“. . . just as truth is in Jesus.” -Ephesians 4:21When you read or hear about the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, what is your general assessment? If you are like most people then you view it as a major loss for the United States, an unmitigated disaster, one that yielded thousands of deaths of U.S. soldiers (we actually lost 216 men in the offensive).
Our involvement in Vietnam actually began in 1954 when President Dwight Eisenhower promised aid to France after their catastrophic defeat at Dien Bien Phu by the Communists in May, 1954. Charles De Gaulle of France warned Eisenhower not to get involved, that it would be a political quagmire. Ike did not listen. The idea was to keep the Communist Chinese out of Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia). Ho Chi Minh was backed by the Soviet Union and China, both of whom were seeking to overrun Indochina with their Marxist ideology. The French and the United States, put Ngo Dien Diem in place as the Prime Minister of South Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson, with an obvious overstatement, said that Diem was the Winston Churchill of Indochina and was the only friend we had. In a refusal by the French and U.S. to follow the Geneva accords calling for free elections in South Vietnam, they both told Diem to ignore them since in an open election he was likely to be defeated.
Most everyone in the U.S. in the 1950’s and to around 1965 believed we should fight to keep South Vietnam free from Communist control. Eisenhower believed in the “domino effect”, that if South Vietnam fell to the communists then all the nations of Asia would eventually fall, just as when one domino falls and the rest in line fall also.