In this study, Dr. Donald J. Mrozek probes various groups of Americans as they come to grips with the consequences of the Vietnam War. He poses far more questions than he answers, and, some of what he says may invite strong dissent. Yet it will serve its author's purpose if something here provokes creative thinking and critical reexamination, even of some long-cherished ideas. Viewing the Vietnam ...
Series: Quellen Und Forschungen Zur Sprach- Und Kulturgeschichte der
Paperback: 140 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 28, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
Amazon Rank: 8405620
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gical outcome of American defense thinking has challenging implications, as does seeing the "cold war consensus" on foreign affairs as an oddity. The Vietnam War stands uneasily on the edge of public memory – slipping into the past and becoming part of our national history, yet still too recent to be forgotten by those who lived through its trials. But history seeks a meaning in its clouded events, a retrospective order and pattern that could instruct, and sometimes even inspire, successive generations. At present, then, Americans face the peculiar dilemma of having to respond to the impact of a war for which there is still no comprehensively shared vision. One cannot expect broad enthusiasm for a vision of the past whose primary purpose is to justify current policies, acquisitions, deployment, and research. Americans have thought of themselves as individualistic and unruly people – a flattering self-image, though in some ways a false one. Indeed, during the Vietnam War it was the patience and long-suffering of the American people that most deserved comment. This was not the first war to fact great protest and challenge from Americans. Opposition to a massive commitment that was killing young Americans, as well as many Southeast Asians, should hardly have seemed surprising. What should have caused real surprise was how long it took for opposition to coalesce. In the end, the Vietnam experience ought to remind us of how well Americans can rally to a cause, even when it is poorly conceived and executed. But these are not the lessons of Vietnam. They are only illustrations of how we may come to different understandings of the Vietnam experience. The central lesson is that even when we cannot control the circumstances around us, we can still control ourselves. The use of military and political resources to have our way is not only a practical and technical issue, it is also a philosophical and moral one. It may be worth asking if we have ever won a war by betraying our own traditions and values. In this study, Dr. Donald J. Mrozek probes various groups of Americans as they come to grips with the consequences of the Vietnam War. He poses far more questions that he answers, and some of what he says may invite strong dissent. Yet it will serve its purpose if something here provokes creative thinking and critical reexamination, even of some long-cherished ideas. Viewing the Vietnam War as a logical outcome of American defense thinking has challenging implications, as does seeing the “cold war consensus” on foreign affairs as an oddity. Yet this is not a litany of objection and protest. Doctor Mrozek raises serious questions about how the contemporary notion of deterrence has emerged; and dealing with such questions forthrightly could make deterrence more effective. So, too, questions the past relationship of military professionals with the mass media is not an assignment of guilt but an invitation to develop a beneficial and cooperative relationship. Nor is this study a tale of gloom and despair; it is rather an appeal for self-consciousness and self-awareness. It is a plea for us to take command of the problems that beset us by taking control of ourselves first.