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Jonathan Schell reviews Nick Turse's new book in The Real American War in Vietnam. An excerpt:

For half a century, we have been arguing about the Vietnam War. Is it possible we did not know what we were talking about? After all that has been written (some 30,000 books and counting), it scarcely seems possible. But such, it turns out, has literally been the case. Now, in Kill Anything That Moves, Nick Turse has, for the first time, put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces were actually doing in Vietnam. The findings disclose an almost unspeakable truth. Meticulously piecing together newly released classified information, court-martial records and other Pentagon reports, firsthand interviews in Vietnam and in the United States as well as contemporaneous press accounts and important work by previous scholars, Turse shows that what were often presented as isolated atrocities—
episodes of devastation, murder, massacre, rape, torture—were in fact the norm, a continuous stream of atrocity that unfolded year after year throughout the country.
Nick Turse

It has been Turse’s great achievement to see that thanks to the special character of the war, its fundamental reality—an accurate overall picture of what was occurring on the ground—has never been assembled; that with imagination and years of dogged work this could be done; and that even a half-century after the beginning of the American phase of the war, it still should be done. Turse acknowledges that even now, not enough is known to present this picture in statistical terms. To be sure, he presents plenty of numbers: for instance, the mind-boggling estimates that overall some 2 million civilians were killed and some 
5 million wounded during the war, or that the United States flew 3.4 million aircraft sorties and expended 30 billion pounds of munitions, releasing the equivalent in explosive force of 640 Hiroshima bombs.

Yet it would not have been enough simply to accumulate anecdotal evidence of abuses. Therefore, while providing an abundance of firsthand accounts, Turse has supplemented this approach. Much like a fabric, any social reality—a town, a university, a revolution, a war—has a pattern and a texture. No fact is an island; each one is rich with implications that reach out, so to speak, toward the wider area of surrounding facts. When some of these facts are confirmed, they begin to reveal the pattern and texture in question. Turse repeatedly invites us to ask what sort of larger picture each story implies. For example, he writes:

If one man and his tiny team could claim more KIAs than an entire battalion without raising red flags among superiors; if a brigade commander could up the body count by picking off civilians from his helicopter with impunity; if a top general could institutionalize atrocities through the profligate use of heavy firepower in areas packed with civilians—then what could be expected down the line, especially among heavily armed young infantrymen operating in the field for weeks, angry, tired, and scared, often unable to locate the enemy and yet relentlessly pressed for kills?
Like a tightening net, the web of stories and reports, drawn from myriad sources, coalesces into a convincing, inescapable portrait of this war—a portrait that, as an American, you do not wish to see, that, having seen it, you want to forget, but that you should not forget and that the facts force you to see and remember and take into account when you ask yourself what the United States has done and been in the last half-century and what it is still doing and still is. [...]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010MA-Sen: Campaign Frenzy:

The first conversation you have with people in Massachusetts these days is about what phone calls they've gotten. "I was home today," my father told me on Friday, "and the bulk of the phone calls we got were about the election: Bill Clinton, the DNC, a Coakley volunteer, the Brown campaign, my union president..." Saturday, it was a robocall from Scott Brown's daughter complaining about the negative attacks against her father. (That is, against disclosure of his record and positions.) Today, my mother answered the phone and was asked if she believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. When she replied no, the National Organization for Marriage thanked her and signed off. Moments later, the phone rang. It was MassEquality calling to let people know NOM was making calls.

At Coakley campaign headquarters, and nearby at the Massachusetts Democratic Party, volunteer phonebankers often apologize for the volume of calls people are getting. But they keep calling, and the stacks of completed call sheets are added to as fast as they can be entered in the computers. The complacency that plagued us just a week ago has been thoroughly punctured and volunteers have flooded in.

No, Massachusetts is not accustomed to this kind of campaign.

Massachusetts is also not accustomed to a candidate as low-down and scum-sucking as Scott Brown, and once again the compressed schedule of what you might call the real campaign is an issue, forcing voters to absorb the rapid-fire succession of stories only now coming out about Brown, after he's spent months defining himself as that telegenic guy who never says the word "Republican."


Tweet of the Day:

"In 2011, marijuana possession arrests totaled 663,032 — more than arrests for all violent crimes combined" http://t.co/...
@pourmecoffee via Tweet Button




On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin with new polling on gun issues, and the many definitional problems on all sides of the policy debate. Wayne LaPierre's flip-flop on gun-free schools. A follow-up on an accidental shooting: no charges in the case of the 7-year-old shot sitting in dad's truck. Next, Doctor Who's questions about Harry Reid & filibuster reform. Finally, David Nir on the despicable record of Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05).



High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I saw these guys soon after watching this in 83' (9+ / 0-)

    in a small half empty bar in Seattle named Astor Park.

