Vietnam War Quotes

Vietnam War Quotes by Terry Gilliam, Jerry Stiller, Cecile Richards, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Robert McNamara and many others.

I got my head bashed in at a demonstration against the Vietnam War. Police were losing control because they were up against a world they really didn’t understand.
Hollywood never knew there was a Vietnam War until they made the movie.
My dad was a civil rights lawyer, and he was actually defending conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War.
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.
What makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?
I remember the youth movement in 1968. It started on American university campuses as a protest against the Vietnam war, then came to Paris, Frankfurt and Berlin. Within a year, you had an uprising of youth against their elders.
I spent about seven years during the Vietnam War flight-testing airplanes for the Air Force. And then I went in and I had a lot of fun building airplanes that people could build in their garages. And some 3,000 of those are flying. Of course, one of them is around-the-world Voyager.
[General Curtis] LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side has lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?
Many young men in the 1960s and 1970s came to reject some of the traditional ideas about manhood that many of their fathers tried to pass downlike unquestioning respect for authority even when that might mean killing and dying for questionable or unjust causes such as the Vietnam War.
I do not believe that the men who served in uniform in Vietnam have been given the credit they deserve. It was a difficult war against an unorthodox enemy.
At 19, I joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Even soldiers from the Vietnam War had said that when they were fighting in that war, the landmine was just one of any number of weapons to use in the fighting. It wasn’t until they began to think about the aftermath and the legacy of landmines that they recognized the long-term, indiscriminate impact of the weapon.
The boys that were running away from America because they didn’t want to get involved with the Vietnam War had come to me. They would tell me how they felt.
Barron and Paulrely on ‘specialists‘ at the State and Defense DepartmentsElsewhere in the media, similiar figures are bandied about, with equal credibility.
The National Liberation Front was not…a viable, autonomous organization with a life of its own; it was a facade, a “front,” by means of which the DLD (the North Vietnamese Communist Party) sought to mobilize the people in the South to accomplish its ends, and to garner international sympathy and support.
Our resistance will be long and painful, but whatever the sacrifices, however long the struggle, we shall fight to the end, until Vietnam is fully independent and reunified.
The signs of the Vietnam War protestors said “Make Love not War!” It didn’t seem to me that they were capable of either.
On the Vietnam War: I’ve lived under situations where every decent man declared war first and I’ve lived under situations where you don’t declare war. We’ve been flexible enough to kill people without declaring war.
Lewis Blaine Hershey
I felt just overwhelmed by input: the Vietnam war and the collapse of the ’60s and the proliferation of media’ it just felt like everything was too much to handle and you just tuned out.
It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.
During the Vietnam War, Abbie Hoffman announced that the new high was banana peels taken rectally. So then FBI scientists stuffed banana peels up their asses to find out if this was true or not.
The Vietnam War was taking place, which was raising all sorts of questions in the United States, and it was forcing Asian-Americans to stop thinking of themselves as model minorities and to identify themselves more with world revolution, which was very important in my development.
Helvetica is the font of the Vietnam War.
Having gone through the civil rights struggle, having gone through the anti-Vietnam War struggle, by the time I was in my 20s, I had something that the current generation doesnt have. And that is a sense of efficacy.
The reason why many young people in the Vietnam War era were active was their lives were threatened by the draft and they were going to perhaps be forced to go overseas and fight in an immoral war.
If you look back at a film like ‘Dawn of the Dead’ – You can either watch it as a straight-up genre film and have fun with zombies being shot, or you can look at it as a metaphor for consumerism. Or a metaphor for the Vietnam war.
Senator Albert Gore Sr. was one of the first outspoken critics of the Vietnam War.
So now it turns out that Thomas Jefferson was having sex with Sally Hemings while serving in the 101st Airborne during the Vietnam War.
The programs that came to be known as the New Deal were not simply handed down by the benevolence of FDR and the Democrats. They were fought for. And in the 1960s, it was the similar. You had incredible movements against Jim Crow, poverty and the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
I predict you will sink step by step into a bottomless quagmire, however much you spend in men and money.” (On Vietnam War)
When it came to the Vietnam War, Mr. McNamara was an early advocate of escalation but came to realize the flaws in the American approach earlier than many of his colleagues. Yet in public, he continued to defend the war.
How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
We learned some bad things, and the Vietnam War led to some bad conclusions. We’re not the greatest generation, that’s for sure.
Many of us, whether in the jungles of Asia or on the streets of Chicago, had discovered that noble causes can lead to ignoble actions and that we were capable of sacrificing honor to a sense of efficacy.
