Skip to main content

As we didn't learn any of the lessons of Vietnam, this might be something more to ad to the debate or decision to get out of the already extremely failed occupation of Afghanistan!

Earlier to day I received this:

JFK Library Releases New Evidence on Diem Assassination

Posted - November 3, 2009

Washington, DC, November 3, 2009 - The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has just released new evidence on United States collusion in the late 1963 coup d’etat in South Vietnam that ended in the assassination of Saigon leader Ngo Dinh Diem. This is a crucial new piece of the puzzle, for the release includes actual tape recordings of White House meetings several months earlier when President Kennedy  initially considered requests from South Vietnamese generals for U.S. backing in a coup attempt. The tapes reflect both Kennedy’s doubts and U.S. determination to change the game in South Vietnam, and decisions made here, in August, led directly to the November coup. Later this month the Archive will post an Electronic Briefing Book reflecting upon the new evidence. For the present we are re-posting our earlier commentary presentation, documents and tapes directly pertinent to the American role in the Saigon coup.

Then just caught this Media report I'm sure similar will be reported on other outlets tonight and tomorrow:

Tapes show JFK conflicted over Saigon coup

Struggles with South Vietnam leader similar to Obama's Afghan situation

Newly released White House tapes from the Vietnam War era portray President John F. Kennedy wrestling over the fate of South Vietnam's strongman in a situation that appears to mirror President Barack Obama's quandary today in dealing with Afghanistan's shaky government.

Obama is beset by questions about President Hamid Karzai's popularity, honesty and management of the war against Taliban, while Kennedy dealt in 1963 with President Ngo Dinh Diem and his inability to turn the tide against Viet Cong insurgents.

At issue in both conflicts was a rising number of U.S. casualties in defending unpopular governments...>>>

Report with JFK Tapes Played

Originally posted to jimstaro on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:58 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    At AFL/CIO Convention:"We've been fighting for reform for so long that if health reform was a person, it would be eligible for Medicare!"

    by jimstaro on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:58:53 PM PST

    •  I know he is wrestling with this. I would (4+ / 0-)

      like to think he is trying to figure out how to set the stage for leaving without appearing to abandon the region, i.e.., Pakistan. I'm also guessing part of the delay is to wait for health care. He doesn't want to add another divisive decision into the mix.

      •  Thanks for the way your put it! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, jimstaro, vets74

        I know he is wrestling with this. I would

         This is a good way to frame our thinking.  Thanks

      •  Add In (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, kimoconnor

        We also can't just walk away this time from our promises of rebuilding, that's part of the reason for al Qaeda and the Taliban, but it also showed what we really are not what we say we are!!

        The World also must join in, but with the way it was grossly mishandled and allowed to create more hatreds thus enemies, we're fighting the youngsters from nine years back who have grown up smarter insurgents, I'm not sure it will be safe for NGO's and others to help!!

        At AFL/CIO Convention:"We've been fighting for reform for so long that if health reform was a person, it would be eligible for Medicare!"

        by jimstaro on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:18:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is not as safe as it was a few years ago.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gary Norton, vets74, Quicksilver2723

          ....but there is still a lot of good work being done by non-profits in Afghanistan.

          And many, like the one I volunteer with, have Afghans  doing the work for the non-profit. I do not hire high paid foreigners to run our organization, but Afghans.

          Afghans can rebuild their nation, but they need money to do so. There was so much destroyed it is mind blowing the level rebuilding that is required. I think it is worth it.

          I know that there are corrupt officials that do not provide for their people like they should, but there are also many, many Afghans who are trustworthy and dedicated to helping rebuild their nation. And I am glad I can do something to help them do so.

          Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

          by kimoconnor on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 04:49:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  While Obama wrestles (0+ / 0-)

        with the decision, and with the politics of healthcare, our troops are eating IEDs.

        A few give much, a few give all, and most Americans give....NOTHING! ~~~ Support our troops - Bring them home

        by Hound Dog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 04:29:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Send them bloodhounds. (0+ / 0-)

          Seriously.

          I do love Bloodies. But better to run dogs on whistles and lose dogs, than losing people.

          Blocking the cell phones isn't enough......

          Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

          by vets74 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 06:17:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The lessons (7+ / 0-)

    from history are many regarding the futility of a conflict such as is the war in Afghanistan. http://rethinkafghanistan.com/

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

    by Klick2con10ue on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:13:27 PM PST

    •  Calling a US War "Futile" Puts You Waaaay Out on (0+ / 0-)

      the looney looney left. Same today as half a century ago.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:19:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are you suggesting Obama is considering (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaNang65

    replacing Karzai?  I didn't think that was an option now.

