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.
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.”
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.