• “If the Chiefs had successfully pressed with the president their position that the United States needed to act forcefully to defeat the North, they might have forced a difficult choice between war and withdrawal from South Vietnam. Through their own actions as well as through the manipulation of Taylor and McNamara, the Chiefs missed their opportunity to influence the formulation of a strategic concept for Vietnam, and thereafter always found themselves in the difficult position of questioning a policy that the president had already approved. The intellectual foundation for deepening American involvement in Vietnam had been laid without the participation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 5”