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:32:41 PM PST

  •  RIP "Dear Abby" (the original) (28+ / 0-)

    Dear Abby RIP

    (saw on Twitter and had to grab it...)

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:33:01 PM PST

  •  When the teacher is ready the student will appear (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, Jeff Y, Aunt Pat, JML9999

    a few thoughts on  teaching

    in this post

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:37:33 PM PST

  •  "Is It Possible We Didn't Know What We Were Talkng (33+ / 0-)

    about?"

    No, not those of us who were right.

    Thing is, the Vietnam veterans talked. Not all of them; maybe not most of them; but plenty damned enough of them talked. And many of us who hadn't been there took them at their word.

    Let's not forget, this was 20 years after WW2, and by that time many of that war's combat vets had begun talking.

    They even organized: Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

    Sure most Americans didn't know what they were arguing about because America has been a counterfactual society for generations.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:38:29 PM PST

    •  I was going to say ... (13+ / 0-)

      nothing radically new there. It was exactly what we were talking about back in the late ’60s. Exactly. I knew all of this. Many people I knew knew all of this. I never understood why the fuck we were over there killing civilians and ravaging villages — to what end?

      And the GOP is still demonizing people who knew it then and know it now. I cannot believe the violence in their thoughts. I know it's not nice, but I keep thinking of them as the Party of the Tiny Penises.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:19:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  all the military leadership issues in afghanistan (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, Anorish, gffish

        screwups in the villages, over and over and the koran stuff?  

        any relation?  

        Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

        by jlms qkw on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:21:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm reading the book now, and having read many (6+ / 0-)

          books on Iraq/Afghanistan, it's unbelievable how exactly stupid identical the tactics and (lack of) strategy would be repeated in the latter wars. Send out pointless daily patrols, inevitably draw guerilla fire of some kind, call in air strikes at enemies you can't see, blow up the village and kill a bunch of civilians. Repeat day after day after day to no discernible end for no good reason.

          Oh and of course, thrust these young men and their well-trained martial ethics into a foreign culture without even a rudimentary understanding of the language: no translators and extraordinary firepower.

          •  I don't think the drone strikes are an improvement (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jlms qkw, cailloux, fuzzyguy

            hit a target and then wait until people come out to help the victims and strike again.

            American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

            by glitterscale on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:45:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  GEN. WILLIAM WESTMORELAND: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fuzzyguy, glitterscale
              "Well, the Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does the Westerner. Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient. And as the philosophy of the Orient expresses it, life is--is not important."
              You get the same thing today about Muslims, related to martyrdom and jihad.  

              2,600,000 dead Vietnamese and 1,400,000 dead from Iraq. Total Extra Deaths....

              Sick shit.

              "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

              by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:53:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Read "Aftermath" ??? (0+ / 0-)

            Nir Rosen's book. Iraq.

            Thoughts?

            "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

            by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:28:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It was astonishing as to how right we were (5+ / 0-)

        The talk was that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was faked, that we were being lied to about winning the war, that the body counts were inflated, and on and on. We were right.

        The war ended not because 2 million Vietnamese were killed but because 60,000+ US were killed and the war went on and on, past its interest level as a TV news story. We as a nation are not capable of moral outrage at our own behavior and therefore we can never become a moral nation. We celebrate Columbus Day, we name Western parks after Custer and we never admit fault for our wars of choice or for genocide of Native Americans.

        •  McCoy AFB in Orlando was named (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy, JeffW

          for a guy who tried to roll a B-52.

          Single dumbest example of bad flying in history? A wing came off. Of course it came off.

          Have you looked at a B-52?

          Now it's Orlando international Airport, AITA call letters: MCO for McCoy.

          "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

          by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:35:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Jonathan Schell review of this book (0+ / 0-)

      is available online without paying a $9.50 fee to The Nation.

      KILL ANYTHING THAT MOVES review

      tom dispatch web site.

      A $100 contribution to the Tom Dispatch web site gets you a signed copy from Turse.

      I'm friends with several guys who participated in these slaughters. They're fucking messes inside 50 years later. None of them feel their pains are undeserved. That may be what lets them get by.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

      by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:26:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anybody been following the Manti Te'o drama? (7+ / 0-)

    Am I the only one who thinks it's strange that he was calling someone he had never met in person his girlfriend?

    "I'm so happy 'cause today I found my friends, they're in my head. And I'm not scared. Light my candles, in a daze 'cause I found god." - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:40:13 PM PST

    •  That did jump out at me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y

      Didn't he also claim that she was his "fiancee"? Yet he never met her in person? Weird indeed. The whole story is weird, and I don't know what to think, except that the media should have been less gullible.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:20:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He is either the gullible one (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp

        or he's a perpetrator.

