It’s instructive as part of this discussion to research the roots of American involvement in Vietnam. Korea, certainly, was a prelude but quite a bit changed dramatically in just ten years. In the late 1940s when France was recalcitrantly reasserting its Colonial aspirations in Vietnam, America was very much against involvement for ALL THE OBVIOUS REASONS. Ten years later, America entirely usurped France’s position as Colonial occupier in Vietnam presumably under the auspices of checking the expansion of Communism in Indochina.
Here’s some enlightenment from the Pentagon Papers. Reading it now, it’s positively Orwellian. The irony of course is that State Capitalism, Capitalism controlled by the State, is effectively Vietnam’s strategy today. Look at Hanoi today — Capitalist Billboards everywhere you look. All of that blood spilled and the result was still the same. Blood shed in vain.
Here’s a salient excerpt:
Because the early phase (1946-1949) of the Indochina war was an overt attempt by the French to reassert authority and control over their Indochinese colonies, the United States, although aware that European Recovery Program (ERP) funds were indirectly used to finance the war, refused to support that war directly. However, American actions taken to assure a neutral position-refusal to sell armaments to the French for use in Indochina; refusal to transport troops, arms, or ammunition "to or from Netherlands East Indies or French Indochina"--accompanied by public and private statements of anti-colonialist sentiments, did constitute, at least in French eyes, a policy hostile to the French interest in Indochina. Therefore, early in 1947, the Department of State attempted to reassure the French Government, and to make U.S. policies and actions more palatable to them.
Neither direct nor indirect assistance to the French effort in Indochina was deemed “appropriate,” however, until the French took concrete steps to grant autonomy to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The U.S. was prepared to support the “Bao Dai solution” for Vietnam when and if Bao Dai acquired genuine independence. The U.S. warned France against settling for a “native government [headed by Bao Dai] which by failing to develop appeal among Vietnamese might become virtually [a] puppet government, separated from [the] people and existing only by [the] presence [of] French military forces.”
The same “About Face” occurred with Iraq. Ten years prior to America’s invasion & occupation in 2003, Dick Cheney, per the video below of a 1994 interview, intelligently justifies the reasons why it would have been futile to march into Baghdad and take out Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. Cheney was correct. He knew more than the Generals. And yet just ten short years later Cheney agreed to march into Baghdad and entangle America in what he knew would be a cluster*ck and a quagmire, made worse by Petraeus’s ludicrous idea of paying off counterinsurgents not to counterinsurge and thus helping to nucleate what would later become The Islamic State by providing the Seed Money.