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1 Bob Dillon  Fri, Apr 22, 2011 10:31:02am

The Viet Cong were not all sweethearts either. They left many dead civilians, including children, in their wake. My housekeepers 15 yr old son was "recruited" (join or die) by the VC.

2 researchok  Fri, Apr 22, 2011 10:38:53am

This is a reality of war. We are no worse and probably a lot better at minimizing civilian deaths.

Nowadays the matter is further complicated by combatants who deliberately conceal themselves, weapons caches and armaments among civilian populations.

War is a dirty, dirty business.

3 Bob Dillon  Fri, Apr 22, 2011 10:52:09am

re: #2 researchok

Nowadays the matter is further complicated by combatants who deliberately conceal themselves, weapons caches and armaments among civilian populations.

The VC took this to an art form. No one did or has since done it better. They were the masters. Iraq, etc. is tough but doesn't approach what they had going in hamlets and villages thru out S. Vietnam ... total fear and absolute control of the indigenous population.

4 Romantic Heretic  Fri, Apr 22, 2011 12:48:27pm

Sad, but not surprising.

People hate, people kill.

If we don't break these habits, and soon, we now have the weapons that means the next major outbreak of hatred and killing will be the last.

5 Shiplord Kirel  Fri, Apr 22, 2011 5:07:25pm

This is hardly a revelation. Many such incidents were well-documented during the war. It should especially not be a surprise to the media consumer audience. During the heyday of veteran bashing in the 80s, it was taken for granted in popular culture that Vietnam vets were all baby-slaughtering monsters. It would come as news to many conformists from that period that the situation was not considerably worse. Almost 3 million Americans served in Vietnam, a country of about 20 million people. If even a third of them had been routinely involved in mass killings, the country would have been depopulated several times over.

6 Shiplord Kirel  Fri, Apr 22, 2011 5:14:07pm

Btw, the worst vilification of veterans I have encountered did not come from Vietnam era hippies but from Reagan-era yuppies. I really don't care if anybody believes it. It is God's truth and I suspect most real veterans would agree.
I enrolled at Cornell in the fall of 1972, when the anti-war movement was practically in control of the campus. It was common knowledge that I was a Vietnam vet, as were many others at that august institution. The anti-war types and counter-culturists did not spit at me or throw rocks. On the contrary, they were almost universally sympathetic and supportive, if a bit uninformed.

7 BishopX  Sat, Apr 23, 2011 7:21:45am

re: #2 researchok

I'm sorry, but how the fuck is a military who covers for an officer who orders his troops to shoot women and children good at minimizing civilian casualties?

For the sake of this argument lets deal only with intentional killings outside of firefights, and assume that any decisions in battle are the best ones possible. Is there a worse response to a question about what to do with civilians than an order to shoot them out of hand? From the standpoint of minimizing civilian casualties it seems mathematically impossible to come up with a worse order than "kill 'em all". No, I take that back, you could set quotas.

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