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dc.contributor.advisorImmerman, Richard H.
dc.creatorReinstein, Thomas
dc.date.accessioned2020-11-02T14:46:50Z
dc.date.available2020-11-02T14:46:50Z
dc.date.issued2018
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/2226
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the relationship between intelligence analysis and policy formation during the Vietnam War from 1962 to 1968. Rooted in a multidisciplinary approach that draws from history and international relations theory, it argues that Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, along with most of their top advisors, used intelligence analysis to confirm their preconceived notions about the U.S. war effort in Vietnam. Both presidents and the majority of their advisors all agreed that while victory in Vietnam would be difficult, allowing the Republic of (South) Vietnam (RVN) to fall to Communism was unthinkable. They filtered out intelligence analyses that suggested the U.S. could not win or that its geopolitical position could withstand the RVN’s loss. JFK and LBJ’s national security decision-making system enabled this dysfunctional use of intelligence. Both presidents relied on an ad hoc system of policy formation in which major policy decisions took place in informal meetings staffed only by their most trusted advisors. Doing so allowed either president or their advisors latitude to expel intelligence officers from critical meetings for any reason. Analysts who became bearers of bad news on the war effort or developed negative personal relationships with any influential member of the administration risked banishment to the policy wilderness. On the other hand, analysts who reinforced their customers’ preconceptions received more access to policy circles. Top Kennedy and Johnson administration officials abused intelligence in several different ways. Ignoring or disregarding analyses that cast doubt on the war effort’s prospects was most common. In such cases, officials favored more optimistic reporting or used their own reasoning. In doing the latter, most policymakers and military officials based decisions on personal insecurity, rigid anti-Communism, previous personal experiences during World War II, and interpretations of history that justified American involvement in Vietnam. They also “cherry-picked” or pulled language from analyses that justified their positions while ignoring language elsewhere in the same reports that did not. And when the war became more controversial within the Johnson administration in 1967, some pro-war officials began openly politicizing intelligence, or pressuring analysts to advance a particular conclusion regardless of evidence. Finally, gaps in intelligence collection and analytic tradecraft worsened the intelligence community’s standing during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Throughout the war, American intelligence collectors were unable to break the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam’s high-level communication codes or recruit any defectors or spies within the Hanoi government. Analysts thus used less reliable evidence, which weakened the reliability of their conclusions. Many analysts did not even cite sources at all. Analysts also used vague language that made their findings appear untrustworthy. All of these factors made Vietnam-era intelligence analyses easier for their readers to ignore. The result was flawed policy and strategy in Vietnam.
dc.format.extent439 pages
dc.language.isoeng
dc.publisherTemple University. Libraries
dc.relation.ispartofTheses and Dissertations
dc.rightsIN COPYRIGHT- This Rights Statement can be used for an Item that is in copyright. Using this statement implies that the organization making this Item available has determined that the Item is in copyright and either is the rights-holder, has obtained permission from the rights-holder(s) to make their Work(s) available, or makes the Item available under an exception or limitation to copyright (including Fair Use) that entitles it to make the Item available.
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
dc.subjectAmerican History
dc.subjectInternational Relations
dc.subjectDiplomatic History
dc.subjectIntelligence
dc.subjectU.S. Foreign Relations
dc.subjectVietnam War
dc.titleThe Way A Drunk Uses A Lamp Post: Intelligence Analysis and Policy During the Vietnam War, 1962-1968
dc.typeText
dc.type.genreThesis/Dissertation
dc.contributor.committeememberNguyen, Dieu T.
dc.contributor.committeememberGoedde, Petra, 1964-
dc.contributor.committeememberLawrence, Mark Atwood
dc.contributor.committeememberFarber, David R.
dc.description.departmentHistory
dc.relation.doihttp://dx.doi.org/10.34944/dspace/2208
dc.ada.noteFor Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation, including help with reading this content, please contact scholarshare@temple.edu
dc.description.degreePh.D.
refterms.dateFOA2020-11-02T14:46:50Z


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