Vietnam scholars, vets talk on war
The Vietnam War was refought Thursday in a debate among scholars from around the world and a handful of military strategists who experienced the era. They wrestled with a reassessment of the conflict from the perspective of the end of the Cold War, with former CIA Director William Colby expressing the hope that similar foreign policy mistakes in the future could be averted. Veteran North Vietnamese strategists from the war had signed up to participate in the symposium, 'After the Cold War: Reassessing Vietnam, ' but canceled, citing conflicting schedules. The list included Gen. Nguyen Giap, the North Vietnamese general credited with routing the South Vietnamese military and installing the communist regime in the Southeast Asian nation. The conference was sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Vietnam Conflict at Texas Tech University. 'History will never render a clear and final verdict as to how the U.S. defined its interests, got involved in Vietnam, and why the intervention failed,' said Former South Vietnam Ambassador Bui Diem. 'How did American policymakers in the '40s, '50s and '60s determine that vital interests of the U.S. were involved in the first place, and then through gradual involvement, come to the decision to intervene massively?' Diem said. He pointed out that U.S. involvement in the war spanned three decades and seven presidencies, beginning with Harry Truman in 1945, and dragged on until 'the end came in 1975 under the indifferent watch of President Ford.'