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Old 02-06-2006, 07:01 AM
SL Bronco SL Bronco is offline
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Anybody read anything interesting lately? I'm just finishing up Clark Clifford's Counsel to the President. It's pretty interesting, especially on the Truman administration and on the Johnson administration and how decisions were made (and on divisions over the war within the administration).

I'm about to read Without Honor.
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Old 02-06-2006, 10:33 AM
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I've never read any books about VN. Always figured I had enough of my own war stories to recall, without reading someone elses. And as far as learning more about the "why's and where-for's" of it all, I get that from all you scholars that post here and on the HC VN board and I thank you for that.

Right now, I'm reading Norman Mailer's THE NAKED AND THE DEAD., one of the best novels to come out of WWII. Before that, I read WILLIE BOY, a true account of a 1909 manhunt in the Mojave Desert for a Paiute Indian that had committed murder. You might recall that they made a movie about it years ago, starring Robert Blake who, ironically, committed murder himself. However, Willie Boy didn't get off :re: .
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Old 02-06-2006, 10:55 AM
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I am reading "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee"...I found it at the Goodwill store for 50c...Am about halfway through and a thought occurred to me, why would Sheridan and Sherman continue with their military carrers out West with all the savagery, hardship, and general hell, after going thru 4 years of the Civil War ?

Larry
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:33 PM
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Larry, Them two Union Soldiers, Sheridan and Sherman, Disliked Indians worse then they hated Southerns. So My guess is pure hatefulness on their parts. Or maybe like Custer they wanted to Run for President
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Old 02-07-2006, 06:55 AM
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"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" was one of my mother's favorite books. I'll have to add it to my list and also watch for it at the thrift shops, which is where I found the Clark Clifford book.

Has anyone read McNamara's "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam"? I had no interest in reading it before reading Clifford's book, but now I think maybe I should. I was interested in Clifford's comment that our total of dead at the point when McNamara decided the war was a mistake and should be ended was about 17,000.
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Old 02-07-2006, 07:07 AM
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Read McNamara's screed..attempt to justify himself for being loyal to the President while being against that President's major foreign policy. One word for that...NOBALLS
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Old 02-07-2006, 09:13 AM
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Presently reading LEE the Soldier.
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:01 AM
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Lately Ive been into reading great books I nevr read but should have.

Latest: A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway
EXCELLENT but dated. Great descriptive writing, catches a gut level feeling
Previous: A tramp Abroad by mark Twain---also excellent travel memoir
BlowBack: The costs and consequences of American Empire-Chalmers Jouhnson
Will in The World (Shakespeares life) by Stephen Greenblatt

I first read Bury my heart in the 70s not long after it came out, it was the sttart of a complette mindchange about American Indians--before I only saw them as threats to the cowboys--then I undrstood what a shitty deal they got--have researched more--this was a book that started me on a journey

Also re: Sherman, Grant, Custer--read Son of the Morning Star (evan Connel)about Custer, it tells a lot of the politics of the time and what part they played--Custer really wanted to run for president, sherman didn't, grant WAS President. The line between the miltary and pollitics was and is very thin.
They were professinal soldiers and history is full of the actios they took--they wanted to wipe out the Indians or destroy all resistance---its what professional soldiers do. (Been one) This was another time in American history where better ends may have been achieved than going to war.

I read Macnamara's book also and thought it was excellent, not for what macnamara said or did, but for what the vietnamese said in it. This was the first and only time that people from both sides actually sat down and tried to look at and hammer out the disagreements of the war. One of the things you find out is that our method of diplomacy--refusing to recognize or deal with Ho Chi Minh or the communists--was the worst posssible method ever.
If you have an enemy you can never go wrong by establishing channels of communication and trying to negotiate--its the way all wars are settled unless absolute victory on one side. the war may go on but at least there's hope for a peaceful solution. And if you don't think a peaceful solution should be the endpoint of all wars then you shouldn't be in charge of one.
This the US never did. One of the things you learn from this book is that Ho Chi Minh wanted to settle--he didn't want to fight WWIII in his frontyard. Who would? Ho Chi Minh wrote to every American prersident since Wilson offering to negotiate as long as the Vietnamese achieved independence. And every single one of our Presidents ignored him completely-to their own regret.
Ho Chi Minh said that the US would never back wars against colonialism if the colonizers were white and the colonized weren't--and he was exactly right on that.
The No negotiation EVER with Communists style of diplomacy was right out of the Macarthy Era but dominated American politics all through this war. This seriously constrained diplomacy in this war for decades because there was no face to face diplomacy, only through 3d parties, like the Communists didn't exist, Like Chiang still spoke for all of China. This was absurd but the fact.
from a No Negotiation standpoint, the US was brought to the bargaining table only by events on the ground. We wouldn't negotiate when we thought we could win, which we did for a long time, only when things looked bad.
I am one who thinks its a whole lot more important to listen to what your enemy says than what your propaganda says. When someone goes to war against you, theyre trying to tell you something--its best to understand what it is. There may be a way out that works for all.
This the US also never understood--that it was a war of liberation for the Vietnamese--almost like we couldn't understand why they didn't want to be dominated by outsiders. Vietnam had been run by white people for a century by the time we took over the war and their liberation movement had started decades before any American had heard of Vietnam. How did we think we could stop them?
Answer: arrogance and racism. As LBJ said, and I quote: I'm not going to be pushed around by a bunch of little gooks. And the light at the end of the tunnel was the oncoming freight train that ended LBJs career--driven by a bunch of little gooks


Stay good
James
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:13 AM
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Another thing in Macnaamras book that was very plain--the Vietnames and Chinese were expecting an invsion of the North, anticipated it and were making plans
What the book reveals for the first time is that there was a mutual defense pact between China and Vietnam. We suspected this but never confirmed it untill after the war.
At the height of the war, the Chinese had 250,000 troops in Vietnam mostly doing support work like setting up and manning th SAM batteries, building roads aand railroads in anticipation of an invasion. Well, they'd seen Inchon too but from the other side. No way would the Chinese have let those troops be menaced without drawing them in.
What this all means is that if the US had invaded the North it wold have been a bloodbath. there would have been so much blood shed it may have gone to the nukes, espcially if it looked bad for our side.
Thank God wiser heads prevailed
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james
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:30 AM
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As I mentioned elsewhere, I recently finished reading "Parallel Universes" by Fred Alan Wolf. It's generally about quantum mechanics, time travel and such, but there are some pretty interesting implications in the worlds of psychology and the spiritual arts.
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