TIL the Vietnam war was the only war in which military dogs were classified as expendable equipment, and not allowed to return home. 3800 out of 4000 dogs were left behind.

So many of you people on the internet have so much to learn about the actual history of this conflict. It was extremely complex, and making broad-stroked emotion-based statements about it does enormous disservice to the academic field of historical preservation.

This whole idea of the war being an imperialistic continuation of French rule is simply ridiculous. The Vietnam War, while mishandled from the top, was not about imposing our will upon anybody. It was quite the opposite. The Vietnam War was an effort not to "win the war" through subduing the North, it was about "winning the war" through a concentrated effort to preserve the sovereignty of not only South Vietnam, but in effect the surrounding nations of Southeast Asia as a whole. A large catalyst for spreading misinformation about the conflict is the way Domino Theory is taught in American schools, where it is presented simply (and only) as "one nation becomes communist, they all become communist." What this simplified teaching fails to communicate is the importance of how this phenomenon occurs. Neighboring countries do not willingly become communist in DT through the spreading of ideologies, they are bullied into it by the might of the large communist countries backing their newly communist neighbors.

What the combined efforts of SEATO in South Vietnam did was show that the Free World was willing to take a stand against such violations of sovereignty. By maintaining a military presence and active counterinsurgency in South Vietnam, SEATO allowed the nations of the region time for their economies (left in ruin following WWII) to grow, and to set up their own governments without the "influence" of the Chinese and the Kremlin.

Yes, numerous mistakes and missteps were taken by those in charge as well as occasionally by those in the field. The people of South Vietnam were ruled over by a corrupt and detestable government. Many suffered incredible hardship over the course of a misery which seemed to never cease. That is regrettable. However, the overwhelming majority of violence and abuse committed against the population of South Vietnam came from the Viet Cong, and the greatest shortcoming of the SEATO presence there was the failure to adequately protect the rural communities from that abuse. However I strongly recommend that anyone in this thread who makes anymore broad-stroked statements about the Vietnam War being "literally America's WORST war" actually takes the time to read books (you heard me, books, not Wikipedia) on the subject, in particular ones by authors who have the competency and lack of political agenda to adequately differentiate between the operations and conduct of American military forces under command of MAC-V and those of the CIA's Phoenix Program.

/r/todayilearned Thread Link - en.m.wikipedia.org