America lost its face with the debacle of the Vietnam War.
[democrats] hated Richard Nixon, and no wonder. It was Nixon who sent Alger Hiss to jail, and Nixon who waged the Vietnam War after the Democrats gave up.
I deliberately did not read anything about the Vietnam War because I felt the politics of the war eclipsed what happened to the veterans. The politics were irrelevant to what this memorial was.
The men and women who served during the Vietnam War are often overlooked.
The Vietnam War was a great tragedy for our country. And it is now far enough away so that one can study without using the slogans to see what’s really happened.
I’m not so sure that people consider homelessness to be as important as, say, the Vietnam War. One should never even try to equate them because, of course, they’re tragedies on both sides of the coin.
My solution to the problem would be to tell [the North Vietnamese Communists] frankly that they’ve got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression or we’re going to bomb them into the Stone Age. And we would shove them back into the Stone Age with Air power or Naval power – not with ground forces.
You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.
Those of us who finally saw through the Vietnam war saw through this war, and all the actions that were necessary to end the Vietnam war will be necessary here. I think the American people will get us out of this war.
The Vietnam War required us to emphasize the national interest rather than abstract principles. What President Nixon and I tried to do was unnatural. And that is why we didn’t make it.
The Vietnam War was happening, but Lubbock was… They put a pinch on it.
The politics of the exile are fever,
revenge, daydream,
theater of the aging convalescent.
You wait in the wings and rehearse.
You wait and wait.
When I volunteered for the draft as a 20-year-old, mischievous guy at the height of the Vietnam War, most thought I was destined to pass from this earth early!
It’s time that we recognized that ours was in truth a noble cause.
We seem bent upon saving the Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh, even if we have to kill them and demolish their country to do it….I do not intend to remain silent in the face of what I regard as a policy of madness which, sooner or later, will envelop my son and American youth by the millions for years to come.
There’s a lot of history here. In terms of Asians in this country, you have a big influx after the Cultural Revolution, a big influx after the Korean War, a big influx after the Vietnam War.
If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.
In the ’60s we fought for peace, when the Vietnam war was on. We were against the cops and against the politicians, and there was a lot of waving banners and all that. And I think in a way, just as they were enjoying that machoism of war, we were enjoying the machismo of being anti-war, you know?
Matterhorn‘ is my metaphor of the Vietnam War – we built it, we abandoned it, we assaulted it, we lost, and then we abandoned it again.
Naturally the common people don’t want war. . . but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along. . .
I was the guy who was constantly speaking out against the Vietnam War. I have no regrets about that.
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.
Mr. President, I love you, but you’re wrong. (To Richard Nixon, on the Vietnam War)
Realistically speaking, Ayn Rand should not have opposed the antidraft movement and supported the Vietnam War effort – in effect, she supported military conscription.
For me, the passing of time has provided me with subjects I never had before. Subjects I can now look at from a historical perspective. Like the anti-communist era in America. I lived through that. I was a boy; I didn’t find a way to write about it until many years later. The same with the Vietnam War.
So, I’ve never been politically correct, even before that term was available to us, and I have really identified with other people who don’t want to be read as just a black poet, or just a woman poet, or just someone who represents a cause, an anti-Vietnam war poet.
I want to be sure…that nothing is done on these veterans. Is that understood?…Is the word out? That they are not to touch em, they are not to do a thing?…Get a hold of the district police; they’re not to touch them, they’re to do nothing: Just let em raise Hell.
I left the Democratic Party basically on issues of national security during the end of the Vietnam War.
East Asia has prospered since the end of the Vietnam War, and Northeast Asia has prospered since the end of the Korean War in a way that seems unimaginable when you think of the history of the first half of the century.
The Vietnam War and the Iraq war, in different ways, both made me feel like I could not not address them. I’m very doubtful about the usefulness of poetry to do that.
When it came to political power, blacks need not apply. Add to this steaming stew the growing tensions over the Vietnam War and the movement for civil rights, and you had plenty of elements to fire the imagination of a novice journalist.
Class was always the domestic issue during the Vietnam War, not communism.
The whole thing about whether you smoke marijuana or not is so ridiculous. That and whether you protested the Vietnam War. Give me a break. Especially the marijuana thing.
To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.
My parents came under a provision where the government was specially looking for doctors, because the Vietnam war was happening and many doctors were overseas.
The genius of America’s endless war machine is that, learning from the unpleasantness of the Vietnam war protests, it has rendered the costs of war largely invisible.
