Vietnam War Quotations

You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.

--Ho Chi Minh to the French, late 1940s


You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954


Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.
--John F. Kennedy, 1961


This is not a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity.
--Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964


Tell the Vietnamese they've got to draw in their horns or we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.
--Gen. Curtis LeMay, May 1964


We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.
--Lyndon Johnson, Oct. 1964


We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.
--Ronald Reagan, 1964


We should declare war on North Vietnam. . . .We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas.
--Ronald Reagan, 1965


I see light at the end of the tunnel.
--Walt W. Rostow, National Security Adviser, Dec. 1967


The war against Vietnam is only the ghastliest manifestation of what I'd call imperial provincialism, which afflicts America's whole culture--aware only of its own history, insensible to everything which isn't part of the local atmosphere.
--Stephen Vizinczey, 1968


Let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.
--Richard M. Nixon, 1969


I'm not going to be the first American president to lose a war.
--Richard Nixon, Oct. 1969


This war has already stretched the generation gap so wide that it threatens to pull the country apart.
--Sen. Frank Church, May 1970


By intervening in the Vietnamese struggle the United States was attempting to fit its global strategies into a world of hillocks and hamlets, to reduce its majestic concerns for the containment of communism and the security of the Free World to a dimension where governments rose and fell as a result of arguments between two colonels' wives.
--Frances Fitzgerald, 1972


We believe that peace is at hand.
--Henry Kissinger, Oct. 1972


You have my assurance that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam.
--Richard Nixon in a letter to President Thieu, Jan. 1973


If the Americans do not want to support us anymore, let them go, get out! Let them forget their humanitarian promises!
--Nguyen Van Thieu, April 1975


Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam.
--Marshall McLuhan, 1975


Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. These events, tragic as they are, portend neither the end of the world nor of America's leadership in the world.
--Gerald Ford, April 1975


Vietnam was what we had instead of happy childhoods.
--Michael Herr, 1977


Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war.
--Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1979


Some of the critics viewed Vietnam as a morality play in which the wicked must be punished before the final curtain and where any attempt to salvage self-respect from the outcome compounded the wrong. I viewed it as a genuine tragedy. No one had a monopoly on anguish.
--Henry Kissinger, 1979


It's time that we recognized that ours was in truth a noble cause.
--Ronald Reagan, Oct. 1980


There is the guilt all soldiers feel for having broken the taboo against killing, a guilt as old as war itself. Add to this the soldier's sense of shame for having fought in actions that resulted, indirectly or directly, in the deaths of civilians. Then pile on top of that an attitude of social opprobrium, an attitude that made the fighting man feel personally morally responsible for the war, and you get your proverbial walking time bomb.
--Philip Caputo, 1982


Above all, Vietnam was a war that asked everything of a few and nothing of most in America.
--Myra MacPherson, 1984


Saigon was an addicted city, and we were the drug: the corruption of children, the mutilation of young men, the prostitution of women, the humiliation of the old, the division of the family, the division of the country--it had all been done in our name. . . . The French city . . . had represented the opium stage of the addiction. With the Americans had begun the heroin phase.
--James Fenton, 1985


No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.
--Richard M. Nixon, 1985


The war was won on both sides: by the Vietnamese on the ground, by the Americans in the electronic mental space. And if the one side won an ideological and political victory, the other made Apocalypse Now and that has gone right around the world.
--Jean Baudrillard, 1986


America has made no reparation to the Vietnamese, nothing. We are the richest people in the world and they are among the poorest. We savaged them, though they had never hurt us, and we cannot find it in our hearts, our honor, to give them help--because the government of Vietnam is Communist. And perhaps because they won.
--Martha Gellhorn, 1986


I was proud of the youths who opposed the war in Vietnam because they were my babies.
--Benjamin Spock, 1988


All the wrong people remember Vietnam. I think all the people who remember it should forget it, and all the people who forgot it should remember it.
--Michael Herr, 1989



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