Welcome! I'm excited about launching this new blog and posting material on a regular basis that I hope you will find interesting and useful.
Despite the passage of nearly half a century, the legacy of the 1968 fight for Khe Sanh, and other horrendous battles during the Tet Offensive, particularly in Hue and Saigon, have had an unrelenting influence on American life. This is not just seen in the damaging reverberations through generations within the families of loved ones who were lost or suffered in that war. Columnist George Will recently observed that the diminished confidence in government felt by many Americans today can be traced directly to those battles--and never again rising to pre-1968 levels of trust.
Famed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, The West, etc.), in a speech to the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills California this week, said that much of his upcoming 18-hour, 10-part, documentary series The Vietnam War (which premieres on PBS at 8 pm PDT September 17), will show how eerily similar America's chaotic national predicament during the Vietnam War is to what we are experiencing today.
In response to a question about what the youth of America will find relevant in The Vietnam War, Burns said: "This is a story about mass demonstrations all across the country against the administration, about a White House obsessed with leaks and in disarray because of those leaks, about a president railing against you, the news media, for making up news."
"It's about asymmetrical warfare, which even the might of the United States Army can't figure out the correct strategy to take, and its about big document drops of classified material that has been hacked [The Pentagon Papers] that is suddenly dumped into the public sphere destabilizing the conventional wisdom about really important topics and accusations that a political campaign reached out to a foreign power [Candidate Nixon to the Republic of Vietnam] at the time of a national election to influence the election."
Burns' remarks reminded me why I so value history and the lessons it can teach us and why I work so hard to drill down though decades of varnish, spin and downright myth to uncover what was actually happening in real time and the decision making process that led us deeper and deeper into that quagmire, in which the Vietnamese people suffered millions of casualties and more than 210,000 American men and women were wounded, died or went missing and many others, like myself, returned deep in the throes of what historian William Manchester once described as: "The supreme indifference of young men who have lost their youth and will never recover it."
In my next post, I'll share with you some information about political maneuverings, like some ominous chess game, being played between leaders in Washington and Hanoi beginning fifty years ago this summer leading to those horrifically costly battles a few months later. As these momentous events transpired in the summer of 1967, my friend Tom Mahoney and I were working our way through Marine Corps boot camp, on schedule to meet that approaching havoc at the most inopportune time--in terms of our survival.
Until then, please visit www.michaelarcher.net for more information and thanks for dropping by.
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