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American Atrocities in Vietnam - Research Paper Example

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American Atrocities in Vietnam The United States throughout its history has gone to war starting with its war of independence until most recently, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In most of the wars that it has been involved in, there have been claims that the United States military has committed atrocities against the civilian populations of the countries it has invaded…
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American Atrocities in Vietnam
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Download file to see previous pages According to Anderson, D (2002), atrocities such as the killing of noncombat civilians or the torture of prisoners occur in all wars but that it became a particular issue in the Vietnam War. Violence against the civilians of Vietnam by the American military was an intentional act of war and they acted with indifference to the destruction of noncombatants and to that of their property. Most of the military commanders of the United States were aware of the laws governing ground warfare that had been established by various international agreements but atrocities were still committed by some American soldiers and officers. Throughout the entire war, only two hundred and seventy eight soldiers and marines were convicted of murder, rape, and other violent crimes by the military justice system but many more incidents went unpunished or were not even reported. The policy of heavy bombing by in South Vietnam with high explosives and napalm by American forces to support ground operations in and around villages and the widespread use of artillery for the same purpose generated many accidental civilian casualties. Martin, M F (2011) states that the United States military used herbicides and defoliants as part of its herbicidal warfare in Vietnam, and one of these, known as Agent Orange, was used extensively from 1961 to 1971 in South Vietnam and in portions of North Vietnam. At the time the herbicides were being used, there was little consideration within the American military about the potential long term effects of the widespread use of Agent Orange towards the Vietnamese population. It is further unclear exactly where in Vietnam the Agent Orange herbicides were sprayed and the amount sprayed at each location and this has ensured that virtually every aspect of the effects of this herbicide in Vietnam is infused with uncertainty. These herbicides were used on the crops of the Vietnamese civilians so that the crops could die causing mass starvation. The American army commanders mistakenly believed that starvation would force the Vietnamese population to support the American backed South Vietnamese regime but this turned out to be counterproductive because instead the people lost all confidence in the southern government and secretly supported the North. Another major result of the use of these herbicides was the mass starvation that occurred after their use and a lot of the civilian population, which had nothing to do with the war, died in the resulting famine. Anderson, D L(2011) declares that it was the fear, anger, and incentive for promotion or commendation for a high body count (which was a requirement by the military at the time) that led the American soldiers to an over application of their weaponry which constituted atrocities against the civilian population. Individual Vietnamese and sometimes even entire villages could be killed because they were suspected of being the enemy or in certain incidents; they were simply killed just because they got in the way. Leahey, C R (2007) states that the Vietnam war, with its tactical use of high altitude bombing and artillery fire, and the search and destroy missions resulted in mass killings. These weapons were used indiscriminately by the American mili ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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