Most of what Americans kw about the Tet Offensive is wrong. The brief 1968 battle during the Vietnam conflict marked the dividing line between gradual progress towards an ill-defined victory, and slow descent to a humiliating defeat. The fact that the enemy was, in fact, handily defeated on the ground was immaterial; that they could mount an attack at all was deemed a military triumph for the Vietcong. At least this is the received wisdom of Tet. In This Time We Win, James S. Robbins at last provides an antidote to the flawed Tet mythology that continues to shape the perceptions of American military conflicts against unconventional enemies and haunt our troops in combat. Indeed, America's enemies recognize and find inspiration in the prevailing Tet narrative. In his thorough re-examination of the Tet Offensive, Robbins examines the battle in the familiar frameworks of terrorism, war crimes, intelligence failure, troop surges, leadership breakdown, and media bias. The result is an explosion of the conventional wisdom on this infamous battle, one that offers real lessons for today's unconventional wars. Without a clear understanding of these lessons, we will find ourselves reliving the Tet Offensive again and again.
James S. Robbins is senior editorial writer for foreign affairs at the Washington Times and executive director of the American Security Council Foundation. A former special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Robbins is a frequent commentator on national security issues on national and international television and radio. He holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.