Kill Anything That Moves: Part 3/3

Jennings’s review was posted the day after Turse’s book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, was released on January 16. I seriously question Jenning’s claim that he read this book and wrote his long criticism in such a short period of time. I suspect that he may have skimmed the book and then wrote what is obviously a biased review. In fact, he did buy the book, but the odds say he posted the review before the book reached him through the mail.

Of the fifteen, five-star reviews, five were verified Amazon purchases and four of those were posted seven to twelve days after the release, and a sixth was from a Vine Reviewer that was posted the day the book was released, which may mean he or she got the book free through the Amazon Vine program—advanced review copies are available through Amazon Vine. I know this because I am an Amazon Vine reviewer.

One of the five-star reviews—not a verified Amazon purchase—posted on January 17 copied and pasted an interview with Turse at Democracy Now. I doubt if HCI read the book.

Five of the one-star reviews appeared on the same day, January 21. Three appeared on January 22. I think this was an organized posting by a group—that did not read the book—with a goal to discredit and hurt the book’s sales. None of these reviews came from verified Amazon purchases.

My reading list is rather long so it may take several weeks/months to read and review Kill Anything that Moves.

In conclusion, I suspect that most of the civilian deaths in Vietnam were caused by bombs dropped by American aircraft and atrocities by American ground troop did take place but were not common as Turse claims—the anti war crowd has a loud voice and always will.

Return to Kill Anything That Moves: Part 2 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Advertisements

Kill Anything That Moves: Part 2/3

“Kill Anything That Moves” included the story of Jamie Henry who was a 20-year-old medic who served in Vietnam and witnessed the mass shooting of a small crowd of women a children.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “The files (that Turse copied and used for his book) are part of 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 Vietnam War lasted for more than 7,000 days. Even if the 320 alleged atrocities did happen, that means one took place once every 22 days and the odds of being involved in one incident—if you served in Vietnam—was about 8,500 to one.

During the Vietnam War and afterwards, atrocities were committed by both sides, and this is a hot button issue to some. To measure the validity of the reactions to Turse’s book, I compared the five-star and one-star Amazon reader reviews. When I checked, there were thirty-five reader reviews. Fifteen were five-star reviews and fourteen were one-star.

Keep in mind that Turse’s book was released on January 15, 2013—sixteen days before I wrote this post.

Of the fourteen, one-star reviews only one was a verified Amazon purchase and it was written by Phillip Jennings, who served in the U.S. Marines as a pilot and flew for Air America in Laos. Air America was an airline owned and operated by the CIA. Maybe he dropped some of the bombs that killed civilians.

In addition to legal operations, Air America allegedly transported opium and heroin on behalf of Hmong leader Vang Pao. This allegation has been supported by former Laos CIA paramilitary Anthony Poshepny (aka Tony Poe), former Air America pilots, and other people involved in the war.

University of Georgia historian William M. Leary, writing on behalf of Air America itself, claims however that this was done without the airline employees’ direct knowledge (except for those employees that said they did know about it) and that the airline itself did not trade in drugs. Curtis Peebles denies the allegation, citing Leary’s study as evidence.” Source with citations: Wiki

To say Jennings may be biased would be an understatement.

Continued on February 3, 2013 in Kill Anything That Moves: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Kill Anything That Moves: Part 1/3

While out driving around and doing some shopping, my wife listened to an interview on NPR with Nick Turse and told me about it. I then did some research on Nick Turse’s book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

I haven’t bought or read the book yet, but I plan to, because the topic is worth reading to see what Turse wrote after his extensive research.

NPR.org reported, “The U.S. government has maintained that atrocities like this were isolated incidents in the conflict. Nick Turse says otherwise. In his book, Turse argues that the intentional killing of civilians was quite common in a war that claimed 2 million civilian lives, with 5.3 million civilians wounded and 11 million refugees.”