        An ESPN poll as of a few minutes ago said this:
        14% think he was the victim of a hoax
        53% think he was part of a hoax
        33% wait for more information

        The media is not really gullible per se, although my roommate who is a avid sports fan (he's 71 so he has the time) is annoyed because this really doesn't have anything to do with sport. Perhaps there should be ESPNPhotoplay for the gossip mongers.

        The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

        by walkshills on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:58:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've known real people like that, though. (0+ / 0-)

        Even ones who wound up happily married for years after having met and dated entirely online before getting engaged.  Heck, half the women I ended up dating in RL, I had months or years long relationships online with first.  And most of the time, I never even moved on to talking with them on the phone either - straight from online to rl dating if we indeed ever met.  And I've sent all sorts of gifts and money to people I've never met rl over the years as well. and once even driven 4 hours in the middle of the night because one of those people was threatening suicide.  (Turns out she wasn't actually suicidal, and I slept on her couch for a few hours, then drove home again.)

    •  what i love most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y

      is how ND backed up his story right away.  

      Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

      by jlms qkw on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:22:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ND had been investigating since Dec. 26 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jlms qkw

        when he revealed the situation. Hired investigators.

        This does play them in a tough spot, to support their Heisman candidate or back away altogether and hope the collateral damage doesn't harm them much.

        Gullible and attention-seeking Mormon Samoan LB at Catholic school is a pretty odd mix.

        (Gullible is situational conclusion, attention-seeking is from team mates in a recent ESPN report.)

        The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

        by walkshills on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:03:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Happy Birthday Mrs. Obama (23+ / 0-)

    The Meaning of Michelle

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:42:56 PM PST

  •  So I was on Huffington Post live (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, JML9999, Jeff Y, jwinIL14

    as I explain in this post

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:44:33 PM PST

  •  What would happen? (13+ / 0-)

    When lobbyists walk into a politician's office, what do they bring? Money in a sack? Not likely. Certainly, they bring their case. They bring the promise of funds for elections, and they may bring the subtle threat of throwing their support to a potential challenger.
    This is what the NRA does. It's what any lobby does.
    Today, the polls are unequivocal, from Dems to Repubs to gun owners. People are ready for gun regulation as they have, probably, never been before. The numbers are astounding. And with those numbers, what would happen if Republicans, in significant numbers, at least, threw their support behind that regulation the nation craves?
    The Republicans claim they wish to regain standing in national politcs; to disassociate themselves from Crazy. Was there ever a greater god given moment than now, especially since The NRA spent less money this election than any other major right-wing group?
    What would happen? Could it be that, of all groups, the Republican Party might be the entity that, at last, destroys the NRA's power? After all, absolutely no one likes being owned by another.  

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:45:14 PM PST

  •  visiting with a pygmy owl at 5 feet (19+ / 0-)

    Yesterday, in the pear tree after dusk and before true darkness, something I'd never before experienced and what is one of the singular bird encounters I've ever had.   We stared at one another for quite a while before it flew-flittered up the branches and into the darkness.  

  •  The Gov't SHOULD come for your guns! (7+ / 0-)

    Nobody in this country needs a gun -- not even the police. In fact, the only people in our country who should have guns are the @#$%! MILITARY. Period.

    Does that SCARE you?! If so, then you are a wingnut. Yes, that is correct -- if you honestly get frightened by the thought that you and yours should never be able to buy a firearm, unless you work for Uncle Sam in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, or the Marines, then you are a certifialbe loon.

    I almost can't even believe that I'm printing this -- but I do truly believe this.

    If you need a gun to hunt with, look around you. There are lots of these things around -- called "grocery stores" and "farms" where you can buy, and raise, your food.

    If you need a gun to kill someone who is breaking into your house because he has a gun, well -- if there weren't any guns on the streets, then the liklihood that someone would BREAK INTO YOUR HOUSE WITH A GUN would be about as likely as -- well -- getting hit by lighning in Times Square. Or London. Or Stockhom.

    If you need a gun to practice -- well -- target practice, take up something that is truly challenging -- like ARCHERY. Even with a compound bow, you go ahead and try to hit that mark from 1,000 yards away. If you can do that, then you are a god, and you don't need a @#$%! gun anyway.

    So -- let's review:

    Our military can decimate every stinkin' bloody-assed home on the CONTINENT, let alone AMERICA. If a tyrant were to suddenly take over, and decide to take us all out, we'd be dead. Our little pea-shooters (the AR-15s and Glocks that so many of us pore over) wouldn't stand a freakin' chance against the firepower that our Army ALONE wields.

    Think about that for one second. And if you are a "liberal" or a "Democrat" and you still think that guns are a good thing -- then do us all a favor, revoke your own membership in our caucus, and please -- move to some country where that kind of idiocy is tolerated.

    Like Somalia.

    •  The gun nuts are so drunk on NRA spin (7+ / 0-)

      that you can't even have a rational conversation with them.

