Review: The Phoenix Program

4 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
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4.0 out of 5 stars We Can Learn From Our Murderous Mistakes,

April 8, 2000
Douglas Valentine
This is as good an account I have found of how the CIA got into the business of helping Vietnamese kill each other off one by one. It is a disturbing and valuable book, and I took from it several lessons: 1) CIA puppies with no military background, and military detailees with no law enforcement background, have no business getting into the gutter with foreign thugs; 2) if we support indigenous arrest, torture, and assassination programs they need to have some serious multi-cultural analysis and counterintelligence support lest we simply give one faction the means of killing off the other without regard to our interests; and 3) our general approach to interference in the internal affairs of other nations is corrupt and increases local corruption. We throw money at personalities rather than insight at institutions. We train and equip local units to inflict covert violence, and then wonder why the situation destabilizes further.
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