Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fifty Years Ago

South Vietnam's national chief of police, General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, executed Viet Cong Captain Nguyễn Văn Lém on this day in 1968.


What all of the handwringers overlooked, then and now, was that Captain Nguyễn was fighting in civilian clothing. He had killed, or was responsible for killing, the wife and children of one of General Nguyễn's fellow officers. The VC/NVA had targeted the families of South Vietnamese police officials. Deliberately murdering children wasn't an act of war. It was an act of terror.

I believe that General Nguyễn was right to have done what he did. His only problem was that the cameras were rolling when he pulled the trigger of his S&W Bodyguard. For while a picture may say a thousand words, those words may not be the truth of the matter.

8 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

This is what I like about you, despite our political differences. Your interest in truth.

B said...

Well spoken, Milady. Well spoken, indeed.

Remember, the truth isn't what it appears. Even today, despite the lenses of our biases. Despite what the caption under a picture says.

CenterPuke88 said...

“I won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for a photograph of one man shooting another. Two people died in that photograph: the recipient of the bullet and GENERAL NGUYEN NGOC LOAN. The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. What the photograph didn't say was, "What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?" General Loan was what you would call a real warrior, admired by his troops. I'm not saying what he did was right, but you have to put yourself in his position. The photograph also doesn't say that the general devoted much of his time trying to get hospitals built in Vietnam for war casualties. This picture really messed up his life. He never blamed me. He told me if I hadn't taken the picture, someone else would have, but I've felt bad for him and his family for a long time. I had kept in contact with him; the last time we spoke was about six months ago, when he was very ill. I sent flowers when I heard that he had died and wrote, "I'm sorry. There are tears in my eyes."
--Eddie Adams” - TIME magazine

As I recall, the General ended up on the Northeastern U.S. (after a fight) running a donut shop or such.

Eck! said...

A picture is an accurate depiction of the moment. Only that instant and not way came before or after.

Without the rest of the story its hard to ascribe truth and accuracy to a single picture. THe saying a picture is worth a thousand words does not say they be statements or questions only that there will be quantity of them.

I reflect on that as war is a dirty thing. There is honor, dishonor, horror,
and ugliness. Truth is the first casualty.

Eck!

Anonymous said...

As a soldier during the chaotic days of the Tet Offensive had I been the one to catch Lém, the result would have been the same. We took no wounded, no surrenders, gave no quarter. Neither did our enemy. We fought to protect our buddies, our posts, and all civilians. Yes; terrible, brutal, horrible, ugly, and seemingly without end. We saw the truth of war. A savage monumental fog of insanity whose cost is beyond comprehending.

My anger is as fresh today as it was in February 1968 toward our idiot "leaders" who never seem to learn or understand anything other than a "military" solution.

Comrade Misfit said...

Because of that photo (and the movie footage), the INS tried to deport Gen. Nguyen as an "undesirable alien". Eddie Adams stood up for him.

(It also seems that the General was the godfather of some of the murdered children.)

CenterPuke88 said...

They called Eddie Adams as a witness for the INS, at which point he testified in favor of the General.

3383 said...

The execution was entirely up n accordance with the 1948 Geneva Convention.