The CIA, Drugs & Funding Dirty Wars: "The public is not aware of a lot of things" (2010)

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Cannabis was probably introduced to Southeast Asia around the 16th century, and used medicinally and in cuisine.

In 1968 the government of the Republic of Vietnam "publicly condemned" the use or trafficking of cannabis, and instructed local chiefs to prevent its cultivation. In 1969, USAID's Office of Public Safety began eradication of cannabis fields, including aerial eradication in the Mekong Delta. The program was popularly resented and also politically unpalatable; in 1971 OPS was advised not to eradicate cannabis in areas controlled by the Hòa Hảo sect, for fear of driving them to join the National Liberation Front.

In the 1960s, the United States government became concerned with cannabis use by US troops in Vietnam. Though alcohol was the drug most commonly used by American troops in the Vietnam War, cannabis was the second-most common. Initially rates of usage among deployed soldiers were comparable to those of their stateside peers, with 29% of troops departing Vietnam in 1967 reporting having ever used marijuana in their lives. A 1976 study however showed that from 1967 to 1971, the proportion of troops having used marijuana peaked at 34% before stabilizing to 18%, while the number of troops who had used cannabis prior to deployment stayed around 8%.

Myths play a central role in the historiography of the Vietnam War, and have become a part of the culture of the United States. Much like the general historiography of the war, discussion of myth has focused on U.S. experiences, but changing myths of war have also played a role in Vietnamese and Australian historiography.

Recent scholarship has focused on "myth-busting", attacking the previous orthodox and revisionist schools of American historiography of the Vietnam War. This scholarship challenges myths about American society and soldiery in the Vietnam War.

Kuzmarov in The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs challenges the popular and Hollywood narrative that US soldiers were heavy drug users, in particular the notion that the My Lai massacre was caused by drug use.  According to Kuzmarov, Richard Nixon is primarily responsible for creating the drug myth.

Michael Allen in Until The Last Man Comes Home also accuses Nixon of myth making, by exploiting the plight of the League of Wives of American Prisoners in Vietnam and the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to allow the government to appear caring as the war was increasingly considered lost. Allen's analysis ties the position of potential missing or prisoner Americans into post-war politics and recent presidential elections, including the Swift boat controversy in US electoral politics.

The Vietnam War has been featured extensively in television, film, video games, music and literature in the participant countries. In Vietnam, one notable film set during Operation Linebacker II was the film Girl from Hanoi (1975) depicting war-time life in Hanoi. Another notable work was the diary of Đặng Thùy Trâm, a Vietnamese doctor who enlisted in the Southern battlefield, and was killed at the age of 27 by U.S. forces near Quảng Ngãi.

One of the first major films based on the Vietnam War was John Wayne's pro-war The Green Berets (1968). Further cinematic representations were released during the 1970s and 1980s, some of the most noteworthy examples being Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978), Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) – based on his service in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). Other Vietnam War films include Hamburger Hill (1987), Casualties of War (1989), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989), Forrest Gump (1994), We Were Soldiers (2002) and Rescue Dawn (2007).

The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam, the United States, and throughout the world, both anti-war and pro/anti-communist, with the Vietnam War Song Project having identified 5,000+ songs about or referencing the conflict.[397] The band Country Joe and the Fish recorded The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag in 1965, and it became one of the most influential anti-Vietnam protest anthems.[21] Many songwriters and musicians supported the anti-war movement, including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Barbara Dane, The Critics Group, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, John Fogerty, Nina Simone, Neil Young, Tom Paxton, Jimmy Cliff and Arlo Guthrie.
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