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The war in Vietnam as an atrocity producing conflict : an examination of actors and actions Newton, Stephen Joseph 1974

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THE WAR IN VIETNAM AS AN ATROCITY PRODUCING CONFLICT: AN EXAMINATION OF ACTORS AND ACTIONS by Stephen Newton B.A., York University, 1973 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS MASTER PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF OF ARTS i n the Department o f P o l i t i c a l Science We accept this this thesis as conforming to the required standards THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1974 In p resent ing t h i s thes is in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y sha l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t permission fo r ex tens ive copying o f t h i s thes is f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h is r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t is understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t hes i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain sha l l not be al lowed wi thout my w r i t t e n permiss ion . Department of P o l i t i c a l Science The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date August . 1974 ABSTRACT This thesis seeks to explain the commission of a t r o c i t i e s of war i n Vietnam. The paper begins with a b r i e f review of the nature of the war and the l e g a l v e r i f i c a t i o n of a t r o c i t i e s i n Vietnam. The thesis advanced by t h i s paper i s that the a t r o c i t i e s committed i n Vietnam were a d i r e c t r e s u l t of the technologies developed f o r and employed by the b e l l i g e r e n t s to the c o n f l i c t ; and, the psychological conditioning to which members of the warring sides were exposed both p r i o r to and during the c o n f l i c t . The paper further suggests that these two elements contributed to the atrocity-producing s i t u a t i o n i n Vietnam by means of an "action-reaction" process. This process i s discussed throughout the paper i n terms of the elements themselves, and the s t y l e s of warfare adopted by the warring sides. The paper's conclusion i s that while the a t r o c i t i e s were not the d i r e c t r e s u l t of deliberate attempts to perpetrate a t r o c i t i e s , they were the r e s u l t the way i n which the b e l l i g e r e n t s prepared f o r that war and the way i n which they executed t h e i r respective strategies i n response to actions undertaken by the other. i TABLE OF CONTENTS Chap ter Page I. Introduction 1 I I . The Nature of the C o n f l i c t 6 I I I . A t r o c i t i e s and the Vietnam C o n f l i c t 15 The Laws and Regulations Governing the Conduct of War The Laws of War Applicable to the Vietnam War IV. Insurgency Warfare i n Vietnam 34 The Evolution of Insurgency i n Vietnam Terror: The Weapon of Vietnamese Insurgency V. Counterinsurgency Warfare i n Vietnam 49 The American Approach to Insurgency Technology and the Strategy of A t t r i t i o n The Character of the American Counterinsurgency VI. Vietnam A t r o c i t i e s Committed Within an Action-Reaction Process . . • 73 Vietnamese Insurgency: An Evolutionary Undertaking People's Revolutionary War and the American Response VII. A t r o c i t i e s of War and the Individual i n Vietnam . . . . 88 VIII. Conclusion 97 i i LIST OF TABLES Table Page I. Atrocities of the Vietnam War 22 II. Vietnamese War Statistics . 58 i i i INTRODUCTION As the war i n Vietnam progressed through the 1960s and early 1970s, i t s rate of a t t r i t i o n continued to soar steadily, leaving i n i t s wake innumerable dead and immeasurable destruction. With each new phase i n the war — early terrorism, American mobilization, mobile guerrilla warfare, mechanization, and Vietnamization — the losses continued to mount. The new technologies, the embittered emotions, and the many "cause-and-effect" relationships a l l worked towards the creation of horrors seldom seen in the past, but very characteristic of the Vietnamese conf li.e:fr.. As the t i t l e of this paper indicates the major area of concern w i l l be with those acts labelled "atroc-i t i e s " of war. The specific concern of this presentation w i l l be with the degree to which those atrocities were the logical result of the war's prosecution. This paper advances the hypothesis that the atrocities were the product of two major aspects of the war: the technology developed for and employed by the belligerents; and, the psychological conditioning to which members of the warring sides were exposed both prior to and during the conflict. For the purposes of this paper, the word "atroc-i t y " w i l l be used to refer to acts of direct and deliberate violence against combatants and non-combatants that violate the international laws governing the conduct of war. Accordingly, i t w i l l be necessary to verify the existence of atrocities and then to explain them in terms of the two previously mentioned aspects of the war. The technological aspect w i l l be discussed i n terms of the use of 2 ce r t a i n t a c t i c s and s t r a t e g i e s ; the l o g i c a l r e s u l t of employing c e r t a i n weapon types; the weapons a v a i l a b l e to each side at the outset of the war, and the need f o r modification and/or elaboration as the war pro-gressed; and the evolution of -measurement i n d i c a t o r s capable of r e g i s t e r i n g each side's successes and f a i l u r e s . The psychological aspect w i l l be discussed i n terms of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s that existed between combatants and non-combatants, as w e l l as between combatants; the processes of dehumanization and depersonalization;"'' the mental pre-parations undertaken by both the i n d i v i d u a l combatants and the general m i l i t a r y system f or the c o n f l i c t ; the implications of personal f r u s t r a -t i o n as w e l l as the f r u s t r a t i o n of the m i l i t a r y system; the implications of impatience and aggressiveness; and the complications r e s u l t i n g from the pursuit of m i l i t a r y over p o l i t i c a l objectives, and/or the pursuit of p o l i t i c a l over m i l i t a r y objectives. Underlying these two aspects i s an a l l encompassing process, the "action-reaction" phenomenon. In order to view t h i s process as i t operated throughout the Vietnamese c o n f l i c t i t w i l l be necessary to present both "t e c h n o l o g i c a l " and "psychological 1)! aspects i n terms of the b e l l i g e r e n t s ' s t y l e s of warfare. What th i s implies i s a discus-sion of a t r o c i t i e s , and t h e i r probable occurrence, i n the context of, f i r s t , insurgency warfare; second, counterinsurgency warfare; and t h i r d , the "action-reaction" process i t s e l f . This approach requires, at the outset, a review of the war, as a whole, from the aspect of war-fare s t y l e s . Writing on the crimes of war from t h i s perspective of the whole, Gabriel Kolko has suggested another reason f o r reviewing the war 3 i n t his way: "We can scarcely comprehend the war i n Vietnam by concen-t r a t i n g on s p e c i f i c weapons and incidents....What i s i l l e g a l and im-moral, a crime against the Vietnamese and against c i v i l i z a t i o n as we 2 think i t should be, i s the e n t i r e war and i t s i n t r i n s i c character. While not t y p i c a l of the materials pertaining to the c o n f l i c t , this passage does h i g h l i g h t one of the major d i f f i c u l t i e s posed by the t o p i c . Despite the existence of numerous accounts and d e s c r i p t i o n s , the majority of these works on Vietnam p e r t a i n to the prosecution of the war by the counterinsurgents. Unfortunately, t h i s imbalance necessi-tates over concern with the war e f f o r t as undertaken by the forces of the counterinsurgency, and most notably with those of the United States. However, as unfortunate as t h i s s i t u a t i o n may be, i t i s not a disastrous consequence f o r t h i s paper. Given the overwhelming nature of the counter-insurgency e f f o r t , i t would seem only natural that t h e i r e f f o r t s would be responsible for a larger share of the death and destruction of the war, and, accordingly, warrant a greater amount of at t e n t i o n . The Vietnamese war, while not a d i f f i c u l t topic, does pose several problems f o r any researcher wishing to undertake i t s examina-t i o n . While the problem of materials has already been mentioned, there i s also the r e l a t e d problem of bias i n published reports and accounts. R e a l i s t i c a l l y , i t i s to be expected that very l i t t l e work on the topic possesses any true o b j e c t i v i t y or freedom from b i a s . I t i s the e x i s -tence of such strong and emotional attitudes which makes th i s issue so important. Many of the Americans who fought i n Vietnam had been trai n e d i n an environment characterized by a prejudice against the people of the 4 Orient. So strong was this attitude that many eventually came to 2 regard the so-called western superiority as fact. A similar b i t t e r -ness was to develop on the part of the Indochinese fpr those forces 3 of the counterinsurgency who represented western norms and beliefs. Throughout the course of the war more and more people came to view the military efforts of the counterinsurgents as extremely cruel 4 and somewhat genocidal. Likewise, those who defended the counterin-surgents' claims of fighting for democracy and freedom branded the i n -surgents as ruthless criminals engaged i n the worst forms of population-control. However, i t would appear that both characterizations miss the reality of the situation. I can not find any substantial support for the belief that belligerent actions were the product of two sides engaged in the w i l l f u l and systematic use of violence and cruelty. Rather, I must conclude from the available facts that the actions of the combatants were the unfortunate result of a conflict that l i k e l y had no other outcome. While a l l of the preceding factors were, no doubt, present and, to some extent, influential, I can only conclude that they exacerbated an already d i f f i c u l t situation in which the outcome had long since been determined. However, the purpose of this thesis i s not so much to bear witness to the foregoing personal beliefs as i t is to substan-tiate the conclusion that, in addition to other factors, an "action-reaction" dynamic, hard at work throughout the course of the war, had already made the war's cruelty, violence and destruction a probable result. 5 REFERENCES "'"For the purposes of t h i s presentation the term "dehumanization" w i l l be used to r e f e r to that conditioning process i n which the i n d i -v i d u a l loses a l l or part of those values, q u a l i t i e s and t r a i t s that we, western man, i d e n t i f y with the state of being human. "Depersonaliza-t i o n " , on the other hand, w i l l be used to r e f e r to that conditioning process i n which another member of our species i s denied f u l l or p a r t i a l a s s o c i a t i o n and, accordingly, reduced to a l e v e l , i n many cases, of sub-human i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . 2 Gabriel Kolko, "War Crimes and the Nature of the Vietnam War." In Crimes of War, edited by Richard A. Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and Robert J . L i f t o n . New York: 1971, p. 414. 3 Citizens Commission of Inquiry, Eds., The Dellums Committee  Hearings on War Crimes i n Vietnam. New York: 1972, p. 38. 4 Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnam: Lotiis i n a Sea of F i r e . New York: 1967, p. 67.. ~*This a t t i t u d e of increasing concern over the prosecution of the war i s advanced i n the following: Gabriel Kolko, "War Crimes and the Nature of the Vietnam War;" Robert J . L i f t o n , "Beyond A t r o c i t y ; " and Jean Paul Sartre, "On Genocide." In Crimes of War, edited by R.A. Falk, G. Kolko, and R.J. L i f t o n . New York: 1971, pp. 403-415, 17-27, 534-549. 6 THE NATURE OF THE CONFLICT It is sometimes necessary to dismiss the vague and often times confusing accounts and reports which are products of events such as the war in Vietnam. Occasionally, we replace these characterizations with narratives — the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of those who have par-ticipated in the event. At other times, we inject tables and charts to i l l u s t r a t e the course of the.event. Unfortunately, when attempting to discuss the war in Vietnam, or to characterize i t s nature, a l l of these forms of i l l u s t r a t i o n somehow f a i l to transmit i t s f u l l scope and complexity. Needless to say, the following while indicative of the war, w i l l f a i l in the same way as i t s predecessors have. However, the following characterization i s not designed to be as comprehensive as i t is to be representative and indicative. By the middle of 1968, the war i n Vietnam was being fought by 540,000 American and 768,000 South Vietnamese troops. They were op-posed by 378,000 Vietcong and North Vietnamese regulars. By the end of 1971 the war involved approximately 160,000 American and over one million South Vietnamese troops. Supporting the forces of the counter-insurgency i n 1968 were nearly 5,500 aircraft, including over 2,500 helicopters, and 85 ships, 840 tanks, and 400 cannon. Between 1965 and 1971, 6.3 million tons of a i r ordnance were dropped on Indochina with over 50 per cent delivered between 1969 and 1971. The tonnage dropped on South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971 totalled 3.9 million tons. Half of a l l the ordnance dropped by a i r was delivered by B-52s. During this same period, 7 million tons of a r t i l l e r y ordnance were 7 expended, of which 65 per cent was employed i n "harassment and inter-diction" operations. Between 1964 and 1965, 1.7 million helicopter sorties were flown each year. This was increased to an annual rate of 2.3 million sorties between 1965 and 1968. It has been estimated that there were nearly 21 million bomb-craters created i n the South between 1965 and 1971. This represents a displacement of 3.4 b i l l i o n cubic yards of earth, or ten times the amount of earth excavated in the construction of the Suez and Panama Canals. During the American participation i n the war, 90,000 t.Ons of chemical warfare agents were employed in Vietnam, of which 90 per cent were herbicides. While American combat deaths remained below the 500 figure per month throughout most of the war, they rose i n excess of 1,000 per month during the latter part of 1967 and remained high throughout 1968. By late June of 1968, over 25,000 Americans had been k i l l e d in action. Three months later the total number of U.S. casualties had surpassed the 200,000 figure, or about 60,000 more than were k i l l e d , wounded, 2 or missing in Korea. South Vietnamese and other a l l i e d casualties 3 totaledgabout 500 a month, while North Vietnamese and Vietcong k i l l e d in action rose from 3,500 to 7,000 a month between late 1965 and the end of 1967. Total Vietcong and North Vietnamese dead by September, 1968, were estimated at 400,000 with an undetermined number of wounded. By 1971, 45,828 Americans had died i n combat with over 300,000 wounded. North Vietnamese and V.C. combat deaths "'have been placed at 870,000. Since 1965, c i v i l i a n casualties i n South Vietnam have been estimated at 400,000 dead, and 1.3 million wounded. Between 1966 and 1971 there 8 were 26,367 assassination and 35,946 abduction operations reportedly undertaken by the Vietcong in South Vietnam. Estimates are that c i v i l i a n deaths accounted for 90 per cent o? more of those k i l l e d i n 4 the war throughout Indochina. In a l l , one-third of the people of Indochina were estimated to be refugees by 1971: 6 million out of 17 million South Vietnamese; 900,000 out of 2.8 million Laotians; and 2 million out of 6.7 million Cambodians. These consequences of the conflict in Vietnam, however, provide a very incomplete picture of the war's effects upon the country and i t s people. It was not a war between armies engaged in open battle with each side intent upon capturing precious territories. It was, rather, a conflict fought between armies and peasants in jungles and forests, on h i l l s and plains, rivers and swamps, and in and around population centers which were, i t would now appear, the ultimate objectives of the warring sides. The people of South Vietnam were involved i n the war not only as members of the militia s , the armed forces of the South or the Vietcong, but as civilians whose support was sought by both sides in a peculiar mixture of political-military and conventional-guerrilla warfare. The involvement of the peasants increased throughout the war not only as the prize of the war but as i t s ultimate target."' The South Vietnamese were a population whose very existence was constantly endangered by the tactics of the conflict.. It was a war in which c i v i l i a n buildings and property were perfunctorily classified as enemy installations and military targets. The aims of the major belligerents remained, throughout the war, varied and sometimes confusing. While the aim of Hanoi was, quite simply, the support of a People's Revolutionary War in the South which sought the reunification of Vietnam, the aims of the United States were not so clear-cut. In 1964, according to then Assistant Secretary of Defense McNaughton, American aims were viewed as being: the protection of the American reputation as a counter-^ subversion guarantor; the avoidance of Southeast Asia f a l l i n g into the Communist sphere of influence (the "Domino Theory"); and the American emergence from the conflict without unacceptable taint from the methods employed. In 1965, McNaughton declared American aims in Vietnam to be: : "70% — to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat"; "20% — to keep SVN territory from Chinese hands"; "10% — to permit the people of SVN to enjoy a better, freer way of l i f e " . "ALSO — to emerge from c r i s i s without unacceptable taint from methods used", and "NOT to help out a friend...."^ On one side of the conflict there was the devastating and demoralizing firepower of the American military technology which im-8 proved body-counts and area-denial programmes. On the other hand, there was a guerrilla strategy combined with the more conventional methods of the regular North Vietnamese units. The importance of both the body-counts and the area-denial pro-grammes increased as the war progressed. During the early years of the war, counterinsurgency planners adopted those tactics and strategies acre.suitable to the weapons' systems at their immediate disposal. Due 10 to the war's unconventional nature, as well as the ever-present sense of frustration, the only means available for determining the war's progress were the total number of enemy dead and the total acreage of land denied to the enemy. Regardless of the weapons employed the body-counts and the area denied continued to provide some information as to the progress of the war. Those military tactics, as well as those sug-gestions for weapon improvement, which appeared capable of maximizing these indicators were usually adopted and welcomed with r e l i e f . What apparently began as simple indicators as to the war's progress even-tually were turned into key objectives. Thus, weapon procurement was altered so that weapons specifically designed to increase body-counts and areas denied the enemy became de rigueur as to production and use. Associated with the development of specific weapons for the purpose of indicator maximization is the issue of strategy and tactic alteration. As new weapons became available, new tactics and strat-egies emerged from the war-rooms in Washington and Saigon. Commenting on the development and evolution of strategies and tactics, Townsend Hoopes has noted: "The preferred doctrine dictated the strategy and the strategy determined the policy. Though not o f f i c i a l l y acknowledged, not even planned that way, military victory became an end in i t -s e l f . " 9 When these two developmental processes (strategies and weapons) are viewed together, i t would appear that there existed no better military measurement for combat results than body-counts and areas denied. The idea of not losing i n Vietnam appears to have been more than 11 just a simple military concern. President Johnson's comment — "I am not going to lose Vietnam....I am not going to be the President who saw Southeast Asia go the way of China""^ — brings to mind the infamous declaration of art American Army officer following the obliteration of the town of Ben Tre during the American response to the Tet Offensive: "We had to destroy i t in order to save i t . " ^ Accordingly, i t would appear that the forces of the counterinsurgency regarded the accomplishment of military victory as dependent upon the continual improvement of body-counts and area-denial programmes. Any weapons which served this function were given preferred status. In this way the Vietnamese war became an excellent testing ground for ex-perimental weapons and strategic and tactical innovations. Not only would the results be directly applicable to the war in Indochina, but they would also be applicable in the future should the United States find i t s e l f i n another unconventional conflict. Vietnam was also a war i n which the laws governing the conduct of warfare exercised only minimal restraint, as noted by Bernard F a l l : "Another aspect of the progressive irrelevance of the human aspect of the Vietnam war i s the universally callous attitude taken by almost everybody toward the crass and constant viola-tions of the rules of war that have been taking place." 