Sunday, July 29, 2007

Will it Take a Tet Offensive?

The Vietnam War was undoubtedly conflicted. Most people now understand that. We've all been shown the videos of protests in school. And we've all read about the social changes in history classes. Yet, despite the similar unpopularity of our current conflict, the youth of our country seem lounging.

The Tet Offensive was a major campaign by the Communist Vietnamese to retake land, and, "Although the offensive was not militarily successful for the Vietnamese Communists, it was a political and psychological victory for them. It dramatically contradicted optimistic claims by the U.S. government that the war had already been won." Will it take such an act of shock and awe to spark our current populous out of apathy?

Don't think there's nothing being done. There certainly is an effort. The digital roots movement is strong. There are thousands of websites that tout slogans against the war and its creators. But the Internet is nothing more than a canvas for us to shout at. And, unless those with the real ability to change the world and war's affect on it are reading sites like this, then a digital movement is faceless.

It's true that the Vietnam war did not end because of protests. Anyone looking at a time line can see that. But those protesters did have a face. They used their bodies to become symbols of what they believed in. And a body is always a better symbol than anything someone I or anyone else could type.

I know this is my first post. I know most readers don't know me. So I'll clarify a quick point about myself. I will never be the one to answer questions like the one I've posed in this entry's title. But I will do all I can to spur the idea that we can ponder such questions. And that we, the face-full, have the ability to make sure this and future wars don't require more casualties to stab us into using our bodies as weapons of example and our minds as fevers burning out the foolishness that creates war.



DJN said...

Great points Mike! Vietnam war started in 1959, yet the protests didn't really come about until about 1964 on college campuses, so about 5 years later.

I think and hope that the same may hold true for the Iraq War. It started in 2003, so it's been almost 5 years. Will we see more protests in larger numbers next year?

Pho said...


In point of fact, the protests didn't really start in earnest until '68 or so.

Re: the post -- I don't think Vietnam so much as Beirut. With insurgents gaining more knowledge and expertise, I fear a spectacular Beirut style attack in the Green Zone. If that happens, it's hard to imagine how the US mission bounces back from that.