The phoenix program - səhifə 11
Then the Russians sent up Sputnik, which "scared everyone," Brickham recalled, "and so I was put in charge of a massive research project designed to develop collection targets against the Soviet missile program.Well, in 1954 I had read a report from British intelligence describing how they had developed a target plot approach to guiding espionage and other collection activities. In applying that target plot idea to the Soviet problem, it immediately occurred to me to magnify it as a systems analysis study so we could go after the whole Soviet missile program. It was the first time," he said, "that any government agency had taken a systems approach toward a Soviet target. We wanted to pull together all information from whatever source, of whatever degree of reliability, and collect that information in terms of its geographic location. And from that effort a series of natural targets sprang up."
A systems approach means assembling information on a weapons system from its theoretical inception, through its research and development stage, its serial production, its introduction to the armed forces, finally to its deployment. "For the first time," Brickham said, "there was a complete view of everything known about Russian military and missile development systems. The British called this the best thing achieved by American research since the war."
Insofar as Phoenix sought to combine all existing counterinsurgency programs in a coordinated attack on the VCI, Brickham's notion of a systems approach served as the conceptual basis for Phoenix, although in Phoenix the targets were people, not missile silos.
With yet another feather in his cap, Brickham was posted in 1960 to Teheran, where he managed intelligence and counterintelligence operations against the Soviets in Iran. As one of only three neutral countries bordering the USSR, Iran was a plum assignment. For Brickham, however, it devolved into a personality conflict with his desk officer in Washington. Frustrated, he requested a transfer and
in 1964 was sent to the Sino-Soviet Relations Branch, where he managed black propaganda operations designed to cause friction between the USSR and China. At the heart of these black operations were false flag recruitments, in which CIA case officers posed as Soviet intelligence officers and, using legitimate Soviet cipher systems and methodology, recruited Chinese diplomats, who believed they were working for the Russians, although they were actually working for the CIA.The CIA case officers, on Brickham's instructions, then used the unsuspecting Chinese agents to create all manner of mischief. Although it was a job with "lots of room for imagination," Brickham was unhappy with it, and when the agency had its "call-up" for Vietnam in the summer of 1965, Brickham volunteered to go.
His preparation included briefings from experts on the Vietnamese desk, reading books and newspaper articles, and reviewing reports and cable traffic produced by every government agency. Upon arriving in Saigon in September 1965, he was assigned to the station's liaison branch as deputy chief of police Special Branch field operations. His boss was Tucker Gougleman.
The chief of station was Gordon Jorgenson, "a kindly, thoughtful person. He'd been through the bombing of the embassy the previous February. Peer DeSilva, who was hurt in the explosion, went home, and Jorgy, who had been his deputy, became station chief. But within a matter of months he went home, too, and John Hart came out as the new chief of station in January 1966." The subject of John Hart gave Brickham pause.
"I have described the intelligence service as a socially acceptable way of expressing criminal tendencies," he said. "A guy who has strong criminal tendencies -- but is too much of a coward to be one -- would wind up in a place like the CIA if he had the education.I'd put John Hart in this category -- a mercenary who found a socially acceptable way of doing these things and, I might add, getting very well paid for it.
"John Hart was an egomaniac," Brickham continued, "but a little bit more under control than some of the bad ones. He was a smart one. A big, imposing guy over six feet tall with a very regal bearing and almost a British accent. He claims to be Norman, and he spoke fluent French and was always trying on every occasion to press people to speak French. Red Stent used to say that you could tell somebody who parades his knowledge of French by the way he uses the subjunctive, and John Hart used it properly. But John Hart had both feet on the ground. He was a bright guy, very energetic, and very heavy into tennis -- he played it every day.
