War crimes against vietnam never forget

War crimes against vietnam never forget

The American aircraft attacks alleged positions of the Vietcong with 4 Mark-83 bombs. Residential houses where no one knows if there were soldiers or civilians, simply bombed.

A small sample for those who ask for military interventions, folks invaders don’t bother to discriminate where the bombs go, they are all “collateral” victims.

In 1968 US soldiers murdered several hundred Vietnamese civilians in the single most infamous incident of the Vietnam War. The My Lai massacre is often held to have been an aberration but investigative journalist Nick Turse has uncovered evidence that war crimes were committed by the US military on a far bigger scale.

In a war in which lip service was often paid to winning “hearts and minds”, the US military had an almost singular focus on one defining measure of success in Vietnam: the body count – the number of enemy killed in action.

Vietnamese forces, outgunned by their adversaries, relied heavily on mines and other booby traps as well as sniper fire and ambushes. Their methods were to strike and immediately withdraw.

Unable to deal with an enemy that dictated the time and place of combat, US forces took to destroying whatever they could manage. If the Americans could kill more enemies – known as Viet Cong or VC – than the Vietnamese could replace, the thinking went, they would naturally give up the fight.

To motivate troops to aim for a high body count, competitions were held between units to see who could kill the most. Rewards for the highest tally, displayed on “kill boards” included days off or an extra case of beer. Their commanders meanwhile stood to win rapid promotion.

Very quickly the phrase – “If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it’s VC” – became a defining dictum of the war and civilian corpses were regularly tallied as slain enemies or Viet Cong.

Civilians, including women and children, were killed for running from soldiers or helicopter gunships that had fired warning shots, or being in a village suspected of sheltering Viet Cong.

At the time, much of this activity went unreported – but not unnoticed.

Civilian casualties

Researching post-traumatic stress disorder among Vietnam veterans, in 2001 I stumbled across a collection of war crimes investigations carried out by the military at the US National Archives.

Box after box of criminal investigation reports and day-to-day paperwork had been long buried away and almost totally forgotten. Some detailed the most nightmarish descriptions. Others hinted at terrible events that had not been followed up.

At that time the US military had at its disposal more killing power, destructive force, and advanced technology than any military in the history of the world.

The amount of ammunition fired per soldier was 26 times greater in Vietnam than during World War II. By the end of the conflict, America had unleashed the equivalent of 640 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs on Vietnam.

Vast areas dotted with villages were blasted with artillery, bombed from the air and strafed by helicopter gunships before ground troops went in on search-and-destroy missions.

The phrase “kill anything that moves” became an order on the lips of some American commanders whose troops carried out massacres across their area of operations.

While the US suffered more than 58,000 dead in the war, an estimated two million Vietnamese civilians were killed, another 5.3 million injured and about 11 million, by US government figures, became refugees in their own country.

Today, if people remember anything about American atrocities in Vietnam, they recall the March 1968 My Lai massacre in which more than 500 civilians were killed over the course of four hours, during which US troops even took time out to eat lunch.

Far bloodier operations, like one codenamed Speedy Express, should be remembered as well, but thanks to cover-ups at the highest levels of the US military, few are.

War crimes against vietnam never forget
War crimes against vietnam never forget

War crimes against vietnam never forget