Mr. Mohseni, a former investment banker, and his three siblings started Tolo TV (Tolo means “dawn” in Dari) in 2004, assisted by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development. After living most of their adult lives in exile in Australia, the Mohsenis returned to post-Taliban Kabul looking for investment opportunities and discovered a nearly prehistoric television wilderness ready for settlement. NYT, Amid War, A Passion for TV Chefs, Soaps and Idols, 8/1/07.

Annals of Propaganda

The "General's Fact-Finding Mission" Theme

September 4, 2007


French colonial control of Vietnam ended with the decisive defeat of French military forces at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. The battle lasted from March 13 to May 7, 1954 with France receiving financial and logistical support from the US. The Vietnamese Communist forces were led by General Vo Nguyen Giap.

The Geneva Accords of 1954 temporarily divided the country into northern and southern zones, a condition which was supposed to end with nationwide elections to be held within one year. Since this was an issue involving Communism, it immediately registered on the status board of the anti-Communist global command center in Washington.

The US' first step in defeating this Communist salient was to declare the temporary demarcation line between the two halves of Vietnam to be an international boundary and to call the southern half of the country a sovereign state. It found the "President" of this so-called Republic of Vietnam in the Catholic Maryknoll seminary in Lakewood, New Jersey. His name was Ngo Dinh Diem. As a staunch anti-Communist and member of the Vietnamese bureaucracy which served the French colonial administration, he was Washington's poster-boy Quisling. He became the President of Washington's newly minted country on October 26, 1955, just in time to ignore the Geneva Accords mandated unifying election.

Washington began immediately to use its enormous resources to breath life into its "fledgling democracy." To support the fiction of an independent state, Washington's military presence was limited to a steadily increasing number of "advisors." By 1961 this strategy was on the verge of defeat and the only way to stave it off was to Americanize the war.

The President's domestic problem was how to drum up support for another Asian war after the previous one in Korea had ended in a stalemate in 1953. The Weapons of Mass Destruction theme hadn't been invented yet. In 1961 its equivalent was the "Domino Theory," a theory which implied that the capitalist-dominated world was so unstable that the conversion of any corner of it to Communism would lead to the collapse of the entire edifice.

JCS archive
General Maxwell Taylor, 1901-1987

The propaganda strategy was to send an Army General to the Republic of Vietnam on a fact-finding mission and to report back with recommendations. The pre-programmed report was that the fledgling democracy was essentially healthy and that all it needed to get on its feet was a little extra help. The "little extra help" was 8,000 US combat soldiers.

The President was John F. Kennedy. His accommodating General was Maxwell Taylor The date was October 1961.

Within 8 years the number had escalated to half a million. Before it was over 50,000 US soldiers and millions of Vietnamese had been killed and Ngo Dinh Diem, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X had been assassinated, the US had been driven from Vietnam and its Republic of Vietnam has disappeared without a trace in the American consciousness.


In 2007, the US playboy fascist President, his propaganda machine having burned itself out on Osama bin Laden, 9-11, weapons of mass destruction, al Qaeda, terrorism, nation building, and fledgling democracy, reaches for the "General's fact-finding mission" theme.

This time the President is George W. Bush. His General is David H. Petraeus. The date is September 10, 2007.