"When John Hart came out as chief of station, I was one of his escort officers; our job was to take him on a tour of the whole country, to visit the facilities and explain what was going on. And my job was in question at that moment because Hart had another guy -- his pet, John Sherwood -- slated to replace Tucker as chief of field operations .... Anyway," Brickham said, "
there's a great division in the Foreign Service world between people who get out on the local economy and try to eat native and find out what's going on versus the people that hole up in the American colony, the so-called golden ghetto people.So we're sitting around, talking about Vietnamese food and about the guys who go down to the MAAG compound for dinner every night, and Hart makes this sort of sneerlike remark to me at the restaurant where we're having dinner; he says, 'Well, really, I would have figured you for the kind of person who would eat dinner in the MAAG compound every night.' Well, he later found out that wasn't true, and he was persuaded to appoint me to the position of chief of field operations. And even though I started out with that base of insecurity, Hart respected me. And later on that became quite evident."
Perhaps as a result of his eating habits, Brickham got assigned as chief of Special Branch field operations in the spring of 1966, after Tucker Gougleman's tour had ended and he was transferred to New Delhi. And once installed in the job, he began to initiate the organizational reforms that paved the way for Phoenix. To trace that process, it is helpful to understand the context.
"We were within the liaison branch," Brickham explained, "because we worked with the Vietnamese nationals, dealing with the CIO and Special Branch on questions of intelligence and counterespionage. The chief of the liaison branch was Jack Stent."
Brickham's office was in the embassy annex, while Special Branch headquarters was located in the National Police Interrogation Center. As chief of field operations Brickham had no liaison responsibilities at the national level. "I had field operations," Brickham explained, "which meant the province officers. I managed all these liaison operations in the provinces, but not in the Saigon-Gia Dinh military district. That was handled by a separate section under Red Stent within the liaison branch."
As for his duties, Brickham said, "In our particular case, field operations was working both positive intelligence programs and counterespionage, because police do not distinguish between the two. Within the CIA the two are separate divisions, but when you're working with the police, you have to cover all this." Brickham compares the Special Branch "with an intelligence division in a major city police force, bearing in mind that it is within a national police organization with national, regional, province, and district police officers.
There is a vertical chain of command. But it is not comparable with FBI, not comparable with MI Five, not comparable with Surete. It's the British Special Branch of police.... And with the Special Branch being concerned specifically with intelligence, it was the natural civilian agency toward which we would gravitate when the CIA got interested. Under Colby, the Special Branch became significant."
If under Colby (who was then chief of the CIA's Far East Division) the Special Branch became significant, then under Brickham it became effective. Brickham's job, as he defined it, "was to bring sharpness and focus to CIA field operations." He divided those operations into three categories: the Hamlet Informant program (HIP), which concerned low-level informants in the villages and hamlets; the Province Interrogation Center program, including Chieu Hoi and captured documents; and agent penetrations. "I did not organize these programs," he acknowledged. "They were already in place. What I did do was to clean up the act ... bureaucratize ....We had some province officers trying to build PICs, while some didn't care. We even had police liaison people putting whistles on kites at night to scare away the VC when that wasn't part of their job. We were not supposed to be propagandists; that's covert operations' job."
As Brickham saw it, a Special Branch adviser should limit himself to his primary duties: training Vietnamese Special Branch case officers how to mount penetrations of the VCI, giving them cash for informers and for building interrogation centers, and reporting on the results. Brickham did this by imposing his management style on the organization. As developed over the years, that style was based on three principles: "Operate lean and hungry, don't get bogged down in numbers, and figure some way to hold their feet to the fire.
"When I got there, we had about fourteen province officers who were not distributed evenly around the country but were concentrated in population centers, the major ports, and provinces of particular interest.
A lot of provinces were empty, so we had to fill them up, and we eventually got our strength up to fifty."
Training of incoming officers was done in Washington, although Brickham and his staff (including John Muldoon and an officer who handled logistics) gave them briefings on personal security, aircraft security, emergency behavior, and procedure -- "what to do if your plane is shot down in VC territory or if the VC overrun a village you're working in .... Some guys took it seriously; some did not," Brickham noted. "We also gave them reading material -- a Time magazine article on the Chinese mind and several books, the most important of which was Village in Vietnam. But we had to cut back on this because the stuff was constantly disappearing. Then, as the police advisory program expanded, Washington set up another training program for ex-police officers being brought in on contract and for military officers and enlisted men assigned to the agency .... We had a bunch of guys on contract as province officers who were not CIA officers, but who were hired by the agency and given to us."
