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The Living Lessons of Vietnam

Three recent books about the Vietnam War shed fresh light on well-trodden ground, suggesting that America’s debacle a half-century ago still has much to teach us. But US foreign-policy doyens have shown an inability to heed the right lessons.

WINCHESTER, UK – “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?” John Kerry, a decorated US Navy veteran, asked the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in April 1971. “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” It was a good question, and some of those involved in today’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere may be wondering the same thing.