The Instigator
detachment345
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

The U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was justified.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 20,279 times Debate No: 15616
Debate Rounds (3)
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detachment345

Pro

Contrary to popular belief and media opinion, I believe that the U.S. becoming involved in the Vietnam war was a justified action to take.

Initially, the North and South were divided with communism reigning in the North and capitalism in South Vietnam. Quickly North Vietnam and communist sympathizers in the South began committing acts of aggression against the people of South Vietnam and their government.

In the beginning, Kennedy sent U.S. soldiers as advisors to help train South Vietnamese forces. After the Tonkin Gulf incident, with the attack on the Maddox being confirmed, we passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

By then we gave large amounts of funds, arms, munitions, and vehicles to the South Vietnamese effectively making them a strong military and economic ally. With the USSR and China aiding communist forces to attack a good ally of ours it was a justified action to take to send armies to South Vietnam and aid in the defens of our ally. The only real mistake we made was not invading North Vietnam once and for all to effectively end the attacks and the ensuing conflict.

All in all sending soldiers to defend South Vietnam and invade the North would have been as justified as invading Nazi held Europe.
socialpinko

Con

Justified: to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded[1]

Me and my opponent will be debating whether or not the Vietnam War was justified. We will not be looking at this event through the eyes of one alive at the time of the war, but we will look back on it using hindsight. We have the advantage of knowing all the effects that would come about as a result of our involvement. I will argue that looking back at the outcome that came about, our involvement was not justified.

1.)The Draft

In order to keep up with the growing need for soldiers, military and political leaders began to draft male citizens, many times against their will. 25% of the men drafted had family incomes below the poverty level and more than 75% of the men drated came from lower middle class backgrounds.[2] These men were forced to join the army and made very little money and were not given an option to pursue a better career. Whatever was gained from the Vietnam War it was not worth this blatant taking away of the rights of American citizens.

2.)We lost

I know that we were merely aiding an ally in a Civil war but the United States failed to meet the objectives set out in the beginning of the war. The U.S. may have caused many more casualties and occupied most urban cities but in the end was forced to pull out after failing. Looking back now, knowing that the U.S. would fail in it's objectives, makes the war unjustified.

3.)Dead, Wounded

As the war went on between North and South Vietnam before and after the U.S. became involved and this debate focuses solely on the U.S.' alleged just cause I will only include statistics based on American servicemen.

Out of the more than 2.5 million army personnel who served in Vietnam, more than 58,000 were killed with more than 150,000 wounded. [2][3] This combined with the fact that neither the U.S. nor South Vietnam gained anything from the war makes the Vietnam War, when viewed in hindsight, unjustified.

These are merely introductory arguments and we may go more in detail in the next round.

[1]http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2]http://www.veteranshour.com...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
detachment345

Pro

I thank my oponent for accepting this debate.
I will be arguing that the Vietnam war, even in hindsight, was justified and that rather than have withdrawn from Vietnam, the U.S. should have invaded Hanoi

1) The draft,

The draft is not unconstitutional and has been used many times in U.S. history and was even used by President Abraham Lincoln to draft men in the U.S. Civil War to fight against the Confederacy, Woodrow Wilson to draft men to fight in World War 1 and even Franklin Roosevelt in World War 2, hopefully causes my opponent doesn't oppose. Every U.S. citizen has the obligation to serve when the time comes and they are physically able. The point I'm trying to make is that the draft is currently a legitimate and constitutional form of the United States to recruit soldiers in a time of war and always has been. To argue that during the Vietnam war drafting was unjustified and the theft of one's liberties would mean Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Wilson were opposed to civil liberties.

2) We Lost

We in fact did not pull out after "failing", as my opponent claims. We began to pull out as a result of Nixon's Vietnamization program which was designed to gradually return the control and responsibility of the fight to the South Vietnamese army.
We did in fact, bring North Vietnam to negotiating at the peace table after the massive bombing campaign, Linebacker II, was launched against Hanoi, the North Vietnamese capital, and the seaport of Haiphong harbor.
North Vietnam then signed the Paris Peace Accords agreeing to cease military actions in the South which allowed us to pull out the remaining soldiers we had and that is how we left the war, with South Vietnam fully in control of South Vietnam with a very effective military at their disposal.

