Archive for Creighton W. Abrams

U.S. Entry, Tet Offensive, Creighton Abrams, and False Histories – Four Major Takeaways from the ‘Prologue’ in Sorley’s “A Better War”

Posted in Books, Modern History, VII. Research with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2018 by Ian Pham

U.S. Helicopters in Vietnam(U.S. Army Photo)

There are a few things that one instantly learns upon opening A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam, the 1999 book by historian and U.S. veteran Lewis Sorley. Among them include some introductory facts that every person seeking to learn about the Vietnam War should know about. Here below are a few of these facts, for your convenience:

  • Americans in Vietnam (1960-65): The period when U.S. involvement in Vietnam steadily rises from a primarily advisory role to one of active combat, with ground troops officially deployed in 1965 (p. xi)
  • The Tet Offensive (1968): In this infamous military campaign, the allied nations of South Vietnam and the United States crushed the North Vietnamese and Vietcong invaders, yet the communists achieved an important psychological victory, by scaring the mainstream U.S. media, and consequently, the American public, which contributed greatly to the overall diminishment of public support for the war (p. xi-ii)
  • From Westmoreland to Abrams (1968): The initial start to the U.S.’s active involvement in the Vietnam War under General William C. Westmoreland was one of numerous setbacks and difficulties – this all changed in the spring of 1968, when “Westy” was replaced by General Creighton W. Abrams, a more competent and capable commander that worked better with the South Vietnamese and changed the whole course of the U.S. war in Vietnam (p. xii-iii)
  • Problematic Histories (Then-Now): The previous point highlights the fact that under Westmoreland (1965-68), U.S. efforts in Vietnam were riddled with setbacks and difficulties – These years represent only a fraction of the overall war, but for some reason, it is always the Westmoreland era that most historians and journalists in the U.S. love to focus on, and in the process, ignoring the great allied achievements from 1968 onward – As a result, to this day, most people in the American public are presented with a distorted representation of what really happened in the Vietnam War (p. xiv)

Above are only a few of the many insights that Lewis Sorley instantaneously presents to the reader in his book, A Better War. To acquire more information, I strongly encourage everyone to read Sorley’s book for themselves, and draw a few conclusion of their own.

There are a significant number of works on the Vietnam War out there (albeit buried in a sea of liberal trash) that present fair and balanced accounts of what actually happened in Vietnam. Sorley’s book is simply one among many, and is a very good place to start for anyone interested in studying this complex, fascinating, and ultimately misreported war.

Over the course of my research, I’ve pondered the ways in which to share my findings with you all, and it’s been hard. On the one hand, I want to be clear and concise, but on the other hand, I want to be thorough and comprehensive.

So, after much thought, I’ve decided that the best way to share my discoveries with you all is to do it little by little. In doing so, I am able to focus, a few at a time, on the myriad complex and convoluted issues associated with the Vietnam War and its historiography. With this approach, I hope to eventually establish a solid scholarly foundation, to the benefit of all who are interested in truly understanding the Vietnam War.

I once made a metaphor about a “House of Truth,” in which, brick by brick, I slowly lay the foundations with the hopes that one day, a strong and true story will be told of what really happened during the Vietnam War. Consider this article one more step in that direction, another brick in our House of Truth, placed for the entire world to see, scrutinize, and ultimately understand. As boldly put by author and retired U.S. marine Richard Botkin, “Everything you know about the end of the Vietnam War is wrong.” It is high time that we fixed that.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this brief article and found it to be an insightful read. I look forward to giving you more.

 

Work Cited:

Sorley, Lewis. A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1999.

Advertisements