cover image The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam

The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam

James William Gibson. Atlantic Monthly Press, $24.95 (523pp) ISBN 978-0-87113-063-1

Gibson, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., believes that much of the blame for the debacle in Vietnam is attributable to the introduction of ""managerial science'' into the war effort. He attempts to show that by the fall of 1967, the war managers had constructed an Orwellian double-think of ``multiple systematic falsifications'' in which credit, debit and progress were gauged by a body-count index. (The author's personal outrage occasionally spills over into questionable generalizations: ``Management did not care whether labor lived or died, only about producing a high body-count.'') The study includes quotes from participants and close observers of the war, illustrating in a shockingly concentrated manner how demoralizing to the troops were the ruthless and impersonal management techniques of business accounting imposed on them. Gibson warns that this managerial mind-set is still very much in evidence at the Pentagon and that ``the redeployment of Technowar can only result in another massive defeat.'' (September 26)