Max Hastings’s excellent history, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, discusses one revealing engagement that took place between American and North Vietnamese forces in late March of 1971. This action—a ferocious assault on a remote firebase named Mary Ann—merits further reflection, I think, and we will give it its due here.Continue reading
When a man is under the duress of extreme events, he sometimes finds himself wracked by indecision. He will mull over various courses of action in his head; he will script out different scenarios in his imagination; and he will ponder his predicament from multiple perspectives. And yet, when he has finished with these troublesome cogitations, he may find a course of action still eludes him; but at some point, a moment of inspiration will arrive to pierce the gloom, and confer on him the guidance he has desperately been seeking. When this happens, he must unhesitatingly seize the present hour for action, and proceed with his rendezvous with Fate.