    It's either

    All the way with Hamid K

    or

    These boots are made for walking

    Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

    by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:19:49 PM PST

    •  Think!!! (0+ / 0-)

      Nope, but that isn't the point that's going to be made except maybe by fox or fox like non thinkers!!

      The Archive, as it says, won't have what was released up till later in the month, but use the link for what they already have about Diem etc. in that first blockquote!!

      At AFL/CIO Convention:"We've been fighting for reform for so long that if health reform was a person, it would be eligible for Medicare!"

      by jimstaro on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:24:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Trying so hard ... my head hurts so bad! ... (0+ / 0-)

        Listen to tape again ... read first block quote ... follow link, force self to read ... Aaargh!

        Nope. JFK is still talking about replacing the government in Saigon, doesn't touch on withdrawal or escalation.

        Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

        by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:30:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

          If you took your focus off the one word {similar to what some groups do} you might get the use of!!

          The Diem assassination worked out great didn't it, not!!

          At AFL/CIO Convention:"We've been fighting for reform for so long that if health reform was a person, it would be eligible for Medicare!"

          by jimstaro on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:52:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  $42,000. Adjusted for inflation. (0+ / 0-)

      And no "Big Minh" on the back side.

      Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 06:19:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ellsberg: Obama fears military revolt (4+ / 0-)

    From Truthout:

    Ellsberg: Leaked Pentagon Papers from Vietnam give clues to why Obama will most likely grant military requests to send more troops to Afghanistan.

    Like Vietnam, Ellsberg said "no victory lies ahead [for the US] in Afghanistan" and President Barack Obama knows it.

    Still, Ellsberg believes Obama will "go against his own instincts as to what's best for the country and do what's best for him and his administration and his party in the short run facing elections, which is to avoid a military revolt."

    As revealed in the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg said that President Lyndon B. Johnson chose to go along with increasing US troops in Vietnam: "To keep the military from resigning and going public with complaints that he had abandoned a winnable war."

    The more troops we put in Vietnam, the more Vietcong were recruited. And, the more troops we put in Afghanistan, the curve shows very clearly from 2005 on, the Taliban has come back having been, as you say, despised and reviled by most of the country. How can it be that they get the degree of support that they do now? One reason only: the number of troops, of US troops that they are fighting.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:31:28 PM PST

    •  After 1967, Viet Cong didn't really exist. (0+ / 0-)

      It was all NVA.

      Also, Ellsberg is still a brilliant guy. But he doesn't know shit about COIN warfare. Never did.

      Thing is, the conversion to "eradicate" the poppy crops in 2005-2006-2007 is what pumped up the Afghan war.

      FOLLOW THE MONEY.

      All of this is financed by the poppy biz because that is all the money there is in Afghanistan. And the violence is done on a pay-to-play basis.

      Plus, of course, you've got the Karzai brothers playing both sides. Their tribe is favored for poppy production. Opponents used to get their poppy fields trashed regularly -- which has been reduced somewhat but is still a factor.

      "Taliban" is a meaningless term. Any poppy-paid cheap-merc is tagged "Taliban." Every IED is tagged "Taliban." Every blown up truck is labelled "suicide bomber Taliban."

      Nonsense.

      Fact is, there's $3- to $4-billion a year flowing back for the poppies.

      U.N. has $600- to $800-million of that getting to the farmers.

      Most of the $3- to $4-billion goes for such as this:

      Razor wire narco-house in Kabul

      Simple solution --

      Buy the poppies at the fields. All of them. For $1-billion.

      That's a tiny fraction of what we are spending.

      Buy out the poppies -- this also ends what is now a worldwide tsunami of cheap Afghan poppy-sourced heroin.

      The Real Taliban will support that effort. Mullah Omar and his people have always opposed drugs, always fought to eradicate these poppy fields.

      There are hundreds of people who could cut an honest deal with them.

      Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:19:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The war's gonna go on forever (0+ / 0-)

    whether it's the Empire doing the fighting or some other half-interested party. Best thing you can do is abandon Karzai to the (literal) chopping block, fire up an embassy in Helmund province and hope you can pressure the Taliban into not using the nukes it will wrest from the timid, incompetent Pakistanis.

    What's the score now, anyway?
    Empires 0
    Mujaheddin 3

  •  Hi, Jim.......................................... (0+ / 0-)

    First, you're burying your lead.

    "New Vietnam Assassination Evidence Has Bearing on Afghanistan ???"

    Might be more like it.

