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Vietnam: The Necessary War by [Lind, Michael]
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Vietnam: The Necessary War Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Dan Rather CBS News Michael Lind is one of the smartest and most gifted writers I know of. He is also one of the bravest, unafraid to tackle the most controversial subjects. Now he turns his formidable attentions to the Vietnam War, and the results will dazzle you. More importantly, this book will make you think. Even if, ultimately, you don't agree with every single provocative analysis Michael Lind provides, I guarantee you will be challenged to reassess and reinvigorate every idea you have received, stockpiled, and taken for granted for three decades. "Vietnam: The Necessary War" is a necessary book -- for anyone who really wants to understand one of the most difficult periods in our history.

About the Author

Michael Lind lives in Washington DC and is the Washington Editor of HARPER'S magazine. He is the author of five previous books, including THE NEXT AMERICAN NATION (0684825031) and UP FROM CONSERVATISM (0684831864). His work has appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST and THE ALTANTIC MONTHLY. He holds a master's degree in international relations from Yale and a law degree from the University of Texas.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1671 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; New Ed edition (30 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,159 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Did you read Karnow, Fitzgerald, Sheehan and the other critics of the Vietnam War? Michael Lind turns their analysis upside down. Even if there certainly are points were I would disagree, he states facts that were not known at the time. Many statements of the 60-70s, about the nationalism of Ho Chi Minh, about the NLF, about the role of the Soviet Union and China, have been mentioned in other books. Lind puts these facts uncovered in the last decades into perspectice. Suddenly the domino theory does not sound as daft as described by war critics. Suddenly LBJ appears less of a crook and Kennedy as less of a dove. The comparison of US policy in Korea and in Vietnam also may not be entirely new, but is put in a light that provokes thought. Too bad that the book was written in 1999, it would have been interesting to discuss the historical line into 9/11.

For those rejecting even the thought of a superpower struggle for hegemony, Linds reasoning may be difficult to swallow. He is unsentimental about war, althou mentioning the moral aspect several times. With a down-to-the-core practical view of the world it does at least make me look upon the wars of the US in a new, more favorable way.
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Format: Paperback
The author makes the same mistake the presidents and their advisors did. In not trusting the publics intelligence and rationality to tell them the truth regarding the russian and chinese governments involvement and why America needed to oppose it. This would have enabled their forces to use the right strategy to retain south vietnam.This being an American invasion of Laos and Cambodia to block resupply and movement of forces down the Ho Chi Minh trail and the removal of safe areas where the enemy could retreat to and resupply after they had attacked American forces in South Vietnam.Winning and defending territory rather than search and destroy missions where concentratng on the body count and giving up hard won territory led to huge civilian casulties and soldiers dying for the same stretch of ground again and again. This lesson has resonance for more recent conflict where Pakistan remains a safe area and resupply route for the Taliban in Afghanistan and similarly for Iraq and its neighbours.Dont go to war unless you intend to win and have planned for the aftermath and avoid if at all possible.If you cant persuade the public by telling them the truth then it will be a mistake to start a war/invasion as when the coffins start coming home the public will not support you.If your argument isnt persuasive to the public then its probably wrong.Tell the people the truth after all they are the ones whose sons and daughters will fight and die or be maimed.
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Format: Paperback
an excellent political analysis of a often misunderstood conflict. Lind manages to combine an astute analysis with excellent political analysis of the cold war era.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good book Linda argument certainly gives the loony left something to think about does justice to America,s fifty six thousand war dead
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9cc3615c) out of 5 stars 65 reviews
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b9a4e10) out of 5 stars Enjoyable but ultimately wrong 16 Nov. 2005
By J. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Michael Lind has for a long time been one of my favorite writers (for two of his best see The Next American Nation and Up from Conservatism). The Necessary War is thought-provoking and very entertaining. Lind corrects some commonly held myths and blasts pro-Ho Chi Minh apologists like David Halberstam.I highly recommend this book.

