28. April 2005 · Comments Off on Memo: Useful Excercise · Categories: General, History

From: Sgt Mom
Re: Flogging a Dead Horse

1. I have been listening to the broadcast series, visiting Vietnam on the occasion of the 30-year anniversary of the fall of Saigon to the North, which has been airing this week on Morning Edition: a very interesting and evocative series, touching on many aspects and lives and experiences.

2. However… and this is the big however, it looks like tomorrow you plan to take a break from vigorously flogging the dead horse of Abu Graib, to take a couple of manly thwacks at the even more defunct equine corpse of My Lai. Well, fair enough, it did happen, it’s a part of the very sad history of the wars in South-East Asia, but I was rather grimly amused at how your reporter, in visiting the old Imperial City of Hue expended only a sentence or two on the massacre of civilians committed by the Viet Cong during their brief occupation of the city in 1968.

3. In other words, a systematic, purposeful selection, execution and secret burial of at least 2,300 civilians is just one of those embarrassing little things that it would be best not to mention very much, not if you want to keep your news access, old boy. How nice to know that NPR is following where Eason Jordan led editorially and selectively, in keeping a CNN bureau in Baghdad. Must not say anything rude about executions, enemies’ lists, and mass graves, old chap… it’s just their way of doing things.

4. Well, at this point, it’s all very much ancient history, but it is quite charming how NPR is managing to avoid much reminiscence about the tidal-wave of South Vietnamese refugees, fleeing their country on anything that would fly, roll or float, or even giving an audience born after 1975 any idea of the fear that those refugees had of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. They were fairly sure that they would be treated like those civilians in Hue, served out with a bullet and a muddy mass grave, and so preferred to take their chances. I am sure you will mention something about mobs surrounding the American Embassy, and the baby lifts, and how desperate South Vietnamese citizens were to escape the long knives of the North, sometime before the week 1s out.

5. Funny how many Vietnamese ended up in America, isn’t it… you’d think after My Lai, they’d have figured out who their friends really were.

Sgt Mom

(More Vietnam materiel, from the archives, here and here)

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