3) Dead, Wounded

Soldiers and civilians die by large numbers in every war, to say the Vietnam war was unjustified on the basis of number of people who died would mean all wars are wrong and every instance of armed conflict is unjustified. While it is regretable that so many men died it cannot be ignored that South Vietnam was engaged in the war to defend themselves and prevent the ahniliation of their democratic government in the South. Now if the South Vietnamese and Americans were fighting to enslave and kill native populations in the region then the casualties caused and absorbed would be ridiculously high, but South Vietnam was fighting to defend themselves which is the most justified reason for ever going to war.
A war was inevitable due to the fact the North would not relent in attacking South Vietnam so large amounts of casualties due to a civil war were going to be unavoidable.
And to say that there wasn't anything gained, which I assume you are referring to mean as, effectively ending the war by taking North Vietnam by force, would not mean the war was justified, simply poorly conducted by U.S. politicians.

4) The atocities committed after the U.S. left Vietnam

To this day many human rights organizations critisize Vietnam for their oppression of political opposition, homosexuals, and many forms of religion

After the U.S. left, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia committed a massacre of more than 2,000,000+ civilians in 4 years by executing the intellectuals and subjecating everyone else to slave labor, effectively oppressing Cambodia and making the people more poverty stricken and killing up to more than 3 million people.
Had a strong U.S. presence still been in Vietnam such a government committing such murders would have been stopped or prevented by forces from the neighbooring nation of South Vietnam

After the fall of Saigon thousands of ARVN soldiers, supporters, and officials were sent to concentration camps to be tortured and killed by the forces of the North.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.vietnamwar.net...
http://www.britannica.com...
http://www.enotes.com...
http://www.factasy.com...
http://findarticles.com...
socialpinko

Con

1) The draft

"The draft is not unconstitutional and has been used many times in U.S. history and was even used by President Abraham Lincoln to draft men in the U.S. Civil War to fight against the Confederacy, Woodrow Wilson to draft men to fight in World War 1 and even Franklin Roosevelt in World War 2, hopefully causes my opponent doesn't oppose."

The draft is most certainly unconstitutional. And just because something has been done before does not mean it is right. True, the draft waas used in the Civil War and the World Wars, and my personal feelings on those matters is actually not relevant here, but I am firmly opposed to the draft. The draft takes everyday men and forces them to go into battle and fight for causes which they may not believe in. It is a violation of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

"Every U.S. citizen has the obligation to serve when the time comes and they are physically able."

Why? If the US invades Europe and implemented the draft would you fight? A person should have the right to decide which causes they believe are worth fighting for. Blind patriotism solves nothing, it turns citizens into slaves of their governments.

"The point I'm trying to make is that the draft is currently a legitimate and constitutional form of the United States to recruit soldiers in a time of war and always has been."

Just because something has not been yet ruled uncostitutional does not make it right. Slavery was 'constitutional' for the first hundred years of American history. Segregation was 'constitutional' until the 60's. Your point that it is currently legal serves no purpose in this debate.

"To argue that during the Vietnam war drafting was unjustified and the theft of one's liberties would mean Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Wilson were opposed to civil liberties."

What a logical fallacy we have here. You are jumping to conclusions that make no sense. I do believe the Vietnam War helped the government steal the liberties of citizens and in this respect FDR, Lincoln, and Wilson took liberties away. Lincoln especially did this, he suspended habius corpus for god's sake. This does not mean that they were opposed to personal liberties, only that they took civil liberties away in that sense.

2)We lost

The Vietnam War as you pointed out was the U.S. aiding our ally(S. Vietnam) against the aggression and invasion by N.Vietnam. The U.S. pulled out of Vietnam in '73 and just over two years later, Saigon fell and the two Vietnam's converged to create the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in '75. If our objective was to defend our ally against their Communist aggressors, we failed.

3) Dead, Wounded

My opponent misunderstands my point. I am saying that in hindsight if we were to see that so many of our own soldiers died only to fail at our objective in becoming involved(see point 2) the Vietnam War would not have been justified.

