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Author Topic: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"  (Read 870 times)

Offline Richard Rubio

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Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« on: August 05, 2018, 09:16:29 PM »
Lansdale, inspiration for the Ugly and the Quiet American.

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EDWARD LANSDALE, PROTOTYPE FOR 'UGLY AMERICAN,' DIES
By Bart Barnes
February 24, 1987

Edward Geary Lansdale, 79, a retired Air Force major general who spent most of his career as a counterinsurgency specialist in the Philippines and South Vietnam, where he developed the doctrine that communism could best be defeated by "winning the hearts and minds of the people," died of a heart ailment Feb. 23 at his home in McLean.

Gen. Lansdale was an influential and often controversial figure who helped shape U.S. policy in Southeast Asia at critical junctures during the 1950s and 1960s. He was an assistant for special operations to secretary of defense Robert S. McNamara during the early years of the Kennedy administration when vital decisions were being made to commit U.S. support to the Saigon government in fighting the Viet Cong in South Vietnam.

As special adviser to the Philippines defense minister, Ramon Magsaysay, he directed the successful campaign against the communist-led Hukbalalhap guerrillas during the early 1950s.

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« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 09:19:47 PM by Richard Rubio »

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Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« on: August 05, 2018, 09:16:29 PM »


Offline Barry Pollard

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2018, 04:23:42 AM »
Having not read the book, the one JFK liked, I have to hope that it is very different from the film and correct me if I'm wrong but
the Brando part is not the same as the one based on Landsdale in the book.  Interesting watch but boy, that narrative is so loose with the truth.
You have to see and hear the film's Diem character, it's Thai's Paul Lynde.
Also, who would the king be representing who visits the country, LBJ? I have no idea.

Did you know that there was attempt on Macnamara's life in 'Nam?
Don't ask me the courageous young man's name who almost made it but you might like to look it up.

Unless your ultra curious, I would pass on the interview below, for me I learnt next to nothing.
4hours of drivel.

Offline Richard Rubio

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2018, 05:01:01 AM »
It's complex history that would take, at least for me, some research... also, out of all of this, the Peace Corps was initiated. The Kennedy Administration is known for that.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login     (<--- The book which the movie is based on)

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The book caused a sensation in diplomatic circles, and had major political implications. The Peace Corps was established during the Kennedy administration partly as a result of the book.[citation needed] It was one of the biggest bestsellers in the country, has been in print continuously since it appeared and is one of the most politically influential novels in all of American literature.[1]

Offline Richard Rubio

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 05:20:36 AM »
Lansdale did have some of the "love for the common people" in how he operated, this is so. He felt that to win against an enemy, say the Communists for example in the Philippines, you have to win the heart of the people. Maybe I can expand on this later.

Offline Barry Pollard

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 07:23:42 PM »
In Vietnam, "the communists" were the people. That's why we instituted the client regime because winning a fair election was just not going to happen.
That same regime was killing Buddists for years( the vast majority of ordinary people were Buddist), it's only when it gained so much publicity with the priests that we started to worry about it.
Brando going off on his old freind because he thinks he's turning commie on him is probably one of the better scenes but the whole premise is just so ridiculous.
There's even a reference to NSAM111 in there, where "Diem" finds evidence of "communists guns" giving the US the excuse to bring in the real heat. the reality was that from 62-65 a study found only 2% of arms were foreign, the rest came from us, captured from us
Forming a free society where a country is allowed to use it's resources to benefit it's own people and trading with anyone it likes is not something that can be tolerated, that's the real threat to the US, that's our problem with Cuba, Vietnam and many, many others in a nutshell, we forced them to turn elsewhere because true democratic societies are no benefit to us, that's why we don't have one and never will.

