Re: why we stayed in vietnam

Marc J. Gilbert (
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 08:37:01 -0500


There is considerable evidence that NSC believed that Southeast Asia
had to remain out of communist hands to provide markets for Japan
after Mao's victory in China left Japan isolated as an ally. Walt
Rostow said in my presence that Indochina was a thumb that
could compress and stop the flow of our trade along the major trade
routes in Asia. So we can discard hoary Marxist ideology and
still see economics at the heart of why we were there and why, other
than the classic investment trap, we stayed. However, as the
Jabberwocky took over in 1968, I have really no idea other than
preparing the "decent interval" that would allow us to "save face."
I still burn thinking that 20,000 Americans died, so many more
Americans were scarred and so much of our political system was
trashed because we could not just, as was suggested at the time,
declare victory and leave. Clinton did it Somalia. Hopefully, this
will set a precedent.