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Thread: JFK and the NRA

  1. #21
    Senior Member doc540 is on a distinguished road

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    That any President honors the NRA is commendable.

    What JFK and his Whiz Kids did regarding Viet Nam was indefensible. They and they alone bear responsibility for marching us into the pit.
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  2. #22
    gvf
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    Quote Originally Posted by doc540 View Post
    That any President honors the NRA is commendable.

    What JFK and his Whiz Kids did regarding Viet Nam was indefensible. They and they alone bear responsibility for marching us into the pit.
    It's silly to call it indefensible and not at all accurate. Kennedy, Truman, Eishenhower, all had a commitment - as obviously FDR did - to projecting America abroad in the face of extremely powerful threats: from the Soviets and FDR from Japan and the Nazis. I lived for awhile in Eastern Europe - they LOVED Regan and those presidents that preceded them, all of them, for aiding the overthrow of the Russians who were hated conquerors. Vietnam was viewed as another such example of Soviet/Chinese encroachment, and not clearly something else until several years after 1963. So, it was a mistake, but a mistake made out of the hindsight of years after, and hundreds of thousands of US troops committed.
    (and during the late 50s and early 60s a very easy mistake to make, perhaps impossible not to make given the position of the US in the world after WWII: : the only intact and strong Western nation left with the Soviets the other and they looming and having taken half of Europe + other places already.)

    The other part that we were in a "PIT" is also not factual: during Eisenhower and JFK it wasn't a pit. It was 4 years later. In '63, it was money and US training with a relative handful of operational troops. That's where the line should have been drawn. Aid to the extent it was given until '64-'65 was about right if you understand the world at that time and didn't have the hindsight of 50 years down the road or even 4 years down that road with the massive US troop build-up in '67 under Johnson.

    So, keep in mind JFK was dead and not responsible for the Johnson and Nixon era vis a vis their policies for Vietnam. And some signs are he wouldn't have let it go there - again, no one knows.
    Last edited by gvf; 05-31-2012 at 11:38 PM.

  3. #23
    Senior Member doc540 is on a distinguished road

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    Gentlemen, the direct U.S. involvement in South Vietnam, boots on the ground and support for a shaky Diem regime, was decided upon and acted upon by JFK and his advisors, particularly Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow.

    Their fateful "fact-finding" trip in October of 1961 was the turning point in this nation's misguided commitment from which we could not retreat.

    It was all downhill from there.

    http://www.historynet.com/general-ma...to-vietnam.htm

    Read it and weep.
    Last edited by doc540; 05-30-2012 at 01:32 PM.
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  4. #24
    gvf
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    Quote Originally Posted by doc540 View Post
    Gentlemen, the direct U.S. involvement in South Vietnam, boots on the ground and support for a shaky Diem regime, was decided upon and acted upon by JFK and his advisors, particularly Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow.

    Their fateful "fact-finding" trip in October of 1961 was the turning point in this nation's misguided commitment from which we could not retreat.

    It was all downhill from there.

    General Maxwell Taylor's Mission to Vietnam

    Read it and weep.
    Guess you don't like to read posts positioned one up from yours. In any case, if you want to blame Kennedy in '61 for choices made after he was dead two years later, have at'im. We're off-topic anyway which had to do with the NRA and JFK.
    Last edited by gvf; 05-31-2012 at 01:06 PM.

  5. #25
    Senior Member doc540 is on a distinguished road

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    I've not only read the posts, but studied both JFK and the history of U.S. involvement in Viet Nam.

    When he gave a nod to the NRA he was a very savvy politician and considered a middle-of-the-road liberal.
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    Senior Member ohiobuckeye is on a distinguished road

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    As I recall, Ike recognized Viet Nam to be exactly what the French found it to be...a costly unwinnable war that could go on for decades, and would not commit troops to be directly involved in the conflict, and Ikes aid was limited to a few military advisers and training assistance. I thought Kennedy followed similar guidelines and that Johnson was the lame brained yahoo that opened the gate for the Viet Nam fiasco after Kennedy's death.

  7. #27
    Senior Member doc540 is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by ohiobuckeye View Post
    As I recall, Ike recognized Viet Nam to be exactly what the French found it to be...a costly unwinnable war that could go on for decades, and would not commit troops to be directly involved in the conflict, and Ikes aid was limited to a few military advisers and training assistance. I thought Kennedy followed similar guidelines and that Johnson was the lame brained yahoo that opened the gate for the Viet Nam fiasco after Kennedy's death.
    Read the link I posted above. (It's an excerpt from one of the best books ever written about the subject, Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest".)

    "By 1963, U.S. forces totaled 16,000 and were taking casualties daily."

    The course set by JFK and his advisors not only put boots on the ground, but charted a "no-way-out" road map.
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  8. #28
    Supporting Member Hopalong is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by doc540 View Post
    I've not only read the posts, but studied both JFK and the history of U.S. involvement in Viet Nam.

    When he gave a nod to the NRA he was a very savvy politician and considered a middle-of-the-road liberal.
    I've read somewhere that the NRA was much different during that time - primarily education oriented and not very political. That might explain why a Democratic President was able to give them a nod back then.

  9. #29
    gvf
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    Quote Originally Posted by doc540 View Post
    Read the link I posted above. (It's an excerpt from one of the best books ever written about the subject, Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest".)

    "By 1963, U.S. forces totaled 16,000 and were taking casualties daily."

    The course set by JFK and his advisers not only put boots on the ground, but charted a "no-way-out" road map.
    Yes, I know the book, it's a critical look at Vietnam, it's very good in its story of the hubris of expectations - but JFK and his advisers did not put a comparatively large force in Vietnam, 15000 military personnel of all functions, (not 15000 combat troops), is not the involvement of a huge war or even a regional one - nor does a small number of advisers, some of which fought, come to a "no way out" position. In comparison we were 100,000 plus in Afghanistan, 540,000 in Vietnam 1968 , and 13,000,000 in WWII.

    JFK also had a predicate: involvement adjunctive to that of stable government of South Vietnam's - which is on record also though left out of "Best and Brightest". He meant it when he said the same in the Bay of Pigs fiasco he inherited - which made the poor decision of a young and new President's agreement to continue that plan a limited mistake (a mistake he publicly took all on himself, which he didn't need to do at all). He learned well and drew the line with the US Military in the Missile Crisis from the start. There is no reason to believe he didn't in Vietnam. Again he was dead in two short years and no one will know what he would have done. But for you: JFK was JFK, not Johnson, not Nixon, and '63 was '63, not '67 or '71.

    And now, hopefully back to the reason for the thread: the NRA and political leader 50 years ago:
    Last edited by gvf; 05-31-2012 at 11:41 PM.

  10. #30
    Senior Member doc540 is on a distinguished road

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    JFK and his advisors set a course by making a U.S. Government commitment to Diem and, therefore, to the world from which we had no other option but to escalate. By the time Johnson became president the die had already been set.

    Several of JFK's advisors saw the multiple liabilities of committing to South Viet Nam and were either ignored or overruled by the President and his other advisors.

    1961-1963 charted our inevitable and fateful course.
    Last edited by doc540; 05-31-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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