Oliver Kamm and John Rentoul have had great fun with a series of “Questions to which the Answer is No.” For this post I am cheating somewhat with a very old newspaper article and prediction. While we are now aware of the outcome,I would like to think that had Kamm or Rentoul been around and writing their columns in 1963 that they would have picked up on the following:
Viet-Nam: Where Victory Is Defeat
The Washington Post, September 13, 1963, p.A18.
….Confidential reports from high American authority in Saigon say that the war can be won in nine months. They say that the border with North Viet-Nam has been 95 percent closed and the task of sealing the border with Cambodia is proceeding. The Viet-Cong guerrillas are being starved out.
Whether these reports are any more authentic than the optimistic forecasts of past years, the outsider cannot judge. With more than 14,000 Americans directly involved, it is to be devoutly hoped that they are correct.
As we now know:
1. The war was not over in 9 months. It did not end until April 1975, some 11 1/2 years after this news report.
2. It would be more correct to say that the war was lost than that it was won. Or, at least, that the South Vietnamese who the Americans were supporting lost the war.
3. The number of Americans serving in Vietnam increased from the 14,000 level at the time of this report to over 500,000 at the peak. Over 50,000 Americans were killed in the war.