THE PERFECT WAR: Technowar in Vietnam by James William Gibson
Kirkus Star

THE PERFECT WAR: Technowar in Vietnam

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An intriguing analysis of the Vietnam war from a new perspective. In Gibson's concept, the war is seen as a corporate-style production system in which the managers were the officer corps, the workers were the enlisted men, and the product was enemy deaths--the infamous body count. Historian Gibson condemns the US organization of the war in strong terms: ""The production model of war has no concept of legitimacy, of loyalty, of allegiance, in any deep sense; instead it attempted to produce control by force, distribution of commodities, and public relations slogans."" He coins the term ""mechanistic anticommunism"" to describe the basic US motive. The massive firepower and high technology they commanded caused the war managers to feel invincible: defeat was impossible. They were blind to the fact that the massive destruction wrought by the high technology and the hated pacification program, which turned civilians into poverty-stricken refugees, only created ever more enemies of US policies. Though American technology killed massive numbers of the enemy, the production warfare system could not counter the political and military strategies of the other side. Our people never understood those strategies, and the enemy consequently always had the bulk of the people with him. Gibson says our political and military leaders have learned nothing from the Vietnam defeat and are applying the same ""mechanistic anticommunism"" in Central America--with the same prospects. A perceptive, cogent, significant--and so far the best--analysis of the meaning of America's only military defeat. Gibson includes massive documentation to support his thesis, Highly recommended.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1986
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown