Important lesson learnt from the text
Making of the quagmire is a comprehensive text about the Vietnam War. The gruesome and psychological impact will forever be felt by both the Americans and the Vietnamese. It shows the parties that were involved in the war. The process and the path that the war took are included. The book shows the unfolding of events and people’s opinions. The author includes the relationship of the outside world and specifically the United States. On further analysis, the book shows the aftermath and the results of the war (Halberstam 14).
The major players of the war on the Vietnamese side were President Diem, Madam Nhu, and Ngo Dinh Nhu. The Vietnamese government was also backed up by the United States government who continuously provided troops (Halberstam 2). This party was fighting against the gorillas that had grown in numbers and wanted to overthrow the government. Another political figure involved is Nguyen Khanh (Halberstam 14). He later overthrew the generals that overthrew the president and that led to the end of the war.
The world depicted Vietnam as communist country but the president Diem was an anticommunist. The brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and his wife did not completely object to communism. The president’s rule looked brutal and harsh but the government of the United States continued to support him since he worked toward stopping communism from engulfing the country. Clashes between Buddhist and Catholics escalated leading to further tension in the country (Halberstam 13). There were also rumors that Buddhist was murdered by anti-supporters.
In the end, the war bore more burdens than positive results. The gorillas took hostages and tortured them destroying them psychologically for a lifetime. The streets of Saigon were completely destroyed and massive number of Vietnamese killed. The American fought and won every battle but there was complete confusion after they left. They however did not achieve the results that they aimed to achieve. The war led to doing more harm than good and critics agree to this (Halberstam 15).
Actions of Ngo Dinh Diem
The president Diem could be described as a devoted catholic. He had taken vows of chastity in his youth and preferred to act alone on most occasions. He could not stand critics and refused to repress the powers of the Ngo family. Though the catholic community was very minute compared to the Buddhist community, the president favored the Catholics and put most of them in power. He proved to be very corrupt and undemocratic and this counteracted what the United States tried to bring to this small undeveloped nation (Kendall 55).
Who was right
The press was right in the actions it took regarding the Vietnam War. There before, the press always released positive effects of the war and hardly did live releases. After some time in Vietnam, the press grew less enthusiastic about the war and in the actions of the government. It witnessed firsthand on the cruelties of the army and the loss of life for the American population (Kendall 57). This was the begining of change and the end of the war.
Nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives over the eighteen years that the lasted (Stovall 52). The Vietnamese number was quite big and the real number will never be discovered due to the remote environment of Vietnam. The press grew tired and started airing the bad politics that claimed the lives of young soldiers and the corruption behind it (Stovall 51). The United States citizens grew sympathetic and antiwar groups started being formed.
After these live reports, demonstrations started being held in campuses. Activist started engaging the government in serious talks showed the opinions of the masses. In addition, a picture that circulated in the united states of killings in America was the last activity that put the war at a halt. The war had run its cause and stopped representing what the American troops had gone to do in Vietnam. This war left each and every one affected in one way or another and peace talks was the only solution to the merciless killings that had taken over the troops and gorillas (Stovall 51).
Halberstam, David. The Making of a Quagmire, 2011.
Kendall, John. "Historical Dictionary of the War in Vietnam", Reference Reviews, 26. 3:(2012) 55 – 56.
Stovall, Connie. "Larry Heinemann: an annotated guide to selected resources", Collection Building, 29. 2: (2010) 50 – 54.