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Arnold Offner writes: “I would suggest almost everyone who stayed with the administration into 1966-1968 did so out of fear (and desire to maintain one's position and ambition).” I would suggest that neither Professor Offner nor I, nor anyone else, can make such a broad statement meaningfully. This is part and parcel with a new sub-narrative that has grown up about the Vietnam War that claims that virtually no one – especially “good” Democrats with their “commitment to the people” - really believed in the War and its purposes. Each who said they did was singularly driven by some fear or ambition to follow the policy. Sometimes reading the new literature, I am left with the feeling that Dean Rusk, Walt Rostow, and I (good Democrats all at the time, by the way) were the only ones that really believed in our policy in Vietnam in the 1960s. But many, many stayed with the war at least until 1968 (and many after) because of conviction, not merely moral cowardice or ambition. Professor Offner and the new narrative in their desire to discredit the War do an injustice to such people. This is not to say that many must have had doubts at times. Johnson himself had his doubts, and would listen to people he deeply respected such as Richard Russell who told him the war wasn’t worth one American soldier, but also that he could not see anything else to do. Doubt and a feeling of necessity in face of those doubts can and often do co-exist. The new literature now goes back and emphasizes the doubt without including the strategic fatalism attached to it. Many principle actors have emphasized the doubts without discussing the fatalism, leaving an impression that it was fear or ambition alone that drove actions. There is a lot of this sort of autobiographical revisionism. Some examples: In a mid-1970s interview, Averell Harriman stated in an interview with PBS that he was publicly on the record being against the war since the 1940s. This is the same man who wanted to bomb Hanoi in spring, 1964 – months before the Gulf of Tonkin Incident – because the Vietnamese communist in Laos had shot down an American recon plane that was monitoring the non-existent “neutralization” he had negotiated. Roger Hilsman wrote a letter to an editor in the mid-1990s claiming that the Diem coup had come as a “complete surprise” to the Kennedy Administration. This is literally nonsense. Chester Bowles, the man David Halberstam called one of the few uncorrupted liberal doves in the Kennedy-Johnson years, stated in a document in early 1961 that it was inevitable that the US would have to fight a war with China in two to five years. James Thomson, aide to Bowles for Asian affairs and later on the NSC, claims that it was all those Dulles appointees that got us into Vietnam seriously. Yet the majority of the Dulles crew had been purged by 1964, and Kennedy had more or less ignored the State Department on Vietnam anyway, relying on his own appointed “task forces.” The Asian desk was mostly staffed by people chosen by Kennedy and Johnson appointees, not John Foster Dulles, when the key escalation decisions were made in 1964-1965. There are many more examples to be seen that challenge the new narrative’s claim that there was nothing but doubt and fecklessness to explain policy at the time. Many of us believed the “pay any price, bear any burden” rhetoric and zeitgeist of the times. Condemn us if you will. But don’t let those who headed for the tall grass when it went badly by avoiding their own responsibility, or those today that from a partisan desire to absolve the Democrats of that responsibility and individual agency, rewrite and misrepresent the history of the times. I don't know enough about Chester Cooper to understand his personal timing and reasoning on the War, but David Welch and the article review make it sound like he maintained his perspective about it. But whenever the autobiographical revisionism comes to my attention (I am researching an article on the "China Hands" and the origins of the Cold War in Asia, and there is a LOT of it there), I am reminded of an aphorism from Friedrich Nietzsche: "I have done that", says my memory. "I cannot have done that" — says my pride, and remains adamant. At last — memory yields. [Aphorism 68, *Beyond Good and Evil*] Doug Macdonald Colgate University