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Web Letter

The review misses the most devastating information in Mark Moyar's book: how Halberstam et al. were all deceived and taken in by their Vietnamese informant, who it turns out was a colonel in the North Vietnamese army...

Thomas McGonigle

New York, NY

Feb 28 2008 - 12:16pm

Web Letter

While reading Rick Perlstein's reviews of right-wing revisionist Vietnam "history" books, and seeing the words "rural depopulation," I was having flashbacks. As a C7A cargo pilot in South Vietnam, Thailand, and over-flying Cambodia, in 1970-71, I saw the massive destruction to large swathes of territory in South Vietnam and the carpet bombing in eastern Cambodia. The largest de-populated area that I saw was in "III Corps," from greater Saigon northward ninety miles to the green ribbon of border towns and artillery bases that had been used as staging areas for the Cambodian incursion the year before. It was a huge swath of terrain defoliated, also cleared by large plows, and pock-marked from artillery, air strikes, some heavy bombing. Artillery bases were named for former towns, as Phuoc Vinh and An Loc, only there were no signs of these towns or of any settlement patterns.

As we pulled the US Army out of these areas, the South Vietnamese Army did not replace them. The NLF was already inside Loc Ninh City when I last flew into that deserted artillery base in August, 1971, their wooden flute tones sonorous and dirge-like over the classified fox mike radio. By the next year, they had established a test base, the provisional revolutionary government in Loc Ninh, unchallenged by the South Vietnamese army, only by more Americans inserted in a fatal attempt to dislodge them as the generals sat in Saigon. I came home and joined Vietnam Vets Against the War, refusing duty in tankers, and wrote to a Senator McIntyre, who voted to end the bombing. We got our POWs home. North Vietnam drove into the south with hardly a shot three years later; the South Vietnamese leaders split to California.

Jim Willingham

St. Petersburg, FL

Nov 15 2007 - 5:20pm

Web Letter

Is there any mention in these revisionist books of the role that the troops themselves played in ending the war? The demonstrations in the street had gone on for years, and there were antiwar sentiments in the press; however, it was a concerted effort within the military itself that brought an end to the war. The Pentagon could no longer cope with the growing numbers of troops who, by 1970, simply refused to fight. Will that important fact make it into the neocons' future textbooks?

John Giarratana

Jersey City, NJ

Oct 3 2007 - 2:03pm

Web Letter

Wait til the revisionism hits to describe the heroism of Dubya! I can see it now: The man kept his eyes on America's long-term interests instead of mere temporary partisan advantage.Makes sense to me already.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Sep 28 2007 - 10:27am

Web Letter

Mr. Perlstein's "sticks and stones" mentality towards those not enamored of his view of the world is revealing: He demonstrates that "facts"can be in the mind of the beholder. More significant is his veiled irritation upon discovering that the cloak of revisionism, which liberals like to wear so often, is found this time in the other closet.

Charles Thornton

Reisterstown, MD

Sep 28 2007 - 8:43am

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