Rand in Southeast Asia: A History of the Vietnam War Era

By Mai Elliott | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Controversy

At 176 Pasteur, with the bigger budget granted by McNamara, Leon Goure enlarged the staff to meet the needs of the expanded project. Back in September 1965, Douglas C. Scott had joined the Saigon team to take over administrative and editorial responsibilities, and to act as interim manager whenever Leon Goure and Chuck Thomson made their periodic visits to the United States. Scott was a speechwriter and an aspiring musicals composer, with an outgoing personality, a keen sense of humor, and pride in his creativity. Joe Carrier was astonished by Scott’s hiring and could not fathom why RAND had to go out and get someone without the appropriate background—and neither could Doug Scott. Carrier thought that the only explanation was that RAND had difficulty persuading its own Santa Monica staff to go live and work in Vietnam for an extended period of time.

Then, in January 1966, Russ Betts joined the team from the Social Science Department, where he was reporting to Guy Pauker. Betts had a bachelor’s degree from Stanford and a master’s degree from the East-West Center in Honolulu. His wife Ardith, who also got her bachelor’s from the center, was an editorial assistant in the Electronics Department, where she had been hired although she had misspelled 37 out of 50 words in a test. Her intelligence and sharpness of mind trumped her weakness at spelling which could be easily rectified with a dictionary. At the East-West Center, Russ Betts had written the equivalent of a master’s thesis on Southeast Asia, and he and his wife had lived in the region, so they were no strangers to this part of the world. In the Social Science Department, Russ Betts worked with Pauker, projecting the future of Southeast Asia and the security arrangements that would be required. He felt that his career was going nowhere because he did not have a doctorate, and he was also chafing under Pauker.

Given Betts’s interest in Southeast Asia and his dissatisfaction, Vietnam seemed like a good alternative. At the time, he did not know where else he could go, and he thought that Leon Goure’s project would give him a chance to gain a broader knowledge of the dynamics of the war and of the change under way in Southeast Asia.

Since he could not bring his wife, Russ Betts wanted to be in Vietnam for only six months. At the end of this period, RAND created a job for her in order to keep him.

-149-

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Rand in Southeast Asia: A History of the Vietnam War Era
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents xiii
  • Photos xv
  • Maps xvii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction - Rand- The Beginning 1
  • Chapter One - A Remote Corner of the World- The Beginning in Vietnam 7
  • Chapter Two - "What Makes the Viet Cong Tick?" 45
  • Chapter Three - Escalation and Airpower 91
  • Chapter Four - Controversy 149
  • Chapter Five - The Many Aspects of the War 205
  • Chapter Six - The Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands 249
  • Chapter Seven - The Tet Offensive 285
  • Chapter Eight - Pacification and Vietnamization 349
  • Chapter Nine - The Pentagon Papers 415
  • Chapter Ten - The End of the War 499
  • Chapter Eleven - Laos and Thailand- Sideshows 541
  • Epilogue - Diversification 615
  • Bibliography 627
  • Author Biography 653
  • Index 655
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