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The cold war orthodoxy that defined the American foreign policy proved wrong according Robert McNamara who was the secretary of defense during the Vietnam War. The US policy makers relied on their own assumptions and values. The US policy makers lacked knowledge and information about Vietnam, though this is just a scapegoat reason for the failure, the real reason lies on the fact that the US policy makers were glued to the cold war orthodoxy, the America cold war orthodoxy dismisses any critics of war that US is a party, and based on misguided assumptions and fueled by ignorance and inability to admit error.
The realization of the American citizens that there was a distance between the thoughts of the policy makers and the realities on the battlefield led to an intensified opposition to the war. The Vietnam War made the Americans appear skeptical about the role of America in protecting their interests and also in policing the world; the war also made Americans believe that any engagement that might be quick and driven by ignorance and indecisiveness can be extremely dangerous. Another fundamental lesson that Americans learned from the Vietnam War was that national interest was considered prime over foreign policy debates.
The anti-Vietnam war movements had the role of creating awareness and sensitizing the other citizens by telling the other side of the war story which was not made popular and public by the government or the media. This attracted popular dissent by the US citizens who had been kept in the dark about the war. The war movements led to the institutionalization of anti-war cause.
There was a wide gap between the American citizens and the policy makers. This was exhibited in the plan for the Vietnam War where the ordinary Americans were fed with lies that were only meant to satisfy their conviction and the factual policies and ideas obscured from them. The reasons the Americans citizens were given composed of lies and myths and the updates they received about the progress of the war were mere falsehoods aimed at curbing any opposition towards the war (Appy and Bloom 1).
Appy, Christian and Bloom, Alexander. Vietnam War mythology and the rise of public cynicism. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, n.d. Print.