1 2 Even those members of the military who were familiar with the rules governing the conduct of war did not necessarily apply them, as noted by an American o f f i c i a l in Saigon, apparently attempting to ju s t i f y prohibited conduct: "People on the outside just have no idea of what 12 this war is a l l about or how i t is fought. It's a rough and brutal war. The Viet Cong has never heard of the Marquis of Queensbury or the Geneva Conventions, and we can't afford to lose just because we 13 have heard of them." Above a l l , the war in Vietnam was characterized by the numbing brutalization of men and the depersonalization of the enemy. It was a war in which the Vietcong, "these termites," did not li v e i n places, they "infested areas"; where to "clean them out" required "sweep and clean" operations or the removal of peasants to relocation camps so that an area could be "sanitized.""'"^ It was a war in which the i n -surgents' agitation and propaganda ("agit-prop") teams dwelt on the "inhuman" and "barbaric" atrocities committed by the Americans and their Southern "henchmen" — the "rape", "murder", and "torture" of innocent men, women, and children; where the "Vietnamese traitors" in the South "fattened themselves" on the blood of the peasants. It was a war fought between "gooks" and "lackies", "slopes" and "imperialist-dogs", and between "dinks" and "tyrants." It was a war which could compel an American government o f f i c i a l i n Saigon to utter the following: "We're going to beat the communists at their own game, use their methods, cut off their cocks and cut up the women and c h i l -dren i f that's what i t takes, u n t i l we break the communist hold over these people. We can stand i t . We're going to make this place as germ-free as an operating room. And we can afford to do a better job of i t than the VC." 1 6 13 REFERENCES "'"All of the following figures are taken from the following two sources: U.S. News & World Report, September 16, 1968; and, Milton Leitenberg, "America i n Vietnam: Statistics of a War." Survival, vol. 14, no. 6, November-December, 1972: 268-274. 2 Allied forces participating in the Vietnamese conflict which came under the Free World Military Assistance Command were those from: Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of China, South Vietnam, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. (Air War Study Group, Cornell University. General editors, R. Littauer, and N. Uphoff, Air War i n Indochina, rev. ed. Boston: 1972, p. 267. 3 During late 1967 and early 1968, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese regulars began the f i n a l stages of a strategy that was to culminate with the Tet Offensive. During this period, major conflicts were initiated to draw attention away from their preparations. One example of this "smoke-screen" effort was the Vietcong and North Vietnamese attack on the Marine base at Khe Senh. With these large-scale engagements, American forces took the lead in a l l * combat-offensives. The other forces of the counterinsurgency, most notably the forces of South Vietnam, were l e f t i n defensive positions around the major towns and the c i t i e s . Southern forces were also engaged, at this time, in large riots and demonstrations against the Southern government i n Hue, Da Nang and Saigon. 4 The 400,000 Southern c i v i l i a n casualties represent only those civilians who were found i n areas nominally under the control of the Saigon government. Other civilians found i n either V.C. areas or contested territories were labelled as enemy k i l l e d in action. Where "friendly" civilians were known to have been h i t , but, for whatever reason, were not found, rough estimates were made. With respect to the number of wounded, the 1.3 million figure represents only those who were admitted to either American or South Vietnamese hospitals for medical attention. Once admitted to hospital, a wounded remained a "wounded" even i f he were eventually to die from his wounds. ~*B. Singh, and Ko-Wang Mei, Theory and Practice of Modern Guerrilla. Bombay: 1971, p. 75. The Pentagon Papers, the New York Times Edition. New York: 1971, p. 365. 7Ibid., p. 432. * Counterinsurgency 14 g "Body-counts" and "area-denial" programmes were the two measure-ment i n d i c a t o r s employed by the forces of the counterinsurgency i n as-sessing the progress of the war. Q Townsend Hoopes, The Limits of Intervention. New York: 1969, p. 62. 1 0 D a v i d Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. Greenwich, Conn.: 1972, p. 364. "''"'"As c i t e d by Frances F i t z g e r a l d , F i r e i n the Lake. Boston: 1972, p. 393. 12 Bernard F a l l , "Vietnam B l i t z : A Report on the Impersonal War." The New Republic, v o l . 153, no. 15, October 9, 1965, p. 19. 13 Malcolm Browne, AP, March 25, 1965. 14 Frances F i t z g e r a l d , op. c i t . , p. 368. "^Stephen Hosmer, Viet Cong Repression and Its Implications f o r  the Future. Santa Monica, Calif..: 1970, pp. 25-26. 16 David Welsh, " P a c i f i c a t i o n i n Vietnam. 1 1 In Crimes of War, edited by Richard A. Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and Robert J . L i f t o n . New York: 1971, p. 291. 15 ATROCITIES AND THE VIETNAM CONFLICT The Laws and Regulations Governing the Conduct of War When defining atrocities, i n i t i a l distinctions are sometimes made between c i v i l i a n and military personnel. There is a tendency, expe-ci a l l y among the technologically advanced nations, to limit the con-cept to face-to-face assaults on ci v i l i a n s . Similarly, there i s a tendency on the part of insurgent and guerrilla forces to regard the assault on c i v i l i a n and military personnel as both p o l i t i c a l l y and m i l i t a r i l y expedient when undertaken in support of some desirable or worthwhile objective. Telford Taylor notes: "Guerrilla warfare is not i n t r i n s i c a l l y unlawful, but as waged by the Vietcong i t is un-deniably in violation of the traditional laws of war and the Geneva Conventions, based as they are on the distinction between combatants and non-combatants."^ Despite these tendencies and beliefs, both sides to the Vietnamese conflict have been accused of violating the laws of war: "The United States has been charged with violating the Geneva Convention on gas warfare because of i t s use of tear gas and herbicides; with ignoring the traditional immunities of non-combatants because of i t s "free-fire" zones and bombing tactics; and with ignoring the prisoner of war rules because of i t s not infrequent failure to stop the torture of POWs....The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, too, have been charged with "war crimes" for their ex-ecution of civilians at Hue during the Tet of-fensive; for their practices of impressing c i v i l -ians as supply-bearers; for their employment bfind blind weapons (i.e., rockets) against urban non-combatants . "2 For the purposes of this paper, these actions w i l l be referred 16 to as atrocities. The word atrocity w i l l be used to refer to acts of direct and deliberate violence against c i v i l i a n s . This w i l l include both face-to-face attacks on civilians and attacks i n f l i c t e d on them by impersonal methods that are certain to result in civilian;-casual-ties : the leveling of cities by heavy a r t i l l e r y ; s e r i a l bombardment to dislodge a small number of enemy troops; or the indiscriminate mortaring or saturation bombing of c i v i l i a n sites i n enemy-held ter9-ritory. Atrocities w i l l also encompass acts against c i v i l i a n popu-lations and/or enemy troops that violate the laws of war, as in the case of gas warfare, deliberate attacks on enemy medical installations, or the torture and murder of prisoners of war. The laws of war are primarily composed of customary and treaty rules, multipartite agreements, national codes of warfare, and draft rules not adopted by states but having certain persuasive authority. Since their earliest conception, these laws of war have been grounded in three interconnected principles: a belligerent was believed j u s t i -fied i n employing any amount or kind of force to overcome his opposi-tion; a principle of humanity existed to restrain this f i r s t principle-by demanding that the degree of force necessary to overcome the enemy not be exceeded; and a principle of chivalry was to be observed in order 3 to introduce an element of fairness into the conduct of warfare. The central functions of the laws of war appear to have been the attempt to limit war's destructiveness; the establishment of a more humane awareness regarding the conduct of h o s t i l i t i e s ; and the achievement of an understanding and common expectation that the savagery of war 17 must be restrained."' Current controversy concerning the laws of war-fare, which finds direct application to the war in Vietnam, revolves around the following four issues: £L) the use of chemical and biolo-gical weapons; 2) the strategies employed by counterinsurgents which are designed for separating guerrillas from their popular bases and which rely on massive and indiscriminate firepower; 3) the applica-tion of the laws of war to c i v i l conflicts; and 4) the application of the laws of war to insurgents. The identification of those issues which have molded the laws of war is an obvious precondition to the study of the Vietnam war i n the current context. One such issue requiring recognition is the concept of "military necessity." In their study of the laws of war, McDougal and Feliciano identify this as the "key concept." They note: "This concept may be said to authorize such des-truction and only such destruction, as is neces-sary, relevant and proportionate to the prompt realization of legitimate belligerent objectives. ...The fundamental policy embraced in this concept must be modestly expressed as the minimizing of unnecessary destruction of values. The fundamental dilemma of "military necessity" always has been whether or not considerations of military efficiency should exclusively deter-mine the choice of means. Beyond the phethora of rules that form the main body of the laws of war, one "master" and three supplementary principles enjoy wide international acceptance. As suggested by McDougal and Feliciano, this master principles is "no Carthaginian peace."^ Operationally this required avoiding the economy of means principles, i n a case where 18 the most economic means for subjugating an opponent is massive and indiscriminate weapons systems. The supplementary principles, as noted by the same authors, are: proportionality; the selection of the less destructive or painful means where economic advantage is roiug;hly equal or, at least, uncertain; and, the selection of means that discriminate between "legitimate" targets and the "innocent." 7 Proportionality can refer to the reallocation of force between destruction and military advantage on either a case-by-case (tactical) or cumulative (strategic) basis. Instances of value destruction that appear grossly disproportionate when viewed from a narrow tactical perspective may seem m i l i t a r i l y essential and hence proportional when examined in light of broad strategic alternatives. Accordingly, i n guerrilla or insurgency warfare, the party opposing the guerrillas may pursue a strategy of area-devastation where guerrillas are re-ported to be operating, regardless of their numbers. The resulting injury to land, livestock, crops, and people may exceed the injury to the total number of guerrillas by an enormous amount and there-fore appear disproportionate. However, i f such a policy is pursued relentlessly in every part of the territory where the insurgents are known to operate, not only w i l l the casualties increase from the bom-bardment i t s e l f , but their efficiency w i l l also be reduced by the need to be constantly on the move in order to avoid the incessantly probing bombs and shells. Given certain p o l i t i c a l constraints and other m i l i -tary commitments, the only possible means of reducing the insurgent problem to the dimension of a police action may very well be massive 19 bombing with i t s inherent consequence of wholesale devastation. As w i l l be shown later in this paper, this was precisely the view that developed within counterinsurgency military circles. The "master" principle and i t s three supplementary principles derive their status of importance from a host of laws and treaties: the "Hague Convention No. IV" of 18 October 1907, respecting the laws and customs of war on land, and the "Annex" thereto, embodying the regulations respecting the laws and customs of war on land; the "Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field," of 12 August 1949; the "Geneva Con-vention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea," of 12 August 1949; the "Geneva Convention Relative to Treatment of Prisoners of War," of 12 August 1949; the "Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Ci v i l i a n Persons i n Time of War," of 12 August 1949; the "Hague Dec-laration" of 1907, on expanding bullets, projectiles and explosives launched from balbons, and projectiles containing asphyxiating and deleterious gases; the "Geneva Protocol" of 1925, on the use of as-phyxiating, poisonous, and other gases, and bacteriological warfare; the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"-of 1948; and the "Genocide Convention" of 1948. The Laws of War Applicable to the Vietnam War While a l l of these "declarations" find some application to the Vietnamese war, i t w i l l serve no purpose to enunciate every individual application. However, several "rules" exist which -merit special mention: 20 - from the "Annex to the Hague Convention of 1907", respecting g the laws and customs of war on land: Ar t i c l e 25 — the attack or bombardment, by what- ever means, cf towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended is prohibited. - the "General Assembly Resolution on Prohibiting the Use of 9 Chemical and Biological Methods of Warfare": Declares as contrary to the generally recognized rules of international laws...any chemical agents of warfare — chemical substances, whether gaseous, liquid or so l i d — which might be employed on man, animals or plants. - from the "Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949":"^ Article 3 — In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the ter-ritory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply as a minimum, the following provisions: 1) Persons taking no active part in h o s t i l i t i e s , including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause, shall i n a l l circumstances be treated humanely, without any ad-verse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar c r i t e r i a . To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and i n any place whatsoever with respect to the above mentioned per-sons : a) violence to l i f e and person, i n particular murder of a l l kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; b) taking of hostages; c) outrages upon personal dignity, i n particular humiliating and degrading treatment; d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording a l l the j u d i c i a l guarantees which are recognized as indis-pensable by c i v i l i z e d peoples; 2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. 21 Article 16 — T h e wounded and sick, as well as the infirm, and expectant mothers, shall be the object of particular protection and respect. As far as military considerations allow, each Party to the conflict shall f a c i l i t a t e the steps taken to search for the k i l l e d or wounded, to assist the ship-wrecked and other persons exposed to grave danger, and to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment. Article 42 — The internment or placing i n assigned residence of protected persons may be ordered only i f the security of the Detaining Power makes i t absolutely necessary. Article 85 — The Detaining Power i s bound to take a l l necessary and possible measures to ensure that protected persons shall, from the outset of their internment, be accommodated in buildings or quarters which afford every possible safeguard as regards hygiene and health and provide efficient protection against the rigours of the climate and the effects of the war. - from the "Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, of 12 August 1949":"'""'" Articl e 13 — Prisoners of war must at a l l times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in i t s custody is prohibited.... In particular no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation.... Likewise, prisoners of war must at a l l times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners or war are prohibited. Rather than engaging in a detailed and separate discussion of these laws of war as they apply to the war in Vietnam, I have elected to accomplish this task through the use of a table. Table I provides a l i s t of several types of actions which can and have been termed "atrocities" of war as committed during the course of the war i n Vietnam. It illustrates the fact that acts, which violate both the 22 TABLE I Atrocities of the Vietnam War Description of Atrocities International Number of Atrocity Violations Laws Counterinsurgent Insurgent Violated Forces Forces (1) (2) (3) (4) n Abductions GC: 3: lb 6 16 Ambushes producing c i v i l -ian deaths GC: 3: la - - - 13 Assassinations GC: . 3: l a - - 8 22 Attacks on medical installations GC: 18 - 4 — 6 Burning of villages HR: 25 7 7 6 2 Denying quarter GC: 3: la 1 3 - -Indiscriminate use of firepower HR: 25 13 13 11 30 K i l l i n g children intentionally HC: 3: la 7 3 4 11 K i l l i n g c ivilians for sport GC: 3: la 9 2 - • 1 K i l l i n g unarmed civilians GC: 3: la 23 16 14 43 K i l l i n g POWs and suspects GC: 3: la 7 4 - 3 K i l l i n g wounded civilians GC: 3: l a 1 - - 1 K i l l i n g wounded POWs GWS: 12 2 2 - 2 Maltreatment of children GC: 3: lc 7 1 - -Maltreatment of people for sport GC: 3: l c 2 - - -Maltreatment of POWs HR: 4 8 2 - — Napalming of civilians GC: 3: l a 2 1 - -Needless destruction of property HR: 47 22 20 6 16 Pollution of water supply LLW: 5041 1 - -Mutilation of bodies GPW: 13 12 10 - 7 POWs thrown from helicopters in f l i g h t GC: 3: l a 4 2 - -Racism i n medical care GC: 16 14 3 - -Terror-bombing and booby-trap c i v i l i a n deaths GC: 3: la - - 2 45 Torture of POWs and civilians GWS: 12 26 14 - 3 Use of chemicals on POWs GAR: XXIV 1 1 - — Use of fire-power on villages for sport HR: 25 2 - - -Women raped GC: 27 5 1 - -23 TABLE I (con't) Sources (1) Vietnam Veterans Against the War. (1972) (2) The Citizens Commission of Inquiry. (1972) (3) Alan Davidson. (1968) (4) Doublas Pike. (1970) International Laws GAR: XXLV General Assembly Resolution 2603 (XXIV) On Prohibiting the Use of Chemical and Biological Methods of Warfare Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of C i v i l i a n Persons i n Time of War of August 12, 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, of August 12, 1949 Annex to the Hague Convention No. IV, 18 October, 1907, embodying the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land GC: GPW: GWS: HR: LLW: United States Army Field Manual on the Laws of Land Warfare 24 s p i r i t and the letter of the laws of war, have been committed by both sides of the war. The table also provides one major international law of war that was violated by the commission of each act li s t e d . In gathering data for the table, I employed two sources for each of the collective belligerent sides: the forces of the counterinsurgency, and the forces of the insurgency. Each of the four sources represents accumulations of international law violations during the course of the war i n Vietnam. Columns (1) and (2) represent those violations a t t r i -butable to the South Vietnamese and Americans, while columns (3) and (4) represent violations attributable to the North Viatnamese and Vietcong. The figures appearing below each column represent the total number of separate incidents f a l l i n g into each atrocity description. While the atrocity descriptions i n the table do not exhaust the total references made in the four sources, they do, nevertheless, provide a good indication of the types of international law violations perpetrated i n Vietnam. The number of violations are included i n the table to show that the commission of atrocities was neither the exception to the rule, nor limited to just a handful of specific acts. Table I represents both the scope and the depth of the violations of the laws of war as found i n the Vietnam experience. Many of the problems that plague the operation and the implementa-tion df the laws of war affect the process of determining when and to whom the protection of these laws i s to be afforded. To be war, a 12 conflict must be between states. Hence, war between the de jure government, assisted by a third-party state, and a body of armed 25 individuals i s not "technically" a war in the language of international law. However, i t has become practice that when a de facto p o l i t i c a l organization has been established by the rebellious faction and such organization evidence an a b i l i t y to maintain themselves and to conduct their operations in accordance with the laws of war and, at the same time, the parent states exercise belligerent rights, the situation is recognized as a "public war" which is subject to international regulation. Behind the rules of international law the fact remains that any nation-state can, almost at w i l l , grant or withhold the status of belligerency according to i t s judgement as to whether or not the i n -surgent faction has satisfied the c r i t e r i a for such