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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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Old 22 Mar 10, 03:54
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Post ACG Vietnam Interviews: Dr. Mark Moyar

Professor, historian and counterinsurgency expert Dr. Mark Moyar talks to Armchair General and the ACG community about his book Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965, one of the most important book on this conflict written in the past ten years.


Armchair General: Hello Mark and thanks for taking the time to answer ACG's questions. Could you give us a bit of background about yourself and tell us how you first became interested in the Vietnam War?

Mark Moyar: My interest in the Vietnam War began at my high school in Ohio, where I had a great English teacher who was a Vietnam veteran. He was a terrific person, very different from the stereotypical Vietnam veterans that I saw on TV or in books. As an undergraduate at Harvard, I took a course on the Vietnam War in which the faculty and most of the teaching assistants and students were highly critical of US involvement in Vietnam and unappreciative of the sacrifices of Americans and South Vietnamese who served there. I did my course research paper on the Phoenix program and began to see a sharp divergence between the facts on the one hand and the opinions of the American antiwar elite on the other. The desire to give fair coverage to American veterans and our South Vietnamese allies led me to write my undergraduate thesis on the Phoenix program, and to turn it into the book Phoenix and the Birds of Prey. I went to work in the private sector for several years, having decided against making a career of writing history because of the tyranny of political correctness in academia. But then the feedback from veterans concerning Triumph Forsaken, together with the realization that I could work for the U.S. military with a Ph.D., led me to go graduate school and write a general history of the Vietnam War.

ACG: What was your ambition when you started writing Triumph Forsaken?

MM: I intended to write a synthesis that set the record straight and destroyed the popular myths about the war. I planned to rely mainly on other books and articles for source material, as most other general historians of the war have done. There was already plenty of evidence in the existing books that the orthodoxy was wrong. But then I found that the existing books were so deficient in terms of evidence and analysis that I ended up basing the book almost entirely on primary sources. The book consequently took much longer to write.

ACG: This book has made quite an impact on the community of Vietnam scholars and more generally on people interested in this conflict, provoking heated debates between Vietnam War historians, was it one of your intentions?

MM: I knew that the book would spark heated debates, because so many people are wedded to the orthodox version of the war and a large number of them have never demonstrated open-mindedness. Phoenix and the Birds of Prey had caused a furor, albeit on a smaller scale. The attacks on Triumph Forsaken appear to have increased the attention to the book among the general public, which is particularly good considering that younger generations of Americans lack familiarity with the war.

ACG: You are clearly part of what is often referred to as the revisionist school of thought on the Vietnam War, do you think works such as yours could contribute to change the generally negative image associated with this conflict in the collective's mind?

MM: Yes, I do. Most of the popular books on Vietnam, such as those by Stanley Karnow, Neil Sheehan, and David Halberstam, distorted events in horrific fashion. They exaggerated the faults of our allies, downplayed the crimes of our enemies, and misrepresented the global stakes. Now, many veterans and some others who lived through the period have distrusted that narrative, but their views haven’t been widely disseminated, in part because few of them worked in the media or academia. Triumph Forsaken and several other revisionist books, particularly Lewis Sorley’s A Better War, have been able to gain significant readership, with considerable help from the internet, which enables ideas to circulate more freely than in earlier decades, where the mainstream media had a near-monopoly on the distribution of information. I should note that my own interpretations of Vietnam do have some very negative aspects, such as America’s disastrous instigation of the 1963 coup and Lyndon Johnson’s rejection of highly valuable strategic options like the placement of U.S. ground forces in Laos.

ACG: Do you think a lot still remains to be written on the War in Southeast Asia?

MM: Yes. First and foremost, much remains to be written on the Vietnamese sides of the conflict. Some of that will have to await the opening of archives in Hanoi, whenever that will be. The Vietnamese government has published quite a few valuable histories and documents, many of which I cited in Triumph Forsaken, but the vaults undoubtedly contain an abundance of information that at present is unknown to the free world. There is also much room for further research on the military side, in terms of battles, commanders, and broader themes. And although policymaking in the Kennedy and Johnson years have been covered by numerous historians, the Nixon and Ford years have not yet received such coverage, and new documents continue to come out.

