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The Depths of American Brutality in Vietnam
#1

Gang Rapes and Beatings, Brothels Filled with Teenage Prostitutes -- The Depths of American Brutality in Vietnam


A powerful excerpt from Nick Turse's new book, 'Kill Anything That Moves' exposes the horrors committed by the U.S.



January 19, 2013 |



In 1971, Major Gordon Livingston, a West Point graduate who served as regimental surgeon with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, testified before members of Congress about the ease with which Americans killed Vietnamese. "Above 90 percent of the Americans with whom I had contact in Vietnam," said Dr. Livingston, treated the Vietnamese as subhuman and with "nearly universal contempt." To illustrate his point, Livingston told his listeners about a helicopter pilot who swooped down on two Vietnamese women riding bicycles and killed them with the helicopter skids. The pilot was temporarily grounded as the incident was being investigated, and Livingston spoke to him in his medical capacity. He found that the man felt no remorse about the killings and only regretted not receiving his pay during the investigation. According to Livingston, a board of inquiry eventually cleared the pilot of any wrongdoing and allowed him to resume flying.The following is an excerpt from Nick Turse's new book,Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (Metropolitan Books, 2013).
Among those whom Livingston counted in the 90 percent who regarded the Vietnamese as subhuman was his commander, General George S. Patton III. Son of the famed World War II general of the same name, the younger Patton was known for his bloodthirsty attitude and the macabre souvenirs that he kept, including a Vietnamese skull that sat on his desk. He even carried it around at his end-of- tour farewell party. Of course, Patton was just one of many Americans who collected and displayed Vietnamese body parts. Given how contemptuously living Vietnamese were often treated by U.S. forces, it is not surprising that Vietnamese corpses were also often handled with little respect.
Some soldiers hacked the heads off Vietnamese to keep, trade, or exchange for prizes offered by commanders. Many more cut off the ears of their victims, in the hopes that disfiguring the dead would frighten the enemy. Some of these trophies were presented to superiors as gifts or as proof to confirm a body count; others were retained by the "grunts" and worn on necklaces or otherwise displayed. While ears were the most common souvenirs of this type, scalps, penises, noses, breasts, teeth, and fingers were also favored.
"There was people in all the platoons with ears on cords," Jimmie Busby, a member of the 75th Rangers during 197071, told an army criminal investigator. Some would wear them, while others would sell the grisly trophies to air force personnel. "It was more or less an everyday occurrence that you might see someone with one." Another member of the same unit, Tony Foster, told a CID agent: "I noticed numerous military personnel wearing or carrying various parts of the human anatomy. In detail I saw approximately 34 forefingers being carried in matchboxes; approximately 1520 ears on rawhide-type cords being worn around different individuals' necks; and one penis which had been pickled and was being carried wrapped in gauze."
Many soldiers mistreated corpses in other waysdressing them up, clowning around with them, or mutilating them, often taking photos of their handiwork and filling scrapbooks with the results. The correspondent Michael Herr recalled:
There were hundreds of these albums in Vietnam, thousands, and they all seemed to contain the same pictures . . . the severed head shot, the head often resting on the chest of the dead man or being held up by a smiling Marine, or a lot of heads, arranged in a row, with a burning cigarette in each of the mouths, the eyes open . . . the VC suspect being dragged over the dust by a half-track or being hung by his heels in some jungle clearing; the very young dead . . . a picture of a Marine holding an ear or maybe two ears or, in the case of a guy I knew near Pleiku, a whole necklace made of ears . . . the dead Viet Cong girl with her pajamas stripped off and her legs raised stiffly in the air. . . . Half the combat troops in Vietnam had these things in their packs, snapshots were the least of what they took after a fight, at least the pictures didn't rot.
Norman Ryman, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was one of these souvenir-collecting soldiers. After U.S. authorities discovered three human earsalong with an atrocity albumin a package he sent back to the United States, he explained that he was responsible for only two of the body parts. The other, he said, had been purchased from a soldier in the 101st Airborne Division, who "had a large jar of ears that he was selling."