recognition. The facts which have to be proven before recognition must "lawfully" be extended include, according to Gerhard von Glahn: "...the existence of a c i v i l war beyond the scope of mere local revolt; occupation of a substantial part of the national territory by the rebels, together with the existence of a degree of orderly and effective administration Iby that group in the areas under i t s control; observance of the rules of war by rebel forces acting under the command of some responsible and ascertainable authority; and f i n a l l y , the existence of a need on the part of other states to take a stand on the existence of the c i v i l war and to define and classify their attitudes and policies toward i t . " - ^ On the basis of interpreting the c r i t e r i a set out in the above, third-party states and de jure governments may extend or withhold bel-ligerent status from the rebellious faction just as their national interests suit them. The protection of many of the rules of war must, 26 under international law, be extended to the rebellious faction by the lawful government only after the former has attained this belligerent status. In addition to the problems surrounding extension of b e l l i g -erent status to rebellious factions i n c i v i l or international c i v i l -wars, the nature of the war adds many d i f f i c u l t i e s to the operation of the laws of war. Some of the most obvious differences between international war, war between states to which the laws of war automatically apply, and c i v i l or international civil-wars, characterized by guerrilla opera-tions, focus on the issue of identity of the combatants. Deciding who is included i n the armed forces of a state i s a matter of domestic jurisdiction and not a question of international law. Generally, non-combatants as well as combatants of regular armed forces are to be treated as prisoners of war i f captured."'""' A war may also include the employment of irregular forces either authorized by a belligerent power or operating independently thereof. Formerly, only "authorized" irregulars or guerrilla forces were granted the privileges normally extended to armed forces of bel-ligerents. Other irregulars could be shot as war criminals i f cap-tured. Article 2 of the "Annex to the Hague ?Rules of Land Warfare of 1907" determined that guerrilla a c t i v i t i e s remained criminal i f con-ducted within occupied territory. The "Geneva Conventions" of 1949, however, agreed to recognize such activities within occupied territory, and allowed such individuals the status of prisoners of war provided that they satisfied the four c r i t e r i a of belligerent status: 27 "The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to m i l i t i a and volun-teer corps f u l f i l l i n g the following conditions: 1) To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; 2) To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance; 3) To carry arms openly; and 4) To conduct their operations i n accordance with the laws of war."16 While some scholars contend that such c r i t e r i a are fair,"*" 7 i t should be noted that because successful guerrilla warfare depends on stealth, hit-and-run attacks, and clandestine operations, obeying the specified conditions of belligerent status, especially those relating to wearing of signs and carrying arms openly, would be tantamount to commiting suicide. While there is some confusion over the legal application of some of the laws of war to the Vietnam conflict, there does appear to be a basis for contending that at least the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 do apply. Throughout the conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross sought to promote the f u l l compliance by a l l parties to the conflict with at least the minimum provisions of the Geneva Conventions. On June 11, 1965, the ICRC addressed a letter to the governments of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam, and the United States, and to the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. In part this letter read: "The h o s t i l i t i e s raging at the present time i n Viet-Nam — both North and South of the 17th parallel — have assumed such proportions re-cently that there can be no doubt they consti-tute an armed conflict to which the regulation of humanitarian law as a whole should be applied. 28 A l l parties to the conflict, the Republic of "Viet-Nam, the Democratic Republic and the United States of America are bound by the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, for the protection of the victims of war, having r a t i f i e d them and having adhered thereto. The National Liberation Front is bound by the undertakings signed by Vietnam. Pursuant to the common Article 1 of the four Geneva Conventions, "The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in a l l circumstances." It is likewise said i n Article 2 that "The present Convention shall apply to a l l cases of declared war or any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the Contracting Parties, even i f the state of war i s not recognized by one of them. In keeping with i t s humanitarian tradition, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva reminds the governments of the afore-mentioned countries and the National Liberation Front of their obligations pursuant to the Geneva Conventions. /Parties/ to the conflict shall respect and protect civilians taking no part in h o s t i l i t i e s , they shall abstain from attack against such persons and subject them to hoeforms of violence. The ICRC conveys the present communication to the Governments of the three aforementioned countries and w i l l endeavour to deliver i t also to the National Liberation Front. It would be pleased to know what measures are taken by the governments i n conformity with the duties devolving upon them pursuant to the Geneva Conventions."1 Despite the position of the ICRC, the major participants i n the war were not i n agreement as to the applicability of the Conventions. While a l l except the NLF have either r a t i f i e d or adhered to the Con-19 ventions only the United States and South Vietnam o f f i c i a l l y sup-ported the ICRC opinion. The North Vietnamese and the NLF considered 29 the Conventions inapplicable to the Vietnam conflict. Secretary of State Rusk replied to the ICRC on August 10, 1965. In part his reply read: "/The/ United States has always abided by the humanitarian principles in the Geneva Conven-tions and w i l l continue to do so. In regard to the h o s t i l i t i e s in Vietnam, the United States Government is applying the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and we expect the other parties to the conflict to do likewise."20 A similar reply was received from the South Vietnamese Minister for Foreign Affairs. In part i t read: "/The/ Government of the Republic of Vietnam is ful l y prepared to respect the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and to contribute actively to the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure their application. It is to be hoped that for their part the Viet Cong w i l l show the same humanitarian concern. Appropriate measures have already been consid-ered by our Government to accelerate the prom-ulgation and dissemination of these conventions. I should further l i k e to inform you that the Geneva Conventions although not yet promulgated in Viet Nam have, in fact, always been applied. Viet Cong prisoners have always received the most humane treatment from our c i v i l i a n and military authorities."21 A letter of August 31, 1965 from the North Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs did not reply directly to the ICRC request, but constituted, instead, an attack on the United States and the Govern-ment of South Vietnam. In part the DRV reply read: "In order to compensate for i t s defeats in the undeclared war of aggression in South Vietnam, the United States Government has, without any jus t i f i c a t i o n , given orders to i t s a i r and naval forces to make surprise attacks on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam i n flagrant violation of the Geneva Agreements of 1954 on Viet Nam and of the 30 rules of international law. It has employed napalm and phosphorous bombs, poisonous chemical products, and i t s aircr a f t and warships have i n -discriminately bombed hospitals, schools, road transport stations, markets, villages, fishing vessels, churches, pagodas, etc., massacring large numbers of innocent civilians and violating the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949T, for the protection of the victims of war, as well as other rules of war."22 Although the NLF did not formerly reply to the ICRC request, they did give assurances, like the DRV, that, while they considered the Conventions inapplicable, any prisoners they captured i n the 23 course of the conflict were assured of humane treatment. Despite the ICRC-.request and the apparent respect shown by a l l parties involved to the principles of international law governing the conduct of war as embodied i n the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, the ICRC was compelled to issue the following press release on February 9, 1968, almost three years after their original letter: "The ICRC reminds belligerents that i n a l l c i r -cumstances they are bound to observe the elem-entary and universally recognized rules of humanity. These rules demand that the lives of combatants who have been captured be spared, that the wounded, the sick, and those giving them medical care shall not be subjected to attack from the air and lastly, that summary executions, mal-treatment or reprisals shall be prohibited. The ICRC has often made known to those taking part i n the h o s t i l i t i e s the obligations they must f u l f i l . It ardently hopes that they w i l l shortly put an end to this blood-stained con-f l i c t and meanwhile urgently calls upon them to observe the basic rules of humanity."2^ It would appear that we can now suggest that, in addition to the 31 commission of acts bearing criminal similarity, the parties to the conflict should bear criminal responsibility for their respective actions. These assertions w i l l assume greater validity in the f o l -lowing sections of the paper where additional documentation i s ad-vanced i n support of their claims. 32 REFERENCES ''"Telford Taylor, Nuremberg and Vietnam. New York: 1971, p. 136. 2 Milton Leitenberg, and Richard D. Burns, The Vietnam Conflict. Santa Barbara, Calif.: 1973, p. xxi. 3 Morris Greenspan, The Modern Law of Land Warfare. Los Angeles: 1959, p. 4. 4 For a detailed description of these functions see, Morris Greenspan, op. c i t . , p.4. 5 Myres McDougal, and Florentino Feliciano, Law and Minimum World  Public Order. New Haven, Conn.: 1961, p. 72. ^Ibid., p. 43. A Carthaginian peace, as employed by McDougal and Feliciano, refers to the "comprehensive devastation of the lands and pepple of an enemy." (Ibid.) 7 Ibid., p. 43. g James B. Scott, Ed., The Hague Conventions and Declarations of  of 1899 and 1907. New York: 1918. 9 See Richard A. Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and Robert J. Lifton, Eds., Crimes of War. New York: 1971, pp. 60-61. ^United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 75, no. 973, 1950. 1 1United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 75, no. 972, 1950. 12 Hersh Lauterpacht, Ed., Oppenheim's International Law, 7th ed., vol. 2, London: 1952, p. 202. 13 See Charles G. Fenwick, International Law, 4th ed. New York: 1965, p. 165. 14 Gerhard von Glahn, Law Among Nations. New York: 1965, p. 552. 15 Article 13 of the "Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces i n the Field, of 12 August 1949." United Nations: Treaty Series, vol. 75, no. 970, 1950. 16 James B. Scott, Ed., op. c i t . , p. 107. "^Hersh Lauterpacht, op. c i t . , p. 215. 18 International Legal Materials, vol. 4, 1965, p. 1171. 33 "'""'Prior to the partition of Vietnam in 1954, Vietnam acceded to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 181, nos. 970-973, 1953, pp. 349-352). However, North Vietnam acceded separately i n 1957 (United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 274, nos. 970-973, 1957, pp. 335-341), and the United States r a t i f i e d the Conventions in 1955 (United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 213, nos. 970-973, 1955, pp. 378-386. 20 International Review of the Red Cross, vol. V, no. 54, 1965, p. 477. 2 1 I b i d . , p. 478. 22 International Review of the Red Cross, vol. V, no. 55, 1965, p. 527. International Review of the Red Cross, vol. V, no. 57, 1965, p. 636. ICRC Press Release. Geneva: February 9, 1968. 34 INSURGENCY WARFARE IN VIETNAM  The Evolution of Insurgency In Vietnam In May of 1959, the Central Committee of the Lao Dong Party, meeting in Hanoi, declared that the time had come to begin the task of liberating the South."'" In accordance with the basic orientation of revolutionary strategy, the Lao Dong Party determined that this task would require a guerrilla war. Accordingly, i t began to build 2 a p o l i t i c a l platform upon which the insurrection could be sustained. Basing i t s united front appeal on propaganda directed against the pol i t i c s of the Diem regime, the Lao Dong Party created a united front organization, the National Liberation Front. Shortly there-after, the Lao Dong Party began to i n f i l t r a t e guerrilla cadres into the South who had gone North following the end of the "First Indo-china War" i n 1954. They also began to mobilize the Viet Minh remnants, l e f t behind in the South after the war, for the purpose of 4 organizing peasant villages into an insurgency infrastructure. Com-menting on this organization in the South, Dennis Duncanson notes that the villages were the key to insurgency planning: In organizing the masses for this all-important purpose, they (the Vietcong) have established four kinds of relationships with villages.... The f i r s t group are their original 'popular bases', in which they set up a rudimentary form of administration during the Japanese inter- regnum and from which they have never been dis-lodged. In a second group, as in many of the towns, they have been content, for a time at least, with limited support in contributions and with information from a few individuals. In the biggest group of villages, however, they have demanded, from everybody reasonable, reg-ular supplies of money, food and, latterly, -; 35 conscripts to serve for fixed terms, "taxes" ac-cording to advertized scales, and percentages of any foreign aid handed out....It is against this group of villages that repeated resort to violence has been necessary because the daily presence of government o f f i c i a l s and soldiers...has been a strong temptation ;to back-sliding on the part of the peasants. The last category is that of villages already closely dominated by some other organization, of which the most resistant has proved to be the Catholic Church. These have often been l e f t completely alone for long periods, but i n the end they too have nearly a l l been brought to heel, less by subversion from within than by direct onslaught from without, sometimes on the people's dwellings, more frequently on the garrison whose duty is to protect them."^ While the approach would appear to be very typical of insurgency planning, there was a basic difference between i t and earlier Communist and nationalist planning. Ten years of technological development, par-ticularly in the area of air power and the use of helicopters, had made a purely military undertaking seem hopelessly unrealistic. The French military had proven in Algeria that military answers to Mao's strategy of guerrilla warfare could be developed and successfully implemented. Moreover, the danger of an American intervention against the insurgents was clearly a factor that had to be acknowledged. Accordingly, alternatives to a purely military approach were sought. "Contradictions" within the Saigon regime suggested that the Vietcong could isolate i t p o l i t i c a l l y and demoralize or win over the army without actually being forced to reverse the insurgent-counter-insurgent military imbalance and defeat the counterinsurgent forces in a Maoist "third-stage" positional war.^ Having defined the movement's 36 goal as p o l i t i c a l rather than m i l i t a r y v i c t o r y , the Vietcong sought to make credible,by means of t e r r o r , the i n a b i l i t y of the Saigon govern-ment to govern. In response to the growing involvement of American forces i n the early part of the 1960s, the NLF decided to increase i t s m i l i t a r y e f f o r t s . While there i s no evidence a v a i l a b l e to in d i c a t e that the NLF believed they could defeat the Americans i n a m i l i t a r y contest, there i s evidence which suggests that p o l i t i c a l v i c t o r y was possibl e , as i n the Southern case, through the e x p l o i t a t i o n of "con-t r a d i c t i o n s " within the American p o s i t i o n . ^ While the concept of the "three-stages" was retained w i t h i n V i e t -cong strategy, the f i r s t two stages were reoriented away from s t e a d i l y increasing a t t r i t i o n and towards a p o l i t i c a l transformation of the people from e i t h e r an anti-revolutionary or n e u t r a l i s t p o s i t i o n to a p o s i t i o n favouring the NLF. This was attempted by means of violence. Douglas Pike notes: Not m i l i t a r y but sociopsychological considera-tions took precedence. M i l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s and other forms of violence were conceived as a means contributing to the s o c i o p o l i t i c a l struggle. The two hundred to f i v e hundred ' g u e r r i l l a i n c i -dents' per week that went on i n Vietnam week a f t e r week and month a f t e r month f o r f i v e years had no purpose i n themselves — a n d indeed when viewed i n themselves often made no sense — except to preserve the p o l i t i c a l - s t r u g g l e movement. Thus the primary purpose of the violence programme was to make possible the p o l i t i c a l - s t r u g g l e movement."^ While t h i s s e l e c t i v e terrorism not only served to f r i g h t e n the people, i t was also employed to force the peasants into making i n d i -v i d u a l choices as to the r e l a t i v e costs and benefits of choosing one 37 side over the other. This process of "selective terrorism" was aimed 9 at the poorly protected and the poorly socialized. The Vietcong sought to legitimize their activities by playing on feelings toward national reunification, loyalties, discontent, and the desires of the people for peace and s e c u r i t y . ^ It has been suggested that i f the objectives of a movement can be stated in such a way as to appeal to both the people's patriotism and their discontent, the insurgency's future w i l l be greatly enhanced." Such was the belief, at least, among the insurgency's leaders in Viet-nam, as illustrated in the following: "In expounding the "crimes" of government o f f i c i a l s , the V.C. agit-prop teams dwealt on the "inhuman" and "barbaric atrocities" com-mitted by Americans and their GVN "henchmen", the wanton destruction of homes and property, and the "rape", "murder", and "torture" of innocent men, women and children. South Viet-namese o f f i c i a l s are characterized as "Viet-namese traitors" who fatten their lives on our blood." 1 2 This a b i l i t y to involve the people of South Vietnam emotionally aided greatly im their mobilization by the NLF. It must be stressed that above a l l else, the Vietnamese insurrection was viewed as being a "total" revolutionary war which involved, in some capacity, everyone. General Giap has noted that "the protracted popular war in Vietnam demanded...appropriate forms of combat: appropriate for the revolutionary nature of the war in relation to the balance of forces then showing a clear enemy superiority....The form of combat adopted was guerrilla warfare.. ./with/ each inhabitant a soldier; each village a fortress.... The entire population participates in the armed struggle, fighting, 38 according to the principles of guerrilla warfare....This is the 13 fundamental content of the war of people." Terror: The Weapon of Vietnamese Insurgency As noted earlier, the population and their resources were an important objective of the insurgents' overall strategy. It is therefore, usually considered to be in the interest of the insurgents to u t i l i z e the population as effectively as possible. While a popu-lation may contribute to the cause of the insurgency, i t may do so without ever making an ideological commitment. It was i n this re-spect that behaviour and not attitudes became the crucial factor, at the outset, for the movement's operation: "Many recruits had been made in the villages, in the days before i t occurred to anyone that active service might one day be required of them....Whatever the inducement by which the recruit was f i r s t subverted, he has been retained primarily by a studied combination of secrecy and of fear — secrecy which makes i t reasonably safe for him to carry on his designated activities under the noses of the authorities, and fear which makes i t certainly fatal for him even to dream of breaking with the organization and which he knows w i l l deter any neighbour from giving him away. It is the function oflideological indoctrination to C O I I T vert him, as soon as he no longer has any escape, to the belief that this i s a l l for the best in the end — that cruel violence is ^ ju s t i f i e d by the higher good that i t serves." Accordingly i t would appear that the best measure of an insurgency's success is the movement's ab i l i t y to e l i c i t from the populace the desired behaviour and the required resources. The overall strategic objective of any insurgency is to alter, 39 i n t h e i r favour, the c a p a b i l i t i e s between t h e i r forces and those of the counterinsurgents. The NLF's a l t e r a t i o n was attempted by changing the counterinsurgency's inputs and by continually escalating the p r i c e of v i c t o r y f o r the forces of the Free World M i l i t a r y A s s i s -tance Command."