Viet Nam Body Count
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Is he refusing to tell us how many Iraqi soldiers have been killed for fear of stirring up anti-war sentiment at home? Conspiracy is not the answer. Schwarzkopf does not know, and BDA bomb damage assessment cannot tell him with any degree of precision how many Iraqi bodies are piled up in the trenches. But there is another, far more important reason why the body count is taboo.
But they surely embraced his belief that war could be mathematically measured, codified and computerized. And in their quest for numbers to prove we were winning, the body-count syndrome was born. Ironically, although condemned as wildly inflated, the U. Vo Nguyen Giap, admitted in an interview with an Italian reporter in that he had lost , soldiers killed from to alone. But accurate or not, the figures were meaningless. Nixon took office in Supposedly a computer was fed all the quantifiable data on the United States and North Vietnam--population size, gross national product, steel production, size of the armed forces, numbers of tanks, guns, ships, planes and the like.
Morevoer, the North was able to control the rate at which they suffered losses by avoiding large scale confrontation by organized forces [which is what the US army excelled at]. Body count had its origin from Baron Antoine Henri Jomini, a Napoleonic military strategist who theorized that war could best be understood in terms of mathematics, in terms of things that can be counted. But they surely embraced his belief that war could be mathematically measured, codified and computerized. And in their quest for numbers to prove we were winning, the body-count syndrome was born.
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Vietnam War casualties
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- Cruel fact: How many Vietnamese people died in the Vietnam war?;
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- Vietnam War body count controversy - Wikipedia?
Microlending firm gains ground in franchising. But the most damage was inflicted from the skies, in massive aerial bombing campaigns that turned significant parts of the country into moonscapes. Over a seven-year period, U.
From to , the United States was dropping 32 tons of bombs per hour on North Vietnam. This is more than three times as many tons of bombs than were dropped in all of World War II, and the combined power of the explosives amounted to more than Hiroshimas. Laos, however, had even more explosives dropped on it, and by the end of the U. A North Vietnamese soldier described what a U. From a kilometer away, the sonic roar of the B explosions tore eardrums, leaving many of the jungle dwellers permanently deaf.
From a kilometer, the shockwaves knocked their victims senseless. Any hit within half a kilometer would collapse the walls of an unreinforced bunker, burying alive the people cowering inside. Seen up close, the bomb craters were gigantic—thirty feet across and nearly as deep… The first few times I experienced a B attack it seemed… that I had been caught in the Apocalypse.
The sheer numbers of bombs dropped may be staggering, but the important fact is that they were dropped on people. Not only were countless civilians killed, but the nonstop bombing created an atmosphere of perpetual terror for large parts of the population, along with the lifelong pain and trauma that comes with being maimed, losing a loved one, or just suffering with the inevitable nightmares produced by year upon year of gigantic explosions.
Whole cities were turned to rubble, farms were obliterated, children incinerated. The United States deployed chemical weapons in the form of thousands of tons of CS tear gas. As is by now well-known, up to 5 million Vietnamese people were sprayed with these toxic chemicals, but the crop destruction strategy itself was perverse and cruel, attempting to starve insurgents by ruining the lands of poor peasant farmers.
In South Vietnam, the United States often attempted to save peasant villages from a guerrilla insurgency by flattening the villages from the air. As Turse writes:. Journalist Neil Sheehan confirms that the destruction of villages in order to intentionally create homeless refugees was policy rather than accident, sanctioned by U. Eventually, U. By this policy had produced a million refugees. As Sheehan explains:. This is not seriously contested. In fact, you can often get a sense of just how much is uncontested by looking at the often understated admissions made by writers supposedly justifying American actions.
No serious historian of the Vietnam War disputes that the way American forces fought the war contributed to an atmosphere of atrocity. None doubt that command at all levels may have swept allegations under the rug or that incidents went unreported. Few historians argue that [the My Lai massacre], while an aberration in scale, was an aberration in practice.
This is remarkable. But what distinguishes us from many of our enemies is that this indiscriminate violence appalls us. The massacre at My Lai is remembered as a signature moment of shame for the American military. Even at the time, U. One helicopter pilot who arrived on the scene ordered his subordinates to use their machine guns against their own troops if they would not stop killing villagers.
As a culture, we have clearly outgrown our tolerance for the deliberate torture and murder of innocents. We would do well to realize that much of the world has not.
In fact, the helicopter pilot who intervened to stop the My Lai massacre was widely vilified for turning on his fellow soldiers, and public opinion was resolutely on the side of William Calley, the lieutenant convicted of ordering the massacre. The evidence is very clear that United States forces committed major atrocities, including the widespread use of chemical weapons on civilians, routine violations of the laws of war and the rules of engagement, and the dehumanization and terrorization of ordinary Vietnamese people.
Yet there has been much less national reflection on these outrages than on My Lai, the one event that can be most easily classified as an aberration. U nderstanding this fact is crucial to understanding the war. Documenting and analyzing atrocities committed in Vietnam is important, but above all else: the war itself was a crime. The United States refused to recognize Vietnamese independence after World War II, supported and then took over the French effort at colonial reconquest, and finally launched a large-scale invasion with , troops and the unrestrained use of deadly force in order to keep an unpopular, autocratic U.
It was not a war fought out of noble motives; U. This is not the picture of the Vietnam War that has been passed down.
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Instead, ev en liberal critics of the war have seen it as a flawed but well-intended tragedy. A war in which one side was entirely equipped and paid by a foreign power—which dictated the nature of the local regime in its own interest—was not a civil war. It was begun in bad faith by leaders who simply did not care about the will of the Vietnamese or the suffering they would undergo. As Ellsberg explained, the record shows that every single president lied to the public about Vietnam:.
Truman lied from on, on the nature and purposes of the French involvement, the colonial re-conquest of Vietnam that we were financing, and encouraging. Eisenhower lied about the reasons for and the nature of our involvement with Diem and the fact that he was in power essentially because of American support and American money and for no other reason. Kennedy lied… about our own combat involvement, and about the recommendations that were being made to him for greater involvement [and] lied about the degree of our participation in the overthrow of Diem.
Johnson of course lied and lied and lied; about the provocations against the North Vietnamese prior to and after the Tonkin Gulf incident; about the plans for bombing North Vietnam, and the nature of the buildup of American troops in Vietnam. Nixon as we now know, lied to the American public from the first months of his [term in] office, in terms of the bombing of Cambodia and Laos [and] ground operations in Laos, the reasons for our invasion of Cambodia and of Laos, and the prospects for the mining of Haiphong that finally came about in but was envisioned as early as Nor did these lies come from good motives.
Nixon, of course, sabotaged peace talks in order to get elected president, which stands out as a moral low point even in the career of Richard Nixon. An unmanly man. A man without a spine… Every night when I fell asleep I would see myself tied to the ground in the middle of a long, open space. In the distance, I could hear the voices of thousands of people. Of course, it is too simple to say that millions of Vietnamese people died because Lyndon Johnson was afraid of being called a wuss by imaginary dream-people.
But we can see that the psychological roots of U. There is another feature that the U. It is impossible to get around this. Call everybody gooks, dinks.