In addition to collecting souvenirs and gruesome photos, American troops mistreated corpses to send a message. Troops in the field regularly carved their unit's initials or numbers into corpses, adorned bodies with their unit's patch, or left a "death card" generally either an ace of spades or a custom-printed business card claiming credit for the kill. Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry of the 198th Light Infantry Brigade, for example, left their victims with a customized ace of spades sporting the unit's formal designation, its nickname ("Gunfighters"), a skull and crossbones, and the phrase "dealers of death." Helicopter pilots, such as Captain Lynn Carlson, occasionally dropped similar specially made calling cards from their gunships. One side of Carlson's card read: "Congratulations. You have been killed through courtesy of the 361st. Yours truly, Pink Panther 20." The other side proclaimed, "The Lord giveth and the 20mm [cannon] taketh away. Killing is our business and business is good."
In a rather medieval display, some American troops hacked the heads off the dead and mounted them on pikes or poles to frighten guerrillas or local Vietnamese villagers. Others, in a more modern variant of the same practice, lashed corpses to U.S. vehicles and drove through towns and villages to send a similar message. And while South Vietnamese troops were often singled out in the press for making public displays of dead guerrillas, U.S. troops did much the same, sometimes even more spectacularly. Alexander Haig who went on to serve as a division brigade commander, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, and then President Nixon's chief of staff recalled that in 1966, when he was the operations officer with the 1st Infantry Division, one tactic under discussion involved throwing bodies out of aircraft.
"I was there when some staffers recommended dropping dead North Vietnamese soldiers from helicopters . . . simply for the psychology of it," Haig remembered decades later. "I said If that happens I'm resigning right here and now.' And it didn't happen." The historical record, though, contradicts Haig's last sentence. In November 1966, the New York Times reported that, following a particularly successful battle, an "elated" Lieutenant Colonel Jack Whitted of the 1st Infantry Division had the corpses of dead revolutionary troops loaded into a helicopter. "We're giving the bodies back to Victor Charles!" he shouted. "We'll dump the bodies in the next clearing." The corpses were then hurled out.
The disdainful attitude that led American troops to gleefully cut off ears and run down pedestrians by the roadside was even stronger when it came to a group that, for the young soldiers, was doubly "other": Vietnamese women. As a result, sexual violence and sexual exploitation became an omnipresent part of the American War. With their husbands or fathers away at war or dead because of it, without other employment prospects and desperate to provide for their families, many women found that catering to the desires of U.S. soldiers was their only option.
By 1966, as the feminist scholar Susan Brownmiller observed, the 1st Cavalry Division, the 1st Infantry Division, and the 4th Infantry Division had all already "established official military brothels within the perimeter of their basecamps." At the 1st Infantry Division base at Lai Khe, refugee womenrecruited by the South Vietnamese province chief and channeled into their jobs by the mayor of the townworked in sixty curtained cubicles kept under military police guard. Jim Soular of the 1st Cavalry Division recalled the setup at his unit's compound, known as Sin City.
You had to go through a checkpoint gate, but once you were in there you could do anything. There were all kinds of prostitutes and booze. The [U.S.] army was definitely in control of this thing. The bars had little rooms in the back where you could go with the prostitutes. I know they were checked by the doctors once a week for venereal diseases.
At Dong Tam, the 9th Infantry Division camp, the sign on a large building next to the headquarters read "Steam Bath and Massage." The troops knew it by a different name: "Steam 'n Cream." The building boasted approximately 140 cubicles filled with Vietnamese women and girls. At another U.S. compound, the prices of sex acts were announced at an official briefing, and, for a time, "little tickets had been printed up . . . blue ones for blow jobs, and white ones for inter-course," recalled one patron to an army investigator. GIs paid a dollar or so for the former and around two for the latter.
Everywhere, every kind of sex was for sale. "At the entrance to the MACV compound in Qui Nhon, a six-year-old girl is offering blow jobs," wrote one journalist sizing up the sex-work scene. "One night early on in my stay," he reported,
I found myself with a thirteen-year-old girl on my lap insisting "we go make lub now" in the bordello her mother had thrown up opposite an American construction site. The bordello is made of sheets of aluminum somehow extricated from a factory just before attaining canhood. You can read the walls of the structure from a distance. They say "Schlitz, Schlitz," in rows and columns, over and over again.
