With a large portion of rural Vietnamese confined within the hamlet system, the task of “winning the hearts and minds” of the villagers was levied on the U.S. sponsored Psychological Operations (PSYOP) teams. Messages were disseminated over the local airwaves, announced over loud speakers and displayed on posters and leaflets. Some messages included tips on public safety, personal hygiene and disease control, but the main purpose of psychological operations in South Vietnam was to combat the influence of the Viet Cong (VC) and their potential sympathizers.
In addition to the standard psychological practices, other methods of combating the influence of the VC were less benign, and attempts to cajole the minds of the local population were enhanced by acts of coercion and terror. One example of this was the “exploitation of enemy vulnerabilities provided by superstitions and deeply-held traditional beliefs.” During the night, PSYOP teams painted the “all seeing, cosmic eye of god” around the home of suspected VC guerillas to inform them that they were being watched. In addition, “ears were cut off corpses and nailed to houses to let the people know Big Brother was listening.”