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Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion

Peasant-soldier, South Vietnam, 1964-65, photo Wilfred Burchett.

“You’re a good looking bunch of boys,” said the old man in the Saigon market, addressing a group of new recruits. “It’s a fine, patriotic thing to fight for your country. And you are going to get good pay, now that you are in the army. But let me give you a bit of old man’s advice. Put a bit aside for a coffin, so it won’t be a burden on your parents and, in any case, put something aside for the family in case you get killed or so badly wounded you can’t work anymore. I had two fine sons like you who were taken into the army. They both got themselves killed after a few months and there’s no one to support me now…” And he pulled out photos to show two young men who he said were his sons.

Who would not be affected by these kindly words? Maybe the old man really did have two sons killed, or more likely they had joined the NLF with the old man’s blessing and he had pretended to the authorities that they had been rounded up by the government press gangs. The incident was related to me by two of the group to whom the old man had spoken and who had deserted to the NLF at the first opportunity. “At first we did it because the survival rate with the NLF is better,” one of them said. “The old man’s remarks about coffins badly scared us. We soon found out that we are treated here as real human beings and that in any case our place is with the NLF because it is fighting our people against the American invaders.”

The old man may or may not have been what the Americans would call a “Vietcong agent,” but his remarks were typical of the “work of persuasion” that goes on day and night, wherever the local population has contact with the Saigon troops. In the Introduction to the new NLF political program adopted in August 1967, this “persuasion within the ranks of the enemy” is listed as one of the “three prongs” together with the “development of political struggle and the coordination of armed struggle with political struggle,” with which the enemy will be defeated.

The term in Vietnamese is ‘binh vân’, which means mass political work among soldiers, and it is considered a weapon of highest strategic importance. There are three forms of political struggle: political struggle by the civilian population, political-military armed struggle on the battlefields and agitation or the “work of persuasion” within the enemy ranks. In South Vietnam, as in Latin America and all third world countries, the peasantry comprises almost the totality of the rank-and-file troops in the government armies. If the policies of the leaders of liberation struggles, in those countries where they are being waged, is correct, it is very possible to influence decisively this rank and file, stimulate them to change sides, to abandon the forces of repression or at least to neutralize the latter’s activities. In many cases, the officers represent the landlord-capitalist class with whom the peasants are in constant conflict in civilian life. In South Vietnam, the NLF leadership is well aware that the Saigon troops are victims of circumstances, often simply rounded up by the press gangs or in military sweeps in which they have not even a chance to tell their families they have been taken off into the army. A few Vietnamese enlist out of desperation for financial reasons, but the vast majority, especially after the Americans started cracking the whips for more and more cannon fodder, were conscripted by force and put into uniform, given a few weeks’ training and sent off to fight with a built-in resentment against the machine they are forced to serve and the foreigners who really control this machine. They are prime targets for the propaganda “bullets” that are fired at them every day in every imaginable shape and form.

Among the potent influences at work, is NLF policy toward the peasantry, including those within the Saigon ranks. In land distribution, a parcel is set aside on an equal basis for all those serving in the armed forces including those serving in the Saigon army. Material aid is granted to bereaved families of soldiers, including soldiers serving in the Saigon army. Peasants in the NLF-controlled areas are free and have not been cooped up behind barbed wire. These are all things known to the Saigon troops.

From the start of the armed struggle, it has been the custom for the NLF to permit officers and soldiers within the Saigon army to visit their home villages in the NLF-controlled areas during the Christmas and Lunar New Year cease-fires, as long as they come without arms. There they can see and hear for themselves what goes on, and even inspect the bit of land that has been set aside for them. Some never return to their posts, while the majority who do return never forget the bit of land that is awaiting them and never forget the arguments they hear on all sides to stop serving the enemy. Also in the Saigon-controlled areas or the disputed regions, or during raids into NLF-controlled areas, the Saigon troops hear nothing in market places and village streets from the very old to the very young and especially from young women, except scorn and contempt if they come on hostile business, nothing but appeals to their conscience and patriotism. From the propaganda teams, mostly girls, that work on the encircled troops at night, they learn of life in the liberated areas, of land distribution, progress in education and public health, even news of their own families in liberated villages.

