Argues that Vietnam was winnable with the clear and hold strategy of General Abrams. We were winning the war when we decided to pull support for SouthArgues that Vietnam was winnable with the clear and hold strategy of General Abrams. We were winning the war when we decided to pull support for South Vietnam. Compare this text with the Prado text. Review essay in the Nation http://www.thenation.com/article/pent......more
Similar to Robert McNamara - but in a more restrained way - McGeorge Bundy critically looked back at his decisions during the Vietnam years, took stocSimilar to Robert McNamara - but in a more restrained way - McGeorge Bundy critically looked back at his decisions during the Vietnam years, took stock of his mistakes, and concluded that the war never should have happened. Lessons in Disaster is not Bundy's memoir. It was written by Gordon M. Goldstein, the co-author of a history of the war started by Bundy but left incomplete due to Bundy's death. Using his access to Bundy's personal notes, Goldstein makes a strong case that if John Kennedy were not assassinated, the Vietnam war never would have escalated into the ground war quagmire that it became. [LBJ reversed JKK's no ground troops policy with the advice and consent of Bundy and others.:]
1) The CIA tried to manipulate Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy told them that he would not, under any circumstances, directly use American military power to assist the exile forces. The CIA expected the mission would fail without direct American military support but conducted it anyway. The CIA undertook the operation without sharing this conclusion and assumed that JFK would reverse his policy in the midst of the operation. After this incident the president would never completely trust his senior military advisers. Note how the military wanted to bomb Cuba during the missile crisis, which would have led to a much larger war, perhaps a nuclear exchange (38-40). The best thing to come out of the Bay of Pigs was a president skeptical of military leadership.
2) Bundy thought that we should fight in Vietnam even if we lose. We have to show the rest of the world American resolve to fight Communism. The gains from demonstrating the resolve are much greater than the consequences of losing a war.
3) Critics of the war: George Ball (Undersecretary of State) was one of the very few members of LBJs cabinet who opposed escalating the war. Also see the Morganthau/Bundy debate p. 194. Other anti-war voices in government include Robert Kennedy. Check out Walter Lipmann's anti-war writing.
Critical of the Johnson administration. The defense team during LBJ mock trial thought it was too biased against them. It's one of the best short survCritical of the Johnson administration. The defense team during LBJ mock trial thought it was too biased against them. It's one of the best short surveys but consider another introductory text for mock trial. See photocopy for teacher annotations. ...more