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Good afternoon, my name is Rosley Vanstone I am a senior here at Hillsdale College. It's my pleasure this afternoon to introduce our speaker, Colonel H. R. McMaster is a Senior Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and special assistant to Commander of Multinational Force Iraq. He was commissioned as an Officer in the United States Army upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984. He holds a PhD in Military History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Colonel McMaster has held a variety of commandant staffed positions in armored in cavalry units including Command of a cavalry troop in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Command of a cavalry squadron in Schweinfurt Germany from 1999 to 2002 and Command of the third armored cavalry regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado and in Iraq from June 2004 to June 2006. From May 2003, to May 2004 he served as director, commander's advisory group at US central command. Colonel McMaster's military education and training includes the air borne and ranger schools, the armor officer basic and career courses, the cavalry of the year's course, the combined arm Service Staff School, Commandant General Staff College and a US army college fellowship at Hoover institute on war, revolution and peace. Colonel McMaster served as an associate professor of history at the United States military academy from 1994 to 1996. He has published numerous articles on military history and national security affairs. His award winning book, "Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of the Staff and the lies that led to Vietnam" was published in 1997. His most recent monograph, "Crack in the Foundation: Defense, transformation and the underlying assumption of dominant knowledge in future war" was published by the US army war colleges strategic study's institute in 2003. Colonel McMaster - excuse me is a research fellow at the Hoover institute and is a member of the council on foreign relations. Please join me in welcoming the Colonel. Thank you so much for that kind introduction, it's a real honor and privilege to be here at a great institution and really at a great conference series that's so well known across our country for delving deeply into significant issues, not just passing quickly with one talk but being able to consider a particular topic over the course of a week. So what a tremendous privilege it is to be here to talk with you today about the American experience in Vietnam. I entitled this paper late because I finished it and just got it just got it into to Tim here the subtitle was what we might learn from how and why Vietnam became an American war and as a reexamination of the American policy in Iraq, reaches a crescendo in Washington and on this you know, the anniversary of the mass murder attacks on our own nation September 11th, 2001. The analogies to the American experience in Vietnam have proliferated. People on all sides of the Iraq debate; invoke Vietnam to generate support for their positions. Some have suggested that conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq or campaigns in the broad we are on terror just as Vietnam, was a campaign in the cold war. The cold war in turn is viewed as a global ideological struggle, analogues to today's global struggle against adherence to a different ideology Islamism or salafi jihadism or takfirism. It is it seems clear that Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq do present complex problems with interconnected political, military, economic and cultural dimensions. America is again engaged in a form of war, a protracted counter insurgency that after the painful experience of Vietnam, many believed it would never again fight. Vietnam analogies extend beyond this strategic context of a war and the character of the conflict to operations and tactics posh Afghan and Iraqi borders and sanctuaries in neighboring countries given sergeant and terrorist organizations today freedom of movement, access to external support and havens to organize plan and train for operations. Similar to the communist insurgence in Vietnam the Taliban and Iraqi insurgency intimidate the population they wage effective propaganda campaigns and they seek to undermine ours and the indigenous governments, efforts to establish security, to build governmental institutions, establish the world of law, conduct reconstruction and foster economic development. Contemporary flaws like the North Vietnamese and Vietnamese communist enemies believe that eroding America's will to fight these difficult and costs of the conflicts is critical to achieving their objectives. Not surprisingly evaluations of today's counter insurgency efforts in Iraq and in Afghanistan frequently draw upon aspects of the Vietnam experience to provide historical context. Recently competitors have argued for example that the strain on our army threatens to break that institution similar to the way that fighting the Vietnam War without mobilizing reserve forces brought the army to the breaking point in the early 1970s. But before accepting the latest Vietnam analogy we might consider that our records of learning from history generally and the history of the Vietnam War in particular are not very strong. Indeed as when Foong Khong argued in her book "Analogies Of War" the subtitles Korea, Munich Dien Bien Phu and the Vietnam decisions of 1965. The misuse of history play an important role in poor decision making during the escalation of American intervention in Vietnam. Similarly Geoffrey record has warned about the pit falls of reasoning by historical analogy. Indeed when carefully consider the conflicts in the Vietnam Iraq and Afghanistan exhibit much many more differences than they do similarities. The memory of