    Second, I knew people back then who were in the middle of that mess.

    -- The Diem brothers were killed in part because they were gangsters. Not growing poppies like the Karzai brothers, but gangsters.

    -- $42,000 went from Kennedy's people to the wet-work killers.

    -- No planning was done on the aftermath of these murders.

    -- Another thug, "Big Minh," took over and ran the country as bad or worse than the Diems. No improvement whatsoever.

    One good thing was that Col. Jack Polk -- then Military Attache at the Saigon embassy -- went out of his way to save Madam Diem. They were Catholics and he knew that his wife would never forgive him.

    He gave her pilot an ivory-handled pistol, gift from Gen. Patton for helping Patton's son get through West Point. Told him to get her out. She went shopping in The Philippines.

    When Polk was charged, he said to the Court Marshal what he had done, then said,"It is beneath the honor of a West Point graduate to kill a woman." Indeed, under the rules of the game as it was played then, Kennedy could have killed anyone on earth. But any move on The Point would have brought consequences. That Court Marshal was erased from Army history and Polk went on to a normal career including combat in Vietnam.

    Polk's brother Jimmy had led the Berlin airlift. His brother Tommy was a submarine driver.

    That was the last pure good thing that happened in Vietnam, till Hugh Thompson used his helicopter and its guns to stop one part of the My Lai massacre.

    American exceptionalism:

    He fired at it [the baby] with a .45. He missed. We all laughed. He got up three or four feet closer and missed again. We laughed. Then he got up right on top and plugged him.

    —Eyewitness testimony, Peers Inquiry

    At the same time as My Lai, Marines following the Bill Corson pattern were using CAP Marines to protect villagers. That was what CAP was all about. Westmoreland's idea of a War of Attrition -- the opposite of CAP -- led directly to wanting to kill every damn one of the slants -- women, children, aged, babies... all of them.

    McChrystal is trying to do CAP, calling it Afghan Public Protection Program. AP3
    . Using Afghans instead of Marines. Budgeted for 25,000 Afghan SWAT guys.

    They also need bloodhounds. And to get Military Police out of the dog business for Combat Tracking Team work. MPC doesn't know WTF its doing.

    A new program at Ft. Huachuca... that and AP3 might give this a chance.

    That and putting the $42,000 down on the Karzai brothers. And putting in a non-drug-biz lezdership. And spending the $1-billion it will take to buy out the poppy crops at the fields. Legally.

    War's a bitch.

    Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 04:59:31 PM PST

    •  Ummmm ... Diem never married. (0+ / 0-)

      No Mme Diem to rescue at all ...

      Still, damned good story! I LOVE the court martial part! Hell, Diem probably would have gotten married if he'd known what a terrific tale could be woven from his wife's rescue! LOL

      Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

      by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:12:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sister in law (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright, vets74

        Trần Lệ Xuân (born 1924 in Hanoi, French Indochina), popularly known as Madame Nhu but more properly Madame Ngô Đình Nhu, was considered the First Lady of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1963. She was the wife of Ngo Dinh Nhu, brother and chief adviser to President Ngo Dinh Diem. Since Diem was a bachelor, she was considered to be the First Lady and lived with her husband in the Independence Palace.

        wiki

        The folded coffin flag means nothing to me but a receipt from the Masters of War to the pawns in the games.

        by BOHICA on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:14:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And she was in Beverly Hills CA on 11-01-63. (0+ / 0-)

          I remember it well.

          But hey, a story is a story! Did I HR?

          Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

          by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:16:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No (3+ / 0-)

            I was just interested. Quite the bitch though.

            She often caused controversy because of her strong anti-Buddhist, pro-Catholic ideology. When she heard that Diem was to sign a statement offering compensation to the families of Buddhist protestors shot by the police of his brother Ngô Đình Cẩn, Madame Nhu was reported to have thrown a bowl of soup at him.[15] Notably she mocked the protest by Thích Quảng Đức, who performed a self-immolation in a crowded Saigon street in response to the shooting of Buddhists by Diem's regime. Madame Nhu called it a "barbecue" and stating "let them burn and we shall clap our hands".[15] Her parents disowned her because of her role in the persecution of Buddhists, with her father resigning as ambassador to the United States and criticising her brother-in-law's regime.[16] This occurred after special forces loyal to Nhu raided the Xa Loi Pagoda in Saigon in August. The pagoda was vandalised, monks beaten, the cremated remains of Thích Quảng Đức, which included a heart which had not disintegrated, were confiscated.[17] Simultaneous raids were carried out across the country, with the Tu Dam Pagoda in Huế being looted, the statue of Gautama Buddha demolished, and a body of a deceased monk stolen.[17] When the populace came to the defence of the monks, the resulting clashes saw 30 civilians killed and 200 wounded.[17] Through her paramilitary organisation, Madame Nhu claimed that the Buddhists were "controlled by communism" and that they were manipulated by the Americans, calling on Diem to "expel all foreign agitators whether they wear monks' robes or not".[18]

