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Losing Vietnam: How America Abandoned Southeast Asia

by Major General Ira A. Hunt Jr., USA (Ret.)

Availablecloth$39.95 978-0-8131-4208-1
Availableepub$39.95 978-0-8131-4206-7
Availableweb pdf$50.00x 978-0-8131-4207-4
Battles and Campaigns
416 pages  Pubdate: 07/16/2013  6 x 9  11 b&w photos, 11 maps, 8 charts, 29 tables

In the early 1970s, as U.S. combat forces began to withdraw from Southeast Asia, South Vietnamese and Cambodian forces continued the fight against the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), more commonly known as the Viet Cong. Despite the evacuation of its ground troops, the United States promised to materially support its allies’ struggle against communist aggression. Over time, however, the American government drastically reduced its funding of the conflict, placing immense strain on the Cambodian and South Vietnamese armed forces, which were fighting well-supplied enemies.

In Losing Vietnam, Major General Ira A. Hunt Jr. chronicles the efforts of U.S. military and State Department officials who argued that severe congressional budget reductions ultimately would lead to the defeat of both Cambodia and South Vietnam. Hunt details the catastrophic effects of reduced funding and of conducting “wars by budget.” As deputy commander of the United States Support Activities Group Headquarters (USAAG) in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, Hunt received all Southeast Asia operational reports, reconnaissance information, and electronic intercepts, placing him at the forefront of military intelligence and analysis in the area. He also met frequently with senior military leaders of Cambodia and South Vietnam, contacts who shared their insights and gave him personal accounts of the ground wars raging in the region.

This detailed and fascinating work highlights how analytical studies provided to commanders and staff agencies improved decision making in military operations. By assessing allied capabilities and the strength of enemy operations, Hunt effectively demonstrates that America’s lack of financial support and resolve doomed Cambodia and South Vietnam to defeat.

Ira A. Hunt Jr. is a retired major general and the author of The 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam: Unparalleled and Unequaled.

This is the most detailed, insightful, documented, and authentic account of these matters we have had thus far and will constitute an important addition to the historical record of this complex conflict. -- Lewis Sorley, author of Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam

Losing Vietnam is the first book that I have come across which actually quantifies with solid facts and statistical analysis the catastrophic impact of the Congressional aid cuts to South Vietnam and Cambodia. -- Henry A. Kissinger

Hunt's book deserves to be widely read. Whether the facts in this outstanding book will sway opinion, or re-set the historical debate, is a question . . . Facts though, are stubborn things. -- Jay Veith -- Journal of Military History

Hunt's book is a forceful refutation of the argument that there was nothing America could have done to save South Vietnam. . . . Hunt's assessment has great resonance for what most probably will be the fates of Iraq and Afghanistan. -- Vietnam Magazine

Readers interested in the Vietnam War and its aftermath, particularly the last two years of South Vietnam's existence, will appreciate Hunt's clear writing style and fluid explanations of complex metrics. -- Robert J. Thompson -- On Point

For the serious historian or military strategist who would want to have one book in his library to explain the loss of South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, this would be it. -- U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings

General Hunt demonstrates that reliable data do exist, and in Losing Vietnam he provides statistical proof that the U.S. congressional aid cuts had a deadly impact upon the South Vietnamese and Cambodian armed forces. Even though he was a direct witness to those painful events, the author seeks to quantify his opinion, expert as it may be, with solid facts.

[. . .] Hunt’s book deserves to be widely read. -- Journal of Military History