The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
New York: Liveright, 2018
The Many Faces of the War in Vietnam
The Vietnam War is so large and multifaceted an event that different people look at the conflict and come away with deeply-held, but very different, viewpoints. This is probably because all of them have some degree of truth. For example:
- The Vietnam War was a campaign within the larger Cold War, and the Communist menace was a very real, very dire threat.
- The Vietnam War was not part of the Cold War. It was a long-overdue war of national liberation following the French conquest that began in the 1850s.
- The Vietnam War was a civil war between multiple political factions where the Communist-Left was united and the anti-Communists were deeply divided.
Neoconservativism and the Jewish Question
Before getting too deep, one needs to know a bit about the author. Max Boot is a Jew born in the Soviet Union who endorses the neoconservative school of thought. Neoconservativism has become a powerful force in the politics of the United States. It started to gain traction during the Reagan administration and came to prominence during the George W. Bush administration. Like Communism, neoconservatism is a Jewish intellectual movement.
Many of the Jewish adherents of neoconservatism came from families that supported the Jewish Communist, Leon Trotsky, and the ideology itself was deeply influenced by another Jew, Leo Strauss. It can be boiled down to an anti-white/anti-gentile agenda domestically and ferocious aggression on behalf of Israel abroad. Every action taken by the United States or another Western power against a Middle Eastern or North African nation in recent decades has been a neoconservative-inspired venture.
Neoconservatives occupy positions of power in both of the major American political parties, and have made use of non-Jewish front-men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. Neoconservative metapolitics is so powerful that politicians like Hillary Clinton – who is neither neoconservative or Jewish – still apply neoconservative reasoning to their actions, such as in supporting the 2010-11 Arab Spring. As with Jewish-led Communism, everywhere neoconservative policy is applied, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed.Counterinsurgency and the Career of Edward Lansdale
Max Boot has carved out a niche for himself by examining insurgencies and promoting his ideas on how to defeat them. This is a rational response by the neoconservatives, who are trying to shift blame for the failure of the Iraq adventure onto the (mostly) white and entirely non-Jewish American military leadership. Boot also believes that America should produce more counter-insurgency experts who will do the heavy lifting by getting foreign governments to take matters into their own hands while aligning with American policy. He doesn’t mention the fact that much of American foreign policy today is inspired by the neoconservatives, and which has deliberately destabilized societies other than Iraq’s, such as Libya and Syria.
Boot focuses on an eccentric character in the American military and intelligence community named Edward Geary Lansdale. Lansdale was a white American whose ancestors originated in colonial Maryland. At least one of them had served in the Revolutionary War. Lansdale’s formative years were spent in Los Angeles. He married and had children, but then (sort of) left his family for a local woman when he was posted to the Philippines at the end of the Second World War.
Max Boot writes of Lansdale:
Like many other men of his generation, he grew up proud of his country, reluctant to speak about himself, more interested in work than in family, a chain smoker and a regular drinker, there were aspects of his character – including his outspoken aversion to authority, his extreme informality, his embrace of “the Orient,” his rejection of the racism so prevalent in American society – that set him apart from his peers.
Politically, Lansdale was a Cold War liberal. Lansdale’s military career was unusual. He was commissioned in the Army between the World Wars, and then resigned his commission to become an ad man. After Pearl Harbor, he joined up for a second time as a 38-year-old First Lieutenant in Military Intelligence. Lansdale’s career successes match some of what retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor wrote in his book Breaking the Phalanx (1997). Namely, military operations also need a heavy dose of older men with different experiences, rather than the cookie-cutter products of the ticket-punching that occurs in the modern military human resource system. While he was an officer in the US Army and Air Force, he basically worked for the CIA.
Lansdale rose to prominence in the Philippines during the Communist Hukbalahap Rebellion. He helped the Philippine government develop a workable counterinsurgency strategy against the Huks, and got a highly capable, pro-American candidate named Ramón Magsaysay elected as President. After his successes in the Philippines, he was dispatched to South Vietnam, where he helped organize and establish the new country. He was especially important in getting American backing for the South Vietnamese President, Ngo Dinh Diem.
The theory of counterinsurgency is to use the minimum amount of military force against armed insurgents while winning the support of most of the population. The government must provide security and services for the population while maintaining legitimacy, morally and otherwise. The military, police, and government must “clear, hold, and build,” and “win hearts and minds.”
