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Kissinger and Vietnam

April 14, 1985

Kissinger claims that the news media's reportage of the Vietnam war failed to distinguish between "what was inherent in modern weaponry and what represented deliberate cruelty." Surely he knows that such fine distinctions cannot be made in the heat of battle. The pictures I remember of American soldiers torturing captured Viet Cong and of children with burning napalm on their backs were typical of actions by both sides in the conflict. They were all part of a game--a deadly game that cannot be refined.

Kissinger suggests the following as one of four lessons learned from Vietnam: "When America commits itself to military action, there is no alternative to achieving the stated objective." No alternative? A telling cartoon of that era showed an American officer leading his troops into quicksand. The caption read: "And the damn fool cried, 'March on!' ". Let us hope such a scenario is not played out in Central America.

VANCE GEIER

Highland Park

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