Declar Victory and Withdraw

Declar Victory and Withdraw - Aiken on Viet Nam: Declare...

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Page 1 of 2 Aiken on Viet Nam: Declare victory and withdraw Senator George D. Aiken (R-VT) in the United States Senate October 19, 1966 Mr. President, now that the President is well on his way to Manila for a meeting with our Allies in arms, it seems appropriate to review briefly events leading up to our present position in Viet Nam, the status of that present position and what p ossible courses are available for the future. The President has stated repeate d ly that the Manila conference is being held in the quest for peace. I have never doubted the desire of President Johnson for peace in Southeast Asia - a peace which would permit the withdrawal of United States troops from that area and greater concentration of our aid in the political, economic and social fields. I know I speak for the great majority of America ns in wishing him progress toward this objective at Manila. Passing over the early years of our Viet Nam involvement, the record of which is already abundantly clear, I would like to present the situation as it existed in February 1965 when the total of American combat troops in South Viet Nam was less th an 20,000. In spite of confident reports by our highest military authorities at that time, there actually existed a clear and present danger of military defeat for the American forces. In the face of this imminent danger, a d e tachment of Marines was dispatched to Da Nang and a program of building up military forces in Viet Nam was launched. The Administration ch ose not to identify the danger of military defeat as the reason for escalation, but rather the agg r ession of the North Vietnamese military forces against South Viet Nam. Aggression is a word with two meanings - one is a quasi-legal meaning which has in the past (in the case of North Korean aggression across the 38th parallel and Hitler's many aggressions in Europe) served as a formal rallying point for collective action. It also has a looser meaning - simply the determination of one country of a hostile act by another. The United States has been unable to sustain
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Declar Victory and Withdraw - Aiken on Viet Nam: Declare...

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