When the French returned to colonise Indo-China,
they said that they would teach General Vo Nguyen Giap, a “peasant and amateur,
a non-commissioned officer learning to handle regiments”,
how to handle regiments.
Eight years later the French arrogance was buried in Dien Bien Phu.
Eleven years later when the US Marines arrived in South Vietnam,
history was poised to repeat itself as the Americans were poised to repeat the mistake made by the French.
They said that they would soon crush the “racially inferior gooks”
and return home for Christmas.
They had miscalculated.
In a few years time,
the Vietcong had turned the American servicemen into psychopaths
– there was widespread drunkenness,
drug – taking,
refusal to go on combat missions,
and ‘fragging’ (killing of own officers and NCOs – more than 100 officers were killed in the first half of 1971).
These were manifestations of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Ten years later,
the panic-stricken superpower withdrew,
defeated and disgraced,
with its arrogance buried in the jungles of South Vietnam
– until it was resurrected twenty-six years later in Afghanistan.