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A couple of days back I posted about the passing of Stanley Karnow, well known journalist, especially on Vietnam and East Asia, and historical novelist that led to a very popular PBS documentary about the Vietnam war.

In it a few of the comments mentioned having read his book on Vietnam. Yesterday on the NPR show 'Fresh Air' they had an interview with Nick Turse who has a new book on the atrocities in Vietnam from materials found in the National Archives that apparently have now been pulled from those shelves, after he started reporting on what he found.

Thought a few might be interested in hearing this interview as well as an earlier one with Karnow.

Civilians And The Vietnam War
Visitors take in a re-created scene at the massacre museum at Vietnam's My Lai village. Researcher Nick Turse says atrocities of all kinds were more common in the Vietnam War than most Americans believe.

28 January 2013 - On March 16, 1968, between 347 and 504 unarmed Vietnamese civilians were gunned down by members of the U.S. Army in what became known as the My Lai Massacre.

The U.S. government has maintained that atrocities like this were isolated incidents in the conflict. Nick Turse says otherwise. In his new book, "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam", Turse argues that the intentional killing of civilians was quite common in a war that claimed 2 million civilian lives, with 5.3 million civilians wounded and 11 million refugees.

And as Turse tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, "as many as 4 million [were] exposed to toxic defoliants like Agent Orange."

"It's suffering on an almost unimaginable scale, and it was generally due to heavy firepower," Turse says. "It's not these microlevel atrocities in most circumstances."

Turse wrote the book after stumbling on a previously unexplored cache of documents in the basement of the National Archives that detailed allegations of atrocities in Vietnam. The cases, says Turse, "were closed with little or seemingly no investigation done."  read, and listen to, more>>>

Remembering Journalist Stanley Karnow

January 28, 2013 The veteran journalist died on Sunday at age 87. He was famous for his reporting on the Vietnam War, and in 1989 he spoke with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about another war: The Spanish-American War and U.S. involvement in the Philippines. read, and listen to, more>>>

I made a comment in the earlier post about the lessons not learned, Country in one voice stated they would never forget as we came back from that occupation.

Lessons of weren't, the really important ones, as these present two long occupations, one still ongoing after the countries greater majority abandoned the main missions for even sending our military into that region with the growing drum beats, and highly ginned up intelligence, pointed at another country in the region. That one is officially over as to military operations even though we have a huge embassy with mostly highly paid mercenary security guards on our payroll to protect the footprint of the state department personal and more then likely American business interests in that country.

But there were lessons learned from Vietnam, especially by Government propagandists but also the real journalist.

Remember the hyped up reports about some soldiers and what happened to them in capture or even killings, quickly after they started unraveling either by the soldiers or real investigative journalism.

Remember the reports about the torture, even though against not only international law but domestic as well as we helped write the international and condemn others for doing. And the lengths gone to to not only justify but to legalize the human rights atrocities that only handfuls actually believe they work or were convinced they did, mostly for civilians by a TV drama heavy in torture tactics. They didn't in Vietnam and still don't, people just like doing to weld power and fear, reason regimes still do and we even used some to do ours in these recent past years, to maintain that power and control.

Remember the reports of atrocities that couldn't be hidden, like the young girl being raped and her and her family then killed with those involved then trying to make it look like the whole family were insurgents, more will eventually come out in the coming years but some did come to light rather rapidly as some soldiers told their stories and more listened this time then the condemnation given same back during and after Vietnam.

Two of of our Vietnam brothers are going before Congress, one already has though he's also one that has been the target of scorn for decades because of his two tours in Vietnam and his stand on after he came home by the similar financed propagandist mentioned above and even some Vietnam vets who've never come to the reality and won't, for approval to high level positions in the Executive branch but also in our Government as our direct representatives to the World of our Country. The one coming up, tomorrow I believe, is getting some of the same propaganda pointed directly at him only he's also from the same politics having already served in Congress under it's banner. Rachel called out one group and did so again last night:

These are the so called political ideology of 'strong on national defense' which in reality is more like 'Strong on National Defense Contractors' and always have, billions were made off these recent wars and especially with no bid contracts and on the Countries easy credit credit card, not a dime yet to be paid back nor especially for the results of both, DeJa-Vu all over again.

Turse's NPR discussion, and the book sounds like it does, about Vietnam, adding in Karnow's history about and many others over the years, along with the Appointments in this Administrations second term, give insight into why these two brother Vietnam veterans think the way they do, and are condemned for doing so, on this Countries use of our military power on others for the wide range of reasons, mostly chosen, it is that we should be the World leader in Diplomacy and that wars, destruction of people and all about their countries, the absolute last resort. We for some reason still think we are even as the past decade plus showed we weren't with the past few years of that showing some are trying to regain what the World once respected us for.

Note: The country has still yet come to terms with Vietnam and now we have two more long occupations that will probably follow same track, especially for some within this now divided, no longer United States, society!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:07:54 AM PST

  •  Problem is that the current wars... (6+ / 0-)

    were started and planned by folks who didn't fight in Vietnam, but who KNEW they could have done a better job had they only been in charge...

    ...sigh...

    When are people going to learn what the only winning move in a war is?

