This volume provides an unusual and, it is hoped, illuminating perspective about US policy during the latter part of the Vietnam War. Mr. Willard J. Webb wrote practically the entire manuscript while the war was still in progress and its outcome was unknowable. The other volumes of The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the War in Vietnam, which were written under roughly similar circumstances, will undergo considerable revision to take account of subsequent events and scholarly findings. It was decided, however, to publish this volume in its original form. There are editorial improvements, but the only substantive additions, and they are few, occur in the final chapter on peace negotiations where Henry Kissinger's memoir provides essential information unavailable to Mr. Webb.
The reason to forego more substantial revision is that this volume is concerned with the definition and inception of a new policy: Vietnamization. How successfully that policy would prove to be will be described in the next volume. For 1969-1970, however, it is important to convey the attitudes of senior policymakers without benefit of hindsight. Readers will perceive that the Nixon administration did not yet look upon South Vietnam as a lost cause. While the Joint Chiefs of Staff had reservations and were not reticent about making them known, the overall tone of their appraisals of the war was one of guarded optimism. Through the end of 1970, Vietnamization did appear to be working. Saigon's armed forces progressively took over combat in South Vietnam from the withdrawing Americans and carried out the Cambodian incursion with seeming tactical competence. Yet the level of fighting in South Vietnam remained low throughout the period; the enemy avoided pitched battle in Cambodia; and American troops, advisers, and air power continued to shore up Saigon's forces. A full test of Vietnamization was yet to come.
1. Determining the Policy, January-March 1969 * 2. Military Strategy and Tactics, January-March 1969 * 3. Military Policy and Actions, April-July 1969 * 4. Reduction of United States Involvement * 5. Military Policy and Actions, August-December 1969 * 6. Strengthening the RVNAF, 1969 * 7. The Decision to Invade Cambodia * 8. The Invasion of Cambodia and Its Aftermath * 9. The War in Vietnam, 1970 * 10. Vietnamization in 1970 * 11. Pacification, 1969-1970 * 12. Negotiations to End the Conflict, 1969-1970
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