A study of the journalism in the early part of the Vietnam War, 1962-63. The Saigon correspondents reported that the South Vietnamese and their American advisers were losing the war against the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese allies. The reports the correspondents sent home were not very popular in the Pentagon and the Saigon establishment, but it was a job that had to be done to serve the truth. Includes notes and bibliography.
(In case you wonder why I have this page, I can tell you that it was my senior history project I did as a history major at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, MN back in 1997. The paper received an A+, and I published it on the Internet. Since then, many Vietnam veterans and other people interested in the conflict visit my Vietnam page every week. I hope to make it to Vietnam at some point, but I haven’t been there yet.)
By Kristian Kahrs May 1997
After the United States and their allies had won the World War II, Americans were confident of their own superiority. For junior officers fighting WWII, defeat was not an option, and they could not imagine that the United States of America would ever lose a war. 1 A couple of decades after the US Army had defeated Hitler, the dominant attitude in the army leadership was “professional arrogance, lack of imagination, and moral and intellectual insensitivity. Those junior officers in WWII were now the generals in Vietnam.”2
Being an aide for General Patton during WWII, General Paul Harkins was the commander of Military Advisory Command, Vietnam (MACV) in 1962 and 1963. Harkins was characterized by an unrealistic optimism. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and their American advisers were winning the war against Viet Cong (VC) and their allies in North Vietnam. Halberstam writes that the high command of the MACV became an unreal place, “isolated and eventually insulated from reality.”3
Harkins would not accept to have anyone other than optimists on his staff, and his optimism was reflected in “The Headway Reports” Harkins and his staff sent back to Washington.4 A colonel talking pessimistically about the war effort could easily end his career.5 Therefore, many frustrated American officers turned to anonymously to the press to give a more realistic picture other than Harkins’ naive optimism.
The most famous of the advisers in South Vietnam was Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann. He found a trusted ally in David Halberstam, the 28-year old Saigon correspondent for The New York Times. Vann was Halberstam’s way to fame, and Halberstam was Vann’s way to get his views across in one of the most influential newspapers in the world.6 During the early phases of the Vietnam War, Vann would feed Halberstam with abundant information for his stories that made the young journalist famous.
When Halberstam came from his assignment in Congo to Vietnam in 1962, he noticed very quickly that he was not a welcome guest with the Saigon establishment. This was especially true with US ambassador to Vietnam, Frederick Nolting, an aristocrat from Virginia.7 Not once in his 15-month tour to Vietnam was Halberstam ever invited into the ambassador’s home.8 Nolting viewed the press with contempt, and he expected them to be team players.
However, in his attempts to strangle and manipulate the press, Nolting often looked foolish. He argued for instance that President Diem was a truly popular leader. His reasoning was that Diem’s picture was everywhere; Nolting had obviously not understood the logic in a dictatorship. Another time when he was supposed to have a television interview, he took down a picture of Thomas Jefferson and replaced it with a picture of George Washington; he thought Washington was “less controversial.”9
Halberstam was not the only journalist who did not have many friends in the Saigon establishment. Among the most famous and controversial journalists in Vietnam in the opening years were Malcolm Browne and Peter Arnett of The Associated Press and Neil Sheehan of the United Press International.10 Henry G. Gole, a colonel serving two tours in Vietnam, wrote that Halberstam, Sheehan and Arnett offended an entire generation of American soldiers. Gole accused the Saigon correspondents of bringing “unambiguously bad news” to the American public.11
The correspondents were also attacked from their own side. Marguerite Higgins and Joseph Alsop of The New York Herold Tribune attacked the young Saigon correspondents and accused them of falsely reporting that the war was being lost. Both journalists had solid reputations; Higgins had won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting in Korea, and Alsop was a respected conservative columnist. Time magazine also joined in critical editorials about the reports from the young aggressive correspondents.12
Halberstam was not a man who was quiet when he was attacked, especially not when the attacks came from his own profession. “What’s been exaggerated? The intrigues, The hostility? It’s all been proven. We’ve been accused of being a bunch if liberals, but even that’s not true,” he replied.13
