Don't think he was just the harmless, happenin' swinger of the dictator scene. Ky once said Vietnam needed "five Hitlers to impose discipline." In a world where even the most brutal dictators try to avoid comparison to Hitler, here's a guy who wanted to be five Hitlers.
In the course of eliminating his rivals, Ky sparked an uprising of Buddhists that left about 300 dead. Man, you have to be a serious dick to piss off several hundred Buddhists.
As you no doubt learned in history class, Ky wasn't able to stop the Viet Cong from marching into his embattled country and kicking its ass, even with America's help. Just before the fall of Saigon, he gave one final speech to the people to inform them that anyone who fled Vietnam was a coward. The next day, he fled Vietnam. Climbing aboard his helicopter, he escaped to an American warship, while presumably shouting, "Do as I say, not as I do!"
Ky and his wife ended up in California, where his lifestyle took a bit of a downgrade. He went from "exotic scarf-wearing multi-Hitler" to "Orange County liquor store manager." That is not exactly a lateral move.