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By Donald Kirk

This paintings reviews at the Vietnam conflict as obvious through the GI within the jungles. It discusses present attitudes, perspectives from Saigon, Hanoi and Phnom Penh, and different locales within the geographical region.

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The numbers seem to bear out the burgeoning success story. The gross domestic product is rising at about 8 percent a year, reports the Asian Development Bank, while inflation has sunk to about 10 percent, from many times that amount ten years ago. At the same time, foreign interests have invested a total of more than $10 billionon the way to more than $100 billion a decade from now. Wander into one of dozens of newsstands on downtown streets, and a plethora of glossy magazines and newspapers report on the success of capitalism to come.

The second wave of American correspondents, of which Kirk was one, were thus thrust into a deadly war that seemed likely to go on forever, barring only the depletion of Hanoi's available manpower to send into the South, a Page xiii remote prospect. The North Vietnamese had somehow managed to turn the body count syndrome into a weapon against the Americans; as a North Vietnamese officer later remarked to him in Hanoi, the goal was to inflict as heavy casualties as possible on the Americans so that the American public would turn against the war and demand the complete withdrawal of American troops.

We should have invaded North Vietnam. " Menzel ventured this opinion in a brief stop before our entry into the rubber plantation. We were in a village where North Vietnamese troops had been holing up for years as a base for operations in South Vietnam. The stench of death still hung over the villagea cluster of closed doors and darkened windows, of overturned and burned-up motorcycles, of twisted bicycle hulks. "There's still some bodies laying around in there," said one of the GIs. " ARVNArmy of the Republic of (South) Vietnamtroops were still patrolling, sticking their rifles into doors, peering around the vegetable gardens where the VC had grown what they needed to live.

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