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American Involvement in Vietnam War

Although Johnson pledged that "We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves" And called Vietnam a "Damn little pissant country" he is a central figure in the US involvement in Vietnam. Several theories tell the story.

American ShipsAlthough Johnson pledged that "We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves" And called Vietnam a "Damn little pissant country" he is a central figure in the US involvement in Vietnam. Several theories tell the story. Some historians say he consciously chose involvement, some say he is the victim of aids who wanted to be involved, and others say he was enveloped by events. Because of Johnson's victory over Goldwater, he trusted in his own immense popularity. He was also a very complicated figure, with a complicated problem which was not his kind of problem. His vision; one he shared with Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy; was to stop the communist "aggression". In early August, 1964, the North Vietnamese allegedly attacked two US destroyers in the Tonkin Golf. As a response, on August 7 the legislature passed the Tonkin golf resolution, giving President Johnson freedom to conduct the war any way he wanted.Beginning in January 1965, the US began regular bombing of the North Vietnamese bridges, rail roads, oil facilities, and HaiPhong harbor. Ambassador Taylor in Saigon Agreed with the Joint chief of staff about sending no troops to Vietnam. A year before, the joint chief of staff had conducted a war game code named sigma. It was to measure the cost of victory, and had a discouraging outcome much like the Vietnam war. Later, they organized sigma II, to check the impact of an air offensive. From Sigma II, America concluded that no amount of American pressure could stop the communists.

The CIA's estimation was proven wrong. They said that the communists would avoid actions, when for the first time they attacked the Americans in November of 1964. The attack came 3 weeks after their confident forecast. In January of 1965, an advisor told Johnson that our present policy can only lead to a disastrous defeat. The Vietcong was gaining in the countryside because of America's unwillingness to take risks. Hard choices had to be made. The Vietcong attacked a US base near Pleiku in February 1965. The Pleiku attack signified that the communists were now willing to take action. Operation flaming dart was the response. The carrier Ranger launched it's jets to bomb the North Vietnamese camp near Dong Hoi. Now the North Vietnamese leaders, who needed total support from communist powers, claimed to be victims of US "aggression."

On March 2nd operation Rolling thunder raided North Vietnamese ammunition depots. By April, Johnson's aids informed him that this operation had not seriously damaged North Vietnam's capabilities and the air offensive had failed. The typical American answer was "more and bigger." By the time Nickson signed the cease fire agreement in 1973, the U.S had dropped on North Vietnam, a country the size of New Mexico, triple the bomb tonnage dropped on Europe, Asia, and America during World War 2.

On March 8th 1965 Marines landed at Da Nang, the first American combat troops to set foot on the Asian Mainland since Korea. In April of 1965 Johnson and his aids were ready to Americanize the war. They sent 40 thousand troops to Vietnam by June. This doubled the number already there. By the middle of June one general told Johnson that he needed more than double again the number of US troops already there, to prevent South Vietnam's collapse. The U.S had to plunge into war or face defeat. Other of Johnson's aids were uncertain and had misgivings about which road to take. In July of 1965 Johnson announced on American TV that he would not be defeated and would stand in Vietnam.
 
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