America's divisive military intervention in Vietnam and strong emotions that tainted many early interpretations of of that war make distilling the right lessons from Vietnam particularly difficult. One might argue that efforts to learn from the Vietnam experience have actually impeded as much as facilitated effective foreign policy and military strategy with someone called Vietnam syndrome, a belief that the united states is simply avoid the military intervention abroad which was the most prominent and immediate manifestation of the widely held interpretation that the Vietnam war was both unjustified and un winnable. Across the three decades following the 1973 peace accords, assertions that the use of force will lead to another Vietnam have appeared in connection with military operations in Latin America, the whole of Africa, the Balkans, South West Asia and Central Asia. The analogy to Vietnam was applied indiscriminately, it's use was meant to evoke emotion rather than to promote understanding, what became known as the "Weinberger" pal doctrine who - out of a well meaning attempt to say clear pre conditions for the use of military force and thereby prevent another Vietnam. America would employ military force only if vital national interest where its stake, victory was the adjective, war was the last resort and a decision forward and towards sufficient congressional end public support. America would apply overwhelming power, achieve decisive victory and then withdraw to avoid protracted entanglement. The ambiguity though of of what is a vital interest, what constitutes victory and what is overwhelming force and limited the doctrines utility. In the 1990's critics argued that the doctrines discouraged early intervention that could have prevented a larger conflict or prevented a humanitarian crisis such as in Bosnia or Uganda. Some suggested that the "Weinberger" "Paul" Doctrine especially the pre-conditions of overwhelming force and clear popular support eroded civil control of the military and encouraged military officers to become policy advocates rather than non-partisan advisers and executers of policy. Recently however the difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan have served to rehabilitate aspects of the "Paul" "Weinberger" Doctrine as preferable to the so called "Rumsfeld" doctrine that wars can be won cheaply, quickly and efficiently through the employment of small, light and high technology forces. 15 years after the first president Bush declared that America had finally kicked the Vietnam syndrome, Vietnam and Iraq historical analogies are already becoming conflated and seem likely to produce something like the Vietnam syndrome on steroids. They are dangerous in this kind of simplistic interpretation of history because it clouds understanding, it can be used to justify fraud policies or poor decisions. So if warning from history is such a problematic endeavor why do we just sit - you know, why do we just simply abandon the effort? Historians perhaps due to their preference for deductive enquiry and sensitivity to the complex causality of events are often skeptical about learning concrete lessons from their work and reaction to what he believed as the simplistic search for lessons from Vietnam, historian Earl Tilford - is quite a character by the way - argue that the only true lesson of Vietnam was that the United States should never again become involved in the civil war and support of a nationalist cause against communist insurgents supplied by allies with continues borders and a former French colony located in a tropical climate half way around the world. As as Dr. Conrad Crane has observed however the United States army failed you know to learn from the experience in Vietnam and was relatively un prepared as a result for counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan and in Iraq and and because after Vietnam it shifted its focus almost exclusively on on conventional war and a way from missions that like Vietnam crossed over into nation building and and in winning hearts and minds. Crane argued that although the post Vietnam emphasis on defeating the soviet threat to western Europe help produce a renaissance in the equality and readiness of the US arm forces in the 1980s. That focused divorced war from its political and its social context as a result lessons of Vietnam that it might have improved preparedness for the conflicts that are ongoing now receive little attention. Crane's analysis is consistent with what philosopher George Santana's said quite famously that "If we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat errors of the past". So then given the pit falls associated with learning the wrong lessons, how can we learn from America's experience in Vietnam without falling victim to simplistic analogies. Well the first step in sort of inoculating ourselves against the misuse of history is to learn the historical record and study historical events and experiences as Sir. Michael Howard has suggested "in widths, in depths and in context". We might also questions to permit open ended enquiry by deductive methods where the narrow questions that favor inductive methodologies used by some political scientists, those that Hillsdale excluded and most and most politicians who want to use history to either prove a particular theory or support a particular policy. Two of the questions that historians continue to ask about Vietnam are how and why the Vietnam become an American war and what went wrong there? My research led me to conclude that the answers to the questions are connected, the unique way in which the United States went to war in Vietnam had a profound influence on the conduct of the war and on its outcome. During the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, the a failure in leadership generated ambiguities in