Scoll down to the notes on "Ugly American"(the poster) then back up if you want to learn more on Galula
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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 07:23:42 PM »


Offline Richard Rubio

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 08:58:39 PM »
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In Vietnam, "the communists" were the people. That's why we instituted the client regime because winning a fair election was just not going to happen.
That same regime was killing Buddists for years( the vast majority of ordinary people were Buddist), it's only when it gained so much publicity with the priests that we started to worry about it.
Brando going off on his old freind because he thinks he's turning commie on him is probably one of the better scenes but the whole premise is just so ridiculous.
There's even a reference to NSAM111 in there, where "Diem" finds evidence of "communists guns" giving the US the excuse to bring in the real heat. the reality was that from 62-65 a study found only 2% of arms were foreign, the rest came from us, captured from us
Forming a free society where a country is allowed to use it's resources to benefit it's own people and trading with anyone it likes is not something that can be tolerated, that's the real threat to the US, that's our problem with Cuba, Vietnam and many, many others in a nutshell, we forced them to turn elsewhere because true democratic societies are no benefit to us, that's why we don't have one and never will.

Scoll down to the notes on "Ugly American"(the poster) then back up if you want to learn more on Galula
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I believe we are familiar with this or some of this but the truth is before Vietnam was the Philippines whose government had to battle insurgent communist guerillas as well in the Hukbalahap.  This may well be why the book by Max Boot on Lansdale is called "The Road Not Taken" and why the point of contention is whether Vietnam might have turned out better if it had been run more like the Philippines.  Buddhism is not even a very big religion I would think in the Philippines, so a much different situation.

Philippines had a very popular leader that yes, the people did support:

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Magsaysay and the Filipino People
Few people have directly affected an entire population as Ramon Magsaysay. His honesty, unpretentious aire, and deep concern with the problems faced by his countrymen forged a bond with the common man that was unprecedented in Philippine history. He lived in an unprotected home (at least until he was convinced to move into Lansdale's guarded residence within the JUSMAG compound), wore simple clothes, frequently drove his own car, and spoke in a manner easily understood by all. To make sure that the people knew what he was striving for, he traveled daily across his nation, visiting military installations and civilian communities alike, asking questions and listening to what his people had to say. As one villager told a journalist about Magsaysay: "The government never comes here to see how we live. The only man who comes to these parts is Magsaysay," and adding a bit of prophecy, "Maybe he should be president. At least he knows how badly we need his help, and seems to be the only one interested in the welfare of the barrios."30


Magsaysay normally wore common civilian clothing on his travels -- an "aloha" shirt and slacks. Unlike other government officials who traveled amidst great pomp, Magsaysay's ordinary appearance lent credence to his reform plans and helped him gain the people's trust. On one occasion, however, his appearance almost cost him a long and uncomfortable walk through the Philippine countryside. With his personal advisor, Lt. Col. Lansdale, he had flown by helicopter to what he thought was walking distance from a village. After walking for some time, the two realized that they had misjudged the distance and tried to catch a ride with passing motorists. Finally one driver stopped when he saw Lansdale, who was in uniform, but hesitated to give a ride to the other man, whom he did not recognize. Only after Lansdale convinced the Filipino that his companion was the secretary of national defense, did the wary driver permit Magsaysay to get into his car.31

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So, Vietnam was different and Boot and apparently, Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine, seem to argue that Lansdale should have been listened to more per that war.

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Astonishing Story Of The One Man Who Could Have Spared Us Our Vietnam War Tragedy
 Steve Forbes
Forbes Staff
“With all thy getting, get understanding."
This story appears in the February 28, 2018 issue of Forbes.

The Road Not Taken—by Max Boot (Liveright, $35)—is a brilliant, extremely well-written book about a forgotten figure who was one of the most extraordinary and utterly unorthodox espionage agents in history, and it contains a telling scene that encapsulates what went tragically wrong with the Vietnam War. The operative, Edward Lansdale, was visiting President John F. Kennedy's defense chief, Robert McNamara. The former president of Ford Motor, McNamara profoundly believed that everything could be managed by numbers (or what we today call "metrics"). McNamara had an IQ that could boil water, a personality that could freeze the tropics and a deep disdain for anyone he considered his intellectual inferior, which was almost everybody. Lansdale was given ten minutes--no more!--to advise McNamara on how the U.S. should deal with the growing communist insurgency in South Vietnam. The allotted time was a harbinger of how the meeting would go.

