South Viet Nam: Beware: Wet Paint

Almost overnight, the symbol was everywhere to be seen. On the doors and porch posts of houses, huts and hovels from the Delta to the highlands, millions of neatly painted South Vietnamese flags suddenly appeared, in gorgeous hues of canary yellow and crimson.

Saigon officials and U.S. advisers insisted that they had no part in the flag painting. But the phenomenon began after President Nguyen Van Thieu announced a stepped-up pacification program following President Nixon's suggestion in October of a standstill ceasefire. In such a cease-fire (known locally as a "leopardskin" arrangement),...

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