When Harkins and Nolting felt that the correspondents were stabbing them in the back and not being patriotic, they were wrong. Nolting ordered his press secretary to write that the journalistic accounts halted operations and the policies he tried to enforce in South Vietnam. The Policy “has been badly hampered by irresponsible, astigmatic and sensationalized reporting,” press officer John Mecklin wrote in his report to Washington.14
Most of the correspondents early in the Vietnam War supported the war effort, and did not question the right of the United States to be there. Not until long after the war was over did Halberstam and the other Saigon correspondents question whether the United States should be in Vietnam.15 Halberstam and the rest of the correspondents criticized the “methods, foolishness, lying and self-delusion, of a failure to set a policy that could win.”16
Since Halberstam was a special correspondent for a newspaper and not a wire man, he had the time to travel around the country to be with the soldiers. On these trips he learned more about what was going on than General Harkins could from his head quarters in Saigon. In September 1962, Halberstam spent 19 days in the field, and he bonded with the soldiers.17 When he met the tough Green Beret, George (Speedy) Gaspard, a man who was an expert in ambush commando raids, Halberstam quickly made him a friend and a source.18
The soldiers accepted Halberstam and the other correspondents who were willing to walk in the mud and endure combat. When a reporter had proven that he could endure discomfort and danger “marching through the paddies and spending nights in the field — taking this soldier’s baptism — he was accepted (….) and frank discussion followed.”19
When Halberstam first came to Vietnam, he had a different and more naive view of the war than he would adopt later. In September 1962 this was reflected in his headlines: “SOUTH VIETNAMESE INFLICT A MAJOR DEFEAT ON REDS,” “PEASANTS WORK AS TROOPS TO HOLD OFF GUERRILLAS” and “VIETNAM STRIKES AT REDS’ BASTIONS.“20
Meeting Vann for the first time, Halberstam changed his perspective on the war dramatically. Vann taught Halberstam lessons in the field he could never learn in Saigon. One of Vann’s famous phrases was that the war in Vietnam was political, and therefore it called for the a very careful discrimination in killing. “The best weapon for killing is a knife, but I’m afraid we can’t do it that way. The next best is a rifle. The worst is an airplane, and after that the worst is artillery,” Vann explained to the young correspondent.21
Vann then argued that pilots and artillery commanders needed easy targets, and small villages made excellent targets. The possibility of hitting a VC stronghold was much less than that of killing innocent peasants.22
Colonel Daniel Boone Porter was Vann’s immediate superior officer, and he had the same views about the use of bombing and artillery as Vann. Repeatedly he argued with the air force commander under Harkins’ overall command, Rollen (Buch) Anthis. “Your attacks are killing the people we are here to help. They have no place in a war like this” he said. Anthis argued that the attacks were made after they had been requested from the South Vietnamese government. “War is hell,” he said.23
In October 1962, Halberstam’s perspective on the war had changed dramatically, and his headlines had a different flavor: “VIETNAM WAR A FRUSTRATING HUNT FOR AN ELUSIVE FOE” and “VIET CONG MAINTAINING STRENGTH DESPITE SETBACKS.”24 That was not exactly the kind of headlines super-optimists, General Harkins and Ambassador Nolting wanted to hear, and Halberstam’s relationship to the Saigon establishment worsened.
The attacks from Nolting and Harkins grew stronger, and Nolting did not want to talk with the representative for the most influential newspaper in the United States. “I don’t even talk to David Halberstam. He’s printing lies, so I won’t talk to him,” Nolting said. Despite this, Nolting knew that President Kennedy read Halberstam’s dispatches long before he could read the optimistic briefings from Harkins or himself.25
When Halberstam had an interview with Nolting after the conflict intensified early in 1963, the relationship between the two did not improve. Halberstam asked Nolting close questions about the progress of the war, but Nolting was not interested in talking about the failures in the war. Instead, Nolting wanted to talk about a VC defector, but Halberstam was not interested in that story. Nolting raised his voice and said, “Why don’t you people do any of the regular things?”26 The interview ended when Halberstam was thrown out of the office physically. “Why are you here wasting my time?” Nolting demanded as he threw out the representative for the most powerful newspaper in the United States.27
