Statesmen Versus Warlords Essay

1732 words - 7 pages

Statesmen versus Warlords

Perhaps no event in recent history has so profoundly affected the political, sociological, and philosophical outlook of the American people as the Vietnam War. George Bell, Undersecretary of State from 1961 through 1966, called Vietnam the “greatest single error that America has made in its national history” (Legacies). As the first war the United States had ever lost, Vietnam shattered American confidence in its military supremacy and engendered a new wave of isolationist sentiment in the country. Mistrusting their government and retreating into a state of general disillusionment, the public demanded to know what went wrong. The people needed a scapegoat. Some groups blamed the military commanders for failing to adapt to Vietnam’s unique circumstances; some condemned politicians for not fully supporting the military effort; while still others upheld that victory was never possible in the first place.
Now, years after the last Marine left Vietnamese soil, the debate continues, but evidence places the majority of the blame at the feet of America’s foreign policy makers. Because, as Paul Elliott writes in his book Vietnam: Conflict and Controversy, “Everything in Vietnam was being viewed through the distorting lens of the Cold War, and against the fear of atomic holocaust” (92), Congress and the President refused to make a total commitment to victory in Indochina. That lack of commitment led directly to American defeat.
But, considering the social and political situation of the late 1960s and early 1970s, was such commitment feasible? Total victory would have required a complete mobilization of American armed forces, an invasion of North Vietnam, and the possible utilization of nuclear weaponry. Such escalation might have drawn the Soviet Union or Communist China into the war, metamorphosing the local conflict into a global holocaust. And so, the answer to the question is no; realistically, the United States could not commit itself to victory in Indochina.
Despite the claims of Vietnamese generals such as Vo Nguyen Giap that the Communist forces “outfought and outmaneuvered the Americans and their Vietnamized allies” (Schechter 13), the “North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong irregulars lost virtually every battlefield encounter against American forces” (Elliott 91). American weaponry and technology stood second to none in the world during the Vietnam era. Man for man, bullet for bullet, the Communist army could not match the prowess of the United States military. Clearly then, the problem in Vietnam was not one of an inferior American force, but rather a series of tactical mistakes in strategy.
Some argue that the military commanders: William Westmoreland, Creighton Abrams, and others hold responsibility for the American tactical blunders. Admittedly, Westmoreland’s strategy of attrition “failed to wipe out Communist forces” (“Vietnam War” 12), and even after the American bombing campaign “had...

Find Another Essay On Statesmen versus Warlords

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has on

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages through his experience, but has no such consciousness of his transformation. A work of literature affects the reader by appealing to his or her matter of perspective. Though contrasting out of context, two particular assessments of Wakefield-- one derived from an existentialist viewpoint, the other stemming from a truly feminist archetype— do agree on the conflict of Mr. Wakefield’s actions versus himself and the inconclusive nature of that

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine

904 words - 4 pages The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine    The stories of Oedipus, as told through Seneca's Oedipus and Cocteau's The Infernal Machine, contain both similarites and differences. Both authors portray the character of Oedipus as being obstinate, ignorant, and inquisitive. Yet Seneca and Cocteau differ on their interpretation of the motives that propelled these characteristics of Oedipus. Seneca portrays Oedipus as a

Okonkwo's Tragic Flaws in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

3121 words - 12 pages        An increasing amount of contemporary literature traces its origins back to the early works of Greece. For ages, humans have fascinated themselves with the impossible notion of perfection. Unrealistic expectations placed on those who were thought to be the noblest or most honorable individuals have repeatedly led to disappointment and frustration, either on the part of those particular individuals or those they influence. Classic

Sophocles' Antigone - Antigone Must Challenge Creon

889 words - 4 pages Antigone Must Challenge Creon in Antigone   In his "Funeral Oration" Pericles, Athens's leader in their war with other city-states, rallies the patriotism of his people by reminding them of the things they value. He encourages a sense of duty to Athens even to the point of self-sacrifice. He glorifies the free and democratic Athenian way of life and extravagantly praises those willing to die for it. In Antigone, Creon, Thebes's leader in

The Role of Women in Homer’s Iliad

796 words - 3 pages The Role of Women in Homer’s Iliad Homer’s Iliad is undoubtedly focused on its male characters: Achilles, primarily, but also Hector and Agamemnon. Nevertheless, it seems that the most crucial characters in the epic are female. Homer uses the characters of Thetis, Andromache, and Helen as a basis for comparison to the male characters. Homer wants his audience to see and understand the folly of his male characters in choosing war over peace

A Comparison of Butler's Life and Kindred

1915 words - 8 pages A Comparison of Butler's Life and Kindred   What lies in the mind of an author as he or she begins the long task of writing a fiction novel? This question can be answered if the author's life is studied and then compared to the work itself. Octavia E. Butler's life and her novel Kindred have remarkable comparisons. This essay will point out important events of Butler's life and how they link to the mentioned novel. Octavia Estelle

Pillars of Metaphorical Ambiguity in The Scarlet Letter

1439 words - 6 pages Pillars of Metaphorical Ambiguity in The Scarlet Letter Among the multiplicity of arcane elements hidden beneath the words in Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter", none is so apparent, yet strikingly subtle to the reader's perception and consumption of characterization than the allegorical play on words within the names of the characters.  Both the protagonist and her rival within the plot are blessed with conveniently appropriate, fitting

An Analysis of Robert Ji-Song Ku's Leda

2003 words - 8 pages An Analysis of Robert Ji-Song Ku's Leda       In Robert Ji-Song Ku's short story "Leda," the main character, Sorin, leads a life of imitation. He applies himself to his graduate studies in comparative literature a little too readily: he compares not just text to text; he also compares his life to text, to "works of literature" (Wong 281). If his life does not match that of at least one literary character on several levels of interpretation

Similar Essays

Reality And Illusion In Shakespeare's Hamlet Reality, Appearance And Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub Plots In Hamlet Essay

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras, and

Hamlet As Victim And Hero Essay

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Essay On Light And Dark In Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos