The Vietnam Quagmire

The Vietnam Quagmire According to Halberstam, the Vietnam War was precipitated by what can be considered to be American interference in the political leadership and affairs of Vietnam. What started as America’s military aid to Vietnam in its resistance wars against the French turned into an uneasy relationship between the Americans and Diem. Diem was the president of Vietnam who was a devote Roman Catholic, anti-communist and shy (Halberstam 3). Diem changed his ways form a conversationalist to a monologist, which made him act alone, an attitude that constantly put him at loggerheads with the Americans. It is a generally accepted premise that America’s involvement in the Vietnam War was a total failure as characterized by the fact that most Americans returned from the war a disappointed lot. This paper seeks to discuss the Vietnam War according to David Halberstam in his The Making of a Quagmire by answering questions with relation to his postulates. Question #1 The war in Vietnam and the involvement of the United States (US) served to teach a very important lesson where foreign relations and policy are concerned. The Vietnam War served to teach America and the rest of the world that one cannot impose their ways and values on other people. This was acerbated by the use of military force by the Americans in an effort to coerce President Diem to adopt American style politics and systems of governance. America engaged itself in the Vietnam War without a clear exit strategy, an aspect that further complicated by the fact that the US did not have a set agenda on what was its end goal or objective in the war (Halberstam 4). These factors contributed to chronic suspicion by the Vietnamese leadership and the people, an aspect that did not improve relations between Americans and the Vietnamese. It led to the continuation of a purposeless war attributed to the loss of senseless and massive casualties for both sides an event that could have been avoided if America had approached this issue in a different manner. Question #2 During the Vietnam War the Buddhists in the South of Vietnam played a vital role that was seen as progressive in terms of what the country needed at that time. Buddhism was a popular and widespread religion before the coming of Christianity, and rise to power of a devote Roman Catholic priest saw the discrimination of Buddhist elements both in government and society (Halberstam 7). Buddhism acted as a unifying factor for the Vietnamese people in their fight for justice against President Diem’s oppressive regime. Buddhism comprised the majority of Vietnamese population, and it contributed significantly to a populist uprising against the minority elite and the eventual ouster of Dictator Diem. Question #3 The covering of the Vietnam War by the world press and especially the American press was widely criticized by the US government. This was about by the fact that press reporting from Vietnam was not very popular in Washington. This was characterized by disputes between Time reporters in Vietnam and their editors in New York (Halberstam 16). The press’ responsibility during the Vietnam War was to offer true accounts of what was happening on the ground irrespective of which side they represented. It would be correct to say that the press was right in what it reported because it was not. there would have been inconsistencies in true accounts of what was happening on the ground. This is exemplified by Americans authorities turning on reporters because they did not depict what they wanted the world to see and hear about their failures in the war. Reporters received criticism about their coverage of the war and indication that their work was correctly illustrating the true picture on the ground. General Cao’s claims about what was happening on the battlefield and the actual situation on the battlefield did not match each other according to press reports on the ground (Halberstam 11). The positive effect of the media in the Vietnam war can be discerned in the Vietnam’s government crackdown on those caught listening to Voice of America (Halberstam 17). The media’s role in the Vietnam War served its right purpose and this notion is strengthened by the fact both sides in war were against some of its elements that did not serve their purpose. Work Cited Halberstam, David.The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman Littlefield, 2007. Print.