nerve. Contrary to the popular impression,nthose who came of age during then1940’s and 1950’s were not narrowmindednstrivers, interested only in jobs,nhomes and automobiles. Rather, this wasna generation that could be quite responsivento patriotic ideals—especially the callnto contain, with force if necessary, the advancenof totalitarianism. With WorldnWar II barely over, it again shoulderednarms in Korea. It created and took seriouslyna formidable array of mutual-assistancentreaties and international organizationsn, even the United Nations. In his inauguralnaddress. President Kennedy didnnot simply call upon his fellow Americansnto “bear any burden, meet anynhardship … to assure the survival andnthe success of liberty”; he asserted this asna reality of which all potential aggressorsnshould be aware. Among this generation,nappeasement was little in evidence,nfor it was the generation upon whichnMunich had left a strong and seeminglynindelible stamp.nAnd it was to prevent another Munichnthat, in Podhoretz’s view, led the UnitednStates to intervene in “a quarrel in a farawa:yncountry between people of whomnwe know nothing” (as Chamberlain hadncharacterized the Czechoslovakianncrisis). In retrospect, he concedes that wendid it badly. Our military strategy andnthe political tactics necessary to sustainnAmerican support for a bloody and costlynwar were poorly devised. Yet, whatnshould no longer be disputed is whethernour cause was just. The United States,nPodhoretz writes, fought in Vietnam notnbecause it was in our national interest tondo so (as is usually claimed), but out of ansense of duty to prevent the spread ofncommunism. The worthiness of that goalnis clearly revealed in the aftermath of thenAmerican defeat: boatloads of refugees,nbrutality and repression for those who remained,nbolder and more successfulncommunist adventurism around thenglobe. Imprudent and unsuccessful as itnmay have been, the war in Viemam wasnnonetheless motivated by a high andnhonorable ideal.nThis would hardly be worth saying, letnlet alone devoting a book to, were it notnthe case that only a tiny minority of Podhoretz’sngeneration believes it. Havingngone into Vietnam with the lesson ofnMunich still fresh, American leaders becamenconvinced that applying it was notnonly impractical and impolitic but im-nMr. Pi)(lli(iri.-l/’> IliMOrv s :i>. inLKlillctl ;i.^ lii’- ;in:ilvsi>nrhi~ siinpliflc-d viiw ofnmoral as well. Indeed, as Podhoretznshows, the triumph of the idea that thenUnited States was not fighting for libertynbut against it—that America was the aggressornand not the protector, that wenwere wrong and our enemies, if not rightn(as some argued), were at least no worsenthan we were—ultimately led to ourndownfall. Thus, the end of our involvementnin Southeast Asia had an additionalnresult: the United States lost not only anwar in Vietnam but also its faith in thenwisdom of trying to contain communism.nTo Podhoretz, who believes that containmentnshould still be the foundationnof American foreign policy, the bornagainnagnosticism of the Munich generationnis a serious problem. If those whonhad understood the need to draw the linenagainst totalitarianism no longer did,nwho would? To restore that belief is thenpurpose of Podhoretz’s effort. Despitenhis own continued skepticism that winningnin Vietnam was within our capabilities,nhe leaves no doubt that we werenright to try. Although W^^y We Were innVietnam will not convince the more outspokenncritics of the war (as severalnscathing reviews have shown), it shouldndo much to dispel the lingering confusionnand sense of guilt that have all butnparalyzed American foreign policy fornthe last decade.nYet, because of a second legacy ofnViemam, even this small but importantncontribution may not be enough. Thenwar not only shook the confidence of thennnMunich generation, but it also shapednthe outlook of the generation that camenof age during the 1960’s and earlyn1970’s, the one beginning to come tonpower. “Especially for younger peoplenwho had no personal memory of the SecondnWorld War,” claims Podhoretz,n•Arrliur Schlcsinger, Jr.nHarper’sn-Sew York Times Rook Reviewn”Vietnam did not so much to reverse thenlegacy of Munich as it succeeded the legacynof Auschwitz.” The United States wasnnot simply mistaken in trying to haltncommunist expansion; it was seen as thensource of what was wrong in the world innthe first place. Such a view had an inevitablencorollary: “Millions of young peoplengrowing to maturity during the warndeveloped attitudes of such hostilityntowards their own country and the civilizationnembodied by its institutions thatntheir willingness to defend it against externalnenemies in the future was leftnhanging in doubt.” For Podhoretz’sngeneration, the problem is one of recapturingnfaith; for the Vietnam generation,nit is a matter of discovering it.nx^erhaps nowhere is this differencenbetter illustrated than in the current debatenover United States policy in CentralnAmerica. To former Secretary of StatenAlexander Haig, an unrepentant membernof the Munich generation, communismnis again on the march, this time affectingnvital interests in our own hemisphere.nEven more than in Vietnam, a policy ofncontainment, by military means if necessary,nis warranted. This is definitely notnthe position of two of the youngest membersnof the Senate, 4l-year-old Paul E.nTsongas and 37-year-old Christopher J.nDodd. The Reagan Administration’snpolicy-makers, Tsongas was recentlynquoted as having said, “… look at Nicaraguanand see Castro clones. We look atnNicaragua and see years of repression andnSeptember 198Sn