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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Shameless Pitch, Wrapped in a Nightmare

Recently I decided to become a more serious writer. The results have been mixed. I still fall back on the ridiculous, it makes me comfortable, and in the world today that is about the best you can hope for.

In my quest I have tried several approaches and the one that works the best is normally self narrative. I don't really understand why, my life is boring, indescribably so.

But, I have had this idea for several years, kicking it around, sending queries off to places, researching bits and pieces. It involves two battles, Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh. They took place 14 years apart, and were separated by 900 kilometers.

They had different endings, and involved different countries, at least inside the barbed wire. They were both more or less designed around the same idea, drawing a lightly armed, highly mobile indigenous army into a battle where air support and superior fire power could prevail.

The part I find most fascinating is the willingness of the United States government to discuss the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Almost as a matter of course. "Well, this did not turn out as well as we had hoped, maybe an atomic weapon would change things."

It terrified me thinking they actually contemplated the use of such awful things to solve problems that should have never been created.

Anyway, during my research I ran across a memo from the CIA Office of National Estimates, from 1966, it had been approved for release in January 2005.

It was a thorough, well written, reasoned evaluation of the possible benefits and liabilities of the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Two years before anybody in the US (who wasn't a specialist or Marine) had ever heard of Khe Sanh.

It was a memorandum for the director and didn't advocate for or against the use of these weapons. It laid out several possible events providing the impetus for the release of these weapons and the potential outcomes from each. It was terrifying.

How many reports had there been over the years helping senior members of the administration decide whether the repercussions of use would be worse than the battlefield results of not using atomic devices? I'm not sure I want to know.

Anyway, if you are a publisher of a magazine, or an ezine, or almost anything that would give me a byline and are interested in a piece on two battles, two endings, three armies and the political machinations of the "bomb" let me know. I have an idea for you.