from the dept. of wtf is up with Afghanistan...,
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as john fahey often said...,
on some accumulated particulars contained within the evil of the whole:
from today's WaPo/AP:
More than a half-century after hostilities ended in Korea, a document from the war's chaotic early days has come to light -- a letter from the U.S. ambassador to Seoul, informing the State Department that U.S. soldiers would shoot refugees approaching their lines.
The letter -- dated the day of the Army's mass killing of South Korean refugees at No Gun Ri in 1950 -- is the strongest indication yet that such a policy existed for all U.S. forces in Korea, and the first evidence that that policy was known to upper ranks of the U.S. government.
"If refugees do appear from north of US lines they will receive warning shots, and if they then persist in advancing they will be shot," wrote Ambassador John J. Muccio, in his message to Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
File under further corroboration of one of the many industrious ways in which over 2 million civillians unfortunately managed to off themselves after Douglas MacArthur's incredibly idiotic maneuver to bring the Chinese into the war. Like Hadith or before it the much worse My Lai it will be quickly overlooked that not only was this unfortunate happenstance not at all atypical and the product of policy, but that it wasn't investigated further, and so the "60 other alleged large-scale killings of refugees" during Korea will pass into the dustbin of history and polite discourse will continue to discuss our own massacres as merely singular, unchained series of unfortunate events.
But My Lai itself was a composite of multiple atrocities over the course of early 1968, spanning across the greater proportion of Task Force Barkers' operations in a gruesome sort of competition between Bravo and Charlie companies (the uptight commanding officer of Alpha company was possibly  fragged for not joining in) as they torched their way through Quang Ngai province, or "Pinkville", due do its color in the military's population density maps. Like the rampage of Tiger Force a year earlier across those same Central Highlands around Quang Ngai province - what is most exceptional is that it didn't remain wiped off the map of history altogether.
The same policy confirmed today over the indiscriminate firing upon fleeing refugees, of course, is almost indistinguishable from the policy established early in the Iraq war that veterans like Staff Sergeant Jim Massey described as "genocide": US troops were ordered to fire upon the fleeing refugees that attempted to cross our lines just as soldiers were ordered to do so 50 years prior in Korea.
Like the particulars of No Gun Ri and My Lai 4, in the classic paradigm of erotic seduction that less is more, Haditha is probably best described as the tip of an iced investigation, we don't know yet. But what is certain - and is the common linkage in this respect between Vietnam and Iraq - is that the real massacres have been bravely displayed on our front pages: as victories.
- Cover Up, Seymour M. Hersh, © 1972; p60-61:
Barker, medina, and Michles were all respected by their men as officers who "took care of their troops." [Major Patrick M.] Trinkle, who did not let his men rape women and indiscriminately burn civillian homes, had a price on his head. Frank Beardslee recalled that "the kids wanted him. He was a real uptight guy. For one thing, he didn't look after his people. He was a superbrain but he didn't have it out in the field." Trinkle was shot in the back with a rifle bullet while leading his company into action north of My Lai 4 on February 23, during the first day of a two-day operation that was to net a body count of eighty. Some GIs were convinced his own men had shot him. Michael Adcock, then working for General Lipscomb at brigade headquarters, recalled in an interview that "there was a stink about it, that he had been shot in the back."
Trinkle was evacuated to a hospital and given a medal, and Alpha Company got a new commander. The policies of this replacement were more in line with what seemed to be the normal practices of Task Force Barker. Lieutenant Donald R. Coker, who served as a platoon leader under Trinkle and his successor, told the Panel how the company began to burn and kill: "I was generally unhappy with the way he [the new company commander] was conducting the war, because blowing up a house with rice in it doesn't do anything but scatter rice. Burning hootches that you don't get fire from just hacks off the people that were maybe neutral - or maybe there were on the VC side because the VC happened to control the area. But this was his policy . . . and it really bothered me at the time."
:: posted by buermann @ 2006-05-30 17:02:04 CST |