I am a student of history, and I appreciate those who look at the present from a historical perspective. The advantage that many miss about history is that it allows you to see an event from more points of view than your own, and you’re able to see things more clearly. Of course this is assuming that the history that you’re looking at is not to skewed to the writers’ bias.
When I consider the strategy for the Vietnam war, I can’t think of another strategy than the one that was chosen that would make any sense, as the war was one of attrition. I also consider the attitudes of the people making the decisions. It would be hard to argue that LBJ’s attitude toward ‘commies’ was anything other than ‘kill them all’, and that his attitude would extend to civilians as well as combatants. I don’t think LBJ really liked brown people too much. LBJ’s feelings on the matter just happened to match in effect, if not in impetus, the strategy most likely to achieve victory conditions in the most efficient way. In theory.
The NVA had a counter strategy that was very effective, and that was to ‘hamstring’ American forces. The KIA count on the NVA side is remembered at a little over a million. (Just considering combatant counts now, not collateral damage.) The KIA count for the USA a little under 60,000. The number that is more important to look at in this war, when considering the NVA strategy is the wounded in action count.
We killed a million of them, and wounded 600 thousand. They only killed 60 thousand of us, but they wounded 350 thousand. They’re strategy was to attack our resources of time, manpower, and equipment. They used the fact that we would never leave a fallen soldier behind against us. They knew that if they were to only wound us, we would be too busy taking care of the wounded to fight. The logistcs, the labor, and the expense necessary to care for a wounded soldier is twentyfold that of a dead one.
With the enemy’s strategy in mind, I still believe that kill as many as you can as fast as you can is the best strategy. My personal philosophical attitude toward the war itself has nothing to do with the fact that I regard the chosen strategy to be the correct one.