Ridgway, Matthew B.
July 1971
Foreign Affairs;Jul1971, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p583
The article focuses on debate over the continued involvement of the U.S. in the Vietnam conflict. The war in Vietnam has lasted longer than any armed conflict outside our borders in which we have been engaged in the nearly two centuries of our independent existence, and disengagement and complete withdrawal are still a question mark. Concurrently come other quite different statements from equally authoritative sources that U.S. forces will remain in South Vietnam until all U.S. prisoners are released, and until the present government of South Vietnam has at least a reasonable chance to survive on its own. Now, in May 1971, only three years later, we appear to be far along toward the attainment of just such an objective as that plan contemplated, with one disquieting exception. The disquieting factor to me is the openly expressed threat of the use of force in an attempt to compel release of captive U.S. personnel. The recovery of these men demands and deserves, of course, unceasing effort on the part of our government. We owe them and their families and kin no less, and no less can serve the nation's honor. But whether stepped-up bombing of North Vietnam targets, including population centers, will accomplish that result is open to serious question.


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