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Nick Turse leads our podcast, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Turse spent 10 years researching the book, talking with US veterans and Vietnamese survivors and reviewing thousands of files on atrocities against civilians including rape, indiscriminate killing, Agent Orange and other tactics.
Defense Secretary Robert MacNamara was obsessed with numbers, and this drove the effort to amass a body count of Vietnamese that was also used to create the illusion in the US that we were winning. With ugly attitudes toward all Vietnamese seared into US troops, the wanton killing tactics included free-fire zones and search-and-destroy missions.
We talk about the range of war crimes, and how the My Lai investigation was one of the few cases where troops and some leaders were held accountable. But overall, punishment was limited and light, and almost no commanders or decision makers were held accountable.
Turse also draws some parallels between Vietnam and our modern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At 55:26, Worthington returns to update the status of our illegal offshor penal colony in Cuba, and tells how the administration, the Congress and the courts have all lined up to continue to hold 166 prisoners there, even though 86 have been cleared for release. Obama said he would close the camp, and did release a number of prisoners in 2009; but he buckled to opposition, and Congress has placed sever restrictions on the president’s ability to release any inmates from the camp, while the courts have been blocking all habeus corpus actions.
This leaves the 86 entombed with no indication of if and when they might be released, with dozens more who may never be charged or released, just left in a legal limbo.
Here is Worthington’s website, where you can link to the Close Guantanamo website and sign the petition.