      I've had more then one tell me that there is no such thing as an assault weapon. They claim the term 'assault weapon' was made up by liberals who want people to be afraid of guns.

      "I'm so happy 'cause today I found my friends, they're in my head. Light my candles, in a daze 'cause I found god." - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:57:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So why doesn't Obama just do it? He has the NDAA, (0+ / 0-)

      a whole bunch of executive orders, and the Korematsu decision.  Not to mention a bunch of MOABs for any neighborhood that tries to resist.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:32:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I tend to feel like that more about pistols (0+ / 0-)

      People do hunt, and I've got no real 'beef' with regular old hunting rifles.  And I understand how people who are frightened about home invasions might want to keep a pistol at home.  

      But I really don't like people simply carrying them around in public, and would like to eventually see the US move to a system where you can only carry firearms inside city limits outside of your home if they're in bulky, brightly coloured gun safes with RFID tags that take 15 minutes or so to open even after you decide to get into them, with maybe a radio signal being broadcast whenever such a case was opened, such that police would be notified if someone started to open a case in an unapproved location, giving them 15 minutes to use the locator tag to track down the case.

      That way you could still own your weapon, still move it between properties you own, and still go hunting out in the country, or use target ranges.

  •  I'm familiar with Turse's past work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Pluto, KJG52

    and that of Ron Ridenhour.  It comes to mind whenever I hear about civilian casualties in the current wars and non-wars known as drone strikes.

    By the way, has anyone determined why video footage of the Ridenhour Prize award ceremony is "blocked in your country on copyright grounds"?

    Did someone pass SOPA undetected?

  •  Conservative as Grifter Marco Rubio (8+ / 0-)

    http://thinkprogress.org/...

    Marco Rubio’s PAC Spends Five Times More On Overhead Than Political Contributions

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’s leadership PAC, the Reclaim America PAC, boldly lists its motto as “electing conservatives to the United States Senate.” But despite raising more than $1.6 million in the 2012 cycle, less than five percent of that money went to other political candidates.

    Rubio, elected to the Senate in 2010, registered his leadership PAC in August 2011. In a video announcing the committee, Rubio told supporters the it aimed to “help and assist like-minded candidates who want to come here and serve in the House, in the Senate, or maybe even in the White House to make a difference for America’s future.”

    While his official Senate website biography boasts that he is “proud to represent Florida in the U.S. Senate where I’m working to fulfill my promise to restore fiscal discipline,” Rubio’s leadership PAC spending hardly seems disciplined. Out of $1,688,086 in receipts, Reclaim America reported spending over $370,000 on political consultants, more than $256,000 on fundraising expenses, and upwards of $450,000 on administrative overhead, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

    That did not leave much for the PAC’s alleged purpose of electing more conservative Republicans: less than $78,000. This total just under $2,400 in independent expenditures, $15,000 sent to his party’s Senate campaign committee, money earmarked raised specifically for and transferred directly to other campaigns, and just five $2,500 donations to Senate candidates. While Senate Republicans had been expected to make gains in the 2012 elections, they ultimately lost two seats.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:54:10 PM PST

  •  And then we discovered DRONES! (6+ / 0-)

    "Truth and love will overcome lies and hatred.” Vaclav Havel

    by dharmasyd on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:54:14 PM PST

  •  I caught that article on Salon (6+ / 0-)

    a few hours ago.

    Very good review on a book I must now read, on a tragic chapter in our country's history.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:56:49 PM PST

  •  Two things: (6+ / 0-)

    1) I'm concerned about the, shall we say, morally ambiguous interview that Jon Stewart gave Jessica Chastain. Was he perhaps signalling a softening on the evil of torture? (Andrew Sullivan alerted me to this; it may have been another Sullivan minor meltdown, however.)
    2) I'm glad that Obama's re-election team is reconstituting itself now as an "elect Obama's agenda" team. Good news.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:57:09 PM PST

    •  I was kinda (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb

      creeped out by the Stewart/Chastain interview.  He gave a pass to the "we depict/you decide" meme she was pushing. And her almost hysterical laughter was a bit too much.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:24:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love the smell of 'Open thread for night owls' (7+ / 0-)

    in the pre-morning.

    Father Time remains undefeated.

    by jwinIL14 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:57:21 PM PST

  •  Jon Stewart: "Then they came for our guns (12+ / 0-)

    "and I didn't say anything because --

    "they didn't."

  •  Volunteering for garbage detail (10+ / 0-)

    I have a friend, a combat Marine from Vietnam that told me a story that rings more than true (because I have a brother that served and has similar stories).

    Anyway my friend noticed that some people in his unit volunteered day after day to accompany the garbage truck out to the dump. Not good duty for anyone anywhere in any climate but surely pretty damn nasty in hot and humid Vietnam. So he checked it out. Turns out that the guys on garbage detail routinely played target practice on garbage pickers going through GI garbage for food or sellable items.