*"^  I t has been noted by Paret and Shy that "the weak-ness of the g u e r r i l l a himself and h i s consequent need to gain and maintain strength among the c i v i l i a n population l a r g e l y determine his techniques and objectives.""'" 7 It i s h e l p f u l i n the examination of terror i n Vietnam to note the three objectives of the insurgency: 1) an improved u t i l i z a t i o n of the population; 2) an improved m i l i t a r y s i t u a t i o n ; and 3) the 18 s u r v i v a l of the movement. In attempting to achieve these objectives, the Vietcong focussed on three primary targets: the people who did not support them, or who were at l e a s t i n d i f f e r e n t to the movement; the c i v i l administration of the Southern government; and the m i l i t a r y 19 establishment. While the aim of the insurgency was the accomplish-ment of i t s s p e c i f i e d goals, i t should be noted that these could only be accomplished i f the movement continued to e x i s t . Therefore, while s u r v i v a l was not, i n i t s e l f , the ultimate objective, i t was an i n -dispensable end for the NLF and, accordingly, i t was a c e n t r a l condi-t i o n to the insurgents' decision-making environment. To achieve i t s s t r a t e g i c objectives and s t r i k e against the primary targets, the Vietcong employed such t a c t i c s as s e l e c t i v e and indiscriminate terrorism, sabotage and ambush. The targets of these actions may be viewed as the movement's more immediate " t a c t i c a l " 40 choices. These ranged from the torture and murder of children for the purpose of influencing parents, to the sabotage of military ordnance destined for enemy military use. In Vietnam, terror was an omnipresent phenomenon throughout the war. On February 20, 1962, Vietcong guerrillas threw four hand-grenades into a crowded village theater near Can Tho. A total of 108 20 persons were k i l l e d or injured, including 24 women and children. On September 12, 1963, Vo Thi Lo, 26, a school teacher i n An Phuoc village, Kien Hoa province, was found near her village with her throat 21 s l i t . She had been kidnapped three days earlier. On August 26, 1969, a nine-month-old baby was found shot in the head by the Vietcong outside of Hoa Phat village i n Quang Nam province; also found dead were three children between the ages of six and ten, an elderly man and a middle-aged couple, a total of seven victims a l l shot at least 22 once in the back of the head. While such activities may, at f i r s t , appear to be the acts of desperate or even mad men, a closer examina-tion of the Vietnamese insurgency reveals that such acts may possess 23 very real military or p o l i t i c a l motivations. As a result of this interplay between p o l i t i c a l and military factors, any attempt to sharply differentiate between the two is generally not too helpful: "Personnel that are military or p o l i t i c a l (or both) can use techniques that are military or p o l i t i c a l (or both) against targets that are military or p o l i t i c a l (or both) i n the pursuit of objectives that are military or p o l i t i c a l (or both) and produce consequences that are military or p o l i t i c a l (or both)." 2^ Although insurgent behaviour towards the population was 41 normally Irreprochable and the insurgents' use of terror highly selective, there were times in Vietnam when terror was used indis-criminately to create a shock-effect on a community. A case i n point was the Vietcong attack on the village of Dak Son i n 1967, when flame-throwers were used on the village's buildings and on i t s women and children sheltering in the settlement's tunnels, bunkers, and fox-25 holes. It would appear that there comes a time during the course of a struggle for a population when the people need to be "informed" as to which group "deserves" popular loyalty and support. Dak Son and Hue served just such a purpose. Douglas Pike has noted, i n this regard, that one of the primary purposes behind Vietcong terror was 26 the disorientation and psychological isolation of the individual. A more subtle form of Vietcong terror was i t s indirect use. Such a form, usually designed to put a village or town into a state of shock which can then be exploited, was to induce the counterinsur-gent forces into taking retaliatory action. This particular form of indirect terror was a special feature of the Vietnamese war. It was only necessary for the Vietcong to take some minor action — f i r i n g a few shots from within a village at passing enemy forces — to i n -duce a response from the counterinsurgents. Such a response usually accomplished the population-control work for them — be i t punishment and/or propaganda. An example of this response was provided during the "Vietnam Veterans Against the War" study on war crimes in Vietnam: "We'd received a battalion order at that time. ...If while sweeping on line and passing by friendly yillages...you received one round of any sort from a friendly village, the entire battalion was to turn on line and level the 42 village. The exact wording was to k i l l every man, woman, child, dog and cat in the village."27 Terror was thus employed by the insurgents as a means of undermining the counterinsurgents' control over the people. Accordingly, terror can usefully be viewed i n either a p o l i t i c a l or a military capacity. In addition to striking directly at the counterinsurgents' means of population control — the breakdown of counterinsurgent security measures, the removal of local administration o f f i c i a l s , and the destruction of foreign aid schemes — the insurgents also used the people themselves against the control apparatus by organizing strikes, boycotts, popular demonstrations, and riots to embarrass and weaken the 28 government and force i t , once again, into taking excessive reprisals. While the rationale for the use of terror was that the enemy had given the insurgents no alternative, the doctrinal motivations seem to 29 have been that terror i s required to accomplish three basic goals: 1) to diminish the opposing forces, "both i n the sense of eliminating key individuals and i n reducing the totality of power which the other 30 side has accumulated"; 2) to sustain the "morale" of the Vietcong and, to some extent, the forces of North Vietnam fighting i n the South; and 3) to disorient and psychologically isolate the individual. This last goal applied to peasants and enemy soldiers alike. In the case of the former, peasants might lose their faith in the a b i l i t y of the counterinsurgents to provide protection and security, or have their respect for the insurgency increased. In the case of the latter, enemy soldiers might become scared or nervous and, accordingly, over-react i n combat or potentially dangerous situations. 43 When attempting to employ terror as a military tool, the Viet-cong' s most common approach was to demoralize or "soften-up" enemy troops and thus lower their effectiveness and professionalism i n the process. The means at their disposal ranged from psychological tech-niques to the use of direct terror. When there were a large number of isolated acts of harassment, such as sniping and ambushing individual soldiers, the counterinsurgents became very apprehensive. Repeated operations, such as those conducted by the Viet Minh along the "street 31 without joy", made many American units nervous about passing through combat zones; so much so that "shoot f i r s t " and 5"question later" tactics became commonplace, as evidenced by the following: "...sometimes when we'd come to a village a Vietnamese would run~out of the bomb shelter for fear of being caught, so consequently this surprise would startle any individual ^ and they would automatically turn and f i r e . " Once again, this over-reaction situation — induced in part by the insurgents themselves — helped to serve the movement's propagandiza-tion and education programmes. Thich Nhat Hanh has noted that "as the destruction and the terror intensified, so too did the hatred of the villagers for the Americans, leaving the American soldier, who believed he had come to help, caught in a quicksand of hatred and frustration.""^ The greater the number of people i n the insurgents' control apparatus, the greater i t s control over the area populated by these people. This, in turn, provides the insurgents with a greater per-centage of an area's resources. In some cases, the Vietcong increased 44 their percentages of land and resources by " l i b e r a t i n g " v i l l a g e s through the reduction of South Vietnamese and American m i l i t a r y forces. In other cases this meant "educating" the people as to the true nature of the Southern regime by means of " t r i a l s " and the elimination of the "enemies" of the people: "Elimination of t r a i t o r s and tyrants to d i s -integrate the enemy ranks i s important i n weak areas. This mission aims at breaking the enemy's control and weakening t h e i r p r e s t i g e and, i n ad-d i t i o n , r a i s i n g our revolutionary prestige. I t also encourages the people's movement to break '•: the enemy r u l i n g machine and gain the adminis-t r a t i o n power i n v i l l a g e s and hamlets for the people."35 In s t i l l other cases this meant i s o l a t i n g the people from the Americans and the forces of the Southern regime: "A major object of Vietcong t e r r o r bombing i s to i s o l a t e Americans and /government/ o f f i c i a l s from the Vietnamese by making Vietnamese a f r a i d to associate /or cooperate/ with Americans." 3^ Accordingly, we can note that when the insurgents desired to use the people and t h e i r resources, i n areas where the movement exercised l i t t l e or no c o n t r o l , they f i r s t had to pry loose the counterinsurgents' control mechanism over the people. The NLF regarded the enemy's popu-l a t i o n control mechanism asebeihg composed of three elements: 1) the South Vietnamese government structure; 2) the p o l i c e and s e c u r i t y / m i l i t a r y forces; and 3) the administrative bureaucracy. In addition, those who did not support the NLF were viewed as opposing the move-ment and therefore subject to d i s c i p l i n a r y measures. To employ te r r o r to reduce the grip of these three elements over the people was deemed not only permissible but necessary. An i l l u s t r a t i o n of the broad 45 spectrum of people encompassed by the three elements i s provided in the following selection taken from a National Liberation Front "secret directive" of May, 1969: "Enemy public personnel, intelligence personnel, military security personnel, RVNAF personnel, psywar personnel and pacification personnel, civil-self-defense members, informers, those in charge of appealing to our cadre members to sur-render, "Phoenix spies", intelligence personnel working for both sides, and false defectors /from the GVN/."37 \ i 46 REFERENCES "^George A. Carver, Jr.,"The Faceless V i e t Cong." Foreign  A f f a i r s , v o l . 44, no. 3, A p r i l , 1966, pp. 359-360. 2 Ibid., p. 360. 3 Milton Leitenberg, and Richard D. Burns, The Vietnam C o n f l i c t . Santa Barbara, C a l i f . : 1973, p. x i i i . These authors note the existence of three wars i n Indochina: 1946-1954; 1961-1968; and 1969-1973. With respect to the issue of i n f i l t r a t i o n , t h i s issue i s discussed and f u l l y documented i n , United States Department of State, Aggression from the  North. Washington, D.C.: 1965. 4 For d e t a i l s of the early days of the insurgency, see: Douglas Pike, V i e t Cong. Cambridge, Mass.: 1968; and, George McT. Kahin, and John W . Lewis, The United States i n Vietnam. New York: 1967. ^Dennis J . Duncanson, "The V i t a l i t y of the V i e t Cong." S u r v i v a l , v o l . IX, no. 1, January, 1967, 1967, pp. 16-17. 6 Chalmers Johnson, " G u e r r i l l a Warfare i n A s i a . " S u r v i v a l , v o l . X, no. 10, October, 1968, p. 324. 7Vo Nguyen Giap, "The Party's M i l i t a r y Line i s the Ever-Victorious Banner of People's War i n Our Country." Viet-Nam: Documents and  Research Notes, document no. 70, January, 1970, pp. 48-49. The "contra-d i c t i o n s " that the insurgents perceived i n the American p o s i t i o n were: 1) the f a l l i n g - o u t between the United States and seve r a l of her a l l i e s over the prosecution of the war; 2) the i n a b i l i t y of the United States to match i t s extraordinary technical s u p e r i o r i t y to Vietcong manoeuver-a b i l i t y and m i l i t a r y i n t e l l i g e n c e ; 3) the growing American aversion to the war; 4) the "unintended" consequences of the war which resulted from the American s t y l e of large-scale operations (Unintended conse-quences re f e r r e d to those m i l i t a r y operations which resulted i n the deaths of many c i v i l i a n s and the destruction of t h e i r property. My L a i can also be regarded as an "unintended" consequence of the war. I t i s worth noting that the avoidance of such consequences was one of the U.S. aims i n the war — see p. 10.); and 5) the generation of a true n a t i o n a l i s t (anti-American) reaction among the people of South Vietnam. Melvin Gurtov, Hanoi on War and Peace. Santa Monica, C a l i f . : 1967.) g Douglas Pike, op. c i t . , pp. 32, 99. 9 l b i d . , p. 100. Chalmers Johnson, "The Third Generation of G u e r r i l l a Warfare." Asian Survey, v o l . VIII, no. 6, June, 1968, p. 445. 47 ''""''Andrew M. Scott, Donald P. Clark, John W. Salmon et a l . , Insurgency. Chapel H i l l , N.C.: 1970, p. 92. 12 Stephen Hosmer, Viet Cong Repression and i t s Implications for  the Future. Santa Monica, Calif.: 1970, pp. 25-26. 13 General Vo Nguyen Giap as cited in Telford Taylor, Nuremberg  and Vietnam. New York: 1971, p. 135. 14 Dennis J. Duncanson, op. c i t . , p. 16. 1 5 J . Bowyer Bell, The Myth of the Guerrilla. New York: 1971, p. 57. 16 Nathan Leites, and Charles Wolf, Jr., Rebellion and Authority. Chicago: 1970, p. 76. 1 7Peter Paret, and John W. Shy, "Guerrilla Warfare and U.S. Military Policy." In The Guerrilla-And How to Fight Him, edited by T.N. Greene. New York: 1962, p. 41. 18 A.M. Scott et a l . , op. c i t . , p.93 19 Stephen Hosmer, op. c i t . , pp. 14-15. 20 Douglas Pike, The Viet Cong Strategy of Terror. Saigon: 1971, p. 61. 21 Ibid., p. 62. i i l b i d . , p. 79. 23 George S. Patton, Jr., "Why They Fight." Military Review, vol. 45, no. 12, December, 1965, p. 16. 24 A.M. Scott et a l . , op. c i t . , p. 90. 25 Lewis W. Walt, Strange War, Strange Strategy, New York: 1970, p. 22. 26 Douglas Pike, op. c i t . , p. 19. 27 Vietnam Veterans Against the War, The Winter Soldier Investi- gation. Boston: 1972, p. 69. 28 Dennis J. Duncanson, op. c i t . , p. 16. 29 Douglas Pike, op. c i t . , pp. 18-20. 30 Terror was used to sustain and bolster insurgent "morale". 48 Without v i c t o r i e s , combatants become discouraged and sometimes d i s -i l l u s i o n e d with t h e i r undertakings. Terror provided immediate and highly v i s i b l e r e s u l t s of " v i c t o r y " . Terror also contributed to large-scale m i l i t a r y v i c t o r i e s by unnerving enemy s o l d i e r s . By i t s use, f o r instance, as a means of p r e c i p i t a t i n g an enemy r e p r i s a l , t e r r or also served to confirm c e r t a i n i d e o l o g i c a l and p o l i t i c a l pre-cepts of the insurgency. 31 Bernard B. F a l l , Street Without Joy. Harrisburg, Pa.: 1963, chapter 7. 32 Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . , p. 7. 3 3 I b i d . , pp. 160-161. 34 Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnam: Lotus i n a Sea of F i r e . New York: 1967, p. 67. 35 Stephen Hosmer, op. c i t . , pp. 18-19. 36 Malcolm Browne, The New Face of War. Indianapolis: 1968, p. 191. Stephen Hosmer, op. c i t . , pp. 14-15. 49 COUNTERINSURGENCY WARFARE IN VIETNAM  The American Approach to Insurgency American opposition to guerrilla wars and i t s subsequent cam-paign to defeat insurgency came about as a direct response to Soviet intentions purporting to encourage and support "wars of national liberation." David Halsberstam has written: "At almost the same moment that the Kennedy Administration was coming into office, Krushchev had given a major speech giving legitimacy to wars of national liberation. The Kennedy Administration immediately inter-preted this as a challenge...and suddenly the stopping of guerrilla warfare became a great fad." 1 The American response to the Soviet challenge was the development of specialized counterinsurgency tactics, strategies, and weapon systems. As a doctrine, the American counterinsurgency strategy pur-ported to recognize both the p o l i t i c a l and the military dimensions of guerrilla warfare. In order to deprive the insurgents of their po-pular base of support, the United States sought to offer the populace physical security, a better programme of economic assistance, and social reform. When applied to Vietnam, the Americans also agreed to cover the costs of the entire military effort undertaken by a l l counter-insurgent forces. However, the United States f e l t compelled to remain 2 i n the background i n order to avoid offending nationalist sensitivities -— those veEy. same sensitivities that the Vietcong would later make use of when the Americans f i n a l l y emerged from the background. In the eyes of President Kennedy and several of his key advisors, 3 Vietnam was the "acid test" for his counterinsurgency strategy. 50 However, by the time of his death, the failure of Kennedy's counter-insurgency strategy was most apparent. Having realized that the insur-gents were s t i l l in possession of their population cover and that the more subtle means of warfare employed by the Kennedy Administration had failed, President Johnson turned toward the arsenal of weapons associated with limited and nuclear warfare, rather than those associated with "brush-fire" or unconventional warfare.^ The overall American approach to counterinsurgency is best viewed as a continuing process of compromise. It was an approach founded on conventional premises of, as well as orientations and perspectives toward, national wars of liberation. The American counterinsurgency attempted to incorporate a l l the interest, concerns, and personal ob-jectives of those involved i n i t s formulation and execution. Through-out the war this was to mean the amalgamation of such interests and views as: negative views of a l l "peoples' revolutions;" employment of a "systems approach" to problem-solving; a preoccupation with sta-t i s t i c s and quantity; a fascination with technology; a conspiracy theory which held the Communists responsible for the i l l s of the world; concern with the non-military problems of world hot-beds of c i v i l unrest, a belief that military priorities should take precedence over a l l others. This "conventional" approach to counterinsurgency evidenced a preference for conventional air and ground combat operations which employed large deployments of troops and involved such tactics as search and destroy, encirclement, a t t r i t i o n , and zonal bombardment. The advocates of this approach longed for set-piece battles in which massive fire-power would be useful, and surprising or luring 51 guerrillas into ambushes or conventional battles. The result of a l l this was massive and sustained aerial bombardment of Indochina, i n -vasion of enemy sanctuaries i n Laos and Cambodia, the use of GIs for "bait," defoliation of large tracts of land, and relocation of popu-lation settlements. 