The pain and suffering we cause for people living in areas where we continue to wage our wars “ part of a hidden, if not forbidden, history that few in the U.S. know. It’s a story that was written in blood in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the 1960s and 1970s and now is being rewritten in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s a story to which new episodes are added each day that U.S. forces roll armored vehicles down other people’s streets, kick down other people’s doors, carry out attacks in other people’s neighborhoods, and occupy other people’s countries.”

-Nick Turse

From Vietnam to our Forever Wars

A U.S. soldier kicks a gate during a mission in Baquba, in Diyala province, some 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, November 4, 2008. Reuters

Did we learn from our mistakes after the  Vietnam War when almost three decades later, our troops invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq?

  • The United States once again waged undeclared war under false pretenses.
  • Once again, hundreds of thousands of American troops were deployed to distant lands where they were widely perceived as hostile invaders.
  • Once again, the mission was to prop up foreign governments that could not gain the broad support of their own people.
  • Once again, we fought brutal counterinsurgencies guaranteed to maim, kill, or displace countless civilians.
  • Once again, U.S. officials insisted that victory depended on winning the “hearts and minds” of ordinary people even as our warfare was endangering those very people and driving them into the arms of the enemy.
  • Once again, the fighting persisted long after a majority of Americans had deemed it mistaken or even immoral.
  • And once again the government failed to achieve its stated objectives and sought face-saving exits to disguise the disasters it had created.

– from Chris Appy Vietnam Full Disclosure

– Nick Turse, Two Men, Two Legs and Too Much Suffering: The Forgotten Vietnamese Victims,
– Christian G. Appy, “A Disrespectful Loyalty” (May 1970-March 1973) and “The Weight of Memory” (March 1973 onward),