October 31, 2013
KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:
JFK and the Seeds of Disaster in Vietnam : A U.S.-backed coup marked the triumph of politics over policy (MARK MOYAR, Oct. 31, 2013, WSJ)
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2013 7:51 PMA nationalist respected even by his communist enemies, Diem had managed to hold together a fractious nation and had turned the war around in 1962 by empowering a rising generation of dynamic leaders. In South Vietnam as in most countries with an authoritarian political culture, liberalization signaled weakness and encouraged subversion.After Diem's death, anti-government protests intensified. Ultimately, the government used far more force to suppress these protesters than Diem ever had. The leaders of the 1963 coup proved much less competent than the man they replaced. They squabbled and purged many of the government's best leaders because of past loyalties to Diem.Vietnamese Communist leaders hailed the coup as a "gift," telling the Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett that "the Americans have done something that we haven't been able to do for nine years and that was get rid of Diem." The ineffectiveness of the government that replaced Diem led to the fall of successive South Vietnamese governments, stimulating the North Vietnamese offensive that compelled the U.S. to intervene on the ground.
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