Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968


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Washington was generally pleased with the turn of events and sought to bolster the Khanh regime. Nevertheless, it remained dissatisfied with progress in counterinsurgency, leading Secretary of Defense McNamara to undertake a fact-finding mission to Vietnam in March His report to LBJ was not a happy one, as signs pointed to a deterioration in South Vietnamese morale and an acceleration of Communist success. McNamara thus recommended, and Johnson endorsed, a more vigorous program of U. Over the course of the next several months, American assistance to South Vietnam would play out against a backdrop of personnel changes and political jockeying at home and in Saigon.

The U. His replacement was retired Army General Maxwell Taylor, formerly military representative to President Kennedy and then, since , chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the signal that the United States was becoming more invested in the military outcome of the conflict could not have been clearer. Further indication of that resolve came the same month with the replacement of General Paul D.

Harkins as head of the U. Having already decided to shift prosecution of the war into higher gear, the Johnson administration recognized that direct military action would require congressional approval, especially in an election year.

Vietnam War Facts

Of all the episodes of the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, the episodes of 2 and 4 August have proved among the most controversial and contentious. Claiming unprovoked attacks by the North Vietnamese on American ships in international waters, the Johnson administration used the episodes to seek a congressional decree authorizing retaliation against North Vietnam. Passed nearly unanimously by Congress on 7 August and signed into law three days later, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution—or Southeast Asia Resolution, as it was officially known—was a pivotal moment in the war and gave the Johnson administration a broad mandate to escalate U.

On 2 August, the USS Maddox , engaged in a signals intelligence collection mission for the National Security Agency known as a Desoto patrol off the coast of North Vietnam, reported that it was under attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Using its own defense measures and aided by aircraft from the nearby aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga , the Maddox resisted the attack and the North Vietnamese boats retreated. Turner Joy , reported a new round of attacks by North Vietnamese military forces. In response, President Johnson ordered retaliatory strikes against North Vietnam and asked Congress to sanction any further action he might take to deter Communist aggression in Southeast Asia.

As real-time information flowed in to the Pentagon from the Maddox and the C. Turner Joy , the story became more and more confused, and as frustratingly incomplete and often contradictory reports flowed into Washington, several high-ranking military and civilian officials became suspicious of the 4 August incident, questioning whether the attack was real or imagined. The tapes included in this edition show vividly a president all too aware of shortcomings of the deeply flawed information that he was receiving, and by the time of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, several senior officials—and apparently the President himself—had concluded that the attack of 4 August had not occurred.

But not wanting to get railroaded into large-scale military response by political pressure from hawks on the right in Congress, Johnson and McNamara privately and selectively conceded that classified sabotage operations in the region had probably provoked the North Vietnamese attack.

The Truth about the Vietnam War

It was a political strategy that worked, and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed with minimal dissent, a striking political victory for Johnson even as the presidential campaign got under way with a vengeance. Just days before the vote, the U. Johnson opted not to respond militarily just hours before Americans would go to the polls. The working group settled on three potential policy strands: persisting with the current approach, escalating the war and striking at North Vietnam, or pursuing a strategy of graduated response. The plan envisioned a series of measures, of gradually increasing military intensity, that American forces would apply to bolster morale in Saigon, attack the Vietcong in South Vietnam, and pressure Hanoi into ending its aid of the Communist insurgency.

The presence of several policy options, however, did not translate into freewheeling discussions with the President over the relative merits of numerous strategies. Johnson abhorred the Kennedy practice of debating such questions in open session, preferring a consensus engineered prior to his meetings with top aides.

Tet Offensive

In fact, it was those advisers who would play an increasingly important role in planning for Vietnam, relegating the interagency approach—which never went away—to a level of secondary importance within the policymaking process. In time, LBJ would make his key decisions in the presence and on the advice of very few advisers, a practice that Johnson hoped would protect him from the leaks he so greatly feared would undermine his carefully crafted strategy.

By spring of , Johnson was holding impromptu lunch meetings with only a handful of senior officials on Tuesdays where they hashed out strategy. But the procedural issues of these months, as important as they were and would become, were constantly being overwhelmed by the more pressing concerns of progress in the counterinsurgency. No amount of administrative tinkering could mask the continuing and worsening problems of political instability in Saigon and Communist success in the field.

The deterioration of the South Vietnamese position, therefore, led Johnson to consider even more decisive action. His dispatch of National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy to South Vietnam in February sought to gauge the need for an expanded program of bombing that the interdepartmental review had envisioned back in November and December.

While senior military and civilian officials differed on what they regarded as the benefits of this program—code-named Operation Rolling Thunder—all of them hoped that the bombing, which began on 2 March , would have a salutary effect on the North Vietnamese leadership, leading Hanoi to end its support of the insurgency in South Vietnam. While the attacks on Pleiku and Qui Nhon led the administration to escalate its air war against the North, they also highlighted the vulnerability of the bases that American planes would be using for the bombing campaign.

What Went Wrong in Vietnam

In an effort to provide greater security for these installations, Johnson sanctioned the dispatch of two Marine battalions to Danang in early March. The troops arrived on 8 March, though Johnson endorsed the deployment prior to the first strikes themselves. Like other major decisions he made during the escalatory process, it was not one Johnson came to without a great deal of anxiety.

The bombing, however, was failing to move Hanoi or the Vietcong in any significant way.

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By mid-March, therefore, Johnson began to consider additional proposals for expanding the American combat presence in South Vietnam. By 1 April, he had agreed to augment the 8 March deployment with two more Marine battalions; he also changed their role from that of static base security to active defense, and soon allowed preparatory work to go forward on plans for stationing many more troops in Vietnam. In an effort to achieve consensus about security requirements for those troops, key personnel undertook a review in Honolulu on 20 April.

In the late spring, developments closer to home offered striking parallels to the situation in Vietnam. From late April through June , President Johnson spent more time dealing with the Dominican Crisis than any other issue.

Tapley Bennett Jr. American lives are in danger. Marines to the Dominican Republic, a deployment he announced in a brief, televised statement from the White House theater at p. Two days after his first order sending in the Marines, Johnson again went on television to announce a rapid escalation in the U.

Also known as "Viet Cong. Vietnamization The process of withdrawing U.


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This was part of President Richard Nixon's plan to end U. Share Flipboard Email. Jennifer Rosenberg is a historian, history fact-checker, and freelance writer who writes about 20th-century history topics. Updated March 08, Compare to "hawk. Compare to "dove. KIA Acronym for "killed in action.

Vietniks Early protesters against the Vietnam War. Continue Reading. Back at their base he filed a complaint about the killing of civilians that he had witnessed. The Army covered it up. But eventually the journalist Seymour Hersh found out about the massacre, and his report made it worldwide news and a turning point in the war. Afterwards Thompson testified at the trial of Lt.

Nixon, Kissinger, and the Madman Strategy during Vietnam War

William Calley, the commanding officer during the massacre. Then came the backlash. Calley had many supporters, who condemned and harassed Thompson. It took the Army 30 years, but in , they finally acknowledged that Thompson had done something good. On the 30th anniversary of the massacre, Thompson went back to My Lai and met some of the people whose lives he had saved.

Did they know that somebody tried to help? And yes, they did know that. That aspect of it made me feel real good.

Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968
Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968 Whatever that Means - Vietnam 1968

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