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"Both sides in Vietnam talked about staying the course -- the issue is whether they were really ready to do it," Mueller said. As it turned out, the North Vietnamese were willing to accept casualties on a scale virtually unprecedented in the history of combat. Vietnam War-era Secretary of State Dean Rusk once calculated that North Vietnamese losses in the war, when measured as a proportion of population, were the equivalent of the United States losing about 10 million lives. American losses in Vietnam, by that same measure, were 175 times smaller -- but even that was too high.

"There was a breaking point," Mueller concluded. "It was the Americans who broke." Wars Ultimately Measure Tolerance of Pain
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