Thursday, August 26


As anyone who lived through the Vietnam War era can tell you (notice I say CAN, not WILL), it was a well-documented fact that some American troops committed terrible acts of inhumanity while there. In fact, my beloved retired-fighter-pilot brother-in-law makes the argument that there would have been more, and that they would have been justified, if he'd been on the ground instead of in the air. One of my cousins who served a tour in Vietnam also confirmed that he participated in such acts, as did others of my acquaintance.

We lived with the war during those days in a manner not to be believed by TV watchers today -- it filled the news every night, and it wasn't a bunch of talking heads yammering at each other but reported by real-live actual REPORTERS who risked their lives to take us right into combat with them. The Medina and Calley trials familiarized all of us with the atrocities. And while we were repulsed, many of us were, like John Kerry, more angry with the leaders who put our "innocent American boys" into a situation they couldn't, and shouldn't have had to, handle. When John Kerry gave his famous testimony before Congress in 1971 he wasn't ACCUSING his fellows of atrocities, he was REPORTING what they had told him -- they wanted him to! They wanted him to tell the whole world just what was really going on in that terrible, immoral conflict.

If anyone today tries to pretend that there were no atrocities committed in Vietnam, he/she is a liar, ignorant or a faith-based historian.

But then, these people lie like they breathe.

As Media Matters for America has noted, in addition to Hill's admission, there are detailed reports of atrocities committed by American forces in Vietnam. Besides well-documented accounts of the infamous My Lai massacre, three Toledo Blade reporters recently won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism for a series of articles titled "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," which uncovered atrocities committed by Tiger Force, an elite U.S. Army fighting unit in Vietnam. And in an August 3 appearance on Hannity & Colmes, retired General Tommy Franks referred to Kerry's 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which Kerry related other Vietnam veterans' personal stories about atrocities committed in Vietnam, saying, "I'm not sure that -- that activities like that didn't take place. In fact, quite the contrary. I'm sure that they did."

UPDATE: Am watching former Congressman Pete McCloskey (R) on Hardball. Watch for the transcript tomorrow! What an honorable guy. Winner of a Navy Cross in Vietnam, he testified about war crimes before Congress at almost the same time as did John Kerry. He reiterated their reality just now ("...and we WERE committing crimes"). He also said presidents such as John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush (and a future president Kerry) are always war-as-a-last-resort fellows because "if you've been shot at, you don't want it to happen again." Asked by Tweety to speculate on the motives of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al, McCloskey said, "I don't know...whether it's trying to prove their manhood or something else."


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