True, this thread did wander far afield from JK's original Hand Grenade, and Clausewitz was shoved aside for a bit. I wonder, though, re. Ian Brown's post, how much significance we should attach to Clausewitz's desire to get into battle as counter-evidence of the caution he wrote about years later, about states deciding to go to war. My guess is that many who have made war their profession will express earnest desire to be in the front lines, even as they (some of them, at least) might question the wisdom of those in pay grades far above them who make decisions about war and peace.
I find it interesting in how quickly the discussion got away from assessing what Clausewitz himself was getting at and moving into a debate on Vietnam. The shift was almost immediate from his war to “our” war, and the caution that has constrained America’s use of military force lest we face another Vietnam ever since.
(I'll try again)
It's fairly obvious but not noted sufficiently, IMHO: a major reason that "victory" for our side in VN was near impossible was the simple fact that if the we won, Indo-China would remain divided; if the North won, it would be re-united. Thus, the NLF could claim that, sure there were communists in their Front, but that the war was basically part of the age-long great patriotic struggle to free their land from foreign domination/imperialism.
Re. Ralph Hitchens' post: I cannot recall any American in a position of influence arguing that a united Communist Vietnam would not be an intolerable threat to US interests. I suspect that some of them thought this, but fear and hatred of Communism were obligatory in public life. One could not hope to retain significant influence if one said clearly and publicly that Communist victory in the war might be tolerable.
I have found the discussion of Clausewitz interesting. It has been several since I've read the book and it provoked me to re-read this philosophic classic.
H-War Book Reviews
Dan Plesch. Human Rights after Hitler: The Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2017. 272 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-62616-431-4.
Reviewed by Amy Carney (Penn State Behrend ) Published on H-War (February, 2019) Commissioned by Margaret Sankey (Air War College)
Printable Version: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=53331
Roberta Senechal de la Roche, ed. "Our Aim Was Man": Andrew's Sharpshooters in the American Civil War. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016. 320 pp. $29.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-62534-248-5.
Reviewed by Evan C. Rothera (Sam Houston State University) Published on H-War (February, 2019) Commissioned by Margaret Sankey (Air War College)
Matthew Kroenig. The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy: Why Strategic Superiority Matters. Bridging the Gap Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. 280 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-084918-4.
Reviewed by Cory Hollon (Air University, Air War College) Published on H-War (February, 2019) Commissioned by Margaret Sankey (Air War College)
Brian D. Laslie. Architect of Air Power: General Laurence S. Kuter and the Birth of the US Air Force. American Warrior Series. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2017. Illustrations. 254 pp. $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8131-6998-9.
Reviewed by Heather P. Venable (Air Command and Staff College) Published on H-War (February, 2019) Commissioned by Margaret Sankey (Air War College)
Quintin Barry. Disputed Victory: Schley, Sampson and the Spanish-American War of 1898. Solihull, UK: Helion and Company, 2018. 280 pp. $49.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-912174-91-1.
Reviewed by Jon Ault (Independent Scholar) Published on H-War (February, 2019) Commissioned by Margaret Sankey (Air War College)