Calling Vietnam Vets

Have you ever committed yourself or witnessed American soldiers commit the following in Vietnam

  1. raped someone

  2. cut off someone’s ears

  3. cut off someone’s head

  4. used electricity to torture someones genitals

  5. cut off someone’s arms and/or legs

6.Shot at civilians and animals for fun

  1. poisoned someone else’s food

The reason I ask is because it is reputed that at a 1971 gathering of 150 highly decorated American Vietnam vets, the participants readily admitted to such atrocities.

I want the Straight Dope on this.

I have no idea about that, but the Toledo Blade won a Pulitzer this year for their investigation of
Tiger Force. There’s links to audio files of soldiers apparently stating that they killed unarmed farmers and did other bad things. I haven’t listened to the clips, but one of the stories on that page includes the quote, ““We knew the farmers were not armed to begin with,” one said, “but we shot them anyway.””

I also seem to recall a story about John Kerry considereding whether to poison a five-ton cache of rice, but instead blowing it up, and I believe getting wounded in the process… but I can’t find anything about this on Google at the moment.

I’m 100% certain that such criminal behavior that you described is an aberration, and shouldn’t characterize the service of those hundreds of thousands of young men who fought in Vietnam. However, it would be foolish to think that just because hundreds of thousands of honorable troops served in Vietnam, that there were no atrocities.

I have to ask - what happens when you blow up rice? It is broken up into small grain like pieces perhaps.

Broader coverage than just the Tiger Force story.

Google “My Lai” or “William Calley” for the most notorious case that became public at the time.

“Reputed” Interesting word, like “alleged”. Hints at, but does not confirm the presence of an agenda.

Which might be what, Grienspace?

Are we to debate whether or not certain members of the SDMB, as yet unrevealed, are guilty of appalling crimes? Just for academic curiosity, perhaps? That would seem rather pointless, at least as a debate.

One might as plausibly quote rape statistics, and ask how many men on the Board would like to come forth and admit to rape. What conclusions one might draw from such, I can’t imagine.

Unless, of course, one intends to infer by absence, if one intends to imply that such reports are wildly exaggerated by unscrupulous and unpatriotic persons.

Generally, one opens a debate by announcing a theme, a point to be debated, like perhaps “Sen. Kerry is and was a lying sack, hoping to cast aspersions on our noble and heroic troops, as instructed by Commissar Fonda.”

So, to put plain, what are you up to with this, Grienspace?

A-ha. The “Winter Soldier Investigation” of 1971 included admissions of war crimes and other bad things being done by Vietnam vets. It was organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a group that John Kerry was active in for some time. Here is what seems to be a transcript, or at least the highlights.

A few quotes to get the flavor of it: “My name is Stephen Craig. I’m 23 years old… My testimony basically covers the maltreatment of prisoners, the suspects actually, and a convoy running down an old woman with no reason at all–no provocation or anything. And bounties were put on our own men in our own companies if they were inadequate in the field.”

“My name is Kenneth J. Campbell. I’m 21. I’m a Philadelphia resident. I was a Corporal in the Marine Corps… My testimony will consist of eyewitnessing and participating in the calling in of artillery on undefended villages, mutilation of bodies, killing of civilians, mistreatment of civilians, mistreatment of prisoners and indiscriminate use of artillery, harassment and interdiction fire.”

And so on, and so on.

These guys argue that Winter Soldier was full of lies, hurt the US, but when you get right down to it, those guys sound like the Swift Boat Vets: people who hate Kerry, and will do their most to discredit anything he’s involved with. Their refutation of what was discussed at Winter Soldier seems be focus around three rebuttals: a few of those troops who spoke out were apparently frauds (a legit point); that war crimes weren’t as widespread as some might think (as if that makes everything okay); or that some vets’ claims couldn’t be independently verified (doesn’t mean that the claims are false).