There were really two wars in Vietnam. First was the longstanding insurgency or civil war, if you will, which had been going on really ah since about ah ah 1960 or so. This was the kind of classic communist-led insurgency that had occurred in Malaya and in ah in other places. But, by 1964 and '65 when regular North Vietnamese Army units started coming down the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail, and when in the spring of 1965 the Americans responded by sending the Marines and then the Army, you had an increasing big unit war overlaid on the continuing insurgency.
So, you had the sort of hamlet war in the hamlets, but you had the big units chasing each other around the countryside. Now, there was a lot of competition. Not just for resources because in pacification our objective was to bring security to the hamlets and to push out the insurgents, the guerrillas, but, if at the same time, the big unit war was running big sweeps in search and destroy operations ah of the Americans or attacks of the North Vietnamese of the Viet Cong main force units ah they got involved and the whole thing became a very messy situation.
So, security ah which we could establish against the guerrillas was not really all that possible against main force VC or North Vietnamese units. Now, there were other aspects to the ah relationship between the civil and military which bothered me. The first, of course, was that military operations did tend to create refugees, did tend to wreck the rice patties, did tend to level villages; this was both sides, and that meant oh ah that meant ah it was so much more difficult for us to develop the kinds of programs in the countryside that we wanted.
Second, there is just no doubt in my mind that the bombing had a very...and the artillery fire, the so-called harassing artillery fire, harassment and interdiction, ah created substantial civilian casualties. That, of course, became the responsibility of the people on the Pacification side. Now, I tried to solve the problem of the competition between the military and the civilians which was really a competition between an elephant and a rabbit because they were so much bigger than we were.
The ah reason ah I proposed, it was really my proposal and President Johnson approved, putting the American pacification support effort under the military command in Vietnam was so that we could resolve some of these differences so that we could work them out and also so that we in the Pacification Program could get a much better handle on military resources since the military had all the trucks, all the aircraft, all the cement ah and everything else in country, and all the engineers.
Now, it's wrong to call pacification a civil program as opposed to the military program because, of course, it became part military and the Vietnamese military, in particular, tried to carry out an increasing number of pacification-type static security operations after the American big units came in and sort of took over the main force war against the North Vietnamese Army.