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Uphill Battle -- Reflections on Viet Nam Counterinsurgency

Scotton, Frank

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ISBN 10: 0896728676 / ISBN 13: 9780896728677
Published by Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas, 2014
Condition: Fine Soft cover
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About this Item

Do you know why the US cause was lost in Viet Nam? If you don't or think you do, Frank Scotton's detailed and absorbing first person account of his intimate involvement in the counterinsurgency effort will open fresh doors of insight for you. Along with his mentor Ev Bumgardner, he was there almost from the beginning from 1962 through 1975. He was involved, he came to know the country and its people well, he knew what worked and what didn't, and why we ultimately lost. There are those who still say, if we had tried the right things earlier, we might have saved the day. Others say it was doomed from the beginning because the Vietnamese command and political structure were not capable, and because US military and political leaders looked only at the top to try and make things work and were incapable of seeing what was going on at the grass roots. Although there were, in time, others in addition to Scotton and Bumgardner who were trying to tell them, they paid more attention to Washington politics than what was hapening at the grass roots in Vietnam. In any case, the US lost in Vietnam and years later repeated many of the same blunders in Afghanistan and Iraq, calling into question our ability to carry out complex interventions. Scotton's first person account can bog down at times, but the reader can scan those parts lightly while still capturing the many gems. This is an important book, part of the essential historical record. This copy is Fine, PB, no marks or defects. Bookseller Inventory # 140840

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Uphill Battle -- Reflections on Viet Nam ...

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas

Publication Date: 2014

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No DJ

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


How could the United States lose a war that seemed easy to win?
When the Viet Nam War ended, with the United States of America defeated, many wondered how a military powerhouse lost to a raggedy-­ass, little fourth-­rate country,” as President Lyndon Johnson called North Viet Nam. Frank Scotton knew why. A young Foreign Service Officer assigned to Viet Nam in 1962, Scotton drove roads others avoided, walked trails alone, and spent nights in remote hamlets. Learning the Vietnamese language, carrying a carbine, and living out of a rucksack, he proved that small teams, correctly trained and led, could compete with communist units.
             In 1964, Scotton organized mobile platoons to emphasize political aspects of the conflict. Those special teams, adopted by the CIA, became models for the national pacification program. He prepared units in some provinces at the request of General Westmoreland, and in 1965 and 1966 worked with Special Forces. While organizational assistant and trouble­shooter for Robert Komer in 1967, and subsequently with William Colby in the military headquarters (MACV), Scotton reluctantly concluded that improved counter­insurgency techniques could not beat back the challenges posed by North Viet Nam resolve, lack of political energy in South Viet Nam, and the dissolving American commitment. For the first time Scotton shares his important observations and reasoned conclusions about the United States’s involvement in the Viet Nam War.

About the Author:

From 1962 through 1975, Frank Scotton spent at least part of every year in Viet Nam. He retired in 1998 after serving three years as USIA assistant director for East Asia. He currently lives in Southern California.

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