For one, President Johnson wanted to iron things out right away with the issue in Vietnam. He figured that sending combat forces may turn things around to make them easier and more manageable. Talks were slow and often were not bringing in any good news, in the rare cases that they ever bring any news. Combat will be the answer to a long-debated problem that has burdened both Vietnam and the United States.
He figured it was not a perfect decision too late. President Johnson, like other presidents, was trying to be on top of the situation.He was on the search for the right decision, not the easy ones. Yet the choice to go into war, Logevall (1999) says, would be much influenced by the desire to maintain credibility and avoid defeat. President Johnson believes that loosing the war in Vietnam is a personal loss.
Moreover, he felt that his personal loss is a loss for America. There was no way he will be letting this happen. Engaging in war with Vietnam will be the way to help South Vietnam out of the problem, and making the United States and its troops deployed in Vietnam rise above the situation.Another consideration is that American’s are used to do-it-yourself things. Nixon (1969) claims that this is also true in American foreign policy.
American’s, even the officials in the national scale, likes to do first-hand execution of the things that they are confident they know. They prefer this more than teaching another to do it, or finding a person who knows how to do it. Teaching another person or finding a person who can do things in ones behalf is a waste of time and effort. It also breeds uncertainty on how the action will be done.Silent majority After the war broke out, the American people started raising their voices against the war, screaming for the troops to be pulled out, asking for presidents to choose the humanitarian choices. Yet before the war broke during the events which repeatedly tarnished the already thin shock absorber, the voices were weak.
No one vigilantly stopped the war from happening strongly enough. If many did, it would have been possible to have stopped the war. The war and the deaths could have not happened in the first place.(Logevall, 1999) Yet this cannot be fully accounted to President Johnson and his administration. It should be remembered that engaging into war is not a decision of the president or just any other person only. Big decisions such as it are carefully studied and debated about by advisers and scholars. President Johnson had his share of these experts.
In fact, he had three great minds in tow—McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, and Dean Rusk. The four decided to go to war instead of meet for peace. (Logevall, 1999) Catch 22If President Johnson chose the war, his political facade and programs will suffer. However, the same thing will happen should he choose not to go on to war. This situation has led President Johnson to choose the option where there is more chance to redeem himself, his administration, the country, and Vietnam. He chose to go to war along with all the complexities packaged with it. He knew pretty well that what happens with this war spells what will happen to him; what happens to him is what will happen to America.While it is not a formula well accepted by many, it was a subtle conceit process where presidents are personifying themselves with the country they are serving, which leaders enjoy.
(Logevall, 1999) This is not a fresh situation. Almost everyone, not only presidents, have been in a situation of choosing the lesser evil, or at least the evil that will be more beneficial. A catch-22 situation will be very hard to manipulate, especially if the subject is saving a country from communism, saving another country from defeat, and saving a president from shame. However it ends, no one wins in the end.