Not the sort of man to suffer fools, Brickham quickly began weeding out the chaff from the wheat, recommending home leave for province officers who had operational fund shortages or were not at their posts or otherwise could not cut the mustard. Brickham's method of evaluating officers was a monthly report. "I wanted a province officer to tell me once a month every place he'd been and how long he'd been there. Normally this kind of thing wouldn't show up in a report, but it was important to me and it was important to the Vietnamese that our people 'show the flag' and be there when the action was going on. Reporting makes for accountability.
"A Special Branch monthly report, as I designed it, would go up to four pages in length and would take province officers two or three days to complete .... The reports were then sent in from the province through the region officer [a position Brickham placed in the chain of command], who wrote his report on top of it. We studied them in Saigon, packaged them up, and sent them on to Washington, where they had never seen anything like it."
To streamline the rapidly expanding Special Branch advisory program further, Brickham set up six regional offices and appointed region officers; Gordon Rothwell in Da Nang, for I Corps; Dick Akins in Nha Trang, handling the coastal provinces in II Corps; Tom Burke in Ban Me Thuot, handling Montagnard provinces; Sam Drakulich in Bien Hoa in III Corps; Bob Collier in My Tho for the northern Delta; and Kinloch Bull in Can Tho for the southern provinces. Brickham's liaison branch was the first to have region officers; the rest of the station was not operating that way. In fact, while the liaison branch had one officer in each province, reporting to a region officer, the discombobulated covert action branch had five or six programs in each province, with an officer for each program, with more than two hundred officers coming in and out of headquarters, each operating under the direct supervision of Tom Donohue.
Donohue scoffed at Brickham's attention to reporting. "My point, of course, was quite the opposite of Brickham's," he said. "I felt it was better to keep those guys working and not tie them up with paper work (that can be handled elsewhere). What I did was take raw reporting and give it to an officer who was not really any good in the field, and he was responsible for doing nothing but producing finished reporting from raw reporting. That takes the problem off the guys in the field. It's the same problem that so many sales organizations have: Do they want their people on the street or doing reports?" 
Donohue's budget ("about twenty-eight million dollars a year") was considerably larger than his archrival Brickham's, which was approximately one million dollars a year. Otherwise, according to Brickham, "The main difference between Foreign Intelligence and Paramilitary was the fact that we had region officers, but the PM people worked directly out of Saigon .... And it was this situation that Hart wanted to straighten out.
"Hart's first move was to adopt this regional officer concept from the liaison branch," Brickham explained. "Second was to establish province officers so all CIA operations in a particular province came under one coordinated command. The fact that it operated on the other basis for as long as it did is almost unbelievable, but
there was just too much money and not enough planning.
"The covert action people are a breed apart" -- Brickham sighed -- "especially the paramilitary types. They've had a sort of checkered history within the agency, and in Vietnam most of them were refugees from the Cuban failure. More than one of them said they were damned if they were going to be on the losing end of the Vietnam operation, too."Backing away from the knuckle draggers, Brickham noted: "We had very little to do with one another. They were located across the hall from us in the embassy annex, and we knew each other, and we were friends, and we drank beer together. But we had our separate programs, theirs being the covert programs the station was conducting in the provinces. The PM shop was basically an intelligence arm under cover, getting its own intelligence through armed propaganda teams, Census Grievance, and the whole Montagnard program run out of Pleiku ....
Then they had the so-called counterterror teams, which initially were exactly as leftist propaganda described them. They were teams that went into VC areas to do to them what they were doing to us. It gets sort of interesting. When the VC would come into villages, they'd leave a couple of heads sticking on fence posts as they left. That kind of thing. Up there in I Corps there was more than one occasion where U.S. advisers would be found dead with nails through their foreheads."
