Viet Nam: A Bloody Rite of Passage

Viet Nam cost America its innocence and still haunts its conscience

Viet Nam had a genius for surprise, an exquisite gift for defeating ! expectations. Rudyard Kipling once issued a sort of regional warning about that: "And the end of the fight is a tombstone white/ with the name of the late deceased,/ And the epitaph drear: 'A Fool lies here who/ tried to hustle the East.' "

The enemy had been invisible in an earlier part of the war, hiding in jungles, in tunnels, ghosting around in the pre-dawn: killer shadows. They dissolved by day into the villages, into the other Vietnamese. They maddened the Americans with the mystery of who...

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