To understand the incompetence of the South Vietnamese Army, one must look into the battle of Ap Bac, a story of how a guerrilla with light weapons defeated a superior force in man and fire power. The Battle of Ap Bac was Neil Sheehan’s break-through as a correspondent in Vietnam. Sheehan had the odds against him; he was the only man working for United Press International in Vietnam, and therefore he had little recourses compared to a giant like The Associated Press. Still, he got the first tip of the attack, and Jan. 2, 1963 was Neil Sheehan’s day. 28
Just after Christmas, 1962, the ARVN Joint General Staff ordered the 7th Infantry Division to seize a VC radio transmitter. The order originated at General Harkins’ MACV head quarters, and for once, Vann was excited about an order from Harkins. The attack would be the first of the new year, and the ARVN could show what they were good for.29
Instead of being a triumph for the ARVN and their American advisers, the Battle of Ap Bac became the beginning of the end for the Diem regime. This battle became a symbol of catastrophe of the American enterprise in Vietnam and for those Vietnamese who had put their trust in the Americans.30
Because the Americans had supplied the ARVN abundant with weapons, it was easy for the VC to seize large quantities of American weapons to fight American soldiers in the end. The VC could easily capture weapons from the outposts of the ARVN.31 Therefore, the average VC soldiers carried semiautomatic M-1 rifles. In addition they had access to heavy American .30 caliber machine guns. “The United States and its surrogate regime in Saigon had brought about a qualitative advance in the firepower of their enemy.”32
American firepower did not help the ARVN much against the VC. The guerrillas simply dug foxholes to hide in during the artillery bombardment. Thus, they were fully prepared for the ARVN attack. Because of the irrigation ditches, the VC could be re-supplied with ammunition, and it made it easy to retreat if necessary.33
On Jan. 3, 1963 the David Halberstam’s headline in the New York Times read, VIETCONG DOWNS FIVE U.S. COPTERS, HITS NINE OTHERS. In his account of the battle, Halberstam told the story about three Americans being killed, and it was the worst defeat since the buildup started in 1962.34
Halberstam told the story about the VC opening murderous fire with .30 caliber and .50 caliber machine-guns against the American helicopters.35 Usually, the VC would not stand to fight the ARVN, but this time they decided to hold ground to destroy the helicopters.36
Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Bowers, raised on a Minnesota dairy farm and belonging to the 101st Airborne Division, experienced his first war.37 Bowers quickly realized that the ARVN soldiers were not interested in engaging the enemy, and they laid down on the ground to avoid contact with the VC. Since the ARVN did not advance, they would take heavier losses than they would have taken had they advanced.38
Bowers quickly realized that the ARVN soldiers were not interested in risking their lives in an assault on the VC. The forward artillery observer assigned to the company was too scared to see if the shells landed on the VC foxhole line. Bowers asked to get the radio from the artillery observer to adjust the fire, but the Vietnamese second lieutenant refused to hand over the radio. Bowers soon understood that the company commander and the artillery observer were afraid that if he got the radio, “the end result might be that they received orders to do something, which might mean getting up from the dike.”39
If an American officer had acted as cowardly as the ARVN officers, endangering the lives of the soldiers, Bowers would have shot them and taken the radio. Nevertheless, he was in Vietnam as an adviser, and he did not have any authority in “their war.” Besides, Bowers was a non-commissioned officer, and he was used to following orders from the officers.40
Lieutenant Colonel Vann, being trapped in the back seat of his spotter plane, had observed that he had an adviser and three helicopter crews on the ground. Still, there was nothing he could do at the time, and the ARVN unit was in danger of being run over by the VC.41
Trying to rescue the trapped rifle company, Vann wanted to send M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), but Vann was in for a big surprise. He realized that the commander of the M-113 company, Capt. Ly Tong Ba, was not interested in risking his APCs in a rescue attempt.42 Later, Vann realized the reason for Ba’s reluctance to use the M-113s in a rescue attempt. President Diem viewed his APCs as useful as an “anti-coup insurance.” If the unit were to take losses, this could mean the end of the career for the Buddhist captain. Diem, as a catholic, was not very fond of Buddhists.43
Nevertheless, at 11.10 a.m., 45 minutes after Vann had radioed for the M-113s for the first time, Ba finally started to move his APCs to make a rescue attempt for the trapped infantry soldiers.44 Still, even with the superior firepower of the .50 caliber guns on the M-113s, the ARVN was not able to effectively attack the guerrilla stronghold of 350 soldiers. The gunner on a M-113 was not protected against enemy fire, and when Ba tried to attack, the gunners became an easy target for the VC.45
