As time moves forward, the memory of the Vietnam War slips away, and is replaced with a cartoon version. Almost entirely forgotten, now, after a tidal wave of Conservative filth has been unleashed upon the world, is that a majority of Americans came to oppose that war, and were revolted by its futility and barbarism. The wars of recent times have been just as corrupt and brutal, but journalists are now tamed and “embedded”, and a generation raised on infantile war fantasies doesn’t want to know what’s real. Conservative ideological hacks are now busy cranking out lie-filled revisionist accounts of the war, and the social conflict that it brought to Americans. These “revisions” are the exact equivalent of Communist propaganda.
These three photographs did a great deal to change the minds of Americans about the war their Government had got them into:
On June 8,1972, U.S./South Vietnamese forces dropped a napalm bomb on the village of Trang Bang. The village had been occupied by Viet Cong forces, but was still full of South Vietnamese civilians. The girl in the middle, whose clothes were burned off by napalm, is Phan Thị Kim Phúc, who was nine years old at the time. She suffered severe burns to her back, but recovered. She now lives in Ajax, Ontario, Canada.
On March 16, 1968, soldiers of “Charlie” Company of 1st Battalian, 20th Infantry, 11th Brigade, American Division, massacred several hundred civilians in the village of My Lai. Almost all were elderly men, women, and small children. As this photograph of some of the victims spread around the world, domestic opposition to the war got a firm foothold. Only one American soldier was convicted of the crime, though many had participated, and the operation was directed from higher ranks, not a “spontaneous” freak event. The victims were South Vietnamese villagers, the people that American troops were supposed to be “protecting.” The purpose was to exterminate every living person in the village, leaving an indelible imprint of terror on the region. The killing was done methodically and systematically. Women and children were slowly collected, herded together, and executed cold-bloodedly, not in any heat of battle.
The military moved quickly to cover up the massacre. But there was an army photographer present, and his smuggled photos — which included one of a group of women and small children taken just seconds before they were executed — corroborated the rumors that the military and U.S. government attempted to squash. Three American soldiers who tried to stop the massacre and protect the villagers were denounced by Conservatives in Congress. They subsequently received numerous death threats and found mutilated animals on their doorsteps. The convicted soldier, Second Lieutenant William Calley, served three and half years under house arrest for murdering 22 villagers. This was an arbitrary figure, since he actually organized and directed the killing of a much larger number. Conservatives trumpeted him as a hero and martyr.
On May 4, 1970, a small, entirely peaceful student protest against the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Ohio was attacked by the Ohio National Guard. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others. Some of the victims were not protesters, but merely people who happened to be walking nearby. Count out thirteen seconds to yourself — it was not a quick moment of panic or confusion. The demonstrators were not doing anything that could have provoked or frightened the guardsmen.
Opposition to the war was now widespread. President Nixon, and Conservatives in general, conducted a massive campaign of hatred against the genuine American patriots who opposed the war. The country was filled with Conservative zealots who talked endlessly about the need to violently suppress dissent, and assaults on “dirty hippies” were commonplace. I remember distinctly that one of the female victims (a nurse, who was one of the passersby, not involved in the demonstration) was widely denounced by Conservatives as a “slut” who “wasn’t wearing any underwear”, which shows that the Conservative mind-set has pretty much always been the same.