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:17:02 AM PST

    •  That's a part, (5+ / 0-)

      There are many, but it does all come down to as I mention above, the propaganda, just like other countries, and how it can easily be used to sway the masses, as they so easily ignore what they don't want to hear or even see, and it worked oh so well, remember some 70%plus back the invasion of Iraq thus the abandoning anything about 9/11 and even the promises, for the second major time, the country gave to the Afghans, with even some of the brothers of Vietnam participating and reaping their rewards from!!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:24:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  are Americans able to face who we are? (8+ / 0-)

    hidden history of Vietnam not brought to light

    we followed up with destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan

    people of the world know who we are

    Americans don't seem to want to know and face the fact that we are a military empire

    now that power is being directed home in the growth of the surveillance state

    and it has a huge number of contractors because government can't do anything right

    so proceeds the plunder of the public goods

    •  That (3+ / 0-)
      growth of the surveillance state
      And the many many extra billions being spent on the need for, after creating even more hatreds pointed not just at our government anymore as well as the spreading of the al Qaeda style international criminal terror, has also not been paid for as it will only grow, one of the many goals of the previous administration and their tepub congresses as those same types obstruct and rip apart more and more so the country can become a profit making corporation and not a country, which frankly has already failed!!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:30:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shoulda added (3+ / 0-)

        After the 'has already failed', 'or has it', as we've been moving away from society contributing to it's needs to the growth of individual fee's for what the society responsibility should be as a once 'United States', which will place almost everyone into lives of constant debt, or frankly nothing for the labor, plus, but for a chosen few, one must produce and then some!

        Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

        by jimstaro on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:40:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd commented the other morning (9+ / 0-)

    that I wouldn't be reading Turse's book, I already knew what was in it. I've no desire to revisit those dark places.

    Then, yesterday, because the Universe tends toward justice, NPR was on when Turse was announced as the guest. Some things there's no getting away from.

    I paid for it on the pillow last night.

    “Perhaps the most 'spiritual' thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

    by DaNang65 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:36:11 AM PST

  •  I am reading "Kill anything that moves" (6+ / 0-)

    Was gifted a copy. All I can do is repeat this:

    "I wish I was a big enough man to say I
     forgive them, but I swear to God, I can't."
    - Hugh C, Thompson - My Lai - Viet Nam.
    More proof that the book rings true

    Hobbs: "How come we play war and not peace?" Calvin: "Too few role models."

    by BOHICA on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:39:49 AM PST

    •  In the interview (5+ / 0-)

      Turse does speak words to truth, which brings on those like Kerry and Hagel, and the way they look at our military strength and it's uses, who knew what was going on and most everyone In Country did, about not All those of us serving In Theater were doing individually, most really had concerns and care for the Vietnamese people, like the couple at My Lai even, and at least all wars fall into same mode for most sent into theaters of.

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What will be most obscene (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jimstaro, BOHICA, Don midwest

        in the hearings will be actual war vets whose views have undoubtedly been seasoned by their experiences, being "grilled" by many individuals who would not nor will not soil their hands with military service. The sanctimonious self-importance and criticism from some who's greatest challenge coming of age during war was stepping on a fliptop in Daytona on spring break is gut-wrenching. Yes, they will probably question Hagel and Kerry's "dedication," and resolve, or consistency on issues related to military actions. Someone might even offer a veiled comment questioning "patriotism," whatever that means coming from individuals who should be gagging on platitudes. I like your signature line, too. Biden served and I met his son before he deployed to Iraq with the DE Guard. Though the president did not, he has never failed to recognize and honor soldiers'/vets' sacrifice, whatever criticisms folks throw at him for how the current and wars have been pursued under his watch and how brutal the tactics are. I have nothing really substantial to say on this here. And FLOTUS and SLOTUS have done more for military families than anyone in history, I'd venture to guess. Considering how little the last administrations appeared to care for both vets and those still in the field with support and even protection, it doesn't matter in the end if someone has served. It matters more if they appreciate the gravity of committing the nation to war and the impact it has on those who serve and those who support them. This is not even to mention the damage done to nations we occupy and our international relations, which you do bring up here as well. Thank you, as always.

        I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

        by dannyboy1 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:00:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I read it last week . . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, jimstaro, Don midwest

      and, apart from some details, didn't find anything in it that I didn't know already.  As bad a picture as it paints the reality was worse.

      We were not "the good guys" in Vietnam.

      We were not "the good guys" in Iraq.

      We are not "the good guys" . . .

      "The truth is . . . we are the tyranny of evil men."

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:23:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I was in grade school in the late 60s (4+ / 0-)

    another boy brought in a novel about Vietnam. The first lesson the "hero" learned was when, new in the country, a little kid came running up to him with a present. It was a grenade. From then on he followed the advice of the more experienced soldiers and killed everyone.

    The use of kids and other supposed non-combatants as suicide attackers was well publicized by the US military and media to demonstrate the inhumanity of the Viet Cong. The flip side, which is that soldiers on the ground were going to react in the obvious way, was never brought up.

    At the same time Hollywood was putting out movies showing the horrible Nazis punishing villagers in the occupied countries whenever a partisan killed a German soldier. This, of course, was totally unjustified because the partisans were freedom-loving patriots resisting the invasion of their country by the imperialist Germans. Even as a kid I wondered if maybe those evil SS officers didn't have the same right to retaliate as General Westmoreland.

    Anyone who was surprised by My Lai was a fool.

  •  War brings about existential situations (3+ / 0-)

    where it is not possible to act morally. War actually creates evil, forcing good people to do evil things. That is part of the nature of war.

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