Squad Leader Dung of the VC managed to stop armored attack from the APCs. Without any anti-tank weapons, such as the M-72, Dung ran against the tanks and attacked them with hand grenades. Inspired by his courage, the rest of the VC stronghold forgot their fears and followed Dung’s example. The crews of the M-113s were demoralized by the machine-gun fire directed at their gunners, and the grenade attack from the VC was what was needed for the APC company to finally give up the attack.46
Even if the APC company had broken off the attack, Vann still hoped for revenge on the VC for downing five American helicopters. Vann wanted to use paratroopers to land behind the VC lines and capture them. The ARVN, however, wanted to land the paratroopers within their own lines; they wanted to reinforce. Vann later remarked that they “chose to reinforce defeat.”47
The ARVN was not interested in engaging the VC and risk losing men or material. ARVN commander Cao arranged for the paratroopers to be dropped at 6 p.m., an hour and a half before darkness. This was convenient for both the ARVN and the VC. For the ARVN, this meant that they would not have time to attack the VC before darkness, and the VC was given an excellent chance to retreat under the cover of darkness.48
Thus, the 350 guerrillas had not been defeated by a four times larger force “with armor and artillery and supported by helicopters and fighter-bombers.”49 Without any heavy weapons, the VC was able to kill four ARVN soldiers for every soldier they lost, and the VC only lost 18 killed and 39 wounded. The ARVN fired 600 artillery shells and 8400 rounds of machine-gun fire in addition to 100 rockets from the Huey helicopters.50 “They were brave men, [and] they gave a good account of themselves today,” Vann said of his enemies.51
On Jan. 3, the day after the Battle of Ap Bac, the correspondents tried to get a sensible explanation of the battle from General Harkins. Of course, defeat was not an option for Harkins, and when Halberstam asked him how the battle was going, the general replied that the enemy was now surrendered, and the ARVN was ready to capture the VC in a trap in half an hour. Needless to say, the VC was long gone, and the ARVN had had “their tails whipped the day before.”52
The day after the battle, Sheehan and Nicholas Turner, a New Zealander working for Reuters, went back to Ap Bac to find out more about what had happened the night before. The two journalists found 20 dead ARVN soldiers and two American advisers piled up. At the same time they saw ARVN soldiers lying on their backs doing nothing in bloody fatigues.53
The ARVN troops were so demoralized that they did not show any initiative to remove the bodies of the their fallen comrades and the two American advisers. Turner and Sheehan helped lifting the bodies into a helicopter, but Capt. James Scanlon, the adviser for Ba’s unit, had to shout and “manhandle Ba’s troops to force them to lift the corpses into the aircraft.” At this time, Sheehan and Turner were also upset with the behavior of the ARVN soldiers. Never before had they seen an ARVN soldier or adviser behave in this manner.54
In January 1963, there were 12 American generals in Vietnam, but only the visiting Brig. Gen. Robert York bothered to visit Ap Bac to find out what was going on. Since York came to Saigon, Vann had the opportunity to show York around the countryside and show the general a different reality than that of Harkins.55 Since York had had experience in guerrilla warfare as an observer in British Malaya, he knew that it was not going to be easy to defeat the VC.56
As Turner, Sheehan, York and his aide walked to the former VC positions, they found only three bodies.57 Scanlon later remarked that it was the “Fort Benning school solution of how an outnumbered infantry unit ought to organize a defense.”58
On the way back to Saigon the four were attacked by “friendly” artillery fire. “Get down,” York shouted as more artillery shells were landing around them. All four threw themselves into the slimy mud to avoid being blown to pieces by the artillery shells. Sheehan concluded that they would have been killed if York had not shouted to get down. The ARVN commander had decided to fake an attack at the VC, now that he knew they were gone, “he wanted the palace to know he was doing something to recoup.”59
When the four dirty men came back to the airfield close to Ap Bac, they met Harkins dressed in his nice, pressed, spotless, white uniform. “Harkins was a world apart from the four of us,” Sheehan wrote.60 When the German AP photographer Horst Faas asked if he could take pictures with Harkins in the field with ARVN troops, Harkins said, “I’m not that kind of general.” Harkins liked to see the Vietnamese countryside from the air, and “his mind never touched down in Vietnam.”61
A week after the battle, Harkins’ superior officer, Admiral Felt, flew in from Hawaii. At a press conference Sheehan elbowed his way forward and asked for Felt’s assessment of the battle. He said that he did not believe what was written about the battle in the newspapers. “As I understand it, it was a Vietnamese victory — not a defeat, as the papers say,” he said.62 Harkins nodded in agreement saying, “Yes, that’s right. It was a Vietnamese victory. It certainly was.”63
