Ford From the point of view of the United States, with reference to the Far East as a whole, Indochina is devoid of decisive military objectives, and the allocation of more than token U. Arthur Radford, 2 To introduce white forces--U. McNamara, 3 We were wrong, terribly wrong.
Although pressed repeatedly for over a quarter of a century to add my views on Vietnam to the public record, I hesitated for fear that I might appear self-serving, defensive, or vindictive, which I wished to avoid at all costs.
Perhaps I hesitated also because it is hard to face one's mistakes. But something changed my attitude and willingness to speak. I am responding not to a desire to get out my personal story but rather to a wish to put before the American people why their government and its leaders behaved as they did and what we may learn from that experience.
My associates in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations were an exceptional group: How did this group--"the best and the brightest," as we eventually came to be known in an ironically pejorative phrase--get it wrong on Vietnam? That story has not yet been told.
Why after all these years of silence am I convinced I should speak? There are many reasons; the main one is that I have grown sick at heart witnessing the cynicism and even contempt with which so many people view our political institutions and leaders.
Many factors helped lead to this: Vietnam, Watergate, scandals, corruption.
But I do not believe, on balance, that America's political leaders have been incompetent or insensitive to their responsibilities and to the welfare of the people who elected them and to whom they are accountable.
Nor do I believe they have been any worse than their foreign counterparts or their colleagues in the private sector. Certainly they have shown themselves to be far from perfect, but people are far from perfect.
They have made mistakes, but mostly honest mistakes. This underscores my own painful quandary about discussing Vietnam.
I know that, to this day, many political leaders and scholars in the United States and abroad argue that the Vietnam War actually helped contain the spread of Communism in South and East Asia.
Some argue that it hastened the end of the Cold War. But I also know that the war caused terrible damage to America.
No doubt exists in my mind about that. I want to look at Vietnam in hindsight, not in any way to obscure my own and others' errors of judgment and their egregious costs but to show the full range of pressures and the lack of knowledge that existed at the time.
I want to put Vietnam in context. We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation. We made our decisions in light of those values.
Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why. I truly believe that we made an error not of values and intentions but of judgment and capabilities.
I say this warily, since I know that if my comments appear to justify or rationalize what I and others did, they will lack credibility and only increase people's cynicism. It is cynicism that makes Americans reluctant to support their leaders in the actions necessary to confront and solve our problems at home and abroad.
I want Americans to understand why we made the mistakes we did, and to learn from them. I hope to say, "Here is something we can take away from Vietnam that is constructive and applicable to the world of today and tomorrow. The ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus wrote, "The reward of suffering is experience.
Bibliografische Informationen In Retrospect:There’s a lot of talk these days about the “Deep State,” especially among supporters of President Trump, some of whom believe that this Deep State is working hard to destroy anyone loyal to Trump, both inside and outside of the government, and ultimately, Trump himself.
In Retrospect: The tragedy and lessons of Vietnam. By: Robert S. McNamara Summary: Robert S. McNamara's book, In Retrospect, tells the story of one man's journey throughout the trials and tribulations of what seems to be the United States utmost fatality; the Vietnam War.4/4(1). War Statistics.
Protest and Kent State. A Letter to the Wall: Kent State Shootings. The Vietnam War was the most unpopular war in American . In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam Robert S.
McNamara, Brian VanDeMark Limited preview - Robert S. McNamara, Brian VanDeMark Snippet view - /5(5). War Statistics. Protest and Kent State. A Letter to the Wall: Kent State Shootings.
The Vietnam War was the most unpopular war in American history and spurred many anti-war protest. Thoughts Engendered by Robert McNamara's In Retrospect. , In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (New York: Times Books, ). Radford, Memorandum to the Secretary of Defense, 20 May "Alternatives for Imposition of Measured Pressures Against North Vietnam." Report, Robert H.
Johnson, S/P State, to William Sullivan, S/VN.