How effective were the US tactics of ‘search’, ‘destroy’, and ‘defoliant’ in the Vietnam War?
The Vietnam War was a war that took place in the 1960s between the US and the Vietnamese. The tactics that the US used were search and destroy, whilst the Vietnamese preferred guerrilla tactics. The term search and destroy is when armed soldiers go into enemy territory with the intent of searching and killing the Vietnam forces as well as innocent civilians. The issue with search and destroy was that the US couldn’t identify the difference between a Vietcong soldier and a Vietnamese civilian because the Vietcong didn’t wear uniforms or badges to notify the US Forces. After search and destroy missions, the US would make their way back to their base not always knowing if they’d killed any Vietcong. By 16th March 1968 after having lost a huge amount of soldiers the US army was mentally and physically fatigued. On that day the US made their way into a small rural village with the intention of carrying out a search and destroy mission. This mission became the My Lai massacre, which resulted In 500 men, women, and babies being killed in cold blood by the US Army, “The village of My Lai was transformed into a blood bath” this in its self shows how brutal the massacre must have been because it boldly states that the Peaceful village of My Lai turned into a ‘Blood bath’. This was an extreme example of what a search and destroy mission could result in. The purpose of search and destroy was to get rid of as many Vietcong soldiers as well as the civilians who supported them, by providing shelter and food for them. This would help defeat the Vietcong because without civilian supporters to aid them they would be isolated because the Vietcong mostly relied on the villages and the villagers. “More civilians were said to be killed than Vietcong’s”, this shows that the enemy wasn’t the one dying but instead it was the helpers, who in a way were enemies themselves. However many of...
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