Nick Turse: Exhuming Vietnam -- An interview with the author of 'Kill Anything That Moves' by Kelley B. Vlahos
Antiwar: The conventional wisdom is that war crimes and atrocities committed by U.S forces in Vietnam were isolated events perpetuated by a "few bad apples" – rogue units and platoons. How does your research – this book – shatter that perception?
Turse: The War Crimes Working Group offers irrefutable proof of atrocities committed by every major Army unit that deployed, every division and separate brigade that went to Vietnam. And just looking at the numbers, and then going to Vietnam and talking to people, I realized how pervasive the scale of that carnage was. This is what I try to convey in Kill Anything that Moves.
We’re talking about, according to the best estimates we have — two million Vietnamese civilian dead. Add to that five million wounded, and the best numbers that U.S. government came up with was about eleven million Vietnamese made refugees. On top of that, studies show that about four million Vietnamese were exposed to defoliants like Agent Orange.
Obviously, it’s beyond what a couple of rogue units, even a couple of rogue divisions could do. The level of carnage was almost unimaginable. I hope that Kill Anything that Moves helps to put the rest the idea of bad apples and rogue units.
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