Essay about Dereliction of Duty, by McMaster

939 Words 4 Pages
Dereliction of Duty, by McMaster, is a book written to explain the why and the how of the United States becoming involved in the Vietnam War. The author gives military and political reasons for this involvement and how the decisions were made by the nation’s leaders, who led not with honesty and integrity, but through mistrust and deceit. This group, who led this nation into war, involved the President of the United States, his military and civilian advisors, and the Joints Chief of Staff. What happened can be summed up in this statement from McMaster, "The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C." H. R. McMaster was a …show more content…
It details Johnson’s decision to focus on his domestic programs and his desire to not do anything that would lose him re-election. It shows how numerous participants failed to communicate with each other, whether by orders of someone or a deliberate decision to mislead or hide their choices. It further explores the relationships between all parties, including the mistrust of each other. McMaster noted, “John Kennedy bequeathed to Lyndon Johnson an advisory system that limited real influence to his inner circle and treated others, particularly the Joint Chiefs of Staff, more like a source of potential opposition than of useful advice.” Even when a participant would attempt to bring the opinions of all groups together, they would fail, as noted when the Chiefs “sought an open-ended commitment from the secretary of defense and the president to increase the level of military effort when, as they clearly predicted, the limited measures failed.” This distrust moved to deceit and repeated failure of plans. Even when Johnson began to make more definitive decisions he did so with lies. He began to introduce more ground combat units, and thus a commitment to war, but refused to consider or even to discuss what the consequences of that action may be, even if it meant complete United States involvement in the war. McMaster discusses how the war, before it was even called a war, had no formal direction or effective strategy. He concludes with a

Related Documents