    In the U.S. plenty of people due this for sport and practice. Except they go out at night to garbage dumps and spotlight and shoot rats. In Vietnam the rats wore pajamas and were just looking for scraps.

    My Lai was just what happened when a few people not only got a conscience but had some cameras, absent both there were My Lai's every damn day. Retail at the dump and wholesale out in the jungle.

    In my experience most combat vets who actually were out there don't talk about it much, it is still too raw unless you really get within their defenses. Whereas the people who brag about 'smoking the slopes' mostly weren't there or are pure psychopaths.

    Along with the sociopaths on garbage detail. Who I hope don't brag about any of it and have bad, bad nightmares.

    socialsecuritydefender.blogspot.com - SocSec.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

    by Bruce Webb on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:59:36 PM PST

  •  My dear MB, (8+ / 0-)

    I know I should be grateful to have you share this review with me, I know it is a book I need to read, but can I really bear this knowledge?  And does Jonathon Schell have to write so eloquently about this book (texture and fabric of the social reality that is the Vietnam War???).  

    That is almost too achingly beautiful a phrase to be overlaid on such a gut-wrenching experience as is the US consciousness and understanding of what that War actually was.

    Even though I was only a child during the Vietnam War it is an experience that has shaped my entire outlook, and it was, in so many ways, the shape of my childhood itself.

    I guess I know what I'll be purchasing on my ipad next, curse you!

    ;-p  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:04:40 PM PST

    •  a bright and shining lie (5+ / 0-)

      nearly killed me.

      the first thing i learned, after my parents bought their first color TV, was that the jungle was green and the body bags were orange.  

      Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

      by jlms qkw on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:25:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Color was effed up on that tv (0+ / 0-)

        Body bags were green, I know that for a fact, I stuffed people and body parts into them/
        never saw an orange body bag. Don't remeember seeing anything orange in the field, it goes against the law of camo

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:44:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I DON'T want to read the book (8+ / 0-)

      because I don't want to live it again. I was NOT a child. I was in college. My sister was in the SDS and hung with Weathermen. Many people I knew were in the anti-war movement. I felt angry and helpless and alienated by purity progressives who said I was not right-thinking enough. So I gave up political activism until Florida 2000.

      I remember driving through Trumbull County on that winter day in early 1973 when Nixon announced the "end" of the war, and there were church bells ringing. I thought it was a trick. I didn't trust Tricky Dicky.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:29:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I still don't (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        walkshills, gffish, 88kathy

        doesn't matter if he's dead. May all the people responsible for the war crime called the Vietnam War rot in hell.

        •  As the saying goes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gffish, willyr

          "Nixon lies in his grave."

        •  Glad the Vietnamese don't think like that (0+ / 0-)

          They seem to have moved beyond it, now they want americans to visit there, like I did.

          the people I know who hate America and Americans  most  for the Vietnam War are all Americans.
          Its been over for 40 years---maybe we ought to follow the Vietnamese exampe and forgive and forget

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:48:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree. Forgive and forget is best. And this book (0+ / 0-)

            eems about as objective from a progressive view as a Chuck Norris movie would be from the right. I rather doubt it's objective scholarship. For every Calley there were Chuck Nagel's and John Kerry's.

            "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

            by TofG on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:16:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  People still making money grinding axes (0+ / 0-)

              And its hard to dispute even if you were there because what any grunt gets is the worms eye view.
              I took on America's worst enmies of the time on what was indisputably the toughest battlefields of the time, while still a boy of 18. And I did better than average.Tthats how I like to remember it----every word is true!-- and I wouldn't look to here about it for my self esteem, I can just read the citations.

              sorry we didn't win. Actually Im sorry we ever fought it. But there was more to it than what you see here, a LOT more.

              Its gotta be true what I said, America, just look at these comments---the people still holding the biggest grudges against america for the Vietnam War are by and large Americans.

              .

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:44:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  If this happens, it won't matter what we on (10+ / 0-)

    the left think about the issues and policies etc anymore because there will be a Republican in the White House permanently.

    Republicans Are Planning to Rig Presidential Elections Starting in 2016

    Why this story isn’t getting more attention, I don’t know. But Republicans are openly seeking to rig the 2016 elections. RNC Chair Reince Priebus is encouraging Republicans who control the government in Democratic-leaning states–PA, OH, WI, MI especially–to overhaul their electoral systems and end winner-take-all distribution of electoral votes. Of course Republicans completely oppose doing this nationally. It is a naked and cynical attempt to rig the election. Rather than broaden their message to appeal to young and non-white voters, Republicans are looking to commit the greatest suppression of votes since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed.

