I just finished The March of Folly by Pulitzer Prize winning author Barbara Tuchman and highly recommend it.
It details how humans are not only foolish, but rush into stupidity, eyes wide, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. She spans history with her examples and one can get bogged down in her obvious extensive research, but many parts jump out at you. At the very least, I recommend reading the section on Vietnam as it resonates with us today. There was hardly a person in the Pentagon, or in the various administrations, who believed we had any chance of victory. Yet we persisted, first helping the French and paying their way. Most Americans don’t realize the French lost as many soldiers there are we did.
Dien Bien Phu is a classic of what not to do militarily, but it is WHY they were even there that stuns you.
I do remember in the Special Forces Qualification Course learning that early American advisors in Vietnam after WWII, recommended we side with Ho Chi Minh. That he had the will of the people with him. So, of course, we ignored that and propped up the French.
Then, when the French failed, we somehow thought we could do what they couldn’t. After all. They were French. Right.
We’re in our longest war and I’ve searched in vain for what will let us know when we’ve “won”. Why did we stay? “Nation-building” worked with the Marshall Plan, but that was when those countries were utterly devastated and surrendered. A country with an insurrection?
We humans are foolish and have learned few lessons from history. This is a book to help us at least get started.
Cool Gus recommends it because dogs have certainly learned. After all, I feed him, go out and pick up his dropping and he sleeps in a nice bed. If only we had as much common sense as dogs.
Originally published at https://bobmayer.com.