Vietnam: War crimes as policy

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Tue May 1 12:42:40 PDT 2001

The Kerrey story was almost certainly repeated many times in Vietnam, as "...all those who have been trying for decades to stop this war" know. (Bruce Franklin's dedication of _M.I.A._) But a focus on the war crimes on the ground leads to a blurred focus, and in every incident revealed there will be a fog of (alleged) extenuating circumstances. The focus might more profitably (in the long run) be on the air war. The B-51 has one purpose and one purpose alone: terroist slaughter of civilian populations. A lot (perhaps even in part correctly) can be said in extenuation for what men in the midst of ground combat may do -- nothing can be said in extenuation for the deliberate slaughter of civilians at a distance, a slaughter carried out for the most part by commissioned officers (officers & gentlemen by act of congress as they used to say). By all the rules of international law the North Vietnamese would have been quite justified in trying and executing the crew of every B-51 they shot down.


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