    There are essentially two proposals to do this. The first would distribute votes proportionally. If the Democratic candidate won 53% of the vote in Pennsylvania, 53% of the electoral votes go to the Democratic candidate. The second is to distribute them by congressional district, with the 2 at-large votes going to the popular vote winner. With the Republicans having gerrymandered these states to the extreme, it means that the same Democratic candidate winning 53% of the vote might only get 45% of the electoral votes.

    On Monday, seven Pennsylvania Republican state representatives introduced a bill to make this vote-rigging scheme a reality in their state. Under their bill, the winner of Pennsylvania as a whole will receive only 2 of the state’s 20 electoral votes, while “[e]ach of the remaining presidential electors shall be elected in the presidential elector’s congressional district.”

    http://www.classwarfareexists.com/...

    "I'm so happy 'cause today I found my friends, they're in my head. Light my candles, in a daze 'cause I found god." - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:06:40 PM PST

  •  Am watching Lance Armstrong now on Oprah. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, jlms qkw

    By now, even though I'm "accustomed" to his lying, I'm still astonished by this man living this enormous lie.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:09:17 PM PST

    •  Think he'll see jail? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb

      I think he's dancing aound the edge of it. he has lied under oath.
      And I think that there'll be some civil suits coming out, evidenly the most egrigious thing was the pressuring other people on their testimony--suborning perjury

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:50:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no idea. I'll wait and see. As one person (0+ / 0-)

        said, his doping was the least of his problems. His life is in shambles.

        "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

        by Wildthumb on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:57:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A bitter editorial in the Kabul Press (10+ / 0-)
    Americans Die Silently in Afghanistan

    Last month 13 anonymous Americans were killed in Afghanistan and an unknown number were maimed, wounded, injured or were evacuated due to disease or mental illness. Apparently the U.S. military also suffers about one suicide per day. Accurate data on all of this is almost impossible to find. Such news is neither fun nor happy so it officially scorned. The stories of these Americans wind up in the news media and Congressional trash bins, never to see the light of day.

    Such official silence is dishonorable and it has consequences. There are forces in the universe that value honor and penalize the unscrupulous. Events are already moving forward in retribution. Taliban troop strength remains about 35,000; it is returning to its former strongholds in Marjah and Kandahar; it has expanded its influence in the south, west and north, and it is about to open its first “embassy” in Qatar.

    The war is truly winding down, with the West leaving behind the same legacy as the Soviets before them.

    The truth is that there will be no fanfare, no victory parades before grateful Afghans, no war memorials and no sacred graveyards. Like Iraq, the primary U.S. goal in Afghanistan is to successfully retreat in the night with a minimum of casualties. The Obama Administration plans to leave behind a weak puppet government, exactly like the similarly exhausted Soviet Government did when it was forced to retreat. Contrary to President Obama’s proclamation last week, that is not historic. History records that such puppet governments have a limited life-span.

    History also records that countries which wage war to the point of exhaustion, begin to decline and tend to collapse.

    ...60,000+ troops remain in Afghanistan, forgotten and alone; knowing that if they are killed or maimed, they will be treated as an embarrassment. If they are killed, their coffins will be quickly shuttled back to their families for a quiet burial. If they are maimed, they will be promptly discharged, shunted off to a Veterans Administration hospital and forgotten.

    http://kabulpress.org/...

    Meanwhile, our new wars in Africa are off to the races. The US is sending advance troops to 35 African nations.
    The emphasis today is on starting up a new war in Mali with the West intervening in a civil war being waged by Tuareg rebels in what is called the Azawad region of Mali. U.S. special operations units have been in Mali since last year in a so-far unsuccessful effort to combat the Tuareg. Most Americans do not know that they are now at war with the Tuareg peoples and most could not even find the Azawad on a map, but Americans may begin dying there shortly.
    Oh, and I love Nick Turse. Great Night Owl feature story! Best war investigative journalist ever.

    He's the guy who broke the story on the new US wars in Africa.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:09:30 PM PST

  •  Vietnam: Writer Malcolm Gladwell recently said (9+ / 0-)

    said that BP (British Petroleum) set a course toward the Deepwater Horizon Disaster when they started to believe their own "Beyond Petroleum" bushllit. Once they convinced themselves that they were a "green energy" company, then they could do no wrong in their drilling operations. Oversight grew lax... and the rest is history.

    In the same way, America has never come to grips with how brutal our conduct of colonial war in Asia really was. As long as we continue to regard ourselves as "the good guys", we'll continue to blunder into one atrocity after another.

