We didn’t need the Pentagon Papers to find out that the war was wrong. It was wrong when the French fought to retain their control of Indochina, and when President Truman gave them military aid for their colonial war. It was wrong when Dulles and Admiral Radford sought to replace the French after Dienbienphu. It was wrong when President Kennedy sent secret operatives into Vietnam, North and South, to organize guerrilla warfare against the Vietnam Communists.
The war was wrong and American policy was at its worst when President Johnson escalated it into a large-scale ground, air, and sea war. It was an undeclared war, but American battle deaths reached the toll of U.S. killed in action in World War I. The war was wrong when President Nixon took over and sought to “Vietnamize” it.
Publication by the Times of the Pentagon Papers has served a useful purpose. Though President Nixon was “winding down” American ground participation in t...
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