The United States failed to adapt its tactics to be able to fight an enemy like the Viet-Cong effectively. The United States possessed a host of advantages, including maximum firepower, but failed to find a means to put those advantages to use to win the war. The North Vietnamese forces were able to prosecute their...
Best answer: The United States failed to adapt its tactics to be able to fight an enemy like the Viet-Cong effectively. The United States possessed a host of advantages, including maximum firepower, but failed to find a means to put those advantages to use to win the war. The North Vietnamese forces were able to prosecute their offensives without the use of fixed bases in urban centers. Their lines of communication were difficult to sever. They were able to replace losses quickly by forcing the enlistment of people from local villages and unless the United States was willing to completely annihilate the Vietnamese capability to produce food, there was no way they could ever hope to starve the enemy out. Vietnam is a relatively large country by world standards, and it has a relatively high population. The terrain is very difficult when it comes to transporting large numbers of troops or large amounts of materiel over vast distances, in many cases even over short distances. The Vietnamese have repelled the French, they've repelled the Chinese, they were willing to fight on to the bitter end as their resolve was simply unwavering. Their knowledge of the local geography and local conditions meant that despite less training and being under-equipped, their troops could hold their own against a much more powerful foe.
Add to all that the fact that the United States simply did not have the support for the war effort that it needed to achieve victory. A fair portion of the troops were conscripts who had been drafted into the fighting against their will. There was very, very little support for the war at home. The American people didn't feel as though victory was essential or important. The American people were not convinced that the price for victory was worth it. They were just not ready, willing and able to sacrifice what was necessary to win while the Vietnamese were. The United States military is the most modern, the most powerful, the most feared and revered military on the face of the Earth - but if it's going to win a war, then the people in charge need to make decisions that will lead to victory and not concern themselves with anything other than that. If the United States had poured another few years and a few more tens of thousands of men and hundreds of millions of dollars at the problem, victory would have been inevitable. But the powers that be decided that they had expended all the money, lives, resources and time on the problem that they were willing to expend, and thus victory was not achieved.
As is the case with any problem like Vietnam, there's also the question of what might happen after the fighting ends. What would have happened in the aftermath of an American victory? Would US troops have stayed on indefinitely? What would have happened as the USSR and Red China continued to pour money into the Vietnamese Communist Resistance? Would the US have been willing to stay forever? Would Vietnamese who only marginally supported the US have been willing to live under a blatant puppet government for years on end? What would have happened if the Chinese claimed that border skirmishes were giving them no choice but to invade and occupy and annex large sections of Vietnam? Would the US have gone toe to toe with Red China, even if Chinese intervention managed to gain some degree of support among the populace? The US withdrawal from Vietnam should have happened much sooner. In point of fact, the US never ought to have gone in to begin with. The Vietnamese government ran the country into the ground and today they're falling all over themselves to get back into the good graces of the US so as to counter China anyway. The lives of 3-5 million people could have been spared had the problem been avoided from the very beginning. Communism, even pseudo-Communism, is an unrealistic, unsustainable system. Every single country that has attempted to govern according to the principles of Marxism has either collapsed, is barely surviving today, or has come to see that unless other approaches are intermixed they will meet one of the previous two fates.
13 hours ago