At every turn, the onus was put on Vietnamese civilians to actively demonstrate that they were indeed noncombatants — by carrying identification cards certifying their loyalty to the Saigon government; by staying out of off-limits areas (the borders of which they might not know); by adhering to dusk-to-dawn curfews; by using no lights at night (which might signal guerrillas), or sometimes by displaying lights at night (to demonstrate that they were not hiding); by not running or not walking in a certain way, or not standing still and thus looking unnatural; by somehow forcing armed guerrillas from their villages but also not carrying weapons, which would automatically brand a Vietnamese as VC. If villagers did not know about any one of these or many other regulations, if an ID card was lost when a house went up in flames, if they had to leave before dawn to get to a far-off market or to make it to a rice field, if they were forced by hunger to forage in an off-limits area, it was their fault. “The claim that civilians broke the rules,” the historian Christopher Appy notes, “gave the American military a legal-sounding justification for bot accidental and intentional slaughter. — Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013), 55.
Short URL for this post: http://tmblr.co/ZFArzsf3fp6H