Crosswinds: The Air Force's Setup in Vietnam

Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Author, Caroline F. Ziemke, Foreword by
Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Author, Caroline F. Ziemke, Foreword by Texas A&M University Press $34.95 (252p) ISBN 978-0-89096-531-3
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
In this provocative reevaluation of U.S. Air Force strategy in Vietnam, Tilford exposes the generals' tunnel-vision in regard to the vaunted but dubious doctrine of strategic bombing, according to which warplanes fly deep into the enemy's territority in order to disable its industrial capacity. He demolishes the myth that the 1972 ``Christmas bombing'' brought Hanoi to its knees and that military victory was within reach if only ``the politicians'' had unleashed the Air Force's total power. His controversial thesis is that the bombing of the North and the interdiction campaign against the Ho Chi Minh Trail were in no way decisive and that USAF leadership obtusely failed to perceive that North Vietnam, an agricultural nation, was simply not susceptible to strategic bombing. Not only was the Air Force unable to develop a strategy appropriate to the war, he contends, it never articulated any coherent strategy. Tilford is a professor of military history at the Air Force Command and Staff College. (June)
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