We have as a nation been duped by those who use our guilt about how we treated the innocent pawns in the Vietnam War game – the soldiers – into missing the point once again about the utter senselessness that is war.
There was a time when liberalism was identified with anti-Communism. But the Vietnam War led liberals into the arms of the Left, which had been morally confused about Communism since its inception and had become essentially pacifist following the carnage of World War I.
I’m not going to say I was opposed to the Vietnam War. I’m going to say I’m opposed to war. But I’m also opposed to protests that deny other people their rights.
Yes, I wish I’d done it sooner.
If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he’s right. He, and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals.
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.
The Contessa was surely way ahead of her time, too, in believing that men were not only usless and idiotic, but downright dangerous. That idea wouldn’t catch on big in her native country until the last three years of the Vietnam War.
If the Americans do not want to support us anymore, let them go, get out! Let them forget their humanitarian promises!
Nguyen Van Thieu
In the United States in the 20th century, every major event that America was going through, there was a boxer who seemed to symbolically represent it, from slavery to the Vietnam War to the Depression – all the way along, you just seemed to have boxers that carried the narrative.
In F-111, I question the collusion between the Vietnam War, income taxes, consumerism, and advertising.
James Rosen
I remember being in Washington for high school when the city was on fire and those were troubling times, the Vietnam War, the protests.
We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.
The dichotomies, the brokenness of the culture around things like the Vietnam war, and then a lot of it has to do with war and where we put our energy and money and attention. And the military industrial complex, which dominates our whole economy. Even with the vision of democracy in other places we know the dark side.
My parents demonstrated against the Vietnam war, they were into the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, they started the first vegetarian restaurant in Pittsburgh.
I saw courage both in the Vietnam War and in the struggle to stop it. I learned that patriotism includes protest, not just military service.
We had much more imagery from Vietnam war. The media was not controlled. The storyline, the master narrative was not controlled. I thin it was some those images really radicalized people and shifted things to some extent. And the Viet Cong also, their tenacity.
All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.
They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.
In particular, Kissinger was a key player during a transformative period of the imperial presidency, in the 1960s and ’70s, when the Vietnam War undermined the traditional foundations on which it had stood since the early years of the Cold War: elite planning, bipartisan consensus, and public support.
Although one of the key justifications for the Vietnam war was to prevent the spread of communism, the U.S. defeat was to produce nothing of the kind: apart from the fact that Cambodia and Laos became embroiled, the effects were essentially confined to Vietnam.
Dare to Discipline‘ was published in 1970 in the midst of the Vietnam War and a culture of rebellion. The book was written in that context, but the principles of child rearing have not changed.
In April 1975 I was born and the Vietnam War ended. I could not let any American die in war before seeing an episode of Scrubs.
Above all, Vietnam was a war that asked everything of a few and nothing of most in America.
Myra MacPherson
When I first got back from the war, I said, ‘I’m gonna write the Great American Novel about the Vietnam War.’ So I sat down and wrote 1,700 pages of sheer psychotherapy drivel. It was first person, and there would be pages about wet socks and cold feet.
The Vietnam War was in full swing, the Air Force wanted me and I wanted out of Flint, so three years in the USA and that fourth one spent here in Vietnam really flipped my life around.
How much blood makes a ‘bloodbath’?
Vietnam was a country where America was trying to make people stop being communists by dropping things on them from airplanes.
My father fought alongside Aussie and U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War.
Philip Jones Griffith documented the Vietnam War, and through his images that were published in Time Life Magazine, it showed me the horrors of war and at that time, I wanted to be a war photographer, based off his work.
I’m not going to be the first American president to lose a war.
Before the Civil War, Canada was at the top of the underground railroad. If you made it into Canada, you were safe unless someone came and hauled you back. That was also true during the Vietnam War for draft resisters.
Labels not only free us from the obligation to think creatively; they numb our sensibilities, our power to feel. During the Vietnam War, the phrase body count entered our vocabulary. It is an ambiguous phrase, inorganic, even faintly sporty. It distanced us from the painful reality of corpses, of dead, mutilated people.
The Vietnamese people deeply love independence, freedom and peace. But in the face of United States aggression they have risen up, united as one man.
Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.
The Vietnam War was causing people to get drafted; I had received a deferment to finish my undergraduate education, and in order to continue to get a deferment, you had to go to graduate school.
We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.
If, when the chips are down, the worlds most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.
What is astonishing about the social history of the Vietnam war is not how many people avoided it, but how many could not and did not.
