The War Conspiracy: The Secret Road to the Second Indochina War
by Peter Dale Scott

A history of US overt and covert military involvement in southeast Asia. It shows that hawks within the US intelligence agencies provided false reports to Washington in order to provoke escalation. Also, the CIA and Air America waged war in Laos without Eisenhower's knowledge. Presidential election years seem to bring on crises: 1960- Laos, 1964- Tonkin Gulf, 1968- Pueblo, each of which put pressure on the president to increase US troops in Asia. The USAF even tried to provoke confrontation with the USSR by rocketing their ships in Hanoi, despite LBJ's orders forbidding this. Also, when sensitive diplomatic negotiations were scheduled, the military would bomb a ship from that country in the Tonkin Gulf, even though Hanoi and Haiphong were out of bounds. Arch-villains are Admiral Sharp, Admiral Moorer, and General Chennault. The U-2 spy plane that Gary Powers went down in was known to be a dud. It was supposed to go down. The Pueblo was also a dud. No civilians are allowed to see the sources of messages intercepted by the military. In Cambodia in 1969, US planes systematically defoliated one third of the rubber plantations, destroying the economy.
Nixon and Johnson were no doves; what they above all wished to avoid was not escalation, but personal responsibility for the decision to escalate. Such indecision invites parapolitics, in the form of covert operations and manipulated intelligence which effectively took the decision out of the President's hands. page 166
He goes into the interlocking economic relationships among key policy makers: Pacific-oriented oil companies, PanAm, Air America, intelligence personnel, Nixon, the China lobby, opium, and organized crime. Nixon seems to have known more about the covert military operations than any of the recent presidents since FDR. (FDR secretly organized the Flying Tigers and exempted it from the neutrality provisions of the US code.) Even as Vice President, Nixon knew more about covert operations than President Eisenhower.
The opium-base economy of Laos is (1970) still being protected by a coalition of opium-growing CIA mercenaries, Air America planes, and their troops. page 212

The fact remains that the secret practices of the intelligence community have institutionalized and made permanently viable the flagrant discrepancy between American democratic ideals and American imperialistic practice. page 216

Year Read: 1985

Back to Libertarian Essays by Roy Halliday
Back to Nonfiction Book Notes
Back to Fiction Book Notes
Back to Book Notes by Author

This page was last updated on September 30, 2011.
This site is maintained by Roy Halliday. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to