Byline: Nguyen Ngoc Linh , SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Since the fall of Saigon, I have had 35 years to think about what went wrong. Even before that fateful April 1975, I had had 10 years of government service to witness the mistakes of American and Vietnamese leaders responsible for managing the war.
From the very beginning of America's commitment in Vietnam, there was a huge gap of understanding between Americans and Vietnamese that led from one misunderstanding to another about each other's intentions, good will, expectations and much else.
Indeed, Americans, with their gung-ho, can-do, task-oriented attitude, had the tendency to take control in their partnership with the Vietnamese, even at the risk of stepping on our toes. The Vietnamese, proud of their Confucian traditions and steeped in a millennial historical consciousness, resisted and even ignored advice from pushy American advisers and condescending commanding generals.
The understanding gap led to fateful decisions on the American side, such as encouraging the Vietnamese generals to stage a coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem and his …