War Tactics

” As the United States took over the bulk of combat in Vietnam, a strategy of conventional war and victory through attrition”


Vietnam was a pointless war for the United States, and alot of people opposed the war. We lost a bunch of american soldiers in war due to the military strategic tactics. U.S. military believed that thet could win the war by killing the opposition faster than they can be replaced. These tactics did not work for the most part. The U.S. relied on their advantage in firepower, instead of taking over specific territories they seeked out enemy forces an attcked them.

Official Optimism

“Lying about the war, or at least giving the public misleading information, became routine. Johnson repeatedly hid or gave deceptive accounts of planned increases in troop strength. To justify the American intervention by portraying the Vietnamese conflict as an attack by North Vietnam against South Vietnam rather than as a civil war, his administration went as far as having the CIA create elaborate fake evidence of large-scale shipments of arms from the north to the south. Meanwhile, in Vietnam itself, military officials gave reporters misleading information, withholding anything that might bring into question official optimism.”

While Freeman mentions a couple of reasons for America’s participation in the Vietnam war, he manages to continuously come back to pride. The lies by Johnson to Americans, and by military officials show the desperation in upholding the image of undefeated power. It goes so far as to require official optimism, a placebo. The lengths that Johnson went through to fester false security was denial of the country’s political leaders’ mistakes. Deceptions of the war was to justify the loss of soldiers and the horrendous violence taking place; communism, the enemy, was a deception in itself to justify American perseverance in political pride and power.

American Empire, Chapter 9- National Liberation Front (NLF)

” In 1959, the northern-headquartered party gave in to the pleas from the south to begin guerrilla warfare against Diem. The following year, the communists established the National Liberation Front (NLF) as an umbrella for anti-Diem forces seeking the reunification of the country.” (Freeman, pg. 224)

The Vietnam War escalated quickly during the early 1960s and was fought in all of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. North Vietnam was supported by the communists, while Southern Vietnam was mostly anti-communist as lead by Diem. North Vietnam had started to set up secret groups such as the National Liberation From for Southern Vietnam or (NLF) which where communist groups set up in guerrilla warfare against Diem and his forces with a goal of reuniting Vietnam under one communistic political power. Although the North was mostly headed by the PAVN, many part of the NLF did substantial damage to Diem’s forces and those of the United States. Kennedy would send troops, ammunition and money to Diem after his growing concern of China’s power in the Southeastern part of Asia and the Berlin Wall. He was not willing to allow communism to spread even more on the eastern part of the world. Freeman makes the NLF a huge highlight of this chapter as they are ultimately one of the reasons that the United States would exit the war ultimately at a stand still and not succeed in promoting their politics. The author makes it easily seen that the United States along with Southern Vietnam were hopeless in fighting against the PAVN and other communist parties such as the NLF because they were fighting through guerrilla warfare and did not value their lives. Money and ammunition was stolen, ultimately the United States as a whole grew hate for the conflict and Vietnam reunited under one communistic regime in 1976.

David Shmidt


The Reason For The War At Vietnam

Page 222 in American Empire.

“The United States had very few economic or other interests in Vietnam before the war, little knowledge of it, and no particular expectation that a victory would bring deep or profitable engagement . American policymakers acted primarily out of ideology and a strategic outlook that saw any shift of control or power away from the United States, no matter where it occurred, as threatening its interests and security everywhere.”

I think this quote was included because it summaries a little reasoning behind the war against Vietnam. Later on in the chapter it discusses the reason. It became involved in Vietnam because of the relationship the United States has with France and many other wars, small details that eventually led to the conflict. I think Freeman thinks this part is important because it shows the status of America during that time and how if it felt threatened, they will make sure it will remain stable.


Lyndon B. Johnson

” Lyndon Johnson turned what had been a limited, largely guerrilla conflict  into an all-out war.” (Pg.225)

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Vice president Lyndon Johnson inherited the Presidency and crisis in Vietnam.  Instead of ending the small crisis in Vietnam, Johnson increased the number of deployed  U.S troops to ensure a victory. His plans back fired and the small conflict escalated to a full blown war, with many U.S soldiers lost their life due to the inexperience of guerrilla warfare. It was clearly to the American people, that the war was a total failure which led to antiwar movements.  President Johnson’s approval rating rapidly declined, and chose not to seek re-election.