From their garrison posts bordering on the liberated zones they can see the difference between the free life and that of the peasants in the “strategic hamlets” they are ordered to control. As peasants they are horrified by the poisoning of crops and orchards by air-sprayed chemicals, and by the destruction of villages and agricultural implements. They will obey orders because they are liable to be shot on the spot if they do not, but the wholesale ravaging of their own countryside, the destruction of forests and any scrap of greenery in the villages that might hide a guerrilla or provide him with food, goes against the human grain and resentment builds up, as it would in peasant hearts anywhere in the world in front of their eyes, fellow peasants, sometimes from their own villages, are tied hand and foot, and kicked, clubbed, tortured and riddled with bullets, with U.S. officers supervising. Many who have changed sides have told me of their revulsion against such things.

Their minds and hearts are receptive to the arguments and appeals of the NLF and the tens of thousands of propagandists who carry on the work of persuasion. This goes on at all levels within the Saigon army. Because of the politically conscious outlook fostered by the NLF, the “persuaders” are all aware of the vital importance of influencing enemy soldiers. Every soldier, every guerrilla fighter is encouraged to be a good “persuader” as well. At a “Heroes’ Congress” held by the NLF September 10-18, 1967, among the 47 decorated as heroes or outstanding combatants (ten posthumously) a number were decorated for combining outstanding services on the battlefield with that of winning over enemy soldiers.

Nguyen Thi Hanh, a young peasant woman, for instance, received the “Liberation Combat Order, 2nd class” for having organized a secret guerrilla group while the Front was organizing its revolutionary bases within the “strategic hamlets”; having personally participated in 37 military actions; having penetrated into enemy positions permitting the NLF artillery to do its work with accuracy; and, continues the citation: “Taking advantage of confusion within the enemy ranks, she, in cooperation with the local population, persuaded over 200 puppet soldiers to desert… ” The NLF considers that the ideal person is a fighter who masters the military, political and persuasion forms of struggle.

The results of the sort of activities for which Nguyen Thi Hanh was decorated have been startling. According to official U.S. figures, 132,000 Saigon troops quit the ranks during 1966. The NLF gave a figure of nearly 160,000. No official figures are available for 1967, but US. News & WoId Report[1] of July 31, 1967 stated that “the South Vietnamese army is still undisciplined, lacking leadership and motivation. Despite improvement, the desertion rate is appalling. In 1967, of every 1,000 troops, fewer than 750 will remain at the end of the year…[2] Desertions from the 59-man [pacification] teams are growing. In the Mekong Delta there are only 35 and 40 members on duty with each team. In the countryside, the average is only slightly higher…”

If the proportion of desertions quoted was correct, they would total about 180,000 for 1967. But this was only half the story as the same article implicitly admits further on. (Much of the NLF “persuasion work” these days is aimed at neutralizing Saigon troops, persuading them to stay where they are but not to do any fighting. It is considered better to have units neutralized, than for them to desert and be replaced by more zealous ones.) After citing some of Westmoreland’s optimistic stories of progress, the US. News & World Report article continues:

“But even the South Vietnamese agree that those Westmoreland’s statements tell only part of the story. By Saigon’s analysis, only three of the ten South Vietnamese divisions, plus a handful of elite battalions, are worth their salt.

“In the South Vietnamese Army, contact with the enemy is the exception rather than the rule…

“One example, cited by a U.S. general: ‘I’ve been keeping an eye on a South Vietnamese division for three months. If I ever thought there was some sort of de facto agreement between the South Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong, I’d single out this division… The division, in a sense, has turned its back on the war…. ”

Turned its back on the war and on the United States! It is not too much to imagine that the time will come when such divisions will also turn their weapons against the United States.

The article cited was prepared, as an introductory note explains, by “the team of U.S. News and World Report correspondents who have covered the fighting from the start.” As a tribute to the “work of persuasion,” it could hardly be more impressive, coming from one of the most “hawkish” magazines in the United States. One of its conclusions, filled with future possibilities for the NLF “persuaders,” was that: “As matters stand, even senior South Vietnamese generals, seeing more and more of their battalions being sent into secondary roles in the countryside, concede that in many respects, ‘this is already an American war…’ ”

How “persuasion” is combined with other forms of struggle in a particular operation is illustrated by what is known as the “battle for Road No. 4, the key highway leading south from Saigon through the Mekong Delta to the Ca Mau peninsula, along which a major part of Saigon’s food supplies normally passes.

