HIST 2100 military dissent

HIST 2100 military dissent - 1 Hawks as Doves: Military...

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1 “Hawks as Doves: Military Dissent in Vietnam and Iraq” Colonel John B. McKinney Lecture University of Tennessee, 21 September 2006 Robert Buzzanco, University of Houston "I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. That they design and want. That they fight and work for. [Not one] crammed down their throats by Americans." Those are not the words of Abbie Hoffman, George McGovern, Martin Luther King, an SDS activist or a random “hippie” in the 1960s, but of David Monroe Shoup, a Marine General and Commandant of the Corps between 1960 and 1963.1 Shoup’s words speak to a crucial yet underrepresented, if not ignored, element in studying modern wars, the dissent of unmistakable and respected military leaders while conflicts are in progress. In the two most recent big wars, Vietnam and Iraq, significant numbers of military leaders–experienced, distinguished, and prominent–have broken ranks and publicly criticized American leaders and the policies they have pursued. From the outset of these conflicts onward, various officers have warned against intervention, advocated different courses of action, challenged official optimism, called for political leaders to be held accountable for likely failures, or called for withdrawal. 2 Consequently, when these conflicts turned badly–in the later 1960s in Vietnam and almost immediately after the war in Iraq was launched in 2003–their views were already in the public record and have to be reckoned with now as we try to make sense of disasters in both Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Vietnam: Roots of Involvement, Roots of Dissent U.S. military officials, who had some direct knowledge of Southeast Asia and would be responsible for any warfare in that area, offered candid and usually negative appraisals of possible interventions into Vietnam as soon as American policymakers began considering their role in that part of the world after World War II. During and right after the war, American officers attached to the Office of Strategic Services [OSS] worked with Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh and took away positive impressions, with Major Allison Thomas of the OSS lobbying for more contacts with Ho and sympathizing with his nationalist ambitions, while General Philip Gallagher, the U.S. advisor to Chinese occupation forces in northern Vietnam, wished that the Viet Minh “could be given their independence.”2 General George Marshall, who served as both Secretary of State and Defense, lamented that the Indochina war "will remain a grievously costly
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enterprise, weakening France economically and all the West generally in its relations with Oriental peoples."3 In July 1949 the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in policy paper JCS 1992/4, produced their most striking summation of the perils of interference in Indochina. The "widening political consciousness and the rise of militant nationalism among the subject people," they understood,
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This note was uploaded on 10/21/2009 for the course HIST 2100 taught by Professor Naigles during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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HIST 2100 military dissent - 1 Hawks as Doves: Military...

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