Vietnam War – Light At The End Of The Tunnel Was A Freight Train – 1966 – Past Daily Reference Room
Senate Hearings on The Vietnam War – February 4, 1966 – ABC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The Vietnam War, by 1966 was beginning to look like a protracted Rabbit hole, with no visible end in sight. Questions were being raised over the continuously escalating cost of this war – was it throwing money into a void to which there would never be a return? The previous year’s estimate was roughly $800 million. The budget for war in 1966 was still $800 million, but with added “supplements” the cost rose to an astronomical $15.8 Billion and the dramatic increase raised eyebrows and concerns. When asked if that yearly budget would increase in 1967, Foreign Aid Chief David Bell said it would almost surely be much higher. And the cost of human life – now up to 1100 as of February 1966. Contrasting to the report that the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese losses were 11,000 – a figure that was quickly corrected and reported as 30,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.
All of this led Committee Chairman J. William Fulbright to wonder what we were actually doing there to warrant this outlay of massive funding and mounting loss of life. And of course, the rebuttal was we were there to prevent Communism from sweeping South East Asia – the catalyst for beginning this excursion some 12 years earlier when we were called on to give aid to the flagging South Vietnam government after the loss of the former Indo-China by the French, signaling an end to their colonial rule in the region. It had quickly becoming a threadbare excuse, which would only be revealed years after Vietnam was relegated to painful memory status that much of our experience was, in fact, a contrived one. But at the time, those people who opposed our continuing involvement, in what even some military experts referred to our involvement in Vietnam as “an unwinnable situation”, were labeled Doves and considered largely Un-American for their views.
Here is a recap of the day’s Vietnam War hearings as broadcast on February 4, 1966 by ABC Radio.
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