VIETNAM – A war lost and won
Nigel Cawthorne’s ‘VIETNAM – A War Lost and Won’ was first published in 2003 by Arcturus Publishing Limited in the UK. Nigel Cawthorne, born in Chicago, United States, is an American-born British fiction and non-fiction writer and editor.
The book includes an introduction to what started one of the worst wars in American war history. It consists of ten chapters followed by an epilogue, bibliography and index. Offered in paperback with high-quality recycled material, for those who missed the Vietnam War era, this book is highly recommended as it provides vivid, lucid statistics on what really went wrong in the war that had left its mark. permanent black woman in American power. and military superiority.
The cover of this highly informative book has a filigree image of a soldier with full army gear in the background, and US troops crossing what looks like a typical Vietnamese rice field with the help of helicopters at the top. These images are surely reminiscent of what appears frequently in the Rambo, Platoon and Missing in Action Hollywood movies.
It also provides the maps of Vietnam showing the disputed areas: the north and the south, the two territories that were in constant focus during the war. Another map will help readers about the Tet offensive that took place from January to February 1968. Not only that, the book has high-quality real-life photos, photos taken in actual battles, showing the various assets of the American forces, the individuals who dictated the war from behind, and other chronological evidence in what would be the only war the Americans lost.
Written in simple but precise language, the book offers abundant numerical evidence and readers will be treated with overwhelming bumps and bounces. The statistical records revealed in this book will inform us that 46,370 American soldiers were killed, where more than 10,000 died from causes unrelated to combat and more than 100,000 were wounded. The United States government had spent a whopping $ 145 billion, an enormous amount for that time, for a worthless war that began in 1965 and ended in 1975, two years after the Paris Peace Agreement.
The United States lost 4,865 helicopters, each costing about a quarter of a million dollars, and eight million tons of bombs were dropped in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia combined, a number far greater than the number dropped during the entire Second World War. ( SECOND WORLD WAR). The B52, a pride of American hegemony, dropped $ 200,000 worth of bombs out of its bomb bay doors on each mission. Readers will also be able to identify the other assets of the US Army, from the US UH 13 helicopters known as the Hueys, the US Attack Patrol Boat (STAB), the M60 machine guns, the B52 bomber, to the constantly mentioned US ghost planes throughout the book.
Another point in favor of this book is that the author had distanced himself from all the obvious elements of provincialism; blind regionalism and nationalism, so he neglected the one-sided aspect of his views. According to the writer, more than 18 million people were displaced during the war, and more than 3 percent of South Vietnam was totally devastated beyond recognition.
Other revelations indicate that 18 million gallons of defoliants were used in the war, resulting in severely handicapped and malformed babies. Until 1986 they were still being held as political prisoners, prisoners of war (prisoners of war) until 1986, and the writer went on to clarify that the aftermath of the war caused 865,000 people to flee the country in search of greener pastures elsewhere.
The writer also attacked American soldiers during the war, poking fun at their ignorance of being boastful by undermining the enemy’s strength. This was enhanced by using terms that were prevalent among the US military in Vietnam at the time, such as ‘gooks’, a derogatory term referring to people of Asian descent in the US, and ‘peasants’, which refers to Vietnamese insurgents that consist predominantly of farmers. The loss of this army of peasants further kindled the fire of terrible humiliation in the United States.
The writer also further affirmed the fact that in general, the people of Vietnam have a special affinity with the soil of their country and the guerrilla war that the so-called peasant army fought, was fought to the last drop of blood unlike their counterpart that, on a large scale, consists of reluctant recruits, some in their teenage years, fighting as soldiers at the forefront of the bloody battle.
On war strategies, the writer pointed out that from day one, the superior army had been wrong. The Vietnamese had won the war by more effectively using the underground tunnels, used for centuries even before the invasion of the American army, against the Chinese and the French. The Vietnamese had tunnels that stretched for hundreds of miles from the Cambodian border to the gates of Saigon. They had dormitories, workshops, hospitals, kitchens, headquarters facilities, and supply depots built within these tunnels. Made from laterite clay, the surface hardens like concrete once exposed to the scorching sun. With this information, the writer had revealed to readers that it was indeed true that one of the main reasons Americans had lost the war was because they were fighting an invisible enemy; frequently appearing out of nowhere, he engaged the enemy in sudden combat, only then to disappear into thin air.
The book also features some interesting terms for readers like “punji traps” and “spike traps”, the two most common booby traps used in Vietnam during the war. These are traps made with simple tropical resources: bamboo and punji sticks, but the brutality they inflict on the victims is mind-boggling. The book further confirmed that some 10,000 US servicemen lost at least one limb in Vietnam, more than in World War II and Korea combined.
The writer juggled his factual statements back and forth (Vietnam and the US) to keep readers abreast of events taking place at home, including massive civil protests on the streets of New York, Washington. DC and other major US cities legitimacy of the war. One section also includes Martin Luther King (MLK), the civil rights activist, who spoke out against the war, asserting his enormous moral conviction and authority. The writer also did not hide his displeasure at exposing the Vietnam War as a racially biased and divisive war. African Americans did not find it easy as white middle-class youth to evade conscription. An indisputable fact revealed in the book was how African Americans, who made up about 23 percent of the total population of the US military Killed in action in Vietnam, bore an unfair burden and how this feeling of being treated and sacrificed unfairly in Vietnam. a foreign war helped further fuel racial conflicts in the United States. The Marines did not admit African Americans until World War II. Vietnam was essentially the first war in which blacks and whites fought side by side.
The current generation Y of the information technology era will also recognize the ‘hippies’ through this reading. The ‘Hippies’ movement, which started in the 1960s, around the same time that war broke out, borrowed MLK’s philosophy of’ peace ‘and the anti-war movement, was famous for its comment:’ Make love, not war. ‘
The highlight of the book lies in the revelation, without an iota of secrecy, about how and why the most powerful superpower in the world lost the war in Vietnam. The center of attention is Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), where prostitutes roamed and “served,” military brothels, and addiction to marijuana and opium were rampant among the US military. Drug abuse has a central theme in the music and culture of the 1960s that was directly associated with the Vietnam War. Other deadly problems related to loss of morale and deteriorating health among the US military have been revealed in the form of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including gonorrhea or ‘clap’ and the Heinz 57 variety. Some of these diseases spread to the US military by deliberate means under the guise of Vietcong tactics.
The book also immerses readers in the pathos of the ‘MyLai Massacre’, regarded as one of the most heinous acts of murder of people, including children, in the history of war. The person responsible for this gruesome act was Lieutenant William L. Calley. The war had left an indelible stigma by eroding human dignity and the world realized that the rest of the world did not operate in the same moral vacuum as Vietnam. The writer also revealed in his closing that public hostility towards the American military who returned home after the debacle further increased the serious psychological and social impasse and it was reported in 1980 that more than 700,000 war veterans experienced some form of disturbance. emotional or psychological disorder called Post. -Traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) after his return to his homeland.