Vietnam ’67. Historians, veterans and journalists recall 1967 in Vietnam, a year that changed the war and changed America.
They were burning brush, as they always do in the dry season, when my plane came in over the Vietnamese coast at dusk. Descending into Saigon, I could see fires burning below me, and in my naïveté I thought I was seeing the ravages of war.
I had never been to Asia before, never been in a war zone. I was as green as could be, about to become a war correspondent in Time magazine’s Saigon bureau with my nose pressed against the glass.… Seguir leyendo »
When the C.I.A. was criticized for not predicting the popular uprisings that are now roiling the Arab world, its director, Leon Panetta, was quoted as saying that although you can describe the tectonic fault lines that lie beneath the surface of the earth, you cannot predict the exact moment that an earthquake will arrive.
Indeed in the affairs of man it is seldom possible to predict when the tipping point will come, when that proverbial last straw will prove too much for the camel’s backbone to bear, although it might have been clear for a long time that the camel was over-loaded.… Seguir leyendo »
One felicitous result of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan was the setting up of a military-to-military relationship between China and the United States 30 years ago. The move was born of mutual fear of Russian expansion, for no one could foresee then that Afghanistan would be the undoing of Soviet power and that the Soviet Union itself would collapse partly because of it.
Nor was it clear then that China would emerge in the next century as the potential rival to American power in the Pacific. But militaries have their own codes and their own ways of thinking and it is always a good idea to keep them talking and getting to know each other.… Seguir leyendo »
Leiser unhooked the aerial and wound it back on the reel, screwed the Morse key into the lid, replaced the earphones into the spares box and folded the silk cloth into the handle of the razor. Twenty years, he protested, holding up the razor, and they still haven’t found a better place. — John le Carré, “The Looking Glass War”
There is an old adage in the spy business that intelligence services are like the wiring in the walls. The house may be sold and the owners may move away, but the wiring is there in the walls waiting for a new owners to flip on the switch.… Seguir leyendo »