If that were to be lost totally, continuing the war in Vietnam would be incredible difficult . It was because of this fear Of losing public support that it was decided that a swift counterattack was necessary. This was less about the strategic and tactical validity of the attack, and more about pleasing the public. The purpose of this sudden onslaught was to create a sense within the United States that the war was being won. This was because, according to poll data, 45% of Americans wanted out of the war and wanted to either win swiftly or abort the operation.
The administration’s understanding of these lolls and the increasing amount of detractors made it clear that a strong retaliation had to happen. Unfortunately, this response negatively impacted the war, costs many Vietnam soldiers their lives, and wasted taxpayer money. Responding to the media One of the biggest problems with the retaliation attacks that happened in response to the Et offensive was the reasoning behind it. The retaliations were not conceived out of tactical necessity, but out of a need to please the media (Hailing, 1989).
This was an unfortunate but recurring theme in the Vietnam War, because media attention turned negative could quickly mobile otters, polltakers, and activists. This may have been in part because it was long before the Internet was a viable means of communicating – people were much more dependent on television media for news information and had less opportunities to discern the truth through thorough research. Without the possibility for due diligence that is now essentially available through the Internet, viewers were at the mercy of whatever television newscasters claimed (Hailing, 1989).
Therefore, in order to maintain any level of support for the war, it was of the utmost importance that the administration pleases the media. This created a major dissonance in tactical warfare, with the military powers focused more on media expectations than on the wellbeing of soldiers of the tactical necessities of the actual war. If the military had been able to safely ignore media coverage ? even in the short-term, this would have led to more responsible decisions regarding appropriate military action. Instead, the following year almost 17,000 soldiers died and 48,000 more were drafted (Cascaras, 2012).
This proved to be a terrible decision, with the United States military failing to gain significant ground in a situation where they may have ad other opportunities to establish tactical efficacy. However, as they were forced to march forward and appear to be advancing to appease the media bodies, they were not able to think strategically and develop a sustainable model for their campaign (Hailing, 1989). Lives were lost Arguably the most tragic loss in Vietnam was the many tens of thousands of Americans who gave their lives for the mission.
The numbers themselves range into the 20 and 30 thousands but numbers are actually difficult to accurately determine for a number of reasons (Cascaras, 2012). Pops and deserters are frequently difficult to reconcile and therefore cannot be effectively added to the numbers. This is because a soldier may have been taken captive and eventually killed in which case he should be considered a casualty; however he may have deserted his platoon and stayed hidden, developing a new identity and a new life. It is because of these complications that the actual total numbers are not always accurately disclosed (Hailing, 1989).
Regardless of exact numerical counts of the Vietnamese casualties it is clear that there were more deaths than anyone hoped for. The government administration admitted that there were more casualties than they were repaper for, and the rising poll numbers of detractors showed that the general population of the American people no longer supported the war (Cascaras, 2012). These were all grave problems for the war effort, as attempting to gain victories became significantly more difficult without public support.
Fearing that the war efforts would be completely removed without immediate success, retaliation efforts were initiated after the Et Offensive. However, if the media had not been so primarily involved, the military would have had more opportunities for flexibility in retaliation. This could have potentially saved the lives of many Lignite States military men in Vietnam (Cascaras, 2012). Waste of taxpayer money The Vietnam conflict cost significantly more than even generous estimates had calculated initially. This was for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because of time estimates.
Traveling and maintaining a military infrastructure within Vietnam was very challenging – thanks to North Vietnamese guerrilla war tactics, it was very difficult for United States forces to defend against inexpensively. Instead, many platoons had to be sent to cover small patches f territory, hoping to effectively comb the area and discover North Vietnam battle camps. This process was slow, laborious, and most importantly very costly for the American people. Once analyses came back determining how expensive this was, the media gained information about this and immediately reported it.
When single individuals became aware of the shocking costs of the war, they rebelled as well. In fact, one of the biggest arguments against the war was that it cost billions of taxpayer dollars (McMahon, 2010). There is no doubt that it cost billions of dollars. In fact, a conservative estimate once adjusted for inflation is over $700 billion dollars(Adage, 2010). This was contributed to the Defense Department specifically for the Vietnam War. While no one would argue that $700 billion dollars is not a lot of money, simply approaching the numerical figures is a red herring.
It isn’t being comparably viewed with other wars or with other hypothetical situations. For instance, if United States forces had not been required to appear victorious in order to appease media programs, money could have been saved (Hailing, 1989). As has been thoroughly elucidated in previous sections, the media residence in the Vietnam conflict required military personnel to retaliate at times that may not have been tactically or strategically sound (McMahon, 2010). Conclusion There were many things that went wrong with the Vietnam conflict and the shocking Et offensive may have been the worst.
There is no doubt that the sporadic attack from North Vietnam confused military intelligence, created even more media hysteria, and eventually cost even more united States military forces their lives. However, the real losses due to the Et offensive Were in the United States response; a response that Was primarily a reaction o media attacks on the war. Due to the fear of losing even more support in the polls and what this could mean to the conflict, there was undue pressure to attack when attacking was not the best decision.