In my sluggish attempt to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winners for General Nonfiction (damn you, Douglas Blackmon), I came across this from Norman Mailer’s The Armies of the Night. When reading it, consider that it was written in 1968, and at that point more than half the names on Maya Lin’s wall were happy American kids with all the pleasures of life ahead of them:
Asia was best left to the Asians. If the Communists absorbed those countries, and succeeded in building splendid nations who made the transition to technological culture without undue agony, one would be forced to applaud; it seemed evident on the face of the evidence in Vietnam, that America could not bring technology land to Asia without bankrupting itself in operations ill-conceived, poorly comprehended, and executed in waste. But the greater likleihood was that if the Communists prevailed in Asia they would suffer in much the same fashion. Divisions, schisms, and sects would appear. An endless number of collisions between primitive custom and Marxist dogma, a thousand daily pulluations of intrigue, a heritage of cruelty, atrocity, and betrayal would fall upon the Communists…to leave Asia would be precisely to gain the balance of power. The answer then was to get out, to get out any way one could. Get out. There was nothing to fear – perhaps there never had been.