ACG: A new book by Andrew Wiest is about to be released called Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War which will be, as far as I understand, a collection of critiques about your book from both sides of the spectrum. Have you got a chance to read it yet?

MM: That book contains a collection of commentaries on the book from all sides. After those commentaries were submitted, the editors gave them to me and allowed me to provide responses. Each chapter will conclude with those responses. Some of the attacks were rather pointed, and I replied to them in kind. I was more than happy to participate in the project, because it afforded me an opportunity to show the flimsiness of the criticisms the book has received.

ACG: I understand that you have began work on the follow-up to Triumph Forsaken, can you tell us a little about what we can expect from it? will it cover the rest of the War up to the fall of Saigon?

MM: The original plan was to write a single volume on the whole war, from 1954 to 1975, but that plan was abandoned when it became clear that the project required much more research than anticipated. The next plan was to write volume two after finishing volume one, with volume two picking up in August 1965 and running through the end of the war and its aftermath. But that plan was interrupted by the writing of A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (published in 2009), which I decided to write because I thought that our military would benefit from my revisionist interpretation of counterinsurgency writ large. I am now getting back to volume two, though I have also been doing some more work on Afghanistan to help the troops. Volume one took seven years, and volume two is going to take significant time as well. Some of the ideas from my earlier book Phoenix and the Birds of Prey will be incorporated into volume two. Other than that, I won’t comment on the content since most of it has yet to be written and I will surely reach new conclusions after poring over the evidence.

The following questions were submitted by the Armchair General community:

-Questions submitted by Robert Pryor (ussfa344):

RP: Do you feel that the US involvement had anything to do with appeasing the French? We heard a lot about the domino theory; containment of Communism and such, but the Viet Minh was by my way of thinking a nationalist movement after WWII. As Ho pointed out at the very end of WWII, the US was planning on granting independence to the Philippines. He believed that the Philippines indicated our support for nationalism.

MM: I believe that the domino theory was the principal reason for our involvement. I also believe that the domino theory was valid, and that the Viet Minh was not a nationalist movement. The case is laid out in Triumph Forsaken.

RP: Do you believe that the US participation in the Viet Nam War was a surrogate confrontation between the East and West in order to spare a confrontation in Europe?

MM: A few people have advanced that argument, but the documentary record does not support it. U.S. relations with the Soviets were pretty good in the early and mid-1960s; we weren’t very concerned about containing them or avoiding war with them, but we were concerned about containing China and avoiding war. China and its Communist allies in various Asian countries did in fact pose a serious threat to the entire continent. We ultimately achieved our strategic aim of containing China, even though the Indochinese dominoes fell in 1975.

-Question submitted by Ron Ward (miafinder):

RW: You forego the terms PAVN (People's Army of Viet Nam) and PLAF (People's Liberation Armed Forces) for NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and VC (Viet Cong) in your writings. It's obvious that COSVN (Communist Office for South Viet Nam), the NLF (National Liberation Front) (and later the PRG – Provisional Revolutionary Government), and the PLAF were contrivances of, and controlled by, the North. Do you see any value in recognizing the PLAF, by name, as a subordinate entity to the PAVN, for historical accuracy? Not, of course, in any attempt to give legitimacy to the communists' claims of the NLF/PLAF as a separate, purely nationalistic, organization, but to record and preserve the extent to which Hanoi controlled the situation, using the united front mechanism, to attract non-communist supporters both in Vietnam and abroad?

MM: I avoided using those terms because they were contrivances and because American readers are more familiar with the NVA and VC. I don’t think it’s necessary to use PAVN and PLAF to demonstrate the latter’s subordination to the former. Actually, the distinction between the two was of much more interest to the Americans than to the Vietnamese Communists—the Communists treated PAVN and PLAF as part of a single organization, which helped them maintain the fiction that no North Vietnamese units were in South Vietnam.

-Questions submitted by Tony Rooney (Chippymick):

TR: In criticizing Triumph Forsaken, Jeremy Kuzmarov takes you to task for "including Hoang Van Chi’s From Colonialism to Communism, which was uncovered as being manipulated by the CIA.” As far as I can tell the one cite you used from Hoang Van Chi was one that was complimentary to Ho Chi Minh.What was the CIA manipulation was involved in the production of From Colonialism to Communism that Kuzmarov mentions?

