Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Did Viet Cong soldiers get PTSD?

It seems some did, but not so often as among American soldiers:


I had wondered whether the disparity might be down to differences in culture, but it seems it has more to do with factors affecting morale. The authors of this study contrast US servicemen's experience of war with that of the Vietnamese:

"The situation of the Vietnamese veterans was totally different. The Vietnamese had justified reasons for engagement in the war, could discern the adversary,were able to feel relatively safe, and had the strong support of their country, and the local population. The Vietnamese veterans fought for their lives, for their families, relatives and country. They were founders of the guerilla war therefore they knew actively what they were doing, how it should have been done, or where and when they did it. They knew who were their comrades or adversaries. They did not have the passive or uncertain feelings characteristic of many American soldiers. The hit-and-run tactics, the fluidity, and the mobility of the Vietnamese soldiers generally made the American soldiers confused in locating them, and this, in turn, helped them minimize their casualties. Additionally, the Vietnamese soldiers got strong support from the Vietnamese population. As a result, they had greater feelings of safety than did the American soldiers."

Another hypothesised factor was how American Vietnam vets were treated when they returned home:

"The lack of social support for American veterans probably contributed to the development of PTSD symptoms. The Vietnam-America war was a politically unpopular one, and many American veterans were ostracized on their return home. This was in contrast to the experiences of veterans coming home from previous wars such as World War II who were given a hero’s welcome. [...] Society had subjected American soldiers to catastrophic combat victimization, and, when they returned, society avoided the victims, then blamed them for what they had done in Vietnam."

More here:

http://www.ffrd.org/AO/CGFED/12PTSD.pdf


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3 comments:

Paddington said...

'Minimize their casualties'? Look at the figures.

Sackerson said...

But ignoring set piece battles? Should they have eschewed big offensives?

Paddington said...

The US had about 57,000 dead, the Vietnamese several millions. The set battles probably didn't make that much difference.