No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.
--Richard M. Nixon, 1985
The war was won on both sides: by the Vietnamese on the ground, by the Americans in the electronic mental space. And if the one side won an ideological and political victory, the other made Apocalypse Now and that has gone right around the world.
--Jean Baudrillard, 1986
America has made no reparation to the Vietnamese, nothing. We are the richest people in the world and they are among the poorest. We savaged them, though they had never hurt us, and we cannot find it in our hearts, our honor, to give them help--because the government of Vietnam is Communist. And perhaps because they won.
--Martha Gellhorn, 1986
I was proud of the youths who opposed the war in Vietnam because they were my babies.
--Benjamin Spock, 1988
All the wrong people remember Vietnam. I think all the people who remember it should forget it, and all the people who forgot it should remember it.
--Michael Herr, 1989
Some people just wanted to blow it all to hell, animal, vegetable and mineral. They wanted a Vietnam they could fit into their car ashtrays.
Michael Herr, Dispatches, 1977
We did a fine job there. If it happened in World War II, they still would be telling stories about it. But it happened in Vietnam, so nobody knows about it. They don't even tell recruits about it today. Marines don't talk about Vietnam. We lost. They never talk about losing. So it's just wiped out, all of that's off the slate, it doesn't count. It makes you a little bitter.
John Muir, in Al Santoli, Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War, 1981.
One reason the Kennedy and Johnson administrations failed to take an orderly, rational approach to the basic questions underlying Vietnam was the staggering variety and complexity of other issues we faced. Simply put, we faced a blizzard of problems, there were only twenty-four hours in a day, and we often did not have time to think straight.
Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect, 1995