Testing one two three
New York Times 10-23-67 Washington Post 6-2-71
New York Times 4-17-66 New York Times 11-30-71
Myth: U.S. used poison gas (proscribed weapons) in Vietnam and Laos and conducted secret operations to assassinate American POWs [longshadows] in Communist hands
Fact: The U.S. never shipped poison gas to Vietnam, nor were there ever any operations to assassinate American POWs
- No evidence has ever been adduced that the U.S. even shipped poison gases to Vietnam, and a Pentagon investigation confirmed that no poisonous gasses were shipped to Vietnam.
- A search of North Vietnamese records uncovered no reports of the use of poisonous gases by American troops.
- According to Pentagon records, only two individuals defected during the Vietnam War while in Vietnam. Their whereabouts was unknown. One, PFC Robert Garwood, has subsquently returned to the US and been court martialed.
- No Pentagon records exist indicating any missions were planned, much less conducted, that targeted those two defectors.
- This entire myth is based on one Special Forces operation, "Tailwind", in Laos which was alleged to have used poison gas and hunted down and killed American deserters. CNN was forced to retract the story.
Fact: At least a half a million Vietnamese died as a direct cause of the communist takeover. 1.7 million died in Cambodia, and a half a million more in Laos.
- 65,000-100,000 South Vietnamese were executed after the takeover.
- 165,000 died in re-education campus due to torture, beatings, disease and starvation.
- 250,000 died trying to escape the communist tyranny on boats.
- Some estimates place total deaths from 1975 to the present at over 1.5 million.
- 1.7 million were murdered in Cambodia.
- About 56,000 were killed in Laos. The Lao government continues to pursue and murder the Hmong people to this day.
Fact: The Phoenix Program was a somewhat effective effort to eradicate the VCI (Viet Cong Infrastructure through conversion, capture and killing, if the subjects resisted capture.
- The Phoenix Program was conceived by Robert Komer, the head of CORDS, and was designed to better coordinate pacification efforts, which included degrading the VCI.
- The effort was overseen by American military officers nominally working for the CIA, and operations were carried out by South Vietnamese PRU (Provincial Reconnaissance Units).
- Records show that about 1/3rd of the VCI eliminated were converted (turned into spies or recruited for the GVN), 1/3rd were captured and jailed and 1/3rd were killed resisting arrest.
- It has been falsely claimed that the targets of Phoenix were civilians, but these so-called civilians were political, financial and logistical cadre of the communist forces who did not wear uniforms.