MM: I haven’t seen evidence that Hoang Van Chi’s book was “manipulated by the CIA.” I don’t know where Kuzmarov came up with that claim—perhaps from Noam Chomsky or one of other far-left authors whose work Kuzmarov often cites. As you note, I cite the book as evidence of Ho Chi Minh’s positive characteristics, and I can’t imagine that the CIA would want to manipulate a book into saying nice things about Ho Chi Minh.

TR: The recently released CIA histories by Thomas Ahearn Jr. tend to reinforce many of your arguments. Would you have changed anything in Triumph Forsaken if they had of been available?

MM: I don’t think I would have made any major changes based on those histories. As you mention, elements of those histories that reinforce my arguments. There are not any that would cause me to change my arguments substantially. The histories do fill in some significant details on certain aspects of the war, such as Edward Lansdale’s activities in 1954-1955 and U.S. relations with South Vietnamese generals in 1964 and 1965.

TR: One area that the CIA histories vary from your account is the effectiveness of MACV under Switchback. The CIA says that Harkins botched it. This criticism of Harkins and the fact that he poisoned the ‘media well' from over optimism seem valid to me. You are a great champion of Harkins, what do you think were his real achievements in his time as head of MACV?

MM: I did not spend much time on Switchback because I think it was less important than is often portrayed. The biggest problems in the Highlands stemmed from the 1963 coup. I also disagree with those from the Krepinevich school who denounce Switchback for shifting emphasis from population security to offensive and reconnaissance operations. Those criticisms would have been valid had South Vietnam merely been facing guerrillas. But in reality South Vietnam was facing regulars as well, and many of those regulars were infiltrating into South Vietnam through the highlands. It made a lot of sense to try to fight them in the highlands rather than waiting for them to reach the coast, as I explain in some detail on pp. 200-202 of Triumph Forsaken. Harkins could have handled the media better, but I lay most of the blame on the reporters for their hostility towards him. It was inexperienced, self-absorbed reporters who blasted Harkins for his optimism, whereas more experienced reporters understood that Harkins had to be optimistic in order to promote the prestige of the South Vietnamese government and the morale of American personnel. I credit Harkins for gaining the confidence of Diem, identifying problems in the war effort, and helping Diem fix those problems.

TR: You mention in passing two North Vietnamese agents who were instrumental in shaping many of the events of 1963; Albert Thao and Pham Xuan An. Thao’s whiteanting of the Strategic Hamlet Program in particular is an important aspect of the Diem era history, yet you didn’t mention it. Why?

MM: It’s addressed in the footnotes- 445n35. I put a lot of information of this type in the notes in order to keep the text to a reasonable length.

TR: Again as far as I can tell you cite Denis Warner only one time. As a contemporary journalist whose world view closely matches yours, why didn’t you make more use of him?

MM: You’re close- I cited him directly once, but also cited him as a biographical source on Diem. (p. 424n19) I didn’t find that much in his writings that was original or supportive of important interpretations.

TR: Has anyone else come out in support of your account of Ap Bac? Spencer Tucker in Vietnam says of the battle that “General Harkins characterized the operation as a success because the objective had been secured, but US correspondents on the scene thought otherwise.” Tucker makes a clear inference that journalists were present at the battle. Is that right?

MM: I’m not sure whether any historians have come out in support of the account, but no one has made a serious attack on the account, either. As far as I am aware, no one else has taken the time to dig into all of the source material as I did. Although lots of people have denounced the book, when it comes to specifics they have focused on only a few parts of the book, almost none of which concern military operations. Because the conventional wisdom on the military situation in 1962 and 1963 has been so wrong, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching that subject, as the footnotes attest. Concerning the press, no journalists witnessed the fighting, but several reached the battlefield after combat ceased. Technically, therefore, it is correct to say that they were “on the scene.” As I explain on pp. 194ff., the media coverage was corrupted by both John Paul Vann’s misrepresentations and the journalists’ prejudices.

TR: You don’t refer to Tucker’s work at all, is he beneath contempt or something?

MM: It is not because of contempt. So much has been written on Vietnam that I could not mention every historian, and therefore concentrated on those who I thought had made the most original or influential contributions.

