For what American policy has attempted to do is to obliterate the village as a social unit. This, ostensibly, is to deny cover to the guerrillas, but, in reality, the purpose is to reconstruct Vietnamese society in the image of the United States.
John Vann, widely regarded as one of the most articulate and experienced Americans in Vietnam, recognized this when he wrote years ago that battle was taking place to revolutionize Vietnam and it was the duty of Americns to ensure that the conversion was to Western Democracy, not communism. The fact ignored in this statement is that the Vietnamese have already had their revolution: anything America is trying to achieve is being done against the will of the people.
I have never met any Vietnemese who could relate to America’s claim to be liberating him from his traditional past.
(Griffiths 2001: 13)
Every time an American criticized a Vietnamese, the criticism was based upon a self-righteous sense of natural superiority derived from unquestioning belief in an American monopoly of all higher morality.
(Griffiths 2001: 24)
One Student complained that he could not possibly be expected to comprehend why the Americans were leaving when he still hadn’t discovered why they had come in the first place!
(Griffiths 2001: 25)
Amidst all the rhetoric about “saving Vietnam from the Communists” one fact is always conveniently forgotten, and that is that Vietnam once had a Communist government. Furthermore, the people chose it…
It is obvious that this one fact completely negates America’s stated purpose for being in Vietnam, because America can hardly claim to be helping the Vietnamese choose the kind of government they want when they made their choice years ago.
(Griffiths 2001: 96)
Griffiths, Philip Jones (2001) Vietnam Inc. London: Phaidon Press Limited