Kill Anything That Moves: Vietnam and beyond

Peter van Buren of the Huffington  Post  reviews Nick Turse’s latest book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

Sadly, van  Buren’s parting lines are not about the  millions of tortured, raped,  and murdered civilians of that trail of “dark skinned’ countries the US has invaded over the past 50 years; it is commiseration for those few hundred thousand US soldiers who have been put  in “impossible”  environments  by those in the “highest seats of power”.

As van Buren notes: The issue is not so much how/when/should we assign blame and punishment to an individual soldier, but to raise the stakes and ask: why have we not assigned blame and demanded punishment for the leaders who put those 19-year-old soldiers into the impossible situations they faced? Before we throw away the life of a kid who shot when he should not have done so, why don’t we demand justice for those in the highest seats of power for creating wars that create such fertile ground for atrocity? The chain of responsibility for the legacy left behind in our wars runs high.

Every one of those soldiers had the opportunity to refuse to fight; every one of those soldiers had the opportunity to  refuse to commit atrocities- but failed to do so. The responsibilities for murder and massacre run at all levels of our white-skinned colonial  societies. The assumptions of superiority, of “rightness” and ultimately simply pure racism, are endemic at every level of  Western society.  They  are our sins which  cannot be absolved, and  for which we are likely to pay dearly once the tables are turned in  another decade or two, when  western economies will no longer rule the world and determine the ‘game’.

Even now, almost forty years after the end of the Vietnam war, the US government and most of  it’s  citizens,  refuse to  acknowledge the massive war crimes of at  least  a million Vietnamese deaths carried out by  the US in the name of rolling back  a fictional  red tide of asian dominos, through carpet bombing, chemical  warfare and systemic atrocity after atrocity.

It is time for all  countries to acknowledge that  for us all to live peaceful fulfilled  lives on  a sustainable  planet, that  we have no rights to control other human beings to behave in the way  we think they  “should” behave through force-nor indeed any  rights of force over any  other species on this planet.

_________________________________________________________________________
Postscript:

40 years on, Laotians tell of US war legacy  By MATTHEW PENNINGTON | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Forty years after the secret U.S. bombing that devastated Laos, heirs to the war’s deadly legacy of undetonated explosives are touring America to prod the conscience of the world’s most powerful nation for more help to clear up the mess.

Note the casual throwaway  line ” The U.S. dropped 2 million tons of bombs on Laos over a nine-year period up to 1973 — more than on Germany and Japan during World War II.”

World’s Most Evil and Lawless Institution? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government- Alternet by  Fred Branfman

http://www.alternet.org/investigations/executive-branch-evil-and-lawless

Executive Branch leaders have killed, wounded and made homeless well over 20 million human beings in the last 50 years, mostly civilians.

June 26, 2013  |

America has a secret. It is not discussed in polite company or at the dinner tables of the powerful, rich and famous.

 

 

Leave a Reply