TR: In 1963 General Rosson was a member of the 'Canberra Committee', what was that all about?

MM: The Canberra Committee was a U.S. liaison mission. I’m not sure why General Rosson was involved.

-Here's a question by Shaun Darragh (lirelou) concerning one of your earlier work, Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: The CIA's Secret Campaign to Destroy the Viet Cong:

SD: Can you qualify the PRU's (Provincial Reconnaissance Units) role within Phoenix. i.e., quantify how much of the Phoenix effort lay within the PRU's sphere, and how much was the work of '9666s' (the officer MOS common to those in the Phoenix program) down in the provinces and districts?

MM: It depended on the time, place, level, and personalities. As I note in Phoenix and the Birds of Prey, PRU involvement in Phoenix declined markedly after the CIA’s withdrawal from Phoenix in 1969. Phoenix was, on the whole, most active during the years of CIA involvement, and more active at the provincial level than at the district level because the CIA teams operated at the provincial level. If you are interested in additional details on the PRUs, I’d suggest that you consult Andrew Finlayson’s Marine Advisors: With the Vietnamese Provincial Reconnaissance Units, 1966-1970, published by the Marine Corps History Division in 2009.



Dr. Mark Moyar is Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Marine Corps University. An expert on counterinsurgency, leadership, military history, and foreign policy, he speaks frequently to military officers and civilian officials at all levels. His latest book, Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq, has been published in 2009 by Yale University Press.


http://www.markmoyar.com/

(Images used with permission by Mark Moyar)

Last edited by Boonierat; 22 Mar 10 at 04:09..
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  #2  
Old 22 Mar 10, 10:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boonierat View Post
[I]Professor, historian and counterinsurgency expert Dr. Mark Moyar talks to Armchair General and the ACG community about his book Triumph Forsaken:...
The following questions were submitted by the Armchair General community:

-Questions submitted by Robert Pryor (ussfa344):

RP: Do you feel that the US involvement had anything to do with appeasing the French? We heard a lot about the domino theory; containment of Communism and such, but the Viet Minh was by my way of thinking a nationalist movement after WWII. As Ho pointed out at the very end of WWII, the US was planning on granting independence to the Philippines. He believed that the Philippines indicated our support for nationalism.

MM: I believe that the domino theory was the principal reason for our involvement. I also believe that the domino theory was valid, and that the Viet Minh was not a nationalist movement. The case is laid out in Triumph Forsaken.

RP: Do you believe that the US participation in the Viet Nam War was a surrogate confrontation between the East and West in order to spare a confrontation in Europe?

MM: A few people have advanced that argument, but the documentary record does not support it. U.S. relations with the Soviets were pretty good in the early and mid-1960s; we weren’t very concerned about containing them or avoiding war with them, but we were concerned about containing China and avoiding war. China and its Communist allies in various Asian countries did in fact pose a serious threat to the entire continent. We ultimately achieved our strategic aim of containing China, even though the Indochinese dominoes fell in 1975....
GOOD STUFF BOONIE!

Well I'm not a "historian" and I've only read one book on the Vietnam War "The Things They Carried"...

I sure like what this guy is saying, especially the "domino theory" and stuff about the so called biased "left leaning writers/reporters".

Personally (IMHO) the Vietnam War was not waged because of "Nationalism" (Communist Propaganda to me) - it was because of POWER struggles as to who was to control S. Vietnam; and the U.S. didn't want it to be a Communist controlled country. Russia, China, and "HO" had different thoughts - so Vietnam was the battlefield.

Here are a couple of my previously posted links in regard to the "domino theory".

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ry#post1403106

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ry#post1350508

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ory#post896498

P.S. The U.S. propaganda point was to "keep people FREE" with Democratic elected Gov't controlling the "Internationally recognized Country" known as South Vietnam (designated 1st domino target).


