Vietnam Essay Research Paper The United States — страница 2

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find out why the President elect would want to select him. McNamara upon hearing the request tried to explain to the new president that he was not qualified for the position. Kennedy simply responded with a retorical question "Who is?" McNamara?s lack of political experience will cost him dearly through out the course of the Vietnam Conflict. McNamara?s memoir continues to help us understand why the early days of Vietnam War are so confusing. How did the United State?s policy in Southeast Asia shift form Loas to Vietnam. Shortly, after Kennedy took office the conditions in Loas started to cool off and conditions in Vietnam started to *~heat up.~* However, McNamara does not explain how or why the US would continue with the same policy in Vietnam as was planned with Loas.

McNamara notes that form Kennedy?s the first day in office the Pridsent had to deal with the sensitive subject of Southeast Asia. In Eisenhowers last full day in office included a meeting between the Presedint elect and his Cabinet, Eisenhower explained main area of concern was Southeast Asia. He cited that Laos was the primary are of concern and if Loas fell it would eventually lead to Thiland, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia. And if nessacarry then as a last desperate hope, intervene unilaterally. After Kennedy?s instualtion South Vietnam began to escualte. At the time the United States had 100 advisors in Vietnam. Durning August of 1961 SEATO devloped a plan in which 90,000 troops from Briatian, France and the United States would be nessasary to end the

conflict in South Vietnam. The United States felt if it did not show strength fortitude and intiative in SEATO that it would lose its position in NATO. McNamara advised against SEATO?s plan, however shorhtly thereafter the United States order the number of advisors increased to 400 and soon by late 1961 Kennedy ordered the number of advisors to be increased to 16,000. McNamara does not explain that these actions were put in place because of SEATO but it seems to be fitting. McNamara?s memiors seem to be an apoligetic attemt to explian to the American people why he took steps forward towards the esculation of US involvement in Vietnam. McNamara states "my associates in the Kennedy and Johnson adminsterations were an exceptional group: young, vigorous, intelligent,

well-meaning, patriotic servants of the United States. How did this group — ?the best and the brightest,? as we eventually came to be known in an ironically pejorative phrase?get it wrong on Vietnam." McNamara?s reasoning to write this book is an obvious attemt to explain to the public why his adminstrations made the decions they did, in turn trying to gain a certain amount of sympathy form the American people. However, McNamara does not take any personal blame, he dirverts attention from himself by placing blame on the two people who had more power than he, President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson. McNamara wisely does not try to critize Kennedy who was has become a lengend since the time of his assiantion. Placing most of the blame on the politician and

less favorable President Johnson. However, at this early stage of the war McNamara felt strongly that the fall of South Vietnam to Communist control would threaten the security of the West, but the U.S. military role would be limited to providing training and logistical support. These contradictory premises were explained because of the recent cold war crisis that had occurred in Cuba. McNamara saw South Vietnam not as an independent communist state but "equated HO Chi Minh with Fidel Castro," thinking that Vietnam would be used as a tool for a communist movement in Indo-China. Despite these sensitive lines of thinking McNamara praises Kennedy by stating "I honestly believe if Kennedy had remained in office he would have pulled out of Vietnam." He sites

President Kennedy?s last public comments on Vietnam on November 14, 1963 when he said "the most important program, of course, is our own national security? our object, to bring Americans home, permit theSouth Vietnamese to maintain themselves as a free and independent country." McNamara looks to the assinations of Ngo Dinh Diem, the South Vietnamese President and the assination of John F Kennedy, for the primary reasons for growing concern in Vietnam, as he elaborates in the third chapter entighteled "The Fateful Fall of 63." He cites on October 2 Kennedy decision to begin the withdrawl of U.S. forces. The overthrow of Diem was planed and instramented by the U.S. government. The U.S. organized the coup against by influencing certain military officails,