Turse takes the high end of the estimate of civilians killed during the Vietnam War. In truth, the estimates range from 245,000 to two million. In Cambodia, there were another 200,000 to 300,000 dead and in Laos 20,000 to 200,000—from bombs dropped by American aircraft, because American troops did not fight in large numbers in Cambodia or Laos.


15:32 minutes

For a comparison, in World War II, it is estimated that 37.5 to 54.5 million civilians were killed, and World War II spanned only six years 1939 – 1945. The Vietnam War lasted nineteen years, five months, four weeks and one day—about three times longer than World War II. In that time, the US dropped more bombs on Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam than it dropped in all of World War II.

I suspect that most of the civilian deaths in Vietnam were caused by bombs dropped by American aircraft.

While I served in Vietnam, I heard of incidents like those Turse writes about, but I suspect that it wasn’t as common as Turse clams. After all, the US fought in Vietnam for almost twenty years and the last decade saw huge increases in troop numbers and the bombs dropped.

In 1959, America had 760 troops in Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 would change those numbers drastically. By 1963, the US had 16,300 troops in Vietnam and in 1964 there were 23,300. Then in 1965 those numbers reached 184,300. In 1968, the high point of the war, the US had 536,100 troops in Vietnam.

In total, 2.7 million Americans served in uniform in Vietnam. In 1966, I was one of them.

This is what I remember from my tour. We had rules that said we had to see who was shooting at us before we returned fire but we seldom saw who was shooting at us. I had unseen snipers shoot at me a number of times and come very close—one round touched my ear. Our base camp was hit usually at night by mortars and rockets, and it is true that body counts were important to General Westmoreland. At the time, the belief among America’s leaders was that we could kill our way to victory.

Continued on February 2, 2013 in Kill Anything That Moves: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The Tet Offensive also destroyed the National Liberation Front (popularly known as the Viet Cong) and handed the leadership of the war, by default, over to the North Vietnamese Communist leadership and its army. The NLF was not 100% a communist organization but was an organization and army that fought the US in South Vietnam and before the US they fought the French under a different name—the Viet Minh—and before the French, the Vietnamese fought the Chinese occupation that lasted for a thousand years before liberation from China. However, the communists organized the NLF as a blanket organization of many Vietnamese resistance groups to continue the fight against foreign occupation/intervention in Vietnam.

The Tet Offensive was fought primarily by the NLF and they lost about 75,000 troops compared to 6,000 U.S. and ARVN dead. History paints the Tet Offensive as a communist victory but that is wrong. The Tet Offensive saw half of the NLF’s troops killed. The victory was turning the American public against the war. It was a military loss and a PR victory. The Viet Cong lost that battle but the North won the war. After Tet, the North had to step up moving its troops and supplies into the South until the NVA made up 70% of the troops fighting there.

In 1968, the NLF or Viet Cong’s manifesto called for an independent, non-aligned South Vietnam and stated that “national reunification cannot be achieved overnight.” That all changed after Tet. In fact, that lost battle with the US handed the South over to the communist led North.

What happened to the America that …

On January 3, 2013, Mark Hosenball writing for Reuters reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairwoman expressed outrage over scenes in the film “Zero Dark Thirty” that imply “enhanced interrogations” of CIA detainees.

Hosenball wrote, “Some of Obama’s liberal supporters are attacking the film and officials who cooperated with its creators for allegedly promoting the effectiveness of torture.”

As I read this piece , I started to think of the brutality of war and what it means to lose and then had a few questions:

During the Vietnam War, what happened to the America that dropped 250,000 cluster bombs on Cambodia?

What happened to the America that firebombed civilians in Germany & Japan in World War II?

PBS reported that in Germany, “The casualty figures reported by German fire and police services ranged between 25,000 and 35,000 dead. However, thousands more were missing, and there were many unidentified refugees in the city. It is probable that the death total approached the 45,000 killed in the bombing of Hamburg in July-August 1943. Some careless historians, encouraged by Soviet and East German propaganda, promulgated figures as high as 250,000. Although David Irving later recanted his claim of 135,000 dead, one can still find that number cited in many history books.”

