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'Immoral Bind'

December 10, 1989

William Colby's "Lost Victory" (Book Review, Nov. 5) might be a "first-hand account of America's 16-year involvement in Vietnam" from his perspective. But those who actually did the fighting in that war laugh derisively at such post-war efforts at historical coloration . . . the same way they laugh at Westmoreland's defense of Calley, or Reagan's claim that the war was a "noble effort."

What Colby didn't see, from the same isolation Westmoreland & Co. enjoyed in "pacified," rear-echelon areas, was the moral degradation that sets in when ground-level legions realize they're hopelessly caught in an immoral bind--another country's civil war.

The resulting racism, sexual abuse, drug use, disrespect for "authority" (leading to fragging and God knows many other insanities) and anti-war activism resulted in a war being purposefully lost by mud-level warriors who no longer believed what the well-insulated wimps at the top were pumping them up with . . . soldiers who no longer had a beef with the NVA/VC. Too bad Colby missed so much, while so many were dying.

DENNIS PAULSON

SANTA BARBARA

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