The girl wants $1.25. With some difficulty I refuse.
Later in the war, even walking as far as the camp entrance would become unnecessary, as certain bases began allowing prostitutes directly into the barracks.
"Hootch maids," who washed and ironed clothes and cleaned living quarters for U.S. servicemen, were also sometimes sexually exploited. As one maid put it, "American soldiers have much money and it seems that they are sexually hungry all the time. Our poor girls. With money and a little patience, the Americans can get them very easily." And other women working on bases fell victim to sexual blackmail. One such case was revealed in an army investigation of Mickey Carcille, who ran a camp mess hall that employed Vietnamese women. By threatening to fire them if they did not comply, Carcille forced some of the women to pose for nude photographs and coerced others into having intercourse with him or performing other sex acts.
In addition to sexual exploitation, sexual violence was an every-day feature of the American War -- hardly surprising since, as Christian Appy observed, "the model of male sexuality offered as a military ideal in boot camp was directly linked to violence." From their earliest days in the military, men were bombarded with the language of sexism and misogyny. Male recruits who showed weakness or fatigue were labeled ladies, girls, pussies, or cunts. In basic training, as army draftee Tim O'Brien later wrote in his autobiographical account of the Vietnam War, the message was: "Women are dinks. Women are villains. They are creatures akin to Communists and yellow-skinned people."
While it's often assumed that all sexual assaults took place in the countryside, evidence suggests that men based in rear areas also had ample opportunity to abuse and rape women. For example, on December 27, 1969, Refugio Longoria and James Peterson, who served in the 580th Telephone Operations Company, and one other soldier picked up a nineteen-year-old Vietnamese hootch maid hitching a ride home after a day of work on the gigantic base at Long Binh. They drove her to a secluded spot behind the recreation center and forced her into the back of the truck -- holding her down, gagging, and blindfolding her. They then gang-raped her and dumped her on the side of the road. A doctor's examination shortly afterward recorded that "her hymen was recently torn. There was fresh blood in her vagina."
On March 19, 1970, a GI at the base at Chu Lai, in Quang Tin Province, drove a jeep in circles while Private First Class Ernest Stepp manhandled and slapped a Vietnamese woman who had rebuffed his sexual advances. According to army documents, with the help of a fellow soldier Stepp tore off the woman's pants and assaulted her. The driver apparently slowed down the jeep to give the woman's attackers more time to carry out the assault, and offered his own advice to her: "If you don't fight so much it won't be so bad for you."
Again and again, allegations of crimes against women surfaced at U.S. bases and in other rear echelon areas. "Boy did I beat the shit out of a whore. It was really fun," one GI mused about his trip to the beach resort at Vung Tau. The sheer physical size of American troops -- on average five inches taller and forty-three pounds heavier than Vietnamese soldiers, and even more imposing in comparison to Vietnamese women -- meant that their assaults often inflicted serious injuries. Sometimes, Vietnamese women were simply murdered by angry GIs. One sex worker at a base in Kontum, known as "Linda" to the soldiers there, was gunned down after she laughed at a customer who, according to legal documents, "thought she was going to go out with another G.I." On March 27, 1970, in Vung Tau, several Vietnamese prostitutes became embroiled in an argument with a soldier over payment. He assaulted a number of them and stabbed one to death.
Most rapes and other crimes against Vietnamese women, however, did take place in the field -- in hamlets and villages populated mainly by women and children when the Americans arrived. Rape was a way of asserting dominance, and sometimes a weapon of war, employed in field interrogations of women captives to gain information about enemy troops. Aside from any such considerations, rural women were generally assumed by Americans to be secret saboteurs or the wives and girlfriends of Viet Cong guerrillas, and thus fair game.
The reports of sexual assault implicated units up and down the country. A veteran who served with 198th Light Infantry Brigade testified that he knew of ten to fifteen incidents, within a span of just six or seven months, in which soldiers from his unit raped young girls. A soldier who served with the 25th Infantry Division admitted that, in his unit, rape was virtually standard operating procedure. One member of the Americal Division remembered fellow soldiers on patrol through a village suddenly singling out a girl to be raped. "All three grunts grabbed the gook chick and began dragging her into the hootch. I didn't know what to do," he recalled. "As a result of this one experience I learned to recognize the sounds of rape at a great distance . . . Over the next two months I would hear this sound on the average of once every third day."
