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The Phoenix Program: the Viet Cong, the CIA, and the Paradox of Success

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Title:The Phoenix Program: the Viet Cong, the CIA, and the Paradox of Success
Authors:Brown, Stephan
Contributors:Fergusson, Kathy (advisor)
Political Science (department)
Date Issued:2014
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract:The Phoenix Program remains one of the more controversial and understudied aspects of
the American involvement in Vietnam and CIA operations generally. As a program constructed
to fight the Viet Cong, the CIA used an innovative approach which will be analyzed through a
different perspective. Namely, it will be argued that the Viet Cong was primarily a political
machine, with the function of establishing political control through acts of violence rather than
the traditional guerilla role often given to it. The paradox of the Vietnam War, namely the
political effectiveness of the Viet Cong and the weakening of its control through military
operations, will be contrasted with the military success of the Phoenix Program through political
and information-based means. Primary sources, from Communist Vietnamese and former CIA
operatives, as well as secondary historical and think tank reports will be used to establish and
reinforce the primary argument. As numbers are notoriously hard to come by in terms of
accuracy, a broad analysis of changing tactics, particularly the Tet Offensive in 1968, will be
used to establish the effect of the Phoenix Program on the operations and command structure of
the Viet Cong. Finally, this paper will explain how the Viet Cong, after 1970, ceased to be either
a guerilla organization or a serious threat to South Vietnam.
Pages/Duration:38 pages
Rights:All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Honors Projects for Political Science

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