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About Harry Rothmann
Harry Rothmann graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1967. He is a retired Army Colonel who served in infantry, airborne and ranger units for over 29 years. He led an infantry platoon and company in combat in Vietnam; commanded an air assault battalion in the 101st Airborne Division; served on the the Army and Joint Staffs in the Pentagon; and was a teacher at West Point and the National War College. Harry currently resides in New York with his wife Susie. They have three children and ten grandchildren.
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Rather, as this story explains, the answer of why America lost is more linked to human interactions and relationships than what should have been done or not done. For this story reveals that the interrelationship between American civilian and military leaders and advisors was extraordinarily divisive and dysfunctional. So much so that US leaders’ decisions resulted in flawed, timid policies and foolish strategies that led to defeat. Moreover, that troublesome interrelationship was primarily a result of mistrusts, misunderstandings, and misperceptions on US leaders’ and advisors’ roles, responsibilities, and what they thought would lead to a positive end to the war.
In addition, primarily because they were ignorant of their opponents’ culture and history and overconfident from their past experiences, US civilian and military policymakers ignored or misunderstood their enemy. Indeed, the main North Vietnamese war leaders, whom most Americans did not even know were calling the shots on their pursuit of victory, were determined to end the war militarily, and most persistent in that goal. They also mislead and mystified US civilian and military leaders alike through a brilliant strategy relying on propaganda and ruse that fooled their opponents into believing that a diplomatic solution was possible.
The story of how and why the US lost South Vietnam to the communists uses the most recently released documents from the US archives and Presidential taped conversations of the top-secret meetings and behind door conversations of the major American participants from Truman through the Nixon Administrations. It also utilizes the latest, ground breaking research and released documentation of the war from the Communist Vietnamese side of the conflict,
Warriors and Fools delves deeply into the decision making, strategies, goals, and motives of the North Vietnam leaders as they waged their war for unification, first against the French and then against the Americans. The book further consults the memoirs, interviews, and oral histories of former South Vietnamese leaders and combatants to discover their views on their struggle to form a new nation free from communist aggression. It then compares the attitudes, desires, and objectives of these Vietnamese leaders to those of the Americans to makes some startling discoveries about what US leaders wanted to accomplish and what their Vietnamese counterparts, both in the North and South, prevented them from achieving.
This book is both broad and deep in scope in its narration of the Vietnam War story. It takes the reader from the White House’s oval office and Hanoi’s Politburo room, to the Pentagon’s and North Vietnam Army’s command centers, to Vietnam’s mountain and rice patty battlefields to show the courage, determination, foolhardiness, mistakes, and horrors of war from both sides.
Warriors and Fools should be of interest to those who served in the war, and serious students and teachers of this event and period. It is not intended as light reading, or for someone trying to get just a brief understanding of what happened there and in America at the time.
The Class of 1967 has had a unique and important part in the history of the US military in the last forty years. There were 583 graduates in the class in 1967. In Vietnam and Southeast Asia, from 1968 to 1970, it lost 29 killed – among the highest of West Point Class graduates who served in the war. Scores of Class Members were also wounded; many still suffer from those wounds. Members of this Class also received over 350 awards for valor, including three Distinguished Service Crosses - the Nation’s second highest award to the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In addition, Class members served many years overseas over all parts of the globe. It was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Army in the Post-Vietnam era from 1975 to 1985; and members led the Army that was so successful in the conflicts in Panama and the first Gulf War. The Class of 1967 produced 19 General Officers, held numerous other senior government positions in the aftermath of 9/11 to include a Secretary of the Army, and initially led in the ‘War Against Terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Indeed, the Class motto, “None Will Surpass 67 Class,” became the gauntlet the Class set for itself as a measure of its service to the Nation and its accomplishments as part of the distinguished ‘Long Gray Line’ of Academy graduates.