An essential part of the U.S.-Saigon Command’s plan to “pacify” the Mekong Delta is to gain complete control over Road 4. It is the main strategic highway into the Delta, passing through the vital and very revolutionary provinces of Long An, My Tho, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and others down to the very tip of the Ca Mau peninsula. This is the heart of the granary of South Vietnam, regions rich in fish, fruit, rice and all types of agricultural produce, and the source of the highly prized charcoal from the mangrove swamps in the deep South, a vital element in Saigon’s fuel supply. Road 4 is one of the most heavily defended in all of South Vietnam, especially the 49-mile section between Saigon and My Tho. Ringing My Tho is a regiment of Saigon’s 7th Division plus three tank squadrons responsible for keeping the highway open.

At Tan An, the capital of Long An Province, between My Tho and Saigon, protection duties are shared by a regiment of Saigon’s 25th Division and a battalion of commandos. The Ben Luc bridge in My Tho Province alone requires the protection of one battalion of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division, plus one from Saigon’s 7th Division and a 12-boat naval flotilla. From bases at Binh Due and Ben Luc in My Tho there are frequent sweeps along both sides of the road to try to clear out guerrillas operating in the area.

A system of closely spaced posts and blockhouses, reminiscent of those set up by the French in Algeria, with almost permanent patrols between them, ensures that every stretch of road can be brought under heavy machine gun and artillery fire.

In the summer of 1967, NLF forces in Long An and My Tho Provinces decided to launch a “three-prong” attack against Road No. 4 and subsidiary river communications, using regional and guerrilla troops, plus a few demolition and other “specialists” loaned by the Liberation Army. The whole population of this area, one of the real cradles of the Vietnamese revolution, was asked to help, everyone according to his or her capacities, in actions that were to be highly coordinated. Sections were to be cut out in some places, barriers of rock and earth erected, bridges blown up, army vehicles mined, “persuasion” to be carried out among the Saigon troops to prevent them from firing their artillery and shooting from their blockhouses. Activities along the highway itself were to be coordinated with strikes by workers and business people in the two provincial capitals and those district centers that bordered the road. The strikes were aimed at preventing or slowing up the requisitioning of manpower to repair the damage.

On the night of July 17, 1967, in one typical action, a 43-mile section between the My Thuan ferry, about 25 miles west of My Tho on the Mekong river, and Tan Hyong, near the provincial capital of Tan An, was attacked. Eighty ditches, six-and-a-half yards wide by one and-a-half deep, were dug right across the road at about half-mile intervals, and mines were used to break up the surface so that the peasant hoes and shovels could set to work. Dirt and stone dug out of the ditches were used to erect as many barricades almost right across the road, a yard and a half high, with enough space left at the edges for motor scooters and bicycles to pass. A number of medium-sized bridges were blown up. All traffic from Saigon was brought to a standstill, three or four hundred trucks and cars piling up at some points.

Tens of thousands of people took part in the work which could proceed uninterruptedly only because of the neutralization of the Saigon troops by “persuasion” or by guerrillas encircling the posts and blockhouses. As each section was destroyed to the satisfaction of the guerrillas and regional troops, they laid aside their hoes  and took up positions with their antitank and other weapons to await the tanks, tank-dozers and truckloads of troops, certain to be sent early the following morning to attempt to reopen the road. The first few tanks were dealt with by teams equipped with B-40s. The enormous heat generated as the war-heads struck home was sufficient to force the infantrymen to move away from the protective steel barrier the tanks normally afforded them, making them easy marks for snipers’ bullets.

In the days that followed, the local population kept off the roads so they could not be mobilized for repair work, while the Americans used giant Chinook helicopters to fly in repair materials, including loads of stone to fill in the ditches. Six to 12 Chinooks were used every day along the My Thuan-Tan Muong section, three tank squadrons and several battalions of infantry protecting the engineering troops. This diversion of military power in the area had been foreseen and the guerrillas took advantage of it to dismantle all the “strategic hamlets” bordering the highway, while the local population swarmed around the posts and blockhouses protesting about bombing raids, appealing to the patriotism of the Saigon troops not to fire on their own people, blocking troop movements by the sheer weight of their massed bodies and generally making nuisances of themselves. For eight days, between July 17 and 25, Road No. 4 was totally paralyzed as far as motorized traffic was concerned with a large proportion of U.S. and Saigon troops in the area diverted to repair and repair-protection work. Taking advantage of this, on July 22 and 23, regional NLF forces went into action, bombarding the U.S. military base at Binh Duc, a training camp for Saigon troops at Hung Vuong and several other bases, and launching an attack in force against a 7th Division battalion protecting the repair work. River vessels were attacked during the same action and out of one flotilla of 35 river vessels, 12 were sunk or damaged.