Having said that, I don't agree with Lind's conclusion. His basic premise is that the war was unwinnable, but that it had to be fought for American credibility. I don't think you should fight wars and expend blood for something as abstract as credibility. Nor do I believe wars should be fought unless they can be won. Lind says 20,000 casualties would have been acceptable to keep American prestige high in our allies' eyes. I would not have spent one American life in Vietnam.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b9a4e64) out of 5 stars Challenges Stale Assumptions 19 Feb. 2002
By the dirty mac - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What makes this book stand out from most others on this subject is its viewpoint. Michael Lind writes from the standpoint of liberal anti-Communism or "Cold War liberalism." This proud but now neglected tradition was best embodied by Presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Senators Hubert H. Humphrey and Henry "Scoop" Jackson. It combined an assertive foreign policy with colorblind civil rights policy and populist economic policy. Tragically, this center-left faction no longer exists as an organized entity in either party, but that's another story.
Lind ruefully notes that a half-baked consensus about Vietnam has found vogue. The U.S. need not have intervened in the first place, but "unlimited" force should have been used against the Viet Cong and North Vietnam once the U.S. did intervene. Liberal isolationists are presumed to have been correct about geopolitical considerations while conservative hawks are presumed to have been correct about military tactics. As Lind demonstrates, both halves of this consensus are misleading:
1) LBJ did not invent America's interest in preserving a non-Communist South Vietnam; it was a commitment dating back to Truman and Eisenhower. Furthermore, it's naive to assume that the U.S. would have suffered little or no damage to its international credibility or security if it allowed South Vietnam to go down the drain without a fight in 1965, especially so close on the heels of the Bay of Pigs and the construction of the Berlin Wall. In fact, the eventual victory of Moscow's North Vietnamese clients did lead to a more aggressive Soviet foreign policy, culminating in the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
2) LBJ, according to Lind's account, made just one significant stumble, but it was a big one. He should never have given the green light to General Westmoreland's war of attrition. Conventional tactics were an inefficient way to battle the VC, which was waging a mostly guerrilla insurgency in the make-or-break years between 1965 and 1968. The problem was not that Westmoreland was losing the war; the problem was that too many American casualties piled up too quickly. Even after the Tet Offensive, which was a defeat for the VC from a purely military standpoint, the war remained "winnable." But it was being "won" at an obscenely high price, more than the American people could bear.
An alternative was the doctrine of "counter-insurgency" a.k.a. "pacification" or "population security." As Lind explains: "[A] pacification strategy ... would have permitted a more discriminating and less expensive approach to the use of firepower while reducing American losses ... The insurgency would have withered if the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces cut off the recruits and supplies flowing to the Viet Cong from South Vietnam's densely populated coastal rim ..."
Lind does not claim that pacification by itself would have won the war. "[T]he point of pacification would have been to force Hanoi to choose between waging a conventional Korean-type war (in which the U.S. had a comparative advantage) or abandoning its attempt to conquer South Vietnam."
This book has its imperfections. For example, Lind talks from both sides of his mouth regarding America's disengagement from Indochina in 1973-75. "If any Americans deserve a share of the blame for the Khmer Rouge massacres and famine," Lind writes on page 174, "it is anti-war members of Congress ... [who denied] military aid and air support for America's Cambodian allies." Whoa! Lind spends much of the previous 173 pages explaining why the U.S. needed to get out of Indochina after 1968 (to preserve the domestic consensus in favor of the Cold War on other fronts). Now he chastises Congress for doing exactly that!?! The cutoff of aid to Lon Nol's Cambodian government came more than two years after Nixon and Kissinger signed a treaty that Lind himself calls "a thinly disguised capitulation to Hanoi." Quick fixes were futile by 1975. Recognizing this, Lind writes on page 136: "Even without the congressional cutoff of U.S. military [aid], it seems unlikely that any endgame that did not lead to an indefinite Korean-style commitment of U.S. forces to Indochina probably would have doomed South Vietnam, along with Laos and Cambodia." Thanks for clearing that up, Mike.
But overall, Michael Lind refreshingly challenges the cliches at both ends of the spectrum that have distorted discussions of the Vietnam War for too long.
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b9a72b8) out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air 4 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 284 pages, Mr. Lind shows us why we had to fight the Vietnam War. He also explains a strategy that probably would have brought victory for the United States.
He also debunks much of the liberal mythology surrounding the war. There were no "missed opportunities" to befriend the murderous North Vietnamese Communists. There was no opportunity for a Coalition Government in South Vietnam. South Vietnam's government was at least as legitimate as the North's and certainly preferable. The U.S. and South Vietnam did not violate the 1954 Geneva Conference requiring Vietnam wide elections because neither nation ratified this agreement.
Lind also debunks some of the right wing orthodoxy too. An invasion of North Vietnam would have been counterproductive if not disasterous. Also, lavish use of bombing was probably counter productive.
The only criticism I have is that this book is relatively short compared to its theme. Despite this, Mr. Lind makes compelling arguments and backs them up with quality research. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all who seek truth!
35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b9a766c) out of 5 stars A book that puts the Vietnam conflict in a global context 19 Nov. 1999
By Arthur Larsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lind has written a book that takes a look back at the Vietnam conflict as it related to the Cold War and superpower competition in the post-World War II world. There is none of the historical revisionism or disinformation that pervade so many of the books that attempt to label Vietnam as a war that was a civil conflict that should not have been fought by the United States. His reasoning is sound and compelling and cites historical facts. For this veteran, this book has reaffirmed the belief that Vietnam was fought for all the right reasons and contributed to the overall victory of the West that concluded the Cold War a decade ago. The men lost in Vietnam did not die in vain and Lind's book proves that point. Semper Fi.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b9a7768) out of 5 stars Pushing the Envelope 28 Feb. 2009
By Nicholas E. Sarantakes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lind is a provocative, engaging, and also infuriating writer. In this book on the American experience in Vietnam, he offers up a new take strategy and the balance of power in the Cold War that is extremely different. The United States had to fight in Vietnam and lose (although winning would have been preferable) to prove that its word had meaning and that the allies could count on their American friends. "It was necessary for the United States to escalate the war in the mid-1960s in order to defend the credibility of the United States as a superpower, but it was necessary for United States to forfeit the war after 1968, in order to preserve the American domestic political consensus in favor of the Cold War on other fronts. Indochina was worth a war but only a limited war--and not the limited war that the United States actually fought" (p. xv).

At times the book reads like it was designed for domestic political consumption and winning points on one of the cable talk shows that are broadcast from various parts of the Washington, D.C. area. It is far more sophisticated than what anyone will find on those shows, though.

Lind basically calls it like he sees it and manages to rankle almost anyone who has a stake in American public life: Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, the religious, the military, the antiwar movement and pacifists, the American intellectual community, and the civil rights movement to name just a few. Those few groups that do not get offended in some form from this book are probably not all that important in the first place. In the process, he punctures many myths. Chapter three on the failure of the U.S. military in Vietnam--rejecting the idea popular among veterans that the politicians kept them from winning the war--alone is worth the price of the book. He also goes after the antiwar movement and argues in convincing fashion that it became the witting pawn of the North Vietnamese and that many of the leaders crossed the line between dissent and disloyalty. The chapter on American politics and culture is interesting, but he makes the United States far more historical conscious than is actually the case. It is also difficult to take serious an argument that claims Wisconsin and Oregon are part of New England. Few people will buy all his arguments, but he will make you stop and think a bit.
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