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Lessons Learned From The Cold War

2577 words - 11 pages

During the Cold War, many lessons were learned. The United States had to learn these lessons to survive in a rapidly changing world. It learned lessons from the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin and the resolution that followed that lead to the invasion of Vietnam. It learned lessons from the horrors of war in Vietnam. And it learned lessons from The My Lai massacre in Vietnam, one of those very horrors. One lesson that was learned from all these incidents is that in uncertain times, restraint should be exercised. This lesson can be applied to situations like the War in Iraq. that the U.S. finds itself in today.
The lack of restraint used in the Vietnam War was enormous. Had more restraint ...view middle of the document...

n provoked by an enemy. President Johnson ordered the U.S. Army to invade the Republic of Vietnam without enough information to have justified the invasion. “President Johnson ordered U.S. war planes to begin bombing targets in North Vietnam. [But] the… reported attack never happened.”(“Into Vietnam [Overview]”) The people responsible for the invasion of Vietnam did not have the information to justify the invading of another country and starting a war. The subsequent invasion of Cambodia also was not justified and had President NixonJohnson seen that he needed to restrain his feelings wactions when making this decision, he would not have invaded Cambodia.
“The effects of the Cambodian incursion were short-lived. Knowing American intervention would be limited; the communists avoided open confrontation and quickly returned to reestablish control in eastern Cambodia after American withdrawal. The communist People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) compensated for its losses in Cambodia by seizing towns in southern Laos and expanding the Ho Chi Minh Trail, eventually enabling it to overrun the South with massive conventional assaults. Furthermore, the ARVN was forced to cover areas vacated by U.S. combat units, reducing its strength in the north where the communist threat grew.” (“Cambodian Incursion”)

Johnson did not have the restraint necessary to realize that invading Cambodia was not the a good optioncorrect option for the United States at the time, and actually cost more lives in the South-Eastern Asian incursion. Invading Cambodia was not necessary to the ultimate goals of ending Communism in South-East Asia. It added to more controversy for the American government, and cost more American lives. America wasted more resources, and alienated the Cambodian people causing them to further attack the United States,

The similarities in terms of the lack of restraint are enormous between the war in Vietnam and the War in Iraq. Had more restraint been used when the U.S. was attacked by an enemy just before the War in Vietnam and the War in Iraq, both conflicts could easily have been avoided. President Johnson did not use restraint when two U.S. destroyers were supposedly attacked by North Vietnamese forces, commonly referred to as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. “Johnson told Americans that communist torpedo boats fired on U.S. destroyers on Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, 1964. Following that, Congress voted almost unanimously on Aug. 7 to give Johnson approval to step up U.S. involvement in Vietnam…. "More recent analysis ... now makes it clear that North Vietnamese naval forces did not attack (USS) Maddox and (USS) Turner Joy that night in the summer of 1964," (Dakks, Brian). Johnson should have known the facts about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident before he proposed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allowed him to justify the invasion of Vietnam. After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers, New York City, and essentially the United States, President...

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