The Tet Offensive

By Marc Jason Gilbert; William Head | Go to book overview

NOTES

A variant version of this chapter under the title "The Warning That Left Something to Chance: Intelligence at TET" originally appeared in The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer 1993), pp. 161-184. Material from that article is reprinted here with permission of Imprint Publications, Inc.

1.
Dave Richard Palmer, Summons of the Trumpet: A History of the Vietnam War from a Military Man's Viewpoints (San Rafael, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1978), p. 228. Among other recent works with varying views on intelligence matters during the Tet period are Thomas L. Cubbage III, "Intelligence and the Tet Offensive: The South Vietnamese View of the Threat", in Elizabeth Jane Errington and B. J. C. McKercher , eds., The Vietnam War as History (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1990), pp. 92-116 [hereafter "Intelligence and Tet"]; Ted Gittinger, ed., The Johnson Years: A Vietnam Roundtable ( Austin, Tex.: LBJ Library, University of Texas Press, 1993), pp. 115-122, Appendices IV and VI.
2.
U.S. Congress, House Select Committee on Intelligence, 94th Cong., 1st session, Hearings: U.S. Intelligence Agencies and Activities: The Performance of the Intelligence Community ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. Gov't Printing Office, 1975), pt. 5, p. 1653. A similar view is found in Cubbage, "Intelligence and Tet." For a more comprehensive analysis, see James J. Wirtz, The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War ( Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991). Cubbage, for one, remains unconvinced, as shown by his review of the Wirtz monograph in Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Summer 1993).
3.
Phillip B. Davidson, Vietnam at War: The History 1946-1975 (Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1988), pp. 418-422, 434, 439-450 [hereafter Vietnam at War]. A finely detailed analysis of Hanoi's decision making which, however, also takes the view that U.S. intelligence was unable to interpret correctly the data it had in hand, is in Ronnie E. Ford, "Tet Revisited: The Strategy of the Communist Vietnamese", Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 9, No. 4 ( April 1994). For a collection of translated source materials, see Patrick J. McGarvey, ed., Visions of Victory: Selected Vietnamese Communist Military Writings, 1964-1968 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1969).
4.
George Crile et al., CBS Reports, "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception". Television broadcast, January 23, 1982.
5.
"Fact Sheet: Comparisons of Truck Sightings in the Lao Panhandle," December 7, 1967, folder: Laos, v. 17, Box 271, Country File: Laos, National Security File, Lyndon Baines Johnson Papers, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Austin, Texas [hereafter CF:NSF:LBJP or NSC History].
6.
MACV Combined Documents Exploitation Center (CDEC), Translation 08- 0501-67, "The Success of the VC 'War of Liberation,'" folder: "Captured Document Cables", Box 153, CF: Vietnam, NSF, LBJP.
7.
MACV-CDEC, Translation 11-1754-67 in summary in CDEC Bulletin, No. 8014, November 15, 1967, folder: "CDEC Bulletins, vol. 2," Box 153, CF: Vietnam, NSF, LBJP.
8.
Hoang Ngoc Lung, Indochina Monograph: The General Offensives of 1968- 1969 ( Washington, D.C.: Office of Chief of Military History, 1976), pp. 33-34.

-163-

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The Tet Offensive
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms ix
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • Notes 15
  • 2 - The Tet Offensive 17
  • Notes 43
  • 3 - The Tet Offensive and Sino-Vietnamese Relations 45
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - The Nlf and the Tet Offensive 63
  • Notes 69
  • 5 - Giap and Tet Mau Than 1968: The Year of the Monkey 73
  • Notes 85
  • 6 - The Tet Offensive and Its Aftermath 89
  • Notes 119
  • 7 - My Recollections of the Tet Offensive 125
  • Notes 134
  • 8 - The Tet Offensive and Middletown: A Study in Contradiction 135
  • Notes 141
  • 9 - The Warning That Left Something to Chance: Intelligence at Tet 143
  • Notes 163
  • 10 - Don't Bother Me with the Facts; I've Made Up My Mind: The Tet Offensive in The Context of Intelligence and U.S. Strategy 167
  • Notes 179
  • 11 - Tet Beyond the Wire: TCK/TKN, the General Offensive/General Uprising 181
  • Notes 189
  • 12 - The Battle of Khe Sanh, 1968 191
  • Notes 210
  • 13 - President Johnson and the Decision To Curtail Rolling Thunder 215
  • Notes 228
  • 14 - The Myth of Tet: American Failure and The Politics of War 231
  • Notes 249
  • Selected Bibliography 259
  • Index 269
  • About the Authors and Editors 283
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