Dereliction of Duty, by McMaster Essay examples

Dereliction of Duty, by McMaster Essay examples

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Dereliction of Duty, by McMaster, is a book written to explain the why and the how of the United States becoming involved in the Vietnam War. The author gives military and political reasons for this involvement and how the decisions were made by the nation’s leaders, who led not with honesty and integrity, but through mistrust and deceit. This group, who led this nation into war, involved the President of the United States, his military and civilian advisors, and the Joints Chief of Staff. What happened can be summed up in this statement from McMaster, "The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C."
H. R. McMaster was a West Point graduate and attended the University of North Carolina. He was also a Gulf War veteran who commanded an armored cavalry. His desire in writing this book was to examine, through the recently declassified documents, manuscript collections, and the Joint Chief of Staff official histories, where the responsibility for the Vietnam foreign policy disaster lay, but also examine the decisions made that involved the United States in a war they could not win.
This book details the discussion of government policy in the stages of the Vietnam crisis from 1961-July 1965. It examines the main characters of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara, in addition to the military, which included the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It began in the Kennedy era amidst the Bay of Pigs incident and how that led to mistrust of the military planning by advisors and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It continues with Johnson and his administration making decisions over and over that continued to commit more and more involve...

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... all involved. President Johnson was determined to have a limited involvement in the war without involving the legal approval of Congress or the knowledge of the people of America. McNamara and Taylor regularly lie to conceal actions. McMaster has written a thorough look at the decisions of all these men, which certainly shows a Dereliction of Duty.
This book would be an excellent source for anyone wanting to understand this period of the entrance into the Vietnam War. It is a great look into the character of each of the participants. It also would benefit those who are studying and learning how to develop strategy and policy for future wars that the United States may involve itself.

Works Cited

McMaster, H. R. Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins, 1997.

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