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Reclaiming the Truth About Vietnam


Reclaiming the Truth About Vietnam

Robert C. Koehler

“From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.”

OK, I get it. Soldiers suffer, soldiers die in the wars we wage, and the commander in chief has to, occasionally, toss clichés on their graves.


The single best book on the Viet Nam War is “Kill Anything That Moves” by Nick Turse. My Lai was not the exception but the rule.


One truth is that the only lesson learned from the Viet Nam occupation is that when wars and occupations end, so does the military industrial media infotainment complex’s (MIMIC) revenue stream. 21st century history so far confirms that MIMIC will continue to enjoy an ever expanding revenue stream.


Barack Obama. What can I say? I’m speechless and feel sick inside myself.


I sure do agree with this article but then the sequence of history is shared independently by all who have witnessed it.


I remember the 2008 Presidential election campaign. McCain ran as a rabid prowar candidate, Hilary in the primaries only a little less so, and Obama about the same as Hilary. Obama did say he wanred to put less emphasis on Iraq, but only so he could put more emphasis on Afghanistan. Obama hinted he might have been lying, but events proved otherwise.

Do not be fooled by slogans like hope and change. Obama and Trump both made those vague promises an important part of their campaigns.


How many My Lai’s has our military committed in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen in the last 8 months?


A stellar piece of writing! Thank you, Robert. We must not forget the awful truth of what our nation did. It must never be “normalized”. If this history is allowed to be glossed over with platitudes about our “ideals”, it will surely, inevitably, happen again and again. Those who try to glorify this war, or try to justify it, have lost a part of their soul. As Mr Koehler says:…“and those are our values, buried with the dead villagers in a mass grave.”

We must not ever assume that our country can never sink to this level of depravity again, because it can! Do not ever underestimate the power of propaganda, greed, hubris, and the delusions of twisted religion!


Joe, I have read the book, and agree with you. And it is not just history, but is likely to happen again.
The mindsets in the military structure, the dynamics of their structure, encourage and reward the actions so well documented by Nick Turse. In wartime, especially, it’s Groupthink on steroids.


Probably more than we’ll ever know.


Will this country ever have a President with the moral courage to stand before his countrymen and the world to deliver the brutal truth about Vietnam? Will we ever produce a leader willing to point to the Department of Defense for accountability to the astounding, mind numbing monetary waste, this agency produces - as a matter of standard operating procedure? When will we have a President willing to verbally eviscerate any false patriot serving in Congress, or arms manufacturer or Armed Service, when spouting justification for a larger budget or jumping into conflict?
The only President that had the guts to say “no” was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, when he signed National Security Administration Memo 263; to begin our withdraw at end of 1963 before Vietnam could escalate to an unmanageable conflagration. The French warned us against getting involved and Douglas MacArthur candidly told Kennedy a land war in Vietnam would be foolhardy. When they murdered him, they removed the last effective barrier to their ‘war on a whim’ aspirations; thus began the downfall of this Democratic Republic. The citizenry should mobilize to demand the Department of Defense revert to it’s original and more accurate moniker: WAR DEPARTMENT.


Yes, it definitely wasn’t an exception. Chomsky’s first political book that I know of, American Power and The New Mandarins, is a better book on Vietnam.


The subtitle should be “where,” not “were.” Just had to point it out.


I have heard that My Lai was a part of Operation Phoenix, and the slaughter was by design.


thank you, robert koehler for another excellent expose’! just a couple of days ago i was thinking about so many of our fellow citizens who without giving it a thought join the “thank you for your service” meme. perhaps if we could encourage them to imagine themselves standing before a casket which holds the remains of some nineteen or maybe twenty year old who lost his life protecting those unspecified “american values” and then ask them why this stranger–somebody else’s son or daughter–should die and how does that sacrifice make you safe and free. we have been told that these young men and women so exemplify that oh so rare human attribute we call altruistic and gladly lay down their lives for my “freedom” to shop or whatever. i don’t know. somehow people need to think about what’s really going on here!

so glad you mentioned veterans for peace, for those are worthy of our appreciation. thank you for your service! right you are, bob, obama’s praise of imperial war was not meant for those who voted for hope and change. those words were not meant to appeal to former soldiers who know the truth and understand the meaning of nam syndrome or ptsd; those words were obama’s offering to the venal sociopaths now cannibalizing our earth.


I had a good friend in 1970 - 1976. He served three tours of duty in Viet Nam, and said he was among the first Marines to land at Chu Lai in 1965. He told me that his orders were exactly what Nick Turse’s book is named, “Kill Anything That Moves.”

This article is SO on the money. A fascinating TED talk on “The Intricate Economics of Terror.”


Why am I not reading it in every story that the US’s continuation of the very practices that got us into that war were and are being used by the exact same generation’s wealthy kids who got deferments, 4F’s, or Nat’l Guard Duty state-side?

Back then you were in if you weren’t smart enough or rich enough to get out or if you drank the Kool-Aid (and there were plenty of those). The same basically holds true for today’s youth, except they have to willingly join, not forcibly serve (unless kool-aid or dad). This saves the consciences of the folks who coulda’, shoulda’, and woulda’ gone, and might have died, but for white privilege and wealth, who now make laws and give other chicken-shit bullies who’s entire lives epitomize the sorry bullies we’ve been taught to despise through our Hallmark channel and PSA’s on the subject, the power to pick on others. This doesn’t address their being hypocrites for seeking to be the commander in chief of the armies they weren’t willing to serve in unless the game was rigged in their favor either. Where are the interviewers with spines when you need 'em? Reading twitter looking for smart-alec pithy comments no doubt!


America Won the Vietnam War. Sylvester Stallone showed how they did it in his Rambo Films.
Pity they were lifted off the US Embassy Roof in Saigon in their Underwear.


And on (and on) goes Little Kenny Burns, the Chief Imperial Ass-Licker, with his new Vietnam whitewash funded by the Koch Brothers. Why won’t Amerika learn? Because there’s too much money to be made (for a very few) in not learning.


I disagree. Another lesson learned is never, never depend on a draft-based military, where everyone stands a good possibility of having to serve, because a non-trivial percentage of those people will actively resist, and the war will become unpopular. Our current military is “all-volunteer”, (hahaha!) so we can all tell each other that all the dead, dying, and permanently injured signed up for what they got, and “thank you for your service” pays our debt to them; ices the cake and completes the circle. Case closed. Nothing to see here. Move along…