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“The Making of a Quagmire” a Book by David Halberstam Essay

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2020

  • What was an important lesson that you learned from reading TMOQ? Be specific and include names in your answer where appropriate

The book is critical on the political events during the Kennedy era, which was characterized by significant delusions headed through the American policy. The book handles the dilemma faced by policy makers in the U.S during the Vietnam War. This aids in understanding the events of the war, to meet the political goals when America fully participated in the war as seen through eyewitness report of the event.

The book depicts several shortcomings of the political and military leaders, which led to the American mission becoming unfulfilled leading to disillusionment. The U.S is said to have established a foreign policy problem in a region it should not have been involved in. America not only lost many lives in Vietnam, but also destroyed their economy and reputation in a desire to show off their military prowess.

They thought that democracy could be attained in a foreign land by being opposed to communism, where they were proven to be doing on the wrong soil. America was so engrossed in facilitating the cold war ideologies such that it neglected the common people in which it initially was supposed to protect. The book helps to understand that America as a foreign power in Vietnam, which assumed the desire to rule a country, that crashed it such that it could not maintain its nationalism under the control of Vietnam leaders.

  • Evaluate the actions of one of the following. This requires a value judgment on your part and you must cite evidence from the text in a simple parenthetical note with the page number. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge or GEN Paul D. Harkins or Ngo Dinh Diem or LTC John Paul Vann or Madame Nhu or the Buddhists taken as a group (as opposed to an individual Buddhist leader).

Halberstam maintains that the Vietnam War was led by a political aim where the U.S tried all means of preventing communist control in Vietnam, instead empowering the Ngo family, which failed them. Ngo Dinh Diem’s corrupt presidency in South Vietnam was later overthrown with the aid of the American government in 1963. Diem controlled the region under his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and Madame Nhu, his wife, who were trusted by the president.

He was being controlled by the two and remained isolated while empowering them to rule. Instead, they misruled and took advantage of people for personal gains. Being financed by America, Diem did not support them maintaining that the U.S could not withdraw aid since it was so rooted in the Vietnam and therefore, remained in a quagmire. He did not believe in American idea since it was engrossed to policy making, which was a deliberate mistake incurred by the U.S government and ultimately led to it losing the war. Removal of Diem and control by the military seemed more agreeable to be manipulated by the American government (Halberstam Pt. 1).

  • Who was right and why? The press or the government? Why? Be specific in your commentary, though you may limit it to a particular action or a particular member of the press. Or Halberstam? The best responses here will only address a limited aspect of the question.

The Saigon Press Corp was right in this event since they could oversee the outcome, but they were ignored. They foresaw a disaster even when the American and Vietnamese military portrayed their incompetence and ignored the press directives. The National Liberation Front (NLF) needed to ease the people off Saigon leadership, which was upheld by American advisors. Halberstram shows NLF’s desire to work with people through medical as well as military aid thus identifying with the locals. On the other hand, South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) antagonized them by haphazardly murdering those who collaborated with NLF. NLF executed selectively local leaders in collaboration with Saigon thus, providing the locals with insecurity and fear of collaborating with Saigon. America was in support of ARVN who were losing hence preventing the US aim of conducting a political war.

Work Cited

Halberstam, David. The Making of a Quagmire. Revised Edition. New York: Knopf, 1988. Print.

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""The Making of a Quagmire" a Book by David Halberstam." IvyPanda, 28 Dec. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-making-of-a-quagmire-a-book-by-david-halberstam/.

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IvyPanda. ""The Making of a Quagmire" a Book by David Halberstam." December 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-making-of-a-quagmire-a-book-by-david-halberstam/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""The Making of a Quagmire" a Book by David Halberstam." December 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-making-of-a-quagmire-a-book-by-david-halberstam/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"The Making of a Quagmire" a Book by David Halberstam'. 28 December.

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