Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

Ngo Dinh Nhu

Like Ahmed Wali Karzai, Nhu was the much reviled brother of an unpopular President, Diem. (He had two other brothers: one was an Archbishop, and the other ruled the central provinces of South Vietnam.) The CIA is alleged to have helped Nhu set up the Vietnamese special forces, which were dedicated mainly to preserving the brothers' rule. Known by their acronym ARVN, these forces built a reputation for torture, repression (especially against the country's Buddhists) and corruption. In time, the U.S. came to regard Nhu as a liability to American interests in South Vietnam and cut off aid to the ARVN. Nhu and Diem were assassinated in the 1963 coup that had the tacit support of the U.S.