The Secret History of the Vietnam War

imagesVICE’s Daniel Denvir interviews Nick Turse, author of Kill Everything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.
If for some reason you have any lingering doubts about the way that war was conducted (or the way that we continue to conduct war today), here’s one excerpt from the interview that should put them to rest:


There was even a “Mere Gook Rule?”
There was a shorthand in Vietnam: the MGR, or Mere Gook Rule. The idea is that the Vietnamese weren’t real people. They were subhumans. Mere gooks who could be abused or even killed at will. And this is something that was inculcated in troops from the earliest days of training. I talked to a lot of veterans who told me that as soon as they arrived at boot camp, they were told you never call them Vietnamese. You call them gooks, dinks, slants, slopes. Anything to take away their humanity. Anything to make it easier to kill them.

 Read the rest here.


13 Comments on "The Secret History of the Vietnam War"

  1. Nothing surprising here.
    This very same thing is going on right now, only the ememy du jour are now towel heads, sand niggers, camel fuckers, or whatever.
    It’s all part of how the Empire trains its mercenaries to dehumanize and kill whomever they decide they want killed.

    • Anarchy Pony | Jul 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm |

      And once they get their all drone military it’ll be even easier.

      • Yep, unfortunately, that’s exactly right. It’ll be like a video game to the drone jockey, who’ll be some hayseed from bumfuck wherever, whose been programmed to kill without so much as a second thought. Women, children, old people, no problem.

        • emperorreagan | Jul 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

          Drone operators are getting PTSD, too.

          Now once it’s all automated…

        • Yes, but you see how this works… “drone jockey” “hayseed from bumfuck”… dehumanizing the “enemy” is an ancient tradition

          • Point taken. But, it does not mean I am about to go on a redneck hunting spree. I can hardly stand to watch violence in movies or television.
            Let me rephrase: a technician specializing in remote operated vehicles, who is a prototypical denizen of our distant rural areas. Doesn’t have the punch I was looking for, but there ya go:)

          • That’s so much better :-). I wasn’t criticizing. I don’t even think it’s necessarily a bad thing to do. I do it quite a bit myself (surprise), mostly for the reason you gave… to give things some punch and express disapproval, both of which I think are legitimate and important. I’m particularly fond of the word “motherfucker”, which is hard to beat, punch-wise.

            I just took advantage of the opportunity to point out that we all do it. And I would have added that it can obscure the more significant question of “is this sand nigger, lame-ass liberal, republican retard, etc” actually my enemy, and if so, why? But I got yanked out of cyberspace and had to do something else.

            I appreciate the good will and good humor in your answer.

  2. Anarchy Pony | Jul 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

    If you can get a hold of a copy of the documentary Winter Soldier, I highly recommend it. It’s got interviews with soldiers who witnessed and participated in atrocities in “The ‘Nam”. It was made in ’72 and was banned from network TV for obvious reasons.

  3. Ted Heistman | Jul 31, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

    Times change. When I was in the Army we were trained to do crowd control against “dirty, greasy haired hippies”

    • Rhoid Rager | Aug 1, 2013 at 3:01 am |

      You can’t be that old. I remember seeing your pic as your avatar. You did your training in the 90s? Sounds like a descriptor for the grunge generation–the grass roots resurgence of the 60s in darker form.

      • Ted Heistman | Aug 1, 2013 at 10:33 am |

        89 to 93. First Gulf War. We did an exercise where people were acting as protestors chanting “No Blood for Oil” and then a simulated ‘terrorist bomb” went off. So you can see where Bush was wanting to go with this in terms of Using the regular Army for Law enforcement. We looked for drugs in National Forests and also I was on call to go to the LA riots.

  4. emperorreagan | Jul 31, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

    If you’re going to get people to overcome the natural aversion to killing and engage in that activity en masse with little justification, you’re going to require a program of psychological reconditioning. Dehumanizing the enemy is just one plank in the training.

  5. rhetorics_killer | Aug 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm |

    IN a way it is a mere extension of a superiority complex (ha ha) many Americans tend to acquire, after having been told since childhood they live in the ‘number one country’. As a European, and not being an English-tongue native, I experienced quite often this complex when travelling America; thought this was displayed not always consciously among the educated people; the gross could show crude straightforwards statements concerning America’s superiority, sometimes quasi-offendant. Europeans, with their heavy colonial past, also consider quite often Africans, or Asians, as inferior people. So maybe are we just millenary-sick of the way our teachers make us consider our own people, as necessarily better than others. (This as an effective way to motivate invasions, greed for the wealth of the others. Applied to the military sphere it brings its usual degrading way to consider humanity.)

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