“Apart from having caused the enemy military, political and economic difficulties stated a report to NLF headquarters from the Long An-My Tho provincial committees, “the result of this week-long operation was to blow up five bridges, sink five vessels, destroy nine M-113 amphibious tanks, three jeeps and one truck. The masses were mobilized and rose up in coordinated actions transforming the communications network into their own battlefield, the river ways into a burial ground for the enemy… ” The operation would have been infinitely more difficult without the neutralization of the Saigon forces in key sectors, possible only because of many months of “softening up” by persuasion teams.

The reaction by the U.S.-Saigon Command was predictable. The largest “mopping-up” operation to that date for the Mekong Delta was launched. Five simultaneous and overlapping sweeps were made with a total of 20 battalions, including one brigade of the U.S. 9th Division and a number of Saigon units, including the 7th Division, a Marine regiment, three battalions of commandos and 300 river vessels, combing section by section the whole of Road No. 4, from Saigon down to the My Thuan ferry, probing deep into the surrounding countryside and the myriad waterways which crisscross the area. But this time units of the regular Liberation Army went into operation using regular troops in close cooperation with regional troops and guerrillas and the closest coordination between military, political and gestational activities.

On numerous occasions, the Saigon troops refused to budge or if they did they carried their weapons slung across their shoulders to show their non hostile intent. Among them the “work of persuasion” was extremely important. On the night of August 1, for instance, an NLF commando group of 35 men infiltrated, with the passive help of a Saigon unit on guard duty, the command post of an American company and in an action that lasted only a few minutes they wiped out the command post, making off with more than 100 weapons.

The sweep failed to break what was a deep encirclement of this key section of Road No. 4. Immediately after the military sweeps ended, the guerrillas concentrated on the road again. In an action between August 31 and September 5, Road No. 4 was again cut 40 sections and 16 tower-type blockhouses and two posts were destroyed.

From mid-1967 onward the battle continued between road-destroyers and road-repairers, with the local NLF forces able to cut the road at will, the Saigon forces largely neutralized in the area, and U.S. forces too thinly spread to undertake any decisive action or even to protect themselves effectively from raids on their bases. On the night of January 6, 1968, for instance, the Long An regional forces and guerrillas launched a series of attacks against three key positions of the 3rd Brigade, U.S. 9th Division and an important Saigon artillery position, inflicting 250 casualties on the American troops and knocking out all 20 of the 105-mm artillery pieces. The Americans had succeeded in getting some activity from one battalion of the 46th Regiment of Saigon’s reluctant 25th Division, so the headquarters of this battalion was attacked the same night and completely wiped out, as a reminder that if the “work of persuasion” failed, there were always other means available.

Three days before the attack, at Phy Huu in Soc Trang Province through which the southern section of Road No. 4 passes, an entire company of the Saigon army mutinied. Killing their officers and beating off some civil guards and a “revolutionary development” team that halfheartedly tried to intercept them, the mutineers crossed over to the NLF, bringing with them 63 weapons, including two heavy machine guns and one 81-mm mortar.

All this was but a full-dress rehearsal for the generalized offensive on January 30, 1968, when every major strategic highway, including Highway No. 4, was cut, scores of bridges destroyed and road communications were completely paralyzed. Mutinies of the Soc Trang type occurred throughout the Mekong Delta, and the NLF forces attacked almost every military base, including the important U.S. naval base at Vinh Long. Their forces occupied the base, forcing the Americans to withdraw long enough for them to sink or seize the entire flotilla of river patrol vessels. Saigon administrative control collapsed throughout the Mekong Delta like a pricked balloon. U.S. attempts to force the Saigon forces to play a more active role fell on deaf ears. High Saigon officers in the delta area were showing an elaborate disinterest in obeying U.S. orders. Those who were too zealous were swiftly reminded by the NLF forces that “persuasion” was not the only weapon in their arsenal.

