By "limiting access" the Army brass were assured that the reporters could only report what they had been allowed to see, the positives (as the Army saw them anyway). Censorship was thus subtle and not overt, e.g.: In WWII the Red Cross was allowed "free access" to POW camps where they saw healthy and well-fed POWs. These were "show" camps maintained for just that purpose. The realty was carefully hidden as it was in Vietnam.Why?
True but the US did not act unilaterally. We acted under the UN auspices. Read again my previous line: the press was forbidden to make any derogatory comments about United Nations troops.Korea wasn't a declared war either...
While the US went into Vietnam without UN approval, it was not a strictly a US affair. South Korea was our biggest ally sending 320,000 troops over the course of the war. Now the US did foot 25% of the cost of those deployments. Australia was our #2 ally sending 61,000 troops including Infantry, Airborne, Special Forces, Medical, Armour, and even a Naval Destroyer. They were assigned one of the most heavily VC infested districts in Vietnam. Philippines supplied 10,000 Medical personnel. New Zealand 3,800 Arty, engineers, Medical and some really tough SAS units.
There were others and behind the scenes Canada. While welcoming and aiding US draft-dodgers, 30,000 Canadian citizens is US uniforms served in Vietnam, one of them receiving the CMH. Additionally Canada produced over 2.5 billion dollars worth of war materials from uniforms to Agent Orange.
Kennedy did not want the US embroiled in another Korea. The US role was to be one of support, i.e.: training and material. Saigon was to supply the troops and do the fighting albeit with US clandestine US troop support. Nothing was to be overt but the Diem regime simply did not and never had popular support and government after his assignation fared even worse.How did we envision the war to be fought by them?
The Army had had increasing difficulty getting the Saigon Press Corps to toe the party line. The Army had done everything in their power to discredit them, i.e., bringing in Press corps from the US and taking them on carefully scripted "tours" then returning them home. The Saigon Corps however, being in-country had developed their own informational sources and were less likely to trust the honesty of the Army/Government. The carefully constructed facade was beginning to crackWhy did these younger journalists feel this way?
On January 24, 1966, Secretary of State Dean Rusk appeared before a closed hearing of Fulbright's committee. His assessment: "If the U.S. and its allies remained firm, the communists would eventually give up in Vietnam." Rusk's testimony convinced Fulbright that the administration of President Lyndon Johnson was blinded by its "anticommunist assumptions."How did it attack the administration
Attempting to forestall a buildup of American forces, Fulbright launched a high-profile series of widely televised public "educational" hearings in February 1966. The all-star cast of witnesses included retired generals and respected foreign policy analyst George Kennan.
Kennan advised that the United States withdraw "as soon as this could be done without inordinate damage to our prestige or stability in the area" to avoid risking war with China. His testimony prompted an angry President Johnson to order FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to investigate whether Fulbright was "either a communist agent or a dupe of the communists."
The hearings reached their most dramatic phase when Secretary Rusk and General Maxwell Taylor arrived to lay out the administration's case. Fulbright shifted from his earlier role as a benign questioner of supportive witnesses to a grim prosecutor. The February hearings did not immediately erode Senate support for Johnson's war policies. They did, however, begin a significant shift in public opinion. In the four weeks that spanned the hearings, the president's ratings for handling the war dropped from 63 percent to 49 percent. The testimony of George Kennan and other establishment figures had made it respectable to question the war.
1. Unfortunately no such person, i.e., a southern Ho Chi Minh existed. After Diem a series of Military generals usurped political power one by one, coup following coup. After a coup in February 1964, Air Marshall Nguyễn Cao Kỳ became prime minister and Nguyễn Văn Thiệu became the nominal head of state. Kỳ and Thieu functioned in those roles until 1967, bringing much-desired stability to the government. They imposed censorship and suspended civil liberties, and intensified anticommunist efforts. Under pressure from the US, they held elections for president and the legislature in 1967. Needless to say Thiệu was elected president with 34% of the vote in a widely criticized poll. Then came Tet.I'm surprised we didn't do one of the following
2. The Army had been told that by many of its own jungle warfare experts starting in 1965 when Col. Donald Blackburn became head of SOG. Blackburn had been an adviser in the Philippines in 1941. He escaped the Japanese, fled to the hill where he organized Filipino resistance fighters. By the time of MacArthur's return he headed 20,000 trained guerrilla fighters. In Vietnam Blackburn conceived of and implemented Operation Shining Brass. Initially Blackburn formed 5 US led recon teams: Two or three SF troopers plus 9 local Nung tribesmen.
Phase One: These Recon teams would infiltrate southern Laos, find NVA bases and supply areas and direct air strikes to them. In the meantime in Vietnam SOG would train company sized raiding units, "Hatchet Forces".
Phase Two: Once formed and trained these Hatchet Forces would land, sweep through and destroy a target and be gone before the NVA could react.
Phase three: In Laos itself, Laotian tribesmen would be recruited and trained to raid the NVA at every opportunity forcing them to mass together making them bigger and better targets for air raids and Hatchet Forces. The NVA would be attacked and harassed at every turn.
The plan was gutted by politics. William Sullivan US ambassador to Laos gutted the plan restricting operations to two small boxes along the border, refused to allow helo insertion and supporting air strikes.
3. Again Politics. Fearful of another Korea airbases around Hanoi and Haiphong could not be attacked. In addition any number of airfields were located in China itself.