Robert Coram, a military historian, is the author of Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine.
From his Q & A with Randy Dotinga at the Christian Science Monitor:
Q: What drew you to write about Krulak?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I sensed there was something about the Marines: I wanted to write a book and capture their ethos. I think they carry the ethical banner for all the military services, and they're unbending in their rectitude.
Trying to find the right Marine was difficult. I wanted to find someone who at some critical junction in his or her career had to make a moral decision, and the consequences would be enormous.
He went to the White House and confronted LBJ over how the Vietnam War was being run. He had everything to lose and nothing to win. He risked it all on one turn of pitch and toss.
Q: You write that he spoke up about the value of a counterinsurgency strategy while other military leaders kept silent. You are not sympathetic to those who zipped their lips.
A: I should be hard on them. What they did was dereliction of duty. They should have stood up to the president or resigned, but they were only concerned about their careers.
Q: Krulak also spoke up against the military and political establishment after World War II. What was that battle about?
He went up against President Truman, Generals Marshall and Eisenhower, and even brother Marines. There were two issues: the survival of...[read on]