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Old 06-19-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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Default JFK - Vietnam War

I have always wondered how much different history would have been if JFK had pulled out of Vietnam in 62 when we pulled out of LAOS. I know there are some memo's or rumors that he wanted too, but knowing how JFK was I don't think he would have done it.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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JFK got rewritten in the minds of the New Left when they had risen to the forefront in the late '60's. They took what evidence that there was that President Kennedy was contemplating withdrawal as one option, and converted it into fact in their minds in order to sustain the Kennedy family as anti war champions. This required overlooking that JFK was no less a Cold Warrior than any of our other presidents, and more of one than some.

After taking the oath he pledged that the US would fight any foe of freedom and bear any burden in the name of liberty. He okayed the attempt to oust Castro which resulted in the Bay of Pigs calamity. He challenged the Soviets to a race for the moon. He accepted the heightened risk of nuclear war in order to play hardball with the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And he got us involved with propping up the corrupt South Vietnamese government because the alternative would have been a communist government for the entire nation.

None of that behavior hints of a president who would have lightly abandoned an anti communist cause. Had JFK lived, I think it is possible that "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today", might have been "Hey, hey, JFK, how many...etc" If President Kennedy had completed two terms, in 1968 Bobby might have been running on the pro rather than anti Vietnam War ticket.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
JFK got rewritten in the minds of the New Left when they had risen to the forefront in the late '60's. They took what evidence that there was that President Kennedy was contemplating withdrawal as one option, and converted it into fact in their minds in order to sustain the Kennedy family as anti war champions. This required overlooking that JFK was no less a Cold Warrior than any of our other presidents, and more of one than some.

After taking the oath he pledged that the US would fight any foe of freedom and bear any burden in the name of liberty. He okayed the attempt to oust Castro which resulted in the Bay of Pigs calamity. He challenged the Soviets to a race for the moon. He accepted the heightened risk of nuclear war in order to play hardball with the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And he got us involved with propping up the corrupt South Vietnamese government because the alternative would have been a communist government for the entire nation.

None of that behavior hints of a president who would have lightly abandoned an anti communist cause. Had JFK lived, I think it is possible that "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today", might have been "Hey, hey, JFK, how many...etc" If President Kennedy had completed two terms, in 1968 Bobby might have been running on the pro rather than anti Vietnam War ticket.
My father (RIP) would have completely agreed with you; he always called JFK "that rum runner's boy" and firmly believed that "the old bootlegging gangster" bought the Presidency for his son.

This was not an easy stance to have in a predominantly Catholic city, New Orleans, where portraits of JFK hung on the walls of many, many homes; up there right between the ubiquitous pictures of the virgin Mary and the sacred heart of Christ!

Dad always referred to the Vietnam war as the "catholic war" and he once showed us an old, yellowing newspaper cutting from a catholic (I think) newspaper displaying a photo of JFK and a Madam Nu (sp?), the wife of Vietnam's president or equivalent.

The two were snapped smiling broadly while in a handshake and the text was positively gushing in its praise of JFK sending military help Madam Nu's (sp?) husband stamp out the communists in Vietnam as in one catholic performing his duty to another catholic.
.
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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IMO, JFK was a total loose cannon. About the only positive part of his rule was the space program.

I was neighbors with one of the guys involved with Bay of Pigs. Ouch. Nasty.

I had a brother in Gitmo doing CIC during the missile crisis. Ouch. Nasty.

I had another brother in 'nam. Ouch. Ten thousand times more respect for my brother than Kennedy.

Kennedy was the most dangerous President we have had in recent history. I won't condone what Oswald did, and Johnson had huge faults of his own, and I'm going to leave it there.
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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JFK was pretty much consumed by wanting to defeat communism.Look at just now far he was willing to go to get rid of Castro alone. I also think many liberals want to rewrite history but really the evidence doesn't support them.If people had know the degree to which he was wili gto go ;they would have been shocked, he made Nixion look like a saint and in fact Nixion got the dirty tricks idea from him after JFK committee used it in the 60's campaign.Loose cannon is a good description for JFK.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:17 AM
 
Location: FROM Dixie, but IN SoCal
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If you talk with Special Forces dudes who were in Vietnam 1961-1965, nearly all of them will tell you that the Kennedy strategy of sending the Green Beanies to train & work with the South Vietnamese Special Forces, so as to teach the Montegnards of the Central Highlands (particularly the Rhade) how to protect themselves, was working pretty well. Not perfect by any means, but pretty well.

