In Taking Sides, Brian VanDeMark and H. R. McMaster debate the topic of the Americanization of the War in Vietnam. VanDeMark argues that because President Lyndon Johnson did not want people to accuse him of being soft on communism he failed to question the possibility of increasing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. McMaster, however, states he believes the Vietnam War was a human failure because of President Lyndon Johnson as well as his principal military and civilian advisers.
First, Brian VanDeMark discussed how badly Vietnam divided America in so many different ways. Not only did the war split political leaders but typical people for a long time. Lyndon Johnson’s biggest problem was he was extremely wrapped up with his domestic reforms, which many believe took much of his time away from the involvement in Vietnam. At the time, policymakers pushed the concept of stability through escalation. The American people had very little confidence in Johnson at the time. It was longer than a decade before Americans started having faith in the White House again. Americans sided with South Vietnam and provided economic, military, and political support. Lyndon Johnson’s biggest problem was the he failed to calculate the American costs in Vietnam.
The second view came from H. R. McMaster. He states that neither entry of the U.S. into the Vietnam War or the Cold war was predictable. Two crucial turning points were the assassinations of Ngo Dinh and John F. Kennedy. Americans had a deepened commitment to continuing South Vietnam’s independence. McMaster states that Lyndon Johnson did not want to go into war in Vietnam because he knew it would be a costly failure; however, each move he made moved the U.S. closer to war. Johnson did not seem to recognize that fact though. Johnson had very little use for military advice because his main priorities were domestic issues.
In conclusion, the Americanization of...