Chapter 5 traces the figure of the American special agent in Vietnam, from Graham Greene’s The Quiet American to Rambo, as a mythic, solitary, and diminishing figure of alliance. The chapter considers the rise and spectacular fall of Special Forces in the long span of American involvement in Vietnam. It then considers fantasies of counterinsurgency that began as newly intimate political alliances free from imperial condescension, but devolved into hazy imperial dreams. This chapter reconsiders a set of now-canonical accounts of the war. In so doing, the chapter registers the receding figure of the friendly, who would be marshaled into service after the war to rescue America from its loss.
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