This can be tricky, though. Remember that even at the zenith of the British Empire, there was always a lingering insurgency in Ireland. There are ethnic and racial realities to contend with. Plus, circumstances can be different: In some cases, torture and large-scale killing can be supported by the public, while in others, a single military foul-up causes the public to sour on its support. One thing is certain, though: get involved in counterinsurgency, and problems will arise.
Because of his success in the Philippines and his apparent success in the early history of South Vietnam, Lansdale became a legend in his own time. It is said that the book The Ugly American (1958) is based on him, and there is no doubt that he is the inspiration for the central character in the movie The Quiet American (1958). In the early 1960s, the Kennedy administration called upon Lansdale to deal with Fidel Castro, but his methods were ineffective – his proposed Operation Mongoose was downright stupid – and he fell out of favor. He returned to Vietnam at the head of another team between 1965 and 1968, but he was only one of many competing voices, and by that time the war had gotten out of hand. He returned to the States a defeated man.
The Road Not Taken
The central theme of Boot’s book – the eponymous “road not taken” – is the opposite of what actually happened, namely the murder of President Diem in a coup. Unfortunately, the Kennedy administration ousted Diem in a coup on November 2, 1963. They had become increasingly frustrated by Diem’s dysfunctional military after it had spectacularly lost the Battle of Ap Bac, and with the extreme dissatisfaction of the country’s Buddhists towards Diem’s policies.
Lansdale was against the coup, but he was sidelined and his advice not taken. After the coup, South Vietnam became even more dysfunctional, and the US became more involved. And because the United States eventually lost in Vietnam, everything can be questioned and considered a “road not taken,” especially Diem’s ouster. Additionally, every dispute over what to do in Southeast Asia between the members of either Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson’s cabinet can be shown as proof that so-and-so was a moron, or that Kennedy or LBJ were “not listening.”
However, Lansdale wasn’t saying anything that others in positions of influence were not already saying about Vietnam. The United States was using proven counterinsurgency methods while simultaneously fighting a conventional war. The “strategic hamlets,” the massive infrastructure development, the civil support, and so on were all right out of the Lansdale playbook. There was a “hearts and minds” strategy. The problem was that the North Vietnamese were competent enemies, and the South Vietnamese were worthless allies.
A Few Lessons from Lansdale
- Whenever one is on a difficult assignment with few to no rules on how to do business, it is best to be your own man and be cautious when imitating a character in a movie. “’Tragically,’ Lansdale wrote, ‘later Americans in the US advisory days in Vietnam tried to pattern their activities on the fictional [version of Lansdale] – and rode motorcycles around, played the harmonica, etc. without getting much else done – except to wind up dead or captured by the enemy.’”
- Don’t be that guy who is always arguing. Max Boot writes of Lansdale that “[i]n his attempts to influence American leaders, Lansdale lacked the deft touch he displayed in dealing with foreign leaders.” Lansdale would do imprudent things, like dump muddy and obsolete weapons captured from the Viet Cong on Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s desk and try to explain why America wasn’t winning in Vietnam. When McNamara tried to get Lansdale to quantify or further explain the latter’s views on how to win, Lansdale didn’t have answers. He called the missing policy to win in Vietnam the “X Factor.”
- Lansdale’s career is really overrated. He was successful in a certain place and time – the Philippines in the late 1940s and early 1950s – but mostly unsuccessful in Vietnam, and very unsuccessful in Cuba.
Vietnam and the JQ
There is a Jewish Question in the Vietnam War. This is not to say that Jews caused the American efforts to fail through a conspiratorial Dolchstoßlegende. However, there were a distinctive series of events during the conflict which increased Jewish power. It is important to note that this reviewer is making assertations under the highly plausible assumption that the American media at the time was controlled by organized Jewry and was therefore highly sympathetic to organized Jewish aims.
- Jews increased their political power due to the Vietnam War, while non-Jews and those not sympathetic to Jewish aims lost power. Example: The members of the Weather Underground moved to high positions in academia after their careers as terrorists. Furthermore, anti-war Jews like Paul Soglin replaced gentiles in political offices. Additionally, Cold War liberals like Senator J. William Fulbright were defeated due to their pro-war position on the Vietnam War. Fulbright’s political end was serendipitous for international Jewry – Senator Fulbright had been circumspect about Israel.
- Jews were very quick to damage American interests during the conflict, and when doing so were framed as heroes by the media. A case in point was Daniel Ellsberg. While working for the Rand Corporation, Ellsberg leaked secret documents related to the Vietnam War to The Washington Post, among other papers. These documents, called the Pentagon Papers, were commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as a historical record for future Americans to avoid the mistakes of Vietnam. The press used the record to discredit the Nixon administration, which was disliked by the Jews, despite the fact that Nixon had not started the Vietnam War. To be fair, Max Boot is quite hostile to Ellsberg.
