Why the U.S Shouldn’t Have Invaded Vietnam


Members of the 25 Infantry Division passing a group of South Vietnamese farmers. (Photo by © Bettmann/CORBIS)

In July 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the dispatch of 100,000 troops to Vietnam. However, there was no declaration of war; they just sent troops into Vietnam to help the South Vietnamese fight North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. This was spurred on by North Vietnam being a communist government. Which went against America’s policies. South Vietnam lost the fight and the Communists deliberately attacked U.S. military personnel and bases. However, the U.S. dispatching the troops and joining the war was a complete mistake and should never have happened.

First of all, the government of South Vietnam was completely corrupt. The president, Ngo Dinh Diem, was a poor administrator and refused to delegate authority. His brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, also controlled an extensive system of extortion, payoffs and influence reaching through government departments, military units, schools, newspapers and businesses. For all these reasons, the people of South Vietnam felt alienated from their government. This produced another reason against the invasion because the civilians were not supportive of the war and most were actually in favor of the Communists. This would also result in them joining and hiding the Viet Cong which made fighting them even more difficult.

 The number of people dead from the war was also completely unnecessary. In the end, over three million people died with two million of them being civilians. Even after the war, the civilians would continue to suffer. During the war, the U.S. released a powerful herbicide, Agent Orange, to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. Since it was released on the enemy, the U.S did not care about its catastrophic effects. They were horribly harmful to not just the environment but the people including U.S. troops. It caused cancer, birth defects, rashes and severe psychological and neurological problems. It’s possible as many as two million people in Vietnam are suffering from cancer or other illnesses caused by Agent Orange and 300,000 veterans who were killed by it. The U.S ultimately paid retributions to the veterans but not to the people of Vietnam because they would be admitting to a war crime. 

The biggest cause for the war was to stop the spread of communism. There was a fear that if Vietnam fell to communism then many other countries would follow suit. This was known as the “domino theory.” However, this theory, in the end, was completely incorrect. Finally, all the fighting and support from the U.S. was pointless since North Vietnam took over South Vietnam and was unified as the Socialistic Republic of Vietnam. The U.S. ultimately could not win the war because they could never fully commit to it. The reasons the leaders used to fight the war never compelled them to demand sacrifices from all Americans to win. If war doesn’t call for full commitment and sacrifice of the country, then we should not even be fighting it in the first place. So, the U.S should never have invaded Vietnam because of the corrupt government, the lack of support from people, the unwillingness to commit, the false fear of spreading communism and all of the death and suffering to people it caused.