Association of Former Intelligence Officers

PHOENIX AND THE BIRDS OF PREY: THE CIA's SECRET CAMPAIGN TO DESTROY THE VIET CONG, by Mark Moyar, Naval Institute Press, 1997. Unexpectedly, an evenhanded account of the Phoenix campaign - refreshingly different than the propaganda by the likes of Dan Rather interviewing a demented veteran claiming he was trained to skin infants alive. All of us who served in Vietnam are more than familiar with the slanted and distorted propaganda put forth by our mainstream media during later stages (1966 onward) of the Vietnam War. Phoenix was a program to neutralize the communist infrastructure in the midst of a brutal war, in which communist atrocities abounded along with harsh countermeasures. Phoenix was a secret program, which added to the wilder claims of atrocities committed under its auspices. The author does not engage in moralizing, provides a clear-eyed account and thereby contributes to understanding of the facts. The author is a Harvard graduate, leading one to note with pleasure - although not with surprise - that students emerge from institutions like Harvard with their common sense intact and their minds open in spite of the revisionist and other trendy cants prevailing in those institutions. Highly recommended. (RJ)

Reviewed in AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #26-98, 13 July 1998

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