Coincidentally, just prior to the attack on the battalion of the Saigon 25th Division described above, the news of the sacking of the divisional commander, Brig. Gen. Phan Trong Chinh, was announced. Commenting on Chinh’s dismissal, an Associated Press report[3] stated that “there has been a major American campaign for more than a year to get rid of Gen. Chinh, who boasted of his refusal to work with U.S. Army advisers attached to his command. The division, which protects Saigon’s western and southwestern flank, fought less and less, and casualties within the U.S. 25th Division-which operates in the same area-in one day sometimes exceed the yearly total of the entire Vietnamese 25th Division.

“American pressure in the past failed to budge the Vietnamese high command, where generals most normally are rated on political reliability and one-upmanship rather than on fighting ability.” Thus the “work of persuasion” goes on at all levels within the Saigon army and administration, based on national as well as class sentiments, and it was stepped up considerably at the higher levels once the United States started to take over the war. The growth of anti-American sentiment had been foreseen as the American takeover became more flagrant. The new NLF political program has provisions directly aimed at fostering this outlook.

Point 12 in the new program states in part: “Individual groups or units of the puppet army and administration who have rendered services in the struggle against the American aggressors… will be rewarded and admitted to important posts… Officials of the puppet administration who voluntarily offer to continue to serve the Motherland and the people in the state apparatus after the liberation of South Vietnam, win be treated as equals…” and “Dissident individuals, groups or units from the puppet army who voluntarily enlist in the Liberation Armed Forces to fight against the American imperialists for the salvation of the country win be heartily welcomed and treated as equals … Services rendered win be rewarded according to merits…”

The U.S.-Saigon Command through its psychological warfare services also had a “persuasion” program aimed at recruiting troops for the Saigon army from within the ranks of the NLF. Through radio broadcasts, loudspeakers mounted on helicopters and leaflet drops, a mixture of threats and offers of material rewards are used to promote desertions. Some other methods used to inflate statistics of the much publicized “Chieu Hoi” (Open Arms) program were disclosed by former Sgt. Peter Martinson, a prisoner-of-war interrogator with the 541st Military Intelligence Detachment. Martinsen served in South Vietnam from September 1966 until June 1967 and on November 23, 1967, at the second session of the International War Crimes Tribunal,[4] he gave evidence on the common practice of torture of prisoners, applied under instructions of American interrogation officers, an activity in which Martinsen himself had participated.

There was an interesting exchange between the American pacifist leader Dave Dellinger, a member of the Tribunal, and Martinsen on what happened to prisoners once the torture-by-interrogation was finished. The pertinent passages are as follows:

Dellinger: I’m wondering if you know what happened to the prisoners after the interrogation was completed. Did you ever see them, or do you know what happened to them, the ones who did survive?

Martinsen: Yes, I know exactly what happened to them. They were separated into categories for intelligence purposes. The people who probably had information of strategic value were taken to the central command… There are other prisoners who may or may not have information. If we wanted to get information out of them we could always treat them as if they were civil criminals, civil defendants… (And Martinsen went on to explain that a Vietnamese picked up without proper travel papers is guilty of a crime and could be sent to jail.)

Dellinger: In other words if you did not find out any information you could still consign him to jail on the basis of their not having their travel permit or something of this kind.

Martinson: Yes. Generally Vietnamese don’t have any identification with them, because they are afraid they might lose those identification cards. They were arrested by the American troops, since the American troops have that power… The people who are arrested are called “detainees.” Until they are interrogated and their status is determined, they remain “detainees.” Draft dodgers are in another category. When I was at Cedar Falls[5] before it was turned into a “free fire zone” – where everyone found would be killed – and while the refugees were still being moved out, I was screening every man between 20 and 30, to be taken into the Vietnamese army.

Dellinger: Yes.

Martinson: I had the power to induct men. A U.S. citizen has the power to induct men into the Vietnamese army.

Dellinger: Without any procedures at all. I wonder if you have any idea what happened to people who gave testimony? Testimony which for one reason or another was interpreted as being correct?

