Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Kill Anything That Moves - The Real American War in Vietnam"
A new book by Nick Turse

Nick Turse, who devoted 12 years to tracking down the true story of Vietnam, unlocked secret troves of documents, interviewed officials and veterans — including many accused of war atrocities — and traveled throughout the Vietnamese countryside talking with eyewitnesses to create his new book.

This is required reading to understand the true horror of the 'Vietnam War', beyond the popular myths.  And it is relevant to understanding the ongoing horrors of war today.
Hardcover, 370 pages, Metropolitan Books, List Price: $18.40

Excerpt: "Kill Anything That Moves".
Read the introduction from Nick Turse’s book, "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam".

On January 21, 1971, a Vietnam veteran named Charles McDuff wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon to voice his disgust with the American war in Southeast Asia. McDuff had witnessed multiple cases of Vietnamese civilians being abused and killed by American soldiers and their allies, and he had found the U.S. military justice system to be woefully ineffective in punishing wrongdoers. “Maybe your advisors have not clued you in,” he told the president, “but the atrocities that were committed in My Lai are eclipsed by similar American actions throughout the country.” His three-page handwritten missive concluded with an impassioned plea to Nixon to end American participation in the war. . .

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The horrors and war crimes exposed in Nick Turse's new book were known at the time, for those who cared to know!

From Michael Uhl, Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist:

. . . Even in advance of seeing it I anticipate that, as a comprehensive study, Nick Turse’s book is an extraordinary contribution to the efforts of those of us who for decades have been fighting the battle over how our history will portray the Vietnam War. 

The campaign to challenge the forces aimed at re-writing or sanitizing the history of the Vietnam War has recently been injected with new urgency in the wake of President Obama’s launching last Memorial Day of the Pentagon’s Vietnam War Commemoration Project (See In The Mind Field essays by myself and John Grant.) 

This $5 million-a-year Pentagon project seeks to honor Vietnam veteran “warriors” in national and community-based ceremonies from now until 2025 while stripping away the “atrocity producing” context in which the war was executed. . . 

. . . Americans were hearing and reading on a regular basis in the mainstream media the widely published message from elements of the antiwar movement and from war veterans themselves that atrocities in Vietnam were in fact the norm.

And that they were the direct outcome of U.S. government policies and “orders from above," however explicitly or implicitly delivered. 

If that message failed to be heard, that’s another thing entirely.


Michael Uhl's articles and criticism have appeared in national magazines from Forbes to House Beautiful, and from GEO to The Nation. He served in Vietnam as a combat intelligence officer with the 11th Infantry. His book Vietnam Awakening is a memoir of his experiences at war and, subsequently, within the movement against the war. He is currently involved in the Vietnam War Commemoration CORRECTION Project, because, while the war is long past, the battle over its history goes on. This essay first appeared at In The Mind Field.

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