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In the months between January -July 1965, the Johnson Administration escalated the Vietnam War in three crucial respects: a/ it embarked upon a program of sustained bombing of North Vietnam (Rolling Thunder), b/ it significantly increased the number of ground troops to be deployed (up to 175,000) and c/ it changed the mission of the ground troops from advisors to combat troops. In other words they Americanized the Vietnam War.

 

As national security advisor to the President, McGeorge Bundy advised the President to take all of these steps.

 

What reasons did Bundy have (at the time) to urge these steps?

 

When he looked back at these events thirty years later, he believed his recommendations were a mistake. Why? In other words, what did the later Bundy identify as his main mistakes at the time?

 

As Goldstein points out, McGeorge Bundy was widely regarded as a man of great brilliance. And most people thought the same of Robert McNamara—another brilliant person. How would you explain why they both gave such flawed advice?