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A Teacher's Guide to The Vietnam War: A History in Documents by John J. Fitzgerald

By John J. Fitzgerald

Booklet by means of Charles Whiting

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A few expressed reservations. ” Senator Mansfield offered a mixed assessment. He praised Ford for making “a very difficult decision” and felt “it was the right one,” but he thought Ford should have “consulted” Congress before taking action against Cambodia. Under the War Powers Act, as Mansfield saw it, a president was obliged to do so before deciding to take military action. ”25 Newspaper reaction was decidedly mixed. Under the headline, “Barbarous Piracy,” New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis wrote: “Once again an American government shows that the only way it knows how to deal with frustration is by force.

26 And thus began the short, accidental presidency of Gerald R. Ford, which coincided with the final, humiliating collapse of the American undertaking in South Vietnam. ” In his memoirs, the secretary wrote: “I knew that Cambodia was doomed and that only a miracle could save South Vietnam. North Vietnamese communications to us grew progressively more insolent. There was no longer even the pretense of observing the Paris Agreement. ”27 Granted, Kissinger tended to strike a pose of innocent grandeur amid uncontrollable and malevolent forces, but putting aside his role—and Nixon’s—in the development of this diplomatic debacle, he did paint an honest portrait of the end of an era of American ineptitude in Indochina.

S. remain firm against Communist aggression elsewhere?

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