Quotes: On Patience, and Resilience

“it is sometimes tiring to try to get the Vietnamese to do something which is, after all, for their own good (or so we think . . .). On the other hand, when I step back just a little to look at everything, it seems to me that the Vietnamese have taken our overbearing presence rather well over the last few years. We arrive here with no knowledge of the country or of the situation and immediately start giving advice, some of which we can really turn almost into orders because of the materials and money and transportation that we fully control. I think that no American would stand for such a deep and continuing interference in our affairs, even if it appeared that survival was at stake. Yet the Vietnamese accept it, and with rather good grace.”

– Richard Holbrooke as a young foreign service officer in Vietnam, quoted by George Packer in The Longest Wars in Foreign Affairs magazine.

“This part of the city belonged to the Westerners, and the Vietnamese here were in the business of making money off them—either by feeding them in the restaurants, selling them the items from the rickety stands, driving them about the city in the rusted cyclos, having sex with them, spying on them, or some combination of the above.”

– on Saigon, 1965 from Tatjana Soli in The Lotus Eaters

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