Kill Anything That Moves by Chris Hedges + Moyers and Company: Nick Turse Describes the Real Vietnam War

by Chris Hedges
Writer, Dandelion Salad
March 12, 2013

Rusty Antiwar Sculpture

Image by Franco Folini via Flickr

Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam
A book by Nick Turse

Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam is not only one of the most important books ever written about the Vietnam conflict but provides readers with an unflinching account of the nature of modern industrial warfare. It captures, as few books on war do, the utter depravity of industrial violence—what the sociologist James William Gibson calls “technowar.” It exposes the sickness of the hyper-masculine military culture, the intoxicating rush and addiction of violence, and the massive government spin machine that lies daily to a gullible public and uses tactics of intimidation, threats and smear campaigns to silence dissenters.


via Truthdig

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.

Copyright © 2013 Truthdig



[DS added the video.]

Nick Turse Describes the Real Vietnam War
February 8, 2013

Journalist Nick Turse describes his unprecedented efforts to compile a complete and compelling account of the Vietnam War’s horror as experienced by all sides, including innocent civilians who were sucked into its violent vortex.

Turse, who devoted 12 years to tracking down the true story of Vietnam, unlocked secret troves of documents, interviewed officials and veterans — including many accused of war atrocities — and traveled throughout the Vietnamese countryside talking with eyewitnesses to create his book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

“American culture has never fully come to grips with Vietnam,” Turse tells Bill, referring to “hidden and forbidden histories that just haven’t been fully engaged.”

From the archives:

Hearts and Minds (1974)

Sir, No Sir! (must-see)

Tom Waits: Hell Broke Luce

Chris Hedges: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (2004; must-see; transcript)

Don’t Enlist, But Don’t Just Take My Word For It by Lo

A Recipe For Disaster by Bruce Gagnon + Day Last Past + Vietnam: American Holocaust

23 thoughts on “Kill Anything That Moves by Chris Hedges + Moyers and Company: Nick Turse Describes the Real Vietnam War

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  11. during the late 60’s in N.Y.C. I had a friend who had been a ranger released after being badly wounded in Vietnam. He told me about the Nungs, who were Kuomintang Chinese soldiers operating various illegal/guerilla operations on the China/Vietnam border, thousands of whom were hired by the C.I.A. as mercenaries to operate against the Viet Cong. They were known for their cruelty. In one case he came into a clearing where there were a group of Nungs together with their Viet Cong captives. The Nungs had tied up their captives, who were very young, with their weapons pointed at their heads, so that every slight movement would put more pressure on the trigger until their own gun would fire and kill them. The Nungs were smoking opium, enjoying the scene…A captive, while my friend was present, somehow got free, threw away his weapon in horror and ran into the jungle. The Nungs killed him…My friend also saw Nungs hang their captives upside down from tree branches, and again, smoke opium watching them die..He also told me seeing phoenix program members killing villagers , and later his whole detachment was shown the bodies and told that they were the work of the Viet Cong. The C.I.A. phoenix program of assassination and torture was staffed with criminal prisoners who were tatooed with a phoenix, which meant they would be killed if captured, and so could be made to to do anything….

  12. While doing research for my fourth novel, Orange Rain, about a legless Vietnam vet who got leukemia from Agent Orange and is burning for revenge on Monsanto, I came across what apparently was a common line/sentiment during the war: “If he’s dead and he’s Vietnamese, he was VC.” Horrible.

    –Love and Liberation–

    Jan @ TheRewildWest

  13. Vietnam was an obvious atrocity . The American Empire will not wake up until it owns up to its involvement in WW2 …Hiroshima , Nagasaki , and Dresden. Most people don’t debate Vietnam anymore . its old hat. Try telling someone that we should not have gotten into WW2 and have dropped the bomb , and even the most Liberal people will argue with you .

    The reason why they argue with you is because they do not understand the America first movement and the lies and slander that FDR pulled on Lindbergh …and how FDR provoked the Japanese, and The meeting of FDR in the middle of the Atlantic with Churchill. The whole notion of the cult of Churchill who was a Fascist . How we were seduced into doing England’s bidding , when in 1776 we were supposed to be liberated from England .

    Who talks about the great injustice done to the German people with the cruel and greedy Treaty of Versailles ? There would not have been a Hitler and no war if it was not for that treaty . And who drew up the treaty –America , France , and England .

    until all of this is straightened out in the American mind and we get off of this WW2 greatest generation nonsense , we will continue to rationalize every exploitative intervention overseas that this country and the CIA can get its grubby little fingers on .

    • Rocket, if you’ve never listened to the Dresden debate at the Goethe Institute between Grayling and Hitchens, I think you would find it extremely valuable.

