These four case studies were composed to help persons to whom I have a legal
and moral duty of care, and other victims whom I came to know in the
course of these events and to whom my duty is only that of one empathetic
human being to another. Beyond that, I hope these documents may help others
whom I shall never meet.
I publicize these with reluctance, only after exhausting every conceivable
private channel, official and unofficial, and after helplessly seeing so
many suffer so much for so many years. Their need for justice has driven
me to this unexpected step.
A solitary private citizen does not lightly undertake such an enterprise,
so I beg to share with the reader the reasons why I have done so.
In 1965 I arrived in Vietnam as the youngest second lieutenant on duty in
the American forces. As months went by I became uneasy as events failed
to unfold according to my instruction manual, and literally no one could
explain why. My sense of order being offended, I volunteered, in
order to learn why, to stay on for a second tour of duty with a combat
Upon completion of my military service I returned to Vietnam on my
own to write a book explaining why events had developed in such a peculiar
way. (In fact what seemed inexplicable to outside observers--including
myself at first--turned out to be trivially easy to understand when
approached with common knowledge from the disciplines of sociology and
WAR COMES TO LONG AN, published in 1973, was received with initial annoyance
at high levels in the U.S. government, but reviewers of both the 'left' and the
'right' were enthusiastic about its evenhandedness and depth of insight.
Reviewers' endorsements of my impartiality greatly pleased and encouraged me.
Thirty years later WAR COMES TO LONG AN is used as an instructional
text in universities worldwide and in the curricula of the
U.S. National War
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, as the canonical analysis
of why the U.S. effort in Vietnam proceeded so badly.
The point of all this is that a few years back a friend working on the White
House staff assured me that many people are alive today--who would otherwise
surely be dead--because I had taken three years of my life to write that book,
and because concerned people had taken the trouble to read it, to understand
it, and to act upon it.
I offer these studies to the public with the hope that much good will
similarly come of them. It is the best I can do for my Thai hosts and for
the people to whom I have a personal duty of care. No loving parent
could do less.
Reviews of War Comes to Long An
Other works by Jeffrey Race
Some personal details
While this matter concerns not individuals but matters of public policy,
I am obliged to provide a few personal details to establish a minimal level
of credibility. Otherwise readers may ask "How can you allege such things
happened in a civilized country? You must be crazy." This is a serious
matter, and many consider me to be a serious person.
Biodata of Jeffrey Race
Copyright © 2003, 2005 by Jeffrey Race This page last updated February 27, 2005