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Back Talk

Vietnamese War Debate: Protection or Way of Life

Fredi Hairston Larry Billion

By: Fredi Hairston and Larry Billion

Source: "Back Talk," Virginia Tech, 13 October 1967.
The original text, spelling, and punctuation have been retained.


The Unites States should most definitely be in the Vietnamese War. By engaging in this "police action," the United States is, in actuality, protecting itself. If the spread of the communist ideology is not stopped now, this philosophy will slowly spread throughout the world. People should learn that the thirst of dictatorial nations for increased territories cannot be appeased. The ONLY way to stop such moves of conquest is through the skillful use of POWER.

In March of 1938, Adolph Hitler annexed occupied-Austria to German territory. Next, Hitler demanded that the borders of Czechoslovakia be altered, so that 3,000,000 Sudeten Germans would be included within Germany. Finally, Hitler received one-fifth of Czechoslovakian territory by the "Munich Award" of September 1938. At this time, Adolf Hitler declared to the world that these would be his final territorial demands in Europe. The other European powers (notably France and England) had utilized appeasement to supposedly quench a dictator's desires. Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, declared that there would be "peace in our time." In March of 1939, the remainder of Czechoslovakia was seized by the greedy Hitler. Of course, Britain and France sounded a meaningless warning, Hitler's next target was Poland. On September 1, 1939 the armies of Germany invaded the Polish nation. The British pledged to support the Polish, attempted to prevent conflict by asking Hitler to retreat. War was eventually declared on September 3 and the advance of Nazi Germany was thwarted ONLY by the use of POWER.

We must learn from history! We must learn from our past mistakes! If the advance of communism is not stopped in Vietnam, it will spread like wildfire. India, the other Eastern countries, and Africa would be consumed. Eventually, the United States would be the target of the communistic advance. Would people say then that we should not fight? No! We would be defending our own interests, but aren't we actually doing this presently in Vietnam? The United States' forces in Vietnam are protecting the economic and, chiefly, political interests of our country.

There are other major reasons why this country must remain in the Vietnamese war. If we pulled out of the war, what would our other allies think? We also have military commitments to these nations. Also remember, thousands of American lives have already been lost in Vietnam. If we remove our forces before a victory or truce, these lives will have been given in vain. The United States definitely IS in Vietnam, therefore, we SHOULD remain!


The war in Vietnam is one of the greatest wastes of human lives in the history of the world. Thousands of American's young have been maimed and crushed in the wake of a non-progressing conflict.

No spot, whether it is important in the victory of democracy over communism or not, should be paid for in double. For example, incidents have been reported in which a hill in the demilitarized zone has been taken at a great cost of Marine lives. Then the hill had been abandoned. The enemy then retakes the hill. Later the marines move in, and again lives are lost. This has happened more than once. What a useless loss of lives!!

Not only are Americans lives being lost, but billions of dollars which could be used to improve life for the American citizen are being wasted. Many sociologists and government officials believe that if funds were taken away from the war and given to Shriver, poverty and many of the ills poverty produces could be virtually eliminated. It seems to me that our security would be better insured by curtailing the rise of undereducated slum children who spend their summers burning America down, than by sending these children and their more fortunate contemporaries halfway around the world to die for a cause which they do not fully understand. By waging this war we are alienating segments of our strength--not only in the slums of our cities, but everywhere in every class.

If you are not in favor of the Office of Economic Opportunity, you should note that if the funds going to Vietnam were not given to this organization they could be used to subsidize other government projects. This would in any case facilitate the lowering of federal taxes.

If we do not stop all aid to Vietnam, we should at least decrease the extent of our commitment. I see no reason why young American men should, in many cases, be forced to delay or interrupt their education because our government has chosen to support a semi-democratic nation in one of the world's most prolonged struggles.

Instead of causing a decrease in the determination of the Viet Cong, we are serving as a catalyst for their multiplication. Many members of the American Command in Vietnam have admitted that our position in that country in uncertain.

The more I survey the situation, the more convinced I become that military might cannot defeat an idea. This is to say that by escalating the war we are not defeating the North Vietnamese. This fact alone seems to be the saddest epitaph which we can give the young men who have already given their lives. At this time, it is also the only eulogy we can offer those who will die in Vietnam in the days, months, and years to come. A war that can do no more for its victims than this only points up the idea that violence leads to no good end.

I am saddened by the war and its endless, merciless slaughter of human beings, I feel that all Americans would have rejuvenated hope if they knew their sons were not dying in vain. I only wish that America's leaders will soon begin to feel this sense of futility.

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