            The folded coffin flag means nothing to me but a receipt from the Masters of War to the pawns in the games.

            by BOHICA on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:21:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cross Sarah Palin and Marie Antoinette ??? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              But there was another other face, another one altogether. The one she put on for the embassy and for Catholics... that was near saintly.

              She was quite pretty. I'd believe the Hollywood connection. The pilot flew her to the Philippines -- and where she went from there, I have no idea.

              The worst of it with the Nhu side of the family was a number of violent deaths and other troubles. After power, nothing went well for them.

              Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

              by vets74 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 06:13:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Her brother murdered their parents in the 70s. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vets74

                You've got that right.

                Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

                by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 06:59:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Tran Van Chuong, the father, had resigned in 1963 (0+ / 0-)

                  in protest against American support of anti-Buddhist actions by his own government.

                  At the time Chuong had been ambassador to the United States. His integrity lent weight to his daughter's claims that Jack Kennedy had had her husband and brother-in-law murdered.

                  Of course, she was right. $42,000 right.

                  Vietnamese politics in the diaspora tended to follow family/imperial ties. Eliminating the Chuongs in 1986 and tagging Tran Van Kheim, then 60, as a mentally incompetent parricide achieved simple political goals.

                  Murdering parents is so extremely rare -- killing them by hand, indeed -- that one could wonder about it.

                  Black operations and "wet work" haven't stopped, today, but we can hope there is less of it.

                  Killing people by the hundreds every year was part an parcel of clandestine operations through the Cold War period and after for years. Antisocial and paranoid mental disorders predominated in the middle levels of both the Russian and the American spy organizations and others.

                  Nasty stuff. A train blown up, an airliner sent over Russian air space. Lives valued at nothing or less.

                  This brother, Tran Van Kheim, had allegedly "drawn up a hit list" of CIA and contract Americans in Saigon in 1963 -- the "muscle" that our embassy had on hand for such as taking out Diem. When they thought of America, they thought of The Mafia.

                  Of course, this Kheim could have murdered his parents.

                  Anything is possible.

                  Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

                  by vets74 on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 07:39:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Our Embassy regularly identified her as (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright

          "Madam Diem." That included a seating chart and a name-tag. She was President Diem's official hostess.

          Now, the Vietnamese have resettled in America and a mislabelled photo will draw attention. Names get redone with corrections.

          Then, in the 1960s, Americans used last names as family names and mislabelled more things than not. Even people who knew better. Same for newspapers including WaPo and NYTimes. Their reporters picked up embassy mistakes.

          Indeed, Madame Ngô Đình Nhu is correct.

          She was thought of as a Sarah Palin, of sorts. Athletic, wild, willful. She was much younger than the two brothers -- at the same time a force for passing stiff laws and not as well thought of outside the Catholic community.

          BTW: next we'll hear that Jack Polk's roommates didn't include Patton's kid.

          That Jack didn't ride around Saigon wearing the brace of these gift pistols. Till he gave the one away. Till he got her out, risking the whole operation.

          Try for that, kiddos......

          Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

          by vets74 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:56:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  From Beverly Hills to Manila. For a pistol. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vets74

            If it works for you, it works for me. Bless Jack Polk - and his Catholic wife.

            Nighty-night, v74.

            Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

            by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 06:59:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But the Embassy does not get confused about (0+ / 0-)

            protocol, and she was never referred to as Mme Diem, and the NYT and WaPo never made that mistake either.

            Chinese are formally addressed as Mr/Mrs [family name], Vietnamese as Mr/Mrs [given name - or husband's give name]. In both cases it is the last part of the full name.

            Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

            by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 07:36:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suppose that "disinformation" is more accurate. (0+ / 0-)

              These people, like the Vietnamese Catholics generally, were considered as they were useful.

              After they became less useful, they were treated as an inconvenience for the connections France and to the dead JFK -- as though somehow connected to the Kennedy assassination even.

              "The chickens have come home to roost" is from Malcolm X. But it was also changed to "doves" and printed in France, attributed to Madam Ngu (aka Diem).

              Thinking back....... that didn't leave the mind easily. Cute trick.

              Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

              by vets74 on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 06:25:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site