Viet Cong base burns in 1968

More than 40 years since the last American troops left Vietnam, revelations of possible war crimes committed by the U.S. military against civilians continue to emerge. In his new book “Kill Anything That Moves,” investigative journalist Nick Turse exposes numerous atrocities committed by American troops.

Nick Turse, investigative journalist, historian and author of "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam"

  • thucy

    Nick Turse was born the year we pulled out. I was born the year of the My Lai massacre, also the year of the greatest number of US casualties in Vietnam. This number of US war dead included my tall, fair-haired uncle, who left behind a Chinese wife and infant Eurasian son.
    My own Asian mother, herself a war refugee, was so angry about the wholesale slaughter of so many Asian civilians by US soldiers that she never told me about this other Eurasian child in our extended family. Bitter tea, that.
    The year the US pulled out, my family left SF and moved into a wealthy, white suburb where the racial taunts against an Asian parent were usually Vietnam-linked (“dink”, “gook”, etc.)
    Having lived through that uncomfortable experience, my heart really goes out to Muslim families in this past decade-plus of the Iraq and Afghanistan war fiascoes. White Americans don’t often “see” how they treat non-whites, even in civilian life. (A la Melville’s “Benito Cereno” take on white cluelessness.)
    I wonder, sadly, whether my generation will even bother to read the book that Nick Turse’s successor will write about what our military REALLY did in Iraq and Afghanistan. For all the faults of baby boomers, they are still linked tightly as a generation by that awful war – and the draft.
    And yet all that is but a drop in the bucket compared to the 20 million Soviet casualties in WWII, which most US textbooks and “heroic” US war movies still ignore! We’ll never learn.

  • Bob Fry

    Glad you just mentioned the general lack of hatred of us by the Vietnamese. “Christian” America could learn a lot from the Vietnamese peoples’ attitude.

    • thucy

      I generally agree, however, I think it’s also prudent to trace the lineage of that supposed non-anger. How much of it is cultural? How much pragmatic? And how much of it just like Obama in the ’08 primaries dusting off the shoulder of his suit-jacket – as if the Vietnamese peoples’ response after all that is:

      “After fighting off the Chinese for a millenium, it ‘weren’t no big thang’ to defeat a bunch of milkfed ‘Murikan boys in their helicopters. We’re tougher than you and won’t dignify your savagery by showing our suffering.”

    • Phil Carter

      Warfare in Southeast Asia has historically been brutal, cruel, savage and ugly, and the conduct of the North Vietnamese soldiers hardly marks them as delicate, enlightened peacelovers, morally superior to ourselves. Nor does Pol Pot’s conduct in Cambodia. So it’s not implausible for the Vietnemese civilans to think of Americans as the most humane enemy they’ve ever faced, even in spite of our atrocities there. Our atrocoties remain the exceptions of our conduct there rather than the rule.

      • thucy

        “Warfare in Southeast Asia has historically been brutal, cruel, savage and ugly, and the conduct of the North Vietnamese soldiers hardly marks them as delicate, enlightened peacelovers…”

        Right, because warfare in the West has always been “delicate, enlightened and peaceloving”? What part of the Pelopponnesian War(s) through Bosnian conflict did you miss?

      • thucy

        “Our atrocoties remain the exceptions of our conduct there rather than the rule.”

        Pure horsefeathers! Your evidence for this is… what, exactly?

      • Sam Badger

        I’m sure the Vietnamese just loved the “civilized” napalm, carpet bombing and agent orange. The giving, loving US air force gave them even more bombs than they gave the Japanese and Germans. And Pol Pot’s conduct was so terrible that I’m sure the Cambodian people loved America giving him guns to fight the Vietnamese during the 80s.

  • Chomsky_P

    Is a non-interventionist foreign policy a solution? And if so, why do so many Americans view intervention (through sanctions, war, etc.) as a good idea and therefore vote for mainstream Democrats and Republicans that support meddling?

  • LF

    Members of the anti-war movement were very aware of the atrocities being committed by U.S troops. (I still have many of the protest posters that were created.) Some leaders of the anti-war actually travelled to Vietnam and saw the horrible results on the Vietnamese with their own eyes.They were called Communists and traitors for doing so and discredited by the government and many of their peers. Many have never been forgiven for their actions. Today, the NSA would be monitoring them but then it was the FBI. I am so glad that this ill considered war is still being discussed because of this book so that we do not forget. We should also remember that the U. S. installed a dictator in south Vietnam which prolonged the civil war. Although the official reason for our involvement was to bring democracy to Vietnam we were actually trying to keep a dictatorship in power.

  • Paul Cox

    GREAT PROGRAM! One of the callers asked about the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam; Michael and Nick gave a good answer–not much has been done to mitigate the effects of AO. If I could add a bit more detail, the US Congress and Administration have taken one small step to address environmental hazards by investing $84 million in cleaning up one (of dozens) of ‘hotspots’, in Da Nang. But we have not done anything to address the damage to the health of Vietnamese. An estimated 3 million Vietnamese have damaged health, and perhaps 300,000 children, born many, many years after the end of the war with horrific birth defects. These conditions in Vietnam–and unaddressed conditions with AO-affected US veterans and their children–are the subject of a very important bill in Congress, H.R. 2519, Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2013. Please read it at Thomas Library of Congress, and if you like it, get your congressional representative to co-sponsor it. It needs a real push from citizens like us to get anywhere in this congress.

  • MattCA12

    I was at a gathering last year where a Vietnam War veteran was swapping war stories with an Iraq War veteran. Replace “dink” with “rag head”, and send in the boys to fight “terror” instead of “communism”. Our country has learned nothing.

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