You work for the United nations as a human rights observer and have been sent to Vietnam to report on the conduct of the war. Use the writing and Sources A and B to write a short memo to the Secretary General of the UN explaining the US use of bombing and chemical weapons and giving your views on what action should be taken.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the US military tactics The USA had almost unlimited economic resources. The y could resource the most advanced technology as well as using the South Vietnamese forces. They used hi tech weapons and had control of the air. Helicopters etc could deploy this in a variety of ways including troop support, bombing and raids. Open Combat Chemical Weapons Operation Rolling Thunder Search and Destroy Weakness Strength Policy
Strengths and Weaknesses of the US army tactics During the search and destroy missions many Vietcong were killed/captured. . The body count for the Vietcong was far higher than the American troops lost. Napalm cleared some areas, making it more difficult for the Vietcong to emerge safely. Many Vietcong sustained horrific injuries and death. There were also likely to have been psychological effects of using Napalm However, leaving the troops exposed demoralised the soldiers, who realised they were being used just as bait. Search and destroy missions had many problems. It was difficult to tell civilians from Vietcong, so innocents were often arrested/killed. The destruction of food and homes caused huge resentment and anti-American feeling among the South Vietnamese peasants. Operation Rolling Thunder failed to stop supplies getting into the North from China. North Vietnam had few factories anyway. US bombing failed to destroy the morale in North Vietnam. If anything it increased their determination. The Bombing campaign and hi tech nature of warfare was hugely expensive Napalm caused horrific injuries to the enemy, but also civilians. Agent Orange was a toxic weed killer that caused long term problems to health, but also destroyed peasants land. Operation Rolling Thunder damaged North Vietnams war effort and disrupted supplies, and caused damage to cities and towns. The dead were simply replaced by more volunteers from North Vietnam. The Vietnamese public were willing to make more sacrifices for the cause than the US public. This tactic was aimed at encouraging the Vietcong into the open to allow the superior air force to destroy them without exposing too many soldiers. The aerial nature of US warfare meant that they had fewer casualties than the Vietcong.