Warren Court

“During the sixteen years Earl Warren served as chief justice of the United States (1953 to 1969), the Supreme Court reinterpreted federal law and the Constitution to a greater extent than during any equivalent period in the past.” p. 236


Although the Warren Court did overturn an extremely high number of previous Supreme Court rulings, the changes were catching up with shifting social and political values. Eliminating anticommunist sentiment from the legal system confirmed the ushering of post-Cold War era. Eliminating segregation from matrimonial law proved to be an important step in civil rights movement. Other important rulings included decriminalization of contraceptives, which would prove crucial in Roe v. Wade years later. Perhaps the biggest changes were made to the criminal procedure. All major federal crime defenses were to be applied in state courts as well. Such drastic changes drew some public criticism but, overall, the Warren Court did a phenomenal job of appeasing the public and fixing the law.

The Warren Court

“Forty-five times the Warren Court overturned previous Supreme Court rulings. Until then, in its entire previous history, the court had overturned its own decisions only eighty-eight times.”

Pg 236


Earl Warren was the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1953-1969. This court overturned more decisions than any Supreme Court before it. The Warren court made radical changes to previous precedent. Many of the Warren Court decisions were supported by popular opinion. Others were designed to update certain state legislatures to comply with modern national standards. Examples of this are Loving v. Virginia which eliminated anti-interracial marriage laws. Another example is Griswold vs. Connecticut which stopped the Connecticut State government to ban contraceptives.

Although the Court was generally praised for expanding individual rights, the Warren Court was sometimes criticized for of inventing new rights. Conservatives attacked the criminal justice advances made by the Warren Court (Ex. Miranda Rights, the 1962 Court decision that prohibited illegally seized evidence from being used in court). The Court was blamed for rising crime rates during the Johnson years.

Rolling Stones and John Colalcohol

“The search for individual fulfillment, central to the counterculture, had deep roots in American culture. So did the fixing of cultural and spiritual meanings to products and fashions. Seen from a distance, much of the counterculture looked simply like a series of aesthetic and cultural choices, long hair instead of short hair, the Rolling Stones instead of Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane instead of Louis Armstrong, marijuana and psychedelics instead of alcohol and tranquilizers.” (pg 236)

The anti-Vietnam war movement gradually started in the United States in the middle of 1960’s. the movement had began in colleges, and later influenced people to question the government about meaning of the war. Cultures were important tools of expressing their emotions and thoughts. A counterculture was developed during the age, and the Rolling Stones and John Colalcohol represent the culture at that time.


“To justify the American intervention by portraying the Vietnamese conflict as an attack by North Vietnam against South Vietnam rather than as a civil war, his (Jyndon B. Johnson’s) administration went as far as having the CIA create elaborate fake evidence of large-scale shipments of arms from the north to the south.”
-Joshua Freeman, Pg. 232
The falsification of intelligence information is an example of how our government believed it needed to instill fear and anxiety in American citizens to receive positive reinforcement for the Vietnam War. With tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union at its peak during the 1960’s, any fuel that could be thrown in to feed support of military involvement would likely garner more support against the communist regime. Having the CIA falsify information to scare people and deceive their perception of the war’s success and agenda is of course wrong, and did not prove to be a successful tactic. It simply tacked on to the civil disobedience present in our country. Joshua Freeman likely thought it was important to remind the American people of the type of manipulation the American government is capable of to try and gain support for its own interests, and not necessarily of its citizens.

Bay of Pigs

“But after the Bay of Pigs, the widely held view that he [John F.Kennedy] had been outmatched by Khrushchev at the 1961 Vienna summit…”

pg. 224


The American ego, from a military stand point,  was at an all time high in wake of the second World War. Not only did the United States emerge victorious from the greatest conflict that the world had ever seen, it did so against an almost objectively and overtly evil enemy. The failure of the invasion at the Bay of Pigs was the bursting of that military prowess bubble for the American people. It was a complete and utter failure. It not only made the American people realize that their military was  not invincible, but also  created doubt and mistrust between the people and the government. The confidential and classified use of C.I.A operatives for this operation caste a dark shadow around the whole invasion. The Bay of Pigs was the sowing of the seed planted by the U.S government that would soon grow into the wide spread political dissent that was rampant in the 60’s.