27 February 2010

From the brief history of South Vietnam

Today was an important day in the brief history (1955 - 1975) of the Republic of Vietnam (aka of "South Vietnam.")

It was on February 27, 1962, that two pilots in the air force of that republic bombed and strafed the presidential palace in Saigon in an effort to assassinate the president, Ngo Dinh Diem. As an assassination, it failed. Three staffers in the palace died; another 30 were injured, but the President and his family members survived. Nor did the bombing serve as a catalyst for the general uprising that the pilots seem to have expected.

Indeed, its immediate effect may have been to persuade Diem that he was under God's protection. That's never a good sign, and of course God can withdraw in November the protection He seems to extend in February.

One of the pilots had to ditch his plane soon after the attack, was arrested, and spent a few months in prison. He was released soon after the more successful anti-Diem coup that November. The other pilot escaped to Cambodia, where the Sihanouk government had a policy of offering sanctuary from anti-Diem plotters.

The point? Nothing much, just some melancholy food for thought on a drizzly late-February day.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.