AMERICAN NOTES: After the War, Peace?

The date set by the Pentagon as the beginning of the American phase of the Viet Nam War—Jan. 1,1961—was chosen arbitrarily for bookkeeping purposes. It was ten years after U.S. financial aid began to flow to the South Vietnamese, more than two years after the first American advisers were killed, 3½ years before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and four years before the Marines landed at Danang. So it seemed altogether fitting that the end of the American involvement in the Viet Nam War—March 30, 1973—should also fall on a rather random...

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