Imagine a Vietnam War fought as a counterinsurgency by small units of South Vietnamese Army soldiers accompanied by a few American advisers, beating the Vietcong at their own game. Imagine that the ARVNs, with U.S. help, conducted civic action projects to win their country’s hearts and minds in support of the central government. Imagine that religious tolerance and democratic elections were a given. Imagine that air strikes and helicopter assaults were never conducted if there was a chance of any…..
If you are curious about the frantic last few days and hours in late April 1975 as the North Vietnamese Army encircled Saigon and there was a frenzied effort to evacuate our troops, civilians and Vietnamese allies, read “Last Men Out” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. At the U.S. embassy, marine guards were throwing bundles of crisp, new $100 bills into a furnace along with classified cables, CIA memos and lists of Vietnamese who had worked for Americans. Major…..
Peter Arnett was one of a select group of great reporters who arrived in Vietnam in the early 1960s as the U.S. was ramping up its involvement, but unlike Neil Sheehan, David Halberstam, Malcolm Browne and Stanley Karnower, only Arnett, AP Saigon bureau chief George Esper and stringer Matt Franjola remained until the North Vietnamese took over the country on April 29, 1975. In “Saigon Has Fallen,” Arnett has distilled in a 198-page personal account of his reporting on most…..
There is no mention of atrocities in my memoir “Heroes to the End” on my 1971-72 tour as a Stars and Stripes reporter because I never heard of any such incidents from the enlisted men and officers I interviewed. That’s why Nick Turse’s book “Kill Anything That Moves” was so disturbing. I feel like maybe I had blinders on or was purposely steered away from any news of massacres, civilian deaths and soldiers’ misconduct. Turse’s premise is that the Americal…..
Over the past two years on my book tour for “Heroes to the End,” I met many Vietnam veterans who told me “I don’t have to read about it; I lived it.” Maybe since I was only under fire twice during my 1971-72 tour, and seemed to lead a charmed life, I’ve read every book on Vietnam I could get my hands on to see what others went through. The latest is “Hue 1968” by Mark Bowden. I feel Bowden’s…..