President Donald Trump’s air trip to Vietnam cost taxpayers $5,695,000 just for the president’s flying Taj Mahal. Plus millions more for his retainers, the presidential limo, hotel rooms, meals, security details and only Ho Chi Minh knows what else. For what? A nice photo op and a cheery dinner for the two leaders in Hanoi.
On March 17th, 1968, The New York Times ran a brief front page lede headed, “G.I.s’ in Pincer Movement Kill 128 in Daylong Battle;” the action took place the previous day roughly eight miles from Quang Ngai City, a provincial capital in the northern coastal quadrant of South Vietnam.
Though Turse notes that he reports only a “fraction” of documented atrocities committed by US forces in Vietnam, reading through the two central atrocity chapters (4 and 5) still becomes a disorienting, brutal, and then numbing slog. For the sake of reference and sanity, there could have been more organization to delineate specific categories of crimes in these sections. However, an argument in favor of Turse’s choice might be that to become familiar with this material requires an element of the insane.
Much of America, including yours truly, has been watching the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series, ‘Vietnam.’ Instead of clarifying that confusing conflict, the series has ignited fiery controversy and a lot of long-repressed anger by soft-soaping Washington’s motives.