Nick Turse
If you’re in Washington, D.C. on January 7th, come on out and see me at Politics and Prose Bookstore at 7pm for a talk, Q&A, and book signing for the new paperback edition of Kill Anything that Moves.
Hope to see you there!
(via Nick Turse - Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam | Politics & Prose Bookstore)

If you’re in Washington, D.C. on January 7th, come on out and see me at Politics and Prose Bookstore at 7pm for a talk, Q&A, and book signing for the new paperback edition of Kill Anything that Moves.

Hope to see you there!

(via Nick Turse - Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam | Politics & Prose Bookstore)

Two Vietnamese women struggle to salvage items from their home in Quang Tin Province after it was set on fire by members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Squadron,1st Cavalry, and allied South Vietnamese militia.
© 1970 Richard Brummett

Two Vietnamese women struggle to salvage items from their home in Quang Tin Province after it was set on fire by members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Squadron,1st Cavalry, and allied South Vietnamese militia.

© 1970 Richard Brummett

Several years ago, while reporting from Vietnam, I headed into the equivalent of a live minefield — a future construction site littered with unexploded ordnance left from what the Vietnamese call the “American War.”  I went there to cover the work of a demining team from Project Renew: a 16-member Vietnamese unit, overseen by Australian explosive ordnance disposal supervisor.
That day, the team disposed of an M-79 round — a 40 mm high-explosive projectile fired from a breach-loading, single-shot U.S. grenade launcher — making the country a little safer.  Having seen kids permanently scarred by old ordnance and having interviewed grieving parents who lost children to old American bombs, it was gratifying to witness the folks from Project Renew in action.
I see that Project Renew, which calls itself  a “humanitarian mine action organization dedicated to cleaning up explosive remnants of war,” now has a Tumblr.  Please consider following them.  They do great work at great risk to shield future generations from the horrors of the past.

Several years ago, while reporting from Vietnam, I headed into the equivalent of a live minefield — a future construction site littered with unexploded ordnance left from what the Vietnamese call the “American War.”  I went there to cover the work of a demining team from Project Renew: a 16-member Vietnamese unit, overseen by Australian explosive ordnance disposal supervisor.

That day, the team disposed of an M-79 round — a 40 mm high-explosive projectile fired from a breach-loading, single-shot U.S. grenade launcher — making the country a little safer.  Having seen kids permanently scarred by old ordnance and having interviewed grieving parents who lost children to old American bombs, it was gratifying to witness the folks from Project Renew in action.

I see that Project Renew, which calls itself  a “humanitarian mine action organization dedicated to cleaning up explosive remnants of war,” now has a Tumblr.  Please consider following them.  They do great work at great risk to shield future generations from the horrors of the past.

With a few salvaged belongings in the background, a Vietnamese woman carries a baby and pulls her daughter away as their home erupts in flames in July 1963. The woman and children may have been left behind so as not to slow other villagers escaping into the jungle. (AP Photo/Horst Faas) #

With a few salvaged belongings in the background, a Vietnamese woman carries a baby and pulls her daughter away as their home erupts in flames in July 1963. The woman and children may have been left behind so as not to slow other villagers escaping into the jungle. (AP Photo/Horst Faas) #

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.
Antiwar: The emphasis on body counts, the search and destroy missions, free fire zones, heavy artillery – are all tactical frameworks that you argue set the conditions for these war crimes and atrocities to happen, whether there were explicit orders to kill civilians or not. How do you counter the establishment histories, especially those that are used to teach officers today, that acknowledge many of these things but claim a) conditions on the ground made it difficult to do things much differently and b) most of our forces were indeed adhering to the proper rules of engagement.
Turse: I think it’s hard to argue against the fact that millions of Vietnamese were killed, wounded and made refugees. And this was due to deliberate U.S policies, like the use of unrestrained bombing and artillery shelling over a wide swath of the countryside, and due to search and destroy missions, and the overwhelming emphasis on body counts. It’s also irrefutable that these policies were dictated at the highest levels of the military. What I try to point out is that the American way of war did not just produce a random string of massacres but a veritable system of suffering. That system, the machinery of suffering and what it meant to the Vietnamese people, is what Kill Anything that Moves is meant to explain. I think it would be hard to look at those numbers and read the litany of daily events and come to any other conclusion. This was certainly policy, not bad apples.
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.
Turse offers the public stunning new insights into past events based on reading through tens of thousands of pages of forgotten records and on interviewing scores of people — on both sides — who suffered through the Vietnam War.
Indeed, the most terrifying implication of Kill Anything That Moves is that skillful military spin combined with a disengaged public could lead to a state of perpetual war—even one as criminal as Vietnam—without a significant public outcry. With the Afghanistan war and the war on terror entering their 12th years, Turse demonstrates that only by coming to grips with the full horror of Vietnam can we understand why we are dangerously close to that perpetual state.
"I found myself tearing up, gagging at times, as I turned the pages." 
This generally isn’t what you like to read to begin a review of your book.  But I couldn’t be happier, more humbled, or more moved with the review of Kill Anything That Moves by wartime aid worker-turned-reporter Tom Fox in America magazine.  The piece is personal and poignant and concludes: “Kill Anything That Moves should become mandatory reading in all U.S. history classes and in classrooms where warfare is taught. But can we face the dark side of our military policies? Can we, as a nation, learn from the past? I am not optimistic. Reading this book and then passing it along could possibly pave the way. We owe this much to the ghosts of wars past and those to come.” 

"I found myself tearing up, gagging at times, as I turned the pages." 

This generally isn’t what you like to read to begin a review of your book.  But I couldn’t be happier, more humbled, or more moved with the review of Kill Anything That Moves by wartime aid worker-turned-reporter Tom Fox in America magazine.  The piece is personal and poignant and concludes: “Kill Anything That Moves should become mandatory reading in all U.S. history classes and in classrooms where warfare is taught. But can we face the dark side of our military policies? Can we, as a nation, learn from the past? I am not optimistic. Reading this book and then passing it along could possibly pave the way. We owe this much to the ghosts of wars past and those to come.” 

The visceral horror of what happened at My Lai is undeniable. On
the evening of March 15, 1968, members of the Americal Division’s
Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, were briefed by their
commanding officer, Captain Ernest Medina, on a planned operation
the next day in an area they knew as “Pinkville.” As unit member
Harry Stanley recalled, Medina “ordered us to ‘kill everything in the
village.’ ” Infantryman Salvatore LaMartina remembered Medina’s
words only slightly differently: they were to “kill everything that
breathed.” What stuck in artillery forward observer James Flynn’s
mind was a question one of the other soldiers asked: “Are we supposed to kill women and children?” And Medina’s reply: “Kill everything that moves.”