policy and and generated as well a flawed strategy. An insidious civil military relationship undermine further the Lyndon Johnson administrations ability to craft a coherent policy and an effective strategy for Vietnam. Ultimately lies and deceptions aimed at the American people and the representatives in congress during this period contributed to the erosion of US popular support and contributed thereby to the failure in Vietnam. Before we consider the period in which these decisions were made, the transformed American involvement there in to an American war, we might briefly place that period in context. It was the US commitment to sell Vietnam deepened after the withdrawal of French forces following their defeat at Dien Bien Phu and the temporary partition of that country in 1954 under the Geneva accords, under the Eisenhower administration US economic support, clandestine operations and military assistance propped up and strengthened the government of south Vietnam which under president Ngo Dinh Diem became an became an important ally along with seemed to critical frontier separating the free world from world communism. By 1958 many people would call Diem a miracle worker as he consolidated political control in the south. Diem's apparent success however belied an approaching story. The north Vietnamese had been preoccupied with consolidating there own power in the north and yet really focused on destabilizing the south. As John F Kennedy was organizing his presidential campaign in 1959 the 15th plenum of the communist party central committee - say that five times fast - declared that the fundamental path of development for revolution in South Vietnam is that a violent struggles so a shift had occurred. Over the next two years the security situation in South Vietnam deteriorated, in November 1961 president Kennedy authorized the commitment of US advisors to South Vietnam in excess to the numbers that were permitted in the Geneva accords when he took over his president, there were 800 US advisors in Vietnam, by the time of November '63 at the time of his assassination there were 16,500 advisors in Vietnam and they were doing really as much fighting as they were - as they were advising. The American advisory effort increased dramatically then and then in 1963 the Buddhist uprisings in the summer and Henry Cabot Lodge the American ambassador in Saigon, his dissatisfaction with the Saigon government inspired a US supporter to cue against her ally, the US ally Ngo Dinh Diem that resulted in Diem's assassination as well as the assassination of his brother Nhu who would been the the head of the secret police. So November 1963 is an important turning point in the war in Vietnam because of the US role in form bending a changing government and the affect that it saddled in the US government with responsibility for the success of regime and then also less than three weeks later the fact that an assassin's bullet in Dallas decreased the problem of what to do about that detouring situation in Vietnam to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Much of the the debate over lessons about Vietnam has focused on American's - America's strategy for the world deficiencies in that strategy analysts such as Carl Harry Summers argued that and gullet of operational art to connect tactical means to strategic ends was the central issue. American forces, others have argued were particularly ill suited to face the challenge of counter insurgency in the complex geographical and physical environment of south East Asia. Others have argued that no strategy was capable of addressing the weakness of the south the enemies government and that without a legitimate government in Saigon, military operations were few anyway. Still other historians argue that all such critics are one sided because they fail to give sufficient attention to the complex Vietnamese communist strategy of a strategy that employed a mousse act of shifting political and military actions. But what is common to all these interpretations is a conclusion that there was no simple or purely military solution to the problem of Vietnam just as there was no military solution for contemporary problems in Afghanistan or in Iraq, the situation in Vietnam demanded a policy and an associated strategy that integrated all elements of national power and directed American efforts towards the achievement of clearly defined goals and objectives. Success in Vietnam required defeating enemy insurgent and enemy conventional forces, countering enemy political initiatives and helping the self Vietnamese government and military develop the effectiveness and legitimacy necessary to secure the population, address people's basic needs and in turn you know then turn people against the communist. Vietnam then post a multi faceted problem that demanded a sophisticated integrated strategy relevant to the situation in Vietnam and appropriate giving the context of the cold war. Lyndon Johnson's administration however proved not only incapable but also on willing to examine the complexity of the situation and make decision based on consideration of potential cost and consequences. The way that the United States went to war in Vietnam was unique in American history. No one decision led to war Lyndon Johnson did not want to go to war in Vietnam yet every decision he made seems in retrospect to have led inexorably in that direction. Between November 1963 and July 1965, President Johnson made a series of decisions that transformed American involvement in Vietnam from an advisory and support effort in to an American war. Contrary to early interpretations about this period, Vietnam was not a quagmire that sucked in unwitting American government in to a war that they did not understand. The incremental nature of the decisions of 1964 and 1965 resulted in large measure from the