When it was time for Felt to leave, Harkins told him who Sheehan was. By this time, Sheehan had become famous for his article VIET TROOPS FAIL BIG TEST.64 Felt turned to Sheehan and said, “So you’re Sheehan. You ought to talk to some of the people who’ve got the facts.” This remark provoked Sheehan’s Irish temper. “That’s right Admiral. That’s why I went there every day,” he shot back, also suggesting that Harkins should send some of his own people to get the facts.65
After Ap Bac, Vann decided that he was not going to care about what happened to his career if he spoke openly against the Saigon establishment and the ARVN. He decided that he was not going to let Harkins stop his crusade for truth, and Vann decided to use his friend Halberstam as an instrument. Vann recognized he had an obligation as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, but he also recognized that he had a responsibility for the American people.66
On March 1, 1963, the result in The New York Times was, SAIGON REPORTED AVOIDING CLASHES: U.S. ADVISERS FIND TENDENCY TO LET REDS ESCAPE. As usual, Halberstam had not identified Vann as his source, but this time Vann had given so much detailed information that everyone would know he was the source anyway.67
In his article, Halberstam wrote that the situation was depressing for the Americans for two reasons. The first point was that the VC was as aggressive as ever at the end of a massive U.S. build-up. Secondly, he pointed out that even if the ARVN had improved the last year, so had the VC. In addition, Halberstam reported that the ARVN was attacking areas where there were no enemies. Lastly, when differences in opinion forwarded, the tendency among the senior leadership was to “get along” with the Vietnamese.68
Nevertheless, Vann did not only go to the press with his views. He also tried to convince his own fellow officers in the army about the shortcomings in the American policy. Being educated as a statistician, he was able to prove that the ARVN was not willing to fight, contradictory to Harkins’ claims. Of the 1400 government deaths in his sector in one year, only 50 were ARVN, and Vann was also able to prove that most of the war effort from the government side was carried by “ill-equipped local militia who more often than not were killed asleep in their defensive positions.”69
Later he traveled to the Pentagon to talk to anyone who would like to listen to his arguments. He was about to brief the Joint Staff, but Gen. Maxwell Taylor, at that time Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, prevented Vann from presenting his briefing of the war in Vietnam. Because Taylor had appointed Harkins personally, he would not let a negative report of Harkins surface.70
Not only was the press thinking that Nolting and Harkins were unrealistically optimistic. General Westmoreland, Harkins successor, acknowledged that in “these early days the newsmen were sometimes closer to the truth than were American officials, for there can be no question that Paul Harkins was overly optimistic.”71
Other people also tried to warn Harkins about the growing strength of the VC and the incompetence and corruption in the ARVN. When a civilian intelligence officer warned Harkins of the growing threat from the VC, Harkins replied, “Nonsense, I am going to crush them in the rainy season.”72 What Harkins was ignorant about, however, was that the VC benefited from the rainy season, and it was easier for the guerrilla to hide and get fresh supplies through the canal system.73
Harkins also showed a naive belief in the word of an ARVN officer, and it came to the point where he trusted ARVN officers more than his own officers in the U.S. Army. The ARVN often tried to exaggerate their achievements, and when Lieutenant Colonel Fred Ladd made Harkins aware of the situation, Harkins “upbraided him for challenging the word of a Vietnamese officer.” Ladd looked at Harkins and said, “I thought we were talking to an American.”74
In the end the American people saw the lies, deceit and hypocrisy from the establishment in Saigon and the MACV. Because of the endless effort from the correspondents to communicate the truth, many civilians had begun to doubt the accuracy in the dispatches from the MACV.75 Thus, the young and idealistic correspondents in Saigon were able to make a difference on American foreign policy. The world would never be the same.
1 Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. Random House, New York. 1988, page 287.
3 David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. Random House, New York. 1972., page 186.
4 Ibid., 186
5 Ibid., 201
6 William Prochnau, Once Upon a Distant War. Random House, New York. 1995, page 193
7 Ibid., 22
8 Ibid., 130
9 Ibid., 23
10 John Hohenberg, Foreign Correspondence: The Great Reporters and Their Times. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, N.Y. Second editon, 1995, page 273.