As for the Census Grievance program, managed by John Woodsman, Brickham said, "We wanted access to its intelligence because they could get intelligence we didn't have access to. But because we were more compartmented within ourselves than we should have been, the police could not necessarily absorb this stuff .... The basic contract with the Vietnamese peasant," Brickham explained, "was that anything that was learned through Census Grievance would not be turned over to the police authorities. This was to get the confidence of the rural population. So we had almost nothing to do with it. It was for the province chief's advice and guidance. They took Census Grievance stuff and turned around and used it in the counterterror teams, although on occasion they might turn something over to the military." Brickham cited Chieu Hoi as "one of the few areas where police and paramilitary advisers cooperated."
Regarding his own programs, Brickham said, "All counterinsurgency depends in the first instance on informants; without them you're dead, and with them you can do all sorts of things. This is something that can only be a local operation. It's a family affair. A few piasters change hands."
In "The Future Applicability of the Phoenix Program," written for the Air University in 1974, CIA Province Officer Warren Milberg calls the Hamlet Informant program the focus of the Special Branch's "bread-and-butter" activities, designed specifically "to gain information from and on the people who lived in rural hamlets .... The problem," he writes, "was in recruiting informants in as many hamlets as possible." This task was made difficult by the fact that informing is dangerous work, so "it became necessary to do detailed studies of various motivational factors." Consequently,
at the top of Special Branch recruitment lists were "people who had been victims of Viet Cong atrocities and acts of terrorism."
Recruiting victims of VC terror as informers was a condition that dove-tailed neatly with counterterror and the doctrine of Contre Coup. For, as David Galula explains, "pseudo insurgents are another way to get intelligence and to sow suspicion at the same time between the real guerrillas and the population." 
By 1965 defectors who joined counterterror teams had the words Sat Gong (Kill Communist) tattooed on their chests as part of the initiation ceremony to keep them from returning to former VC and NVA units. Their unit insignia was a machete with wings, while their unofficial emblem was the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones. When working, CTs dispensed with the regalia, donned black pajamas, and plundered nationalist as well as Communist villages. This was not a fact reported only by the leftist press. In October 1965, upon returning from a fact-finding mission to Vietnam, Ohio Senator Stephen Young charged that the CIA hired mercenaries to disguise themselves as Vietcong and discredit Communists by committing atrocities. "It was alleged to me that several of them executed two village leaders and raped some women," the Herald Tribune reported Young as saying. 
Indeed, CT teams disguised as the enemy, killing and otherwise abusing nationalist Vietnamese, were the ultimate form of psywar. It reinforced negative stereotypes of the Vietcong, while at the same time supplying Special Branch with recruits for its informant program.
In his autobiography, Soldier, Anthony Herbert tells how he reported for duty with SOG in Saigon in November 1965 and was asked to join a top-secret psywar program. "What they wanted me to do was to take charge of execution teams that wiped out entire families and tried to make it look as though the VC themselves had done the killing.The rationale was that other Vietnamese would see that the VC had killed another VC and would be frightened away from becoming VC themselves. Of course, the villagers would then be inclined to some sort of allegiance to our side. 
"I was told," writes Herbert, "that there were Vietnamese people in the villages who were being paid to point the finger." Intrigued, he asked how they knew for certain that the informer might not have ulterior motives for leading the death squads to a particular family. "I suggested that some of their informers might be motivated, for instance, by revenge or personal monetary gain, and that some of their stool-pigeons could be double or triple agents." 
Milberg concedes the point, noting that the Special Branch recruited informants who "clearly fabricated information which they thought their Special Branch case officers wanted to hear" and that when "this information was compiled and produced in the form of blacklists,
a distinct possibility existed that the names on such lists had little relation to actual persons or that the people so named were not, in fact, members of the VCI." 