president's unwillingness to exercise his leadership responsibilities. The president and his principle advisors were men who not only should have known better but who did know better at the time. The failure in Vietnam was perhaps first and foremost and a failure of leadership. As early as May of 1964, nine months before the first school of systematic bombing of North Vietnam in over one year before the decision to send large ground combat units in to South Vietnam , OBJ confided to national security advisor McGeorge Bundy that he did not see what we can never hope to get out of this, Vietnam was the biggest damn mess that I ever saw, yet informal discussions with this advisors Johnson refused to make a clear decision or to consider the full range of options in Vietnam , OBJ was determined to pursue consensus, a consensus build on lies and deceptions aimed to the public, the congress and even members of his own administration. Could - you know what what he viewed Vietnam principally as is a danger to his goal, his domestic goals of getting elected in his own right in 1964 and passing the great society legislation in 1965 and this is why rather than a wide range in debate Johnson excluded from policy deliberations anyone who challenged this middle ground approach because he - mainly one of the problem of Vietnam to go away, he once even threatened to get sick and leave town to avoid discussing the subject. The president desire to post pond difficult choices let the ambiguities in policy in a fundamentally flawed strategy, General George Marshall once quote that "If you get the objectives right, a lieutenant can write the strategy for the war". The obvious first step then in crafting a policy is to decide what you wanted to achieve. Policy goals and objectives in Vietnam however - were kept deliberately ambiguous to give Johnson's administration greater flexibility. National security advisor McGeorge Bundy posited that the lack of clarity in objectives on Vietnam was actually an advantage because if we failed in Vietnam, then that fail could be explained to way meeting at all together different objective which he say can be something just like gaining more time for other - for other South East Asian countries to strengthen there democracies. Lyndon Johnson turned to his most trusted advisors to develop a strategy for Vietnam that was compatible not with the situation in Vietnam but really compatible with his domestic political agenda and consistent with that desire to avoid a difficult decision on the war. In addition to keeping the policy goes deliberately ambiguous Johnson's secretary of defense Robert McNamara developed a strategy that permitted the president to avoid the most difficult decisions. Approved in March of 1964 the so called strategy of graduated pressure was based on the absorption that the application of limited military force would signal American resolve for thereby convince the enemy to alter his behavior. Applied to North Vietnam, graduated pressure would use co-war raids and tit for tat bombing to convince whole Chi Men and the leaders of north Vietnam to desist from supporting the Vietnamese communist in the south. Graduated pressure would allow the United States to control the escalation of the military effort and improve the situation in Vietnam cheaply, efficiently and with out attracting undesired attention from congress and the American people. That strategy however failed to consider military actions in political, cultural, economic or historical context. Vietnamese communist leaders were committed to winning. Even if victory came in extraordinarily high price, they had demonstrated the commit - that commitment is recently is the first in to china war against the French. What does that say about our political war from history I guess the Vietnamese were culturally predisposed to our patience in a long view , Ho Chimen and other members of head - they handle with leadership, viewed to fight against Americans in context of previous struggles against the French as well as the Chinese and the Japanese. Moreover, the primarily agrarian nature of north Vietnamese society limited the effect of bombing. Economic targets as a means of co version. Viewed in historical and cultural perspective the idea that coward operations in selected bombing would force the enemy to desist, should have been recognized at the time as a fantasy. Secretary of defense McNamara and his principle assistants however were insensitive to local realities. They mirror imaged the enemy in Iraq and they thought linearly, they approached Vietnam like a business management program. But they believed it ultimately succumbed to their recent judgment. Some planners in the state defense departments were attorneys who viewed North Vietnamese leaders Ho Chimen through the lens of the reasonable man's theory of English common mall, they ignored political and military sources of enemy strength in south Vietnam and focused on establishing a common law, pattern of attacks against the north, that aimed to alter host behavior These planners failed to view US actions from the enemy's perspective. They fail to analyze Vietnamese communist resources of strength or consider potential enemy reactions and initiatives. Indeed the north Vietnamese did not regard rates in bombings as signals or communication, but acts of war that demanded response, mirror imaging and linear thinking blinded planners to the fact that in war the future course of events depends not on what you choose to do but on enemy reactions and initiatives that are very that are very difficult to predict. Mark Moyar by the way he spoke with you last night, describes his interaction brilliantly in his book "Triumph Forsaken" under the concept of this graduated pressure the US selected military actions based on it's readily available military