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Last edited by KEN JENSEN; 22 Mar 10 at 10:58..
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  #3  
Old 22 Mar 10, 19:19
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He should've called it 'Lost Victories #2'. Could take its place alongside Mansteins famous/infamous work. Same type of revisionist thing.
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Old 23 Mar 10, 04:16
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Originally Posted by eddie3rar View Post
He should've called it 'Lost Victories #2'. Could take its place alongside Mansteins famous/infamous work. Same type of revisionist thing.
Gosh, because an author finally has the intestinal fortitude and references to make the liberals look no so accurate he is writing 'revisionist' history? Maybe he's just writing the truth...for a change.
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Old 24 Mar 10, 05:40
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Thanks for a great interview! Well done!

And thanks to Dr Moyer for his superb work. As someone living in Southeast Asia, I must say that I see the Vietnam War in a more positive light than many seem to in the US. The ten years between 1965 to 1975 brought much needed stability to this region. During that time, this little island nation that I lived began to build its economy and its defence forces so that by 1975, when South Vietnam did fall, we were in a much better position to absorb the impact of this event.
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Old 28 Mar 10, 09:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
Thanks for a great interview! Well done!

And thanks to Dr Moyer for his superb work. As someone living in Southeast Asia, I must say that I see the Vietnam War in a more positive light than many seem to in the US. The ten years between 1965 to 1975 brought much needed stability to this region. During that time, this little island nation that I lived began to build its economy and its defence forces so that by 1975, when South Vietnam did fall, we were in a much better position to absorb the impact of this event.
Hi O72

Ogukuo, I have to agree with you on two counts. It was particularly decent of Moyar to make this contribution firstly; and secondly I also subscribe to the view that the US effort in Vietnam significantly assisted in our Regions development.

I have to agree with you because I said pretty much the same thing in this post here.


I get annoyed sometimes with US histories that treat Vietnam as an Ad Hoc issue. It was not. In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s Asian communism was a threat to every South East Asian country. Vietnam was merely the lowest hanging fruit. The Malay communist party was possibly the easiest to defeat. Those who dismiss the domino theory never ever address the defeat of the Thai Communist Insurgency. I wonder why that is?

An offshoot of the domino theory is the ‘give me ten years’ position. Your post closely fits with what General Harkins counter-insurgency expert, Ted Serong said, was the strategy put to him in 1964.

It is at this point, in October 1964, that Serong places the instruction to him from Major General Sir Walter Cawthorn, head of Australian Intelligence, which kept him in Vietnam. Cawthorn, visiting Vietnam on his yearly circuit of the SEATO countries, said to Serong "Get me Ten Years." With ten years grace, he said, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand could all be made strong enough to resist the pressures of Communist insurgency. And according to Serong, that is exactly what happened: he maintains that from March 1965 until April 1975 the efforts of himself and others in South Vietnam bought ten years for the economic strengthening of the states of Southeast Asia.

Serong was a serious critic of Westmoreland’s predecessor, Harkins. He said of him

"Strategic policy is passive and re-actionary. Not active. No unified control." "General Harkins has not grasped the nature of his task. Let's hope he does soon, for all our sakes." "His job is to sell unified command to Ngo Dinh Diem, [President of South Vietnam]."

Serong is a critic of Harkins while Dr Moyar is an unabashed champion.



Moyar goes to great lengths to discredit the reportage of the battle of Ap Bac.The point where Serong and Moyar do agree, is that the reporting of Ap Bac was a beat up by Halberstam and his posse.



While Dr Moyar suggests that the rationale for this episode of misreporting was to cover JP Vann’s arse, Serong suggests that it was an attempt to portray President Diem in a negative light.



As the rest of the events of 1963 were to prove, Halberstam et al did a very effective job of misreporting the Buddhist crisis. This was the driver behind the biggest US mistake of the entire war, the assassination of Diem.


I think your post is very helpful in putting the US effort in Vietnam in proper perspective.

The war in Vietnam was much wider than 1965 to 1972. The US prosecution of the war was seriously flawed. Ultimately the US effort, in spite of its flaws, DID gain breathing space for our region.

US intervention in Vietnam and the Indonesian purge were the two most important post war events that shaped our neighbourhood. Neither of them were particularly pretty. Sitting back from the perspective of 2010, we should all be thankful for both of them.

Regards

Mick
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Old 28 Mar 10, 12:22
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Good reads.

Glad to see that my parochial view from this small island state actually gels with the larger picture.

