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Friday, August 29, 2014

Graham and Truth

As I've revealed, Graham Greene's The Quiet American is my favorite novel of the past few decades (also a fine film with Michael Caine).  It eerily forecast the U.S. disaster in Vietnam and Greene, as usual, knew what he was talking about, as he had reported from there for years.  Now the New Republic, as part of its 100th anniversary tributes, has just posted one of his pieces.   From 1954, after he came back for more:  "Two years ago men believed in the possibility of military defeat or victory; now they know the war will be decided elsewhere by men who have never waded waist-deep in fields of paddy, struggled up mountain sides, been involved in the middle of attack or the long boredom of waiting."
There is a despondency of return as well as a sadness of departure, and I noted that first evening in my journal, “Is there any solution here the West can offer? But the bar tonight was loud with innocent American voices and that was the worst disquiet. There weren’t so many Americans in 1951 and 1952.” They were there, one couldn’t help being aware, to protect an investment, but couldn’t the investment have been avoided?

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