Policies In Vietnam

.. Intelligence Agency given to President Johnson: It is not likely that North Vietnam would (if it could) call off the war in the South although U.S. actions would in time have serious economic and political impact. Overt action against North Vietnam would be unlikely to produce reduction in Viet Cong activity sufficiently to make victory on the ground possible in South Vietnam unless accompanied by new U.S. bolstering actions in South Vietnam and considerable improvement in the government there.

The most to be expected would be reduction of North Vietnamese support of the Viet Cong for a while and, thus, the gaining of some time and opportunity by the government of South Vietnam to improve itself. 2 Johnson and his policymakers felt that a build up of military troops was necessary for a military victory. In January 1965, Johnson started Operation Rolling Thunder. This was a plan to two step plan in which the United States would use the right power to get the job done. The first part was to use air power against the North Vietnamese and the second was to increase the number of ground troops in the South.

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Two Marine units were deployed to Vietnam to Danang. The first battle between US troops and the Vietcong proved that the North could suffer heavy casualties and still maneuver around the US ground and air attack. Johnson soon deployed 40,000 troops to secure additional bases in Vietnam. Realizing the difficulty ahead of him General Westmoreland requested 150,000 more troops. President Johnson decided to give in to the request, he felt that if he did not send the troops he would be giving into the communist. Westmoreland knew that in order to win the war he would need more troops than that and Johnson was willing to give them to him. Johnson paid close attention to what he was bombing and where because he did not want to bring the Soviet Union and China into the war.

Johnson decided that at this time that he would intensify the bombing in the North and would send more troops to support the South. Johnson was not about to raise taxes or call in the reserves during the war. Johnson and his policymakers felt that the only way to win the war was to inflict serious pain on the North Vietnamese and to make the South able to stand on it’s own without the United States. Robert McNamara in 1967 was starting to feel that the United States could not win the war. McNamara explained to Johnson that neither the ground troops nor the bombing had any serious affect on the North. Johnson was trying to deal with domestic policies at the same time with Vietnam and McNamara was trying to explain to Johnson that his program of bread and butter could not be sustained because the economy was going straight down the drain.

McNamara tried to get the President to halt the bombing of the North and to initiate peace with the North. President Johnson would have nothing to do with this. Johnson refused to lose this war and was ready to do whatever to win. Johnson appointed McNamara as the top position in the World Bank when the position opened. Johnson was not very kind to those who disagreed with him and did not show his optimism. An essential year in the war was 1968 when the North Vietnamese started the Tet Offensive.

In January, the North Vietnamese and others against the South launched attacks against main cities in the South. The North Vietnamese used Soviet equipment to fight these battles, so they were well equipped for the war. The United States and South Vietnamese installations, including Saigon were attacked heavily by the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese army, but the Vietcong were destroyed and the war was left to the North Vietnamese army to fight. While Tet was a major military victory for the South, politically it was a victory for the opposition, because it demonstrated that the war was not almost over. The public opinion in the United States was starting to cause problems because people felt that the war was a waste.

Johnson was starting to develop the attitude that enemies surrounded him. Johnson would not surrender to the North and was not going to give up on the war. Many of Johnson’s advisers were no longer supporting the war and felt that the United States needs to get out of the war. Only Rusk, Rostow, and the Ambassador to Saigon Bunker, were keen on increasing the troops in the war. After the victory for the South and the United States, Westmoreland asked for another 200,000 troops to be sent to his aid. McNamara’s successor, Clark Clifford who had a close relationship with Johnson made a point that how could the President justify sending reserves to the war after they publicly claimed that Tet was a last chance for the North to stop defeat and they had failed.

Johnson then had a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Rusk, and the rest of his decision-makers in order to decide what to do about sending more troops. Johnson decided to send 10,500 reinforcements to Westmoreland and to send the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Wheeler to meet with Westmoreland in order to determine how many more reserves would be needed. Wheeler told Johnson that the Americans needed 205,000 more troops in order to get rid of the communist. Johnson decided to send Clark Clifford and a Task Force to assess the military , political, and budget implications of Westmoreland’s request. The task force concluded that more troops in the war would not win it for the United States. The only thing that the United States could get out of the war was maybe a stalemate and the United States economy could not sustain this.

After the memorandum that Clifford gave Johnson, the decision was made to send only 22,000 troop to, Vietnam because that was all the United States could send at the time. Rusk decided that the United States had to try to get the communist to join in a peace initiative, so Rusk started drafting up a solution for peace. Rusk’s proposal led Johnson into a decision to cease the bombing and to enter negotiations. United Nations, Arthur Goldberg proposed that Johnson cease bombing altogether in the North without trying to get any peace talks. Johnson was totally against this proposal.

Johnson decided that he was going to replace General Westmoreland. Johnson soon called up the Wise Men to get their assessment of the war and what should be done. The decision of the Wise Men was different than expected, they felt that the United States needed to disengage from the war. Johnson was not happy about this decision and did not want to listen to it. On March 31 Johnson ordered a temporary halt of the bombings in Vietnam and decided that he would not run for President again.

Johnson concluded that he would send representatives to Geneva and Rangoon to meet with the North Vietnamese to talk of peace. If the North required more than that, Johnson would stop the bombing completely. The North responded that it would start talks once all fighting had ended. Johnson knew that fighting would continue, but decided to start the talks with the North. On May 3, Paris was decided as the place for the meeting between the two countries. Johnson did not want to stop the bombing because he felt that the North would take advantage of this and if the US stopped it would be hard for them to start up again.

In order to get the talks on the way the President decided to cease bombing completely. Conclusion The United States got itself into a war that was a waste and they could not have won. Johnson was very stubborn and would not listen to people unless they were agreeing with him. It came down to the point where Johnson only had a couple of supporters left in his administration. Johnson started to feel the pessimist that had hit everyone else a long time ago.

To Johnson the war seemed to be personal because he did not want to lose the war so bad. Maybe if Johnson would have listened to his Central Intelligence Agency early on, he might not have got the United States into such a predicament. The CIA had been telling Johnson the whole entire time that the war did not look good for the United States and they should not start a war there. Johnson felt that if he did not fight this war that he would be seen a being weak on communism and if the South fell to communism the rest of the area would to. To sum it up the war was a waste and many men died that should not have had to die.

Johnson kept sending men in to support General Westmoreland and the amount never made a difference. The war showed how bad the communication was between the Government, Whitehouse, and the CIA. If the communication was better during these times the war might not have occurred or might not have lasted as long. The Vietnam war did not end under Johnson, it ended under Nixon. Government Essays.


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