rape and torture of arrested Communistnsuspects, whereas the Communist GeneralnVo Nguyen Giap, described as anman of candor and character, apologizednpublicly for torture excesses duringnthe North’s land-reform campaign.nThe Vietcong were “forbidden to executenthe accused savagely,” and “dispensednterror with relative discrimination.”nSheehan held Diem responsiblenfor corruption and for the cowardicenand incompetence of the South Vietnamesenarmy, ARVN, because he intimidatednofficers like the “bootlicking”nColonel Huynh Van Cao.nHalberstam, in his 1965 book ThenMaking of a Quagmire (RandomnHouse), credited Sheehan with thenbest information on the Buddhist crisisnof 1963, including the pagoda raidsnthat turned US opinion against Diem.nThe pagoda raids put Vietnam on thenfront burner in Washington and triggerednthe coup decision, so it is disturbingnthat Sheehan’s account of the mainnpagoda raid differs from Halberstam’snaccount in Quagmire. Halberstam saidnhe saw little, as he was held back bynpolice, but he endorsed Sheehan’sngraphic description of military brutality,nsince Sheehan watched from anbuilding next to the Xa Loi Pagoda. InnLie Sheehan reports that he andnHalberstam watched the raid up closenfrom a Renault taxi. I asked Sheehannabout this, and he said he did stop innthe building to telephone and sawnsome action from the sixth floor. Unfortunately,nthe way he has describednthe scene in Lie, readers will assumenthat he and Halberstam both saw brutality.nHalberstam reported that thentrue death toll might never be known,nimplying that it was great. Sheehannreports, too vaguely after 16 years ofnresearch, that seven monks “apparentlynwere killed and their bodies burnedn. secretly.”nThe raid reports caused an internationalnfuror, and the United Nationsnsent a commission to investigate. Itnreported no deaths. The CIA’s Richardsonntold me he did not believe therenwere deaths or even serious injuries.nMarguerite Higgins, in her 1965 booknOur Vietnam Nightmare (Harper &nRow), wrote that she searched outnwitnesses in Vietnam and could findnno evidence of anyone missing. Raisednin the Orient, she had known Vietnamnsince childhood.nSheehan reports that Higgins, a Pulitzernwinner for her reporting in Korea,nwas “sent to Vietnam at the Pentagon’snrequest,” an echo of the Saigonngroup’s charge that she was an apologistnfor the American military. Shenis not alive to refute his charge, havingndied of a liver fluke contractednin Vietnam’s provinces. Her Nightmare,nwhich first nailed down Washington’snrole in the coup, is thenbest of the Vietnam books. It nevernwas reviewed by the Times, and Sheehanndoes not include it in his lengthynbibliography.nSheehan initially had problems atnThe New York Times. His first book,nattacking a former Navy officer whonhad lost his Vietnam command, wasnnot a success. The officer sued fornlibel. Sheehan finally won dismissal ofnthe suit, but the Times editors werendiscomfited. In 1968 Sheehan, by thennat the Times Washington bureau,nshared with Hedrick Smith a bombshellnscoop that contributed to PresidentnJohnson’s decision not to run fornreelection. The report, leaked by DanielnEllsberg to Senator Robert Kennedynand from the Senator’s staff to thenreporters, cited a Westmoreland proposalnto send 206,000 more men tonVietnam. inIn 1971 Sheehan got a unique opportunity.nHe was given the entirenTimes Sunday Book Review to summarizen33 antiwar books from such leftistnauthors as Mark Lane, SeymournHersh, Noam Chomsky, and DavidnDellinger. His thesis was, “Should WenHave War Crimes Trials?” The BooknReview editor, John Leonard, hadnbeen’a Berkeley antiwar activist, and hensent out 100 advance copies to columnistsnand television commentators.nSheehan’s long polemic attracted thenattention of Marcus Raskin and RichardnBarnet of the Institute for PolicynStudies, hub of the antiwar movement.nThey already had received the stolennPentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg,nand they advised Ellsberg to offer then43-volume secret archive to Sheehan.nSheehan was the driving force behindnthe Times’ publication of itsnhouse-written version of the PentagonnPapers, which made US agencies looknduplicitous and the war unwinnable. Innthe first installment Sheehan accusednLyndon Johnson — as the actual documentsndid not — of plotting to exploitnnnthe attack on US destroyers in thenTonkin Culf to widen the war.nBut all of this pales next tonSheehan’s greatest flaw in Lie — hisninability or unwillingness to address thenquestion of Pham Xuan An. Halberstam,nin Quagmire, wrote thatn”Sheehan, Perry, Turner, Rao, An andnmyself had created a small but firstclassnintelligence network.” He did notngive a full name for An, but said henhad “the best military contacts in thencountry.”nIn 198 5, former National LiberationnFront Justice Minister Truong NhunTang identified An as North Vietnamesenintelligence Colonel Pham XuannAn, who “manipulated importantnAmerican journalists for years.” Tangntold Al Santoli, for his book To BearnAny Burden (E.P. Dutton), that afternthe war, An became a high-rankingnintelligence officer in Hanoi.nSheehan includes Pham Xuan An’snname in the list of 485 persons heninterviewed for his book but does notnmention him in the text. I asked Sheehannif the man in his and Halberstam’snintelligence network was Pham XuannAn. Sheehan confirmed that it was. Annhad been named as a Communistnintelligence agent who manipulatednAmerican reporters for years, I said.n”Oh, I would doubt that,” Sheehannsaid. “He didn’t manipulate us. I don’tnthink he manipulated anybody. Anynagent who would try that would risk hisncredibility.”nSheehan said that An in 1963 wasnthe chief Vietnamese correspondentnfor Renter, and he later ended up chiefnVietnamese correspondent for Time.nWhen the magazine evacuated its staffnas Saigon fell in 1975, An chose to staynbehind. Sheehan said that does notnprove he had been an intelligencenagent.n”I regard him as a friend,” Sheehannsaid. “I hope to go to Vietnam, and Inhope to see him there.”nOne of Sheehan’s dupes. AmbassadornNolting, friend and protector ofnDiem, published a 160-page memoirnlast winter, too: From Trust to Tragedyn(Praeger). It defends Diem, and itncondemns Harriman, Hilsman, andnWashington’s practice of deserting allies.nIt did not spur the media claque tonrave reviews as Sheehan’s book did,nand unfortunately fewer people willnread it. <§>nMAY 1989/31n