capabilities. Rather on what effects the application of military force might achieve and big used policy enforce our strategic thinking generate a tendency to equate military activity with progress. That in turn proven realistic assessments and clouded understanding even further because the president and his advisors only consider the next step of the ladder of graduated pressure, the strategy preempted consideration of long term costs and consequences of an American war in Vietnam. It is particularly striking now that the strategic graduated pressure gained acceptance despite a general recognition at the time that it would fail. In 1964, two early pathetic pentagon war games exposed fatal flaws in the strategy - in those war games, south east Asia experts played the role of the north Vietnamese government. In response to the limited bombing designed the signal American resolve, those experts decided to infiltrate large numbers of North Vietnamese army soldiers into the central highlands of south Vietnam. That threat in turn, impelled the commitment of American troops in to the south. The war games concluded to the combined factors of the enemy sanctuaries at north Vietnam, Cambodian allows the enemy's ability to sustain itself on newer provisions, the enemy strategy of emphasizing political and military actions to avoid strength and attack weakness and limitations on the application of American military power based on the fear of escalation of the war would admire the US in a protracted world with little hope for success. The game ended after five years of fighting with 500,000 US troops committed to south Vietnam. American support for the war eroded, the test concluded that the strategy of the graduated pressure would lead to failure. The results of the sigma one and sigma two war games appear almost as a script that civilian and military leaders followed as they moved along a path to failure in Vietnam. As Mark Moyar observed in "Triumph Forsaken" the north Vietnamese did not impose limits on themselves, when the enemy limited itself that was us but instead became more aggressive to exploit the enemy self imposed restrictions. But these sigma tests had no influence on the Lyndon Johnson and and his principle advisors. Why is that? I mean some of Johnson's advisor's went to extraordinary lengths to rationalize this flawed approach to the war. In the November 1964 planning memo, John Mcnorton defined the primary objective in Vietnam as just being seen as good doctor whose done all he could who has done all he could for the sick patient of Vietnam. But the patient dies of some kind of intractable disease so he went on to argue that Americans have to worry about winning in Vietnam, what America really needs to do in Vietnam is just get blooded to demonstrate our commitment you know, to helping similar regimes. McNamara and others labored on to the illusion that war could be controlled with a great deal of precision from Washington. They didn't understand that war unleashes a psychological dynamic, that precludes the easy acceptance of defeat. The adoption of this fought strategy of graduated pressure then helps to answer both the questions of how and why Vietnam became an American war and the question of what went wrong there. So if these deficiencies in policy and strategy were apparent at the time we might ask, how the president senior military advisors, influence those decisions. The joint chiefs of staff believed that McNamara strategy would fail. But they have little influence on policy making on the policy making of process and they fail to deliver their best military advice. It was clear to members of the joint chief's staff that were to preserve the freemen and the independence of south Vietnam who required the commitment of large numbers of troops for an extended period of time and at the situation of Vietnam in 1964 and 1965 demanded a clear decision between war and disengagement. So I am going to skip over some parts here, because I am going too long. But to other try to sum up this dynamic by saying that because the president was basing his Vietnam decisions on domestic political considerations. The results of that sigma test and the assessments of the joint chief's staff were equally unwelcomed. So this bad civil military relationship really reinforced deficiencies in Vietnam policy and strategy. Lyndon Johnson inherited a strange civil military relationship from his predecessor president Kennedy against the back rubs of contentious political pentagon reforms. The abort of "Bay of Pigs" Invasion in Cuba and differences of opinion during the Cuban missile crisis. The relationship between the joint chiefs and those to whom they provided advice had become one of deep distrust. Secretary McNamara who wanted Kennedy had become involved in the realm strategic planning became the most influential advisor on military affairs and on strategy for Vietnam. Convinced that military advice based on the objective of achieving victory was out loaded and even dangerous. McNamara and his assistants in the department of defense treated the joint chiefs of staff more or like a source of potential opposition than a source of useful advice. In 1964, McNamara bragged to President Johnson that he was taking a dividing conquer approach with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and it was coming along pretty well. The administration also sought to get the military advice have wanted by virtue of who would appoint it to those positions. After the recalcitrant General Curtis Lemay will may retire for example. Lyndon Johnson having a long interview with his successor to ensure that he would support policies with which he disagreed. Based on the pension for the president's view in Vietnam, principally it's a danger towards domestic goals. What he wanted from the JCS was acquiescence