My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve read many books on the Vietnam War. Most were all about the who, what, where, and how. This book, however, is about the WHY! And while many of the reasons behind this debacle in US history were known to me or suspected highly, Mr. Baritz puts it all out there in this book; the motivations, the errors in judgement, the manipulations, the lies and deceit, the ineptitude of our leaders (civilian and military), etc. It’s just the whole sad story that cost so many lives.
And for what?
So politicians could get re-elected? So bureaucrats could continue their cush gigs while feeding from the public trough? So military men could give themselves medals and advance their careers? I have no respect for the entire lot of them.
The ones involved in that cluster-screw who I have respect and empathy for are the U.S. servicemen and women who were out there every day getting the asses shot at. The grunts slogging through the mud and mines to achieve some cockamamie goal dreamed up by suits sitting in air conditioned offices 10,000 mile away.
I have respect and empathy for the innocent Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians who suffered so much during this era. They lost so much to gain so little.
I have respect for North Vietnamese people and leaders. They outlasted the US. They bided their time. They suffered. They lost much. They won.
If you have any interest in this era, you should read this book. It was written in 1985, but could be used as a blueprint of what NOT TO DO in our current era when it comes to “limited wars” and wasting of human life for causes that cannot even remotely be classified as noble.