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A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan **** (of 4)

This book is a commitment. It contains seven interior books, 150 pages apiece. It is worthwhile, however, for anyone who cares about the hubris of American foreign policy played out on Vietnamese and being repeated today in Iraq (See the Forever War.) The contextualization of how poorly American leaders understood local conditions and believed in their own moral superiority to the utter devastation of hundreds of thousands of lives, many of them innocent Vietnamese civilians. Most convincingly, Sheehan lays to rest the right-wing notion that greater force could have ever won the war. Sheehan’s descriptions of strategy and tactics made me realize that among other things we were out-strategized by better generals. February 2009.