Village VoiceNew proof of Vietnam War atrocitiesSat Sep 25, 2004 15:23184.108.40.206>From the National Archives: New proof of Vietnam War atrocitiesSwift Boat Swillby Nicholas TurseSeptember 21st, 2004 11:40 AM
http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0438/turse.php John Kerry is being pilloried for his shocking Senate testimony 34years ago that many U.S. soldiers—not just a few "rogues"—werecommitting atrocities against the Vietnamese. U.S. military recordsthat were classified for decades but are now available in theNational Archives back Kerry up and put the lie to his critics.Contrary to what those critics, including the Swift Boat Veteransfor Truth, have implied, Kerry was speaking on behalf of manysoldiers when he testified before the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee on April 22, 1971, and said this:They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut offears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to humangenitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies,randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscentof Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks,and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam, in additionto the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particularravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.The archives have hundreds of files of official U.S. militaryinvestigations of such atrocities committed by American soldiers.I've pored over those records—which were classified for decades—formy Columbia University dissertation and, now, this Voice article.The exact number of investigated allegations of atrocities isunknown, as is the number of such barbaric incidents that occurredbut weren't investigated. Some war crimes, like the Tiger Forceatrocities exposed last year by The Toledo Blade, have only come tolight decades later. Others never will. But there are plentifulrecords to back up Kerry's 1971 testimony point by point. Following(with the names removed or abbreviated) are examples, directly fromthe archives:"They had personally raped"On August 12, 1967, Specialist S., a military intelligenceinterrogator, "raped . . . a 13-year-old . . . female" in aninterrogation hut in a P.O.W. compound. He was convicted of assaultand indecent acts with a child. He served seven months and 16 daysfor his crimes."Cut off ears"On August 9, 1968, a seven-man patrol led by First Lieutenant S.entered Dien Tien hamlet. "Shortly thereafter, Private First ClassW. was heard to shout to an unidentified person to halt. W. firedhis M-16 several times, and the victim was killed. W. then draggedthe body to [the lieutenant's] location. . . . Staff Sergeant B.told W. to bring back an ear or finger if he wanted to prove himselfa man. W. later went back to the body and removed both ears and afinger." W. was charged with assault and conduct to the prejudice ofgood order and discipline; he was court-martialed and convicted, buthe served no prison time. B. was found guilty of assault and wasfined $50 a month for three months. S. was discharged from the armybefore action could be taken against him."Cut off heads"On June 23, 1967, members of the 25th Infantry Division killed twoenemy soldiers in combat in Binh Duong province. An army CriminalInvestigation Division (CID) probe disclosed that "Staff Sergeant H.then decapitated the bodies with an axe." H. was court-martialed andfound guilty of conduct to the prejudice of good order anddiscipline. His grade was reduced, but he served no prison time."Taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turnedup the power"On January 10, 1968, six Green Berets in Long Hai, SouthVietnam, "applied electrical torture via field telephones to thesensitive areas of the bodies of three men and one woman . . . "Four received reprimands and "Article 15s"—a nonjudicial punishmentmeted out by a commanding officer or officer in charge for minoroffenses. A fifth refused to accept his Article 15, and no otheraction was taken against him. No action was taken against the sixthGreen Beret."Cut off limbs"A CID investigation disclosed that during late February or earlyMarch 1968 near Thanh Duc, South Vietnam, First Lieutenant L.ordered soldier K. to shoot an unidentified Vietnamese civilian. "K.shot the Vietnamese civilian, leaving him with wounds in the chestand stomach. Soldier B., acting on orders from L., returned to thescene and killed the Vietnamese civilian, and an unidentified medicsevered the Vietnamese civilian's left arm." No punishment was metedout because none of the "identified perpetrators" was found to be onactive duty at the time of the June 1971 investigation."Blown up bodies"On February 14, 1969, Platoon Sergeant B. and Specialist R., on areconnaissance patrol in Binh Dinh province, "came upon threeVietnamese males . . . whom they detained and then shot at closerange using M-16 automatic fire. B. then arranged the bodies on theground so that their heads were close together. A fragmentationgrenade was dropped next to the heads of the bodies." B. was court-martialed, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to a reductionin grade and a fine of $97 per month for six months—after which timehe re-enlisted. R. was court-martialed and found not guilty."Randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscentof Genghis Khan"While a U.S. "helicopter hunter-killer team . . . was on a reconmission in Cambodia," its members fired rockets at buildingsand "engaged various targets [in a small village] with machine-gunfire. Gunship preparatory fire preceded the landing of a SouthVietnamese army platoon, which had been diverted from anothermission. A U.S. captain accompanied the platoon on the ground inviolation of standing orders. The South Vietnamese troops,reconnoitering by fire, did not search bunkers for enemy forces, norwere enemy weapons found. . . . Civilian casualties were estimatedat eight dead, including two children, 15 wounded, and three or fourstructures destroyed. There is no evidence that the wounded