Containment and Credibility: The Ideology and Deception that Plunged America into the Vietnam War

Pat Proctor. Carrel, $39.99 (532p) ISBN 978-1-63144-056-4
Proctor, a U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, focuses on two aspects of American Vietnam War policy making in this long, detailed examination of why the U.S. greatly escalated the war in 1964 and why the war ended the way it did in 1975. His theory—which is not altogether new—is that President Johnson led the nation into the war by selling the American public on the simplistic and disingenuous idea that the U.S. had to stem the tide of advancing worldwide communism (containment), and that the antiwar movement’s attack on President Johnson’s and Nixon’s truthfulness in explaining their war-making strategies (credibility) was primarily responsible for ending the war. Proctor pays a good deal of attention to the 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident and the resulting congressional resolution that gave L.B.J. the authority to escalate the war. He sees L.B.J.’s actions as the ultimate presidential deception. What is new is Proctor’s sound conclusion that the Vietnam War containment and credibility framework has had a lasting influence on U.S. foreign policy. Today’s “War on Terror,” he says, is still being fought with a Cold War-era foreign policy ideology, which could be a recipe for “a century of costly and fruitless warfare across the globe.” (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 11/01/2016
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