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The Torture Report.

Saigon Execution Murder of a Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief, 1968 color

Saigon police chief with prisoner via

All war anniversaries, from WWI, to Pearl Harbor, to closing the operational command in Afghanistan, feel the same.

It’s all Vietnam.

That war played out on the nightly news through junior high and high school for my classmates.

It was the war older brothers were drafted for, the war that robbed another generation of women of their youth.

Nothing adds stress like friends and neighbors getting blown up and shot dead.

War leaves women on the home front shattered.

American women weren’t pulling their children through bombed out rubble like England during The Blitz, but their loss was the same.

During the 60’s and 70’s youth culture was more important than grieving mothers, wives, and girlfriends.

It don’t mean nothing?

Everything looked the same, but felt different. It was a baby boomer divide.

High school seniors in 1973 got plenty of Vietnam coverage. News of body counts and casualties played out over dinner.

A couple of years earlier two of my brother’s best friends joined the service when the draft lottery pegged them.

A year later I joined the first wave of volunteers. What was I thinking?

Don’t mean nothing.

My uncle was a career Marine, a high ranking NCO who called his own shots for assignment. He went to Da Nang and back after Korea.

We visited his wife and kids while he was gone.

They showed us a map. Their daddy was a long ways away; mine was right there.

If my dad had stayed in the Marine Corps after the Korean War he’d have gone to Vietnam.

He said he would have died there.

“By then I’d be training troops for Vietnam and probably volunteered to go with them,” he said.

Don’t mean nothing?

My mom had been a Marine wife long enough. She talked him out of shipping over for another hitch after his first four years and a year’s extension.

Korea left plenty of grief. It was my dad’s war, but it looked like Vietnam. Still does.

“I’d walk one side of the street and stop at each corner. With just my weapon showing I gave a burst before taking a look and moving forward.

“The only time I didn’t do it and looked first, I saw a mother with her two kids and motioned them to hide.”

Other Korean’s tried to hide near the railway bridge at No Gun Ri. Google No Gun Ri.


South Korean soldiers and police, observed at times by U.S. Army officers, executed more than 2,000 political prisoners without trial in the early weeks of the Korean War, according to declassified U.S. military documents and witnesses.

Shades of Vietnam and My Lai 4.

My kids’ war, Iraq and Afghanistan, looks like Vietnam.

Don’t mean nothing?

Today’s release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report said Secretary of State Colin Powell was out of the loop regarding ‘enhanced interrogation’.

He was in the loop for My Lai as a younger Army officer when he saw that report and passed it along in a career move.

Don’t mean nothing.

Pick any war and you’ll find similarities to other conflicts. It’s a dirty business that leaves a permanent stain.

At some point you have to ask if the means justifies the end? While you consider that, stay tuned for the next wave of beheadings by ISIS.

Senseless acts of violence numb civilized people to accept more of the same. No one can argue that torture is an acceptable tactic, the same as there’s no defense of blood lusting massacres.

You might ask which is worse before you leap to condemn every action out of your comfort zone.

Torture or massacre?

Don’t mean nothing, just everything.


About David Gillaspie
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