Hilsman, Roger
April 1968
Foreign Affairs;Apr1968, Vol. 46 Issue 3, p425
This article presents information on the invasion of Vietnam by the U.S. The bombing of North Vietnam and the infiltration routes has not prevented the enemy from increasing both the tempo of the war and the level of violence. The pressures on Washington to do more about this, by authorizing "hot pursuit" raids into Laos, Cambodia and across the DMZ, are already almost overwhelming. Such raids, however, will in all probability also fail to prevent still further increases. If so, the United States will discover that communism cannot be destroyed as a political force in South Vietnam. The United States must then either modify its objectives or invade the North, and of the two an invasion seems more likely. But it is doubtful that an invasion will work. There are 400,000 troops in reserve in North Vietnam, and Hanoi, certainly, will fight to the end. The terrain is no more favorable, and the wider theater will magnify the logistical problems. The fundamental reason for pessimism about the possibility of winning inside South Vietnam with the present level of forces is not about the U.S. effort, but the Vietnamese.


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