If you are the typical American, you may believe that the Vietnam War was a struggle of freedom over oppression, right vs. wrong, or maybe in some vague way about preserving the American way of life. Unfortunately, none of these reasons is correct, and were in fact part of the brain washing scheme to ensure American support for the bloody, vicious, unwinnable war. The truth is that the CIA concocted the war out of whole cloth, whose locus provided a safe haven for committing many acts of cold blooded murder in the name of fighting the war.
Fletcher Prouty is a deceased former USAF Colonel who worked in the Pentagon and closely with the CIA during 1940s-60s and who had a bird’s eye view of the development of policy during the Eisenhower administration and beyond. He relates a sordid tale of how the plutocrats had planned the Vietnam War during the last half of World War 2, and the various phases of that war resulting in a massive American invasion of the Indochinese peninsula.
Before describing the political and military aspects of the war, it is important to outline the demographic nature of the land known as Vietnam. All of Vietnam was a tribal community based loose confederation of villages whose central cohesion was ancestral worship and tribal identity. The villages were self sustaining with each family typically engaged in agriculture, farming land that had belonged to the family for centuries. This way of life had persisted unmolested for thousands of years prior to the French arrival in the late 18th century.
Under no normal circumstance would the Vietnamese abandon this ancient way of life – not even under French tutelage. The northern region was dominated by the Tonkinese ethnic group while the southern region was identified as Cochin China. The two groups were distinct and without natural affiliation but followed similar governing customs. The southern section was the more prosperous of the two, being the rice bowl of Asia. However, in no way were these regions countries in the modern sense of the term. Vietnam was an administrative district for the French but without meaning to the native Vietnamese. But that didn’t stop the CIA from pretending that a South Vietnam existed as a fully functioning state.
By the late 19th C. there were two primary influences in the region – the French and the Chinese. The French controlled banking, constabularies, justice, and their rapacious industrial enterprises such as Michelin. The Chinese provided commercial middleman services by supplying an outside market for the Vietnamese’s excess rice production, necessary goods for living, and silver for balances owed the farmer after the exchange of rice and goods.
During World War 2, the Japanese conquered the region and imposed a brutality even greater than that of the French. But the French managed to retake the region with a few armed forces, reimposing their colonial rule. At the end of World War 2, the USA sent huge quantities of arms from Okinawa to Vietnam, ostensibly to arm Ho Chi Minh and his Vietminh forces who were trying to establish a free Vietnam – the Democratic Republic of Vietnam - and to preserve their ancestral customs and governance under the aegis of modern statecraft. However, the CIA had orders to subvert this Indochinese-American relationship in pursuit of higher Cold War aims which had been planned before the end of the world war.
The Chinese and French provided a source of stability and continuity although the French were deeply despised for their brutal methods and administration. The utter defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954 marked an important inflection point for American involvement in Southeast Asia.
At the beginning of the year, the CIA sent in the Saigon Military Mission headed by Philippines covert operations veteran Edward Lansdale who nominally worked for the Air Force but whose real bosses were in the CIA. The purpose of the SMM was to destabilize the region and foment war, at which task they were spectacularly successful.
The SMM was the Dulles brothers’ way of circumventing President Eisenhower’s stern and adamant opposition to placing American ground troops in Vietnam, a position he declared at a National Security Council meeting on January 8, 1954 with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff present.
The first task of the SMM was to install a pliable leader in South Vietnam. We must remember that South Vietnam did not exist as a country except on paper and in the minds of the plutocrats plotting the next 30 years of war. As we discussed above, the native government of the region was tribal and local – not national.
The CIA installed in 1954 as president of South Vietnam the Catholic Ngô Đình Diệm who had been at times in exile in the United States or Europe. His first assignment was to expel the French and Chinese which he dutifully did. This had the very perverse and intended effect of destabilizing the inchoate nation. Without the French, the legal and administrative infrastructure disappeared, and without the Chinese the economic and commercial infrastructure vanished, leaving the farmers without a market for their rice. During Diem's rule, Vietnam sunk from being a net exporter of rice to being a net importer.
To light the fuse, the CIA arranged to transport 1.1 million people in the north to the south – a figure which even John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, confirmed – using its secret and proprietary Civil Air Transport airline company stationed in Taiwan. The expense and logistical requirements for an unprecedented migration of this magnitude were enormous but funded via the CIA. As Prouty states, this would be like transplanting 1.1 million New Yorkers overnight to Alabama with all of the social and economic upheaval such a move would inspire.
The CIA had used terroristic threats to cause the Tonkinese residents to move from their ancestral homelands to a strange one in the south. They had also offered financial assistance and inducements for these people to move. The goals were anything but humanitarian.
To the good people back home in America who were busy building bomb shelters and stockpiling food and provisions, the state controlled media reported that the peace loving northerners were fleeing the communist Vietminh. This too was a lie. Ho Chi Minh had the respect and support of his people as he fought first the Japanese, then the French, and now the Americans in order to form an independent nation of Vietnam.
When the waves of Tonkinese migrants arrived in the south, they found that there was no food, shelter, or financial assistance. In short, the CIA lied – a big surprise. In need of basic necessities of life, and out of desperation, the Northerners formed bandits to steal food. They were not motivated by ideology, doctrine, or belief – it was purely and simply a matter of survival.
So the south was now plagued with three huge problems – social unrest due to massive migrations, civil disorder due to the vacuum left by the departure of the French, and economic collapse due to the departure of the Chinese. The attacking bandits were described as guerillas and insurgents to the American people and were later transmogrified into the Viet Cong.
The CIA then organized the migrants into armies and administrators – so they in effect colonized the south and became their rulers and magistrates, creating another source of antagonism. Thus the once prosperous southerners were reduced to poverty and suffered the theft of their farms and other property by the northerners.
In order to complete the antagonism necessary for war, the CIA organized the two comingled groups into "us" and "them", which ignited a confusing and hopelessly tangled set of enemies, using a sophisticated tactic which the French had passed to the CIA from its experiences in Algeria.
Thus over a period of years beginning on September 2, 1945, the end of World War 2, US plutocrats had purposefully configured Vietnam to be the locus of an unwinnable and perpetual war – at least 30 years worth. To frame the conflict as a Communist vs Capitalist conflict is a gross fraud. At no time did the North Vietnamese ever pose a threat in any way shape or form to America’s security. We shall explore the reasons for the war in another posting.
JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, Fletcher Prouty
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