Poi.KMK s & i:( ii\(;i:s JnJustice for Mr. Middletonnby EdwardJ. WalshnI object to the unsigned but nasty attacknon Drew Middleton in the May/nJune 1982 issue of Chronicles. Though Indid not read the specific magazine piecenby Middleton, I was struck not only bynthe unworthy tone but by the author’snobvious ignorance of many notablenachievements of Drew Middleton: “He isnhighly respected, although God onlynknows why.”nDrew Middleton is highly respectednfor accomplishments that have nothingnto do with his employment at the NewnYork Times. He is the author of The SkynSuspended, the definitive history of thenBattle of Britain, which he covered onnthe scene. The Sky Suspended ‘% anbeautiful book that chronicles the valornof the British people as well as the RoyalnAir Force. In 1975, Middleton publishednCan America Win the Next War?, annanalysis of American and Soviet militaryncapabilities, in which he exposed manynof the weaknesses of U.S. and NATOnforces. Significandy, he did not limit hisnexcruciating examination of this allimportantnsubject to military matters,nbut commented extensively on the moralncrisis of the West, particularly the UnitednStates, and condemned the trend towardsnan anarchy of moral values. This, Inbelieve, is also part of the Chronicles’ efforts.nDrew Middleton is no tunnel-visionedntool of the liberal culture, as thenChronicles piece depicts him. While onencan argue at this point that liberals werenresponsible for our defeat in Vietnam,nthat doesn’t mean that U.S. forces andnmilitary commanders were innocent. Indeed,nthey were guilty of many tragic errors.nFor example, service in the combatnzone as an aid to career advancement hadnat least as much importance to Pentagonnbureaucrats as did winning the war.nMr. Walsh is a former Marine Corps officer.nWhile political constraints from Washingtonnclearly played a role in the war’snoutcome—indeed played a major role, asnI have written myself—the U.S. militarynplayed at war in Vietnam with tacticsndesigned for Europe or the North Atlantic.nOfficers with combat experience werenrotated out of the war zone to make roomnfor innocents and incompetents. As EdwardnLuttwak has noted, the lives ofnAmerican naval pilots were risked, andnmany lost, bombing targets that couldnhave been hit by artillery or naval gunfire,nso that the Navy’s air wings couldnget a “piece of the action.”nIn short, the history of what happenednin Vietnam and why is endlessly complex.nMilitary shortsightedness and stu­npidity complemented political blindness.nThere is a need, therefore, for objectivenanalysis of what went wrong onnthe field in Vietnam, for plenty did gonwrong. Many articles like Middleton’snTimespKct have investigated them, andnthere is room for still more. The point isnthat one need not preach about liberalsnin order to investigate the military historynof that conflict. The Chronicles author,nhowever, is evidently preoccupied withngrander things. One can make ad hominemnattacks on experts in military mattersnif one is indifferent to military affairs,nor ignorant of the illustrious worknof Drew Middleton. But an assault onnsuch an able and thoughtfiil journalistndoesn’ t hide ignorance—it displays it. DnTin: AMKRK \ PK()S( I;MI’MnOn Momentous Blundersn”Nothing doth more hurt in a statenthan that cunning men pass for wise,”nwrote Bacon. We are afraid that what’sngoing on these days in the minds of ournforeign-policy conceptualists, and in thenchambers where such decisions arenmade, supports that ancient insight,nwhich fathoms the very nature of how wenmanage our affairs abroad.nIt is beginning to look like PresidentnReagan’s Waterloo may lie somewhere innthe Middle East. There are two basicnschools of thought about that area of intenseninterest. The first school maintainsnthat the existence of Israel, and indeed itsnstrength, as an outpost of the democraticnWest is not just a figment of our sentimentsnbut a hard-core, realistic, strategic,nideological and military asset. Thensecond, called Arabist, claims that thennnArab world, with its large populationnand current wealth, is a better option tonprovide a bulwark against Soviet expansionismnin that part of the world. The latter,nof course, involves some weightyneconomic arguments, as well as a fewnmore-pedestrian temptations for sensitivensouls and keen minds, which arenalways discernible in a political approachnto founts of immense and tangible profits.nMr. Reagan, who, in the end, bearsnthe full responsibility for choices whosenoutcomes will carry the name of his Presidency,nseems to be confused and uncertain.nHe is searching for a compromise inna conflict that, partially thanks to earliernAmerican mistakes, has become so polarizednthat no deal is possible. He is undernpressure from the prevailing Arabistsnboth in the State Department and in thenmultinational corporate businesses son^9nOctober 1982n