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How did the legacy of the Vietnam War affect recent U.S. defense policy and practice?

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Introduction

´╗┐How did the legacy of the Vietnam War affect recent U.S. defense policy and practice? This literature review examines all aspects of the Vietnam War from its roots in French Indochina to its conclusion during the Nixon Administration. In addition, examples of modern defense policy for the last decade will be discussed. The United States? conflict in Vietnam began with its Imperialistic French rulers. Following World War II, many European countries with overseas colonies in Asia and Africa gave them up and allowed them to become their own countries. Not so with France. France held on to its holdings in Indochina, including Vietnam. This did not sit well with the Vietnamese people, as the French colonial government was displaced in the Japanese occupation of the country. And so, the Vietnamese people rebelled. They were led by Ho Chi Minh, a man who organized the Viet Cong during WWII and wanted to convert Vietnam to a classless, European society. ...read more.

Middle

However, after the battle of Dienbienphu, France negotiated a temporary cease-fire and pulled out of Vietnam (Hook and Spanier 112-116). Vietnam was split in two, a communist and Pro-Russian North, and an autocratic Pro-American South. However, when the North invaded, the US felt it was their responsibility to prevent the rise of a fully communist Vietnam. Washington believed that this would lead to more Asian and African states falling to Soviet or Chinese control. This followed the principles of the Domino theory and Containment. Unfortunately, this was done in a very incrementalist; each president shoving off the responsibilities of the war to their successor (Spanier 120-121). Finally, Lyndon B. Johnson was faced with an unenviable position: fully commit to the mess that was Vietnam or withdraw and leave it to the communists. He decided to go with the former and following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, sent air, ground, and naval forces and resources to Vietnam. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later in the same year, the combined forces of the United States and Britain landed in Iraq. Less than 6 weeks later, the Western troops reached the capital city of Baghdad. In another month, Tikrit had fallen and with it, organized resistance in Iraq. In December of 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured and convicted of crimes against humanity in 2006. Following the execution, President Bush increased the number of troops in Iraq by 20,000. However, this, in combination with several tribes allying themselves with the United States, did help the situation and withdrawal planes were drafted in 2008. The plans call for the last American soldier to leave the country by early 2012 (?Iraq War?). Another good examination of modern defense policy can be seen in Libya. When the uprising against Gaddafi began, NATO helped the rebels through air and sea power. But, neither the alliance nor any other country landed troops to assist the rebel forces (Westervelt). ...read more.

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