Coincidentally, I had just finished reading The War That Would Not End, detailing the last two years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, before reading Michael Miner's article
"The Perils of Punditry" [Hot Type, December 1]. The conditions in "the real world" were: Three years prior to the fall, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam successfully threw off an armored assault by the North Vietnamese Army with only air and logistic support from the U.S. Simultaneously President Nixon ordered a massive bombing campaign and mining of North Vietnam's harbors, driving them immediately to the negotiating table. In the two years between these events and the fall of South Vietnam, rabid enemies of the
president passed the Church Amendment, nullifying the Guam Doctrine providing the above-mentioned air and logistic support to the Republic of Vietnam and, armed by its significantly less constrained allies, the NVA overwhelmed the south. While I hate to deal in moribund cliches, I believe the phrase "fraught with lessons for our time" better describes this episode than the various misreadings of Henry IV, parts one and two, etc, that appear in your paper on a continuing basis.
I am forwarding your article to various veterans and refugee groups and am saving a copy for similar uses when the need arises in relation to Iraq. In the meantime, as kitty-box liner your paper is a deal at twice the price.