In compliance with epistemological irrationalism, it [the Vietnam War] was a war and a non-war at the same time. It was a modern monstrosity called a "no-win" war, in which the American forces were not permitted to act, but only to react: they were to "contain" the enemy, but not to beat him.
In compliance with modern politics, the [Vietnam] war was allegedly intended to save South Vietnam from communism, but the proclaimed purpose of the war was not to protect freedom or individual rights, it was not to establish capitalism or any particular social system -- it was to uphold the South Vietnamese right to "national self-determination," i.e., the right to vote themselves into any sort of system (including communism, as American propagandists kept proclaiming). [...]
Picking up the liberals' discarded old slogan of World War I days -- "the self-determination of nations" -- the American conservatives were trying to hide the American system, capitalism, under some sort of collectivist cover.
(The Lessons of Vietnam from the Voice of Reason)