What the United States Learned from the Vietnam War
The United States made lots of mistakes in Vietnam. It stayed too long in the war, it failed to gather intelligence that could have saved lives, and we made rash decisions regarding the public’s reaction to us being there. The United States, at the most part, ignored these lessons as we continued some years later to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. But one mistake we did learn from was the allowance of free media in the war zone, and how never to do that again. The Vietnam war era led to an explosion in progressive media coverage of world events. No longer were newspapers and television stations 100% focused on sensationalism. They began to cover the cold details and truths of the unfolding conflict in Vietnam. Previously, in Korea and during World War Two, the media was to portray an image of confidence and optimism in the war, no matter how bleak it truly was. Investigative reporting took place all over Vietnam. Reporting the American soldiers deaths and the increasing failures of battles that the government would deliberately not release to the public, or in some cases, release only half true or skewed statistics. American politicians learned quickly that the news of the carnage being played in living rooms across the country was making support for the war hard to come by. politicians who relied on votes based on was support were in trouble. The pro war administration could not survive while the public had been turned against the war (notably by well renowned reporter Walter Cronkite).
In today's modern war, media censorship is strong. Learning that if the public was allowed to see the horrors of a war that wasnt making obvious progress would cause support for the war to wane, the government at one point only allowed 16 civilian journalists for the 500,000 American ground troops serving in Operation Desert Storm. Even then, the military barred their access to the front line and moved...
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