Interviewing James William Gibson, author of the famed book The Prefect War.
In this groundbreaking book, James William Gibson shatters the misled assumptions behind both liberal and conservative explanations for America’s failure in Vietnam. Gibson shows how American government and military officials developed a disturbingly limited concept of war — what he calls “technowar” — in which all efforts were focused on maximizing the enemy’s body count, regardless of the means. Consumed by a blind faith in the technology of destruction, American leaders failed to take into account their enemy’s highly effective guerrilla tactics. Indeed, technowar proved woefully inapplicable to the actual political and military strategies used by the Vietnamese, and Gibson reveals how U.S. officials consistently falsified military records to preserve the illusion that their approach would prevail. Gibson was one of the first historians to question the fundamental assumptions behind American policy, and The Perfect War is a brilliant reassessment of the war — now republished with a new introduction by the author.
National heroes: Somewhere in the Central Highlands around 1963 as captured in a still frame by journalist Wilfred Burchett on a visit to the liberated zones of South Việt Nam. Photo courtesy of George Burchett
by George Burchett
In April 2015, I was invited by the Cercle des Francophones (Francophone Association) of Hà Nội to present the film Loin du Vietnam (Far from Việt Nam) at the Hà Nội Cinémathèque. The film was made collectively in 1967 by some of the great names of new French cinéma: Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, in support of Việt Nam’s resistance to US aggression.