Vietnam: many more US atrocities than My Lai

Vietnam, victims of My Lai massacre

From History News Network:

Declassified papers show U.S. atrocities in Vietnam went far beyond My Lai

Source: LA Times (8-6-06)

A once-secret archive, assembled by a Pentagon task force in the early 1970s, that shows that confirmed atrocities by U.S. forces in Vietnam were more extensive than was previously known.

The documents detail 320 alleged incidents that were substantiated by Army investigators — not including the most notorious U.S. atrocity, the 1968 My Lai massacre.

Though not a complete accounting of Vietnam war crimes, the archive is the largest such collection to surface to date.

About 9,000 pages, it includes investigative files, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports for top military brass.

The records describe recurrent attacks on ordinary Vietnamese — families in their homes, farmers in rice paddies, teenagers out fishing.

Hundreds of soldiers, in interviews with investigators and letters to commanders, described a violent minority who murdered, raped and tortured with impunity.

Abuses were not confined to a few rogue units, a Times review of the files found.

They were uncovered in every Army division that operated in Vietnam.

Retired Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, a Vietnam veteran who served on the task force, says he once supported keeping the records secret but now believes they deserve wide attention in light of alleged attacks on civilians and abuse of prisoners in Iraq.

“When somebody asks, ‘Why do you do it to a gook, why do you do this to people?’ your answer is, ‘So what, they’re just gooks, they’re not people. It doesn’t make any difference what you do to them; they’re not human.’ “And this thing is built into you,” Cpl. John Geymann testified almost 44 years ago at the Winter Soldier Investigation, held in Detroit, which was sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. “It’s thrust into your head from the moment you wake up in boot camp to the moment you wake up when you’re a civilian”: here.

149 thoughts on “Vietnam: many more US atrocities than My Lai

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  38. 50 years ago: South Korean soldiers massacre Vietnamese

    A 21-year-old woman, whose breasts have been cut off by South Korean soldiers, left for dead

    Beginning on February 12 and ending on March 17, 1966, South Korean soldiers supporting the US war against Vietnam carried out a series of brutal massacres of unarmed civilians in the Binh An villages (today Tay Vinh village) in the Tay Son District of Binh Dịnh Province in South Vietnam. The South Korean “Capital Division” murdered some 1,200 villagers in the region in just over a month.

    The anti-communist US puppet regime of General Park Chung-hee (father of the current president of South Korea) deployed in Vietnam an average of 30,000 soldiers a year during the ten years 1964-1973, the most of any government in the American coalition apart from the US itself. They were also, next to the US, responsible for some of the war’s most heinous crimes, which frequently included the rape and dismemberment of young women.

    The following is a partial list of South Korean atrocities in Vietnam: On October 9, 1966, members of the South Korean military slaughtered 448 villagers in Dien Nien Temple and Phuoc Binh hamlet. The same day in Binh Tai of Quang Ngai province, they killed 168. From December 3 through December 6, 1966, South Koreans butchered 502 unarmed civilians in Binh Hoa. On February 12, 1968, South Korean soldiers killed some 70 villagers in Phong Nhị and Phong Nhat, in Quang Nam Province. On October 19, 1966, Korean troops, together with American operatives, killed 112 civilians in Dien Nien hamlet. From November 9-12, 1966, Koreans killed 68 at Phuoc Bin, almost all of them women and children. On March 22, 1967, Koreans and two Americans rounded up the 88 villagers of Nhon Hoa. Only two survived. Among the dead were 45 children, 30 women, and 11 elderly men.

    Historian Nick Turse described one such massacre: “On February 26, 1968, Korean troops entered Ha My… and herded residents into several locations. Some of the villagers were expecting food and candies to be handed out, but what came next was a slaughter that went on for two hours, leaving 135 people dead—almost all of them women, teenage girls, elderly men, toddlers, and infants. Only three of those slain were military-aged men. Later in the day, [US] bulldozers arrived to scrape the entire area flat.”

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