The Vietnam Syndrome also made the public suspicious of the government, distrusting official government pronouncements. Many Democratic politicians also questioned the necessity of fighting Communism all over the world and in its all manifestations.

The syndrome also manifested itself during the Reagan Administration when it became harder for the Reagan government to support anti-Communist guerilla forces in El Salvador and Nicaragua. The government could not convince the public of the necessity to send U.S. troops to either of the countries, and because of the public and congressional constraints placed upon the government activities, the Reagan Administration was involved in the Iran-Contra affair to finance the Nicaraguan anti-Communist rebels. The Vietnam Syndrome continued to influence America during the first Persian Gulf War. The U.S. military used overwhelming force against the forces of Iraq, relying heavily on air power, to secure an easy and quick victory, with minimal losses to American lives. After the war, President Bush proclaimed that “by God, weve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!” (Sitkoff, 1999).

The Vietnam Syndrome, however, continued to affect the United States even after the first Gulf War. Political commentators continued to echo the specter of Vietnam during Clinton Administrations limited military involvement in Somalia and the Balkans. It should be noted that the Gulf War did weaken the Vietnam Syndrome and in the early 2000s the United States again embarked on a costly military adventure. But the failure to secure an easy victory in the second Gulf War resurrected the Vietnam Syndrome. The Vietnam Syndrome now has been complemented with the Iraq Syndrome.


Sitkoff, H. (1999) The postwar impact of the Vietnam in Chambers II, J.W. The Oxford Companion to American Military History. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved on 15 December 2011 from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *