The World: But Who Hath Measured the Ground?

IT is no secret that several officers in the U.S. command's secret information-gathering center in Saigon keep Japanese-made "laughing bags" on their desks. The little battery-operated noise boxes emit an 18-second burst of hysterical laughter at the push of a button. Officers have been known to push the button during working hours—quite possibly in response to the latest batch of statistics to arrive from the battlefields or hamlets of Indochina.

The statistical body counts of enemy soldiers killed and wounded and reports of "secure" towns and villages are not exactly a laughing matter. They have played a major—and all too often misleading—role...

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