      I’m not sure of the source, but the global statistics are said to support a rapidly escalating exponential increase in civilian casualties in war theatres ever since the first “Great War” ~ so our characterization of a war crime is really pathetic, when the scale of human abuse on a daily basis from methodical rape, ecocide from massive industrial delinquency and genocidal atrocity is totally endemic to our international “market” system. Some market, it’s a carnival of sheer perversity.

      Britain and France are pushing to “arm” Syrian rebels, at the very moment when a complete lock down on weapons proliferation was never more acutely needed & should be our first priority, together with an immediately implemented program of total de-mining made mandatory everywhere. The criminal military establishments haven’t even managed to clear the mines from the N African campaign of 1942/3, that are still maiming and killing innocents in Egypt. What does that say about the prevalent fixated mentality of these fork-tongued devils?

      The cynicism and opportunistic deceit of corrupt “governments” are so far beneath contempt as to be a perpetual running sore and source of virulent affliction for everyone.

      The problem is the people that run these “charades” do not, for the most part, even realize or can bring themselves to acknowledge how corrupt the whole security machinery of state really is, let alone the entire destructive logic of “civilization!”

  14. Chris Hedges– Thank you for bringing your heart to all the work you do. This is an extremely informing that acts as a great inspiration to keep constantly hard at work. Thank you..

  15. I knew it was bad. However, once I had seen Clay Claiborne’s exceptional indictment “Vietnam, American Holocaust,” it compelled me to conclude that this nightmare was on a scale of atrocity that demanded a Nuremberg equivalent.

    Now, reading this ghastly evidence, it just makes it even more acutely, abundantly urgent and clear ~ that this is a quintessential matter concerning us all. What do we mean by humanity in general? This is a question that must be addressed on every level of society, world-wide. We can no longer live in denial in the West; nor can the “rest.”

    Atrocities stretch back as far as we care to look. There have always been unspeakable horrors ~ Crusades, Mongols, Aztecs, China, the litany is almost universal it is so extensive.

    Whatever Steven Pinker would have us believe, one has to conclude we are obviously a sick species addicted to cruelty and violence. The conduct of “our” military forces is now so unequivocally transparent,
    it is clear that it only requires “officially” sanctioned license, to implement psychotic atrocities in ways that are now so utterly depraved with advanced technologies, as to render the perpetrators beyond the pale of healthy human normality altogether.

    The point is, it only takes this public “authorization” to legitimate and unleash these iniquitous behaviors.

    So nothing can change unless the political morality of humankind undergoes an evolutionary shift. We may not find it possible to transmute our hereditary lust for war, for glorious battle (against what?) and “just combat;” but at the very least, we should consider most sagely and reflect deeply. What is it that transforms naturally empathetic humans into savage, deranged monsters who cannot resist or restrain the atavistic impulse to indulge their most base appetites for obscene visceral hatred?

    Our human species has to be curbed, re-educated and corrected somehow. It is just pointless to preach either hell-fire punishment or forgiveness. Pain will only breed more pain. How does an endangered animal species “forgive?” It is patently criminal and absurd. A poached Rhino cannot forgive a Guangdong merchant who peddles aphrodisiacs; nor can a Tiger hunted for its bones, or a Moon-bear who is tortured for the sake of “human health.” That is just sheer pathological lunacy. These are institutionalized cruelties sanctioned by “cultures.” Call it evil if you like, it does not make it any more comprehensible.

    The message from America is dire and grim. Perhaps it is time to initiate some real soul searching for the magnanimous expression of a heartfelt Higher Will.

    What will it take to change? Is the “USA” capable of redeeming its crimes, of endowing humanity with a worthy legacy ~ the legacy of a mature humanitarian spirit of creative purpose to be proud of?

    • After listening to Nick Turse speaking with Bill Moyers, I have to add an additional observation.

      Given the scale of this mass murder, no different in kind from what the Nazis consummated in Europe, I have profound misgivings about how the US will confront these appalling details.

      My greatest concern therefore, is that the corporate systemic-war fanatics may do anything to prevent “losing face” ~ even if it means drawing the whole world into an unprecedented third holocaust, or if we count Iraq, then a fourth ~ by nuclear firestorm.

      Thinking the unthinkable is no longer an option. We must render unto Caesar what must be for the benefit of humanity, a final ultimatum. In effect a declaration that we shall not permit further genocidal atrocity, in the name of any state or religion or ideological imperative.

      Our world-mind must demonstrate allegiance to the sanctity of life, by organizing for life, and affirming all life by any means ~ life in its bewildering and mystifying cosmic biodiversity.

      No matter who may profess their “divine” imperial right to destroy that sacred life in its generic sense of universal life force & form ~ that expresses itself through the planetary nurturing ecology of the Earth we inhabit and with whom we commune, under a Sun that nourishes us all ~ those who would either inhibit such life or corrupt it with poison bolstered by insidious corporate propaganda, they must be condemned and indicted; dispossessed of their false authority and taught how to work for the betterment of mankind, and our kindred species.

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