    I welcome Nick Turse's new book, not gladly... but I welcome it.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:21:35 PM PST

  •  Somebody talk me down man! I sooo want FLOTUS's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, 88kathy

    new haircut! I do not follow celebrities and I have spent the last 2+ years growing out my straight ass/thin ((the hair, not me) white woman/irish) mousy brown/going grey hair to the Candy Crowley all one length thing. Then Michelle comes out with THAT photo today and I'm like a 15yr old. I so want that look! I probably can't even afford the product or want to spend the time to get it fluffed up just right. But wow! I love the new 'do on FLOTUS.  Ok, this is the end of me sounding like a starstruck 15 yr old. Until Monday when I ohhhh and ahhh at how wonderful she looks at the inauguration and the balls. And oh, yeah, that guy she's married to will probably look pretty good too. I won't mention the kids - coz they will make me feel much older looking at them in 2013 -vs- 2009. Malia just got taller, Sasha - oh my - she was just a baby then. Now she's a young woman. Think I'll pack a box of kleenex to the Central Valley Kossack watch party on Monday.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:29:07 PM PST

  •  Vietnam conflict. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, walkshills

    The US issued no official declaration of war against Vietnam (only congress can declare war).
    There was no official declaration of ‘war on terror’ either.
    ‘Conflict on terror’, anyone?
    Or maybe the ‘terror conflict’?

  •  Just thinking about the Vietnam War (8+ / 0-)

    brings up memories of the young men I knew that had to go, and of the older men I know that have been scarred by it.  And then there are the dead.

    Every time I hear someone give accolades to LBJ, what I think of is his escalation of the Vietnam War.  "At the height of American involvement in 1968, for example, there were 543,000 American military personnel in Vietnam."

    Besides the immediate horrors of that war, there was also  the use of weapons of mass destruction by the US that gets overlooked.  Here's a little from wiki:

    About 12 million gallons (45,000,000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement.
    ...

    In 1961 and 1962, the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. Between 1961 and 1967, the U.S. Air Force sprayed 20 million U.S. gallons (75,700,000 L) of concentrated herbicides over 6 million acres (24,000 km2) of crops and trees, affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. In 1965, 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.

    As of 2006, the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4,000,000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam, although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning. In some areas of southern Vietnam dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard.

    The U.S. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, Diabetes mellitus type 2, B-cell lymphomas, soft-tissue sarcoma, chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, peripheral neuropathy, and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war, the defoliants were not considered weapons, since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  Well then, by those standards a weaponized version (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indie17

      of Fatal Insomnia (a prion disease) wouldn't count as a weapon because it takes over a year to die from it despite how nasty it is.  Basically, you can't sleep again, ever.  Even doses of tranquilizers that would kill a horse won't do it.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:37:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even though a VA report says same death rate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indie17

      among veterans who were Viet Nam "in country" and those who weren't, my friends and buds who were there are dying sooner than the rest of us serving elsewhere and in worse health.

      I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. The TSA would put Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad on the no-fly list.

      by OHdog on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:42:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Marine friend told me one night in the bar (5+ / 0-)

    that he used to go out at night with other Marines and collect ears. This, he said, was a regular thing. They'd gamble with the ears.

    I don't believe he was lying. He also wasn't bragging. Or crying. He was just talking about something inside him. He may have cried later, I don't know.

  •  I did time on a fire base in the field, (6+ / 0-)

    blasting huge howitzer projectiles 24/7 several miles into Vietnam's countryside. It's hard to believe that some shells didn't land on innocent people, especially when the aiming devices were so crude -- line up the red and green light with a pole stuck in the mud. And we were just one tiny base of many during one brief year of many.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:08:59 PM PST

  •  A couple of videos for any horseracing fans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto

    This first vid is of Zenyatta beating the best boys from around the world in 2009. She is the best mare to ever race in my book.

    This next vid is her 4 year old sister, Eblouissante, making only her second start today. She won her first.

    I'd love to see her follow in her sisters footsteps.

  •  It didn't even have to move (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakedog42, indie17

    to be killed.  File under "Agent Orange".

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:40:51 PM PST

  •  Just bought Kill Anything That Moves (5+ / 0-)

    About 1/4 through. Yet another meticulous account of disastrous American hubris. Worth reading if you're looking for further confirmation; be warned though that the sheer volume of humanitarian atrocity is exhausting. You know that movie Platoon? That could have been any platoon, and was every platoon throughout the whole damn war.

    •  Could have been, but wasn't. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exlrrp

      Not by a long shot.

      It is undeniable that the war was morally wrong, very likely illegal, one of the greatest errors in our history, and far too often resulted in atrocities and war crimes.

      But the incidents were far from universal, and Nick will be the first one to tell you that whether such atrocities occurred in a unit came down to the leadership in their particular chain of command.

      I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

      by Wayward Wind on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:14:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blast from the past was a reminder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish

    of times I would rather forget. For weeks, my phone rang off the hook, people showed up on my door step and each day brought a slew of emails from...the GOP..

    I repeatedly told them I did NOT want to be bothered in any way, shape or form. They were relentless. Finally, after the 50th email reminding if I didn't vote for Romney, my soul would never be saved, blah, blah, blah...I sent back a response..

