Could the U.S. have won the war in Vietnam?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Why the United States could never have won the war in Vietnam?

Assuming that the United States DID lose the Vietnam war, why do you think that they could never have won?

Obviously there was no popular by the American public but what were some other reasons

First of all, “winning” and “losing” are terms that need to be defined. If you think of war as a way to effect a regime change, then the U.S. certainly lost and North Vietnam certainly won. If you think of a war in terms of occupation (the winner occupies the loser), then North Vietnam won, South Vietnam lost, and the U.S. lost what could be called “a regional ally” or a “puppet state” depending on your persuasion. If you think of war as a needless loss of life, then everyone lost.

Could the U.S. ever win the war? Anything’s possible, but it’s highly unlikely. To end the hostilities, the U.S. would have to commit more and more troops and equipment. At some point, the administration that made the decision to escalate the war would be voted out and replaced by whoever promised the soonest withdrawal.

Now let’s say that the U.S. troops got lucky and the U.S. established control over the entire territory of Vietnam. What next? Vietnam used to be a French colony, and the Vietnamese have been fighting the French for almost a hundred years until the French withdrew. What makes you think the U.S. would prove to be a better colonial administrator than France? Also, what makes you think that the nationalists whom the U.S. backed in their fight against the communists would be grateful forever rather than say, “we have no further need of your services”?

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