In November 1966, soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division brazenly kidnapped a young Vietnamese woman named Phan Thi Mao to use as a sexual slave. One unit member testified that, prior to the mission, his patrol leader had explicitly stated, "We would get the woman for the purpose of boom boom, or sexual intercourse, and at the end of five days we would kill her." The sergeant was true to his word. The woman was kidnapped, raped by four of the patrol members in turn, and murdered the following day.
Gang rapes were a horrifyingly common occurrence. One army report detailed the allegations of a Vietnamese woman who said that she was detained by troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and then raped by approximately ten soldiers. In another incident, eleven members of one squad from the 23rd Infantry Division raped a Vietnamese girl. As word spread, another squad traveled to the scene to join in. In a third incident, an Americal GI recalled seeing a Vietnamese woman who was hardly able to walk after she had been gang-raped by thirteen soldiers.139 And on Christmas Day 1969, an army criminal investigation revealed, four warrant officers in a helicopter noticed several Vietnamese women in a rice paddy, landed, kidnapped one of them, and committed "lewd and lascivious acts" against her. The traumatic nature of such sexual assaults remains vivid even when they are couched in the formal, bureaucratic language of mili tary records. Court-martial documents indicate, for instance, that after he led his patrol into one village, marine lance corporal Hugh Quigley personally detained a young Vietnamese woman -- because "her age, between 20 and 25, suggested that she was a Vietcong." The documents tell the story.
After burning one hut and the killing of various animals, the accused with members of the patrol entered a hut where the alleged victim was. The accused, seeing the victim, grabbed for her breast and at the same time attempted to unbutton her blouse. As the victim held her child between the accused and herself, she pulled away. At this time, the accused pulled out his knife and threatened to cut the victim's throat. The baby was taken from the victim and then the accused took the victim by the shoulders, laid her on the floor and then pulled her blouse above her breast and lowered her pants below her knees. The accused then knelt by the head of the victim, took his penis out of his pants and made the victim commit forced oral copulation on him. After a few minutes of this act the accused then proceeded to have non-consensual intercourse with her . . . The same witnesses who saw the accused commit these alleged acts will testify that the victim was scared and trembling.
Quigley was found guilty of having committed forcible sodomy and rape.
Some commanders, like an army colonel who investigated allegations of rape in an infantry battalion, nevertheless sought to cast Vietnamese women as willing participants. Writing about the heavily populated coastal regions of I and II Corps, he conjectured that in those areas "the number of young women far exceeds the number of military age males," so the local women undoubtedly welcomed the attentions of American troops as a means to "satisfy needs long denied." Assuming that all Vietnamese women longed for intercourse with armed foreigners marching through their villages, the colonel blithely concluded, "The circumstances are such that rape in contacts between soldiers . . . and village women is unlikely."
The colonel's theory about universally willing partners becomes even more preposterous when we consider the shockingly violent and sadistic nature of some of the sexual assaults. One marine remembered finding a Vietnamese woman who had been shot and wounded. Severely injured, she begged for water. Instead, her clothes were ripped off. She was stabbed in both breasts, then forced into a spread-eagle position, after which the handle of an entrenching tool -- essentially a short-handled shovel -- was thrust into her vagina. Other women were violated with objects ranging from soda bottles to rifles.
Excerpted from KILL ANYTHING THAT MOVES: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse, published by Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright © 2013 by Nick Turse. All rights reserved.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#2
Vietnam Winter Soldiers Investigation Report - not easy reading, but perhaps one of the best and most graphic collections of how we generally behaved in Vietnam - individuals, of course managed not to commit war crimes - or better to report them. Sadly, we didn't learn, and have repeated things along this line in so many other places since and up to the moment I type this.