7 While we have been referring to the general approach of American counterinsurgency, i t i s worth noting that i t s implementation was at-tempted in two distinct strategies. The f i r s t strategy was in use prior to the Gulf of Tonkin incident. With the American bombing of the North, and the U.S. build-up of troops in the South, the second strategy came into operation. This latter strategy remained in force throughout the balance of the American presence i n Vietnam. The f i r s t strategy, developed and implemented by the Kennedy Administration, was characterized by the use of irregular tactics, small-unit military teams (Special Forces units like the Green Berets), effective and ruthlessly executed punitive measures against those sus-pected of aiding the Vietcong (Operation Phoenix), the use of terror and counter-terror, murder of prisoners, and total control of the 9 people through what came to be known as "pacification" programmes. While the "pacification" programmes required the demonstration of kind and considerate treatment toward the people, this was not always the practice. Distinguishing between friendly and hostile i n d i v i -duals was easier said than done i n Vietnam. Wary soldiers i n an alien environment which was booby-trapped and unpredictable could only per-ceive the civilians as enemies or potential enemies: 52 ". . . i n the spectrum of war, that whole Vietnam thing is based on fear. You're scared to death a l l the way over there. You're told continually that you're going to die i f you don't do this, i f you don't do that. That every Vietnamese is going to k i l l you; that booby-trapped babies are going to be sent against you and old grandmothers are going ©Dthrow bombs at you, which can be very, very true and in many instances is true." As the war dragged on and as positive results became fewer and fewer, the "Kennedy" strategy was found to be lacking. It was suggested that where "quality" had failed, perhaps "quantity" would prove to be what was needed. Indeed, at the outset of the Vietnamese war, many American military and p o l i t i c a l o f f i c i a l s had been dissatisfied with the qualitative thinking that characterized the era. David Halberstam has noted: "At an early intergovernmental meeting on the importance of psychological warfare, one of Harkins' key staff-men, Brigadier General Gerald Kelleher, quickly dismissed that theory. His job, he said, was to k i l l Vietcong. But the French, responded a p o l i t i c a l officer named Douglas Pike, had k i l l e d a lot of Vietcong and ]] they had not won. "Didn't k i l l enough Vietcong," answered Kelleher. Such was the attitude of the American headquarters; despite a l l the faddish-ness of counterinsurgency i t was a l l very con-ventional, with a dominating belief that more and more force was what was really needed."1-L Adopting this "more-is^-better" approach, the American planners of counterinsurgency developed what Eqbal Ahmad refers to as the "tech-nological-attrivitive" approach, or what we might c a l l the "Johnson-Nixon" strategy. Professor Ahmad notes: MThe increasing reliance on the technological-a t t r i v i t i v e approach marked the shift of the American counterinsurgency i n a genocidal direction. When a people's revolutionary war 5 3 has been lost...then a great power caught i n a war lik e Vietnam is l e f t only with alternatives. One i s tonegotiate a withdrawal. The other is to continue the war...at a cost acceptable to ^2 the people at home, but costly to the insurgents." This latter alternative was the f i r s t choice of President Nixon. It was manifested by an increase i n the use of powerful and indiscriminate weapons. The object of Nixon's choice was to make the war, as Ahmad has rightly noted, acceptable at home while remaining unacceptable to the enemy. In order to accomplish these twin goals i t was necessary to decrease the war's financial costs and i t s cost i n terms of American lives. The f i r s t required a reduction i n the number of American servicemen deployed i n Vietnam. The second required the avoidance of active combat between the enemy and American forces. Both of these goals were pursued by engaging more Southern Vietnamese units and by removing the American servicemen from the front, but not from the war altogether. Massive fire-power proved to be the solution. This enabled U.S. military forces to continue the fight with a greatly reduced risk to their lives while enabling enemy body-counts to increase and thus providing some evidence as to progress in the war. Technology and the Strategy of Attri t i o n In the American effort to defeat the insurgents, great emphasis was placed on the development of suitable tactics and new technologies. Gabriel Kolko has noted: "While the United States has sought to discover and procure weapons uniquely designed for the centralized agrarian and jungle environment, i t has also attempted to u t i l i z e existing strategic 54 weapons f i r s t designed for such concentrated strategic targets as industry and air-missile bases. This, by necessity, has required employ-ing weapons, such as the B-52, originally con-structed for intensive nuclear warfare against stationary targets. It has adjusted for decen-tralized mobile targets simply by dropping much greater quantities of explosives of immense yield on vast., .regions with very few permanent i n s t a l l a -tions. Among the tactics employed by the United States throughout the 14 course of the war, the following are noteworthy: - heavy use of airborne infantry; - use of herbicides against crops in food denial programmes and forests i n "area-denial" programmes; - bulldozing of smaller land areas for "area-denial"; - designation of free-fire and free-bomb zones for a r t i l l e r y and air-delivered ordnance, within which there were few distinctions made between " c i v i l i a n " and "military" targets; - "harassment and interdiction" by f i r e , and the use of "un-observed f i r e " by both a r t i l l e r y and air-delivered ordnance; - extensive use of ai r support for ground combat operations; - wide use of napalm; - carpet-bombing by B-52s; - use of CN (Chloroacetophenone), CS (tear gas) and DM (Dephenylchloroassine) gases, as well as the use of CS gas on the battle-f i e l d in coordination with conventional fire-power, as well as for area denial and for interdiction; - meteorological warfare for the purposeful production of rain; - "population relocation" programmes; 55 - regular dispatch of special forces (SEALS - Sea-Air-Land Commandos) into North "Vietnam for purposes of Sabotage; and, - selective k i l l i n g of members of the c i v i l i a n population with alleged Communist a f f i l i a t i o n i n the South (Operation Phoenix). With respect to the technologies employed and developed in Viet-nam, the following are among the more "spectacular" and worthy of mention: - some thirty delivery systems for CS gas, mostly for battle-f i e l d use; - "lightships: for night fighting, and the development of 16 "gunships" capable of spewing out thousands of bullets per minute; - light-gathering and heat-gathering devices for "night-ground based-anti-personnel target acquisition;" - anti-personnel, air-delivered weapons (Cluster Bomb Units -CBUs) such as flechettes, pellet-bombs, etc.; - "laser-guided" and television-guided bombs; - ground-based f i r e location sensors; - portable f i e l d radars for mortaring and enemy a r t i l l e r y location; - special aircraft for airborne tactical a i r control and electronic counter-measures, largely over the China Sea and North Vietnam; - drone aircraft for photo reconnaissance and for electronic counter-measures; - ground-based sensort to detect personnel and motor t r a f f i c 56 movement behind enemy lines;"1"' - air-borne sensors capable of detecting tunnel net-works; - improved air-delivered anti-personnel mines; and, - improved anti-personnel land mines. An i l l u s t r a t i o n of the type of consequences sometimes resulting from the use of such weapons and tactics w i l l be afforded by a brief refer-ence to the B-52 bombing operations. During the years following the massive American intervention, large portions of the countryside which had a dispersed population were subjected to aerial bombardment by formations of B-52s. Their purpose was to inhibit enemy i n f i l t r a t i o n into the South, interdict supplies coming into the South,from North Vietnam, and to destroy enemy strong-holds i n the South. Air strikes were usually made on the basis of i n -telligence information supplied by agents or "ground-based sensors" which indicated the presence of Vietcong or North Vietnamese forces. Unfortunately, due to a combination of faulty reporting, over-anxious-ness, the desire to surprise, and the i n a b i l i t y of electronic devices to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, many of these raids did l i t t l e damage to the enemy, but did manage to rain down death and 18 destruction on innocent civilians l i v i n g i n these "target" areas. The following table attempts to provide some s t a t i s t i c a l information as to the results of American bombing operations. As appears quite obvious, few of the figures seem to follow any logical progression when compared. However, I do believe that the refugee figures are noteworthy. It can be noted that with the increase i n bombing missions during 1969 the number of refugees increased by over f i f t y percent. This fact, coupled as i t is with the way i n which casualties were calculated by the Amer-19 leans, would suggest that c i v i l i a n casualties did increase with the heavy bombing missions. It is also worth noting that the bombing missions did not appear to significantly alter large-scale insurgent military operations. As previously stated, two major reasons for the American bombing of ..the North and border areas were the counterinsurgency' s general failure to halt large-scale i n f i l t r a t i o n from the North, and their 20 failure to make noticeable headway in the war. Given the availability of resources, the American use of air power was a. logical outcome as well as a progressive process. When i t later became clear that i n f i l -21 tration, far from having been reduced, had actually increased there were immediate complaints from the exponents of the bombing that the air attacks had come too late and had been too l i t t l e . The belief that characterized this era was that North Vietnam should be bombed "back into the Stone age." According to Brigadier General Glenn D. Walker: "You don't fight this fellow r i f l e to r i f l e . You locate him and back 22 away. Blow the h e l l out of him and then police up." By early, 1966, nearly one-'quarter million American men were deployed throughout the South. The enemy offensive of the previous year had been checked, and i t appeared to many in Saigon and Waghington that the South had been saved from what appeared to have been imminent disaster. Additionally, i t was believed that General Westmoreland had come through with positive results when they were most needed. The 58 TABLE II Vietnamese War Statistics 1967 July August Sept. October November December B-52 missions 100 78 28 52 77 47 Total aerial bomb ton- / o nage dropped (a) 80,035 79,535 78,885 83,497 83,088 83,136 Civilian hospitaliza-tions from war (b) 3,058 3,954 4,515 3,884 4,884 4,790 Large-scale insurgent military-operations 197 204 260 264 264 286 Enemy casualties (c) 7,923 5,810 6,354 6,272 7,662 7,938 SVN refugees (d) 1. ,723,509 1968 January February March April May June B-52 missions 104 291 311 265 231 293 Total aerial bomb ton-nage dropped (a) 90,036 103,000 123,672 124,660 127,942 125,159 Civilian hospitaliza-tions from war (b) 5,919 19,662 9,043 6,483 9,044 7,197 Large-scale insurgent military-operations 409 570 558 391 588 288 Enemy casualties (c) 15,217 39,867 17,371 12,215 24,086 10,319 SVN refugees (d) July August Sept. Octdb;er November December B-52 missions 240 300 291 272 207 217 Total aerial bomb ton-nage dropped (a) 128,407 126,379 117,569 122,233 114,925 127,672 Civilian hospitaliza-tions from war (b) 5,630 5,589 6,335 5,811 4,333 5,236 Large-scale insurgent -military-operations 137 242 215 145 184 194 Enemy casualties (c) 6,653 15,478 12,543 8,168 9,632 9,600 SVN refugees (d) 2,702,077 59 TABLE II (Con't) Explanatory Notes a) The bombing-tonnage figures represent the total amount dropped by a l l American planes. There exists no separate figures for B-52 missions. b) Civil i a n hospitalizations from the war represent a l l those admitted to either American or South Vietnamese hospitals. (see footnote 9, p.14) c) Enemy casualties refer to both Vietcong and North Vietnamese military. d) Unfortunately, there exist no monthly figures for SVN refugees. Each figure represents the o f f i c i a l published figure put out at the end of each year. Source Air War Study Group, Cornell University. General editors, R. Littauer, and N. Uphoff. The Air War in Indochina, rev. ed. Boston: 1971, pp. 265-284. 60 question that emerged following this period was "what was next?"; 23 a response was soon forthcoming — "search-and-destroy": "/Search and destroy/ had great appeal. It of-fered prospects of quick results before the mid-term elections i n November 1966. Moreover, at this time, the GVN was involved with the Buddhist c r i s i s i n Danang and Hue and could not be expected to play i t s f u l l part in the war. Even so, i t i s doubtful i f these considerations would have made any difference. The temptation to bring to bear the enormous resources and fire-power of the American Army and Air Force on Vietcong and North Vietnamese units contacted was too great. L.ar. Even B-52s could take on black pyjamas."24 25 Given this situation in Vietnam, American forces were able to conduct aggressive operations anywhere they desired; and i f every piece of available modern weaponry was brought to bear in the war, many experts believed that the tide of the conflict would change. Indeed, as has already been suggested, many believed that this approach would be tantamount to the adoption of a winning strategy: "A message of great importance to those concerned with armament technology i s i n great danger of being lost i n the quagmire of information that surrounds the war in Vietnam. This message i s straight forward i n i t s text but far-reaching i n it s implications: a government defending against well-armed guerrilla combat forces i n the f i e l d w i l l have l i t t l e prospect of winning unless i t is t prepared to use against i t s antagonists the fruits of military technology."26 It was almost a matter of faith on the part of many military and p o l i -t i c a l planners that aggressiveness and technical superiority, coupled with a fast reaction a b i l i t y , constituted the i n i t i a t i v e and, accord-ingly, the way to achieve victory i n Vietnam. It is probably quite accurate to suggest that without weapons like the helicopter, the 61 Cluster Bomb Units, napalm, and B-52s, the American "search-and-destroy," "harassment-and-interdiction, 1 1 free-fire and free-strike missions would never have been possible. It is these type of military operations which have been given the label "genocidal" because of their in a b i l i t y to readily distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. In ad-dition, many c r i t i c s of the American prosecution of the war have blamed this failure to differentiate on the weapons themselves. Gabriel Kolko, writing about the U.S. prosecution of the war has noted: "The U.S. has made South Vietnam a sea of f i r e as a matter of policy, turning an entire nation into a target. This is not accidental but intentional and in t r i n s i c to the U.S.'s strategic and p o l i t i c a l Premises in the Vietnam war. By necessity i t des-troys villages, slaughters a l l who are in the way, uproots families, and shatters a whole society. While I do not believe one can categorically state that the American strategy was designed to be atrocity-producingj I do believe i t i s valid to suggest that i t was a strategy which inevitably led to atro-c i t i e s . The counterinsurgents' use of weapons and tactics described above could not do anything but produce the death and destruction so 28 characteristic of the war. The Character of the American Counterinsurgency To comprehend the "character" of American participation i n Vietnam i t i s necessary to acknowledge the existence of the environment in which the counterinsurgency was fostered and executed. Part of this environment is the presence of three levels of American participation. These levels represent at the highest pinnacle, the American p o l i t i c a l 62 leaders and other policy-makers. Below this level are the policy im-plementors and chief military advisors and f i e l d officers. Finally, we have those who executed the orders of war, the individual serviceman himself. This section w i l l attempt to describe the character of Amer-ican counterinsurgency i n terms of the environment which w i l l allow for a blend of the three levels rather than a separate review of each. Apart from the weapons and tactics employed in the war, the i n d i -vidual combatant and the policy-makers must share some responsibility for the enormous death and destruction wrought on South Vietnam by counterinsurgent efforts. While there appears l i t t l e in the individual 2^9 complexion which is capable of producing the horrors of a Son My, ; a 30 Quang Ngai or a Quang Tin, or the purposeful beheading of a surren--31 dering enemy soldier; there i s i n the military system which trained these men. Combat training and the mental preparation which accompanies that process, deliberately sought, i n the American case, to infuse into the individual both a fear and a drive that would make him actively pursue victory and ensure i t s realization. The U.S. military and p o l i -t i c a l planners had no other choice i n this matter. Raymond Aron has noted that whereas "insurgents have no need of decisive successes i n 32 order to win, /counterinsurgents/ need total victory." By the very nature of insurgency, guerrillas can take their time; they can s i t out d i f f i c u l t situations and even feign catastrophe or capitulation. Once the counterinsurgents have l e f t , the insurgents can recommence their activities — well-rested and with renewed vigour which the lay-off has provided them. The counterinsurgents, on the other hand, must 63 completely destroy the insurgents; i f not, they w i l l never achieve victory. In this sense, the characterization of an insurgency as a "cancer" i s quite accurate. Only the complete removal of the cancer w i l l cure the patient. Accordingly, military and p o l i t i c a l perspectives of the course of the war, and the perception of victory would be expected to greatly influence the prosecution of the war. The full-scale American entry into the war by 1965 was a direct acknowledgement of the failure of the "Kennedy" strategy. With this failure came the admission by some that the war could never be acceptably terminated even within the con-text of the "Johnson-Nixon" strategy of "controlled escalation:" "The pursuit of victory i n Vietnam through the so-called strategy of escal-ation has conspired with a variety of other forces to l i t e r a l l y make 33 the war unwinable." The massive mechanization of the war i n the late 1960s and early 1970s was an admission by the counterinsurgents that victory was not within reach. Richard Nixon's "peace with honour" 34 was an admission that total victory could never be achieved. American government and military leaders have always opted for 35 quick results with immediate inputs. This desire for quick results, coupled as i t was with impatience and frustration, led to the impulsive 36 nature of American problem solving i n Vietnam. While the "try-any-thing-once" approach can prove successful i n some instances, i t can also be very dangerous when l i t t l e or no thought i s given to the likely results of, or to the reasons for, using some "quick-result" scheme. The Vietnam war became a veritable "melting-pot" for half-developed, 64 spontaneous and novel ideas, a l l of which were tried out in "battle-f i e l d conditions" and most of which proved disastrous for the peasants of Indochina. When these new combat techniques and tactics failed to produce desirable military results, some reason was usually found for trying them again. If, on the other hand, some idea proved successful in one instance i t was usually assumed to be universally applicable and always successful. Such would appear to have been the case with the use of anti-personnel weapons. When f i r s t employed these weapons were designed to hurt the enemy in areas not safely penetrable by American forces, such as dense forests jungles, or heavily bunkered fortifications. Due to the enormous suc-cess of these weapons, they were widely used in most f i e l d operations. Napalm and CBUs were used prior to most troop operations i n order to "soften-up" the enemy, and as preparations for the entry of counterin-surgent forces into enemy-held strongholds. Unfortunately, most of thos "softened-up" were c i v i l i a n s . Despite these c i v i l i a n casualties, the anti-personnel weapons were s t i l l employed because they did manage to 37 disrupt some enemy operations, and k i l l some enemy forces. One aspect of the American counterinsurgency which added to i n -dividual impatience and impulsiveness was the demand for aggressiveness. Such a t r a i t was continually manifested i n the U.S. desire to surprise, to "shoot-first," and to possess a fast-reaction capability. iThis orientation was, often times, the confirmation of what was contained within many Vietcong statements — the brutality directed towards South Vietnamese civ i l i a n s , the murder of unarmed ci v i l i a n s , and the needless 65 destruction of c i v i l i a n property. The result of a l l this was that many American units found their efforts frustrated even further. This, i n turn, set the action-reaction cycle in motion: "In revolutionary warfare professional armies trained for conventional combat follow a vicious logic of escalation which derives from acute frustration over an elusive war that puts i n question not only their effectiveness, but the very validity of their training."-^ It was precisely this type of response to enemy actions which prolonged the Vietnamese conflict and resulted i n the needless loss of l i f e . Another disadvantage from which the counterinsurgents suffered was their tremendous wealth. In Vietnam, resources were continually substituted for efficiency and organization. In this sense the counter-insurgents waged a war that was "material-intensive" while that of the insurgents was "labour-intensive". When a solution to a problem failed, rarely did anyone question the solution i t s e l f or challenge the correctness of the policy. Rather, i t was simply assumed that the "resources" had been inadequate. The constant remedy, then, was to retain the same tactic or approach but increase the amount of resources employed by i t . This policy of "more is better" led to a situation where "instead of policy alotting the means and thereby dictating the strategy under which the means were applied, the strategy demanded more and more 39 and so dictated the policy." Given this preoccupation with quantity, Vietnam became a war i n which i t was possible to note that "almost any kind of military error /_on the part of the counterinsurgents/, no 40 matter how stupid, can be retrieved on the rebound." 