08 May 2013

Kill anything that moves: the real American War in Vietnam

In a 14 January 2013 post in the US Veterans' blog Veterans Today, Sherwood Ross reviews Nick Turse's book "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (Metropolitan Books), a book which argues that the My Lai Massacre was no isolated event. Ross begins:

"Massacres of civilians by U.S. forces in Vietnam were not rare aberrations but everyday occurrences, an authoritative new book on the subject charges.

"Worse, the massacres were a result of deliberate Pentagon policies handed down from the very top, often to build false “body count” figures that could lead an officer to promotion. The inflated body counts reported civilian dead as combatant Viet Cong when they were actually women, children and old men.

"The massacre of more than 500 civilians at My Lai on March 15, 1968, by the Americal division’s Charlie company, 1st battalion, 20th infantry, has long been portrayed as a solitary episode ordered by Lieutenant William Calley. He was the only one of 28 officers involved who was convicted and although sentenced to life imprisonment was paroled after just 40 months.

"Yet episodes of such barbarism “were virtually a daily fact of life throughout the years of the American presence in Vietnam,” writes Nick Turse in his new book, “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam”(Metropolitan Books). Turse is a fellow at The Nation Institute whose investigations of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam have gained him a Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction and a fellowship at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He writes that he spoke with more than 100 American veterans across the country “both those who had witnessed atrocities and others who had personally committed terrible acts.”

"Turse reports the Pentagon has gone to great lengths to cover up the true record of U.S. atrocities in Vietnam: 'Indeed an astonishing number of Marine court-martial records of the era have apparently been destroyed or gone missing. Most Air Force and Navy criminal investigation files that may have existed seem to have met the same fate.' "

Read the full post at http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/01/14/many-u-s-my-lai-type-massacres-in-vietnam-covered-up-by-pentagon-reporter-charges.

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