I really can't stand the casual assumption that we were the bad guys in Vietnam. We left all of Indochina to its fate in 1975. The victorious Communists killed about 2 million Cambodians, and hundreds of thousands of other ethnic groups. Two million Vietnamese fled in leaky boats. There had never been any such mass exodus from Vietnam before. Ten to a hundred times more people died after we left than died during the war. I was in Air Force ROTC from 1968-1972 and on active duty from 1972-1976. In college arguments, I always said that if we lost there would be a bloodbath. It was obvious after the Tet Offensive. The Viet Cong left several mass graves of thousands of men, women and children that they executed. The Vietnamese knew about it, but it was not widely reported in the US. Anybody who took the time to look into it could have easily predicted the subsequent mayhem. Here it is 40 years later and the anti-war left has yet to even notice the havoc they unleashed, let alone apologize for it. The willful ignorance is so bad that our Secretary of State, who testified under oath to Congress that Americans commonly committed war crimes in Vietnam, gets a pass for his obvious perjury and is appointed to the highest level cabinet level post in the federal government.
What about war crimes in Vietnam? The Vietnam War Crimes Working Group was a Pentagon task force set up to investigate. They found 320 substantiated cases. At the height of the war, there were over 500,000 American troops in Vietnam. This number of war crimes were a low productivity hour or two for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. American war crimes were hardly as common as John Kerry testified they were. He lied.
I think that the post WWII policy of trying to contain communism made the Vietnam War almost unavoidable. I agree that the stated objectives of Kennedy and Johnson did not include stopping the killing that accompanied any communist takeover of any country. However, the anti-war protesters loudly proclaimed that they wanted to stop the killing as one of their major slogans. I heard them loud and clear, up close and personal. They claimed that the killing would stop if the US withdrew from Southeast Asia. The actual outcome did not match their stated goals at all. Worse, the "Peace Movement" didn't even bother to look to see the damage the withdrawal actually did. They patted themselves on the back for making "peace" and went on to their next causes with enthusiasm. They took no notice of the fact that they facilitated massive slaughter. When peacenicks look back, it's with nostalgia for the righteousness of their cause. They are oblivious to their actual results. And they are running US foreign policy today with the same disastrous results in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria.
Vietnam War Crimes Working Group link: