Nhìn lại vai trò của McNamara trong Chiến tranh Việt Nam
Ngay từ tháng 10 năm 1963, McNamara đã nói, “chúng ta cần một cách để thoát khỏi Việt Nam.”
...Already in October 1963, McNamara can be heard on the Kennedy White House tapes (băng ghi âm) saying that “we need a way to get out of Vietnam.” Early the next year, he expressed concerns to an impatient (thiếu kiên nhẫn) Lyndon Johnson about the situation on the ground and future prospects; in these taped conversations, it is Johnson who seems more intent on staying the course (notwithstanding his own fears and frustrations about the conflict), through escalation if necessary. In fact, the deeper one digs into the vast internal record of American decision-making, the clearer a very different McNamara emerges: a defense secretary who by late 1963 had ceased to be — if he ever was — a true believer on Vietnam.
...“The picture of the world’s greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 non-combatants a week, while trying to pound a tiny, backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one,” he wrote Johnson in May 1967.
...The ultimate judgment (phán quyết cuối cùng) of McNamara’s role in the Vietnam War must be a harsh (khắc nghiệt) one, less because he presided over the early stages of America’s military involvement than because he did not act more forcefully on his subsequent apprehensions. One could credit him, as Daniel Ellsberg has done, for working from the inside to limit the scope of the bombings and encourage negotiations, and still argue, as Mr. Ellsberg also does, that he should have aired his misgivings publicly — not in his 1995 memoir, or in a brilliant documentary film (Errol Morris’s “The Fog of War”) in 2003, but in 1965, or after departing the administration in 1968. Instead, McNamara was content to be two-faced (kẻ hai mặt), preaching (rao giảng) optimism (lạc quan) and steadfastness (kiên định) in public (and occasionally in internal policy discussions) even as he brooded (suy nghĩ ủ ê) privately.
Bài trước: Trận Mậu Thân có thực sự là một bất ngờ?