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#3
WOW:

Nothing like a Sunday morning boot to the chin.At some point,I'll try to come up with something to say.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Reply
#4
As I recall, WWII in the Pacific Theater was far more savage than the European version. I wonder if Viet Nam took the same mentality even further or if the wars were the same in racial hatred. As I recall, the Korean "police action" involved some war crimes by the US against civilians.
"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl
Reply
#5
Keith Millea Wrote:WOW:

Nothing like a Sunday morning boot to the chin.At some point,I'll try to come up with something to say.
Yeah, sorry Keith. I also thought about you as I was posting it. I don't think for a second that is unique to the US military. And I know not all personnel participate or support. But these things need to be known for the record. Hopefully we learn from history and we change it and not repeat it. :hippy:
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#6
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, and some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it's always good to come back to Riverside church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I'm in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?" "Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don't mix," they say. "Aren't you hurting the cause of your people," they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath --
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be -- are -- are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 19541; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 -- in 1945 rather -- after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China -- for whom the Vietnamese have no great love -- but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States' influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing -- in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon, the only solid -- solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call "fortified hamlets." The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call "VC" or "communists"? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the North" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred -- rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the -- for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do [immediately] to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.

Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.

Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.

Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

Part of our ongoing -- Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary. Meanwhile -- Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality...and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala -- Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light."2 We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain."3

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing -- embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate -- ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us."4 Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says:

Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word (unquote).

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on."

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message -- of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when "justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."5
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#7
For the life of me,I don't really know how to respond to this article by Nick Turse.It's not that he is wrong by talking about war atrocities.We all know they happened in Vietnam.But,Turse like so many others that have written about these things,frames them in ways that are,for the most part as negative as they can get away with.And,ultimately the finger gets pointed towards all of us soldiers.
Let me start by making this quote:

Quote:During my tour of duty in Vietnam I NEVER witnessed a single atrocity,act of cruelty or abuse,upon either a Vietnamese civilian or combatant,NEVER!

Turse talks about widespresd rape,as if we were all sexual perverts.Let me tell you a story.One day on a dismounted patrol,we caught a pretty VC woman hiding all alone in some bushes.Well,someone had to pat her down for a search.So,here is a squad of hardened fighters,and nobody wanted to search her.We all just looked sheepishly at each other,like a bunch of 10 year olds.Did you get that folks?We were embarrassed to have to touch this woman,although someone finally did search her.So,fuck you Nick Turse!

Quote:Many soldiers mistreated corpses in other waysdressing them up, clowning around with them, or mutilating them, often taking photos of their handiwork and filling scrapbooks with the results. The correspondent Michael Herr recalled:
There were hundreds of these albums in Vietnam, thousands, and they all seemed to contain the same pictures . . . the severed head shot, the head often resting on the chest of the dead man or being held up by a smiling Marine, or a lot of heads, arranged in a row, with a burning cigarette in each of the mouths, the eyes open . . . the VC suspect being dragged over the dust by a half-track or being hung by his heels in some jungle clearing; the very young dead . . . a picture of a Marine holding an ear or maybe two ears or, in the case of a guy I knew near Pleiku, a whole necklace made of ears . . . the dead Viet Cong girl with her pajamas stripped off and her legs raised stiffly in the air. . . . Half the combat troops in Vietnam had these things in their packs, snapshots were the least of what they took after a fight, at least the pictures didn't rot.
Now,I've read his book,and Michael Herr is a professional correspondent.But,how in the hell can someone who is highly respected write a bullshit paragraph like that?How can he know there are hundreds,indeed thousands of these picture albums?He's seen them all I'm sure.And,holy fuckin' shit man,do you really believe that at least half of us carried things like that in our packs?Why do people always lie about us?So,fuck you Michael Herr!