for decisions already made. And the legitimacy lend his policies and decisions by the chief's uniforms. The Joint Chiefs of Staff contributed there own in effectiveness and lack of influence, service populisms was a significant problem. The air force advocated a single service solution heavy bombing to the complex, political and military problem in Vietnam. The commander of the marine core compromised his views in part for a larger marine core. The chief of naval operations later stated that he was ashamed of himself that he did not voice his his objections to the administration's approach to the war. Objections immured out of the sense of loyalty to McNamara because McNamara preserved the most prestigious naval commandant in Hawaii, the pacific command as a navy commander as a favorite to McDonald Admiral McDonald, the chief of naval operations. But the joint chief of staff also compromised their views for expediency, they compromised principle really for expediency, convinced that there was just too much momentum behind this strategy of graduated pressure, the JCS took a foot in the door approach to Vietnam. Just get into the first bombing runs off. Just get the first troops deployed in Vietnam and then they believed that over time they would be able to argue effectively for a larger effort and will resolute military action. But this approach reinforced rather than drew into question this strategy of graduated pressure. So the joint chiefs failed to deliver either a caution critic of graduated pressure or an alternative strategy instead, the JCS provided secretary of defense McNamara and his planners with a list of military actions that were completely disconnected from many policy goals or objectives. The result was military activity, bombing the north, deploying troops to the south and killing the enemy and counting the numbers of enemy killed but without any idea of how that activity connoted progress in the war effort. Two meetings between the joint chiefs of staff in April of 1965 illuminate have a failed presidential leadership and this insidious civil military relationship contributed to the absence of the strategy as the nation went to war to Vietnam. Now, this one part of this this period of time was a focus of the talk I had earlier today about about the speech on John Hawkins this this meetings with the chief 1965 the same time as John Hawkins speech and Lyndon Johnson facing increasing public opposition to the war in this period, because of bombing of North Vietnam have just started the introduction to first more years has just occurred about a month and a half earlier. The president decided that he was the first going to give the speech before he met with the John Hawkins staff, during which he emphasized economic development rather than military force is the answer to the deteriorating situation in Vietnam. Privately however Johnson had asked his speech writers Jose Bundy in advance, to aim this speech at sisters in peace societies so he really wasn't sincere at all when he delivered the speech, he was just trying to protect his political flag against criticism from the left. But after given the speech now he has got me with the chiefs and keeps them on the team and make sure that they don't become a post to his policy or lack of policy in Vietnam. So during the first meeting he brings chiefs and he say hey I am like a coach I used to know when you are my team you are all Johnson's men and its half time and we are down to 20 or nothing and I want to tell me what is going to take to win this. So when you come back here next week I wanted to tell me how to kill more Vintners and tell me what is it going to take to win in Vietnam. When I will be next met with JCS on the 13th of the April General Joe Wheeler who then become the chairman of the joint chief of staff was the first to speak the chief said they met before and said that we want to make sure that we make- we make the point that we need at least two divisions in Vietnam to make any difference. So it turns that general Wheeler and general wheeler gives him his response the president was unhappy with the Wheeler's recommendation it is three divisions actually it was three divisions that we agreed on. To point to south Vietnam, and then and then Johnson used an analogy to respond to General Wheeler he said now what I wanted to do is to I wanted to imagine world businessmen, you are businessmen in Johnson city Texas and you go into the bank and as Mr. MacMer bank and you ask him for a loan of $90000, Mr. MacMer I can't give you $90000 but I can give you $5000 what you do? You let your business go wander or you did the best again with 5000. So he then turns to the army chief staff general Howard K. Johnson and he said okay general what's your recommendation? General Johnson stuck to agreement before handed only three divisions would make a difference and then Johnson became even more angry and then he turned to - the who had sort of given what is known as the Johnson treatment before the meeting he put his arm around Green, he was a small man and he was small compared to Johnson right and he was put I want some you know I want some good recommendations for you today and he chatted about his daughter dating a marine officer in south forth. So green responded given what he wanted he said he believed in a small appointment of marines could be brought cheaply and might be successful the president said that he was then willing to quote throw another chip on the table amounting to 5000 marines he only suggest the small number of additional troops should be tried out first and then if failed you wouldn't have lost anything you can go on and try something else. So these two April meetings it created confusion it was already a model strategic picture of what the US military was to accomplish in Vietnam. Directing the war