Wed Jan 9, 2013, 06:52 AM
unhappycamper (58,219 posts)
'So many people died' (xpost from Veterans)
'So many people died'
By Nick Turse
Jan 10, 2013
Pham To told me that the planes began their bombing runs in 1965 and that periodic artillery shelling started about the same time. Nobody will ever know just how many civilians were killed in the years after. "The number is uncountable," he said one spring day a few years ago in a village in the mountains of rural central Vietnam. "So many people died."
And it only got worse. Chemical defoliants came next, ravaging the land. Helicopter machine gunners began firing on locals. By 1969, bombing and shelling were day-and-night occurrences. Many villagers fled. Some headed further into the mountains, trading the terror of imminent death for a daily struggle of hardscrabble privation; others were forced into squalid refugee resettlement areas. Those who remained in the village suffered more when the troops came through. Homes were burned as a matter of course. People were kicked and beaten. Men were shot when they ran in fear. Women were raped. One morning, a massacre by American soldiers wiped out 21 fellow villagers. This was the Vietnam War for Pham To, as for so many rural Vietnamese.
In those years, "Vietnam" even proved a surprisingly two-sided analogy - after, at least, generals began reading and citing revisionist texts about that war. These claimed, despite all appearances, that the US military had actually won in Vietnam (before the politicians, media, and antiwar movement gave the gains away). The same winning formula, they insisted, could be used to triumph again. And so, a failed solution from that failed war, counterinsurgency, or COIN, was trotted out as the military panacea for impending disaster.
Debated comparisons between the two ongoing wars and the one that somehow never went away, came to litter newspapers, journals, magazines, and the Internet - until David Petraeus, a top COINdinista general who had written his doctoral dissertation on the "lessons" of the Vietnam War, was called in to settle the matter by putting those lessons to work winning the other two. In the end, of course, US troops were booted out of Iraq, while the war in Afghanistan continues to this day as a dismally devolving stalemate, now wracked by "green-on-blue" or "insider" attacks on US forces, while the general himself returned to Washington as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director to run covert wars in Pakistan and Yemen before retiring in disgrace following a sex scandal.
2 replies, 615 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
'So many people died' (xpost from Veterans) (Original post)
Response to unhappycamper (Original post)
Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:41 AM
newfie11 (6,603 posts)
2. our war mentality is an embarrassment and disgusting
The people that died on both sides in VietNam were pawns to our war machine. Ho Chi Mien was Vietnamese and wanted his country back in one piece. This of course we could not allow.
Now we want to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan for years more, just to over see you understand. BULLSHIT!