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The Forum > General Discussion > Make heroes less necessary

Make heroes less necessary

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Dear Foxy,

There's a simple reason that I would like to stick to the definition. If we define dads as heroes would we want to make those heroes less necessary? My Dad died over 30 years ago. I think of him every day. Possibly my descendants may occasionally think of me when I am gone. Mitosis is an efficient way of reproduction, but I am a mammal not an amoeba.

You wrote: "The Vietnam war came to an end largely as a result of the anti-war movement where through collective action ordinary
people with few resources other than their own determination had changed a national consensus for war to a national consensus for peace."

I disagree with the above. The Vietnam war came to an end because the USA was beaten. There was a consensus for peace long before the end of the war. However, the government ignored that consensus and continued the war until it was no longer able to continue it.
Posted by david f, Sunday, 18 October 2020 1:35:10 PM
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david f and Foxy,

Both of you are wrong.

The Vietnam War was a guerilla war in which the US could not find the enemy to fight.

The US knew this but was committed to the fight against Communism and needed to stop Ho Chi Min from taking control of all of Vietnam as a Communist State in order to prevent Communism's advance into the Third World.

By the early 1970s most thinking Americans had come to terms with the fact that it was an unwinnable war because unlike WW2 the enemy refused to fight a conventional war and they, citizens and politicians, wanted out of it.

There was no option but to cede South Vietnam to Ho Chi Min, thus preventing further loss of American lives and civil unrest at home.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Sunday, 18 October 2020 1:55:07 PM
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Dear David F., and Mr O,

To me, a striking example of collective action to
stop war occurred during the 1960s, when the United
States became embroiled in the longest and most
humiliating military conflict in its history.

Vietnam was involved in civil war between the north,
ruled by communists, and the south, ruled by an
undemocratic regime that called for American help.

Determined to "fight communism", the United States
stumbled into an obscure but vicious conflict on
behalf of peasants who seemed largely indifferent
to the outcome of the fighting and to America's
ideology.

At first, American public opinion gave patriotic
support to the war. But as the nation became more
deeply involved, the Vietnam war became a quagmire
that drained its energy, strength, credibility,
treasure, and blood. As casualties mounted and
troops became more demoralized, the war began to
tear American society apart, dividing neighbour
from neighbour, friend from friend, family members
from one another.

Some sons volunteered for war, some were drafted, some
became conscientious objectors, some evaded the draft
by going into hiding or fleeing the country.

Those who fought and those who refused to fight branded
each other with such names as traitor, coward, dupe.
Altogether more than 2 million young Americans went to this
unfamiliar place to fight an unwanted war for uncertain ends.

Some 57,000 of them were killed, and about 300,000 wounded.
To some extent the war divides Americans still, but there is
now a general consensus that somehow a terrible mistake was
made.

The memory of that mistake places an informal social restraint
on American leaders, for there is intense public resistance to
any prospect of "another Vietnam".

The Vietnam was came to an end largely as a result of an
antiwar movement, a social movement that consisted
disproportionately of young people, including many college
students. When the antiwar movement first challenged the war,
it received little support from politicians or the press,
and its goals seemed almost hopeless.

But the tide of public opinion gradually began to shift.

cont'd ...
Posted by Foxy, Sunday, 18 October 2020 3:33:23 PM
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cont'd ...

Dear David and Mr O,

In the 1968 presidential primaries, an antiwar candidate
Eugene McCarthy backed by student volunteers did
unexpectedly well and President Johnson decided not to run
for reelection. From that point on, political debate on the
war focused not on how to stay in it, but on how to get out
of it.

Through collective action, ordinary people with few
resources other than their own determination had changed a
national consensus for war to a national consensus for peace.

A fundamental insight of sociology is that once people no
longer take their world for granted, but instead understand
the social authorship of their lives and futures, they can
become an irresistible force in history.

Therefore whether we choose to destroy our civilization or
save it is a collective decision - and it is one that
hopefully may well be made within our lifetimes -
where we shall make heroes less necessary.
Posted by Foxy, Sunday, 18 October 2020 3:42:24 PM
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Dear Foxy,

I was there at the time and think it was nonsense that the antiwar protests made a great difference. I remember feeling anger at the Woodstock Festival.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock

Why weren't they protesting the war rather than getting stoned and listening to rock music? The war seemed to me such a great wrong that the protests seemed trivial in scope.

It was not only a guerilla war. US planes were shot down by North Vietnamese anti-aircraft, and North Vietnamese in tanks rolled into Saigon at the end. Part of the reason that the protests are emphasized is that the US government does not like to admit that it lost a war. My cousin, Richard, was a pilot and lt. colonel, in that war. It became obvious to him that the Vietnamese people were against us. A washer woman was caught coming on base with grenades under her dress, Richard could not resign, but he could refuse promotion. When he refused promotion to colonel for a sufficient length of time he was let go.

The US government ignored the protests. Billy Graham supported the war. Martin Luther King jr didn't. I think Billy Graham was more representative.
Posted by david f, Sunday, 18 October 2020 4:05:49 PM
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Foxy,

The Vietnam War came to an end because it was an unwinnable war and the US had to bite the bullet and cut its losses.

On the eve of the withdrawal there was a general consensus in the nation-state that the US could not conclude a peace agreement let alone beat the North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces.

To try and do so would take decades without any guarantee of a favourable result.

It wasn't because a bunch of people got out into the streets and started protesting.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Sunday, 18 October 2020 4:39:38 PM
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