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June 22, 1971 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-22

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Tuesday. June 22, 1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

,u o J ,e2 191TEMCIA AL aeFv

Viet papers: History

(Continued from Page 2)
At a White House strategy
meeting in September, the Pen-
tagon study reports, there was
a general consensus that a i r
strikes against North Vietnam
were necessary early in 1 9 6 5
but "tactical considerations" re-
e quired a delay.
The study notes Johnson was
"presenting himself as th e
candidate of reason and re-
straint" and the need for gain-
ing "maximum public and con-
gressional support."
The White House meeting re-
* jected a plan put forward by
McNaughton, to provoke t h e
North Vietnamese into actions
that would justify air raids on
the north.
When the Viet Cong struck
the Bien Hoa airfield Nov. 1
with a devastating mortar at-
* tack, killing four Americans and
destroying five B57 bombers,
the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged
strong reaction, including a i r
raids on North Vietnam. Tay-
lor by this time ambassador in
Saigon, suggested milder reac-
tion, the bombing of selected
a targets in the North.
The Pentagon accounts says
the President disagreed a n d
"apparently the decision w a s
made to do nothing." At a
White House meeting Johnson
expressed concern that heavy
air raids on the North might
# bring retaliatory strikes f r o m
North Vietnam or People's Re-
public of China against U.S.
bases and civilians in So u th
Vietnam.
Instead of taking action on-
the recommendations, Johnson
named Bundy to head a group
to draw up various political and
military options for action
against North Vietnam. The
group met on Nov. 3: the day
Johnson was elected by a land-
slide.
Bundy suggested Congress
must be consulted before a n y
major action although "we pro-
bably do not need additional
congressional authority, even if
we decide on very strong ac-
tion."
There was considerable dis-
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agreement at a meeting called
later that month to consider
the group's recommendations
for bombing North Vietnam.
Gen. Earle Wheeler, chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
argued for a hard, fast bomb-
ing campaign. The meeting
ended without a clear decision
on options to be handed John-
son.
The Cabinet-level meeting re-
sumed three days later when
Taylor arrived from Saigon
with a plan to increase a i r
strikes gradually against North
Vietnam. They would last two
to six months during which
Hanoi was expected to yield
and agree to negotiate to end
the war.
The recommendation was
presented to Johnson. The
Pentagon report notes that the
President shared the view that
"the threat implicit in mini-
mum but increasing amounts of
force would ultimately bring
Hanoi to the table on terms
favorable to the U.S."
The plan had not yet been
put into effect when a Viet
Cong attack on a U.S. military
adviser compound at Pleiku in
the central highlands in Feb-
ruary prompted a U.S. raid by
47 jet fighter-bombers on Dong
Hoi, a port 45 miles inside North
Vietnam.
At the end of the month, the
administration ordered Opera-

tion Rolling Thunder, the con-
tinuous bombing of North Viet-
nam on a rising scale, to be-
gin.
"Once set in motion, however,
the bombing effort seemed to
stiffen rather than soften Han-
oi's backbone," the Pentagon
analysis notes.
"Official hopes were h i g h
that the Rolling Thunder pro-
gram . . . would rapidly con-
vince Hanoi that it should
agree to negotiate a settlement
to the war in South Vietnam.
After a month of bombing with
no response from the N o r t h
Vietnamese, optimism began to
wane."
"Between 1965 and 1968, the op-
timistic forecasts about the war
repeatedly collapsed, the U.S.
strategists attempted every form
of military pressure they could
devise to crack the Communist
will to pursue the war in South
Vietnam - within limits Pre-
sident Johnson imposed to avoid
open, big-power warfare.
The Pentagon report says
the United States had two op-
tions; to withdraw from Viet-
nam, leaving the South Viet-
namese to their fate, or "to
commit ground forces in pur-
suit of its objectives."
Two battalions of U.S. Ma-
rines had landed at Da Nang in
South Vietnam on March 8 with
their mission restricted to de-
fense of the airfield.

of escalation
Realizing that the bombing Rusk saying t he decision to
of the North would not work commit combat troops "is cor-
quickly enough, the administra- rect only if our air strikes
tion on April 1, 1965, ordered against the North Vietnamese
the Marines to take the offen- are sufficiently heavy a n d
sive. damaging to hurt the N or t h
Johnson also decided to send Vietnamese."
ashore two more battalions of "In effect," he argued, "we
Marines and to increase sup- will find ourselves mired down
port forces in South Vietnam in combat in the jungle in a
by 18,000-20,000 men. The Pen- military effort that we cannot
tagon study says he directed win and from which we will
that his orders be kept secret.
have extreme difficulty extri-
On April 2, John McCone, di- cating ourselves."
rector of the Central Intelli-
gency Agency, sent a note to See PAPERS, Page 10
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