    I told them I worshiped my own diety and sang his hymns. I told them I would check out their faith if they agreed to check out mine.
    I linked to two "hymns", Hells Bells and Highway to Hell by AC/DC.
    And that took care of that!

    I do benefits for all religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. Bob Hope

    by bluebuckeyewmn on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:32:54 PM PST

  •  Republican retreat at Southern plantation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, JeffW

    [-8.50,-8.31] Look out honey, 'cause i'm using technology. Ain't got time to make no apology.

    by patop on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:16:48 AM PST

  •  It will probably take years to find out what we've (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17

    done to Iraq.
    The atrocities we've heard about there are just the beginning. The torture at Abu Ghraib has barely been accounted for (so much was held back). The numbers of civilians killed for fun and profit by the US may never be known. And the financial devastation, as well as what the corporations have done there will take even longer.
    War is hell. War makes humans do things they wouldn't even dream of when not in war. War also makes men lust for money  - raping the local land for riches, artifacts, resources.
    As Smedley Butler once said, "All war is a racket."

    Personally, I'm tired of hearing how American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (as in Vietnam) are fighting for me, my freedom or the good ol' US of A. They're not, and seldom ever have (WWII maybe). They fight for corporations, for the war machine, and for the men who run things. WE never profit. We only produce more dead soldiers, or maimed soldiers, and more widows and orphans (on both sides of the conflict). Until Americans get it - civilians and soldiers; until we stop being brainwashed into going to these conflicts for Big Oil's, or Dick Cheney's, or whoever's wet dreams, we will continue to suffer. And remember, THEY never suffer, only we do.

    Wake up America.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:44:41 AM PST

  •  Obama overreaches? per Rand Paul anyone know? (0+ / 0-)

    so... someone tells me that Rand Paul objection to one of the Executive Orders is that the ACA language states that gun questions shall not be asked... It was put in there to counter the AMA, who started asking questions last year.
    One of the Executive Orders reverses present law and that is a no-no...

    I don't have the knowledge to counter this opinion. Does anyone know?

  •  In 2012, 0 HSBC Bankers Were Arrested for Aiding (0+ / 0-)

    Dictators, terrorists and drug cartels in their operations.

    Rule of law, anyone?

  •  Crabs feel pain. (0+ / 0-)

    I've always been squeamish about eating lobsters and crabs and the like after I found out how they were typically just boiled to death.  (Ok, more than squeamish, I quit eating them entirely.)  The argument that they didn't 'feel pain' because they lacked a central nervous system always reminded me of how vivisectionists used to chop living dogs and cats apart while they were strapped down.

    So it's depressing to find out it seems I might have been right to have more cooked alive for me.  Courtesy of NPR's coverage of the story, crabs and related critters apparently exhibit behaviour consistent with actual pain, rather than just nociception (reflex action).

  •  Added to Prosecuting Officials for Crimes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, Meteor Blades

    Meteor Blades, I've added this article to the Prosecuting Officials for Crimes framing page on Dkosopedia because I think it shows part of a pervasive pattern of official abuse that has now moved to our secret wars. The American people need to be aware of this so that they can step in and clean up this mess.

    I do not believe the bulk of American citizens would, in any way, approve of going out and abusing people on the scale that the U.S. has done over the years. We've turned a blind eye to this for decades, and we've been able to do that as a people because we have not had to look at the truth.

    The deficit games in Washington and the spectacles of the elections allow us to remain very superficial in how we run our country and our empire. But all this abuse is bubbling up as the Internet spreads knowledge about things that the central media failed to find, and didn't even want to deal with, and so kept hidden.

    That makes this a historic opportunity to really make a very fundamental change in how we approach the world. That approach could just be labeled simply "respect". This is one of the nicer things about Obama's foreign policy. I think it has started to bring in the concept of respecting other nations and peoples. That's going to have to overcome a lot of resistance, some of it the institutional resistance of the foreign policy establishment and the secret establishment, which like to be able to indulge their enjoyment of this abuse. To win on this issue, Obama needs to be more explicit and surface this issue. The American people are deeply conscious of right and wrong, and have (I think) an automatic repugnance to this kind of behavior. He needs to get their moral rectitude on his side. And he should link it directly to the abuse of guns, which is right now a central issue.

    We can radically reduce this kind of abuse. We could never stamp it all out, certainly not as long as we're sending out youngsters with machine guns and bombers. But it does not have to be official policy, and it could be official policy (backed up by courts marshal and thoroughgoing management) that we don't torture and we don't kill without just cause.

    Who is going to make that statement on behalf of the American people? Who is going to enforce it?

    This effort has to start at the top. And that means it has to start with the American people, where consensus still means something. I appeal to the American people to do the required soul-searching and step up that one moe essential level of justice.

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