Monday, May 1, 2023

Cat From Hue #2


Again, many thanks to the kind reader who sent me The Cat From Hue, what an excellent book, read it. That in mind, one of its themes is the author's increasing and in the end utter distrust of the MACV establishment account of the war. 

John Laurence came to believe MACV was lying and he was in the right place to know, he covered the war at its sharp end for a solid five years (1965-70). You see, he was being told at press conferences that we were unequivocally winning and he knew we weren't, at least in terms of big picture. 

Plaudit aside, things have moved on and the likes of Laurence, Dana Stone, Tim Page, Michael Herr, Sean Flynn et al wouldn't be tolerated. In fairness, why should the US warfighting hegemon tolerate a potentially subversive element. Then again, the reverse side of the medal says that that same hegemon shouldn't lie at the expense of lives and the enrichment of its pocketbook.

So to what extent are we being lied to about the Ukraine conflict? I'll wager the monkey, and he's a vicious little beast, that we shouldn't believe half of what we're told, and that's a conservative wager. Bets on?

Play Deep,



Old NFO said...

Yep, interesting book...

LSP said...

I like it a lot, NFO, but of course I wasn't there, so.

LL said...

The government loves you. Put your hands on your computer to feel the warmth of their sincerity.

Wild, wild west said...

"Vietnam is what we had instead of happy childhoods." - Michael Herr, in Dispatches. Laurence's book is better by far, but Herr's is still a classic.

LSP said...

One of the things I like best about our Government, LL, is its great love for us. I feel that warmth from my lowly laptop.

LSP said...

Wild, Herr's book had a great effect on me as a kid, and not entirely a good one. Great book, though.

Laurence is definitely better but in a different way. What a good journalist! I fear that professionalism is dead and dying and maybe Laurence et al were part of that death? Just thinking out loud.

Wild, wild west said...

Herr worked alone, without deadlines or much supervision and that lack of discipline showed in his work product. When Herr went home, he wasn't expected to go back. He went over with a predisposition for skepticism toward government and the military. Laurence, on the other hand, had deadlines and supervision and worked as part of a team with goals and performance measurements and that discipline showed in his work product. He got there earlier than Herr and did three tours. While at first part of the "team," he became skeptical as time went on and certain facts about the Emperor's nakedness became self-evident.

Would that the current crop of alleged "journalists" have such an epiphany as Lawrence's and Halberstam's and Sheehan's toward both sides of our current administration, and flay the truth out of them for all to see.

Certainly, there was a difference between those two, not the least of which was that Laurence came home with a really great cat and Herr didn't, but they both paid the price to earn a well-deserved place in the Viet Nam canon, if it can be said there is such a thing. The definitive book about Viet Nam has yet to be written and I doubt it's possible to craft it. I believe Viet Nam has to be examined in the context of the whole of Indochina, to even begin to get a handle on it. Bernard Fall possibly could have done it, had he survived, but I can't imagine who else.

LSP said...

Well said, Wild, at every level.

And good call well made.

Plaudits aside, great book.