As usual, I enjoy taking a look back in time at events that lead us up to where we are today. Indeed I feel that the answers to the questions today
when it comes to civics, social ethics and humanities can be answered by doing research on the past.
One of the most horrific scenes in United States and Asian history of course was that of Vietnam. We saw the deployment of napalm in a large
quantity, encountered guerilla warfare on a scale we had never seen, and the United States and Vietnamese soldiers threw away the rules of engagements
in battle. From Mai Lei to the Tet Offensive, the war easily could establish itself as one of the most pointless wars and the bloodiest.
Nick Turse has written a book called "Kill Anything That Moves", and while I'm subjective with my references to news topics, I found another great one
on the History News Network. Here's a few things he had to say to add to this:
Full Source: History News Network - We Lost Our Humanity in Vietnam
As Turse notes in his op-ed, American leaders like General William Westmoreland demonstrated “a profligate disregard for human life,” mainly
because their strategy “was to kill as many ‘enemies’ as possible, with success measured by body count. Often, those bodies were not enemy
soldiers,” Turse concludes.
"Success measured by body count."
The question was, what caused this to be the new rules of engagement by American soldiers? What the American public was told was that Vietnam was a
necessary war to prevent the spread of communism in southeast Asia, and that the French were no longer strong enough to do the job.
By later standards (massive bombing by B-52s in Arc Light attacks), the air raid Fall witnessed, consisting of A-1 Skyraiders carrying napalm and
fragmentation bombs, was small. But don’t tell that to the Vietnamese fishing village that was utterly destroyed in this “small” raid.
I added this line into the post, because a lot of people don't recall that there were also insidious air assault and bombing missions that were
carried out against Vietnam and surrounding nations. However, these were not designed to fend off the Viet Cong alone, but to put a dead stop on the
chance of any assistance in the North by the Chinese (see Operation Rolling Thunder). I liken this to the mindset of General MacArthur's desire to
run north of the Yang Se in Korea.
We lost more than a war in Vietnam. We lost our humanity.
This does not account for the lack of ethical engagement in war however. So what changed that? Why did we lose our humanity? Let's put some numbers
Perhaps one-third of the South Vietnamese population became refugees, uprooted from their ancestral homes...
...dropping of more than seven million tons of bombs on Indochina - three times the total tonnage of explosives dumped on all the Axis nations during
World War II...
That does not include the American military presence increments: 900 to 15,000 under Kennedy, then 15,000 to 555,000 under Johnson. Who of which
stated he "will not be the first president to lose a war."
There-in lies the potential of where the chain reaction of humanity begins to degenerate. Johnson even went as far as to lie to the American public
that Vietnam was going fine. While, it's nothing new that politicians lie, what do you think fueled this mindset? Surely, something had to have
Many historians will argue that the reason for this rests solely on the fact that you could not tell them apart from each other. However, that does
not account for the mass killings of civilians including women children, and even pets. What do you think ATS? Lets get those thinking caps on and
see what we can collectively come up with.
1. Café, William H.; Sitkoff, Harvard; Bailey, Beth. "A History of Our Time: Readings on Post War America." Eighth Edition. 2012. 134.
1. Cahfe, William H.; Sitkoff, Harvard; Bailey, Beth. "A History of Our Time: Readings on Post War America." Eighth Edition. 2012. 134-169.
2. Chafe, William H. "The Unfinished Journey: America Since World War II." Seventh Edition. 2011. 237-252, 265-289.
3. Cobbs-Hoffman, Elizabeth; Blum, Edward J.; Gjerde, Jon. "Major Problems in American History." Volume II: Since 1865. Third Edition. 2012.
* I must warn you, if you are squeamish or are easily disturbed, please read into #2 with discretion.
edit on 19.10.2013 by Shugo because: (no reason given)