Friday, August 16, 2013

The Vietnam War Was Worse Than Most People Think

Tyler Cowen writes:
That is the central message of the new and excellent Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, by Nick Turse. 
For the entire course of the war, Turse considers an estimate of 2 million civilian Vietnamese dead and 5.3 million civilian wounded.  Of course by no means were all of those the result of U.S. military action but many were.  Here is a staggering estimate: 
…between 1965 and 1968, thirty-two tons of bombs per hour were dropped on the North. 
And yet, in fact, even more tonnage was dropped on the South, the ostensible ally! 


  1. the thing that struck me most was a poll that about 80% had left to go to refugee camps because of the US army. (17% left to escape fighting between the US/SVA and NVA/VC and 2% had left solely because of the VC)

  2. War is business. That's how it works. They fund both sides.

    1. The phrase, 'The Real American War in Vietnam' reminds me of my friend Buck, the Marine medic. He would tell me stories about how he would sing songs to those who were dying in their foxholes, to comfort them as they passed. Buck had a wonderfully comforting opera singer type voice. None-the-less, what a rotten way to die: In the mud, in a hole.

      I imagine it was worse on the other side (or the same side, as this blog post points out) War is a racket. That's how it works. They fund both sides.

      - IndividualAudienceMember

  3. As an ex war monger, the more I learn about war, the more I echo the above comments. It's all about the money, it's all bull shit.

  4. To: Tyler Cowen

    If you wish to learn about the Vietnam War I suggest you visit the "Vietnam Center and Archive", at Texas Tech University. The Vietnam Center and Archive collects and preserves the documentary records of the Vietnam War. The Center is the nation's largest and most comprehensive collection of information on the Vietnam War.

    Can you answer the questions and challenge the facts?

    1. Question: Did you participate in an atrocity, witness an atrocity, or did you hear rumor of an atrocity?

    2. Question: Can you PROVIDE DETAILS (location, date, persons involved, crime, etc.)?

    3. Fact: Turse starts "cooking the facts" on page 10 and continues "cooking the facts" throughout the entire book.


    - On page 10, Turse says " By 1968 the US Forces and their allies in the South were opposed by an estimated 50,000 North Vietnamese troops plus 60,000 PLAF soldiers, while the revolutionaries' paramilitary forces- part time local guerrillas- likely reached into the hundreds of thousands." (25)

    - CIA Document: "CIA now believed the figure to be somewhere between 450,000 and 600,000. Helms added that, of those totals, CIA accepted some 90,000 to 140,000 enemy irregulars, whereas MACV and CINCPAC still maintained that such forces could not and should not be quantified." (185) Helms, Memorandum for Walt W. Rostow, Special Assistant to the President, "Estimates of Enemy Strength in South Vietnam" 2 May 1968, (S/Compartmented). CIA files, Job No. 78T02095R, O/DDI, Box 1, Folder 2.

    - Also, infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh Trail exceeded 20,000 North Vietnamese per month.

    - Also, North Vietnam had a significant military presence in NEUTRAL Laos and Cambodia.