Friday, January 17, 2020

Week3_ASA150E_Chau Nguyen

In "Kill Anything That Moves" by Nick Nurse, he outlines the mechanisms in which U.S. intervention actually exacerbated harsh living conditions and stunted socioeconomic growth in Vietnam through systematic "scorched earth policies" conjured by Robert McNamara, a statistician who led the military's bombing and offensive strategies exclusively on statistics. Nurse discusses the advent of "technowar," where the american government utilized its technological and economic prowess to guarantee success in war. The author later goes on to discuss how the criticalness of "body counts" as the military's form of indicating the level of success on the war was instrumental in the multitude of innocent Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, who were indiscriminately killed during raids aimed at killing suspected Viet Congs, or simply murdered. In illustrating how the maintenance of high counts were incentivized to young and old American soldiers through various rewards such as badges, longer relaxation times, or more rations of food, he highlights the lengths to which Vietnamese people were dehumanized into a culture of disposability. From Lyndon Johnson's description of Vietnam as a "piss-poor little ant country" to a "backward nation," Vietnam and its people were viewed not only as a perfect testing ground for the U.S.'s advancement of technological warfare, but also as "dinks and gooks," a pervasive rhetoric the U.S. military used to characterize the people. Related to the "Mere Gook Rule," that protected American soldiers who "mistakenly fired" in free-fire zones at innocent civilians, the pacification strategy aimed at resettling Vietnamese people from their homes through constant bombings, damaging their crops, homeland, and ancestral graves, it was the responsibility of the Vietnamese to prove their innocence. 

One question I have is what was the moment in which resistance against the Vietnam War and the atrocities committed by the military have been re-narrativized, and in which ways are Vietnamese people resisting these dominant pro-America narratives? How do people who fled Vietnam view the U.S. now?

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