Guest Stephen Turner Posted May 22, 2006 Share Posted May 22, 2006 Some researchers claim it was Kennedy's plan to end the Vietnam war that served as a trigger to the assassination, and that NSAM 263, with its plan to withdraw 1,000 soldiers in 1963, and all troops by 1965 proves his commitment to a peaceful end to the conflict. However in reading the document it is difficult not to come to a different interpretation. NSAM 263 is not, as some claim, a simple roadmap for ending the war, it does talk of troop removal but under very specific circumstances, for example, McNamara and Taylor were "Convinced that the Vietcong insurgency could be sharply reduced in a year." and that the US efforts should be "completed by the end of 1965" They called for an "Increase in military tempo of the war" and withdrawal of some troops in 63 and all by 65 if this could be achieved "without impairment of the war effort" and further that "The insurgency has been surpressed, or so weakened that the US client regime (GVN) is capable of surpressing it" And they stressed that the "The overidding objective is victory, a matter vital to US security" These were the recomendations that JFK approved. A constant refrain during America's ill-fated war was that there was "Light at the end of the tunnel" or they were"close to total victory" all that was needed was "one final push" from Kennedy through LBJ to Nixon advisors, both military, and civilian cosistantly assured them that 1,The war was winable, indeed close to being won, and 2,That to prevent the spread of Communism and to protect American interests, and security it must be won..Viewed in this context, it is difficult to percieve NSAM 263 as much more than the usual wrong headed, blue sky thinking based on troop withdrawal following rapid victory. I have little doubt that Kennedy was deeply uneasy about the the possibilities for escalation in the conflict, and it is possible that a second term Kennedy administration would have slowly turned away from the growing carnage, to full implementation of his social contract. It could also be argued that give his performance over BOP, Cuban missile crisis and Northwoods certain people felt that he couldn't be trusted with Vietnam, or indeed ANY future conflict, and I doubt that Kennedy would have escalated the war in such a rapid way as LBJ. All of this however is speculation, as it stands NASM 263 is only a roadmap out of Vietnam on the back of a victory we now know never happened, let alone by 1965. Cuba, and domestic policies did for JFK, not Vietnam. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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