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Difficulty recognizing the enemy during Vietnam - Essay Example

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The Vietnam War was one of the most devastating conflicts of the twentieth century and this was because it brought about the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. The United States, in a bid to stop the spread of communism in Vietnam, had attempted to prop…
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Difficulty recognizing the enemy during Vietnam
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Download file to see previous pages n recognizing the enemy came about because most while in previous conflicts, the Americans had faced enemies in conventional wars, the Vietnam conflict involved facing an enemy that adopted guerrilla tactics.
The guerilla tactics adopted by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong allowed them to make swift attacks on the Americans and their allies in the south and disappear into the local population. This ability was of great advantage for North Vietnam and its allies because it allowed them to keep the Americans in a constant state of uncertainty over who were their enemy and who were not (Bates, Lichty, and Miles 187). The result of this uncertainty was that it led to a situation where there was extreme difficulty in drawing a line between combat troops and civilians. The development of constant fear of attack as well as the paranoia that accompanied this state of mind made the American troops to undertake some extraordinary actions such as committing atrocities against of noncombat civilians or the torture of prisoners which remained prevalent throughout the war. Violence against the civilians of Vietnam by the American military was an intentional act of war as a result of its inability to recognize the difference between civilians and combatants (Herring 82). During the conflict, the American military acted with indifference to the destruction of noncombatants and to that of their property because a significant number of these troops had already died as a result of the guerilla tactics adopted by the Viet Cong. It should be noted that most of the American commanders in Vietnam were aware of the laws governing ground warfare that had been established by various international agreements but atrocities were still committed by some American soldiers and officers. This has been largely blamed on the difficulty of these individuals to identify their enemy, especially considering that most often melted into the civilian population. A result of this situation was that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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