wereprovided medical treatment by either U.S. or South Vietnameseforces. . . . Members of the South Vietnamese platoon returned tothe aircraft with large quantities of civilian property. . . . Theincident was neither properly investigated nor reported initially."Letters of reprimand were issued to a lieutenant colonel and amajor. The captain received a letter of reprimand.John Kerry made it clear when he testified more than three decadesago that what he told the Senate was the cumulative testimony ofwell over 100 "honorably discharged and many very highly decorated"Vietnam vets who gathered in Detroit in early 1971. Calling theirgathering the Winter Soldier Investigation, they were trying toraise awareness of the type of war they said America was waging inSoutheast Asia. They were trying to demonstrate that the shocking MyLai massacre on March 16, 1968, of 567 civilians in a Vietnamesevillage—a barbarism unknown to the American public until late 1969—was not an isolated incident in which rogue troops went berserk, butsimply one of many U.S.-perpetrated atrocities.All these years later, neither the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth(SBVT) nor the media feeding their allegations about Kerry'ssupposedly "false 'war crimes' charges" even broaches the subject ofVietnamese suffering, let alone talk about Kerry's exposition oflarge-scale atrocities, such as free-fire zones and bombardment ofvillages—gross violations of international law cannot simply bedenied or explained away.Having worked for nearly five years doing research on post-traumaticstress disorder among Vietnam vets, I understand the intense traumaexperienced by many of them. However, having also spent yearsworking with U.S. government records of investigations intoatrocities committed against the Vietnamese by U.S. soldiers, it ispatently clear which country suffered more as a result of the war,and it isn't the U.S., which tragically lost just over 58,000soldiers. It's Vietnam. Perhaps as many as 2 million Vietnamesecivilians died during the war, and who can even guess at the numberwounded—physically and psychologically.On its website, the SBVT tries to debunk the Winter SoldierInvestigation by using the same rhetoric that apologists for theVietnam War have long employed: They paint the vets who attended theDetroit meeting as a parade of fake veterans offering falsetestimony. "None of the Winter Soldier 'witnesses' Kerry cited inhis Senate testimony less than three months later were willing tosign affidavits, and their gruesome stories lacked the names, dates,and places that would allow their claims to be tested," the SBVTclaims. "Few were willing to cooperate with military investigators."While numerous authors have repeatedly advanced such assertions,U.S. military documents tell a radically different story. Accordingto the formerly classified army records, 46 soldiers who testifiedat the WSI made allegations that, in the eyes of U.S. Armyinvestigators, "merited further inquiry." As of March 1972, thearmy's CID noted that of the 46 allegations, "only 43 complainantshave been identified" by investigators. "Only" 43 of 46? That meansat least 93 percent of the veterans surveyed were real, not fake.Moreover, according to official records, CID investigators attemptedto contact 41 people who testified at the Detroit session, whichoccurred between January 31 and February 2, 1971. Five couldn't belocated, according to records. Of the remaining 36, 31 submitted tointerviews—hardly the "few" asserted by SBVT. Moreover, as GeraldNicosia has noted in his mammoth tome Home to War, "A completetranscript of the Winter Soldier testimony was sent to the Pentagon,and the military never refuted a word of it."The assertion that the vets proved uncooperative and refused toprovide useful, identifiable information has also been a typicaldevice used to refute the WSI. In this case, the Winter Soldiersthemselves played directly into the hands of their detractors bytrying to have it both ways: They wanted to expose atrocities as aproduct of command policy while denying individual soldiers'responsibility in committing the crimes.At the WSI, veteran after veteran told of brutal military tactics,like burning villages and establishing free-fire zones. They offeredblunt, graphic, and often horrific accounts of murder, rape,torture, mutilation, and indiscriminate violence. But when it cameto perpetrators, the soldiers did not name names. From the outset,they made it clear that they would not allow their testimony to beused to, as they put it, scapegoat individual G.I.'s and low-rankingofficers when, they said, it was the war's managers—America'spolitical and military leadership—who were ultimately to blame forthe atrocities. Because of this stance, some veterans toldinvestigators after the WSI that they would not offer any furthertestimony or would only speak before Congress or a congressionalcommittee. This stance became a convenient way for the military tostop work on cases and ignore the charges the anti-war vets hadmade.But in fact—and despite later claims to the contrary by their pro-war critics—most of the Winter Soldier participants had publiclygiven accounts with their own names, unit identifications, dates ofservice, and sometimes rather detailed descriptions of locations—namely, all the information needed to proceed with investigations.In practically all the specific Winter Soldier cases, such probeswere never done.=============================Layer by layer, like peeling the proverbial onion, the truthis revealed to our incredulous eyes. Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html WARNING:While more than 120,000 people "visit" the Tijuana River Estuary and Border Field State Park area each year... About 100,000 of them are illegal aliens who have clambered over the massive border fences and are running north. Another few thousand are taxpayer funded Birkenstockers on "nature quests", their fellow travelers, and ......you.
Main Page - Sunday, 09/26/04
Message Board by American
Patriot Friends Network [APFN]