Things didn't go to sh*t over there until after the Johnson Administration used the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (which, quite likely, never actually happened) as an excuse to send in large numbers of ground troops. The Ninth Marine Expeditionary Brigade and 1st Battalion Third Marines; the First Infantry Division; the First Brigade of the 101st Abn; the First Air Cavalry Division, etc.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:39 AM
 
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The Special Forces would have been pretty much over whelmed by 1965/66 by the North. Most of those camps they established ended up being wiped out or closed. I have always felt we wasted those SF guys, especially the SOG missions into Cambodia, Laos. How much intelligence do you need to tell you the North is invading?

JFK's legacy should be the Vietnam war and his ego. Here is a guy that was pretty much clueless, gave a great speech, but addicted to drugs and would have rather slept with a mafia hooker than his own wife. It is amazing how the left covered his tracks and failure in Vietnam.

In the end it was not a war we could have won and JFK made a huge error in not leaving and letting South Vietnam fall to the Communists. Most of the people living there would not have cared who was in charge and eventually communism fails on it's own.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totsuka View Post
and eventually communism fails on it's own.
In the case of Vietnam, how long before we reach "eventually?" The communist government has now been running the place for 36 years and I'm unaware of any internal revolutionary movement to oust them.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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That is much like saying that south korea must be fine since their is no revolutionary moverment there.They certainly have ruled much longer than the present vietnamese governamnt;but it hardly a system to be admired.Strong supression works wanders as many governments have realised for centurnies.

Last edited by texdav; 06-21-2011 at 08:41 AM..
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:53 AM
 
Location: FROM Dixie, but IN SoCal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totsuka View Post
The Special Forces would have been pretty much over whelmed by 1965/66 by the North. Most of those camps they established ended up being wiped out or closed.
History disagrees with you. Yes, the camps were wiped out or closed, but only during or after the US pull-out. Some were overrun earlier than that of course, and a few of these were abandoned or relocated, but otherwise A-Detachment camps were alive and well in all four Corps Areas of RSVN. Recall, too, that the large-scale infusion of NVA regulars into RSVN began in 1965, to counter Johnson's massive introduction of US ground troops. (See below.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by totsuka View Post
I have always felt we wasted those SF guys, especially the SOG missions into Cambodia, Laos. How much intelligence do you need to tell you the North is invading?
As a point of information, SOG was not an Army Special Forces operation, but a joint operation created by the JCS in 1964, and run by the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). Its personnel came from the CIA, Army Special Forces, Navy SEALS, Marine Force Recon, and the Air Force (among others). And yes, the SOG casualty rate was high. A good bit of this was due to the nature of their missions, which encompassed much more than reconnaisance and intelligence-gathering.

Here's one example: During the night of 30/31 July 1964, SOG vessels shelled the North Vietnamese islands of Hon Me and Hon Ngu. Two days later, on August 2, three North Vietnamese vessels attacked the USS Maddox which was operating close to the island of Hon Me in the Gulf of Tonkin. During the night of August 3/4, SOG vessels shelled targets on the North Vietnamese mainland, and the next night the US destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy reported they were under attack by unidentified (presumably North Vietnamese) vessels. There was SOG land operation underway in North Vietnam at the time, which was detected.

In other words, it is quite likely that SOG operations actually triggered the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which in turn triggered Congress' passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7th. This resolution led directly to Johnson's massive escalation of the war, including the introduction of US ground troops beginning in April of 1965.

Last edited by Nighteyes; 06-21-2011 at 11:21 AM..
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