The intimidating effects of the Phoenix interrogation program were compounded by the mass arrest of political prisoners, of which there were at least 100,000 at the peak of the fighting. Under the army’s small wars doctrine, effective prison management was seen as crucial to counter-insurgency as it provided a symbol of government authority and means of winning political converts through reeducation. The State Department consequently spent $6.5 million between 1967 and 1972 for the maintenance and renovation of the forty-two major prisons run by the government of South Vietnam, and built three additional facilities and a juvenile reformatory. The U.S. provided generators and handcuffs, built special isolation cells for hard-core “Vietcong,” and oversaw the construction of over thirty state-of-the-art detention centers (Provincial Interrogation Centers). Many of the supplies, however, were resold on the black-market by local authorities, usually cronies of Vietnamese Generals Ky or Thieu, or kept until wardens paid a bribe.
We were assigned to the 17 Bomb Group 432 Squadron. I flew my first mission on the 3rdof march 1945 and my last mission on the 25th of April 1945, I arrived in the squadron onMarch 2nd 1945. We didn't have a plane we came over on the Queen Mary so we flew whichever plane was assigned of the planes that were already in the squadron. At the end of thewar the group was broke up all of the flight crews was transferred to the 344 bomb group497 squadron. I had been checked out as first pilot and promoted to 2nd LT. From there wewere transferred to Germany as part of the occupational air force. I have emphysema fromsmoking for a lot of years, I am on oxygen 24 hrs a day 7 days a week I am on the hospicesystem now. I don't expect to be around to much longer, I hope the things I am sendinghelps.
Widely protested and rightly so, this is a vocalization of the case against the war in Vietnam and why the war was a failure of the American government.
Another reason Vietnam was such a failure was the rapid cultural, social, and political change in American people, at the time of the war who were at odds with the government’s proxy war....
The Vietnam War was the first U.S uncensored war resulting in the release of graphic images and unaltered accounts of horrific events that helped to change public opinion of the war like nothing it had ever been....
Charles Haynie and John Heckman, The Rebellion Against the Diem Regime, 1957-58 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Ad-Hoc Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 1965), p, 21.
The Pentagon Papers, Vol. 1, Ch. 5, “Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 1954-1960,” p. 299; Jean Lacouture, Vietnam: Between Two Truces (New York: Random House, 1966), p. 79; and Edward Miller, Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam (Harvard University Press, 2013). On “personalism,” see Jessica M. Chapman, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Ithaca Cornell University Press, 2013), p. 121.
Appy, Patriots, pp. 49-50. See also Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (New York: Penguin Books, 2016), Chapter One.
Thak Chaloemtiarana, Thailand: The Politics of Despotic Paternalism (Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2007), p. 157. Of four independent states in Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Thailand joined SEATO, while Burma and Indonesia did not. Other SEATO members were the United States, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and Pakistan. Under the Geneva Agreements, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos could not take part in any international military alliance.
Joseph A. Buttinger, Vietnam: A Dragon Embattled, (New York: Praeger, 1967), Vol. 2, pp. 976-77. Buttinger was born in Bavaria and became a leader in the anti-Nazi movement in Austria. He fled to Paris in 1938, then immigrated to the United States, where he helped found the International Rescue Committee and the Friends of Vietnam. He became a friend and supporter of Ngo Dinh Diem, but became disillusioned with Diem’s repressive policies and denounced him. A self-taught expert on Southeast Asia, Buttinger’s writings were sought out as the U.S. became more involved in Vietnam. His two-volume study, Vietnam: A Dragon Embattled, was hailed by the New York Times as “the most thorough, informative and, over all, the most impressive book on Vietnam yet published in America.”
See Louis B. Zimmer, The Vietnam War Debate: Hans J. Morgenthau and the Attempt to Halt the Drift into Disaster (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011).
In addition to siding with France in Vietnam, the U.S. sided with the colonial Belgian regime against nationalist forces in the Congo. See Anne Sophie-Gijs, “Fighting the red peril in the Congo: Paradoxes and perspectives on an equivocal challenge to Belgium and the West (1947–1960),” Cold War History, Vol. 16, No. 3 (2016): 273-290.
Truong Nhu Tang, A Viet Cong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath (New York: Vintage Books, 1986), pp. 12-13.