In Japan, PBS said that in Tokyo, “Before the firestorm ignited by Operation MEETINGHOUSE had burned itself out, between 90,000 and 100,000 people had been killed. Another million were rendered homeless. Sixteen square miles were incinerated, and the glow of the flames was visible 150 miles away. Victims died horribly as intense fires consumed the oxygen, boiled water in canals, and sent liquid glass rolling down streets.”

What happened to the America that dropped A-bombs on two cities in Japan to end World War II?

“Unlike many other bombing raids, the goal for this raid had not been a military installation but rather an entire city. The atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima killed civilian women and children in addition to soldiers. Hiroshima’s population has been estimated at 350,000; approximately 70,000 died immediately from the explosion and another 70,000 died from radiation within five years.”

“Approximately 40 percent of Nagasaki was destroyed. Luckily for many civilians living in Nagasaki, though this atomic bomb was considered much stronger than the one exploded over Hiroshima, the terrain of Nagasaki prevented the bomb from doing as much damage. Yet the decimation was still great. With a population of 270,000, approximately 70,000 people died by the end of the year.” Source: About.com

What happened to the America that sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange?

What happened to the America that dropped more bombs on northeastern Laos during the Vietnam War than it dropped in all of World War II?

“As part of its efforts during the Vietnam War, the United States began a nine-year bombing campaign in Laos in 1964 that ultimately dropped 260 million cluster bombs on the country — the most heavily bombed country in history. That’s more than 2.5 million tons of munitions — more than what the U.S. dropped in World War II on Germany and Japan combined. … Of the 75 million bombs that failed to detonate, less than 1 percent have been cleared. At least 25,000 people have been killed or injured by these bombs in the 35 years following the end of the bombing campaign. Today, an average of 300 Lao people are injured or killed every year by these weapons.” Source: Huffington Post

What happens to the citizens of the United States if America loses the war on terror?

Discover A Night at the “Well of Purity”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Unwanted Heroes

Many unwanted heroes defend our nation and fight its wars—right or wrong. When America’s leaders declare wars based on lies (for example: Vietnam and Iraq) or the truth (World War I, II, Afghanistan and Korea), unwanted heroes do the fighting and pay the price.

On the side of a bus at the VA medical clinic that I go to, it says, “All gave some; some gave all.” I have a credit card sized VA Department of Veterans Affairs ID card.  It says below my photo: “Service Connected.” That means I have a disability connected to my service in Vietnam in 1966 when I was serving in the US Marines.

What is the price many unwanted heroes pay for trusting their leaders?

This post has the same title of a novel that was recently released, and I had the privilege of editing Unwanted Heroes by Alon Shalev.

In Unwanted Heroes, Shalev brings together a long suffering, battle weary Chinese American Vietnam veteran suffering from the trauma of PTSD and an idealistic and somewhat pretentious young Englishmen, who both share a love for San Francisco, coffee and wine.

Alon Shalev, the author, grew up in London, and has been a political activist since his early teens. He strives through his writing to highlight social and political injustice and to inspire action for change.

Moving to Israel, he helped establish a kibbutz where he lived for 20 years and served in the Israeli army.

Shalev then moved to the San Francisco Bay area and fell hopelessly in love with this unique city. Being new to the US, however, he was shocked to see so many war veterans on the streets. He regularly volunteers at initiatives such as Project Homeless Connect and the San Francisco Food Bank where he meets and talks with war veterans. These experiences lend authenticity to the novel.

In fact, according to NIH (the National Institute of Health) Medline Plus, “PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults” … and “members of the military exposed to war/combat and other groups at high risk for trauma exposure are at risk for developing PTSD.

“Among veterans returning from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, PTSD and mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often linked and their symptoms may overlap. Blast waves from explosions can cause TBI, rattling the brain inside the skull.

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31% of Vietnam veterans; as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans; 11% of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and 20% of Iraqi war veterans.”

NIH says, “PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders.”

