Just for openers, if you may, if you would just repeat this about the difficulties of information, mentioning the forty-four different provinces, if you'd just make that statement we can use it...Go ahead.
Ah, we mentioned the information problem several times. I can recall making many speeches in the United States after I returned as ambassador, trying to explain why these, the apparently contradictory views and reports coming out of Vietnam, by officials by the media, by various sources...why this confusion.
Well, there's really a very good reason for it. An inevitable development I would say of the situation, namely of forty-four provinces in South Vietnam and they're all different. They're different in climate, in geography, many times in ethnic, the ethnic background of the people. Some were urban, some were big cities, a great deal of rice land, great deal of forest.
The result is that there were not...there was not just a single war to be reported by officials and the press. There were really forty-four different wars and you could have, have an accurate reporter in each one of those provinces and get forty-four different reports coming to Washington and all would be right in their own way. Yet none a complete picture.
And at home then we committed the human fault...we saw on television as we did one time a Marine or soldier burning up a peasant's cottage. The feeling was, well, that's what the army and the Marines are doing, burning down people's houses. And that's a generalization from a single fact. Through a combination of those things they...the innate, the inherent complexity plus our over facile generalization we make for ourselves created many of the problems which, which plagued our leadership throughout the entire war.