>Why not take the Pentagon's own word that the war aim was about 85% to
>save and only about 10% to stop communism?
I assume "face" was omitted there. What does "safe face" mean? In this context it means retaining your rep as an imperialist enforcer. Vietnam had to be pummelled or no one would ever take orders from the U.S. again. Stopping Communism and defending imperialism were pretty synonymous for a long time.