Rufus Phillips is the author of Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned.  He served as an Army officer detailed to the Central Intelligence Agency in Vietnam from 1954 until the end of 1956, working as a pacification advisor to the Vietnamese Army.  For his service, Phillips received the CIA’s Intelligence Medal of Merit. He also served as an advisor to Vietnamese civilian civic action and subsequently in Laos until 1959. From 1962 to 1963, as Assistant Director in USAID’s Saigon Mission, Phillips was responsible for counterinsurgency and rural development. Subsequently, from 1964 through 1968, he worked as a consultant on Vietnam to USAID, then to the State Department, making five trips to Vietnam and acting as an advisor to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Richard Holbrooke, in his Foreword to Why Vietnam Matters, writes that for several crucial years in the 1960s Phillips was “probably the best informed American on events in [Vietnam] as a whole and perhaps the American most trusted and listened to by the Vietnamese.” Most recently, Phillips served as an outside, informal consultant to the group working for the U.S. Army Central Command on a plan for Afghanistan.