"A war was inevitable due to the fact the North would not relent in attacking South Vietnam so large amounts of casualties due to a civil war were going to be unavoidable."

A war between the two Vietnam's was inevtable at the time. I am not disputing that. I am claiming that our involvement in said war was not justified. And after the U.S. pulled out, N. Vietnam just went back in and took over. Do you think we should again implement the draft and go back in?

4) The atocities committed after the U.S. left Vietnam

My opponent brings up a new point and claims that since there were human rights violations in Vietnam after we left, ending the war was not justified. This is not part of the debate. We are putting ourselves in the shoes of American leaders before they made the decisino to go into Vietnam. What did S. Vietnam gain from the war? what did the U.S. gain from the war? Nothing. Just about 50,000 dead soldiers just on the American side.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.english.illinois.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
detachment345

Pro

1. Congress has the stated power in Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S constitution to raise and support armies. It does not say anything opposed to conscription or forced military service, simply that Congress can create a military. The reason it was left so vague was because if need be forced conscription should be an option.
Had Lincoln, FDR and Wilson hadn't taken such liberties away Slavery, World war 1 and World War 2 would have lasted longer without the surge of men conscription provided.

2. Yes defending South Vietnam was our initial reason for going to war but it wasn't our intention when we left. For a decade we succesfully defended South Vietnam. Towards the end we decided that while we weren't going to invade the North we would turn over the defense of South Vietnam to the ARVN. That was our goal before we left. We left with the ARVN as a fully capable military force and with North Vietnam abiding by the ceasefire established in the Paris peace accords. The defeat that followed was not a U.S. defeat, but rather a defeat of South Vietnam.

3. Our initial objective was completed. We never intended to defend South Vietnam for eternity if the war carried on for eternity and nobody ever thought so. We went in to defend South Vietnam which we did. In the decade we defended them we built up the ARVN until it was one of the most powerful fighting forces on the planet. We did more for the South Vietnamese than any other country in history that entered a long fought war initially to defend an allied nation. As long as the U.S. was in South Vietnam, South Vietnam was well defended and well supplied to fight the remainder of the war themselves. The U.S. goal was accomplished with 58,000 U.S. deaths while killing up 1.1 million communist soldiers successfully defending South Vietnam for the time we were there while preparing the ARVN for when we left.

4. "We are putting ourselves in the shoes of American leaders before they made the decisino to go into Vietnam"

That is in direct contradiction of one of the first statements you made upon entering this debate
You clearly stated and I quote,

"We will not be looking at this event through the eyes of one alive at the time of the war, but we will look back on it using hindsight" - socialpinko

I know I'm new to this website but I don't think you can change the rules when it best suits you.

Using hindsight we now know of the multiple atrocities committed against humanity after the U.S. left Vietnam. Millions of Cambodians were massacred, millions more were poverty stricken, thousands of South Vietnamese supporters were sent to concentration camps, hundreds of thousands were forced to evacuate and Vietnam is still oppressive against political, sexual and religious minorities.
socialpinko

Con

1)The draft

You miss my point completetly. I was not disputing that at the moment the draft has not been ruled unconstitutional or a violation of basic human rights. I am not arguing that it is illegal . I am arguing that the draft is morally wrong and an incredible violation of individual rights. You never refuted my actual arguments so I will extend it.

Also, your examples of historic implementations of the draft are not relevant. This claim is the same as saying that because out of the 6 million or so Jews Hitler exterminated, chances are at least one of them was a murderer who had gotten away with the crime. Therefore if the Holocaust had not taken place, that murderer would have gone unpunished. My point is that while the outcome may have been positive, the means to acheive that outcome were unwarranted and wrong.

2)We lost

So you are saying that we went in and defended South Vietnam for how ever many number of years and then right after we left, everything we had worked for during the war was lost. But that was not a loss? Over 58,000 American soldiers died over the course of that war. And you are claiming that the only reason hundreds of thousands of men were forced to travel halfway across the world to fight in hostile territory where more than 50,000 of them died was so that we could keep North Vietnam out of South Vietnam for a measely ten years? The Vietnam War was a collosal failure if I ever saw one.

