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Someone is always devising a slogan or aphorism to dispose of an idea that is too complex for facile solution. At any given moment of time there are a number of such bromides in the public domain, but today the most popular is "No more Viet Nams." It is a phrase usually proclaimed with heavy emphasis as a statement of ultimate truth, but just what course of action it calls for is obscure. Like most serviceable utterances of this genre, it is artfully ambiguous, meaning quite conveniently whatever the user wishes it to mean. Thus, it may serve as a bugle note sounding the retreat to isolationism-or an argument that we should abandon Southeast Asia altogether-or an insistence that we should never again commit American power so uncritically-or a hawkish demand that we cast aside the restraints of limited war, unleash the military and drop lethal bombs without inhibition.

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