There is one major difficulty with Irving Howe’s statement. He fails to grasp the significance of the most important point he makes: that in Vietnam the national liberation movement was from the beginning led by the Communists. There, in a sense, is the whole story. The U.S. failed to establish a democratic regime in the South not because of reactionary stupidity (perhaps it is time we granted the intelligence of the men in Washington and began to argue about their purposes), but because the Communists were the only political group capable of winning an election. The commitment to “hold” South Vietnam entailed support for dictatorial and militarist governments.
Of course, it is possible to imagine a reformist dic...
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