The evident goal of any army is win a war. The main result from any war is pain and suffering regardless of any cause. Even when a war tactic isn’t directly ending lives, it is indirectly causing pain and suffering.
An illustration of such indirect tactics ,which was devised by the US Army during the Vietnam War, was Operation Wandering Soul.
What was the Operation Wandering Soul?
Operation Wandering Soul — a tactic devised by the American military during the Vietnam War. This tactic used Vietnamese beliefs as a leverage to inflict damage on Vietcong soldiers’ psychological aspect.
Operation Wandering Soul took advantage on Vietnamese or Buddhist beliefs on life after death. The tool used was audio recordings designed specifically to contain mystic and disturbing sounds.
Some of the audio tapes used in the Operation Wandering Soul also contained messages from so called Vietnamese people. Most tapes contained messages from people portraying as dead Vietcong soldiers. Other times, sounds of family members like children were used.
These horrifying sounds were delivered through loudspeakers that were strategically set up on trees or carried by special PSYOP Battalions during the vietnam war. The effect of the Operation Wandering Soul was immediate and direct. Soldiers that served during the Vietnam War reveal that they would play these tapes before attacks. Later on when they would capture prisoners, they would admit that they were scared.
Why was Operation Wandering Soul Imagined?
Operation Wandering Soul was derived from a crucial belief of their locals. The Vietnamese believe that unless a dead person is buried in his homeland, his soul will be doomed to wander the region where he died without any relief all throughout. Different people all over the world share the same belief, especially in Buddhist saturated regions.
The Vietnamese history have a whole legend entangled in this belief. Legend says that a young boy who achieved enlightenment at a very young age. This boy was named Kien Muc Lien who had a mother who was evil and was sent to hell because of her evil nature.
She was constantly tormented in hell so Lien used magic to send her food. However, his magic wouldn’t reach his mother so Lien asked Buddha for help. He was told to conduct a ceremony to bring his mother peace. The ceremony worked, which is why the Vietnamese celebrate the Vu Lan Day or the Wandering Souls day every year.
The Wandering Souls day is considered to be the second largest festival in Vietnam. On this festival, the Vietnamese believe that their rituals can free any ancestral spirits that have not yet attained nirvana.