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InJFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam.
Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. Forty years have passed since November 22,yet painful mysteries remain. What, at the moment of his death, was John F. And today, larger issues are at stake as the United States faces another indefinite military commitment that might have been avoided and that, perhaps, also cannot be won.
The story of Vietnam in illustrates for us the struggle with policy failure. More deeply, appreciating those distant events tests our capacity as a country to look the reality of our own history in the eye.
In an editorial on April 12,the New York Times delivered a harsh judgment: So too, did the Pentagon Papers, that huge trove of documents assembled at Mr. A pivotal period of U. Contrary to Frankel, this is not something you will find in Halberstam. Kennedy give the order to withdraw from Vietnam?
The view that Kennedy would have done what Johnson did—stay in Vietnam and gradually escalate the war in and —is held by left, center, and right, from Noam Chomsky to Kai Bird to William Gibbons.
Gary Hess offers summary judgment on the policy that Johnson inherited: So does Fredrik Logevall, whose substantial book steadfastly insists that the choices Kennedy faced were either escalation or negotiation and did not include withdrawal without negotiation.
All this and more is in spite of evidence to the contrary, advanced over the years by a tiny handful of authors. Army, an intelligence officer last stationed at Fort Meade, headquarters of the National Security Agency. Kennedy, he claims, had decided to begin a phased withdrawal from Vietnam, that he had ordered this withdrawal to begin.
Here is the chronology, according to Newman: Newman quotes the minutes of the meeting that day: The President also said that our decision to remove 1, U. Instead the action should be carried out routinely as part of our general posture of withdrawing people when they are no longer needed.
The passage illustrates two points: The President approved the military recommendations contained in section I B of the report, but directed that no formal announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw 1, U. In other words, the withdrawal recommended by McNamara on October 2 was embraced in secret by Kennedy on October 5 and implemented by his order on October 11, also in secret.
Newman argues that the secrecy after October 2 can be explained by a diplomatic reason.
Kennedy did not want Diem or anyone else to interpret the withdrawal as part of any pressure tactic other steps that were pressure tactics had also been approved.
There was also a political reason: JFK had not decided whether he could get away with claiming that the withdrawal was a result of progress toward the goal of a self-sufficient South Vietnam. The alternative would have been to withdraw the troops while acknowledging failure.
And this, Newman argues, Kennedy was prepared to do if it became necessary. He saw no reason, however, to take this step before it became necessary.
If the troops could be pulled while the South Vietnamese were still standing, so much the better. Official optimism was replaced by a searching and comparatively realistic pessimism. Newman believes this pessimism, which involved rewriting assessments as far back as the previous July, was a response to NSAM Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to prevent plagiarism, engage students in the writing process, and provide personalized feedback.
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Revised July Purpose and Disclaimer. Timeline. Introduction. The New World Before “Discovery,” and the First Contacts. This essay delves deeply into the origins of the Vietnam War, critiques U.S. justifications for intervention, examines the brutal conduct of the war, and discusses the .