Sunday, May 28, 2017

Courage was not enough

Goliath's troops in battle

Neal Sheehan in today's NY Times:

...It was June 21, 1989, and I was interviewing a diminutive man with four stars on the epaulets of his dark green uniform shirt. We were talking in what had once been the mansion of a French colonial governor in Hanoi. The man was Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese military genius who had led his country to victory, first against France’s attempt to reimpose colonial rule in the aftermath of World War II, then against the unparalleled might of the United States when it subsequently sought to permanently divide Vietnam and install a client state in Saigon.

“The American soldiers were brave, but courage is not enough,” General Giap said. “David did not kill Goliath just because he was brave. He looked up at Goliath and realized that if he fought Goliath’s way with a sword, Goliath would kill him. But if he picked up a rock and put it in his sling, he could hit Goliath in the head and knock Goliath down and kill him. David used his mind when he fought Goliath. So did we Vietnamese when we had to fight the Americans" (David and Goliath in Vietnam).

Rob's comment:
Yes, it's important to understand that after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the United States simply rebranded that colonial war as a war against Communism.

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