South Viet Nam: The Buddhist Crisis

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Though Head Priest Thich Tinh Khiet said that he has lost confidence in Diem's "high virtue," no top Buddhist has yet openly asked for the overthrow of the Diem government. But a new type of Buddhist leader is emerging—young, well-educated, tough, and impatient with the older men's relative restraint. As passions mount and the police crack down harder, Buddhists are being pushed into a dangerous attitude of martyrdom. "We don't want a police state," says a Buddhist priest. "We do not want terror or discrimination or state control. We are loyal Vietnamese, but the government treats us like Communists, We are willing to sacrifice ourselves and to die to bring freedom to all the people of South Viet Nam."

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The Communist Viet Cong was obviously trying to capitalize on the Buddhist crisis. Stepping up their attacks, the Red guerrillas wounded 14 U.S. advisers in a mortar barrage on a U.S. compound in Can Tho and killed three Americans when the Reds shot up a U.S. medical convoy north of Saigon. A fourth adviser was killed later in the week when jittery sentries began shooting at each other in the dark. The dead brought to 89 the number of U.S. troops killed in the war in South Viet Nam.

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