- Jews increased their already considerable hold over the Democratic Party. An illustration of this can be shown in the story of the Jew Allard K. Lowenstein. He requested and was granted audiences with prominent Democrats. The purpose of these visits was to find a Democrat to run against President Johnson in the 1968 Primary. Eugene McCarthy acted on Lowenstein’s request, and McCarthy’s symbolic win in the New Hampshire primary convinced Johnson not to run again.
The JQ and Anti-Yankee Attitudes
It’s been mentioned in a number of places on Counter-Currents that it is noticeable that Jews have a hostility towards Americans whose origins are in the original English Puritan settlers of New England, as well as those whites who assimilated into that background, like the Kennedy family and Senator Joe McCarthy. Max Boot likewise displays this hostility in his book.
For example, he portrays a State Department rival of Lansdale’s through a hostile, jealous lens:
[Elbridge Durbrow] . . . came from a privileged milieu in San Francisco far removed from Lansdale’s middle-class background in Los Angeles. His family’s largesse had made it possible for him to attend an almost comically long list of elite educational institutions, beginning with undergraduate studies at Yale, followed by graduate work at Stanford, the University of Dijon, The Hague Academy of International Law, Sciences Po in Paris, and the University of Chicago, before joining the Foreign Service, another elite institution dominated in those days by WASPs from “good” families. While working at the State Department during World War II, he had been instrumental in burying evidence that Hitler was carrying out a genocide against the Jews – a subject that he believed had nothing to do with “American interests,” properly understood.
Durbrow was descended from a Revolutionary War soldier in a Connecticut regiment. Boot also refers to New Englander Robert F. Kennedy as a “Torquemada.” This reviewer found this a highly interesting choice of words.
Don’t Take the Road at All
After reading this book and looking at American troop deployments since the end of the Cold War, this reviewer has come to the conclusion that the United States doesn’t need to “take the road” to counterinsurgency and war at all.
There are two reasons for this. First, as mentioned above, the Cold War is over. This means that the United States has no rival power with a universalist ideology to face. There is nobody out there we really need to pick a fight with. It also means that it doesn’t matter (for America) if North Korea attacks South Korea. In fact, it doesn’t even matter (to America) who would win such a conflict, especially as South Korea is a subsidized boondoggle and a travel ban can be applied with the stroke of a pen. While Islam is a threat, that faith’s more dangerous interpretations don’t transmit to those who don’t have a Muslim – especially Sunni – background. It is thus not universalist. Muslims are also containable through immigration restriction.
Second, American diplomatic and military policy has stopped being in the interests of the “ourselves and our posterity” Americans. Instead, policy is directed by ethnic (i.e., Jewish) pressure groups impacting the American political system. Americans don’t need to defend any nation, especially the non-white ones. The real battle for white Americans is not in the Middle East or any other foreign place, but rather for control of our government and its international policies.
In short, the only threat to America is growing non-white demographics, and the only road worth taking is the one that leads to the white ethnostate.
 Boot, The Road Not Taken, p. 5.
 The political position of a Cold War liberal spanned both parties and is somewhat like the neoconservative position, in that Cold War liberals supported anti-Soviet actions abroad and progressive, New Deal-style policies at home. There are some critical differences, however. Cold War liberals were really pursuing American interests against a very real physical and ideological threat. The enemies of the neoconservatives are only the enemies of the Jews, not necessarily those of white Americans. Cold War liberals also genuinely cared about the people of the nations in which they were intervening – unlike neoconservatives, who have no empathy. Cold War liberals were far more pragmatic and often cut deals with Communists, i.e. “only Nixon could go to China.” Neoconservative and Jewish pressure groups keep the US government from negotiating with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, or nations like Iran and Syria.
 Boot, p. 325.
 Boot, p. 368
 To further clarify: In Robert Greene’s excellent book The 48 Laws of Power (1998), Greene wrote, “Any momentary triumph you think you have gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.”
 Compare Lowenstein’s political influence to that of white advocate Sam Dickson. The former is the child of immigrant Jews, the latter is a descendant of Revolutionary War soldiers and a former infantry officer himself. The former gets politicians to jump for him, the latter views letters to Congressmen as being akin to writing letters to Santa Claus. Whites are dispossessed in their own homeland.
 Booth, p. 337.
 Booth, p. 380.
 For example, Alawites and Ahmadiyya Muslims are in more danger from Sunnis than Christians.
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