The United Nations did not want military victory

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

This Kind of War by T.R. FehrenbachA new pattern, the one that would characterize most of the following hill battles, was being set on Heartbreak Ridge, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War):

On the disputed terrain, generally a small area, the fighting was hell itself. Artillery fire such as the world had never seen was massed against single hills, day after day. Because of the limitation of the fighting area, units were committed piecemeal, and the committed units were generally quickly cut to pieces, and replaced.

A few miles to either side of the disputed hill, the front lay quiet and brooding, without more than routine activity. And behind regimental headquarters, few men even knew there was a war on.

Action of this kind was contrary to all American military doctrine. The solution to success on Heartbreak, as later on Baldy, Pork Chop, Arrowhead, T-Bone, and a dozen others, would have been to hit the enemy elsewhere, knock him off balance in a dozen places, punch through.

But the United Nations Command had no authority to put massive pressure on the enemy along the whole line. They had no authority to reopen the wholesale fighting; the United Nations did not want military victory; they wanted truce.

And the enemy was perfectly willing to fight to the death over a small piece of ground, seemingly forever. The fought-over hills assumed propaganda and political values out of all proportion to their military worth.


  1. Bruce says:

    When I look at Afghanistan and Syria and Iraq and Korea and of course Vietnam, I remember Jerry Pournelle’s argument with a lefty Congressman. Jerry gave his plan to win in Vietnam and get out.

    The lefty said, You want to win and get out. I want to just get out. But neither of us runs things, and the liberals who run things want us to stay in and lose.

    Jerry had nothing.

  2. Kirk says:

    Sadly, I have to agree with the lefty. I am coming to recognize that this country is not run to benefit the majority, but instead the American nomenklatura.

    We might well be wise to put everyone with an Ivy League degree or association up in front of a wall, and then perform the usual drill. I am becoming more and more certain that these people do not act with any of my interests at heart.

  3. TRX says:

    The America we thought we lived in was a lie all of our lives. It’s just that now communications is prevalent enough to pull aside the curtain.

    Unfortunately that’s of little value, since when exposed, they brag about their corruption and misdeeds instead of being sent to jail.

  4. Altitude Zero says:

    The American elite of the Vietnam era, while it was certainly deeply flawed, was still descendants of the old WASP elite that had run American since the beginning, and had not done a bad job, all things considered. It was a thousand times better than the collection of grifters, liars, foreign opportunists, and dimwit bureaucrats that are running things now. But Vietnam and “Civil Rights” spelled the end of that elite, and set us on the course we are on now. The fact that both of these things were the result of decisions made by the WASP elite just make things all the more ironic.

  5. Kirk says:

    Were they, though?

    That pre-Vietnam “elite” was the same one that blindly followed FDR into what amounted to a fascist dictatorship and prolonged an economic adjustment into the Great Depression, the same one that sold out to the Soviets, and the same one that blundered us into WWII essentially unprepared and completely stupid about the politics of it all. What’s going on today is simply more of the same bullshit.

    The “elite” ain’t at all elite, nor are they all that smart. They never have been, and all you have to do is actually read history to observe that fact. Hell, as far back as the pre-Civil War era, you can see the mendacity and sheer incompetence that got us into that idiotic situation, from whence flows an awful lot of our current situation.

    Frankly, I think we’d do well to ban anyone with an Ivy League degree or background within three generations from ever holding public office or position of authority. The loss of competency from those few worthy of respect would be minor in comparison to the mass of f**kwittery we’d be getting rid of.

  6. Altitude Zero says:


    I still think that the old WASP elite was better than what we have now, but that’s probably more of a comment on what we have now than any comment on our old elite. But say what you will, the WASP’s did at least manage a few successes, built up or industry and standard of living, and usually won the wars that they blundered us into, which is more than we can say now…

  7. Paul from Canada says:

    …except that the new elite is still a product of the old WASP elite, and that the ivy league is still in charge. Obama was definitely NOT part of the WASP elite, but he was still part of the ivy league….

    I’m with Kirk, nepotism and connections still seems to count more than competence. The Brits have the same problem. They tended to favor “oxbridge” candidates over others in things like their intelligence agencies, and see what that got them. The OSS and later the CIA was no better….

  8. Altitude Zero says:


    I agree that there is certainly some continuity through the Ivy League, but when I look at our so-called “Elites”, my first thought is not “Wow, look at all the white Protestants…”

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