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JFK and the Vietnam War

Reader comment on item: The JFK Assassination's Continued Importance

Submitted by Harry Mahn (United States), Nov 23, 2013 at 17:38

David Halberstam's book, "The Best and The Brightest" carefully traces our entry into the Vietnam War and makes it clear that it was JFK who put us into this conflict. It is true, according to Halberstam, that Eisenhower sent perhaps 120 observers to Vietnam. He did this to assuage those that felt we had to fight communism wherever it reared its head. But, he had consulted with the generals he knew and respected and decided he wasn't going in. (Ike's observers were truly observers.")

According to Halberstam, JFK had swallowed the domino theory and felt America should do what it could to stop the Vietnamese communists. Not wishing to declare war, he too sent in observers; thousands of observers. But, these troops weren't armed with pencil land paper. They carried guns and they used them.

After JFK's death, war was formally declared by way of LBJ's Tonkin Bay resolution. But, that was long after we were deeply and actively engaged in the war.

One can't roll history back, but it's a good guess that we might have avoided the Vietnam War, if JFK had not been elected to the office of president.

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