After reading the Pentagon Papers and a number of critically acclaimed books about the war I am somewhat haunted at this new book.
For the first time, The Associated Press reviewed its 25,000+ photos of the war and reprinted a select 250 in “Vietnam: The Real War”
This photograph takes me back to a college history class on the Vietnam war taught by Dr. Charles DeBenedetti. His style and passion for teaching is something that I have never forgotten. To this day I can still see him at the front of class on the fifth floor of University Hall lecturing us on this tragic war.
Madmen finished a rather interesting season. I only found interest in the season premier when Don sat at a bar in Hawaii and had a drink with a US Soldier on leave from the war. Many have written about Chevrolet was their “Vietnam” for the season.
Other segments throughout this season seemed tied into the cultural change the war took on American society. For example, the necklace of ears segment was rather interesting as the horror of war not only hit home but required the firm to change their advertising strategies.
Did you think their pot smoking scene or the death of a firm’s sibling (killed in Vietnam) reach the audience? Many didn’t seem to think so — maybe they were not looking deep enough?
Leonard Garment passed away this week. He was President Nixon’s special legal counsel as Watergate became more than just headlines. Garment and Nixon were close friends in the New York law firm of Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander. Nixon joined after serving as Eisenhower’s Vice President.
President Nixon appointed Garment to replace John Dean who was fired by Nixon the same day John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman resigned due to mounting evidence that crimes regarding Watergate were committed within the White House by members of CREEP.
With the amazing impact the White House taping system had on the Watergate investigation it was Garment who successfully urged Nixon not to destroy the recorded tapes. This was the critical issue regarding Congress’ power to investigate Nixon.
Garment would actually outlast all of Nixon’s advisors and stay to serve President Ford immediately following Nixon’s resignation. As a liberal Democrat he was really swimming upstream against Nixon’s conservative inner circle.
Garment eventually left but thrived as a Washington DC attorney more many years representing many future Republicans caught in legal cases – even as a close friend to fellow law partner Scooter Libby. He was also very influential in the New York jazz community.
Maybe most impressive was Garment’s music ability that led him to play in a jazz band with Alan Greenspan before entering law school. Yes, thatAlan Greenspan. Small world back then in Brooklyn.
Hunt’s book presented in chronological order our long conflict throughout Indo-China. The perspectives from are from leaders in the US, South Vietnam and communist North Vietnam. Wars have been traditionally told from the perspective of the winner, its a somewhat awkward view to read the perspectives of noted NVA military and communist party leaders. Lessons certainly sting. And they should indeed sting our national conscious.
The focus of French colonialism opens the book stretching back to 1861 and the coming rise of independence and revolution against French colonial rule throughout Indo-China. Hunt appears to have leveraged the resources also presented in the Pentagon Papers to tell an accurate story of our 30 year war in Vietnam.
In the summer of 2011 the National Archives released the Pentagon Papers. The 47-volume report officially titled “United States-Vietnam Relations 1945-1967” was an amazing research effort led by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Somewhat fittingly today (Memorial Day 2013) I have finished the final volume.
This has been a rather involved “process” to say the least. At times the reports left me frustrated, curious, shocked, empathetic and even enraged. All 47 volumes remain freely available to download in Adobe Acrobat format and total 7,919 pages. This top secret report forever changed America’s view of this long and tragic war.
Robert McNamara appointed a TaskForce of select military, RAND staff members and academic researchers to write the report. Those who contributed included Daniel Ellsberg who would later leak the Papers to Neil Sheehan at the New York Times.
Many of the secret documents in the Pentagon Papers reveal America’s role Asian politics before entering World War II. Its interesting to see Roosevelt and Stalin discussed a French-free IndoChina at the Tehran Conference.
The Pentagon Papers Volume 33 Part V-B1 reveals a series secret documents regarding a steady stream of communications between World War II allies leading up to the Tehran Conference in early December 1943 where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met to plan a second European front against Hitler’s Germany.
I think its important to view the timeline regarding French aims regarding a postwar IndoChina. The memorandum below was between Stalin and Roosevelt at Tehran as the Allies were planning D-Day.
Can the irony be any stronger for French demand’s that American support reclaiming their lost colonies while the war in Europe was still raging on just the eastern front?