The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) of the 1860s and the National Liberation Front (NLF) of the 1960s are considered polar opposites in terms of their goals and tactics. The latter is described as part of a nationalist movement whose aim was to rid South Vietnam (SVN) of foreign domination and a native “fascist” regime ensconced in Saigon. By contrast the KKK is portrayed as an immoral collection of racist thugs who irresponsibly terrorized blacks and moderates alike.
However, in an era long before “terrorism” became a field of study the Klan enjoyed widespread support by “well-meaning” citizens in this country. Klansmen were regarded as heroes as typified in the 1915 extravaganza film, The Birth of a Nation. In this film vanquished Southern whites were terrorized by white and black politicians and their easily controlled sex-crazed black troops dressed in Union blue. These ruthless predators threatened old and cherished family values. The aged, the meek, and above all white women were murdered, abused, and humiliated. In desperate response, bands of hooded men rallied to the call of justice. Under the white hoods and robes were “clean-cut” veterans of the defeated Confederacy.
Similarly the NLF passed around stories about village folk heroes avenging horrible outrages against the people. For instance, a 1963 clandestine newspaper told of Bau Bau, an ordinary young peasant whose bride was kidnapped by the enemy. She resisted. Infuriated, the troops stripped her, raped her, and took out her liver and devoured it. The husband then joined a guerrilla band and learned the art of war. He soon avenged the outrage. 1
Of course, the propaganda scenes in The Birth of a Nation were reverse images of what actually happened. It was the newly liberated blacks and white moderates who were victimized and terrorized by the KKK. Since World War II, the Klan has been stripped of its myths; and the American government and the defunct Government of Vietnam (GVN) are more likely to be linked to atrocities and bombings, while the tactics of the NLF are rarely reviewed, let alone popularized. 2 The NLF waged a terror and propaganda campaign designed to destroy the leadership and morale of SVN. So