Historian David Chandler, like most historians today, believes that the second Indo-China War was a conflict that the United States could never have won. French President Charles de Gaulle said to President Kennedy in 1962, ˜ I predict that you will, step by step, be sucked into a bottomless military and political quagmir.' Even General Westmoreland said to writer Peter MacDonald, ˜The politicians in Washington just had no idea about the complexity of the situation in South Vietnam.' The same could be said for the U.S military.
The US underestimated the force and strength of nationalism, supported by communism, in the war. At the same time they overestimated the threat of communism in the context of the Cold War rhetoric. Similarly, the military genius of Vo Nguyen Giap was completely underestimated. After centuries of domination by the Chinese, French and Japanese, the Vietnamese had emerged as one of the most potent military/nationalist forces in histor