Such concerns, unfortunately, were overlooked in the rush to obtain information on the VCI. "The Special Branch kept records of people who had been victims of Viet Cong atrocities and acts of terrorism, of people who had been unreasonably taxed by the Viet Cong, of families which had had sons and husbands impressed into Viet Cong guerrilla bands, and those people who, for differing reasons, disliked or distrusted the Viet Cong. Depending on the incentive, be it patriotism or monetary gain, many hamlet residents were desirous of providing information on the activities of the local VCI. The Special Branch then constructed sometimes elaborate, sometimes simple plans to either bring these potential informants into province or district towns or to send undercover agents to the hamlets to interview them on a regular basis." 
In recommending "safe, anonymous" ways for informers to convey information, counterinsurgency guru David Galula cites as examples "the census, the issuing of passes, and the remuneration of workers." Writes Galula: "Many systems can be devised for this purpose, but the simplest one is to multiply opportunities for individual contacts between the population and the counterinsurgent personnel, every one of whom must participate in intelligence collection."  The idea, of course, is that "intelligence collection" is the primary task of the counterinsurgent and that all his contacts with the population are geared toward this purpose, whatever ulterior motive they may appear to have.
Apart from the Hamlet Informant program, Special Branch advisers also managed
the PIC program -- what Brickham called "a foundation stone upon which it was later possible to construct the Phoenix program. The PICs were places where defectors and prisoners could be taken for questioning under controlled circumstances,"he explained. "Responsibility was handled by a small group assembled by Tucker Gougleman. This group worked with province officers setting up training programs for translators, clerks doing filing and collation, and interrogators. John Muldoon was the chief of this little group. He was CIA staff, and he had a good program there. Everything led me to believe that he was top-notch."
The third major program run by the Special Branch was agent penetrations, what Brickham termed "recruitment in place of Vietcong," adding, "This is by far the most important program in terms of gathering intelligence on the enemy. My motto was to recruit them; if you can't recruit them, defect them (that's Chieu Hoi); if you can't defect them, capture them; if you can't capture them, kill them. That was my attitude toward high-level VCI."
The penetration process worked as follows, according to OSS veteran Jim Ward, the CIA officer in charge of IV Corps between 1967 and 1969. An athletic, good-looking man, Ward noted, when we met together at his home, that the Special Branch kept dossiers on all suspected VCI in a particular area of operations, and that evidence was gathered from PIC interrogations, captured documents, and "walk-ins" -- people who would walk into a police station and inform on an alleged VCI. When the accumulated evidence indicated that a suspect was a high-ranking VCI agent, that person was targeted for recruitment in place. "You didn't send out the PRU right away," Ward told me. "First you had to figure out if you could get access to him and if you could communicate with him once you had a relationship. Everybody in the Far East operates primarily by family, so the only opportunity of getting something like that would be through relatives who were accessible people. Does he have a sister or wife in town that we can have access to? A brother? Somebody who can reach him? Somebody he can trust? If that could be arranged, then you looked for a weakness to exploit. Is there any reason to believe he's been in this position for five years and hasn't been promoted when everybody else around him has been moving up the ladder? Does he bear resentment? Anything you can find by way of vulnerability that would indicate this guy might be amenable to persuasion to work for us." 
Bribes, sex, blackmail, and drugs all were legitimate means of recruitment.
Speaking of the quality of Special Branch penetration agents, Brickham remarked, "We had some that were fairly good. By which I mean their information checked out." That information, he added, concerned "the movements and activities of district and province and COSVN cadre. COSVN people might come around on an inspection tour or an indoctrination mission. Sometimes they had major political conferences where you might have a number of province and COSVN cadre together in one place. Now this is the kind of thing we'd go right after however we could. It was usually militarily; artillery if you could reach it."
Because of the unparalleled "intelligence potential" of penetrations, one of the main jobs of liaison advisers was training Special Branch case officers to handle penetration agents. At the same time, according to Brickham, "if the opportunity came their way, our own people would have a unilateral penetration into the VCI without their Special Branch counterparts knowing. These things for the most part were low-grade, but occasionally we had some people on the payroll as penetration agents who worked at district level, and as I recall, we had three or four at province level, which is fairly high up."
