Kissinger's “Diplomacy” (1994) covers two centuries in about 800 pages. But it offered an objective, strategic explanation of the Vietnam War that I could finally grasp. Kissinger wrote that Kennedy's failure to force North Vietnamese military installations (40,000 personnel) out of the Laotian panhandle in 1962 doomed any further U.S. efforts to secure South Vietnam. These bases fed troops replacements and war supplies down the various infiltration routes (Ho Chi Minh Trail) through Laos and Cambodia then into South Vietnam. Without this advantage the NVA would have been forced to move across the DMZ—a route that could have been more easily interdicted by the Free World forces. Former President Dwight Eisenhower spoke out publicly during the 1960’s about the necessity of suppressing these over-the-border sanctuaries but he was ignored by LBJ.
I never thought anybody could have done more damage to this country than LBJ, until Obama.