More than 58,000 United States soldiers died in the Vietnam War, but in the world of letters, the death of a single American civilian came to represent the entire jungle quagmire. John Paul Vann went down in a helicopter crash on June 9, 1972. Four presidential administrations and a societal shift in recognizing Vietnam veterans later, Vann, a former lieutenant colonel and the first “civilian general” to lead American troops in combat, was memorialized in Neil Sheehan’s masterpiece, “A Bright Shining Lie.”
Thirty years on, Sheehan’s book hasn’t lost any of its astonishing power. At a September screening of the Burns-Novick documentary “The Vietnam War,” John Kerry told the audience he never understood the full extent of the anger against the war until he read “A Bright Shining Lie,” which showed him that all the way up the chain of command “people were just putting in gobbledygook information, and lives were being lost based on those lies and those distortions.”
What makes the book particularly compelling is that it is both a broad look at the folly of the war and an intimate portrait of a chillingly Shakespearean character. Sheehan spent five years researching Vann’s life, interviewing seemingly anyone who ever met him, and nine more writing.
Archive for January, 2018
SEOUL, South Korea — North and South Korea reached an agreement Wednesday for their athletes to march together under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month, a powerful gesture of reconciliation that further complicates President Trump’s strategy for dealing with the nuclear-armed regime of Kim Jong-un. South Korea, the host of the games, said it hoped a partnership in sports could contribute to a political thaw after years of high tensions on the Korean Peninsula. It came even a
Donald Trump’s military chest pounding against North Korea is an embarassement, and a danger to millions of people. America appears in this area as a rogue nation, as much as North Korea. It is brilliant of North and South Korea to start at least symbolic talks, to calm things down, and calm down the hyper aggressive United States under Trump. A better direction for US policy toward North Korea, would be to listen more carefully to China, Japan and South Korea, and our other Asian allies, and support their efforts to contain North Korea. The US also has to acknowledge that it is not the ruler of the world. We have no intrinsic right to forbid other countries from weapons that we build and stockpile ourselves. For us to bomb another nation for arming itself, as we have armed ourselves, makes us more of a war mongering, ethnocentric and totalitarian nation, than a beacon of freedom and democracy.
WASHINGTON — A former C.I.A. officer suspected by investigators of helping China dismantle United States spying operations and identify informants has been arrested, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. The collapse of the spy network was one of the American government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years. The arrest of the former officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, capped an intense F.B.I. inquiry that began around 2012, two years after the C.I.A. began losing its informants in China. Investiga
Stange article, with some questionalbe assertions, such as, there is no data on the kinds of air pollution that China faces. This assertion is false. Other counties have already studied these pollutants. There is lots of good data.What is striking, is that cancer is the leading cause of death in China, and lung cancer is the most common form of cancer. That in itself is a form of data. There is no doubt but the rapid conversion is causing shortages and some severe discomforts.
I wonder if this writer is paid by the coal industry to try and cast doubt on the validity of changing rapidly to natural gas and sustainable energy sources.
Surging demand for cleaner fuel affects household heating and pushes up market prices
Every day, before starting his shift, taxi driver Zhong Guishun heads to a gas station to fill his tank. Usually, the process only takes a few minutes, but last week it took more than two hours.
Like most cabs in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, Zhong’s car runs on liquefied natural gas, which was in short supply.
“Only a few stations had the fuel. Some of my peers, who have been driving cabs for more than a decade, said the situation is the worst they’ve ever known,” he said, adding that the line of vehicles stretched more than a kilometer.
Although supplies at gas stations have returned to normal, the provincial government has yet to lift the orange alert－the second-highest level, signaling a shortfall of as much as 20 percent－it sent out about gas supplies last month.
WeCroak, Mr. Bergwall said, was born of Bhutanese folklore saying that to be happy, one ought to contemplate death five times a day. For the more than 9,000 users of WeCroak, most in their 20s and 30s, he said, there is no time like the moment to get a grip on life by embracing mortality. Hovering near the top of the App Store’s paid health and fitness chart, the app, which I first read about in The Atlantic, is an exhortation to mindfulness. “Meditation urges you to focus on your breath,” Mr. Bergwall sai
In Africa- Geneticists Are Hunting Poachers. (Many of the big traffickers are Vietnamese and Chinese!) NYT
Many of the big traffickers are Vietnamese and Chinese!
“South African authorities long had eyes on Rogers Mukwena. They knew the former schoolteacher was wanted in Zimbabwe for poaching rhinoceroses and selling their horns, which can command hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He’d jumped bail and fled to northern Pretoria, but it was vexingly difficult to catch and prosecute him — until a scientist helped make the case against him with rhino DNA.
His subsequent conviction resulted from a new tactic in wildlife preservation: The genetic fingerprinting methods that have been so successful in the criminal justice system are now being used to solve poaching crimes.”
By Robert D. Kaplan Jan. 5, 2018 4:34 p.m. ET 15 COMMENTS
“Edward Lansdale (1908-87) was one of America’s most important military thinkers and practitioners, and yet he is barely known to the wider world. In “The Road Not Taken,” Max Boot aptly calls him “the American T.E. Lawrence ”: eccentric, rebellious and charismatic, a man who had an uncanny way of bonding with Third World leaders and who believed that the art of war was, as Mr. Boot puts it, “to attract the support of the uncommitted.” He changed the. . .”
I guess Edward Lansdale was my kind of warrior. As I researched my historical novel of eighteenth century Vietnam, The Tay Son Rebellion, I realized late in the 17 year book effort that I had not read Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military historian, but one by Musashi, So I finally read The Art of War by Sun Tsu. Is is too bad our military hadn’t studied it before Vietnam, because you can be sure the Vietnames Generals all knew of these ancient tactics, and lived by them.
Know your enemy as well as yourself. Always use dipolomacy, or espionage. Military force shows your incompentance. Never fight unless you are sure you will win. If you are not sure you can win, retreat, and wait for odds to change while you set ambushes and traps. Never invade another country for any long period of time. Always get in, do your business, and get out. If you occupy a foreign country, your supply lines will be long, and your host country will slowly eat you alive. More at www.TheTaysonRebellion.com
By Erin Ailworth Jan. 6, 2018 7:00 a.m. ET 21 COMMENTS
“A dispute over the alleged theft of wind-turbine technology is slated to go to trial in Wisconsin on Monday in a test case for intellectual-property battles between the U.S. and China. Federal prosecutors accuse Chinese wind-turbine maker Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. of stealing the source code for software that controls wind turbines from American Superconductor Corp. AMSC 6.64% , a Massachusetts-based engineering company that once counted Sinovel as its biggest customer.
The trial in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin could result in billions of dollars in fines for Sinovel, which has previously denied wrongdoing.
Prosecutors in 2013 indicted the company, along with two of its executives and an American Superconductor employee, on criminal charges of stealing trade secrets.
John W. Vaudreuil, then U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, called it “nothing short of attempted corporate homicide.” ”
Ouch. Here is the top WSJ comment, which I endorsed, even though its tone is harsh.
When he was a young child in Vietnam, Tung Linh wanted a guitar, so his mother bought one for him. His father, Phan Van Pho, was a cook for French officials in Hanoi, and he wanted his children to become doctors or engineers, not musicians. When he found the guitar, he smashed it.
But his wife, Hoang Thi Nga, nurtured Tung Linh’s interest in American music, which he shared with two of his seven siblings: Bich Loan, a singer, and Tung Van on drums. When their father died in the late 1950s, Ms. Hoang went to work as a custodian on a Republic of Vietnam naval base. The family was poor, and those years were hard, but she wanted her children to be happy, so she nurtured their desire to perform American music.”