“It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”
My research will be circling around the U.S. War Crimes. During Vietnam War, many “slaughtering” style missions had been authorized for unjust purpose such as body count. To achieve the number, they would kill anyone. By “anyone” I meant not only the targeted VC but also unharmed civilians (young to old men, women, children, and even infants). One of the vivid examples is the My Lai massacre, 1968. The order was “Kill anything that moves” and “Search and Destroy”. And with that permission, bullets were blindly fired.
Besides massive murder, other committed crimes are rapes and body mutilation. Even though in the 1970s, interviews and investigations had been opened but nothing leased until 2005. The higher-up covered them all: “A massive 9 thousand pages of evidence implicating U.S. troops in a wide range of atrocities…the Pentagon kept the entire collection under wraps” (Nelson pg. 2).
The U.S. goal of going to VN war is to assist Democracy and prevent the spread of Communism in VN. They came to help Vietnamese people, to liberate the country from the North communists. But what was that with all the gruel slaughter on unharmed civilians? I see a huge contradiction between the U.S.’s intention and their act. Therefore in my paper, I want to criticize the U.S. perceptions about VN. The fact that they came to VN without knowing VN culture and history lead to false assumptions, misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
Here is the outline of my paper:
- First I will introduce My Lai massacre as a case study to point out the U.S. war crimes (rape, murder)
- Then criticize some perceptions about Vietnamese and VC from the U.S. soldier’s perspective.
- Analyze some factors contributing to the birth of those perceptions/ stereotypes and what could have been done to prevent this outcome.
- Books (case studies and interview records)
- Oral interview clips.
Karlin, Wayne. Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam. New York: Nation, 2009. Print.
Nelson, Deborah. The War behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about U.S. War Crimes. New York: Basic, 2008. Print.
Sherman, Nancy. The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010. Print.
Carbonella, August. "Structures of Fear, Spaces of Hope." Anthropologica 51.2 (2009): 353-61. Web. 22 Apr. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/25605490>.
Kieran, David. "‘It’s a Different Time. It’s a Different Era. It’s a Different Place’: The Legacy of Vietnam and Contemporary Memoirs of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." War & Society 31.1 (2012): 64-83. Web. 22 April 2013.
Jespersen, Christopher T. "Analogies at War: Iraq and Vietnam." OAH Magazine of History 27.1 (2013): 19-22. America: History & Life. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Flamm, Michael W. "From Testimony to Tragedy: My Lai in Personal Perspective." OAH Magazine of History 22.4 (2008): 54-57. America: History & Life. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Harrison, Benjamin T., and Christopher L. Mosher. "The Secret Diary of McNamara's Dove: The Long-Lost Story of John T. McNaughton's Opposition to the Vietnam War." Diplomatic History 35.3 (2011): 505-34. America: History & Life. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Platoon. Dir. Oliver Stone. Perf. Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe. Orion Pictures, 1986. DVD.
In the Year of the Pig. Dir. Emile De Antonio. Perf. Harry S. Ashmore and Daniel Berrigan. McGraw-Hill Films, 1968. DVD.
Robert J. Miller (2006). “Native America, Discovered And Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, And Manifest Destiny.” Greenwood. p.120.