Academic journal article Military Review

The Wrong War: Why We Lost in Vietnam

Academic journal article Military Review

The Wrong War: Why We Lost in Vietnam

Article excerpt

THE WRONG WAR: Why We Lost in Vietnam by Jeffrey Record. 217 pages. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 1998. $27.95.

The United States went to war in Vietnam for the noble purpose of saving South Vietnam from communism. In April 1975 the United States withdrew from South Vietnam as North Vietnamese tanks entered Saigon. The United States had failed in its initial objective of saving the south from a communist takeover. Jeffrey Record explains why it failed in The Wrong War.

Record lists reasons for defeat: US policy makers misinterpreted "the significance and nature of the struggle"; policy makers underestimated "the enemy's tenacity and fighting power"; decision makers overestimated "US political stamina and military effectiveness"; South Vietnam was not "politically competitive"; US civilian leaders intruded on "professional military prerogatives"; military strategy was faulty; and so on. There is nothing new here. Many analysts have reached the same conclusions. Only recently with the publication of H.R. McMaster's Dereliction of Duty (HarperCollins, New York, 1997, $27.50) has the bureaucratic infighting and resulting impotence of the Joint Chiefs of Staff been added to the list of reasons for failure.

The book's strength is Record's compilation of all the reasons for failure into one highly readable book. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.