During the Cold War, America undertook serious military cuts only once: after the election of Richard Nixon, during the Vietnam War. The result: Vietnam fell to the Communists, the Russians moved into Afghanistan, and American influence around the globe waned dramatically.
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.
Heart had originally relocated to Vancouver because Mike evaded the draft to protest the Vietnam war. We had to deal with a lot at that time – it was a tough period for the band.
Should I become President…I will not risk American lives…by permitting any other nation to drag us into the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time through an unwise commitment that is unwise militarily, unnecessary to our security and unsupported by our allies.
The truth is that I oppose the Iraq war, just as I opposed the Vietnam War, because these two conflicts have weakened the U.S. and diminished our standing in the world and our national security.
By that time [1966], we did begin to get some protests [against Vietnam War]. But not from liberal intellectuals; they never opposed the war.
Our purpose in Vietnam is to prevent the success of aggression. It is not conquest, it is not empire, it is not foreign bases, it is not domination. It is, simply put, just to prevent the forceful conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam.
Because conscription appeals to essentially no one, the United States has lived with the All-Volunteer Force since the end of the Vietnam War.
I felt just overwhelmed by input: the Vietnam War and the collapse of the ’60s and the proliferation of media’ it just felt like everything was too much to handle and you just tuned out.
I see light at the end of the tunnel.
Walt Whitman Rostow
The greatest contribution Vietnam is making-right or wrong is beside the point-is that it is developing an ability in the United States to fight a limited war, to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire.
Those days [of the Vietnam War] you couldn’t get on a bus going to the South without expecting a riot over something or the other. All of that has disappeared thanks to Lyndon Johnson.
The AIDS epidemic has rolled back a big rotting log and revealed all the squirming life underneath it, since it involves, all at once, the main themes of our existence: sex, death, power, money, love, hate, disease and panic. No American phenomenon has been so compelling since the Vietnam War.
The [Vietnam War Memorial] Wall became a magnet for citizens of every generation, class, race, and relationship to the war perhaps because it is the only great public monument that allows the anesthetized holes in the heart to fill with a truly national grief.
Coming of age in the 1960s, I heard the word ‘fascist’ all the time. College presidents were fascists; Vietnam War supporters were fascists. Policemen who tangled with protesters were fascists – on and on.
When I was a kid, we watched the Vietnam War on the six o’clock news, and it was desensitizing. You felt you were watching a war film; meanwhile you were really watching these guys getting blown to bits. Parents need to protect their kids from watching that stuff.
My view of Bradley Manning is that he’s a very courageous young man who… did what I didn’t have the guts to do during the Vietnam war.
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.
Our objective in South Vietnam has never been the annihilation of the enemy. It has been to bring about a recognition in Hanoi that its objective – taking over the South by force – could not be achieved.
I was a surf bum wannabe. I left home at age 17 and moved to Southern California to try to take up surfing as a vocation, but this was in 1964, and there was this nasty little thing called the Vietnam War. As a result, I got drafted.
In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act after hearings exposed the F.B.I.’s egregious practice of illegally spying on civil rights leaders, black nationalists, Communists and Vietnam War protesters.
The Vietnam war will not be over until it ends for everyone. Over four hundred thousand U.S. veterans are still recovering from wounds inflicted on their bodies and their spirit. Sixty-three million souls in Vietnam are still suffering from their ‘victory.
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.
The Quiet American is anti the people who took them into the Vietnam War.
One of the things I am most proud of is refusing to serve in the military when drafted during the Vietnam War.
In 2003, Congress authorized the construction of a visitor center for the Vietnam Memorial to help provide information and educate the public about the memorial and the Vietnam War.
Richard Dreyfuss, when we were doing ‘American Graffiti,’ was pumping me to vote for McGovern. But I think I wound up going for Nixon. I thought he could get us out of the Vietnam War quickly. Ha.
We jumped into the protest of Vietnam before the Black Panther Party ever started, before the Black Panther Party was even thought of. In fact, it was late 1965 and 1966 that the anti-Vietnam War, anti-draft to the Vietnam War protest started at University of California, Berkeley.
There are few historians who would challenge the fact that the funding of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War was accomplished by the Mandrake Mechanism through the Federal Reserve System.
This war has already stretched the generation gap so wide that it threatens to pull the country apart.
Brainy folks were also present in Lyndon Johnson’s administration, especially in the Pentagon, where Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s brilliant ‘whiz kids’ tried to micro-manage the Vietnam war, with disastrous results.
Philadelphia reflected the national turmoil over race and the Vietnam War, often exploding on my watch.
