The Magazine

Give War a Chance

Could we have won Vietnam?

Sep 30, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 03 • By CHRISTOPHER LYNCH
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After our military success in the Gulf War, the first President Bush announced that we had kicked the "Vietnam Syndrome"--our sense that we could not, or even should not, win again. But for all its successes and difficulties, the Gulf War was less a test of our abilities and our endurance than was the Vietnam War. We need not balk at the fact that the current war on terrorism has more in common with Vietnam than with the Gulf War. By showing that our national failure arose not from blind fate but from deliberate policies and actions that could and should have been otherwise, these three books can help us to face it squarely and learn its real lessons well.

Christopher Lynch is assistant professor of political science at Carthage College.