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I too doubt that Johnson's toughness re Vietnam had anything to do with admiring Kennedy's toughness regarding Cuba. There were many reasons (none very good) that Johnson decided on intervening strongly in Vietnam; they range from the old line (spoken by Johnson at NSC meetings in Feb. 1965) that being firmer before WWI would have helped, as well as before WWII; and fears about being attacked the way Truman was over "loss" of China and the Korean War. But two things stand out to me after reading transcripts of the meetings that set the U.S. on military intervention: the extent to which McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Robert McNamara spoke so authoritatively (with so little real knowledge) about the PRC as behind it all (even more than the USSR) and as posing a major threat to the U.S. in the Pacific, and Johnson's own view that North Vietnam was a "piss ant" country and would have to surrender to U.S. might. This despite the fact that he also told Bundy that "Ol' Ho isn't going to surrender to a bunch of airplanes." Simply put, Johnson was accustomed to bullying everyone, and he thought he could do the same in Vietnam. He refused to listen seriously to George Ball, Hubert Humphrey, Mike Mansfield and several others who pleaded not to intervene and who saw exactly what would happen once the U.S. did. Arnold Offner Lafayette College (emeritus)