Strategic Tunnels

Today, May 13th 2018, we had the exciting opportunity to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels from the Vietnam War. The tunnels were located outside Ho Chi Minh City in a jungle-like setting, which was very hot and humid. The Viet Cong used these tunnels for protection from the United States during the war. Specifically, the tunnels protected them from bomb strikes and napalm strikes. The Viet Cong also utilized the tunnels for various surprise attacks on the United States. A lot of what they engineered consisted of boo bee traps located on the trails, as well as trap doors where they popped up and attacked the enemies. The Viet Cong constructed these tunnels by building long narrow passageways leading them to various underground rooms where they lived. Different techniques were used in order to make sure that they stayed hidden from the enemy. Some tactics include spreading leaves/dirt/ground materials to cover the openings of the tunnels. They also dug a ditch and a hole to absorb and relocate the smoke that was created when they cooked food underground. The Vietnamese government portrayed the United States as enemies and those who killed the Americans as heroes. The phrase “History is written by the winners” has some true and false conditions in this situation. The Vietnamese viewed themselves as the winners because they were able to drive the United States away and complete the process of becoming a communist nation; however, they are not necessarily winners in the fact that they suffered over 3 million deaths (U.S. about 56,000), experienced very poor conditions in the land, and infrastructure was torn apart. Some factors that determine winners and losers of a war ultimately depend not only on who was able to accomplish their objective, but also who was still in a stable environment. Some of the Vietnamese people I have met think differently from the government about the war. They seem to view the war as a terrible situation for everyone who was involved rather than thinking of the United States as the enemy. This factors into development and globalization in Vietnam because many Vietnamese people have a favorable opinion of the United States, knowing that the U.S. can help in their development. This can help to further improve relations between the two countries, so the United States can help Vietnam develop both economically and environmentally. Today was probably my favorite day in terms of a combination of seeing really cool, unique parts from the Vietnam War, and developing a better understanding of the war overall.

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