Please read the attached files and provide brief answers to the following questions.
On Readings 1-3: Based on these readings, would you tend to characterize the insurgency in Vietnam as primarily communist (i.e., driven by ideology) or as nationalist/anti-colonialist? Do you think that the distinction is important?
On Reading 4: These are statements by a couple of President Lyndon Johnson’s closest advisors, Undersecretary of State George Ball and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, advising the president on how he should proceed in the matter of Vietnam. Ball makes the case against increasing the US commitment in Vietnam, while McNamara–who was ultimately one of the chief architects of the war–argues in favor of escalation. What points does each man make, and which do you think makes the more persuasive argument?
On Reading 5: This is from LBJ’s press conference announcing his decision to escalate the U.S. commitment to South Vietnam. What historic argument does LBJ invoke to justify U.S. escalation in South Vietnam? How and why does he link the U.S. commitment in South Vietnam to his own programs (the “Great Society”) aimed at eradicating poverty, racism, and social injustice in the United States?