Vietnam tested four American presidents. It took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans, and more than one million Vietnamese. In March 2006, the John F. Kennedy Library hosted a landmark conference, Vietnam and the Presidency. It brought together some of the nation's foremost historians, journalists, veterans and policy makers to discuss the lessons and legacy of the Vietnam War. At a time when the United States debates what to do in Iraq, these lessons are more relevant than ever.

Charting America's path to Vietnam and the crucial moments when the United States might have avoided war.

Secretly taped White House recordings reveal the struggles of three American presidents to manage the deepening conflict.

A legendary journalist describes what he calls Washington's "lying machine."

President Carter describes the impact of the Vietnam War on his presidency, and how that war compares to Iraq.

Four key Vietnam-era policy-makers debate the lessons and legacy of Vietnam.

The working lives of Vietnam War correspondents, and how different it is to cover the Iraq war today.

Well-known Vietnam veterans reflect on the legacy of the Vietnam War and what lessons might apply to the war in Iraq.

Download the hour-long documentary or read the transcript.

Links and Resources


Produced in June of 2006 by Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis.

Photos courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

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