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The sobering lesson of Vietnam is that the United States is not invincible—it can lose a war—and thus it must be more discriminating about the use of American power. Every president has faced the ghosts of Vietnam in his own way, though each has been wary of being sucked into another unpopular war. Ford during the Mayaguez crisis and both Bushes Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan deployed massive force, as if to say, "Vietnam, be damned.

Obama has also wrestled with the Vietnam legacy, using doses of American firepower in Libya while still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. The authors spent five years interviewing hundreds of officials from every post war administration and conducting extensive research in presidential libraries and archives, and they've produced insight and information never before published. Equal parts taut history, revealing biography, and cautionary tale, Haunting Legacy is must reading for anyone trying to understand the power of the past to influence war-and-peace decisions of the present, and of the future.

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“Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama”

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Haunting Legacy , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Nov 02, John Pappas rated it really liked it. The Kalbs' meticulously researched and well-argued treatise on how the specter of Vietnam still stalks the halls of the White House, as it has since , influencing presidential policy and action. Focusing largely on the application of the Powell doctrine, and the different ways each president confronted the use of force post-Vietnam, whether by going after small easy targets, avoiding boots on the ground at all costs, or using overwhelming force to try to win in as short a time as possible, t The Kalbs' meticulously researched and well-argued treatise on how the specter of Vietnam still stalks the halls of the White House, as it has since , influencing presidential policy and action.

Focusing largely on the application of the Powell doctrine, and the different ways each president confronted the use of force post-Vietnam, whether by going after small easy targets, avoiding boots on the ground at all costs, or using overwhelming force to try to win in as short a time as possible, the book's argument - that Vietnam is still an omnipresent issue influencing decisions about even the latest strategies in AfPak and Iraq - is convincingly presented.

The attention paid to public perception of conflicts and engagements, and how that influences politicians, is fascinating as well.

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Jun 04, Terry Earley rated it really liked it Shelves: Kalb is a favorite, thoughtful commentator on our times. This summary is important in that we learn that Vietnam and its painful lessons will really never go away.

Better to understand and deal with it. US Presidents tried with varying degrees of success. Most seemed to fall into the same traps. Mar 01, Bruce rated it it was amazing Shelves: Vietnam has been a little more than a peripheral interest for me. I got to spend a year late to late at US Army expense in what was at that time a war-torn country.

Like many Vietnam veterans I have mixed feelings about it. I have read some books about it and, for my job before I retired, I got to read some papers drawing analogies from it. This book by the Kalbs discusses how the war affected decisions of Presidents and touches on possible affect on decisions of other groups and gove Vietnam has been a little more than a peripheral interest for me.

Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama by Marvin Kalb

This book by the Kalbs discusses how the war affected decisions of Presidents and touches on possible affect on decisions of other groups and governments. After America withdrew from Vietnam many terrorist organizations and dictators thought America was a 'paper tiger. Using semi-biographical passages the authors provide an idea of how the war affected the people playing a part in the decision making process.

The Detroit investigation had told of atrocities committed by US personnel in Vietnam. One statement of his: Kerry's statements about the war came back to haunt in during his Presidential bid. Navy records and other witnesses have since shown their claims to be lies and fabrications, it was enough to derail his bid for President.

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The group also succeeded in adding a new word to the political lexicon, swift boat - "To smear somebody with lies," and a preponderance of swift boat veterans are angry with SBVT for smearing their good name. Among the points the authors bring out is while Vietnam might not be the only reason the US might or might not act in a crisis,each President has been forced to consider its lessons in considering war. That is to say it has always been there when the use of military power is being considered.

This book is an interesting study of the effect Vietnam has had on Presidential decisions and the American political process. Mar 05, Bill rated it really liked it.


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See my review at http: Jun 14, Bill Gray rated it it was amazing. Still better than anything else coming out today.


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Alfred rated it really liked it Oct 17, Shelley Johnson rated it it was amazing Nov 04, Jake Williams rated it liked it Dec 28, John Mosman rated it really liked it Dec 13, Beanjean rated it really liked it Dec 30, William rated it liked it Apr 04, Michelle Sarver rated it really liked it Aug 24, Myrt Hatch rated it really liked it Jun 29, Ali rated it liked it Dec 15, Elias Wright rated it really liked it Feb 14, Leonard Deutsch II rated it really liked it Dec 22, Diane Sloan rated it it was amazing Jul 14, Julietta Patnick rated it really liked it Sep 26, Prud'homme rated it liked it May 21, Yh rated it liked it Sep 06, How, for instance, to reconcile the overwhelming force and quick exit employed by President George H.

The Kalbs are at their best when they draw from their own fascinating, high-level interviews. The internecine conflicts of the Obama administration come to life through the story of Bruce Riedel , a retired CIA and National Security Council expert on Middle East terrorism whom the president asked to write a review of U.

The idea that Vietnam affects the thinking of U. Now that President Obama has laid out his plan to begin a pullout of U. He is the author of a biography of Sen.