The United States war in Vietnam ended some 30 plus years ago. It was a

war that ended in disaster for the United States and a complete triumph for

the Communists.

America’s military intervention in Vietnam resulted in being our long-

est (to date), most costly, and most divisive war in our history. At one point

over a half-million U.S. forces were deployed across Southeast Asia with

contingents from other ‘‘Free World Forces.’’ From 1954 (you could actually use the end of the Second World War in

1945) to 1975, Vietnam dominated five presidential administrations and

plagued the American conscience. When the French colonial empire in

Indochina collapsed, with their bitter defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the United

States took up the gauntlet. Without giving heed to any of the lessons that

could have been learned from the French experience the United States made

the fateful decision to intervene and, consequently, repeated many of the

same mistakes. What happened? Using the 1954 date the United States embarked upon

a road that kept it embroiled in Southeast Asia for 21 years. Not only did

we have to fight in Vietnam, but the war eventually moved into the neigh-

boring countries of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Over time, at least

seven other countries allied with the United States, sent in military forces

while many other countries provided non-combat support.