Skip to comments.JFK and the Diem Coup
Posted on 11/27/2012 9:59:23 AM PST by Brad from Tennessee
A White House tape of President Kennedy and his advisers, published this week in a new book-and-CD collection and excerpted on the Web, confirms that top U.S. officials sought the November 1, 1963 coup against then-South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem without apparently considering the physical consequences for Diem personally (he was murdered the following day). The taped meeting and related documents show that U.S. officials, including JFK, vastly overestimated their ability to control the South Vietnamese generals who ran the coup 40 years ago this week. . .
". . .Supporting the Diem coup made the U.S. responsible for the outcome in South Vietnam in exactly the way Bobby Kennedy feared on October 29," said Dr. Prados. "Ironically, though, as the conversation continued, he and the other doubters abandoned these larger considerations and concentrated only on whether a coup would succeed - nothing else mattered." . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at gwu.edu ...
(splutters).. but ... but ... John F. Kennedy was a saint! Surely this is somehow George W. Bush’s fault!
“The Pottery Barn Rule has current significance in light of the Arab Spring, Egypt, Libya and the Benghazi scandal.”
But I disagree with much of the “analysis” at the site. For example:
“Plagued by corruption, political intrigues, and constant internal squabbling, the South Vietnamese were often at loggerheads.”
Diem kept a very tight rein on corruption in the armed forces, and personally had to approve every promotion over the rank of captain. (Granted, the army was much smaller in his day.) The massive corruption started after his overthrow, when a myriad of successive coups
led people to consider how best to save themselves if the worst came (as it finally did, in 1975).
He inherited a fragmented “nation” with a million refugees transplanted from the North, various quasi-independent (and armed) sects, and armed gangs controlling the Chinese section of Saigon.
That, plus communist guerillas.
That anything like a “nation” was cobbled together was extraordinay. However Diem didn’t like the growing American influence and “oversight” and even secretly
had envoys talk with the North. Whether some kind of inter-Vietnamese deal might have been worked out or not is unknowable;
but that, in the opinion of many, is
what caused the US government to want his overthrow.
“Oh, did I do that?”
JFK ordered the “removal” of a democratically elected president. Karma is a mean motorscooter.
I have read that Diem was secretly negotiating with the North and had offered to force the 16,000 U.S. troops out and establish a neutral regime in the South. This would embarrass JFK who had lost the diplomatic battle to get 40,000 North Vietnamese personnel out of bases in the Laotian Panhandle—the key threat to South Vietnamese security.
Your right. After Diem there was a junta of generals who took turns being president.
JFK’s being elected in 1960 is what killed America, it was a fatal blow that we did not survive.
In fact, the people of North Vietnam were on the verge of starvation at the time. Collective agriculture proved the same failure as in all other communist countries. U.S. advisers were disrupting communities and agriculture in South Vietnam at the time.
Diem was not corrupt. In fact he was remarkably successful in building a country where there had not been one before despite continual attacks by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. He defeated the Viet Cong in the 19650’s and was on the verge of defeating them again when he was killed.
The Kennedy strategy of turning over half of Laos to the communists allowed the construction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail which allowed the North Vietnamese to send large amounts of men and material to South Vietnam. Soviet and Chinese aid kept the North Vietnamese economy form collapsing.
Diem wanted to get the U.S. to limit their presence. That is why he was killed by the generals who were paid and ordered to do so by the Kennedy Administration.
After Diem was killed the situation is South Vietnam fell apart. More and more American troops were required and there were many military coups in Saigon. The Viet Cong attacked when it suited them and then retreated. America ended up with over over 600,000 troops in Vietnam and a support force of about half a million. The politicians declared the was “unwinnable” and said South Vietnam needed to be turned over to the communists.
The whole Paul Christopher series is pretty good, except for the very first one, The Miernik Dossier, which frankly sucks.
This just came to mind when I saw this thread...
Beat me to it! What were the chances...?
More garbage on the Kennedy dump.
The U.S. government replacing “bad” dictators is nothing new. And the consequences are usually bad. We never learn from history.
Strikes me that the release of this information ought give lie to the assertion JFK intended to disengage the US from Vietnam. In fact, it shows the assassination led to our ever deepening involvement.
JFK lost both Cuba and Viet Nam, thats why Democrats so loved him.
We always seem to screw it up. We put someone in power then eventually either he turns on us or we turn on him. If Saddam hadn’t invaded Kuwait he’d still be in power.