11 Colonel Henry G. Gole, Ret. “Don’t Kill the messanger:Vietnam War Reporting in Context.” http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/96winter/win-essa.htm 1996.
12 Hohenberg, 273
13 Ibid., 273
14 Halberstam, 205
15 Prochnau, 141
16 Ibid., 141
17 Ibid., 202
18 Ibid., 203
19 Sheehan, 270
20 Prochnau, 158
21 Ibid., 162
22 Ibid., 163
23 Ibid., 190
24 Ibid., 164
25 Ibid., 170
26 Ibid., 171
27 Ibid., 172
28 Ibid., 228
29 Sheehan, 203
30 Ibid., 269
31 Ibid., 207
32 Ibid., 208
33 Ibid., 210
34 David Halberstam, “Vietcong downs five U.S. copters, hits nine others.” The New York Times. Jan. 3, 1963. 1:4
35 Ibid., 1:4
36 Ibid., 2:3
37 Sheehan, 216
38 Ibid., 224
39 Ibid., 225
40 Ibid., 226
41 Ibid., 227
42 Ibid., 227
43 Ibid., 233
44 Ibid., 235
45 Ibid., 247-52
46 Ibid., 257
47 Ibid., 258
48 Ibid., 261
49 Ibid., 262
50 Ibid., 262-63
51 Ibid., 265
52 Prochnau, 236
53 Sheehan, 271
54 Ibid., 272
55 Ibid., 272
56 Ibid., 273
57 In 1996, the American Leo Dymkioski traveled back to Ap Bac, and he found the grave stones of the three VC soldiers. The inscription told of “three brave soldiers; steel iron man. One of the men was Squad Leader Dung, the brave soldier who attacked the APCs with hand grendes. Dong was killed in an artillery or air strike as the VC were retreating. “Ap Bac; Vietnam Revisited” http://views.vcn.net/02/noframes/virtual/apbac2.html
58 Sheehan, 273-74
59 Ibid., 275
60 Ibid., 276
61 Ibid., 285
62 Prochnau., 239
63 Ibid., 240
64 I was not able to get hold of Sheehan’s article about the Battle of Ap Bac; I only got Halberstam’s account.
65 Prochnau, 240
66 Sheehan, 328
67 David Halberstam, “Saigon reported avoiding clashes.” The New York Times. March 1, 1963. 1:1
68 Ibid., 3:5
69 Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. Page 204
70 Ibid., 204
71 William C. Westmoreland. A Soldier Reports. Doubleday and Company, Garden City, N.Y. p. 80 qtd. in Jeffery Record, “Vietnam in Retrospect: Could We Have Won?” http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/96winter/record.htm
72 Halberstam, 186
73 Ibid., 187
74 Ibid., 188
75 Ibid., 250
Domkiosky, Leo. “Ap Bac; Vietnam Revisited” http://views.vcn.net/02/noframes/virtual/apbac2.html
Gole, Colonel Henry G. Ret. “Don’t Kill the messanger: Vietnam War Reporting in Context.” http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/96winter/win-essa.htm 1996.
Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest. Random House, New York. 1972.
—. “Saigon reported avoiding clashes.” The New York Times. Jan. 3, 1963. 1:4
—. “Vietcong downs five U.S. copters, hits nine others.” The New York Times. Jan. 3, 1963. 1:4.
Hohenberg, John. Foreign Correspondence: The Great Reporters and Their Times. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, N.Y. Second editon, 1995.
Prochnau, William. Once Upon a Distant War. Random House, New York. 1995.
Record, Jeffery. “Vietnam in Retrospect: Could We Have Won?” http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/96winter/record.htm
Sheehan, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. Random House, New York. 1988.
For an in depth analysis about the optimistic reports from the Pentagon and the Saigon establishment, please read the award winning study CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes 1962-63 by Harold P. Ford. The author is a former CIA analyst, and the report was recently declassified.
In a desperate attempt to improve his grades, former Student Body President of University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Nick Mirisis, copied this essay and presented it as his own term paper in a an English honors class spring 1999. Unfortunately for Mirisis, a journalist in the student newspaper started investigating. North Carolina newspaper The News Observer picked up the story on July 28, 1999. The Associated Press picked up the story the same day, and a day later it appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Let this be a warning to anyone attempting to plagiarize this essay.
© May 1997 Kristian Kahrs