Two efforts carried the weight of the counterinsurgent response, excepting the CIDG program. The first was the Strategic Hamlet Program, the supposed centerpiece of combined counterinsurgency. The second program expanded almost a decade of advisory efforts to help the ARVN fight the ‘‘real war.’’1 American and Vietnamese leaders, political and military, could look back from the end of 1963 to contrast two years of two very different approaches to defeating the insurgency. An enormous number of ‘‘completed’’ strategic hamlets supported – at least on paper – a stable rural population increasingly put at arm’s length from the insurgents. Under the direction of South Vietnamese district and provincial leaders, American assistance from various agencies flowed to the hamlet and village level. The main effort of the ARVN and its American advisors attacked the VC military forces. Unable to rely on traditional military measures of effectiveness like terrain seized or armies defeated, Saigon’s leaders and MACV counted weapons recovered (as well as weapons lost) and enemy casualties, often extrapolated from blood trails or the grim remains of a body in black pajamas.