In 1967, Brickham told me, the CIA had "several hundred penetration agents in South Vietnam, most of them low-level." They were not cultivated over a period of years either. "In a counterinsurgency," he explained, "it's either quickly or not at all. However, the unilateral operations branch in the station went after some very high-level, very sophisticated target penetration operations." Since this unit played a major role in Phoenix, it requires a brief accounting.
The CIA's special operations unit for unilateral penetrations was largely the work of Sam Drakulich, the senior Special Branch adviser in III Corps in 1965. "I've always had a notion ever since I was a kid," Brickham said, "that it's the crazy people that have the bright ideas. So I've always been willing to play along with people like that, even though they're ignored by the other kids in school. Same thing with Drakulich. He had a lot of good ideas, but he was a little flaky -- and he got more so. He refused to live in Bien Hoa, and he was the region officer in charge. Now I wanted all the region officers to live in their capitals. Anyway, Drakulich had a place to live out there, and it hadn't been bombed in thirty years; but he was terrified, so he came to Saigon every night. The point came [March 1966] where he was not supervising the province operations, and therefore, I persuaded Tucker to relieve him of duty.
"Howard 'Rocky' Stone [Jack Stent's replacement as chief of Foreign Intelligence (FI)] had just come into country and was putting on pressure for VCI penetrations. So what Tucker and I did -- to respond to Stone, on the one hand, and to solve the Drakulich problem, on the other -- was to create a high-level VCI penetration unit and switch Drakulich to run it."
Drakulich claimed to me, in a 1986 interview, that he had written a proposal for the high-level penetration unit before he was given the job by Brickham. Big and powerfully built, Drakulich said he designed the unit specifically to identify a group of high-level VCI that had killed, in broad daylight, a CIA officer on the main street of Bien Hoa. Hence his angst about sleeping overnight in Bien Boa.
In any event, Drakulich devised a special unit for penetrating the high-level VCI who were targeting CIA officers for assassination, and it was his contention that this special unit, which supplied blacklists to a special CT unit in Saigon, was the prototype for Phoenix.
The special unit organized by Drakulich consisted of several high-ranking CIA officers who traveled through the country reviewing all penetration cases. This team would visit each province officer, interview everyone on his staff, evaluate all the cases, in some instances meeting with the agent, then determine which of the cases were promising enough to set up special arrangements. The special unit would bring back to Saigon the cases that were promising, and in Saigon, Brickham said, "We would apply special care to their development. We would nurture them, generate requirements, and make sure they had communications and full exploitation.
"Regardless of the potential importance of this job," Brickham added, "Sam could never adjust to the fact that he had been relieved of his regional officer job, and so he left Vietnam in the summer of 1966. And that was the end of that. Then Rocky Stone set up his special unit [under Burke Dunn] I to take over what Sam Drakulich was supposed to be doing, and suddenly these cases, if they were thought to be good, would disappear from our purview all together.
"Stone pressed very hard for unilateral operations. He was interested in high-level penetrations of the VCI; I was interested in fighting a counter-insurgency war. As a result, he set up this separate shop, which took away my best operations -- which is always a source of resentment. Stone and I later became best of friends, but not in this period." Brickham took a deep breath, then said solemnly, "This competition for intelligence sources is one of the underlying, chronic conflicts that you can't avoid. There's a tension because there are two different purposes, but you're utilizing basically the same resources.
"Anyway, the penetrations Stone wanted to take away were our unilaterals. Out in the provinces we would provide advice and guidance to the Special Branch for their penetrations into the VCI. But on our side, maybe through Chieu Hoi or some other resource, we would develop independent unilateral penetrations unknown to the police. We had a number of these around the country, and it's that kind of thing that Stone's special unit was interested in reviewing. And if it was very good, they'd take it away from us."