In addition, “between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during the year, and on any given night, more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the US. … About 33% of homeless males in the US are veterans and veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless. One of the primary causes of homelessness among veterans is combat-related mental health issues and disability.

The incident of PTSD and suicide rates among veterans is also climbing and 45% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness including PTSD. Source: Veterans Inc.org

The New York Times reported, “Suicide rates of military personnel and combat veterans have risen sharply since 2005, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified. Recently, the Pentagon established a Defense Suicide Prevention Office.”

“The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. …

Why? “The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter.” Source: History.com – Statistics about the Vietnam War

I did not seek help for my PTSD for thirty-eight years, because I did not know the VA offered counseling.

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

__________________________

Follow this Blog via Email — sign in near the top-right corner of this screen and click “Follow”

Missing John Wayne

I was not there when John Wayne dropped by the Battalion CP of the 1st Marine Division’s Tank Battalion in 1966 at Chu Lai, Vietnam. Instead, I was in the field. I don’t remember what I was doing in the field. I was on a night patrol, a recon, an ambush or a field operation but I wasn’t there.

I was in the field getting shot at—a walking target with a radio on my back or driving a radio jeep with no armor.  The jeep I drove in Vietnam was more than twenty years old and had a canvas top with open sides (no doors). Today, it would be unthinkable to send our troops into combat in one of those.

I was told Wayne drove in by himself in a 1945 Willys Jeep and walked around talking to Marines, drank a few warm beers with enlisted men then ate with the officers in their mess tent.

Years later, I wondered if Wayne really visited US troops in Vietnam and discovered, thanks to Google, that he did.

 “Once again, John Wayne found himself in the midst of a heated political controversy. It started in June 1966, when Wayne visited Vietnam to cheer American troops on the front and wounded soldiers in hospitals. The mission of the tour was twofold: It was a good-will trip, and at the same time provided him the opportunity to gather first-hand material for a film.

“It is unclear whether the idea to make a film on Vietnam originated before or during the trip. Before he left for the three-week tour, sponsored by the Department of Defense, Wayne said he was “going around the hinterlands to give the boys something to break the monotony.” “I can’t sing or dance,” he said, but “I can sure shake a lot of hands.” Source: Emanuel Levy Cinema 24/7

If anyone instilled a sense of patriotism in me for the US (not its political leaders), it was growing up watching John Wayne movies.

As a child, I knew nothing of politics but too much, thanks to my mother, of God and the Bible.

My father didn’t believe in God, didn’t vote and didn’t belong to any political party. He deeply distrusted politicians and said they were all liars and couldn’t be trusted. Today, I suspect that what he believed came from having survived the Great Depression (1929 to mid 1940s). At fourteen, he dropped out of school to find a job to survive. He would work for forty-six years before he retired on a union pension.

It doesn’t matter if I agree with Wayne’s conservative, hawkish, right-wing politics, because his screen image did more to instill my sense of patriotism than anything else did. In fact, he may have agreed with my father’s political beliefs.

Wayne’s attitude toward politics was at best ambivalent, considering it a necessary evil. “I hate politics and most politicians,” he repeatedly declared, and “I am not a political figure.” At the same time, he conceded that, “When things get rough and people are saying things that aren’t true, I sometimes open my mouth and eventually get in trouble.”

“About the only thing you have to guide you,” he said, “is your conscience.” One should not let “social groups or petty ambitions or political parties or any institution tempt you to sacrifice your moral standards,” but he conceded that, “It takes a long time to develop a philosophy that enables you to do that.” Integrity and self-respect were his most cherished values, “If you lose your self-respect, you’ve lost everything.” Source: Emanuel Levy Cinema 24/7

 

Good for Wayne. I respect him for being true to what he believed and standing up for it. To this day, I wished I’d been there at my base camp in 1966 the day he drove in to visit the troops, so I could shake his hand and listen to what he had to say.  Two years later, his movie, Green Berets, came out the same year as the Tet Offensive—considered by many to be the turning point in the war that led to the defeat of US goals.

What does patriotism mean to you?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”