Can The War With Vietnam Be Justified?
The necessity of conflict is often questioned by those who suffered or simply survived. Progressive cultures view wars as a necessity in certain circumstances, but only as a last resort. There were many cases in world history when armed conflict was clearly justified. Many aspects of the Vietnam War form a grey area surrounding a solid justification for the conflict. Depending on an individual’s point of view, the Vietnam War may well determine if the Vietnam War was justified in their mind.
Today, most people believe war to be a last resort in a conflict. War should only be fought in self-defense or in order to correct the wrongdoings of another nation. In such wars, violence and destruction should be proportionate to the damage caused by the opponent. It is the national leaders who must decide whether all diplomatic and peaceful options of resolving the conflict were exhausted.
Historically, countries went to war both to defend their national interests as well as to defend those who has suffered from injustice. During Biblical times, war was often justified through divine intervention. In many cases throughout the years, war has been caused by one state’s desire for power with other’s desire for self-defense. America’s involvement in the Vietnam War has caused many to re-examine just war theory of a justified war (Just War, n.d.).
The legal justification for the Vietnam War all stems from one incident in August of 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin where two US Navy were attacked. The US also sought to prevent the spread of communist presence into the pro-democratic South, and supported this government with increased troop presence and attacks on Viet Cong in the rural countryside. Due to the thousands of American and Vietnamese death in this conflict, the causes for long-term war have been difficult for many to reconcile (US Involvement, n.d.).
The US involvement in the Vietnam conflict at the time did not meet the criteria for a justified war on the part of the American people, even if the intention was to protect the interests of the pro-democratic Vietnamese citizens.
Just War Theory. (n.d.). In Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from: http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/
U.S. Involvement in the Vietnam War: the Gulf of Tonkin and Escalation, 1964. (n.d.) Retrieved 1 May, 2015 from the USDS Office of the Historian: http://history.state.gov/milestone/1961-196/gulf-of-tonkin
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