World: Shaping Up

The problem of desertion from the ranks has long given the South Vietnamese army nearly as much trouble as the Communist enemy. Some 37,000 regular, regional and popular government forces deserted in 1963, twice that many the next year, and 113,000 last year. During the first six months of this year, 67,000 went over the hill, a shocking annual rate of more than one man in every five under arms.

The reason has to do partly with the fatigue of 20 years of war, partly with French colonial policy, which promoted few Vietnamese to officer rank, and partly with the flimsy framework...

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