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Senate Panel Calls for Reassessment of Vietnam War

Feb. 24, 1963 - A Senate study group warned today that the struggle for Vietnamese independence was fast becoming an “American war” that could not be justified by present U.S. security interests in the area. The four-man panel, headed by Senator Mike Mansfield (left), the majority leader, called for “a thorough reassessment of our overall security requirements on the Southeast Asian mainland” with a view to the orderly curtailment of U.S. aid programs. The group questioned whether the $5 billion spent in aiding Southeast Asia since 1950 had been justified by the results. “What is most disturbing,” said Senator Mansfield, “is that Vietnam now appears to be only at the beginning of coping with its grave inner problems. All the current difficulties existed in 1955 along with the hope and energy to meet them. Now, it is 7 years later and $2 billion of U.S. aid later. Yet the same difficulties remain — if, indeed, they have not been compounded. More than 50 Americans have lost their lives, about half in battle, in Vietnam since the beginning of the program of intensified assistance” in 1961.

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