The correctness of U.S. involvement in the Viet Nam War is one of the most widely contested questions of America's short history; specifically put, "Was the Viet Nam War an example of the U.S. system correctly working--or not working?" It is the contention of this writer that the war demonstrated that the U.S. democratic system of government enabled democracy to emerge victorious, even if the U.S. did not win what a majority of Americans considered to be an unjustifiable battle.
Evidence for the above hypothesis will be given, as well as evidence against the hypothesis. Ultimately, the hypothesis in favor of the vitality of the democratic system will be shown as correct, in view of all the evidence. It has taken the passage of more than twenty years for an objective perspective on U.S. involvement in Viet Nam to be possible, however. A paper such as this benefits from the distancing perspective of the passage of time.
Modern Viet Nam has risen from the ashes of dogmatic communism to currently enjoy some of the activities of an increasingly more capitalistic and democratic system of government. An extremely government-regulated form of capitalism is being allowed to gain a tentative foothold in Viet Nam. Perhaps democracy is not far behind. As Time correspondent Frank Gibney, Jr. writes, "From the border with China in the north to the rice mills of the Mekong Delta in the south, the California-size country is humming with activity. Hong Kong investors have been allowed to open a casino near Haiphong, and Westerners are bidding to develop tourist sites along the scenic coast between Danang and Nha Trang."
The democratic system of government which allowed Americans to protest an unjust war in the 1960s and early '70s has shown some flickerings of life in modern Viet Nam. An extended passage from Gibney's recent article demonstrates that the American ideal of freedom of choice may not have been entirely lost when the ...