Not only did Rocky Stone abscond with the special unit, but he also took steps to have Special Branch field operations expelled from the station. This issue is central to Phoenix. "There was always a big fight in the agency as to how covert it should be," Brickham explained. "In particular, there was a lot of opposition in the station to the extent of exposure we had in Special Branch field operations. So Stone came in and tried to reduce that operation in favor of unilateral espionage into the VCI. Which I resisted."
A believer in David Galula's theories on political warfare, Brickham stated, "My feelings were simple. We're in a war, an intelligence war, meaning fought on the basis of intelligence. It will either succeed or fail on intelligence. Special Branch field operations are a crucial element of this whole thing with Special Branch operations -- informants, defectors, PICs -- critical against the enemy infrastructure.
American boys are over here who are being killed. We don't have time to worry about bureaucratic niceties. We don't have time to worry about reputations. We got to win the goddamned thing!
"So I was all gung ho for continuation and improvement of field operations. But Stone said, 'Get rid of field operations. I don't want it as part of my responsibility.' So I was turned over to the new Revolutionary Development Cadre unit that was run by Lou Lapham, who was brought out from Washington especially for that purpose."
CHAPTER 8: Attack on the VCI
In the summer of 1966 steps were finally taken in Washington and Saigon to resolve the debate over who should manage the pacification of South Vietnam. At the heart of the problem was the fact that despite the U.S. Army's success against NVA main force units in the Central Highlands, the Vietnamese people were not supporting the GVN to the extent that President Lyndon Johnson could withdraw American forces and leave the Vietnamese to manage the war on their own.
On one side of the debate was the Pentagon, recommending a single chain of command under MACV commander Westmoreland. The reasons were simple enough: The military was providing 90 percent of pacification resources, a single chain of command was more efficient, and there was danger in having unsupervised civilians in a battle zone. On the other hand, the civilian agencies were afraid that if the military managed pacification, any political settlement calling for the withdrawal of troops would also require civilians under military management (in, for example, refugee programs) to depart from Vietnam along with U.S. soldiers.
In 1965 Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge had handed the problem to Ed Lansdale, whom he appointed senior liaison to the Ministry of Revolutionary Development. But Lansdale (a "fifth wheel," according to Brickham) was unwanted and ignored and failed to overcome the bureaucratic rivalries in Saigon. By 1966 the problem was back in Washington, where it was determined that pacification was failing as the result of a combination of poor management and the VCI's ability to disrupt Revolutionary Development. As a way of resolving these interrelated problems,
President Johnson summoned his war managers to a conference at Warrenton, Virginia, in January 1966, the result of which was an agreement that a single pacification manager was needed.Once again, this point of view was advanced by the military through its special assistant for counterinsurgency and special activities, General William Peers, who suggested that the MACV commander be put in charge of pacification, with a civilian deputy.
Although the civilians continued to object, Johnson wanted quick results, the kind only the military could provide, and shortly thereafter he named National Security Council member Robert Komer his special assistant for pacification. Komer was an advocate of military control, whose master plan was to unite all agencies involved in pacification under his personal management and direct them against the VCI.
Meanwhile, the Saigon Embassy commissioned a study on the problem of interagency coordination. Begun in July 1966 under mission coordinator George "Jake" Jacobson, the Roles and Missions Study made eighty-one recommendations, sixty-six of which were accepted by everyone. Consensus had been achieved, and a major reorganization commenced. Notably, the policy for anti-VCI operations as stated by the Roles and Missions Study was "that the Police Special Branch assume primary responsibility for the destruction of the Viet Cong Infrastructure." 
"We did claim in Roles and Missions," according to Brickham, the CIA representative on that committee, "that the police should have a major civilian role and be the spearhead of the effort because it was the police over the long haul, and in terms of ultimate victory, that would have to settle the problem ... and that therefore we should not let the military run everything till the end of the war, then let everything fall into chaos when the military was brought out." 
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