Vietnam War in the News is an edited review of Vietnam War related news and articles.

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'No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.'
- Richard M. Nixon

Vietnam War Politics & Leaders

The last U.S. commander of U.S. military operations in Vietnam: Frederick C. Weyand
Frederick C. Weyand, the last commander of U.S. military operations in the Vietnam War and a former Army chief of staff, has passed away at 93. During WW2 Weyand served as an intelligence officer in India, China and Burma. He commanded an infantry battalion in the Korean War. In 1964 Weyand assumed command of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii and took it to Vietnam. In 2006, Weyand was identified as the American general who in 1967 confidentially told two reporters about his doubts about American involvement in Vietnam. According to correspondent Murray Fromson, Weyand said the war was "unwinnable."

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was primary architect of the Vietnam War
Robert S. McNamara - whose record as a leading executive of industry was all but erased from public memory by his reputation as the architect of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war - has passed away at 93. He was secretary of defense during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. McNamara led a military buildup in Asia during the early years of a conflict that escalated into one of the most bitter wars in American history. When the war was over, 58,000 Americans were dead and the social fabric had been torn apart. Many Americans held him responsible for the futile military adventure in Vietnam - a responsibility he accepted in a 1995 memoir.

The Minefield: How Australian and American forces got a lesson in guerrilla warfar
In 1967 the commander of First Australian Task Force (1ATF), Brigadier Stuart Graham, ordered the construction of an 11km "barrier fence and minefield" in Phuoc Tuy Province. This barrier would be the biggest mistake in Australian military history since World War II. It would also be a story of strategic self-destruction that typified both Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War and the tradition of sending expeditions to far-flung wars. Fixated on the view that gangs of "communist cadres" from the north had enforced their will on the southern population, commanders had no idea of the widespread support for the war of national liberation among the villagers. [Buy from Amazon: US, UK, CA, DE, FR]

Book review: Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam
For America the Vietnam War was the traumatic event of the second half of the last century. "Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam" sorts out the 5 years (1961-1966) during which the defense of South Vietnam was Americanized. Tracing the efforts of McGeorge Bundy, it seeks to come to terms with America's entry into its tragedy. In 1961, John F. Kennedy appointed Bundy as National Security Adviser, and for 5 years Bundy performed his duties with articulateness and adeptness. But he lost his grip with the downtrend of Vietnam War, whose public advocate he had become. [Buy from Amazon: US, UK, CA, DE, FR]

New Zealand government apologizes to Vietnam War veterans for mistreatment, neglect   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The New Zealand government made an apology to the Vietnam War veterans for mistreatment. 3,900 NZ troops were sent to Vietnam, 37 were killed and 187 wounded. Since the war ended, hundreds have suffered from or died of illnesses, especially cancers linked to the Agent Orange. Some veterans, their children and grandchildren who have suffered from Agent Orange have been given special payments. The commander of NZ's last troops to serve in Vietnam, Colonel John Masters, said the apology was "very sincere," adding that the treatment of the returned soldiers had been a "disgrace to the country."

Released 1968 LBJ tapes show him fretting over the Vietnam war   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Politically crippled by the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson still sounded like a candidate for re-election in 1968 telephone conversations just before pulling out of the race. Laced throughout the talks were his statements about the Vietnam War and the criticism he faced both from hawks and doves. "It's a hell of a calculation to know what is enough and what is too much." With Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, he discussed Army General William Westmoreland's call for 6 more battalions that would have taken the troop level beyond the 525,000 ceiling. Johnson said he didn't have time to oversee the Vietnam War while "chasing through primaries..."

Nixon, Kissinger Found Vietnam War Unwinnable
A book on U.S. President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the two men thought the Vietnam War was "impossible" to win. But while admitting to each other that the war was not possible to win, they also agreed to label the Democrats "the party of surrender" for wanting to pull out of Vietnam, said historian Robert Dallek in "Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power." "In Saigon the tendency is to fight the war to victory, but you and I know it won't happen - it is impossible," Nixon told Kissinger as early as 1969.

