I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ new documentary series, The Vietnam War. It’s ten hours of unrelenting political/military folly and unadulterated human misery. But it’s fascinating.
I was intrigued to discover in Episode 4 that one of the biggest challenges for US military leaders in Vietnam was figuring out how to assess their progress (or lack thereof). Vietnam was like no war before it. Those Americans who waged it were World War II veterans who were used to assessing the progress of a military campaign by how much ground had been taken from the enemy, by how many of their cities had been captured, and how many military and industrial installations had been destroyed.
But none of that applied in Vietnam.