Episode 1125 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a contrast of two viewpoints of how to approach the conduct of the American Vietnam War. The contrasting philosophies about the war were illustrated recently in a post on the Task And Purpose website titled: Max Boot’s ‘Road Not Taken’: An Excerpt by Max Boot.
The excerpt described a meeting with the larger than life CIA operative Edward Lansdale and Robert McNamara at the Pentagon in 1961. The purpose of the meeting was for Lansdale to present a ten-minute briefing—and not a second more—on his Vietnam trip to the then Secretary of Defense McNamara.
The meeting did not go well. Lansdale got the impression McNamara had no idea about what he was saying and no inclination to learn about the things the CIA man was trying to tell him about the conflict in South Vietnam. McNamara was a numbers man and the things the dashing champion of counterinsurgency from the front line trenches of the guerilla war in Indo-China was telling him were not quantifiable so it was all dismissed by the Secretary.
McNamara should have given Lansdale’s comments more consideration if for no other reason because of his prior exploits for our country. In World War II Lansdale was assigned to a special unit doing clandestine work. He worked for “Wild Bill” Donovan and the special unit became known as the OSS. After the war he was sent to the newly liberated Philippines where he found the hidden treasure that was looted by the Japanese commander General Yamashita.
After putting down a rebellion and stabilizing the fledgling Filipino government he was sent to a new trouble spot next door in Indo-China. He was instrumental in the creation of North and South Vietnam so he knew what he was talking about. McNamara should have listened at the meeting.
Listen to episode 1125 of the podcast and discover more about the fateful meeting of Ed Lansdale and Robert McNamara at the Pentagon in 1961.