Ngo Quang Truong; South Vietnamese Army General
Ngo Quang Truong who was one of the most capable generals of the South Vietnamese army during the long Vietnam War, died Jan. 22. General Creighton Abrams, who commanded American military operations in Vietnam 1968-1972, told that Gen. Truong was capable of commanding an American division. General Norman Schwarzkopf said in "It Doesn't Take a Hero" that General Truong was "the most brilliant tactical commander I'd ever known. Simply by visualizing the terrain and drawing on his experience fighting the enemy for 15 years, Truong showed an uncanny ability to predict what they were going to do."

A Winnable War - argument against the orthodox history of Vietnam
In 1963, President John Kennedy dispatched two observers to South Vietnam. Their mission was to provide an assessment of the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. Major General Victor Krulak, visited 10 locations in all 4 Corps areas of Vietnam. Based on interviews with U.S. advisers to the South Vietnamese army, he concluded that the war was going well. Joseph Mendenhall visited 3 cities where he spoke to opponents of Diem. He concluded that if Diem remained in power, the government was certain to fall to the Viet Cong. They both briefed Kennedy on Sept 10. So opposed were their conclusions that JFK quipped, "The two of you did visit the same country, didn't you?"

Ford in 1975: war in Vietnam finished as far as U.S. is concerned
Three decades ago at Tulane University's field house, far from the venues where such momentous announcements are made, President Ford declared an end to America's involvement in Vietnam. Ford spoke on April 23, 1975, exactly one week before Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, prompting desperate people to squeeze onto helicopters taking off from rooftops. When he proclaimed that the bitterly divisive conflict was "finished as far as America is concerned," the 5,300 people who had crowded into the arena burst into sustained applause.

Lyndon Johnson talks of Vietnam War on newly released tapes   (Article no longer available from the original source)
As American involvement in Vietnam War deepened, President Lyndon Johnson criticized the "bunch of commies" running The New York Times and complained about the newspaper's criticism of the war, according to newly released recordings of phone conversations. The recordings, released by the LBJ Library, covered August to December 1966. Johnson had many of his calls from the Oval Office and his Texas ranch recorded. In a discussion about the war with Dwight Eisenhower, Johnson said he was "trying to win it just as fast as I can in every way that I know how. I need all the help I can get."

Nixon Wanted to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam War
President Nixon, eager to end an unpopular war that killed tens of thousands of U.S. troops, considered using nuclear weapons against the North Vietnamese, recently declassified documents reveal. National security adviser Henry Kissinger began developing contingency military plans under the code name of "Duck Hook." He also created a committee within the National Security Council to evaluate secret plans prepared by Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and military planners in Saigon. A pair of documents raised the question of nuclear weapons use in connection with the military operation.

Vietnam War Haunts America
George Herring, author of Vietnam: America's Longest War, says Vietnam continues to affect decisions about war, peace, and politics in the U.S. By 1964, after Lyndon Johnson had taken office, fewer than 150 Americans soldiers had died in Vietnam. But in 1964, he won Congressional support for greater involvement in Vietnam. He started bombing North Vietnam and committed U.S. combat troops. Historian Stanley Karnow, author of Vietnam: A History, points out that Johnson had deep misgivings even as he escalated the conflict, but "He did not want to be the first president to lose a war, he did not want to be a president to lose a war to communism."

US Betrayal of Troops Who Died In Vietnam
Newly-released documents have suggested the US was willing to accept a communist Vietnam - even at the height of its bloody war to prevent a Red takeover. Henry Kissinger acknowledged to China in 1972 that Washington could accept a communist takeover of South Vietnam if it happened after a withdrawal of US troops. At the time of his comments the war to drive back the North Vietnamese communists was resulting in mounting deaths for US forces and their Vietnamese allies. The increasing casualties were seeing increasing opposition to the war from the American public.