Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Best and the Brightest

With the passing of journalist and author David Halberstam two weeks ago, I decided to go to the library to see if they had his big work on Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest. I had heard about it years ago, but had never gotten around to reading it.

So far I have only made it through the first few chapters. I am still in the Kennedy administration before the big commitment was made. Still, the overwhelming arrogance and ignorance of the policy-making apparatus is amazing. Those who were making decisions were reacting to short term political decisions. They never understood what was really going on in Vietnam. I will never think of the Kennedy administration as Camelot again.

The parallels to Iraq and all the decisions to go to war are amazing. Not in the details, but in the mindset. I wish the people in charge had read this before voting yes or making a decision for war. Maybe that would have kept us out of it.