Another gem from UMW Blogs. Professor Mara Scanlon’s Asian American Literature class is currently reading lÃª thi diem thuy’s novel The Gangster We Are All Looking For–a tale about a Vietnamese family that moves to the U.S. soon after the end of the Vietnam War.
One particular student shared with the class in the form of a blog post contextualizing a clip on YouTube from Errol Morris’s Fog of War. The excerpt from the film deals with the fundamental breakdown in any cultural knowledge that the US had about Vietnam history more generally (sound familiar?). The scene from The Fog of War that this student links to traces Robert McNamara’s (the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War) assertion that the war was being fought on each side with a completely different understanding of what they were, in fact, fighting for: “â€œWe [The U.S.] saw Vietnam as an element of the Cold War, not as they saw it: a Civil War.â€
Can this nation’s political and military history be understood in terms of a progression?