In his book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Nick Turse reveals the largely hidden atrocities and war crimes committed abroad in this devastated country. In concealed reports and intentionally tampered numbers and statistics, he highlights the true brutality unleashed on the Vietnamese people-- soldiers and civilians. Although I had an inkling of the horrors forever attached to the moniker “The Vietnam War” and its various epithets in allusion to the destruction of this Southeast Asian country, I was appalled at the full extent of these crimes; the term “full” used loosely as even Turse admitted there’s no way to gauge the entirety of all the violent acts. Numbers were at first exaggerated, body counts emphasized as some sort of sick competition to elicit rewards-- a game where lives didn’t matter since “‘[life] is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient’” (Turse 50). Including those of civilians, innocent bystanders killed and documented as enemy soldiers. All for the coveted high scores of a body count, to meet a kill quota and earn a handful of days on a sunny beach.
Question: How then can we trust the words of our leaders, the government when it comes to foreign affairs when they actively cover up the heinous crimes of our soldiers and the suffering of our “enemies”?
Source: Turse, Nick. Kill Anything That Moves: the Real American War in Vietnam. A Metropolitan Book, 2014.