Presdent Kennedy had the right idea about Vietnam infact there is strong evidence that he wanted a total pullout by 65.<quoted text>
Actually, Vietnam started with President Eisenhower, who took the war over when the North Vietnamese defeated the French. It was passed on to Kennedy, who kept it limited to advisors, training the South Vietnamese to fight. Johnson inherited it, and promptly escalated it so American troops were doing most of the fighting. Nixon took over, maintained it until he realized the war was a big loser, and ended our involvement, leaving the South vietnamese government to sink or swim. They sank.
[SECTION] 1: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
We recommend that:
1. General Harkins review with Diem the military changes necessary to complete the military campaign in the Northern and Central areas (I, II, and III Corps) by the end of 1964, and in the Delta (IV Corps) by the end of 1965. This review would consider the need for such changes as:
a. A further shift of military emphasis and strength to the Delta (IV Corps).
b. An increase in the military tempo in all corps areas, so that all combat troops are in the field an average of 20 days out of 30 and static missions are ended.
c. Emphasis on "clear and hold operations" instead of terrain sweeps which have little permanent value.
d. The expansion of personnel in combat units to full authorized strength.
e. The training and arming of hamlet militia to an accelerated rate, especially in the Delta.
f. A consolidation of the strategic hamlet program, especially in the Delta, and action to insure that future strategic hamlets are not built until they can be protected, and until civic action programs can be introduced.
2. A program be established to train Vietnamese so that essential functions now performed by U.S. military personnel can be carried out by Vietnamese by the end of 1965. It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by that time.
3. In accordance with the program to train progressively Vietnamese to take over military functions, the Defense Department should announce in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963. This action should be explained in low key as an initial step in a long-term program to replace U.S. personnel with trained Vietnamese without impairment of the war effort.