66 These factors, together with the products emerging from combat training and psychological conditioning as provided for combatants in the United States contributed to the failure of both the military and p o l i t i c a l leaders' f u l l comprehension of the nature of the war. The factors are important because they tended to obscure the true nature of the insurgency movement, and the combatants are an issue because they were often regarded as more the results of, rather than the causes for, some of the military and p o l i t i c a l disasters experienced by the counterinsurgency. In some instances individual ignorance or plain fear produced disastrous consequences for the United States Command in Saigon — the k i l l i n g of children and old people because they wore the traditional black clothing of South Vietnamese when tending their paddies; the shooting of someone moving about i n the bushes of a free-fire zone because theyccould not read the warning leaflets, or did not wish to vacate traditional family land for religious reasons; of the resettle-ment of refugees into relocation camps whose building format violated ancient Vietnamese customs. A l l of the consequences stemming from such actions were usually blamed on the Vietcong because of the way the i n -surgents had compelled the Americans to fight the war, and not on the system which trained the soldier to behave this way, or on the i n d i v i -dual and his instruments of war. Accordingly, we can suggest the existence of two prime causes for the disasters associated with the U.S. counterinsurgency. On the one hand, "the American l i b e r a l tradition, ignorant of popular revolutionary warfare and untempered as i t was by experience of the Asian scene of 67 violence, led to some very fanciful and disastrous thinking."4"1' On the other hand, the problem would seem to have rested with the lack of American military preparation and planning in accordance with the type of war that had developed. American service men, unable to respond to the situation at hand, resorted to strategies that were only meaningful i n relieving their tension and frustration and which also appeared to reaffirm their belief in the military process. Perhaps the most graphic characterization of this military situation has been pro-vided by Frances Fitzgerald: "Like an Orwellian army, /the American servicemen/ knew everything about military tactics, but nothing about where they were or who the enemy was. And they found themselves not attacking fixed positions but walking through the jungle or through villages-among small yellow people, as strange and exposed among them as i f they were Martians. Their buddies were k i l l e d by land mines, sniper f i r e , and mortar attacks, but the enemy remained invisible, not only in the jungle but among the people of the villages — an almost metaphysical enemy who i n f l i c t e d upon them heat, boredom, terror and death, and gave them nothing to show for i t — no territory, no vis i b l e ;: sign of progress except the bodies of small yellow men. And they passed around stories: you couldn't trust anyone in this country, not the laundresses or the prostitutes or the boys of six years old. The enemy would not stand up and fight, but he had agents everywhere, among the villagers, even among the ARVN officers. The Vietnamese soldiers were lazy and the o f f i c i a l s corrupt — they were a l l out to get you, one way or another. They were a l l "gooks" after a l l . " 4 2 This was the attitude of many American forces before they went into combat; this was the attitude they had confirmed in combat; and i t was this very attitude which predisposed them towards the commission of acts 43 of brutality and savagery. It now appears from many of the studies 68 made on returning Vietnam veterans that when a Gl's conscience did begin to trouble him, there was the belief that orders were merely being obeyed, that his superiors would not ask him to do something that was i l l e g a l . When an i l l e g a l act was requested of a combatant, the individual could always think in terms of "gook" or "sub-human", 44 as well as the lik e l y reward for a job well-done. 69 REFERENCES "David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. Greenwich, Conn.: 1972, p. 152. According to Halberstam, years later Soviet o f f i c i a l s told their counterparts i n the Kennedy Administration that i t was a l l an error, that the speech had not been aimed at the Americans, but at the Chinese. 2 For a review of these objectives and their importance as viewed by the Kennedy Administration, see: "Vietnam Program of Action by Kennedy's Task Force," document no. 18; and "White House Cable to /Ambassador/ Lodge on Pressure for Saigon Reform" document no. 45. The  Pentagon Papers, The New York Times Edition. New York: 1971, pp. 119-125; 206-208. 3 Walt Rostow, "Guerrilla Warfare i n the Underdeveloped Areas." In World P o l i t i c s , edited by Arend Kijphart. Boston: 1968, pp. 207-214. 4 Gabriel Kolko, "War Crimes and the Nature of the Vietnam War." In Crimes of War, edited by Richard A. Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and Robert J. Lifton. New York: 1971, p. 410. ^Eqbal Ahmad, "Revolutionary War and Counterinsurgency." Journal  of International Affairs, vol. XXV, no. 1, 1971, p. 16. [Professor Ahmad has termed the American counterinsurgency strategy as possessing one main characterization and two supplementary characterizations. The main characterization he labels as "conventional-establishment". The two supplementary characterizations are: "punitive-militarist" and "technological-attrivitive".] ^GIs were used as bait i n South Vietnam as lures to ambush enemy units, as illustrated by such military emplacements as Khe Sanh, and the use of the "night logger." Night loggers were night bases for large units of counterinsurgent forces sent out for the specific purpose of luring V.C. and North Vietnamese units into attacking these "vulner-able" positions. Once attacked, the counterinsurgents would c a l l i n massive a r t i l l e r y and night fighters to destroy the enemy. (Citizens Commission of Inquiry, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes i n  Vietnam. New York: 1972, p. 71. ^E. Ahmad, op. c i t . , p. 17. g Ibid., p. 16. 9 Ibid., p. 18. "^Vietnam Veterans Against the War, The Winter Soldier Investiga- tion. Boston: 1972, p. 6. D. Halberstam, op. c i t . , p. 229. 70 1 2E. Ahmad, op. c i t . , p. 19. See Professor Ahmad's Counter-insurgency description, reference no. 5, this section. 13 Gabriel Kolko, op. c i t . , p. 411. "^Milton Leitenberg, "America i n Vietnam: Statistics of a War." Survival, vol. 14, no. 6, November-December, 1972, p. 268. 1 5 I b i d . , p. 269 "^Multiple barrelled machine guns capable of high rate of f i r e (6,000 rpm) of which as many as six were being carried by one plane, the C-47, were a deadly weapon when aimed down on V.C. and North Viet-namese staging areas. The C-47 was affectionately known by American GIs as "Puff the Magic Dragon." "'""The McNamara Line", which grew into project Igloo White, em-ployed sensors which detected through various methods — seismic, thermal, etc., — movement and which then telemeter their information to circli n g aircraft or drones that pass i t on to ground-based com-puters, which c a l l for aircraft strikes. This was popularly referred to as the "electronic ba t t l e f i e l d . " 18 Air War Study Group, Cornell University, General editors, R. Littauer, and N. Uphoff. The Air War i n Indochina, rev. ed. Boston: 1971, pp. 161-166. 19 Ibid., p. 29. 20 See reference no. 9, p. 14. 21 "Further McNaughton Memo on Factors in Bombing Decision." The Pentagon Papers, The New York Times Edition. New York: 1971, document no. 109, p. 491. 22 Air War Study Group, op. c i t . , p. 52. 23 Jay B. Durst, "Limited Conventional War — Can It Be Success-ful?" Military Review, vol. 50, no. 1, January 1970, pp. 56-63. 24 Robert Thompson, No Exit From Vietnam. London: 1969, pp. 134-135. 25 This occurred with the preoccupation of Saigon o f f i c i a l s with the Buddhists, which allowed the Americans to conduct military opera-tions with only nominal consultation with their a l l i e s of the South. 26 D.R. Kirchner, "Anti-guerrilla Armament." Ordnance, vol. 56, no. 308, September-October, 1971, p. 127. 27 Gabriel Kolko, op. c i t . , p. 412. 71 28 Frances F i t z g e r a l d , F i r e i n the Lake. Boston: 1972, p. 375. 29 For a d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s o f t he Son My massacres and the i n -d i v i d u a l s who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h a t a c t i o n , see: Seymour M. Hersh, My L a i 4: A Report on the Massacre and I t s A f te rmath . New York : 1970. 30 For a rev iew o f the m i l i t a r y opera t ions undertaken i n these p r o v i n c e s , see: Jonathan S c h e l l , The M i l i t a r y H a l f : An Account o f  D e s t r u c t i o n i n Quang Ngai and Quang T i n . New York : 1968. 31 Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, I n The Name of  America. Annandale, V a . : 1968, p. 62. 32 Raymond Aron, On War. New York : 1968, p. 69. 33 W i l l i a m Corson, The B e t r a y a l . New York : 1968, p. 6 1 . 34 This should not be taken to mean t h a t v i c t o r y was out o f the q u e s t i o n . V i c t o r y , i n an abso lu te sense, was always a t t a i n a b l e f o r the Americans. However, the means to t h a t goal were never s e r i o u s l y considered as employable. To use nuc lear weapons i n Vietnam would have meant a ser ious p o s s i b i l i t y of nuc lear war w i t h the Sov ie t Union, or the d i r e c t m i l i t a r y involvement o f the Peop le 's Republ ic o f China. 35 Robert Thompson, op. c i t . , p .125. 36 Peter G. Bourne, "From Boot Camp to My L a i . " I n Crimes of  War, e d i t e d by R.A. Fa lk , G. Ko lko , and R.J. L i f t o n . New York : 1971, pp. 466. 37 Y. I s h i j i m a , " N o n - M i l i t a r y Targets and Methods of A t t a c k . " I n Against the Crime of S i l e n c e , e d i t e d by John D u f f e t t . New York : 1968, pp. 161-164. 38 Eqbal Ahmad, op. c i t . , p. 33. 39 Robert Thompson, op. c i t . , p. 127. 40 Bernard B. F a l l , "Vietnam B l i t z . " The New Repub l ic , v o l . 153, no. 15, Oc tober .9 , 1965, p. 18. 41 E. Ahmad, op. c i t . , p. 33. 42 Frances F i t z g e r a l d , op. c i t . , p. 370. 43 I n many of the accounts which at tempt to e x p l a i n the American acts o f needless b r u t a l i t y and senseless v i o l e n c e , t h i s c la im i s borne ou t . 'For a rev iew of seve ra l ac ts i n l i g h t o f t h i s c l a i m , see: Seymour Hersh, op. c i t . ; and Jonathan S c h e l l , op. c i t . For a genera l rev iew 72 of American activities in Vietnam, see: Citizens Commission of Inquiry, op. c i t . ; Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . ; and Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, op. c i t . 44 The "reward system" is well described in the American Vietnam veterans accounts contained i n : Citizens Commission of Inquiry, op. c i t . ; and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . 73 VIETNAM ATROCITIES COMMITTED WITHIN AN ACTION-REACTION PROCESS  Vietnamese Insurgency: An Evolutionary Undertaking While the basic facts of the war are not that controversial, the dispute concerning the conflict would appear to revolve around the con-clusions that may be drawn from them. Through the use of certain tac-tics — area bombardment; free-strike and free-fire zones; forcible relocation of civ i l i a n s ; des-ruction of property; indiscriminate bombardment of villages suspected of harbouring members oftthe enemy forces; and aerial machine-gunning of peasants who were thought to be Vietcong — the forces of the counterinsurgency maimed thousands of i n -nocent civilians and created refugees out of many others — many of whom were compelled to exist i n camps and compounds of incredible f i l t h and horror."'" Similarly, by employing the methods of insurgency war-fare — p o l i t i c a l assissination; abduction; terror-bombing; ambushing; "armed propaganda;" forcible support; the a b i l i t y to compel their ene-mies to resort to reprisals; the a b i l i t y to intimidate and capitalize on enemy impatience and frustration — the forces of the insurgency directly and indirectly produced the conditions which resulted in the deaths of many innocent peasants and city-dwellers throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Many of the deaths resulting from the use of such tactics and methods were the product of an action-reaction process which was one outcome of contact between the two types of warfare employed throughout the war. To understand this process better, i t is necessary to view the 2 war as an evolutionary and developmental phenomenon. There appears 74 to be several reasons for this phenomenon. The desire on the part of individual insurgents to survive, as well as the desire of the insur-gency's leadership to maintain the movement's existence led to adapta-tion. Wh en, in the early 1960s, the enemy began to employ aircraft for spotting and attack, the vietcong responded by operating in smaller units, moving about at night, breaking camp frequently, using natural cover, storing materials and living underground. When trucks, jeeps and armoured vehicles were employed against the insurgents, the Viet-cong responded by leaving the well-travelled routes and the open areas and moving into those areas in which such vehicles did not have an easy access, but which s t i l l afforded the Vietcong sufficient maneuverability. A second reason for insurgent adaptation was their desire to capitalize on the regular forces' vulnerability in unconventional war-fare situations. As previously noted, U.S. forces i n Vietnam were generally unprepared for the situations they were often forced to ex-perience. This led, i n many instances, to their impatience, frustration, and aggressiveness. Although the counterinsurgency did attempt to adapt and modify their tactics and orientations to the rea l i t i e s of the Vietnam experience, such counterinsurgent developments usually led to a corresponding change in the approach to war undertaken by the insurgents. Due to their need to retain the i n i t i a t i v e , the military practices of an insurgency change in response to alterations in technology and action by 3 counterinsurgents. While the pressures for adaptation and innovation are normally greater for the insurgent for this reason of retaining the 75 i n i t i a t i v e ; the behaviour of the counterinsurgents is also likely to be very adaptive. This was especially true in Vietnam, as noted by Maxwell Taylor: "While J_the V.Cj_/ objectives remained remarkably constant over the years, each side repeatedly changed i t s strategy to meet new conditions. Usually these changes were made necessary either by actions of the adversary or by evidence of the inadequacy of the current strategy."^ The following pattern of change illustrates this point quite well. Regular forces, unable to achieve the immediate victory they are seeking, may start the evolutionary and developmental phenomenon with the introduction of some new weapon or device. The altered behaviour on their part represents a challenge to the insurgents and they respond by taking actions specifically designed to minimize the value of the counterinsurgent's altered behaviour and the maximization of their own efforts.^ In Vietnam, when the counterinsurgent innova-tion was the increased use of a better transportation system, the i n -surgents responded by avoiding those areas in which such a system of-fered an advantage. The insurgents also responded to the challenge by striking directly at the transportation system i t s e l f . This response was viewed by the counterinsurgents as a new challenge, which led to attempts to minimize the response options available to the i n -surgents. When the insurgents reacted to the use of aircraft by dis-persion, concealment, and night-travel, the counterinsurgents responded by using night-vision techniques, infrared photography, defoliation and heavy bombers.7 Such developments represented a new challenge to the insurgents and helped to set off another round in the challenge-76 response cycle. People's Revolutionary War arid the American Response The war in Vietnam has often times been referred to as a People's g Revolutionary War. A People's Revolutionary War i s , by i t s very nature, a civil-war of a very complicated type. It employs highly refined techniques to seize power and to take over control of a country's ruling mechanisms. Its significant feature is i t s relative immunity against the application of massive fire-power and large-scale force. John Hoagland notes: "...once the insurgents revert to guer-r i l l a warfare or terrorism, i t is often virt u a l l y impossible — as the Vietnam experience shows — for the incumbent government to stamp 9 out a l l evidence of their presence." Quite obviously, the p o l i t i c a l infrastructure i s relatively immune to the massive application of force. An insurgent c e l l located in a school or church is not likely to be eliminated by B-52s unless the buildings, with a l l c e l l members inside, is intentionally bombed, k i l l i n g the inhabitants. Equally, i n -surgents, by their strategies and tactics and their a b i l i t y to accept or reject battle, are not likely to be defeated by conventional means. Normally a People's Revolutionary War goes through Mao Tse-tung' s three phases of "protracted war:" the build-up, or defensive phase; the guerrilla war, or the equilibrium phase; and the take-over, or offensive phase. Time is not usually viewed as an important factor for the completion of any one of these phases. Accordingly, time, or perhaps patience, is regarded as the greatest asset in the arsenal of an insurgency, and i t is_ the key to the strategy of protracted war."^ The 77 value of patience is enhanced when the counterinsurgents are themselves impatient because, as previously noted, impatience produces errors and further impatience which then perpetuates the "impatience-frustration-aggression" cycle."''"'" In i t s broadest sense, time provides the insur-gents with the opportunity to develop, experiment, evaluate, and inno-vate. Time can only be preserved or increased when there is sufficient "space" to exchange for i t . In this sense, "space" refers to both actual territory and people, as well as their resources. When the "guerrilla war" phase was initiated, the aim was to gain space whichccould then be traded for time. Control was established over the remotest villages and then gradually extended inward i n ac-cordance with the Maoist dictum of using the villages to encircle the 12 towns, and the towns to encircle the ci t i e s . When the South Vietnamese forces were compelled to p u l l back i n defense of the main towns and cities i n 1965, the Vietcong had gained 13 the needed space to begin their war of mobility (the offensive phase). By gaining the needed space, the insurgents had ensured themselves the needed time. It was at this point i n the war that the Americans became directly involved through bombing the North and large-scale deployment of combat troops throughout the South. In terms of space, this action had a number of immediate effects. It spread the war into the North and brought into play the people of North Vietnam. Within the South i t s e l f , the additional strength provided by the American forces meant that the space already secured by the Vietcong had to be retained and that the American effort would have to be neutralized i f further space 78 was to be gained. In effect, this meant that the war for control of the South was divided into two major areas: the p o l i t i c a l war for control of the people, and the military war to n e u t r a l i z e the Americans. This meant that Hanoi would have to become directly involved i n the conflict i f these two courses were to be a c t i v e l y pursued. The bombing of the North provided Hanoi with the needed 14 excuse to involve herself. In short, escalation had to be met by counterescalation, and action had to be countered by r e a c t i o n . Due to the nature of insurgency warfare, the Vietcong and the forces of North Vietnam were e s s e n t i a l l y in command of when and where battle would be undertaken. "^ This was in keeping with the Maoist stratagem of guerrilla warfare: "Although the flexible dispersal or c o n c e n t r a t i o n of forces according teDcircumstances is the prin-cipal method in guerrilla warfare, we must also know how to shift...our forces flexibly. When the enemy feels seriously threatened by guerrillas, he w i l l send troops to attack or suppress them. Hence the guerrilla units w i l l have to take stock of the situation. If advisable, they should fight where they are; i f not, they should lose no time in shifting elsewhere. Sometimes, in order to crush the enemy units one by one, guerrilla units which have destroyed an enemy force i n one place may im-mediately shift to another so as to wipe out a second enemy force....If the enemy's forces i n a certain place present a particularly serious threat, the guerrilla units should not linger, but should move off with lightning speed. In general, shifts of position should be made with secrecy and speed. In order to mislead, decoy and confuse the enemy, there should be constant use of stratagems, such as making a feint to the east but attacking, in the west, appearing now in the south and now in ^ the north, hit-and-run attacks, and night actions." choice of strategy — offensive, defensive, or maintaining the 79 status quo — usually rested with the insurgents' military leaders. By maintaining the offensive and keeping the strategic i n i t i a t i v e , the V.C. and the Northern regulars presented the American military, commanders with a constant and unsolvable dilemma: choosing between concentrating for offensive operations or dispersing for the defense of vulnerable targets. According to General Westmoreland, this dilemma was viewed as being the fundamental problem to the war's suc-cessful prosecution. The solution he suggested, was to increase the number of American servicemen, thereby- providing sufficient manpower to operate successfully on both levels."