Since we are on this note tonight, I also think there is a case to be made that the army America fielded in Vietnam was the best one we ever had.
— Braxton McCoy (@braxton_mccoy) January 9, 2022
As an avid fan of military history, I would agree, but with stipulations.
Vietnam was the first truly modern military we fielded, where we didn’t show up late to the game with old toys.
If you look at WWII, other than the M1 Garand, much of our early WWII weapons were lagging behind German military technology. Arguably, even the Garand wasn’t as good as it could have been because the Army wanted to use up its stash of 30 cal from WWI so we didn’t get a higher capacity, intermediate cartridge M1 like Garand wanted.
There was a large isolationist push going into WWII, and so our military developed lagged behind.
Once we committed to the war, we went in balls to the wall and caught up quick.
Vietnam was different.
Because of the Cold War, America was committed to maintaining a well trained and equipped standing army.
It had its hiccups, but what we fielded in Vietnam was incredibly well prepared.
But Vietnam was also a turning point.
The Military Industrial Complex was born from WWII any by Vietnam was in full swing.
Vietnam marked the first time career officers rose through the ranks alongside military contractors. It was also the first war that combined the military with a strategic intelligence community (CIA and DIA).
Lastly, it was the first war shown on nightly American TV.
Consequently, it was the first war in which the interests were more than generals achieving tactical victories and defeating the enemy.
While our troops on the ground may have been outperforming the Viet Cong tactically, the war was undermined politically and by officers who has post military careers in the MIC private sector.
That cancer in our military began in Vietnam and has metastasized since then and is now killing our military from the inside.