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The Book of the Howlings of Ming, Seeker After Arcane and Esoteric Truths
Who were those ARVN guys anyway? 
16th-Jul-2009 10:26 am
ARVN Ranger
Bah. Hobbyhorse rant about Vietnam war history and the treatment of the Republic of Vietnam/ARVN coming up.

I caught a documentary on Military History last night about the Tet Offensive (makes a change from their usual staples of the Pacific Theater of Operations and Tim Collins on anything involving deserts) except, yep, it pretty much portrayed the conflict as being between the US and the VC and NVA. Hell, it was a good 25 minutes before the narrator mentioned "South Vietnamese troops", never mind there'd been plenty of footage of ARVN troops fighting through Hue and Saigon!

Ever since I developed an interest in the Vietnam war, the lack of coverage of the RVN and ARVN has always irritated me, especially as, in theory, the war was being fought on behalf of the South Vietnamese. Apart, that is, from the usual crude stereotype of the cowardly, corrupt and incompetent Marvin the ARVN - the US suffered some 50,000 deaths and that traumatise the US for decades. The ARVN alone (never mind civilians) suffered around 200,000 killed, as a proportion of the population equivalent to 2.5 million American deaths. Rather high for an army that couldn't/wouldn't fight...

Things have improved of late on the book, particularly accounts from ex-senior ARVN officers but there still seems to be a tendency in general coverage to gloss over why the US got involved there in the first place. Still, one interesting thing is that the accounts all acknowledge the problems of corruption at high levels but none of them were ever involved in any of that. I wonder what President Thieu's memoirs would have said :-)
16th-Jul-2009 10:23 am (UTC)
The best Vietnam war documentary I've seen is the series The Ten Thousand Day War, which started way back with coverage of the French starting it, and ISTR it being fairly fair towards both the NVA and ARVN. But it's a few years since I watched it, and the tapes are up at my dad's house...

Mind you, my views on the whole thing are a bit slewed as I happen to think General Jiap is probably the best military commander of the 20th century
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