Edward Lansdale's Cold War
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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Books take t i m e , and it is because of friends and family that this one was finally able to appear. First and foremost there are my parents, Richard and Susan Nashel. They believed in me and provided me with unfailing support. I am dedicating my book to them with gratitude for their love and for the love of learning they passed on to me. Graduate school seems to have taken place in another lifetime, but some of the first people I met at Rutgers provedto be not only good friends but my best critics....
Introduction: On the Trail of Edward Lansdale
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When Edward G. Lansdale died in 1987, his obituary made the front page of the New York Times. Characterizing him as a “dashing” air force officer and “counterinsurgency” expert, the Times retraced the trajectory of Lansdale’s career and catalogued some of the reasons for his notoriety.1 An advertising executive before World War II, he then joined the military and eventually served with the Office of Strategic Services (oss), the forerunner of the CIA. After the war he was sent as an adviser to the newly independent Philippines, where he soon established...
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Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man (1857) foregrounds the Cosmopolitan, the Devil, a stranger “in the extremist sense of the word.” He urges his wares upon the unsuspecting and the cynical alike, including a cripple who is busy selling confidences himself. The cripple’s guilt-inducing tales of being a veteran of America’s war against Mexico...
2. Selling America, Selling Vietnam
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However central the idea of progress may be to the workings of advertising, its projection of an ideal future is always mingled with a nostalgia for a recreated past. The art critic John Berger dissected these connections, pointing out that when advertisers design publicity, “they never speak of the present. Often they refer to the past...
3. The Power of Secrets
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“Ed told me that he was never in the CIA.” This simple statement, said with a bit of a chuckle by Lansdale’s second wife, Pat, is noteworthy for a variety of reasons.1 The disclaimer reflects Lansdale’s cover as a U.S. Air Force officer, which he maintained throughout his public career. Although it is true that he was never an actual employee of the CIA, since he received his paycheck from the air force, the document trail linking him with the CIA is extensive and goes far beyond the odd...
4. The Perils of a Usable Past
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Edward Lansdale was never in the first tier of policymakers, yet he thought of himself as being at the forefront of those who explained the intellectual basis for U.S. actions in the Cold War. This belief was reinforced by reporters who found in him the government official who always had a timely phrase or the aptly drawn historical analogy...
5. Gazing at the Third World
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In a 1957 episode of the popular television program See It Now, opera singer Marian Anderson was featured on a U.S. government-sponsored goodwill tour of Vietnam.1 The ostensible purpose of this TV segment, hosted by America’s premier journalist, Edward R. Murrow, was to highlight the ways in which the United States was...
6. Fictions of Quiet and Ugly Americans
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Edward Lansdale was a Cold War celebrity. His fame perfectly mirrored a culture in which people live vicariously through their entertainers, athletes, and politicians. Although he was never accorded the public adulation offered to those Hollywood stars cast as defenders of American freedoms, or the attention paid a secretary...
7. The Half-life of Celebrity
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Always lurking in and around the fictions of Edward Lansdale created by Greene and by Lederer and Burdick was his association with the CIA. Norman Mailer’s massive novel about the CIA, Harlot’s Ghost (1991), eerily reproduces and extends those earlier representations of Lansdale as the narrator describes him...
Epilogue: Southeast Asia after Edward Lansdale
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“ I put Lansdale over there but nothing happened” was President Johnson’s caustic comment to columnist Drew Pearson when Lansdale did not deliver the victory that proved so elusive to the United States.1 After LBJ sent the fabled cold warrior back to Vietnam in 1965 to rework his magic and fashion a stable anticommunist state, Lansdale...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Culture, Politics, and the Cold War