“America’s involvement in Vietnam began in secrecy. It ended 30 years later in failure, witnessed by the entire world. It was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War miscalculation. And it was prolonged because it seemed easier to muddle through than admit that it had been caused by tragic decisions made by five American presidents belonging to both political parties.”
I recall Noam Chomsky framing the American media’s response to the Vietnam war – what might be called the accepted consensus, and seemingly unchanged up to the present day – as allowing basically only two possible viewpoints: 1. We went in with noble or good intentions, but those good intentions got transmuted into bad policy, i.e. Operation Speedy Express, the Phoenix Program, etc.; or, 2. Our mistake was not “going all the way”, invading the north and completely expunging the communist menace.
The first response, as Burns seems to uphold, might be considered the dovish admission; the latter, the hawkish one. But never, Chomsky declares, is there allowed a third possible viewpoint, namely: did the US have any right in the first place to be in Vietnam. By whose authority did the US intervene and continue to prosecute the war? It’s a pattern that continues today as we blithely accept, with hardly a questioning by the msm, the right of world’s self-declared policeman to intervene overtly or covertly in sovereign states. Who invited US special forces into Syria? Say nothing of the drone wars.