No ambitious second-year ROTC cadet would have dared quote him seriously

Monday, October 19th, 2020

This Kind of War by T.R. FehrenbachHalf contemptuously, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), American military men spoke of the “elusive” Lin Piao and the “poet” Mao Tse-Tung:

Mao Tse-tung, Premier of China, had already revealed to the world how his Communist armies operated — how they flowed from place to place, fighting when fighting was profitable, biding their time when it was not. What Mao Tse-tung had written was instructive, and intensely practical for a war in Asia — but because the Chinese wrote in poetic language, not in the military terminology popular in the West, no ambitious second-year ROTC cadet would have dared quote him seriously.

After November 1950, many men would grudgingly learn that the thought behind words is more important than the phrases in which the thought is couched. The time would come when every leader in the world would read the writings of the Chinese Communists — for it was barely possible that the war they waged was not so anachronistic as Americans believed. Quite possibly, it was the pattern of all future land wars.

In November 1950, then, one army, in open array, loudly proclaiming its every move to the world, marched against a phantom foe. For the CCF, all that month, was a ghost; now you saw it, now you didn’t. It marched by night, under a foggy moon; it sideslipped into the mountains in front of the advancing U.N., and lurked, biding its time.

When he was ready, the “elusive” Lin Piao would let the Americans find him.


  1. Kirk says:

    And, with this, we see the beginnings of the state of affairs wherein Mao could do no wrong, in the eyes of our “elite” military leaders. Who warped our doctrine and planning to accommodate a Mao who was ten feet tall and could kill with a lightning-blast glance from his eyes…

    Reality? Mao was not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, and unless you were willing to expend copious amounts of human life, most of his military theories were essentially worthless. Only the Chinese could afford the effects his ideas had on human material, and only the Chinese Communists could motivate people to do what they needed to do in order to make those ideas work tactically and strategically. The human costs? Incalculable. You have to wonder where China would be today, had Mao not come to power, and all those lives he expended so casually were lived out even semi-productively. Imagine China’s economic rise taking place in the 1950s and 1960s, instead of thirty years later: Where would the world be?

    The Communist infiltrators in the US government who wrote off Chiang Kai Shek and abandoned mainland China to the Communists have a lot to answer for, not just to the Americans whose lives were affected, but to the millions of Chinese who suffered under Mao, and who still suffer to this day under the CCP.

    Mao’s “success” as a leader came with a price of millions of lives lost, and millions more ruined. And, for what?

  2. Bomag says:

    “And, for what?”

    Killing millions and wrecking countries seems to be the goal of choice for communists.

  3. Kirk says:

    It does seem to be a consistently produced outcome…

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