“Revolutions dawn when an appreciable number of the ruled realize their rulers are intellectual and moral inferiors.”
It started in Vietnam. The men who chose to fight for America on Vietnam’s front lines did so for honorable reasons. While there was no immediate threat to the US, some were concerned about falling dominoes and the march of communism. Some were animated by an idealistic desire to secure democracy and liberty in a land that had never known those blessings. Some went believing that if the leaders of the country said this war was in America’s best interests, it must be so. For those who were drafted, they did, perhaps reluctantly, what they perceived to be their duty.
Whatever their motivations, those who fought found their idealism shattered. Many of the South Vietnamese they thought they were fighting “for” despised the US as the latest in a succession of imperial powers using a corrupt, puppet government as the cat’s paw for its domination. Short of total immolation of both friend and foe—it was often impossible to differentiate the two—there was no effective strategy against guerrilla warfare waged by the enemy fighting on its home turf. The Viet Cong proved as difficult to vanquish as hordes of ants and mosquitos at a picnic. The victory the generals and politicians insisted was just another few months and troop deployments down the road never came, and the soldiers knew it never would, long before reality was acknowledged and the troops brought home.