Effects Of Covert Operations In Vietnam

1467 Words 6 Pages
Early Operations and Effects The coup and overthrow of Diem was the first major instance of U.S. covert involvement as the United States backed the coup but tried to maintain plausible deniability. This deception and desire for deniability would only grow as the U.S. began more covert operations in hopes of securing a safe future for Saigon.
Early Operations in Vietnam The earliest covert operations in Vietnam had very broad goals and definitions. One simple definition describes covert action as “any activity in which the United States conceals its responsibilities.” The benefits of concealing responsibility are seen in the added “flexibility” of maneuvering as policy decisions do not need to be shared with the public and retaliation becomes
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In July 1967, these operations would become much more defined and much more disruptive as part of the Phoenix Program. The program was established in 1967 under Robert Komer as part of a larger pacification program known as Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS). The goal of this pacification effort was quite simply “to win the hearts and minds of the people.” Aspects of the program included infrastructural change and Agency for International Development (AID) resources.Komer knew, however, that simple AID programs would not be enough. He believe that “military victory…would be meaning less…unless the Viet Cong political structure could be destroyed.” Also, the “U.S. found itself unable to cope with Vietcong insurgency.” From this need to destroy and contain the Viet Cong structure came the birth of the Phoenix …show more content…
covert operations.. The Tonkin Gulf incident was especially a point of contention in early U.S. involvement in the war. The indecent drew criticism from many sources, but considerably from Senator Wayne Morse. Morse states that the “United States was a provocateur in the Gulf of Tonkin…we were far beyond acting on a routine patrol,” and that U.S. activity in the Tonkin Gulf “constituted an act of constructive aggression on the part of the United states.” He blames the U.S. for their DeSoto patrols into the area and therefore sees this covert patrol as a reason for North Vietnam to escalate. The failures of the Phoenix Program, the mishandling of the Tonkin Gulf incident, and the ineffectiveness of other secret operations demonstrate the ineffectiveness of covert action, and also show how this covert action lead to greater escalation and defeat than a

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