Day: February 4, 2017

Alternative factsAlternative facts

“In the late fall of 1961, [President] Kennedy decided to up the ante in the ongoing but still relatively low-key guerilla war in Vietnam. At the time there were only six hundred American advisers in South Vietnam. His was the most dangerous of moves geopolitically. even if at first it was a limited commitment of advisory and support troops, totaling perhaps some seventeen thousand additional Americans by early 1963. The Kennedy escalation meant that even if the commitment was in the beginning relatively small, nonetheless the flag had been planted ever more deeply and planted in a country and a war where the United States did not by itself control the dynamic and where the forces gathering against the American proxy were driven by a deep historic dynamic. . . . In addition, the Kennedy administration had done something extremely dangerous when it increased the larger mission to Vietnam; it corrupted the truth to suit its political needs . . .  it needed ever greater results, for appearances were everything, and it needed them faster. But those results were not forthcoming, because the policy never worked. Never. Therefore, to compensate for the failure to produce the desired results in the field, the Kennedy administration soon created something quite extraordinary—a giant lying machine . . . that not only systematically rejected all pessimistic reports from the field, and punished those who tried to tell the truth, but created its own illusion of victories and successes, victories and successes that never existed.” – David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter