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Re: "Under threat of court-martial"
I had meant to send you the paper pasted below.
Jean Pouget: Le Manifeste du Camp No 1.
My second reading of the Manifeste... since 1969 confirms my initial impression of its unusual and continuing value. It is the romanticized story of a number of French officer's reaction to brain-washing by their captors in Vietnam.
The central and applicable lesson from the book is the power of the brain-washing techniques, and their most important use: the indoctrination and imposed dedication of the Vietnamese to execute their missions. The French learned first of the power this training method gave their adversaries. We were exposed to it in Korea by its' use on our own POWs, but we never understood its efficacy for those we were still fighting until we saw the results of its application to their own people by the Viet Cong.
We have still not understood it is a major reason we were
outfought by them.
The difference between our Vietnamese allies, i.e., indifferent soldiers, and theirs--first rate soldiers--was their assiduous application of these motivating techniques.
Pouget's story telling technique was to combine several real persons into one character in a novel. He put these thinly-disguised persons into situations in which they had lived and gave them back their actual words, worlds and the reactions of their fellows. In effect, he was telling thinly disguised real stories.
His application of this technique (used initially by Jean
Larteguy) in Les Mercenaires; Les Centurians; and Les
Praetorians, gave the Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg their most effective way to explain "revolutionary warfare" to its students. Warning them not to be distracted by the sex contained therein did not diminish interest. General Paul Aussauresses, President of the French Jedburghs, former liaison officer at Fort Benning, and friend of Bill Colby, is Boisferrais in Les Praetorians. General Roland de Mecquenem, deputy G-3 at CENTAG, was in another heroic combination of characters.
There are priceless insights in Le Manifest.. . General
Yarborough used our own POW's experience in Korean and Chinese camps, and that of the French in Vietnam to help the Air Force with a curriculum for its survival course for downed officers at Stead Air Force Base in 1962 (?). Our POWs, and the very few who escaped profited from this careful effort.
The thorough discussion of the "autocritique" in Manifeste makes the power of this technique very evident. Results of this training procedure was the major difference between the effectiveness of the Viet Cong and that of our own Vietnamese (and we Americans) on Vietnamese battlefields.
Pouget's use of it in this book was by the prisoners and their captors. We made a desultory use of the technique at Fort Bragg in new Special Forces "A" Teams, and with some student groups. It was explained as their adversary's training method; using its complementary component, the "speak bitterness" seance made it come home to
each person to whom it was applied.
We have much more to learn about this procedure. It appears to be derived from Luria's efforts in the mid-20s to realize Lenin's "New Communist Man." Old bolshevik's confessions of their having spied for the British secret services in the mid-30s was an early example of its power. Have the Bosnians acquired these techniques for making their fighting echelons particularly effective? How did the Chechnians train themselves? Do the Russians use these procedures?
o Determine the validity of my impressions of the Viet Minh and Viet Cong training and indoctrination methodology we call brain washing. Example, evaluate the effectiveness of the 7th Cu Chi or other particularly effective main force VC battalions against the U.S. units they faced.
o Use our new relation with Vietnam to query them about their wartime training methods to include verification of these with such veterans as may be available.
o Review interrogations of Cheu Hois or Viet Cong POWs of the era. The platoons of scouts from VC formed by U.S. units may be another exploitable source.
o Query the Special Warfare Center for their holdings on VC training methods. Dr. John Johns, now at the National War College may be a useful source for this. Pose questions about VC training methodology to knowledgeable Vietnamese now resident in the United States. Task CIA and DIA for their opinion.
o Make an independent query about how the Bosnian Serbs train themselves.
o Query John Yochelson about the relevance of his father's efforts in the social reform of criminals to the power of these techniques.
o Is the "Wanted List" of Democrats published this week an example and application of the way Viet Cong cadres
disseminated data elements for use with these techniques?
And, "While any fool can learn from his own experience, tis a wise man who learns from the experience of others." We explained these techniques to pilots so they would be prepared for what would happen to them if they become prisoners. What do we think now of this initiative as a prophylactic measure? Did it work?
What can/should be done with this paper?
o Deliver it and Le Manifeste... to Helen for her to read. Suggest she task the Army, particularly the SWC at Fort Bragg and DIA for their holdings after she has read the book. Ask her for a brief unsigned opinion after she has read it.
o Reread Les Centurians for any references for training methods. Share these with persons who get this paper.
o Send copies to the persons I've mentioned with a brief personalized note (Johns, Yochelson, Aussauresses, de Mecquenem's family, Pouget, Yarborough).
o Copies also to David Hackworth, Walter Christman, Dan Bernard, Jean-Paul Raffenne, Orwin Talbott, Arnaud de Valon, Doug Brisson, Doug McClure, Joe Ulatowski