An Analysis Of Westmoreland's Request

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Westmoreland’s Request “Vietnam divided America more deeply and painfully than any event since the Civil War.” (Readings 9, To Avoid a Defeat, 231). The steady stream of American casualties suffered at the hands of the NVA made a difficult situation intolerable as American support for the war diminished with each soldier laid to rest. President Lyndon B. Johnson made a dire mistake in approving General Westmoreland’s request on to put combat boots on the ground in Vietnam, as the threat to American security had not been triggered to the point where it was worth the lives of American soldiers. The American military was severely underprepared for war, and the eventual withdrawal of troops would become a global embarrassment that continues …show more content…
“LBJ feared defeat in South Vietnam, but he craved success and glory at home.” (Readings 9, To Avoid a Defeat, 233). President Johnson wanted to win the Vietnam War to prove secure his place in history. Johnson was a very insecure leader whom many thought did not have the proper education or background to be President. Regarding Vietnam, Johnson believed, “If I don’t go in now and the show later I should have gone, then they’ll be all over me in Congress. They wont be talking about my civil rights bill, or education, or beautification. No sir, they’ll push Vietnam right up my ass every time. Vietnam. Vietnam. Vietnam. Right up my ass.” (Readings 9, To Achieve a Victory, 225). Clearly. Johnson was troubled driven by factors other than doing what was best for the American people. He wanted the respect necessary to push through his notion of the Great Society, and gambled with the lives of the 282,000 American soldiers lost in Vietnam. President Johnson should have known that the strategy was not working, but still he pushed beyond the point of reason in order to make a name for himself, which he could then use to advance the domestic policies he wanted to enact at home. Johnson’s arrogance led to his recklessness in pursuing victory in Vietnam. Undeterred by the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and Vietnam, Johnson, “was less wary of the French experience than Taylor or Ball; he was …show more content…
Johnson was extremely reckless in approving General Westmoreland’s request for American troops in 1965. In so doing, he committed one of the greatest military blunders in American history. There was no clear path to a decisive and quick victory. This conflict would become, “a protracted war involving an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces, mounting U.S. casualties, no assurance of a satisfactory solution, and a serious danger of escalation at the end of the road.” (Readings 9, George Ball Dissents, 1965, 217). Johnson should never have agreed to send troops to Vietnam. Doing so only prolonged American presence in Vietnam, which led to massive casualties, caused an international embarrassment, and forever tarnished President Lyndon B. Johnson’s

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