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Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam
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McMaster stresses two elements in his discussion of America's failure in Vietnam: the hubris of Johnson and his advisors and the weakness of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dereliction of Duty provides both a thorough exploration of the military's role in determining Vietnam policy and a telling portrait of the men most responsible. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This book should really be read in conjunction with Robert MacNamara's 'In Retrospect', which I thought was a fairly honest account of MacNamara trying to come to terms with the consequences of his (and LBJ's) mismanagement of American policy on Vietnam, which, to his credit, he later recognised as wrong.
McMaster is justifiably harder on both the folly and outright deception of the Johnson administration's actions than MacNamara's version of events and his insights are profound, cool and lucid.
MacNamara's 'Whiz Kids' (Halberstam's 'The Best and the Brightest'), the technocrats from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, emerge from this account as arrogant, ignorant and shallow policy wonks who thought they knew war better than the military and thus kept the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) out of all major policy decisions on the war. They believed that any situation could be resolved through analysis, statistics and 'war as communication'. Tragically, the hubris of these nerds got 58,000 soldiers killed in a war they all clearly knew couldn't be won.
Johnson's determination to both commit to a limited war without the approval of Congress and hide his actions from the American people was breathtakingly cynical, even by US political standards.Read more ›
According to McMaster: "Under the National Security Act the Joint Chiefs of Staff were `principal military advisers to the president, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.'" However, McMaster writes, McNamara never had a good relationship with the Chiefs because they "were unable to respond to McNamara's demands fast enough, and their cumbersome administrative system exacerbated the administration's unfavorable opinion of them;" and "McNamara quickly lost patience with the Chiefs' unresponsiveness and squabbling.Read more ›
The second item that really came to the forefront of the book was the down right lying that LBJ was doing too basically the whole country. He would tell Congress one story, Military staff another and the public a third story. None of which was too close to the truth. What makes this so interesting to me is that it was this continual shading of the truth that eventually caught up with LBJ and caused the war to become such a mess and his popularity to fall so low. IF he would have been above board and honest there is a good chance that the US would not have gotten so deep into the war and LBJ would have coasted into a second term. If ever there is a case study in how not to conduct a war, at least from the political side, this is it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great something we knew all along and a service man during these times the whole bunch should have been shot, to many lives for nothing Thanks for telling the truth.Published 10 days ago by william t hope
"I love it" is not why I gave this book 5 stars. I hated it! I would get so furious ithat I would have to put it down and walk away. Read morePublished 1 month ago by KenGordon
Thorough research and well written. Really appreciated this workPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Being a Vietnam Vet the duplicity of Johnson and McNamara makes my blood boil.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Perfect sequel to Mark Moyar's "Triumph Forsaken." A incisive review of discussions, decisions, accountability, and of what went wrong.Published 1 month ago by Thomas V. Draude
A meticulously researched and searing indictment of the lies that led us into the war in Vietnam. Unbelievable in terms of the dishonesty and arrogance of LBJ and his senior... Read morePublished 2 months ago by S. A. Staudenmeir
H R McMaster's "Dereliction of Duty" was published almost 20 years ago. For almost nothing, I recently bought a near-mint condition hardback from Amazon and quickly... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Thomas Stover
Congress, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the American public. Never knew the real dealings in Washington D.C., concerning Vietnam. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. latsch