Vietnam: The Necessary War
This is a dense but revealing book. It called my attention while searching for a different perspective to the square-minded and whacky PC stories.
The auther is, no doubt, a liberal democrat (to Spaniards, un progre) who has engrossed the ranks of the anti-Bush hordes. However, he gives us an honest and detailed explanation of the background of Vietnam. He convincingly lets us see the whole picture of what was involved in the decision-making behind Vietnam at the time.
It's certainly about time now -without all the sound and fury of yesteryears- to help people get rid of their prejudices (aka ignorance) towards this tragic subject.
This book is not a military account of the war, though. But it's the absolutely necessary companion -after reading the military facts- for a quiet meditation and re-evaluation.
There are many great arguments in this book that can quench your thirst for wisdom, as in: "These three regions -Vietnam, Korea, Indochina- were not contested because they were important. THEY WERE IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY WERE CONTESTED."
Most revealing and convincing to me were the quotations from letters by the communists leaders Stalin, Ribbentrop (foreign minister for the nazis) and Mao mocking America's military capabilities and political resolve towards the war. These are worth the whole book, and a thousand books. Everyone in America should read pages 44 to 46 before being given the right to vote, seriously.
Thus dixit Stalin:
"They are fighting little Korea, and already people are weeping in the USA. What will happen if they start a large-scale war? Then, perhaps, everyone will weep." Mao's and Ribbentrop's words are of the same caliber. It all comes down to the simple conclusion that America's war in Vietnam was a proxy war, a game of intellects, a poker game with the USSR and China.
Having the choice of playing poker with someone who hates you and would like to see you dead, or dueling with him, I would pick the first option, if only because I care more about my life than my money.
NB. I can't help remembering my little conversation with this visiting Chinese female teacher. She was emphatically arguing that America had invaded Korea first and that caused China to help their poor Asian "compadres". Nice. The US had sponsored her to come here and teach. This is what I call a willing spy. But we have to be so nice and understanding with foreigners, right? Candid, also? Stupid, also? On the other hand, I think, Americans are so different from other peoples. You see, this chinese lady believes everything her government taught her, as a dogma of faith, she's a willing serf. But Americans don't submit. On the contrary, if it's the government who says it then it must surely be contended with.
Another particularity -and I may be digressing too much- is that this welcoming trait (though hypocritical it may be) of Americans towards immigrants is restricted to a certain kind of immigrants. To be brief, teachers, scientists, pseudo-intellectuals are more welcome, overall, than typically poor families from Central/South America. But this is the real human-stuff that America is made of. Remember what Ms Liberty with her torch says? Instead, America is welcoming people who hate her and try to show her how bad she is, but is closing doors to her real constituency: the decent fellows who want to work, pay taxes, mind their own businesses and die.