Excerpt from Bacevich’s Washington Rules
P. Schultz, April 17, 2011
Read the following and recognize that those waging war in Vietnam knew, early on, that we could not “win” and yet they went ahead anyway:
“One point deserves particular attention here. For Bundy and others in the administration, the urge to act grew out of considerations unrelated to the crisis of the moment or even to Vietnam as such. The formal report rendered by the Bundy mission let the cat out of the bag: ‘We cannot assert that a policy of sustained reprisal will succeed in changing the course of events in Vietnam,’ that report acknowledged. ‘What we can say is that even if it fails, the policy will be worth it.’ The very act of bombing the North would demonstrate American will, ‘damp[ing] down the charge that we did not do all that we could have done.’ Pain inflicted on the North Vietnamese would ‘set a higher price for the future upon all adventures of guerilla warfare,’ thereby increasing ‘our ability to deter such adventures.’ In effect, the United States needed to bomb North Vietnam to affirm claims to global primacy and quash any doubts about American will. Somehow, in faraway Southeast Asia, the continued tenability of the Washington consensus was at stake.” [p. 98]
You must remember that the same logic applied to the sending of troops to Nam and to whatever death toll this involved. In fact, given this logic, the higher the death toll to American troopers, the better – because it would illustrate that the US was serious! Now if this is not madness, then I don’t know the meaning of the word.