He was in the garrison of Dien Bien Phu in Indochina with French paratroopers before the redoubt fell to the Vietnamese Communist guerrillas in the spring of 1954. According to a report in New York Magazine, he also was seen "wearing Israeli army fatigues and riding in the lead Israeli tank through the West Bank during the Six Day War."
De Borchgrave considered himself a friend of the historic Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat. He covered so many conflicts, acquiring a new uniform on each occasion, that he told Esquire Magazine in 1981 he had the "starched combat fatigues of 12 different nations" hanging in his closet ready to go.
De Borchgrave would return to Southeast Asia to cover America's ill-fated involvement in the Vietnam War. He visited Vietnam on seven occasions, including a 1972 trip to interview North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong. It was during the Vietnam War that his skepticism regarding the efficacy of U.S. intelligence and foreign policy grew more intense.
He would blame America's debacle in Vietnam on "clever disinformation by the enemy turning an American victory into defeat." He also became critical of the ability of the political establishment and the mainstream media to scrutinize story lines and information they were ideologically inclined to believe. It was a theme he would explore again and again in the years ahead.
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