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Robert McNamara In Retrospect Random House New York 1995Vietnam had long since been a place of controversy and where our government focusedits fear of communism for many years Throughout the Kennedy and Johnson administrationsthe government maintained that the war between the Communist north and the south can only bewon by the South Vietnamese and that our military cannot win it for them It stressed that thefall of South Vietnam to communism would threaten the rest of the western worldRobert McNamara the Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnsonadministrations wrote In Retrospect because he wanted to Put Vietnam in contextxx McNamara wanted to explain why the mistakes of Vietnam were made not to justify them butto help the American public understand them He relies not only upon his memories but uponPeople have often called Vietnam McNamaras war because he made it hisresponsibility As he learned more and more about south Vietnam he became well acquaintedwith its leader Ngo Dinh Diem Diem portrayed himself as a man who shared our westernvalues Though as our government would soon realize he was not the man we had hoped for Diem needed to be removed from power he was becoming more and more unpopular with hispeople The Kennedy Administration seemed split on how democratic Diem really was Hisconflicts between the Buddhists and Catholics were becoming more outrageous than ever Theadministration supported a generals coup to get Diem out of power Diem and his brother Nhuwere both assassinated during this coup On November 22 1963 Kennedy himself was also assassinated on the streets of Dallas McNamara poses many questions as to whether the war would have continued on the same routehad Kennedy not been killed McNamara feels that had Kennedy lived he would have pulled usout of Vietnam His reasoning was that Kennedy had told his cabinet We are not going tobungle into war Kennedy was ready to start pulling our troops out because it was obvious
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