*"7 However, the dilemma was to prove unsolvable for the Americans because of the nature of guerrilla warfare and Hanoi's direct involvement. Whenever the Amer-icans attempted to redress the balance of forces by increasing the size of their own troop commitment ( i t was believed that a proper balance was ten counterinsurgents for one insurgent), Hanoi countered 18 by sending more troops down the " T r a i l " into the South. The u l t i -mate result of this counter-action was a situation in which American military commanders came to rely less and less upon their ground combat troops, and more and more upon their air and a r t i l l e r y f i r e -power. The very fire-power which proved disastrous to. non-combatants because of i t s inability to distinguish readily between combatant and non-combatant, and because of the military's over-eagerness to "shoot-f i r s t " and "question later." Another effect of Hanoi's intervention and the insurgents' ab i l i t y to maintain the offensive was the creation of a tendency on 80 the part of South Vietnamese troops to leave the d i f f i c u l t fighting assignments to the Americans. This tended to increase American dis-enchantment with South Vietnamese forces. As well, the sometimes heavy American casualties which resulted from these combat situations intensified the Southern forces' distaste for combat with the insurgents. To maintain the offensive meant, for the insurgents, a high cost in manpower, massive bomb damage to the North, and, to some extent, a loss in operational maneuverability. However, given the rather prim-i t i v e industrialized nature of the North's economy; the abundance of ci v i l i a n "volunteers" from China who could help repair the damage in f l i c t e d by the bombing; the persistent a b i l i t y to find alternate means of transport; and the willingness of a l l i e s in eastern Europe to come to their assistance, Hanoi's choice was to endure because nothing would prove fatally damaging to i t s efforts in supporting the insurgency i n the South. Hanoi knew quite well, as did many American politicians, that there was only one asset in North Vietnam which was v i t a l to the war effort and that was the North's population. It was the one asset that could be counted upon, and which did not appear subject to at-tack. Unfortunately, because the people of North Vietnam were the only real targets which could successfully affect both the physical course of the war and Hanoi's prosecution of the conflict, American leaders f e l t compelled to wage an air campaign against that resource base. Given the lack of real targets which could affect the conflict, 81 the people, in the North as well as the South, were the logical targets for the American air-power. The air war in Vietnam (North and South) was characterized by zonal bombardment, area-denial, free-bomb zones, and anti-personnel weapons. The zonal pattern of bombardment i n the war was designed to devastate entire regions of the country. Since there was no particular target, injury to civilians located i n those areas sub-jected to bombardment was necessary and, indeed, inevitable i f the plan was effectively executed. Noam Chomsky has noted: "It is important to understand that the massacre of the rural population of Vietnam...is not an accidental by-product of the war. Rather i t 20 is of the very essence of American strategy." It is unfortunate and somewhat ironic that when examined closely, the strategy of American counterinsurgency suggests, on the one hand, a policy of careful restraint against traditionally accepted military targets and, on the other, a widespread lack of restraint 21 against targets of a mo:Ee dubious military nature. There i s ample evidence available to indicate that the United States Air Force avoided many v i t a l targets in the North as late as August, 1967. A report issued by the United States Senate Preparedness Investigation Subcommittee on September 1, 1967, dealt with this subject: "It was clearly implied by the Secretary of Defense that few, i f any, important military targets remained unstruck. The great weight of the military testimony was.to the contrary: General McConnell states: "There are many valuable targets remaining unstruck." General Wheeler stated that the 57 targets under 82 discussion /those remaining targets not yet autho-rized for bombing/ were worthwhile targets and said: "There are many lucrative targets that have not yet been struck," and "that we consider impor-tant." As late as Aug. 28 /196//, General Greene ^ said: "The key targets have not even yet been h i t . " The sparing of authentic, fixed military targets in the North, coupled with the fact that the air raids above the 17th paral l e l continued unabated prompts one to ask what was the nature of those targets being h i t . This question takes on added significance i n light of Secretary McNamara's testimony before the same Senate Sub-committee on October 11, 1967. Admitting that he did not believe the bombing had " i n any;significant way affected the war-making capability of North Vietnam," he noted: " A l l of the evidence so far is that we have not been able to destroy a sufficient quantity of war material in North Vietnam to limit the activity in the South 23 below the present level and I do not know that we can in the future." Yet, despite his doubts, McNamara seemed to possess some just i f i c a t i o n for continuing the raids when he noted that they were increasing the price of the North's aggression against the South. One conclusion that we can deduce from these statements i s that American air-power was being directed against targets of decreasingly l i t t l e or no military value. Under such conditions i t i s not surprising to note that c i v i l i a n suffering increased as the war dragged on. The use of American air-power and a r t i l l e r y in the South also raises serious questions about the conduct of the war. Numerous ac-counts of correspondents, v i s i t i n g scholars and others indicate that targets of secondary, tertiary, and, in some instances,of no conceivable 83 military value, had come under a i r and a r t i l l e r y bombardment through-25 out Vietnam. One explanation for the bombardment of such targets is that with so few targets of a conventional military character, targets had to be found for the vast arsenal of American fire-power. In addition, two of the principal reasons for limiting the bombing of the North — negotiation and Chinese intervention — were absent in the South. Another explanation for the indiscriminate bombardment in the South may be found i n the area of targeting policies and restrictions. While there existed rather r i g i d guidelines for bombing operations in the North, there were very few applied to the Southern theater of combat. With a freer reign on a i r and a r t i l l e r y operations, there was more room for carelessness and the carefree use of weapons. However, the reason for this reduction was not s t r i c t l y strategic. The freer reign helped to diminish some of the h o s t i l i t y shown by military personnel towards U.S. war policies by keeping military commanders from turning completely sour on a war which, many f e l t , was being run by politicians i n Washington whose f i r s t concern appeared to be over-26 restraint of military forces. It has been suggested, however, that the c i v i l i a n administrators had to pay a price for-their restraint; over policies relating to the North by giving i n to the military on policies designed for the South. Richard Barnet has noted: "The Joint Chiefs of Staff exacted a price from President Johnson for their agreement to support the cessation of bombing over North Vietnam. They insisted upon taking the bombs they had counted on dropping on the North and 84 clumping them on the South and Laos.^' In 1963, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara told a United States Congressional committee: "We have a long way to go i n devising and imple-menting effective counter-measures against the communist techniques. But this i s a challenge we must meet i f we are to defeat the communists in this kind of war." 2 8 The United States was to eventually meet this challenge by viewing the conduct of the war in terms of managerial and military experimentation in the areas of pacification and combat practices. On the issue of "managerial" experimentation, Gabriel Kolko notes: "The U.S. effort in Vietnam is grounded on former Secretary of Defense MeNamara's concepts of cost effectiveness, which weighs fire-power and available resources against political-military needs and ob-jectives. To pay for such a vast undertaking, and rationalize expenditures to Congress, violence is carefully calculated and i t s intended outcome trans-lated into military and economic terms, with the relative "body-counts" becoming a v i t a l measure of results. Such mechanized, dehumanizing slaughter assures mass death, from the air, from a r t i l l e r y shells, i n fields and prisons." 2' In 1969, General Westmoreland declared that Vietnam had i n fact been a valuable laboratory for testing new weapons and techniques; that the "lessons" and "devices" coming out of Vietnam are "revolutionizing" the techniques of warfare; that having i n f l i c t e d i n Vietnam "over two-thirds of enemy casualties," long-ranged a r t i l l e r y and air-power had proved their capacity to "rain destruction anywhere on the battle-f i e l d within minutes...whether friendly troops are present or not;" that with new electronic devices the enemy could be mechanically 85 located, tracked, and targetted; and that technology would permit a "tremendous economy of man-power."3^ The trouble with the tracking, targetting, and locating devices was that they were even less capable of distinguishing between com-batants and non-combatants than were the actual servicemen in the f i e l d . One conclusion to be derived from a l l this is that when a technologically advanced nation becomes committed to developing tech-niques against a People's Revolutionary War, i t must end up producing and employing weapons of mass murder. At least this i s the view of Gabriel Kolko: " M i l i t a r i l y , the United States has fought the war with whatever decentralized-style weapons i t could develop as well as the sheer quantity of fire-power which "conventional" weapons employ. The preeminent characteristic of both these ap-proaches i s that they are i n t r i n s i c a l l y and utterly indiscriminate in that they strike entire populations. And while such strategy violates a l l international law regarding warfare, and i s inherently genocidal, i t also adjusts to the p o l i t i c a l reality in South Vietnam that the NLF is and can be anywhere and that virtually the entire people is Washington's enemy."31 86 a REFERENCES : "^ For a review of the refugee problem in Vietnam see the published reports of the United States Senate Sub-committee on Refugees and Escapees, Sen. Edward Kennedy chairman. Washington, D.C, Government Printing Office, 1970 -Vo Nguyen Giap, "Inside the Viet Minh." In The Guerrilla - And How To Fight Him, edited by. T.N. Greene. New York: 1962, p. 150. 3 Vladimir Dedijir, "The Poor Man's Power." In Unless Peace  Comes, edited by Nigel Calder, Harmondsworth: 1970, p. 41. 4 Maxwell Taylor, Swords and Plowshares. New York: 1972, p. 381. ^Wilfred Burchett, Vietnam: Inside Story of the Guerrilla War, 3rd ed. New York: 1968, pp. 84-90. "^Two Speeches by General Vo Nguyen Giap\",: Viet-Nam: Documents  and Research Notes, document no. 68, November, 1969, p. 14. ^Grover Heiman, "Beep to Bang." Armed Forces Management, vol. 16, no. 10, July, 1970, pp. 36-39. g Vo Nguyen Giap, "The Party's Military Line i s the Ever-Victorious Banner of People's War in our Country." Viet-Nam Documents  and Research Notes, document no. 70, January, 1970, pp. 1-82. 9 John Hoagland, "Changing Patterns of Insurgency and American Response." Journal of International Affairs, vol. XXV, no. 1, 1971, p. 123. "^ M. Rejai, Ed., Mao Tse-Tung On Revolution and War. Garden City, N.Y.: 1970, pp. 271-279. ''"''"For a recapitulation of this point, see text oh pp.64r65. 12 Impact of the Sapper on the War i n Vietnam. Saigon: 1969, pp. 4-6 Ibxd. 14 Although Hanoi has never " o f f i c i a l l y " acknowledged the presence of North Vietnamese troops in the war i n the South, she has acknowledged the presence of "South" Vietnamese troops who have "returned to the South to assist in the war-effort against the forces of the counterin-surgency. These troops were those Southerners who l e f t South Vietnam following the end of h o s t i l i t i e s against the French i n 1954. However, we how know that Northerners have engaged in active combat in the South from captured documents and confessions of PAVN (People's Army of Viet-Nam) troops. (See reference no. 48, p. 44.) 86 b By the very nature of the war they wage, insurgents can usually choose when and where they wish to engage in combat. This follows from Mao's teachings on guerrilla warfare: " . . . i t can be seen that in their operations guerrilla units have to concentrate the maximum forces, act secretly and swiftly, attack the enemy by surprise and bring battles to a quick decision.... the basic principle of guerrilla warfare must be the offensive, and i t is more offensive in i t s character than regular warfare." (Mao Tse-tung, Selected  Military Writings, vol. II. Peking: 1963, p. 156.) Mao goes on to note that " i t i s precisely because the guerrilla units are small and weak that they can mysteriously appear and disappear in their opera-tions behind enemy lines, without the enemy's being able to do anything about them, and thus enjoy a freedom of action such as massive regular, armies never can." (Ibid., p. 158.) "^Ibid., p. 161. 1 7 " J o i n t Chiefs' April 20 /1967/ Report to McNamara on Troop Needs." The Pentagon Papers, The New York Times Editions. New York: 1971, document no. 124, pp. 565-567. 18 Vo Nguyen Giap, op. c i t . , pp. 47-49. 19 J.C. Donnell, and C.A. Joiner, "South Vietnam: Struggle, Po l i t i c s , and the Bigger War." Asian Survey, vol. VII, no. 1, 1967, p. 61. 20 Noam Chomsky, "After Pinkville." In Moral Aspects and the  War in Vietnam, edited by Paul Menzel. Nashville: 1971, p. 73. 21 George McT. Kahin, and John W. Lewis note that in the early stages of the war against the North, U.S. air-power made the immediate destruction of the bulk of the North's war-making capability both pos-sible and i l l o g i c a l . It was i l l o g i c a l because of the advisability of keeping up a steady bombing rate to promote negotiations while at the same time sparing certain targets (military and civilian) i n order to keep them as a bargaining tool in such negotiations. Additional reasons for the American selective-bombing strategy may have been to keep China from directly intervening, and to enable North Vietnam to continue waging i t s more "conventional" style of war. (G. McT. Kahin, and J.W. Lewis, The United States i n Vietnam. New York: 1967, pp.183-194. 22 New York Times, September 1, 1967. 23 New York Times, October 11, 1967. Ibid. 25 Y. Ishijima, "Non-Military Targets and Methods of Attack." In Against the Crime of Silence, edited by John Duffett. New York: 1971. 87 ^""Peter Bourne, "From Boot Camp to My L a i . " I n Crimes of War, e d i t e d by R.A. Fa lk , G. Ko lko , and R .J . L i f t o n . New York : 1971, p. 466. 27 Richard J . Barnet , The Economy of Death. New York : 1971, p. 82. 28 Uni ted States House of Representa t i ves , Committee on Appro-p r i a t i o n s . Department o f Defense A p p r o p r i a t i o n s f o r 1963. Hear ings, 87th Congress, 2nd Session, p a r t 2. Washington, D . C : 1963, pp .49-50 . 29 G a b r i e l Ko lko , "On The Avoidance o f R e a l i t y . " I n Crimes o f  War, e d i t e d by R.A. Fa lk , G. Ko lko , and R.J . L i f t o n . New York : 1971, p. 15. 30 New York Times, October 15, 1969. 31 G a b r i e l Ko lko , "War Crimes and the Nature of the Vietnam War." I n Crimes of War, e d i t e d by R.A. F a l k , G. Ko lko , and R.J. L i f t o n . New York : 1971, p. 411. 88 ATROCITIES OF WAR AND THE INDIVIDUAL IN VIETNAM Although we have examined a number of issues r e l a t i n g to the commission of a t r o c i t i e s i n Vietnam, our focus on the r o l e of . the i n d i v i d u a l combatant has only been pe r i p h e r a l . While t h i s has been adequate i n explaining the r o l e of the'insurgent i n atrocity-producing s i t u a t i o n s , the same can not be s a i d of the counterinsurgent references. Accordingly, t h i s part of the paper w i l l attempt to c l a r i f y what has, u n t i l now, been an i n t e n t i o n a l oversight, What i s required i s a d i s -cussion of the counterinsurgent 1s motivational-environment. A b r i e f review of two s p e c i f i c issues w i l l prove h e l p f u l i n under-standing part of the motivational-environment i n which American s e r v i c e -men undertook the prosecution of the war, and which helped f o s t e r a s i t u a t i o n very conducive to the commission of a t r o c i t i e s . This d i s -cussion w i l l , of necessity, be l i m i t e d to the American forces serving i n Vietnam."'" The two issues that w i l l be discussed, and which may very w e l l be the two most important, are: the "body-count," and the deper-2 s o n a l i z a t i o n of the enemy. The f i r s t issue represents the one measure which the Americans viewed as capable of determining the success or f a i l u r e of t h e i r war e f f o r t . The second issue was the fa c t o r which enabled the f i r s t to become such a v i a b l e measure. The body-count was considered by many to be the most, and perhaps only, important measure of the war's progress. A large body-count for example, would suggest the success of some p a r t i c u l a r m i l i t a r y opera-ti o n . In addition to determining the success or f a i l u r e of a m i l i t a r y operation, body-counts were employed i n the evaluation of a m i l i t a r y 89 commander's effectiveness in the f i e l d , a weapon system or some new innovation to battle-field tactics; and, above a l l else, i t was used in the evaluation of the individual serviceman in the eyes of his commanders, his friends, and his comrades-in-arm. In a war where few indicators existed for determining who the enemy was, where the lines of combat were drawn, what the mood of the population was towards the progress of the war, and how the enemy was doing, the body-count was a welcomed r e l i e f , for i t alone could t e l l American military men how the war was going for them as well as for the enemy. With such an importance attached to i t , the body-counts became the primary motivating force behind any military undertaking. This fact was to be continuously impressed upon the American troops in the f i e l d throughout the course 4 of the war. The effect this had was so great that, i n one instance where an American was tried for the murder of a Vietnamese c i v i l i a n , the desire to achieve a high body-count was introduced in defense of the defendant, Lt. James Duffy: "Duffy's company commander, Capt. Howard Turner describes the policy which made the murder probable, i f not inevitable: - "The extreme stress i s on what we c a l l the k i l l ratio - how many US k i l l e d and how many enemy k i l l e d — or body count. Arid this has become the big thing. This i s what your efficiency report is written on."^ Given their limited a b i l i t y i n determining what successes had been achieved, the U.S. military leaders accepted the number of enemy dead as a good indicator. Accordingly, a high body-count meant that the enemy had suffered, which was indicative of American gains; while a low body-count meant that the enemy did not suffer as much as he should 9 0 have, which was indicative of American losses. Robert Lifton has noted that a key to understanding the psychology of the war li e s with the body-count. He notes: "Nothing else so well epitomizes the war's absurdity and e v i l . Recording the enemy's losses is a convention of war, but i n the absence of any •• other goals or c r i t e r i a for success, counting the enemy dead can become a malignant obsession. For the combat GI in Vietnam k i l l i n g Vietnamese is the entire mission, the number k i l l e d his and his unit's only standard of achievement. Given the ina b i l i t y of the American forces to distinguish between com-batants and non-combatants, and the a b i l i t y of the Vietcong to strike suddenly and effectively by almost any means, the Americans found i t very easy to adopt a "shoot f i r s t and question later" approach to combat. The only drawback to this approach,however, was that the GIs rarely were i n a situation where questioning, could be undertaken. This was partly due to the type of weapons employed, and the orders of combat issued (both direct and implied). The American combat r i f l e , the M-16, was such a powerful weapon that when an insurgent was Struck by i t s bullet, his chances were not very good for survival. This was precisely the purpose for which the weapon was developed. 