Vietnam Essay Research Paper American intervention in

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Vietnam Essay, Research Paper American intervention in Vietnam began with a generation of boys born to the veterans of the second World War. Boys who lived in the afterglow and dreamed of the glory. Patriotism was thick in a country who came out of the second great war stronger than it had entered. We were unbeatable. America had survived to continue it?s fight against injustice and for liberty. The new fight was against communism. The war might never have taken place had the United States aided Ho Chi Minh in the fight to liberate Vietnam from the French, a fight the Americans had experienced themselves not all that long ago. In light of France being an ally the United Stated did not see their way clear to assist a colony from French rule. Philip Caputo?s book, ?A Rumor of

War? is full of painful honesty about the fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. The boys from working class families were doing the fighting and the dying in a land ten thousand miles from home. Caputo speaks of a nation divided in it?s opinion on the war and the soldiers who fought in it. Born on the Fourth of July tells the story of the return of a Vietnam veteran. The country the veterans returned to was one that wasn?t proud of it?s soldiers, nor was it grateful for the sacrifice they made. They came back to a community that was largely disgusted with their behavior. Taken together, the book and the film tell a great deal about the impact the war had on Americans. Considering that hindsight is 20/20, the reasons seem obvious now. On one hand, the military is creating a

favorable report from the field to make it appear as if the war will soon be over, the newsmedia is flooding television with images of burning villas and dead civilians and the politicians keep insisting they are reducing US involvement and that the war is soon to end. It doesn?t end. Not for ten years, and fifty-eight thousand American lives. For the returning soldiers, the country didn?t want to hear the war stories, their painful memories. ?People didn?t want to know about the tumults of the warrior?s heart, to hear the cries that came howling straight out of the heart of darkness, the belly of the beast.? (Caputo,349) Instead they were pushed aside and not given the respect due them for having given their lives, bodies and souls to the cause in Vietnam. These men didn?t

create the situation, they served their country and were ridiculed for their behavior. It was in the embarrassment and in the indifference that Americans found reason to blame the men who fought the war. America never rallied behind the war. The protesters protested, the enlisted men fought and died, and the rest didn?t pay much attention. The best illustration of this point is the scene in Born on the Fourth of July when Kovic?s mother is in front of the television and there is a news report on about the protesters in Washington and she changes the channel to watch Laugh-In. It is a subtle illustration, yet represents an important faucet of America?s indifference to the war. Initial support for the war quickly waned as it became apparent the war was unwinnable. Even so, the

United States could not back out and loose face. The leading nation in the world could not back out of a conflict it had custom created simply because it had backfired. Without the nations support, major escalation was avoided and thus defeat was eminent. The US military was defeated in a third world country. America?s image of itself and its role in the world after Vietnam were forever changed. The nation had gone into the war a super-power and had failed. For the first time in it?s history, the United States failed to achieve it?s stated war aims: to preserve a separate, independent, noncommunist government in South Vietnam. Americans were embarrassed. ?Our self-image as a progressive, virtuous, and triumphant people exempt from the burdens and tragedies of history came apart