U.S. Army Baits Ambushers With Own Troops

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Thu Jul 10 10:40:05 MDT 2003


One of the things that made the Tet Offensive the greatest propaganda
victory of all time was that it exposed the myth that the Vietnam War was
almost over, just a couple thousand more troops and we'll mop 'er up...

David McDonald

Response Jim C: Actually the Tet offensive was more than a propaganda
victory. The U.S. is fond of citing the extent of Vietnamese casualties as
evidence that as a military action it was a failure. Yet for the Vietnamese,
the conventional measures of "success" in conventional war (territory
gained/held, body count, force attritions minimizing casualties on one's own
side etc) were never used and in fact, fighting the Vietnam War in
conventional terms with conventional notions/indices of "effectiveness" and
"success" was instrumental in the U.S. loss in Vietnam--not to diminish in
any way the determination, sacrifices and heroism of the Vietnamese which
was ultimately the decisive factor.

During the Tet offensive, Vietnamese forces hit 33 out of 44 provincial
capitals, over 100 towns and cities, took and held for awhile poritons of
the U.S. embassy in Saigaon, and drove home the point that there was to be
no "rear area" safe for REMFs. It also forged greater combat and political
unity and coordination between NLF and so-called "NVA" forces in the South.
The offensive also provided visuals that even the "embedded press" could not
ignore and was instrumental in causing more massive mobilizations against
the War in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Jim C



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