Sorry for the thumbnail but the above is a classic image of LBJ attributed to the pain and frustration he felt over the quagmire of Vietnam. I’m working on my Mac and my eye is hurting again so I don’t have the patience right now to figure out how to enlarge it. You get the picture though.
What we can ask here in chapter 26, Monday for B day and Tuesday for A day, is the extent to which JBJ and JFK and their advisors can be held responsible for the debacle of the American entry in Vietnam.
Remember it is of course in Kissinger’s interest to point out, rightly, that the American entrance into the conflict was not Nixon’s nor his, so when he discusses the change in perspective from Eisenhower to Kennedy, when he points out that McNamara “wrongly” (knowledge claim/TOK) beileved “general war was unthinkable” and that Khrushchev’s speech was pointed at China, not at Vietnam, and the even China’s position vis-a-vis Vietnam was misconstrued, it is all conveniently self-serving. “Look at the mess they made”, Kissinger might say, “and left us to clean up”.
Kissinger’s detractors (see Hitchins book cover in previous post) would argues that half the names in the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall came on his watch and that the expansion of the war into Cambodia amounted to a criminal activity. Furthermore they would argue a point which Kissinger counters (though not in great detail) in the next chapter that the settlement reached in 1972 could have been reached in 1968.
For purposes here you would do well to respond to the above query. To what extent were JFK and LBJ responsible for the American War in Vietnam becoming what it became?