietnam to be a part of that war. It not only had the previously mentioned negative effects on the soldiers and veterans, but also had poor outcomes for the families they left in America. When these soldier had to leave in order to fight in the Vietnam war, they were leaving their families behind too.
For years these soldiers were unable to see their spouses, children, parents and many other loved ones. United States association with the Vietnam war tore families apart and broke many people’s hearts who lost the love of their life, parents, or children. Over 200,000 American soldiers lost their lives in the war leaving over 200,000 families devastated at their loss. Although the majority of the effects of American involvement ended up causing more harm than good, there was something that actually helped Vietnam because America had a hand in he war.
During the war, it was a rough time for the economy of Vietnam, so a lot of Vietnamese refugees chose to go to the United States in search of a better place to live. Many of the refugees “were eventually taken in or sponsored out by American families,” so they had a place to live at least temporarily(Wang 1). Soon enough the refugees were able to get legitimate freedom granted in America, so they could then find a real place to spend their lives and start a new life.
A large amount of the refugees fleeing from Vietnam were able to stay in areas like military camps, which could provide a place to live for the time before these people had the ability to live on their own successfully. According to Wang, “around 22,000 refugees passed through Fort Indiantown Gap’s camp, which George Padar, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve, helped run. ” This source gives insight into the lives of refugees during this time period, because the author is discussing his own personal experiences regarding this topic.
A possible limitation of the source is that it only tells the story of a single refugee that fled to the United States during the war. Readers do not get details about others that also came, and if they were successful or not. Because the author is discussing the success of his own mother there is a bias present due to the fact that he is happy about how her experiences turned out well in the end. Even though for the most part the American participation was uncalled for and led to many negative effects, it did have the one main positive effect.
This key effect is that there were many people who had to the ability to find safety as well as a more stable, new, and safe life in the United States as refugees of the Vietnam War. Overall it is made very clear that the United States participation and involvement in the Vietnam War is not justifiable. It ended up being the cause of mental illness for many of the Vietnam veterans, who struggled to return to normal life, as well as causing death and injuries to thousands of soldiers; it also caused an uproar in the citizens of America who weren’t fighting in the war, because they strongly disagreed that
U. S. troops should have been part of the Vietnam war, which led to revolts and protests against the United States government. Although U. S. involvement had one benefit, being that it led to some Vietnamese refugees being able to flee to the United States to evade grim conditions, this is still not enough to counteract the numerous negative impacts that our affiliation in this war caused.