9 Myths About The Vietnam War And Vietnam Veterans Debunked

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What you thought you knew about the War in Vietnam and its aftermath is probably wrong

Stories about the Vietnam War have been told and retold thousands of times in magazine and newspaper articles, books, television and movies.   Unfortunately most of these accounts have wrongly depicted myths as being facts.

Information about the US military during the war and Vietnam veterans has been misleading and false.

What is true is that Communism was sweeping across Southeast Asia during this turbulent time, threatening countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and the rest of the free world.  The US involvement in the Vietnam War was a turning point in the defeat of Communism in that region.

And while our brave service men and women were received at home not as heroes, but as villains, most Vietnam veterans are glad they served and would do it again.

Below we unmask some very interesting myths about the Vietnam War and Vietnam veterans that are real eye openers.  We were most surprised by Myth #1 and Myth #9.

Also, be sure to check out these other trending posts on Vietnam Veterans:

Check out these top 9 myths below:

“No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic.”[Nixon]


News.100809.Vet.3.hp Vietnam Veteran Warren Withers, Onalaska, is rained upon as he salutes the flag during the playing of taps at the end of the Veterans Era Remembrance Day Saturday afternoon in Chehalis.

Myth #1: Most American soldiers were addicted to drugs, guilt-ridden about their role in the war, and deliberately used cruel and inhumane tactics.

The facts are:

91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served [Westmoreland]

74% said they would serve again even knowing the outcome [Westmoreland]

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non veterans of the same age group (from a Veterans Administration study) [Westmoreland]

Isolated atrocities committed by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage from antiwar critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any attention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. ..

…Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison – only 1/2 of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes. [Westmoreland]

97% were discharged under honorable conditions; the same percentage of honorable discharges as ten years prior to Vietnam [Westmoreland]

85% of Vietnam Veterans made a successful transition to civilian life. [McCaffrey]

Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent. [McCaffrey]

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than our non-vet age group. [McCaffrey]

87% of the American people hold Vietnam Vets in high esteem. [McCaffrey]


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Myth #2: Most Vietnam veterans were drafted.

2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. [Westmoreland] Approximately 70% of those killed were volunteers. [McCaffrey]  Many men volunteered for the draft so even some of the draftees were actually volunteers.


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Myth #3: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 – 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.

Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. “The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans’ group.” [Houk]

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Myth #4: A disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.

86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. (CACF and Westmoreland)

Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book “All That We Can Be,” said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam “and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia – a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.” [All That We Can Be]

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Click Below to Next Page to see Myths #5 to #9 debunked

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