The Democratic Party has been perceived to have a deficit of credibility on defense issues since the Vietnam War, unfairly or not.
All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?
I was not able to stop or slow down the Vietnam War.
Mike Mansfield
There have been two popular subjects for poetry in the last few decades: the Vietnam War and AIDS, about both of which almost all of us have felt deeply.
That’s where we all kind of were in the mid-1960s. Students for a Democratic Society grew from a small group of socialists at the university of Michigan into a national organization, and in many ways, its growth was driven by the Vietnam War.
I used to say, ‘Mad’ takes on both sides.’ We even used to rake the hippies over the coals. They were protesting the Vietnam War, but we took aspects of their culture and had fun with it. ‘Mad’ was wide open.
I took an interest in the Civil Rights Movement. I listened to Martin Luther King. The Vietnam War was raging. When I was 18, I was eligible for the draft, but when I went to be tested, I didn’t qualify.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.
I have no connections here; only gusty collisions,
rootless seedlings forced into bloom, that collapse.

I am the Visiting Poet: a real unicorn,
a wind-up plush dodo, a wax museum of the Movement.
People want to push the buttons and see me glow.
Don’t forget the Vietnam War was brought to us by Democrats.
I was terrified of the Vietnam War when I was 13. I thought I was going. The draft was such an ominous thing, I felt as if it was going to trickle down to me.
There never was a good war or a bad revolution.
I didn’t see conflict during the Vietnam War, but I did lose close friends.
With all the arguments and discussions about the Vietnam War, what did the visual image do? It ended the war.
Power tends to corrupt. But the power in Washington resides in Congress, if it wants to use it. It can do anything – it can stop the Vietnam War, it can make its will felt, if it can ever get its act together to do anything.
Of all recent presidents, Clinton was expected to behave the most sensibly in economic matters. He understood how the economy works. But because he had used various dodges to stay out of the Vietnam War, he came to office ill at ease with the military.
Matterhorn is my metaphor of the Vietnam War – we built it, we abandoned it, we assaulted it, we lost, and then we abandoned it again.
In the late ’60s, Senator Charles E. Goodell, Republican of New York, spoke out against the Vietnam War, bringing on the wrath of the Nixon administration and, as it turned out, the disaffection of conservative voters.
Being a correspondent at the Vietnam war for me was about exposing myself to danger but it wasn’t completely self-serving. I felt that there were these dark places of the earth, were dark things were happening and people should know about them. Call it my moral obligation to go and see them and report them.
Better still – your history has shown how powerful a moral catharsis expressed through popular resistance to injustice can sometimes be; I have in mind the grassroots opposition to the Vietnam War.
Power tends to corrupt. But the power in Washington resides in Congress, if it wants to use it. It can do anything-it can stop the Vietnam War. It can make its will felt, if it can ever get its act together to do anything.
The only important lesson from the Vietnam War is this: Democrats lose wars.
Many of the architects of the Vietnam War became near pariahs as they spent the remainder of their lives in the futile quest to explain away their decisions at the time.
The Vietnam War ended because of the campus situation. And so many other injustices have been corrected in the World today only thanks to the young people. So, young people especially have a responsibility for Tibet.
When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?
I’m a child of the ’60s, I came of age then. I went to a couple of demonstrations, and then in the late ’60s when the Vietnam anti-war movement grew as the Vietnam War was heating up, I became very involved in that.
Simi Linton
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
My opposition to the Vietnam War. I was the first Hollywood actor to speak out against it.
Coming out of the ’60s and the Vietnam War in America, it was commonplace for people to make films that had relevance to them. And since the ’70s, cinema has gone almost entirely in the direction of spectacle and escapism and superhero films.
I was proud of the youths who opposed the war in Vietnam because they were my babies.
Social justice has always been a part of my inspiration. For example, when the Vietnam War was going on, I wrote a song about that.
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.
Malcolm X was the first prominent American to attack and to criticize the U.S. role in Southeast Asia, and he came out four-square against the Vietnam War in 1964, long before the vast majority of Americans did.
The [Vietnam] war’s gone on for three years. And we’d thought we’d ended it because we’d done exactly what we were told and what we told ourselves we’d had to do. We had a majority. We were against the war and this created a crisis for democracy and a crisis for the antiwar movement.
My father is American and deserted the Vietnam War.
So much of my work involved the Vietnam War that it would have been obscene to show it in a gallery. But now, it’s different; it’s important to remember and to enable the young to discover what to some of us is still so present.