The Atrocities Of The Vietnam War



The many decisions made by the policymakers in Washington regarding the War in Vietnam, perhaps America’s greatest foreign policy failure, had many consequences that, though unforeseen, could have been avoided. The main policymakers include: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. These men and their advisors created a "policy of atrocity" in Vietnam. The decisions that created the most widespread destruction, besides the bombing escalation’s by Johnson and Nixon, was Robert McNamara’s proposal to JFK for a "quantified war". A "quantified war" is a war where the enemy body count, not territory, is the measure of winning or losing. Perhaps unforeseen, this notion of ...

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War, the body count was the most important statistic to the U.S. Military command. The efforts to quantify the complexities of the war into simple numbers pervaded every aspect of U.S. military presence in Vietnam. Secretary of Defense from 1962-1967, Robert McNamara, did a lot to persuade high-level policymakers that a "win" in Vietnam was just a matter of improving the numbers.
The most devastating consequence of this mindset was the great number of Vietnamese civilians killed without provocation. In a war lacking front lines and territorial objectives, "attriting (slowing eroding the number of soldiers) the enemy" was the major objective. Although most were ridiculously unreliable, the body count was the index of progress. The scale of destructiveness of the "firefights" made it nearly impossible to obtain an accurate number of enemy killed in action (KIA).
The Vietcong was not an army in the traditional American sense. They were not uniformed like most industrialized ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 7/25/2005 01:33:15 AM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1062
Pages: 4

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