Myths about Indochina

Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 04:12 am
In North Vietnam, which had the misfortune to fall into the "iron grip" of Communism, the fighting qualities of its armed forces and the failure of the society to show the smallest signs of disintegration under the most ferocious assault in history have been a puzzle to western analysts.

In seeking the sources of strength" of the DRV, Rand specialist Konrad Kellen recently noted the absence of any "signs of instability," the lack of "resort to the kind of pressure against their population in the North that might have alienated the people"; and he concludes that "the Hanoi regime is perhaps one of the most genuinely popular in the world today. The 20 million North Vietnamese, most of whom live in their agricultural cooperatives, like it there and find the system just and the labor they do rewarding." [16]

The contrast with Free World controlled areas of South Vietnam is startling. [17]

[16] Konrad Kellen, "1971 and Beyond: The View From Hanoi," Rand Corporation (June 1971), pp.14-15.

[17]The flavor of "our" South Vietnam may be captured, however, in the finding by one former AID employee that "I have personally witnessed poor urban people literally quaking with fear when I questioned them about the activity of the secret police in a post election campaign. One poor fisherman in Da Nang, animated and talkative in complaining about economic conditions, clammed up in near terror when queried about the policy..." Theodore Jacqueney, Hearings before Subcommittee of House Committee on Government Operations, U.S. Assistance Pro- gramsin Vietnam (July/August 1971), p.251. Hereafter, U.S. Assistance Programs.

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