The Extensive Vietnam War by mohannadsoudene

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									The Extensive Vietnam War

 The Vietnam War was America’s extensive war and was also its most
troublesome. By the 1970s, America’s troops had risen to over half a
million. No one can precisely say when this war started because there is
no declaration of war by either of the two countries. There was no
dramatic event like there was in World War II and the attack on Pearl
Harbor. Most know the outcome of the Vietnam war but in this essay I will
proceed to explore what happened and why it happened.
President Johnson inherited from his predecessor both a commitment to
South Vietnam and a group of advisors who coordinated that commitment.
However Johnson was not that knowledgeable about foreign affairs. A lot
of his methods worked for him here in the United States but outside of
it, they did not have the same effect. Johnson was known for his
unawareness of the Vietnamese culture, history, and way of life. Therefor
he never could comprehend the ideologies or psychologies of its leaders.
He relied on his advisor’s knowledge even more than President Kennedy
did. From 1964 to 1965 Johnson transformed “a limited commitment to
assist the South Vietnamese government to an open-ended commitment to
preserve an independent, non-Communist South Vietnam,” and took the
United States to war. The men who most influenced the shape of Southeast
Asian policy were Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, National
Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and
Ambassador to South Vietnam Maxwell Taylor.
Robert S. McNamara was the Secretary of Defense during Kennedy’s
admiration and carried over to Johnson’s. He preferred to use
mathematical models to calculate required military for in Vietnam. He
attempted to avoid escalation of the war by putting restrictions on
military operations. He served from 1961 to 1968. McNamara was
responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy,
which developed into the discipline known today as policy analysis.
McNamara took other steps to improve U.S. deterrence posture and military
capabilities. He raised the proportion of Strategic Air Command, or
S.A.C., strategic bombers on 15-minute ground alert from 25 percent to 50
percent, thus lessening their vulnerability to missile attack. In
December 1961 he established the United States Strike Command, or
S.T.R.I.C.O.M.
McGeorge Bundy was United States National Security Advisor to Presidents
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson from 1961 through 1966, and president
of the Ford Foundation from 1966 through 1979. He is known primarily for
his role in escalating the involvement of the United States in Vietnam
during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. In 1961 he became
national security adviser for President Kennedy and he had a vital role
in all of the major foreign policy and defense decisions of the Kennedy
and part of the Johnson administration. These included the Bay of Pigs
Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, most controversially, the
Vietnam War. Bundy was a strong proponent of the Vietnam War.
David Dean Rusk was the United States Secretary of State from 1961 to
1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Rusk is the
second-longest serving U.S. Secretary of State of all time. He believed
in the use of military action to combat Communism. Early in his term, he
had strong doubts about US intervention in Vietnam, but later his
vigorous public defense of US actions in the Vietnam War made him a
frequent target of anti-war protests.
Maxwell Davenport Taylor was a United States Army general and diplomat of
the mid-20th century. Taylor was of crucial importance during the first
weeks and months of the Vietnam War. Whereas initially President Kennedy
had told Taylor that "the independence of South Vietnam rests with the
people and government of that country," Taylor was soon to recommend that
8,000 American combat troops be sent to the region at once. After making
his report to the Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff, Taylor was to reflect
on the decision to send troops to South Vietnam: "I don't recall anyone
who was strongly against, except one man, and that was the President. The
President just didn't want to be convinced that this was the right thing
to do.... It was really the President's personal conviction that U.S.
ground troops shouldn't go in." Taylor was against 1963 South Vietnamese
coup that got the President of South Vietnam killed.
During the first few days of August 1964, a series of controversial
events took place in the Gulf of Tonkin involving the U.S. and North
Vietnamese naval forces. The results of this incident included the
bombing of North Vietnamese targets as well as a blank check to wage war
on Vietnam. On August 2 of that same year North Vietnam patrol boats
attacked the destroyer USS Maddox which was on a surveillance mission.
The USS Maddox fired with its three-inch and five-inch guns which damaged
one of the attacking boats. Aircraft from the USS Ticonderoga carrier
damaged the other patrol boats as they sped back to their bases. Back in
Washington one of the main proponents who favored an air strike in
retaliation was General Maxwell Taylor. South Vietnam’s ruler, General
Khanh, also called for air strikes against North Vietnam. However
President Johnson resented an air strike and instead sent the Maddox back
on patrol joined with another destroyer named the USS Turner Joy. Johnson
felt that doing this was necessary because he had to show that the U.S.
was not intimidated and that we would not shy away from a fight.
That night was a very confusing night. It was reported that three North
Vietnamese torpedo boats were waiting to ambush the destroyers.
Apparently the boats appeared on the radar and were preparing for ambush
but were they were never actually located. The two U.S. destroyers fired
at open water and so did the four U.S. jets that were called to the
scene. Crew members seemingly saw wakes in the water from torpedoes but
neither ship was ever hit with one. The two destroyers maneuvered for two
hours to avoid these so-called attacks. The next day they attributed this
mistake of attack on them to radar and sonar contacts to weather effects,
and to the inexperience and anxiety of the crew’s.
Operation Rolling Thunder was the title of a gradual and sustained U.S.
2nd Air Division U.S. Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force aerial
bombardment campaign conducted against North Vietnam from March 2nd, 1965
until November 1st, 1968, during the Vietnam War.
The four objectives of the operation, which evolved over time, were to
boost the morale of the Saigon regime in South Vietnam, to persuade North
Vietnam to stop its support for the communism in South Vietnam without
actually taking any ground forces into communist North Vietnam, to
destroy North Vietnam's transportation system, industrial base, and air
defenses, and to interdict the flow of men and material into South
Vietnam. These goals were difficult to obtain because of constrainment in
the U.S. and by the military aid and assistance received by North Vietnam
from its communist allies.
The operation became the most intense air and ground battle waged during
the Cold War period and it was the most difficult such campaign fought by
the U.S. Air Force since the aerial bombardment of Germany during World
War II. Supported by communist allies, North Vietnam fielded a potent
mixture of refined air-to-air and ground-to-air weapons that created one
of the most effective air defenses ever faced by American military
aviators. After one of the longest aerial campaigns ever conducted by any
nation, Rolling Thunder was terminated as a strategic failure in late
1968 having achieved none of its objectives.

								
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