Lansdale was a man well worth listening to. In the 1930s he'd been an advertising man in California, where he demonstrated a real knack for writing and a firm grasp of the psychology involved in the art of persuasion. In WWII Lansdale ended up in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor of the CIA, which was run by the legendary William "Wild Bill" Donovan. This fish had found his water. After the war he moved into the newest branch of the military, the Air Force, which served as cover for his overseas activities. (Even late in life, he was loath to acknowledge he'd been in the CIA.) Lansdale soon found himself posted in the Philippines, which was facing an increasingly powerful communist uprising called the Huk Rebellion.


The Filipino government and military were responding in ways that were fueling the insurgency, especially by killing numerous civilians in the fight against the rebels. Lansdale quickly grasped that these kinds of responses to a skillful guerrilla enemy, one that also employed effective propaganda, was a formula for a bloody defeat.

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Wiki bio of the Philippine leader: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 09:05:16 PM by Richard Rubio »

Offline Barry Pollard

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 09:16:10 PM »
Two of the more craziest things in my opinion.
We train them to fight, to shoot, to hate and magically, to fly.
On the very day, we impliment a radar system for them to coordinate, respond and react to targets more accurately, our top Vietnamese pilot
goes and bombs Diem's palace.  So sad.
One little kicker, some "innocents" were killed in the attack, one just happened to be on a nearby building watching it all,
a US citizen, rather interestingly referred to as a Operative(or a word of that nature), anyone know more?

The other is the French, the root of whole problem.
They'd just been colonized for 4 years by the Nazis, giving them a great taste of what it feels like, just imagine it, controlled by the Nazis.
Their first move after the dust from D Day settles is to do to others what the Nazis did to them.
Of course it was wrong to help them Ed, couldn't have been more wrong.

Lastly, who is that giving him a medal in the photo behind Ed which has pride of place for the interview?
Yes, no prizes for guessing, only the biggest warmonger of his generation.

Offline Robert Reeves

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2018, 07:11:39 PM »
Lansdale receiving a medal from another warmonger


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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2018, 07:11:39 PM »


Offline Barry Pollard

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 01:46:22 AM »
^For his work with and settling in Diem correct?  Around '56?
Tricky hadn't even gotten his pants off yet but yes.

Also Richard, I did just watch one of Max Boot's book talks on Ed so thanks for the heads up.
Max is easy to listen to which always helps, pehaps a wee bit conformist but what can you do?

Offline Robert Reeves

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2018, 12:18:15 AM »
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^For his work with and settling in Diem correct?  Around '56?
Tricky hadn't even gotten his pants off yet but yes.



I'm not 100% sure which medal Lansdale is receiving from tricky dicky. A couple of obituary write ups mention Lansdale was awarded two Distinguished Service Medals.

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Gen. Lansdale received two Distinguished Service Medals for work in developing counterinsurgency tactics in Vietnam and for services as adviser to Magsaysay in the Philippines.
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AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Cold War
Service: Air Force
GENERAL ORDERS:
Department of the Air Force, General Orders No. 69 (1956)

CITATION:
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Colonel Edward G. Lansdale (AFSN: 2534A), United States Air Force, was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (Army Design) for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility as Assistant to the Secretary of Defense in matters of great importance Indo-China during the period from 1954 to 1956. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of General Lansdale and his dedicated contributions in the service of his country reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Seeing that picture of Nixon doing the 'honors' of awarding Lansdale his medal kinda brings it home how chummy Nixon & Lansdale's relationship probably was. You don't really see it mentioned by anyone, the relationship between the two.

Nixon would have obviously been well aware of Lansdale's abilities for: 1. wiping people off the planet 2. being an expert Kingmaker.

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Re: Ed Lansdale, prototype of the "Ugly American"
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2018, 12:18:15 AM »