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Author Topic: Lansdale: A Reasonable Appraisal, vs Fever Dream Opinions on this forum  (Read 1061 times)

Online Tom Scully

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I ask this all the time, in my posts here, and as I often asked commenters at JFKfacts.org.

Are you just posting to others who agree with you? How do you come to know what you declare in your posts? Who do you expect your
audience is, IOW who you are trying to influence, to convince? Or, is there some other point to what you include in your posts,
such as, just venting?

A familiar, tired, and unimpressive tactic is attempting to support your posted opinion with, "I find Craig, Prouty, Weitzman, Plumlee credible."
Why assume your readers would find such opinions reasonable or somehow strengthening your mostly unsupported claims?
Consider that you are only showing you prefer to be reinforced, above reasonable acceptance by your readers of the controversial names
you say you trust. If you find Roger Craig or Tosh Plumlee reliable supporting sources, how can you reasonably doubt any other testimony
included in the WC Report? When you post that you find those names reliable sources, you likely discourage readers not already agreeing
with you to continue reading your posts.

I am certainly not saying author Max Boot has written a reasonable, 768 page book about Lansdale.
I am including this review of the book because it includes a reasonable description of Lansdale. Reasonable is what is supported by verifiable
facts.
I read your posts here hoping to learn new leads worth my time and effort to pursue further research about.
Last year, for ten months, I read every comment submitted at JFKfacts.org.

Most opinions I read about Lansdale related to the JFK Assassination, are unsupported opinion or quote the observation attributed to
private comments of USMC General Victor Krulak, or opinions of a photo of the back of the head of a man walking near three of the tramps marching under police escort.

Quote
https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21735004-nearly-half-century-after-conflict-south-east-asia-ended-american-writers-are
Wishful thinking
The Vietnam war and its legacy
Nearly half a century after the conflict in South-East Asia ended, American writers are still fighting the Vietnam war

Jan 18th 2018
The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. By Max Boot.  768 pages

.....(In 2001 he wrote that ?Afghanistan and other troubled lands? needed ?the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets?.) His new book is a biography of Edward Lansdale, a legendary CIA officer and pioneer of counter-insurgency thinking. As its title suggests, it is another entry in the Vietnam what-if genre. Yet Mr Boot?s views have evolved. Once a staunch conservative, his attitudes on social issues of race and gender have moved in a liberal direction. One question hanging over his book is whether his attitude towards military intervention has mellowed, too.

Lansdale was an advertising executive from California who joined the OSS (the precursor of the CIA) during the second world war. In the Philippines in the early 1950s he helped defeat a communist insurgency by arranging for an honest Filipino congressman, Ramon Magsaysay, to become defence secretary, and successfully managing his campaign for president. He acquired a deep understanding of local society by convening a team of creative military officers and politicians (and by launching a long-term extramarital affair with a Filipino widow, Pat Kelly, whom he would eventually marry). Lansdale persuaded the army to stop alienating peasants with bloody, heavy-handed tactics, and paired military offensives with political campaigns to divide the communists and buck up trust in the government.

In 1954, Lansdale shifted his attention to Vietnam, where France was losing its war against Ho Chi Minh?s Viet Minh guerrillas. As a CIA liaison officer in Saigon, he developed a close relationship with Ngo Dinh Diem (pictured), the nationalist Catholic chosen to lead South Vietnam once the French left and the communists took over the north. Lansdale and his dozen-odd advisers played a crucial role in stabilising the rickety new state. They arranged for American ships to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Catholics from the north to the south, and helped Diem win the support of sectarian militias and crush a heavily armed mafia, the Binh Xuyen. By now Lansdale was seen by the American public as a wizard of democratic nation-building, lionised in ?The Ugly American?, a political novel about American diplomacy that came out in 1958. (Contrary to rumour, he was not the model for Graham Greene?s ?Quiet American?.)

Mr Boot argues that things soured in Vietnam after Lansdale returned to America in late 1956. He understood that fighting insurgencies was fundamentally a political task, one of building a coherent government that commands popular assent. Yet as communist insurgents returned to South Vietnam in the early 1960s (aided by Diem?s increasing authoritarianism), American advisers grew frustrated, and President John Kennedy approved a coup in November 1963. The coup leaders unexpectedly killed Diem; Lansdale was aghast (as was Kennedy). The government rapidly disintegrated in a series of coups by squabbling generals, and in 1965 America had to send in combat troops. Lansdale returned for an ineffectual stint as an adviser from 1965-68, but for Mr Boot, overthrowing Diem was the critical mistake that ended any chance of a viable South Vietnam?one Lansdale would not have made.

Here, Mr Boot is wrong. Diem was a genuine Vietnamese leader, but he was also rigid and vindictive, relying on a narrow Catholic power base. By 1963 he was pointlessly cracking down on Buddhists, whose monks set themselves on fire in protest. His own pilots tried to kill him by bombing the presidential palace. Few historians think he could have saved the south. As for Lansdale, while he grasped the centrality of politics in fighting insurgencies, he was prone to wacky secret-agent schemes. A congressional investigation into CIA misconduct in 1975, after his retirement, uncovered a proposal he once made to undermine Fidel Castro by having navy ships fire special shells to make Cubans think that Christ had returned. It also accused him of condoning assassination.

Mr Boot seems to have grown less gung-ho since 2001, and he acknowledges that South Vietnam might have fallen no matter what America did. But his claim that Lansdale?s strategies represent a ?road not taken? is unconvincing. Counter-insurgency was tried, by Lansdale and others in Vietnam?including figures such as John Paul Vann and Creighton Abrams, who have featured in their own what-if books. It was tried again, in Afghanistan and Iraq, by officers like General McMaster and David Petraeus. The road has been taken. It is tortuous and exhausting, and it is not clear that it leads anywhere.

This article appeared in the Books and arts section of the print edition under the headline "Wishful thinking"
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 01:39:18 AM by Tom Scully »


Online Tom Scully

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Re: Lansdale: A Reasonable Appraisal, vs Fever Dream Opinions on this forum
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 07:02:32 PM »
Tom, the link I posted was Plumlee's account and in the introduction he explains that this should supersede any previous accounts attributed to him due to inaccuracies misquotes etc.  We know that a lot of people's testimony has been, ignored, altered and spun in this story.  There are also a lot of citations at the end f the account.

Personally I can't blame him rom saying he didn't recognise Rosselli in 1968 as if he had admitted that he did it would not have been good for his life expectancy.  Sounds like Roselli was testing him to me.

Extraordinary claims no longer require extraordinary supporting evidence, or even any evidence?

Does anyone have any cited evidence to prove James Files account as false?

We have the forum we deserve because so many remain silent after reading the glaring
evidence of the actual level of discourse in many of the posts.

If you choose to read and remain silent, the level of discourse will remain as these examples
indicate it is at.


« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 07:15:32 PM by Tom Scully »

 

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