In 1965, Singapore was poorly prepared for the impact of the fall of Indochina to Communism.

1. We had little real economy to speak of; we were heavily dependent on the British bases and the port

2. The British told us that they were pulling out their military forces in 1971 - no matter what

3. We had almost no defence forces of our own - a couple of infantry regiments and a couple of wooden boats

4. All this while we were in the middle of a Confrontation - the Konfrontasi - with Indonesia

5. Communists were still actively trying to subvert the government and take over, through 'united front' activities with the unions and socialist parties

Those ten years gave us precious time to build political stability, a real economy, and a defence force.

You're right in that some Americans seem to think that the Vietnam War was entirely about Americans in Vietnam. It was not. It effected the whole region.

And I think some times, some also forget that it was not just North Vietnam conquering South Vietnam. The whole of Indochina went red. The coastline all the way from the Artic, down to the Gulf of Siam was Communist. They laugh at the Domino theory, but they forget to look at the map to see just how valid it was. It was no theory. It was damn accurate foresight.
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Old 28 Mar 10, 15:18
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Professor Moyar is the Pentagon Papers

Essentially that is who he is and what he does.

If you buy into the conventional wisdom (New York Times) the Pentagon Papers were simply a description of all of the failures of the US in Vietnam. If you buy the version of the Pentagon Papers that Neil Sheehan edited and the New York Times published, this is exactly the impression you will get too. But theirs is only one volume. The actual pentagon papers went to almost 50 volumes. Sheehan cherry picked the Pentagon papers and published only the portions that suited his agenda. He would argue that in something this large some editing had to be done and that he could only publish the most relevant portions. What is instructive to me is what he left out.

So, what were the Pentagon Papers? The Pentagon Papers was a study commissioned by the Pentagon, thus the name, to analyze American involvement to that point in Vietnam and assess what was done right and what was done wrong. The Pentagon hoped to learn from the past so they could use this knowledge to make better policy in the future as the war continued.

The Pentagon did not commission the study to put a positive spin on the war, nor did they try to emphasize the negative. They wanted an objective assessment so that they could learn from it. Because they wanted an objective assessment the papers do have plenty of examples of what went wrong. Something that Neil Sheehan and the Times made sure the entire world knew about to the exclusion of everything else. But the papers were also replete with evidence about what went right about the war and plenty of examples for supporting the war. Something the Times neglected to tell the world about. The Pentagon was far more honest and balanced than the NY Times.

Certainly I find the Pentagon papers (Senator Gravel Edition) to be an invaluable resource in my defense of the war. Of course, my axe is of a different color than that of Neil Sheehan and the Times.

The salient point here is that the Pentagon commissioned the papers because they wanted an honest assessment and wanted to learn so that they could better formulate policy and tactics as the war went on and in the future.

So how does this make Professor Moyar the Pentagon Papers? Professor Moyar works for the Department of Defense doing research. His job, like the Pentagon papers before him, is to study American military policy from the relevant past (Coin in VN being on example) and current wars to learn what kinds of things work in certain military situations and what don't. His job is to provide objective study of relevant military topics whose findings can be used to improve current American military policy and action. His job is not to spin the military point of view or provide justification of US military actions. After all, only those of us in these esoteric areas of historical interest really know who he is. Professor Moyar's position is to study things, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and produce information from these studies that the defense department can use to improve itself. In this way he is the modern version of the Pentagon Papers researchers.

Fortunately the world has changed a lot since the NY Times stole and harvested the Pentagon papers for its purposes. Back then the NY Times had the power and influence it needed to act as if their interpretation of the Pentagon papers was the only correct one. Today, while there are still plenty of people who want to act like there is still only one interpretation of the facts and would long for the days when the Times could more easily control public opinion, competition in media markets enhanced by the internet has seen to it that other points of view cannot be cherry picked out of existence by a powerful elite.
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Old 15 Apr 10, 21:28
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I don't think there is any Vietnam scholar, liberal or otherwise who would disagree with the statement that 'America should have won in Vietnam'.

There were no crippling defeats. There were a lot more dead on the enemy side than on the other. The US forces had every advantage of armament, organization, communication, logistical and tactical support, manpower and volition to win.

