One among a few new factoids that I never heard or read before.
Then, in 1965, on the thin pretext of the Senates Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Lyndon Johnson started deploying 550,000 draftees to Vietnam.
I'm not sure if that's true or not. It could be a coincidence. 550,000 is very close to the highest end strength in personnel in theater in rounded numbers from 548,500, IIRC, but most were volunteers.
Close enough for gov't work, but maybe the Red Cross rounded up.
It was JOHN F. KENNEDY’S war, actually. Johnson was the heir of situation, including the no-doubt cocaine and amphetamine addicted McNamara. Often in error but NEVER IN DOUBT... that’s typical of users.
“The Democrats now not only repudiated the Kennedy-Johnson Vietnam policy but actively sought the defeat and humiliation of the U.S. in the war into which they had plunged it.”
It is a silly exercise, however, because it looks exclusively at the government. One cannot speak of Vietnam without addressing changes in American culture that resulted from the march of the Left through our institutions.
The Left is perforce an "international"-minded viewpoint. It was only a matter of time, whatever the events in Vietnam or anywhere else, for them to become unpatriotic. Kennedy was the last patriotic president. By mid-70s, the One-world crowd finally took over, and the Dem Party became the Socialist Party of America. This fundamental change had very little to do with Vietnam.
The U.S. military had been urging the invasion of Cuba, blissfully unaware that there were two full Soviet divisions on the island, and that the atomic-missile warheads were already in-country and could be attached and fired in a few hours. Only Kennedys sage intuition, which led him to promise no invasion of Cuba and to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey and Greece in exchange for withdrawal of the Cuba missiles, prevented armed conflict with the USSR.
1. Head to head, we would have destroyed two soviet divisions quickly. The battle would have been fought a few hundred miles from the US, while the soviets would not have had any chance to reinforce their forces some 3000 miles away.
2. Only Kennedys sage intuition... Please spare me the noxious liberal sanctimony. The soviets would have backed down...period. They could not have won. The truth of the matter is that Kennedy made strategic miscalculations and turned a sure victory, both political and moral into a groveling concession. Only the pathetic rewritters of history, such as the late and not lamented Cronkite spun this into the victory that it was not.
Vietnam was a disaster because between the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations, the U.S. leadership lacked reliable faculties of judgment about whether to enter such a war, had no idea how to conduct it, and sabotaged the efforts of those who did.
Mr. Black is again wrong. From Eisenhower to Kennedy, the end strength of the army was relegated to a very small force. Strategic military thought at the time was that atomic weapons obviated the need for a large standing army. The civilian leadership then called upon the army to fix a problem, but then severly constrained the army's ability to fix the problem. The two reasons above are the cause of the U.S.'s failure in the Vietnam war.
The situation was so desperate the American plan finally came down to the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the Viet Minh positions and deploying the 3rd Marine Division, part of which was afloat in the Tonkin Gulf. This may have happened but it was contingent on the UK joining the battle. The Brits declined.
Bump for later reading
Yup. I was Regular Army in 1968.