7 We know that very few combat operations were undertaken without the support of massive air and a r t i l l e r y support. Once the enemy was engaged, or just located, the fire-power was called 8 upon to do the work of destroying the enemy. If the enemy was located in a heavily bunkered position, or tracked to a network of underground tunnels, napalm, phosphorous, dynamite or bulldozers would be employed to ensure his eradication. In many cases, a l l that was required of the 91 combat GI was his use i n collecting the dead bodies, and engaging any snipers operating i n the v i c i n i t y . If some of the insurgents did somehow manage to survive the bombs, shells, napalm and phos-phorous, and there was no direct request issued for prisoners, they were usually subjected to the whims of the countless one-man ex-ecution squads. As one GI described the situation: "We really never got an order to take prisoners and I think i t was a general attitude 9 of almost everybody over there not to take prisoners;" or the following comment: "There were no prisoners of war taken by our company because that diminishes the body-count.""'"^ Unfortunately, with such body-counts, there were numerous times when the figures were simply not believed. It became imperative among the lower echelons of command to devise some way of verifying such body-counts. The solution that f i n a l l y resolved the problem proved to be the cutting off of ears from dead bodies: "They didn't believe our body counts. So we had to cut off the right ear of everr-ybio'dy we k i l l e d to prove our body count.""'""'" In addition, 12 ct£fiere evolved a system of rewards for high body-counts which spurred the ground forces on to bigger and better body-count totals. Unfortuna-tely, because the Vietcong were elusive, and both the V.C. and the Northern forces were very adept at the recovery of fallen comrades, "other" bodies had to be produced to f i l l the body-count columns. These proved to be ci v i l i a n s . The marvel of using civilians for enemy statistics was that there was no way of ever verifying this murderous conduct, as noted by one American o f f i c i a l : "If i t ' s dead, i t ' s V C v — because i t ' s dead. If i t ' s dead, i t had to be VC. And of course, a 92 corpse couldn't defend i t s e l f anyhow."XJ The "depersonalization" process was designed to make the American serviceman think of his enemy in terms of something resem-bling a dreaded disease. This process, begun on induction into the 14 service, helped serve the situation described above. The process was designed to condition the serviceman to view his enemy as possessing no human characteristics or qualities. In this sense, then, i t was . quite permissible to k i l l Vietnamese without any compunction provided that such was considered to be, at least nominally, within the bounds of "military necessity." Given the undefinable nature of the war, "military necessity" could (and usually was) be applied to almost every situation the counterinsurgent found himself in. The "deperson-alization" process, while never o f f i c i a l l y programmed as such, served the body-count objective most admirably. In addition to depersonaliz-ing the actual enemy, the process worked on depersonalizing those.the American forces were in Vietnam supposedly to protect — the c i v i l i a n population of the South. When U.S. servicemen entered basic training they were constantly told that the Vietnamese were not people: "You are taught they are gooks and a l l you hear is gook, gook, gook, gook.""''"' Basic training, then, may be viewed as a process whereby the counterin-surgent was prepared for the facts of war that awaited him: the enemy was not human; the Vietnamese were not human; the enemycco.uld be any-where and could be anyone; death was always lurking i n a shadow or around any corner; body-counts were very important; and, k i l l i n g would help serve the cause of personal safety as well as the body-count. 93 By depersonalizing the enemy (not to mention those men whom one is supposedly fighting for), the U.S. servicemen lost his inhi-bitions about k i l l i n g and was psychologically prepared to commence his job as soon as he landed: "On his arrival i n Vietnam the GI is immediately thrust into an environment where k i l l i n g and the struggle for survival was a daily fact of l i f e . To stay alive by any means possible for the next twenty-four hours becomes the motivating force, and to do so the GI has l i t t l e choice but to f a l l back on the training and resources the Army has provided him. The Army has already taught him to relinquish personal i n i t i a t i v e , and the more hazardous and frightening the environment the more he is willing to be dependent upon the orders of superiors, even at the expense of abandoning previous values, beliefs, and inde-pendence." A third variable which played into this psychological situation was frustration. The body-count and depersonalization enabled the serviceman to relieve his frustrations by k i l l i n g the "enemy" because anyone he k i l l e d was, by his definition, an enemy. Likewise, should he mistakingly k i l l a non-enemy, he was always able to acknowledge that he was not k i l l i n g a human being because the Vietnamese were not con-sidered human."'"7 When a l l of these variables were combined, the f i n a l product created an environment in which massive death was not only l i k e l y , but acceptable as well. These three variables, then, worked together to produce the indescribable horror that has since come to characterize the war. Given the mental perceptions of American forces, is. i t any wonder that when the "super" weapons were introduced into combat they 94 were employed towards the ends of body-count, frustration-relief, and the negation of fear? Given the situation i n which the "impatience-frustration-anger-aggressiveness" cycle operated, and the type of weapon-systems available for combat use, is i t any wonder that "atroc-i t i e s " were committed despite attempts at minimizing the needless loss 18 of l i f e ? These were the conditions which helped to transform Vietnam into what might be regarded as a departure from the normal traditions of armed combat: "The new war is an American Marine setting f i r e to a hut (a "Zippo Raid") because i t looks lik e a Vietcong headquarters. It is American paratroopers abusing a village chief because they don't have interpreters to explain his importance. More than anything else, i t is the indiscriminate bombing operations because of faulty information 19 and because i t is easier than sending men out." 95 REFERENCES ''"Unfortunately the area of "psychological" factors has not been well researched or documented. The overwhelming majority of available materials pertains to the forces of the United States. It is only natural, therefore, that the focus i n this chapter w i l l relate to those factors pertaining to the American forces of the counterinsur-gency . 2 For a review of this term, see reference no. 1, p. 6. 3 Citizens Commission of Inquiry, The Dellums Committee Hearings  on War Crimes in Vietnam. New York: 1972, p. 13. 4 Ibid., p. 70. "'"The Interrogation of Captain Howard Turner at the T r i a l of Lt. James Duffy." In Crimes of War, edited by Richard A. Falk, Gabriel Kolko, arid Robert J. Lifton. New York: 1971, p. 239. ^Robert J. Lifton, Home from the War. New York: 1973, p. 59. ^Malcolm Browne, The New Face of War, rev. ed. Indianapolis: 1968, p. 54. g Charles Mohr, "Vast U.S. Firepower Arrayed in Vietnam Against Guerrillas." In Vietnam: Anatomy of a Conflict, edited by Wesley R. Fishel. Itasco, 111.: 1968, p. 461. 9 Vietnam Veterans Against the War, The Winter Soldier Investiga- tion. Boston: 1972, p. 77. •^Citizens Commission of Inquiry, op. c i t . , p. 228. ''""'"Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . , p. 9. 12 Ibid., p. 56. 13 Robert J. Lifton, "Beyond Atrocity." In Crimes of War, edited by R.A. Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and R.J. Lifton. New York: 1971, p. 25. 14 Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . , pp. 44-45. "'"^ Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . , pp. 44-45. "^Peter G. Bourne, "From Boot Camp to My Lai." In Crimes of War, edited by R.A. Falk, G. Kolko, and R.J. Lifton. New York: 1971, pp. 465-466. "^Vietnam Veterans Against the War, op. c i t . , p. 152. 96 " "Genera l Abrams, when he took over command o f the war , i n t r o -duced s t r i n g e n t g u i d e l i n e s f o r the c r e a t i o n of f r e e - f i r e and f r e e -s t r i k e zone; when and where p a t t e r n bombing, search-and-dest roy miss ions and harassment and i n t e r d i c t i o n opera t ions would take p l a c e . P r i o r t o h i s assumption o f command these d e c i s i o n s , w h i l e nomina l l y i n the hands of Saigon o f f i c i a l s , were l e f t up to the d i s c r e t i o n of f i e l d commanders. One o f the reasons f o r h i s d e c i s i o n was the need-less loss of l i f e and d e s t r u c t i o n o f p r o p e r t y . (Peter B raes t rup , "The Abrams St ra tegy i n V ie tnam. " The New Leader, v o l . L I T , no. 1 1 , June 9, 1969, pp. 3 - 5 ) . Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, I n The Name of  America. Annandale, V a . : 1968, p. 175. 97 CONCLUSION Among the many commentaries which have attempted to depict the problems associated with counterinsurgency efforts, the following is especially noteworthy: "Whereas at the outset we could be satisfied with infantry units, the expansion and embitterment of the conflict required a continually increasing use of a r t i l l e r y , mortars, tanks, flame-throwers and other technical expedients....The crippling sense of uncertainty and l i a b i l i t y to attack led to the development of a suitable defense against being ambushed. Instead of waiting to be shot at from a house we neutralized possible snipers by opening f i r e on the house or went on f i r i n g u n t i l the enemy was out of action....In view of the brutal, indeed very often inhuman, behaviour of the bands, for one c r i t i c a l period I'.had to order drastic use of weapons to curtail the extraordinary casualties we were incurring from a certain nonchalance and out-of-place mildness on the part of our soldiers. Unless one wanted to commit suicide the war involved a reversal of natural feelings, which in i t s e l f con-cealed grave dangers."1 While indicative of the nature of the conflict, this passage also suggests the inevitability of war-crimes as necessitated by the align-ment of certain counterinsurgency forces with particular strategies. However, given this apparent "necessity," this military commander s t i l l f e l t uneasy with his conduct in light of the laws of war: "As i t i s , because of the peculiar nature of insurgent or guerrilla warfare certain measures are permissible by international law which are alien to the soldier at the front. Unfortunately the articles of the Hague Convention for Land Warfare are insufficiently defined, the vague term "the custom of war" being partly used to cover this lack of precision. The questions that require c l a r i f i c a t i o n are: hostages and the k i l l i n g of hostages; reprisals and their nature, extent and pro-portionality; collective measures and their pre-con-ditions; emergency decrees and j u d i c i a l procedure." 2 98 Given t h i s one c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of g u e r r i l l a or insurgency warfare, can we suggest that i t i s r e f l e c t i v e of the war i n Vietnam? I t would seem most u n l i k e l y that these comments accurately r e f l e c t the Vietnamese s i t u a t i o n because we have too many newspaper accounts, t e l e v i s i o n docu-mentaries, personal'stories, and findings of i n t e r n a t i o n a l conferences which t e l l us d i f f e r e n t l y . We can also note that t h i s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n does not conform to the r e a l i t i e s of Vietnam because i t was not drawn from that experience. Albert Kesselring based h i s comments on h i s ex-perience with the I t a l i a n Partisans during the Second World War. Nevertheless, we can suggest, from h i s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of g u e r r i l l a warfare, that such warfare has changed very l i t t l e with respect to i t s prosecution and i t s expected r e s u l t s . What*does appear to have changed i s the a t t i t u d e taken towards the suc c e s s f u l prosecution of counterinsur-gency e f f o r t s by m i l i t a r y commanders. Kesselring noted that "as a matter of p r i n c i p l e " he abstained from using bombers, "because i n inhabited places I could not take the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r i n j u r y to the c i v i l i a n population. He further noted that " i n the future such scruples w i l l 3 have to go by the board... I t would appear that Generals Westmoreland and Abrams took t h i s l a s t piece of advice to heart and sought i t s pur-poseful execution. While the Vietnam c o n f l i c t may be viewed from any one of several vantage points, t h i s paper has been concerned with the war's apparent a b i l i t y to induce the commission of a t r o c i t i e s and the r e l a t i o n s h i p s existent between these acts and the weapons, t a c t i c s and st r a t e g i e s adopted. To deny the existence of such actions i s to remain o b l i v i o u s 99 to the realities of the conflict. To suggest that although the "acts" did occur they were not criminal is to overlook a sizeable body of legal documentation which tends to support just the opposite conclu-sion. It should also be recalled that both sides are collectively guilty of war crimes, and qualitatively should both be held responsible for a larger portion of the death and destruction, i f only because they possessed the weapons capable of such massive horror. To single out any one cause for this is to deny the extreme com-plexity of the war i t s e l f . However, there does appear to exist one such explanation whichseems to rise above a l l the others — the "action-reaction" process. "The Vietnamese war had long been stamped by an unusual degree of cruelty from both sides, but the Vietcong's acts i f violence as such had un t i l late 1961 usually been directed against specific govern-ment forces...and local defense forces....The Viet-cong usually restricted i t s terrorism to the achie-vement of p o l i t i c a l ends and endeavoured to restrain i t s followers from resorting to mere acts of vengeance. But when the heavy influx of new weapons, especially the armed helicopters, caused communist deaths to soar i n 1962, the Vietcong loosed a wave of assassina-tions and kidnappings of Saigon supporters, presumably to offset the drastic effects of i t s staggering losses. 1 , 4 Similarly, as the war progressed and as insurgent casualties mounted from the t e r r i f i c pounding to which they were constantly subjected by American B-52s, the need for recruits and supplies increased insurgency coercion: "Coercion, including induction via abduction, has become more prominent in NLF military recruitment since 1964-65. Mounting casualty rates and financial pressures, coupled with ever greater 100 recruiting quotas, have caused the cadres to resort to more direct, strong-arm methods of induction and taxation than the preferred methods of more gradual and informal persuasion and indoctrination of recruit-designates. Apart from such " u t i l i t a r i a n " purposes, the action-reaction phenomenon resulted from other factors as well. Emotional factors induced both sides into the commission of horrendous acts. Such acts of violence against the c i v i l i a n population by each side tended to confirm the other's view of them as something less than human: "A method of k i l l i n g i s often regarded as an atrocity by one side but not the other — Americans are outraged by the National Liberation Front's disembowelings and beheadings, while they in turn refer to napalm and crop-poisoning as "the most cruel and barbaric means of annihilating people." 6 Jerome Frank goes on to explain this action-reaction dynamic, which closely resembles a " s e l f - f u l f i l l i n g prophecy," when he notes: "Playing up enemy atrocities, each side not only j u s t i f i e s i t s own cruelties and dehumanizes the enemy, i t further arouses i t s own citizens' blood-lust. The ferocity of war is both made possible and enhanced by the denial of humanity to the enemy: he becomes a s t a t i s t i c , an abstrac-tion, and a beast, and the perception of him as subhuman reinforces the conviction that, li k e an animal, he is impervious to reason and w i l l respond only to punishment."1 Given this depersonalization of the war, combatants would appear to have sublimated their "military" objectives into a combined and uniform purpose. This satisfied military commands as well as whatever individual needs existed at the time. However, when such efforts were disrupted, the 101 resulting sense of frustration was far more acute than would normally be experienced. This, I believe, i s the key to the war's a b i l i t y to create an inevitable atrocity-producing situation. In this sense, we can suggest that such acts are usually committed by desperate and highly frustrated men. Robert Lifton has noted that "an atrocity is a perverse quest for meaning;" i t is the "end result of a spurious 8 sense of mission;" i t is "the product of false witness." With respect to the American participation i n the war, we can advance the proposition that My Lai-type massacres were inevitable in that those men who participated in them were the victims of the war's many contradictions: "To say that American military involvement in Vietnatiu;is i t s e l f a crime i s also to say that i t i s an atrocity-producing situation. Or to put the matter another way, My Lai illuminates, F as nothing else- has, the essential nature of this atrocity-producing situation.ialtu-includes an advanced industrial nation engaged i n a counter-insurgency action i n an underdeveloped area against guerrillas who merge with the people." 9 Among the many problems encountered by the counterinsurgents was their ina b i l i t y to separate the people from the insurgents. Frances Fiuzgerald notes: "In many regions the Viet Cong were simply the villagers themselves; to -eliminate the Viet Cong" meant to eliminate the villages, i f not the v i l -lagers themselves, an entire social structure and a way of l i f e . " 1 0 The war crimes policies that existed i n Vietnam for the forces of c the counterinsurgency stemmed from the fact that they were totally i n -capable of distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants. 102 Given this inherent d i f f i c u l t y , the adoption of weapons such as B-52s and large a r t i l l e r y pieces only aggravated the problem by making differentiation between combatants and non-combatants that much more d i f f i c u l t to accomplish. This added a physical distance to the al-^:. ready existing mental gulf which separated 'American forces from the Vietnamese peasants. With respect to the atrocities of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese regulars, their explanation i s to be found i n the insur-gents' need to control the people in the face of an always growing counterinsurgent presence, and their i n a b i l i t y to counter effectively the massive mechanization of the counterinsurgency's efforts. A l -though i t can be said that the only way in which an insurgency can be defeated i s through the massive reduction i n popular participation and support, there never appears to have been much doubt as to the assured continuation of the Vietnamese insurgency. However, even with such assurances one does become tired and impatient without dramatic and highly visible successes. Accordingly, there existed a need on the part of the insurgents to achieve military and p o l i t i c a l successes. Given the disparity between the two sides, guerrilla tactics were the one means available to the insurgents. As we have already noted, this type of warfare produces a very hostile reaction on the part of con-ventionally trained"troops. The results, as shown by the Vietnam ex-perience, were the slaughter of innocent people, the needless destruc-tion of property, the torture of enemies and suspects, and the brutal-ization of a l l combat participants. 103 The point of this paper has not been to characterize the p a r t i c i -pants i n the war, and especially the Americans, as animals whose sole purpose was the perpetration of deliberate cruelty and violence. Rather, i t has been the point of this paper to relate these actions i n terms of an action-reaction process which found impetus in the types of technology employed and the types of conditioning to which the combatants were subjected. The counterinsurgents were drawn into an atrocity-producing situation by the weapons they employed, the type of enemy they encountered, and the emotional factors produced by the conflict. The insurgents, i n order to retain existing gains, spread the revolution by controlling the people and by attempting to negate the influence of the counterinsurgents by means of terror — the one tactic they were familiar with. Taken together, we can suggest that because Vietnam was a war over people, any measure which employed the use of force was bound to produce the a t r o c i t y - f i l l e d situation that came to symbolize the conflict. It is in this sense, then, that Viet-nam may be viewed as an inevitable atrocity-producing conflict. 104 REFERENCES ''"Albert Kesselring, Kesselririg: A Soldier's Record. New York: 1954, p. 274. 2Ibid., pp. 275-276. 3Ibid., p. 276. 4 George McT. Kahin, and John W. Lewis, The United States i n  Vietnam. New York: 1967, p. 138. "\j.C. Donnel, "Understanding Revolution i n Vietnam." The  Journal of Asian Studies, vol. XXVIII, no. 4, August, 1969, p. 829. ^Jerome Frank, Sanity and Survival. New York: 1967, p. 184. 7Ibid., p. 185. g Robert J. 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