What was lacking was a cogent and effective strategy. There was no endgame, midgame either for that matter. I would doubt many Vietnam scholars (elite or otherwise), who were not in some drug-induced euphoria, would deny Vietnam was a total loss - aside from all the 'positives' that came out of it. the only thing that didn't happen, were those falling dominoes. Not because the communists couldn't do it, but because it was a fairy tale.

I'll watch for the prof's book on the $2.00 table.

His scholarship took third place to his religious and political skew.
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Old 16 Apr 10, 05:32
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Originally Posted by Popsiq View Post
I don't think there is any Vietnam scholar, liberal or otherwise who would disagree with the statement that 'America should have won in Vietnam'.

There were no crippling defeats. There were a lot more dead on the enemy side than on the other. The US forces had every advantage of armament, organization, communication, logistical and tactical support, manpower and volition to win.

What was lacking was a cogent and effective strategy. There was no endgame, midgame either for that matter. I would doubt many Vietnam scholars (elite or otherwise), who were not in some drug-induced euphoria, would deny Vietnam was a total loss - aside from all the 'positives' that came out of it. the only thing that didn't happen, were those falling dominoes. Not because the communists couldn't do it, but because it was a fairy tale.

I'll watch for the prof's book on the $2.00 table.

His scholarship took third place to his religious and political skew.
Hi Popsiq.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your views on a book you haven't read.

I look forward to more of your stimulating and cogent analysis on other books you haven't read.

Might I be so bold as to suggest Dostoyevsky?

Kind regards

Mick
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Old 16 Apr 10, 20:24
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Thais or Malays could never have fought like the Vietnamese. Vietnamese have that hard confucian edge and a huge legacy of hate momentum to give them the goods to weather the 6 million tons of bombs, hundreds of thousands of dead, and years of battlefield set backs. Thais or Malays would pack in any fight or try and cut a deal.
Street level asians have very litle interest in history, Thais I knew had next to no knowledge of the Viet war but were proud that the little asian man (Vietnamese) had defeated the big farang. Thats the level of it. Then those same Thais would tell you that they thought Vietnamese were untrustworthy and Chinese were rude and stingy. The elites opinion of Thai would be little different, just that the elite live better and drive Benz600.The prob with white people reverse engineering asian history is that white folks attribute white people thinking and motivation to the asians.
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Old 16 Apr 10, 22:21
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Thais or Malays could never have fought like the Vietnamese. Vietnamese have that hard confucian edge and a huge legacy of hate momentum to give them the goods to weather the 6 million tons of bombs, hundreds of thousands of dead, and years of battlefield set backs.
Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. Please get some sleep before your next post.
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Old 17 Apr 10, 04:36
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.The prob with white people reverse engineering asian history is that white folks attribute white people thinking and motivation to the asians.
Eddie I wholeheartedly agree with this bit.

What complicates the issue as far as Moyar is concerned is that the reverse enginering is so poorly done by white folks who distort that history for their own political ends.

Regrds

Mick
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Old 17 Apr 10, 20:48
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The speed with which the US/Thai/Britain got behind China's plan to reequipe and redeploy the Khmer Rouge from the Thai refo camps and back into Cambodia to kill another 100k tells the story. Scrambling behind China's move as a proxy force of vengeance and maintaining the KR position at the UN shows how much time or stability the war had brought to the region.
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Old 17 Apr 10, 21:36
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The speed with which the US/Thai/Britain got behind China's plan to reequipe and redeploy the Khmer Rouge from the Thai refo camps and back into Cambodia to kill another 100k tells the story. Scrambling behind China's move as a proxy force of vengeance and maintaining the KR position at the UN shows how much time or stability the war had brought to the region.
That is somewhat disingenuous Eddie.

It wasn't just the US/Thai/Britain/China that thought so, it was the UN position too was it not?

In the late seventies, It had a lot less to do with proxy forces of vengeance and a lot more to do with grand strategy and critical real estate.

The USSR then had their first warm water port in the Pacific, courtesy of the magnificent infrastructure that the US had built at Cam Ranh. They could also stage Badgers and Bears out of the same but vastly improved airstrips that the aircraft that sunk the POW and Repulse flew out of.



Out of curiosity, did you do Cambodia?

Regards

Mick
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