A highlight from The Wandering Soul

The Experiment
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

That these people were hearing was not a ghost. It was actually a weapon. A weapon designed and deployed by the U.S. Military and their South Vietnamese allies to target the deepest fears of the Vietnamese people. It was only used for a brief moment during the war, but rather than fade away into history. It was one of the shrapnel in the neck and mouth. This ghost. Bleeding rather badly. Has refused broken over the word the body's word. To die. You have to admit, there's something a little sinister about all of this. Okay, just to back up. This is historian Eric B villard. I am at the U.S. Army center of military history in Washington, D.C., and I am a Vietnam more specialist. And Eric says this strange weapon was created in part because of the Korean War. During the Korean War, just over a decade prior, a number of American soldiers and marines were captured by the North Koreans, and soon after you can imagine the surprise. Heard on communist radio stations. Exhorting us in their own normal voices. Sounding like communists. Fellow Americans. Don't go on with a senseless war. Stop being the tools of the rich capitalists who start wars for profit. Join us as guests of the Chinese people's volunteer army. It really spooked a lot of people on the battlefield and at home. This anxiety that the communists could brainwash good, solid decent American sons and noddles. And there was this feeling that we've got to get ahead of this. And so during the Vietnam War, the United States became very interested in what motivated the enemy to fight and then figuring out what can we do to convince those people to not fight. This was Sia. Psychological warfare. The warfare of the mind. Its mission is to influence the thoughts of the enemy soldier. Idea was if you could persuade people using words and ideas. To put down their weapons, you could win the war while killing fewer people. That's the essence of psychological warfare. And who's the best in the world at convincing people to do stuff? Eyes cold. The ad folks of Madison Avenue. At that particular moment, there was, you know, this madman advertising and now it's Pepsi. Explosion. With TVs and radios now in living rooms across the country. All of a sudden there were all of these opportunities. To understand what makes us tick. What can I do about my hair? Exploit it. You halo shampoo. And get us to buy things. Want anything special for your birthday? Just a decent cup of coffee. And the military took note of this. What and do we know where they're actually add folks that joined the armed services? Yeah, absolutely. That was one of the areas where they were, you know, look for talent. They would go to people and say, boy. Lucky strike filters will show you plenty of smooth flavor. You're lucky strike campaign was really effective. Maybe you can tell us something about how to convince someone to turn in their weapon. And so all these admin began to search for a weakness in their target audience. The Viet Cong in North Vietnamese soldier. My name is wingman so. I joined the military when I was 18. In the year 1971. Your body tinting up. Big deal. In India. We hired vo Tron dong and new in van ha. You're right. Reporters in Vietnam to interview a few North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers for us. When you think about these soldiers, they were far far from where they were born and raised. Most of these kids would be farmers or fishermen or maybe living a place like Hanoi. Boy, not only had not. I was a Hanoi. In my sophomore year at the university of industrial art. I was the first of the university to join. My college principal even drove me to the army station. And the students lined up on both sides of the gate clapping hands. Conveniently. At that time, I didn't think much. But I thought that the war wouldn't be too terrible. But when I had been in the army for a while. I was mentally broken. I mean, your average northern soldier, they're not they never lived in the jungle. They never lived in the mountains. That was crazy. And so here they are, squatting in the jungle, hundreds of miles from home. Haven't seen their family in 6 months a year, two years. My mom took the link in Europe. I was hoping that I could get out of the war and go home. I felt

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