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16 September 2010


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John Minnerath

Bernard Fall's work was on the reading list when I was at SWS Training Group in '62.
I think I still have a couple books of his I bought at our bookstore up on Smoke Bomb Hill.


Thanks Col., a very interesting read.

"If it works, its obsolete." Better tell Petraeus.

"Can we in Viet-Nam, or anywhere else, save (or improve) the administrative or governmental structure? The answer is obvious, and there is no other effort really worth doing."

Better tell the Karzai clan; but then perhaps they know this and are just topping off the Swiss bank accounts?

And let's not forget to "save (or improve) the administrative or governmental structure" right here in the USA.

William R. Cumming

Perhaps of interest would be number of languages into which Bernard Fall's work has been translated. I always thought highly of Frances Fitzgerald's take on FALL and Viet Nam but curious as to others who read "Fire in the Lake"!

Cold War Zoomie

Fred beat me to the "if it works, it's obsolete" line. That really stuck out to me - so simple, and yet so true.

The other big point that sticks out is:

"When a country is being subverted it is not being outfought; it is being out-administered."

And this is compared with just giving the people nice shiny new things like pigs and schools and roads.

Made me rethink my idea that we can just throw more cash around than the Taliban to quiet down an area.

Russ Wagenfeld

Hi Pat,
I read Viet-Nam Witness in graduate school and still have my copy, I came across these 2 interesting statements when I read part of the Wiki article on Fall:
By 1964, Fall concluded that the U.S. forces in Vietnam were losing. Fall’s dire predictions caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which began to monitor his activities.
In Colin Powell's 1995 Autobiography, My American Journey, he wrote: "I recently reread Bernard Fall's book on Vietnam, Street Without Joy. Fall makes painfully clear that we had almost no understanding of what we had gotten ourselves into. I cannot help thinking that if President Kennedy or President Johnson had spent a quiet weekend at Camp David reading that perceptive book, they would have returned to the White House Monday morning and immediately started to figure out a way to extricate ourselves from the quicksand of Vietnam."

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