If you thought you knew all there was to know about the Vietnam War, you were wrong. For example: ever heard of the “Mere Gook Rule,” a code of conduct the US military came up with in order for soldie…
So this dude went to Vietnam to study PTSD in American Soldiers and instead wrote a book about the massacres they committed. (warning: big picture of dead bodies if you click on that.)
How did high-level policies connect down to village level atrocities?The Vietnam War was fought using an attrition strategy. This wasn’t a war like World War I, where you had two armies facing off across a well defined battlefield. It’s a guerrilla struggle, where the Vietnamese revolutionaries are radically outgunned. So they’re not going to stand toe to toe with the Americans. And the Americans aren’t trying to take territory or capture an enemy capital.
They were searching for some metric, some measure to show that they were winning a war. They settled on the attrition strategy which was used during the second half of the Korean War, and the main measure was body count. You would kill your way to victory by piling up Vietnamese bodies, and the Americans were always chasing this crossover point when they would be killing more Vietnamese guerrillas than the enemy could put into the field. And the idea was that at that moment, the enemy would give up the fight.
Because they would view the war as a rational effort the way the Pentagon did: this was a ledger sheet. And once the debits outweighed the credits, then they would end the war.