by Jacob G. Hornberger
April 30, 2015

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the communist defeat of the U.S. national-security state in Vietnam. Despite the deaths of some 58,000 American soldiers and millions of Vietnamese, the country was united under the rule of the communist regime in North Vietnam. With the possible exception of World War I, it would be difficult to find a better example of a total waste of American life.

If the U.S. national-security state had won the Vietnam War, we all know what they would be teaching children today in America’s public (i.e., government) schools. They would be saying, “If the United States had not intervened in Vietnam, we would all be speaking Vietnamese today.” After all, isn’t that what they say about FDR’s decision to involve America in World War II—“If the United States hadn’t intervened in World War II, we would all be speaking German today”?

And that’s precisely what the Pentagon and the CIA were saying back in the 1960s — that U.S. “national security” depended on conscripting American men and forcing them to kill and die thousands of miles away in Southeast Asia. If the United States failed to intervene in Vietnam’s civil war, we were told, the dominoes would start to fall and ultimately reach the United States, at which point the communists would take control over the Interstate Highway System, the IRS, Social Security, and the rest of the federal government.

We were also told that American troops were killing and dying in Vietnam to protect our “rights and freedoms” — the same tripe that we hear today to justify U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and other parts of the world.

It was all a lie. North Vietnam never attacked the rights and freedoms of the American people. Its military actions were limited to their own country in an attempt to unify their country. And no, North Vietnam never had any interest — or even the financial or military means — in crossing the Pacific and invading, conquering, and occupying the United States.

It wasn’t the only lie that U.S. officials told to justify their war in Vietnam. Don’t forget the infamous Gulf of Tonkin lie, the one they used to garner congressional support for expanding their war in Vietnam and for bombing the people of North Vietnam. President Johnson and his national-security establishment claimed, falsely, that North Vietnam had attacked U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Of course, a similar trick would be used decades later when a fake and false WMD scare was used to garner support for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

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