Legal and Policy Issues of the Indochina War

Advanced Topics in National Security Law

2018 Course Syllabus

Reading Assignments

Supplemental Readings vol. 1
Supplemental Readings vol. 2
Supplemental Readings vol. 3

Turner PowerPoint Lecture 1

Turner PowerPoint Lecture 2

Turner PowerPoint Const.War Powers
Turner PowerPoint Fall of Saigon
Dudley "What we Learned from the Tet Offensive"


Dates & Topics

August 29
I. Historical Overview
A. Setting the Stage: Ho Chi Minh, the French Indo-China War, and the Origins of the American Commitment
B. The Cold War Context

September 5
C. The 1954 Geneva Conference, SEATO, the Tonkin Gulf, and the American Military Buildup in South Vietnam

September 12
C.1. War, Peace, and War Again: Searching for Peace in the Vietnam War, 1969-1975

Guest Participant: George J. Veith, author of Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam

September 19
D. Political Warfare, the Tet Offensive, and the Anti-War Movement

September 26
II. Issues of International Law

A. The UN Charter Framework and the Norms of Intervention
B. Competing Views: Aggression from the North or Civil War
--Aggression from the North?
--Civil War Inside South Vietnam?
--Civil War Between North and South Vietnam?
C. Collective Defense and the Scope of Permissible Response
D. The 1970 Cambodian Incursion
E. The 1973 Paris Accords
F. Breaking the Peace: The 1975 Invasion of South Vietnam

October 3
III. Fighting the War
A. The Air War in Vietnam and the Laws of War
B. War Crimes and the Law of Armed Conflict: My Lai, Son Thang, Hue

Guest Participant: Prof. Gary Solis, Georgetown University

****** Fall Break October 8-10, 2018 ******

October 17
C. Defeating a Communist Insurgency: Vietnamese Nationalism and the American CORDS Program

Guest Participant: Stephen B. Young, author of The Theory and Practice of Associative Power: CORDS in the Villages of Vietnam 1967-1972

October 24
IV. A Military Historian Reflects on Vietnam

Guest Participant: Prof. Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War; Vietnam Chronicles and Westmoreland

October 31
V. Issues of Constitutional Law
A. Constitutional War Powers: Congress, Vietnam, and the War Powers Resolution

November 7
VI. Could the War Have Been Won?
A. Win-ability and the Lessons of Vietnam
B. Human Consequences of the Communist Victories

November 14
VII. Strategic Assessment from Kennedy to Nixon

Guest Participant: Dr. Marin J. Strmecki Vice President, Director of Programs, Smith Richardson Foundation

****** Thanksgiving Break, November 21-23, 2018******