Essay about One Million Dead

3469 Words Sep 19th, 2014 14 Pages
One Million Dead for Naught The involvement of U.S. military forces in the Vietnam Conflict was neither justifiable nor demonstrative of sound judgment by the American government. Many books, magazines, and other forms of commentary on the Vietnam War have surfaced in the half century since the war’s end. Historian and author Stanley Karnow suggests that such publications generally attempt to make sense of the horrific “war that nobody won” (Karnow 9). It is a subject that will continue endlessly to divide historians and others as they attempt to draw lessons from the conflict that might then be used to justify, condemn, or promote America’s involvement in modern day Vietnams. Because …show more content…
Lyndon Johnson had been President for mere months following the assassination of John Kennedy. The American government asserts that two U.S. destroyers were fired on by North Vietnamese patrol boats on two separate occasions between August two and August four (McNamara 130). A lot of controversy exists to this day as to the legitimacy of this claim. If the allegations are indeed true, then our government was justified in the eyes of many for escalating the involvement of U.S. military forces in the region. Karnow suggests that pentagon strategists were drawing up plans outlining a direct attack on North Vietnam’s infrastructure two months prior to the alleged Gulf of Tonkin incidents (Karnow 680). Many are not willing to concede that such timing could have been a mere coincident. Others might suggest that our ships were fired upon by the North Vietnamese because of provocation by the U.S. They might further argue the existence of a conspiracy by factions of our government aimed at securing a resolution in our congress authorizing the military operations that were already under way. Many people will argue that Johnson’s administration manipulated the circumstances in the Gulf of Tonkin for the purpose of gaining a blank check to make future Vietnam- related decisions without the need for approval by congress (McNamara 127-43). The Johnson administration also used “the domino effect” to leverage the American public into believing in the

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