The Making of a Quagmire Book Review
David Halberstam was a reporter assigned to the Vietnam conflict during 1962 and 1963. After graduating from Harvard University, David Halberstam went on to work for various newspapers. He went to work for the New York Times Washington bureau in 1960. In the fall of 1962, Halberstam was assigned to the Vietnam conflict. David Halberstam's book is an attempt to put into retrospect the portrait of the American experience in Vietnam, to capture the details of the Diem period, and the errors made that shaped American foreign policy until the collapse of South Vietnam.
Vietnam had been a troubled land generations before the conflict between North and South Vietnam escalated. The French occupied and colonized Vietnam causing a major revolution to free then Indochina, and take back the land they had owned before the French had taken it. Years after the Indochina War and Vietnam gained independence from France, Communism began to rise in the North, and the Ngo family in the South was ruling like a dictatorship. These differences became means for a conflict. Relations between the press and the Government were rocky. The Ngo family had reporters fired for what they thought were offensive articles. Even the relations between the American military and the American press had become a dichotomy. The dichotomy was around during the Indochina war and continued throughout the conflict. The alliance between South Vietnam and America was strange in the fact that the virtually the South wanted the same as the North, control of all of Vietnam. America's involvement was to stop communism while the Diem regime wanted to concur all of Vietnam. American's had taught the Vietnamese to fight the war conventionally and neglected to teach guerrilla and counter-guerrilla warfare. Little things like this caused big trouble in the Delta.
America in the delta was fighting two battles, one against the Vietcong, but also the ARVN. One of the biggest problems here was the lack of care by the ARVN to the recommendations of the American government. The Government fought the war only during the day and calling off missions at night. This gave the enemy a chance to regroup and to completely evacuate an area. Americans would trap the Vietcong in the tree lines and the Government would turn their troops. The South Vietnamese army did not care what suggestions the Americans had, they just wanted to use the American forces for supplies and more numbers.
Americans also made themselves out to be the enemy when they would go into villages to find the Vietcong. Civilian peasants listened to communist propaganda, using America's actions against them and calling the Americans badly. Americans and the South Vietnamese would kill people who would run from them, its pretty obvious the effects it had on...