I'll try to add some more thoughts later.......
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Reply
#8
The OP started out talking about the 11th armored cavalry regiment,and it's commander George S Patton.This was the Regiment I served in and Col.Patton was my commander.In the excerpt from Nick Turse,he refers to Major Gordon Livingston.You can view Major Livingston's testimony before the Dellums committee in Congress [URL="http://www.sirnosir.com/archives_and_resources/library/war_crimes/dellums/dellums_003.html"]HERE

[/URL]The major complaint by Livingston,was about a Christmas card that Col.Patton handed out to his general staff officers only.This card was totally idiotic and not worthy of any soldier,let alone a general officer,The card read "Peace on Earth",and had a picture of a stack of Viet Cong bodies.Bad taste doesn't even describe this stupidity,even though it was only a gag meant for a few staff people..And,just like his father before him,when the elder slapped a soldier in the hospital during world war II,that card will always be used against Col.Patton.Thus I've read two articles now that label him as "bloodthirsty".A mistake that will always be dredged up when another Nick Turse wants some headlines.

Major Livingston,as far as I can see,didn't really understand the whole picture.I don't either,but I know this much.Col.Patton,third generation born and bred military family,was not only highly respected among his troops,but the Viet Cong must have had great respect also.You see,they actually put a bounty on his head.He was a "Most Wanted Man".And yet,Major Livingston,and the Nick Turse's of the world want to blame him for being too aggressive,and not being nicey nice.LOL

I only met and talked to Col.Patton one time.That was just a few weeks before his tour of duty with the Blackhorse was up.I had been severely wounded and just before I was about to be shipped out to Japan,the Col.came and stopped by my bed and handed me my purple heart medal,Man to Man,Face to Face.And yes,that medal means a lot to me.I have nothing but the Greatest of respect for Col.Patton.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Patton_IV
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Reply
#9
Keith - I am always delighted to read your posts.

We all bring our unique experiences and insights to DPF.

There are disagreements and fights here, and this forum can be an unforgiving place.

Often rightly so.

However, at its finest, we are all striving for the truth - even if sometimes it can only be glimpsed, fractured and webbed.

Respect.
Jan
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#10
I am not surprised the macabre humor of men in war was leveraged in a time of political correctness. Now we have removed restrictions on open homosexuals and women, while rules of engagement become ever more outre.

Robert K. Wilcox, Target: Patton, indicates a high probability December 1945 road accident was an engineered one, use of an air device to propel an object, reason being the inconvenient charismatic figure headed for CONUS and the U.S. Senate.

Our friend the colonel reported finding his photo on wanted posters and setting his "killers" (term of endearment, see macabre humor of men in war) upon the task of locating its author. Whereupon they questioned subjects with helmets of water to successful conclusion.

This is a colonel who is a staunch supporter of a Palestinian state so no Israeli comments.

He would describe being ordered via his satellite phone to provide safe passage for a drug convoy ("the strangest thing I've ever seen") from unfriendly through friendly territory.

Leading the cynical to conclude there is a trade transcending nations.

And where will we go when Kyrgystan closes us out of Manas next year.

Burma?

What difference does it make?

The men we send to defend are thrown under the bus when their uses end.

We hear of the ones who resist the treason; they are called suicides.
Reply


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