Dereliction of Duty (1998 book)

Dereliction of Duty (1998 book)

Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam is a book written by Brigadier General H.R. McMaster that explores the military's role in the policies of the Vietnam War. The book was written as part of McMaster's Ph.D. thesis at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The book examines Robert McNamara and U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson's staff, alongside the military and particularly the Joint Chiefs of Staff, failure to provide a successful plan of action to pacify either a Viet Cong insurgency or decisively defeat the North Vietnamese Army.

McMaster details why military actions intended to indicate "resolve" or to "communicate" ultimately failed when trying to accomplish sparsely detailed, confusing, and conflicting military objectives. In his opinion, the military is not a political or diplomatic tool, but force to be used appropriately to inflict massive casualties and cause maximized damage to enemy forces in order to meet objective military targets and goals.


CNN reports, regarding the influence of the book:

Pace said he and the other joint chiefs were debriefing commanders just back from the front lines, including one colonel recognized as a rising star and creative thinker -- Col. H.R. McMaster, the author of 1997 book "Dereliction of Duty," considered the seminal work on military's responsibility during Vietnam to confront their civilian bosses when strategy was not working.

External Links

Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam

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