3)Dead, wounded

My opponent hear only mentions the American casualties in the Vietnam War by stating that "The U.S. goal was accomplished with 58,000 U.S. deaths while killing up 1.1 million communist soldiers ". Is this supposed to make up for the loss of American lives simply because at least we took them with us? My opponent does not seem to think that this is much of an argument in that he believes that the Americans were successful in their involvement which is of course false.

Allow me to use an analogy to illustrate my point. Let's say you were walking down the beach one day. Let's say you saw a man drowning in the watere. So you ran and dove into the water to save him by keeping the drowning man's head above the water, but only for a few minutes. After about five minutes you decided that your objective had been fulfilled so you let go of the drowning man and swam back to shore. This man drowned but it wasn't while you were trying to save him. So does that mean that your rescue attempt was a success?

My opponent argues that the Vietnam War was a successs because we successfully defended the South Vietnamese while we were there. However this makes no sense in that just two years after we left the North Vietnamese took over. My opponent seems to think that as long as S. Vietnam didn't fall under our watch everything is okay.

4) The atocities committed after the U.S. left Vietnam

My opponent believes that I have contradicted myself in the last round. However this is simply due to a miscommunication and I will be glad to clarify below. These are the two statements which my opponent believes I have contradicted myself with.

"We are putting ourselves in the shoes of American leaders before they made the decisino to go into Vietnam"

"We will not be looking at this event through the eyes of one alive at the time of the war, but we will look back on it using hindsight"

In the first comment I was stating that we would be taking into account the entire history of the Vietnam War and the subsequent fall of South Vietnam after the U.S. withdrew and not be looking at the War with the same information as leaders did before the decision was made to involve ourselves.

In the second comment I was stating that we were looking at the decision to involve ourselves in the same way that leaders did before we involved ourselves. We would be looking at the information to come to an informed decision as to if involvement in Vietnam would be justified.

In the first comment I meant we would be looking at the situation with more information and in the second comment I meant that we would come to our decision in the same way as our leaders did before we involved ourselves(namely utilizing all information available we would conclude whether involving ourselves in Vietnam was justified). I hope I have cleared up this misinterpretation of my previous statements.

My opponent concludes by statng:
"Using hindsight we now know of the multiple atrocities committed against humanity after the U.S. left Vietnam. Millions of Cambodians were massacred, millions more were poverty stricken, thousands of South Vietnamese supporters were sent to concentration camps, hundreds of thousands were forced to evacuate and Vietnam is still oppressive against political, sexual and religious minorities."

I am not disuting that these events occured. I am disputing that our invlolvement helped other than to simply delay the North Vietnamese take over and to kill 50,000 American soldiers.

To voters, I urge a con vote. Pro did not show that when looking at whether involvement in Vietnam using modern information and knowledge one would be justified in concluding that our involvement was effective. First, in order to keep up demand for troops, Congress again used the draft which is a huge violation of individual liberties, Second, though 50,000 soldiers died all that occured due to our involvement was a delay in the inevitable North Vietnamese takeover, and Third, that the huge number of American casualties was worth the ten extra years that South Vietnam was given before they were eventually taken over by communist North Vietnam.

Vote Con
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Amveller 3 years ago
Amveller
detachment345socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: come on really
Vote Placed by bradshaw93 3 years ago
bradshaw93
detachment345socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: con showed that americas involvement in vietnam merely delayed the communist takeover.
Vote Placed by rogue 3 years ago
rogue
detachment345socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro could not present pros of the war that outweighed the cons
Vote Placed by Dmetal 3 years ago
Dmetal
detachment345socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made weak arguments. He did not create a criteria for a justified war: what makes a war justified, and how did the Vietnam War follow that criteria?
Vote Placed by petersaysstuff 3 years ago
petersaysstuff
detachment345socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con wins because his argument regarding Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness went unanswered. Also, Pro didn't do a good job of defending the claim that we accomplished our mission. But I liked this debate.