When the New York Times published the first installment of the Pentagon Papers on 13 June 1971, Americans became aware of the true nature of the war. Stories of drug trafficking, political assassinations, and indiscriminate bombings led many to believe that military and intelligence services had lost all accountability.
The main campus-based anti-war organization... which stood for urging students to ally with the American working class to oppose capitalist and imperialist exploitation both at home and abroad -- exploitation which they saw as the root cause of the war in Vietnam. ... The U.S., on the other hand, came out of the war quite strong militarily and economically, and U.S. corporate interests were eagerly investing in those colonies and neocolonies and setting up puppet governments to serve the U.S. interests.
Seymour Hersh - New York Times, December 22, 1974
COINTELPRO was a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations. National Security Agency operation Project MINARET targeted the personal communications of leading civil rights leaders, Americans who criticized the Vietnam War, including Senators, journalists, and athletes.
Hoover viewed the New Left as a threat to the American way of life, so in an enormous effort of questionable legality, the FBI implemented some 285 counter-intelligence (COINTELPRO) actions against the New Left. The purpose of COINTELPRO was to infiltrate, disrupt, and otherwise neutralize the entire movement. In truth, the FBI intended to wage war on the antiwar movement.
Jeffrey Miller shot dead by the Ohio National Guard
The Kent State massacre was the shootings of unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, by members of the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.
President Kennedy with General Maxwell D. Taylor and Secretary Robert S. McNamara, 2 October 1963
Robert S. McNamara, the forceful and cerebral defense secretary who helped lead the nation into the maelstrom of Vietnam... was the most influential defense secretary of the 20th century. Serving Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1968, he oversaw hundreds of military missions, thousands of nuclear weapons and billions of dollars in military spending and foreign arms sales.
We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why.
War is so complex it's beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend all the variables. Our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate. And we kill people unnecessarily.