[March 7, 2023] Can we learn from war? What lessons can we learn for future wars? Is war inevitable? Do we get our history right about war? Of course, there are exceptions about getting history right and Mark Moyar does exactly that in his latest book, Triumph Regained: The Vietnam War, 1965-1968 (700+ pages) and answers these questions. Mark Moyar gets the history right about the Vietnam War.
This book reverses the common narrative that the Vietnam War was an unnecessary, unwinnable, and wrong-headed war against a peaceful Communist nation only looking out for its sovereignty. As I wrote last year, this is the leftist ideologically-influenced history that Ken Burns signs up for in his 18-hour documentary series. The good news for us is that Mark Moyar is up to the task of straightening out this false narrative.
One of the better reviews of Triumph Regained is by Tom Glenn, in a Washington Independent review (link here). The period of this book is telling; 1965-1968. In 1965, North Vietnam was on the verge of winning the war but by 1968, they had spent their military and were forced to resort to guerilla tactics. This was a war of attrition and both fought it hoping that losses would force the other side to surrender.
“Throughout the book, Moyar mines previously unavailable North Vietnamese documents for new insights. Those sources reveal, among other things, how deeply damaged North Vietnam was by U.S. attacks, especially the bombing campaign dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder.” – Tom Glenn
Those involved in the war, serving in Vietnam, were surprised by and unhappy about the biased domestic press reporting that vilified U.S. involvement in the war. The anti-war movement was heating up during this time and the media reflected this sentiment rather than what was actually occurring on the ground. Casualty reports is an example.
“One set of facts new to me involved the number of casualties on both sides. I was surprised to learn that the North Vietnamese routinely suffered far greater losses than the U.S. and South Vietnamese; the ratio was sometimes as high as 12 to one.” – Tom Glenn
According to Mark Moyar, not only was the communist victory in Vietnam not inevitable, but by 1968 the war had shifted into the American and South Vietnam’s favor.
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