Martinson: Of the Vietnamese prisoners, those determined to be high-ranking Vietcong were generally taken to the superior authorities. And they probably ended up in the Saigon interrogation center. It is called the CMIC, Combined Military Interrogation Center… For low-ranking Vietcong, we had two policies… Low-ranking Vietcong were placed in a prison camp until the Vietnamese decided whether or not he was going to remain dangerous. If they considered him to be no longer dangerous, then he is moved to another kind of “prison camp”, called “chieu hoi” villages, which are also called “strategic hamlets” and he is told: “Here you are. You are on your own. You must take care to defend yourself against Vietcong attacks. You are on our side now…”

In other words, all civilians of military age rounded up in military sweeps were automatically conscripted into the Saigon armed forces and listed as “chieu hoi” deserters, and all “Vietcong” prisoners considered not to be too dangerous were forced to become “civil guards.” Their numbers in both cases were included as “defectors” under the “chieu hoi” program. Martinsen gave another example of the “chieu hoi” statistics. Describing his work with the 173rd Airborne Brigade during “Cedar Falls,” he stated:

“We flew over the villages and said: ‘Come out. Lay down your arms and come over to our side.’ This was quite effective. We got quite a number of ‘chieu hoi’ during operation ‘Cedar Falls.’ There were also several hundred people running around who didn’t want to leave the Iron Triangle. These people were shot on sight…”

Throughout 1966-67, the American public was fed statistics about the ever-increasing number of “chieu hoi” defectors as one of the most encouraging signs that the United States was winning the war. It was an ever-recurrent theme in the briefings of congressmen and journalists visiting Saigon. Those briefed in Saigon and the U.S. public were led to believe that the “defectors” were people disillusioned with life in the liberated zones who had come over to the U.S.-Saigon side of their own free will. It was presented as “proof” of the decline in popular support for the NLF. Obviously these “defect or die” methods used against civilians could have nothing in common with the moral and ideological appeals of the NLF. The real results of U.S. methods of persuasion were to swell the ranks of Saigon’s military and paramilitary forces with malcontents burning with hatred against the Americans and their local agents. Obviously these “soldiers” remained, or became, loyal allies of the NLF.

A tribute to the heroism of the Vietnamese people is that even the defect-or-be-killed program has failed to produce the results expected by the U.S. Command in Saigon. This is clear from the following dispatch from Washington on January 15, 1968:[6]

“The program to get enemy soldiers and politicians to defect to the South Vietnamese government is slipping, latest Pentagon figures show. The White House in the past has portrayed the “Chieu Hoi”(Open Arms) program as one of the significant indicators of how well the Vietnam war is going.

“Figures made available Saturday show that there were only 951 defectors in December, a low for the year and a continuation of the downward trend which started after the March high of 4,913 defectors.

“Robert W. Komer, White House special assistant [with a long background as a top CIA functionary] now serving at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, went to Vietnam with high hopes of stimulating defections.

“U.S. officials early in the year predicted 45,000 people would defect in 1967. The actual total, according to a Pentagon figure, was 27,178…”

Among the reasons given for the 1967 failure was the “improvement in the statistics so that the count of defectors is more accurate than previously…”

The real reason obviously was that Westmoreland had lost the initiative in the 1967-68 dry season and was no longer able to round up the same number of civilians of military age or captured “Vietcong” to manufacture “defectors” from them by the methods Martinsen described.

Any comfort Washington once received from the faked figures on “Vietcong defectors” should have been shattered by the realities of the admitted failures of Komer’s efforts and the stagnation of large parts of the Saigon armed forces by 1968. All of this was capped by the desertion of over 27,000 Saigon troops in the first week following the NLF’s generalized offensive against the towns and the resultant almost total collapse of U.S.-Saigon military and political presence in the countryside the dismissal of two of Saigon’s four zonal commanders because the “neutralized” troops in Military Zones 2 and 4 respectively, either refused to budge in defense of the cities and American bases, or deserted with their arms to the NLF, could not change the situation. The rich harvest reaped during the offensive against the cities was the result of years of patient “persuasion” activities.

Notes.

[1] In a very gloomy article headed: “The Truth about the War in Vietnam: Fact versus Propaganda.”

[2] In comparison with the 1967 figure of one in four deserting, the same magazine in its December 5, 1966 issue gave the rate of desertion from the Saigon forces as one in six throughout 1966.

[3] Internationale Herald Tribune (Paris), Jan. 8, 1968.

[4] The 2nd session of the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal was held at Roskilde, Denmark, between November 20 and December 2, 1967. The author was present as a witness.

[5] An operation launched January 8, 1967, in which Ben Suc village was bulldozed out of existence.

[6] Reported by George C. Wilson of the Washington Post published in International Herald Tribune (Paris), January 16, 1968.

NEXT: Chapter Nine – Emptying the Sea

More articles by:

Wilfred Burchett was an Australian journalist, who covered World War II, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam. His many books include Shadows of Hiroshima, Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist and Vietnam Will Win. Burchett died in 1983.

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