Primary Source Assignment National Intelligence Estimate Background In November of 1967 the CIA produced this National Intelligence Estimate to give policy makers a better idea about the size of the Vietnamese fighting force, their strategy and general ai
Primary Source Assignment
National Intelligence Estimate Background
In November of 1967 the CIA produced this National Intelligence Estimate to give policy makers a better idea about the size of the Vietnamese fighting force, their strategy and general aims for the war, along with how all of this factored into the US ability to maintain the war in Vietnam. The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) led by General William Westmoreland disagreed sharply with the CIAs original estimates concerning the amount of irregulars and guerilla fighters available to the Vietcong in South Vietnam which were battling against the United States and South Vietnam government. This estimate was produced for the government following the CIAs acquiescence to MACV to come to an agreement on the size of the force available to the Vietcong. The following year, the Vietcong initiated its most devastating attack known as the Tet Offensive. This offensive led US leaders to seriously consider ending the war in Vietnam.
You are to examine all of the National Intelligence Estimate document, paying particular attention to the conclusions reached in the document and the assessments made by the CIA on the strength of the Communist forces.
You are to submit a 4-page (approximately 1,000-word) essay analyzing the contents of the document. It is due on 17 May. It is to be submitted online through Canvas/Turnitin.
Footnotes or endnotes are not required for this assignment, simply put the page number of the Report in brackets after a quotation.
No bibliography is necessary, but you must include one full reference to the Report somewhere in your essay. This is not a research essay, and so there is no need to consult or refer to other sources.
The purpose of the assignment is to give you the opportunity of examining a primary source. Historians do this regularly but it is very similar to reading raw intelligence. Your goal is to demonstrate that you can analyze a single, primary source effectively.
Your assignment must have a thesis or central argument, backed up by evidence in this case, evidence will come from the single primary source. In defending your thesis, you should draw from across the document and not confine your use of evidence to just one section. You dont want to just summarize the source or describe its contents. To devise an argument, try the following steps:
1. After reading the document in full and making note of interesting passages, try and answer the question so what?
2. This should initially lead you to describe what the document tells you the same as if you were the US government in 1967. The difference for you is that you know what happens next, so you need to think about what the problem here was.
3. The next task is to attempt to pick apart the document and devise an argument and think about what sections youll use to prove it.
As you work through things, you might find it helpful when thinking about the primary source (or reading it) to keep in mind the following questions/thoughts (though you are not required to answer them in your essay):
How did the author reach their conclusion?
Do they make any assumptions?
Are the conclusions based on sound evidence or founded on assumptions? Does culture play a role in the document, i.e. views about Vietcong, U.S. etc? Is information missing that could help?
What are the biggest drawbacks/benefits to such a document?
What cant this document tell the consumer (government)?