should involve the funding policy goals and objectives then designing of the comprehensive strategic consistent with those goals and objectives and then determining the means necessary to carry out that strategy. Instead what was happening at Vietnam is the exact opposite the president was deciding what level of effort was politically accountable in the short term making that available to the joint chief and staff and basically telling them to do the best you can with you have got. So this is why you know you have military activity in Iraq without how that activity can make all the progress in the world this is why soldiers and marines and also men and women in south Vietnam didn't understand how the risk they were taking how the sacrifices they were making or contributing to goal and objectives that justified that risk and justified that sacrifice. The goals were kept liberally in big us and the president you know, then the president instructing to chief to kill more Vintners and do the best they came with what they made available again confused activity progress there was no discussion of killing more Vietnam Vintners and military tactical task was connected to the strategic goals. So this absence of a strategy as America goes to war in Vietnam and then also the increasing gap between the nature of America's commitment there and the Johnson administration's portrayal of that commitment to the American people and this is understating the cost of the effort. Understating the number of troops that are there misrepresenting their mission to the American people for example, this undermined the effort so severely I believe that the nation could never recover fully. Army planners did not develop a strategic alternative to graduate a pressure until the publication of the province study which stood for pacification republic of Vietnam in early 1966. Nine months after the decision to send large numbers of troops to South Vietnam and Louis Sorely has pointed out in a better war and you will have the opportunity to hear from him tomorrow. That strategy was not implemented fully until July of 1968 when General Craig Niebaum assumed command in South Vietnam. It was too late. As American involvement in the war deepened the gap between the nature of that commitment and the president's depiction of it to the American public and the congress widened, the administration dishonesty resulted in the circumvention of the constitution of the United States and denied the American public to say, and the most difficult question that the nation must face. And so this this was not only on democratic but in this period were removed and important corrective to what was an unwise policy or the lack really of a policy. In the last paragraphs of a better war surely, you will - again you will hear from tomorrow relates a story from December of 1975 is about seven months after the fall of Cygon and new secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld was away from the pentagon and worked in and used the opportunity to refurbish the new secretary's office. In so doing they removed a large relief map of South East Asia, they hung on the wall there in secretary Rumsfeld's you know, his first time as secretary of defense had hung there for over a decade. The map remained in the corridor for a few hours and then it was hulled away never to be seen again. Nearly, 26 years later Donald Rumsfeld was again occupying the office of the secretary of defense. When terrorists used the passengers yet for a mass murder against the building in which he was sitting in the pentagon. Prior to the attacks of September 11th 2001, the defense secretary had been occupied mainly with this agenda to transform the military based on the assumption that American technological superiority would permit forces of the future to achieve full spectrum dominance against all potential adversaries. Defense transformation would harness the so called revolution in military affairs to now rapid decisive operations that would shock in all opponents, future wars if any adversaries, even have the opportunity to challenge US superiority would be fast efficient and low risk. One cannot help it wonder if the 1960s years of map of South East Asia have remained in the secretary's office. If the reminder of the American experience in Vietnam again it's technologically inferior enemy might have inspired a different and perhaps more comprehensive analysis of the conflicts with which we are engaged today. The American experience in Vietnam demonstrated how geography, social conditions, political complexities and the human dimension of war can limit the relevance and benefits of technological over match. Vietnam also serves as a reminder that even the most dramatic technological advantages can not compensate for severe deficiencies in policy and a strategy. The history of the American experience in Vietnam illustrates further how adversaries can adapt to avoid American strengths, attack weaknesses, exploit vulnerabilities. Vietnam reveals how the interaction with the enemy and the complexity of war conspire to keep more squarely in the realm of uncertainty and resistant to a high degree of control. As Victor Davis Hanson who you will also hear from later today and sir Michael Howard a brilliant historian I comment to you any of his writings and others have observed we ought not to may be expect too much from history though. We ought not to expect the history will provide us. you know with clear answers, simple answers to complex problems. But what the study of history can do is suppose to ask the right questions and there by avoid mistakes. And perhaps make better decisions. As sir Michael Howard has suggested, we ought not to study history to make us clever for the next time but to make us wise for ever. Thank you, it's been a real privilege to talk with you.