What is George Balls advice concerning an appropriate American policy towards Vietnam?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the advantage of hindsight, Undersecretary of State George Ball seemed like a voice of reason among war hawks in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1965. The United States had a relatively small number of troops committed to the civil war in Vietnam at the time. Those troops were mostly utilized in an advisory role. George Ball cautions President Johnson against escalation in Vietnam. His feeling is that the American military is not equipped to fight a war against guerilla fighters in a foreign jungle. He believes that a full commitment by American troops would result in casualties that would be hard to accept. He is also not at all convinced that the United States would realize its objectives despite the loss of American soldiers.

Ball recommended that the United States should not commit more troops to Vietnam. For the troops that were in place, their combat role should be seriously restricted as to avoid casualties that would pressure escalation. Ball also recommends that President Johnson should negotiate an escape from the war in a way that avoids humiliation.