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Post"Lie to Others if You Must, But Never to Yourselves" (John Heelan, UK, 07/18/19 4:16 am)
In his detailed analysis of Vietnam, Max Hastings encapsulates the temptation when he says, "The maxim obtains for all those who hold positions of authority in war as in peace: lie to others if you must but never to yourselves."
It seems that various US presidents from Nixon onwards lied to themselves about the possibility of a successful outcome of the Vietnam conflict that Hastings terms Vietnam: an Epic Tragedy.
One fears that the pusillanimity of the current US President--that he foolishly documents in Tweets--will eventually come back to bite the US electorate in the backside, just as the sight of the fellow citizens scrambling to escape Saigon a few years ago, effectively destroying the image of being the "most powerful nation in the world."
JE comments: John, many abstract nouns apply to Trump--mendaciousness, narcissism, impetuousness, temerity--but pusillanimity? Bullies are often motivated by an underlying lack of courage. Is this what you mean?
Please give us your impression of Hastings' Vietnam book, which has caused quite a stir. Do you give it the "thumbs up"?
Max Hastings, "Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy"
(John Heelan, UK
07/20/19 4:40 AM)
John E asked for my opinion of Max Hastings's 2018 book, Vietnam, an Epic Tragedy.
Hastings is a renowned military historian covering many bellicose events over the last 50 years--including the Falkands conflict. His books are eminently readable and contain descriptions and personal reports from politicians, military leaders and lesser people (like marines, grunts and officers, special ops people, paras, Vietnamese combatants and leaders) that indicate their thoughts and wishes at those moments in time. De Gaulle, French colonialism and the loss of Dien Bien Phu reminded me of major news items in the 1960s
Well worth reading! I learned a lot about the causes, operation and outcomes of the war--as well as the tendency of politicians to lie. "You can always tell when a politician lies: his/her lips move at the same time!"
Trump was filmed claiming "Putin did not elect me! I (emphasised!) elected me. So we now know whom historians will blame.
JE comments: Today the world is focused on the 1960s, especially its closing act: the lunar landing of July 20th, 1969. Let's do a WAIS segment on "Memories of Apollo 11." Most of our more senior colleagues were glued to their TVs on that historic day a half-century ago. (My recollection is vague: I was five.) Who has a good story to share?