Lansdale, Edward G.
October 1968
Foreign Affairs;Oct68, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p92
This article suggests the need of Vietnam for definitive goals as a constant guide for action. Identifying our goals from the major actions we have undertaken in Vietnam, they can be described as follows: to eliminate the enemy south of the 17th parallel; to hamper the enemy's supply routes coming into South Vietnam; to ease the shock of shifting millions of people away from temporary battle areas; to place security forces in the countryside; to start bringing the rudiments of a better life to the people in villages and hamlets; to update the system of the central government into the twentieth century; to institute the forms of a self-governing democracy; and to provide facilities for a vast increase in commerce. These are the thrusts of our major actions and hint at the complexity of the struggle in Vietnam. Two by-products of these major actions also are worthy of mention: the forced growth of English as a second language for the Vietnamese and--for Americans--the proving of Parkinson's law about bureaucratic proliferation. Perhaps these two by-products will be the ones that will last for centuries. However, when we speak of a free choice for the Vietnamese, we are immediately in semantic trouble.


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