Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Headless in Vietnam – A Long Ago Tale

On patrol with the Wolfhounds, a battalion of the 25th Inf out of Cu Chi, Joe Carey came upon a shocking sight. The year was ’67. Joe was a combat photographer keeping an eye out for shots to illustrate the division’s monthly magazine. Walking through the bush with an infantry squad, they came upon the scene below. Seeing Joe with several cameras slung around his neck, one of the GIs standing in the clearing wordlessly slipped him a canister of film. The GI had taken the photo.

A year later Joe Carey left Nam and returned stateside to Chicago. He heard that Jeff Sharlet, another ex-Vietnam GI he knew from Indiana University, was in town. Jeff had founded the first underground antiwar paper addressed to GIs, Vietnam GI (VGI). It had quickly taken off and found a large and growing readership in Vietnam as well as stateside base camps.

Joe passed the unpublished headless print on to Jeff who realized it was dynamite, the first atrocity photo to surface in the war. Believing that it needed much broader public exposure, Jeff offered the dramatic photo to various national media. One by one they turned it down. Why you might ask. One compelling reason was that the Johnson White House would ‘punish’ any media outlet which blindsided and embarrassed the administration – a paper’s White House correspondent might be excluded from backgrounders or dropped from a presidential trip roster at the last minute.

With no takers, Jeff ran the photo in his May ’68 issue of VGI. Predictably, it created a small sensation in the coast to coast world of underground media. Several civilian papers reprinted the picture for their own large audiences. Not too long after, a European wire service and a Soviet newspaper picked up the photo. By then it had come to the Pentagon’s attention, an unwanted distraction in prosecuting the war.

Because of the adverse publicity, the Army tracked down the GIs who had posed as great white hunters and court-martialed them. Joe Carey was called to testify. Was justice meted out? As the title of a book of that time suggested, “Military justice is to justice as military music is to music.” The three younger men, privates and PFC’s, were acquitted – just following a superior’s orders. The sergeant was reduced one grade – he merely lost a stripe. End of story.

At the time the photo appeared in VGI, I wondered if the shocking scene represented an aberration – several bad apples had killed two Viet Cong (VC) and then took it a step further, decapitating the dead – or was the photo a rare glimpse into the sub rosa nature of the war, a reality that somehow got missed in the extensive media coverage. In the vast literature on the war by ex-GIs over subsequent decades – memoirs, oral histories, autobio’s cum fiction – there were scattered hints, but as a good county district attorney would probably say, all you’ve got is circumstantial evidence, no smoking gun.

Let’s take a retrospective look at some of that fragmentary evidence. In A Rumor of War, one of the first and still one of the best combat memoirs, the author, a Marine lieutenant, admitted to ordering the death of two South Vietnamese villagers he suspected as VC only to learn they were innocent civilians.

A combat rifleman, later a distinguished poet of the war, paraphrased the ‘rules of engagement’ as, if a man’s running, he’s VC. He shot a figure in traditional black peasant garb and conical hat running across a rice paddy. Coming upon the body, he saw it was an old woman, probably frightened at sight of the troops. To no one in particular, the Marine uttered the standard throw-away line, ‘Sorry ‘bout that’, and moved on.

After the war, three widely read oral histories of the GI experience appeared. Two were compiled by a former trooper who interviewed fellow GIs. Due either to self-censorship or the editor’s pen, the interviews were relatively sanitized so that even a guy’s mother could read the book without blushing. The third volume, however, was different. Written by a journalist who gave his respondents anonymity. Called Nam, it was a much rawer account of what went on in the same combat areas when, for instance, they took hostile fire from a ville supposedly free of VC.

The book included boasting stories of what X soldier did to Y civilian encountered in an ambiguous situation, some of the accounts so out of character with the growing memoir literature that I speculated at the time that the tellers were exaggerating, spinning tall tales.

Earlier, ‘71, the ‘Winter Soldier Investigation’ was held at which dissident combat veterans testified in a confessional manner to far more hair-raising tales of war crimes in graphic detail. The horrors related, however, received limited media attention and never gained traction in public consciousness. At that point in time, the public was war weary and just wanted the Vietnam conflict to go away.

Winter Soldier Investigation, Detroit ’71
Marine describes abuse of Vietnamese villagers

Before the antiwar GIs went public and long before the books on the war appeared, there was the My Lai Massacre. Perpetrated in ’68 and covered up by senior officers and the Pentagon, it was blown wide open by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in ’69. At the time, the general reaction to the sickening killing of over 500 old men, women, and small children was how young American boys could have done such a terrible thing. As life on the home front inevitably moved on and the war continued to rage, the comforting answer seemed to be that the massacre had been a one-off war crime, a departure from daily life in the combat zone.

Some 30 years later in the early 21st century, the Toledo Blade broke an ugly account of an airborne unit that had gone on a seven-month rampage – torturing, raping, murdering, mutilating, even scalping – generally indiscriminately killing large numbers of South Vietnamese villagers. As one paratrooper described it, “Imagine Dodge City without a sheriff.”

The story initially garnered national media attention, but that was just when the US was mopping up in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 and on the cusp of the Iraq War. Suffice it to say that with America again at war in the Third World, on two fronts no less, other than a Pulitzer Prize for the journalist’s subsequent book, the Dodge City airborne soon became yesterday’s news.

And now, early in 2013, comes a new book on what went on in Vietnam behind the curtain, so to speak, based on a decade of meticulous research in long forgotten military records. With the chilling title, Kill Anything That Moves, the study irrefutably demonstrates that My Lai, Tiger Force, and myriad other instances of savage treatment of South Vietnamese peasants caught between the armies were not isolated, one-off incidents.

It was neither a few bad apples, nor aberrant behavior by warriors otherwise observing the Geneva Convention on civilians and non-combatants, but instead a serial pattern of atrocities and war crimes. As author Nick Turse makes clear, accountability can no longer be reckoned by simply laying such incidents at the door of an abysmally unqualified commander like Lt Calley or a clutch of airborne crazies.

Of course, atrocities in Vietnam were not a one-way street. As a matter of strategy and politico-military policy, the VC had been committing atrocities against the South Vietnamese rural population since the late ‘50s when the insurgency began. Their overarching purpose was to defeat the government of President Diem and unify the country under the flag of North Vietnam – at any cost.

The VC too had sought to win ‘hearts & minds’ in the rural areas. Ideally they tried to do so through political education and indoctrination, but, failing to persuade a particular village, they didn’t hesitate to resort to fear, intimidation, and violence to achieve their objective. This meant singling out pro-Saigon village leaders and their families as object lessons with public beheadings, disembowelings, and impalings. Nor was the regular North Vietnamese Army (NVA) merely conducting warfare as generally understood – witness the mass executions of civilians when the NVA controlled Hue during the Tet Offensive of ’68.

Identifying remains from mass graves in Hue, May ‘68

The brutality against civilians from both sides of the war was similar, but given the scale of US troop levels – half a million by early ’69 – the enormity and volume of atrocities from the American side were far greater. As Turse titled an earlier article, “A My Lai a Month.”

Given the variety and number of US combat units implicated, it’s no longer possible to satisfy conscience by writing off Calley’s outfit, the Americal Division, as poorly led and seriously lacking in effective command & control of field units – there were just too many other well regarded, well-led units. The Pentagon no longer has anywhere to hide the unpleasant past.

But how is it we’re only now hearing the full extent of a problem rife among combat outfits in the long Vietnam War. One of many journalists who had embedded with combat units recently reported he had been aware of instances of brutality, but he could never connect the dots – the pattern eluded him as well as most of his fellow war correspondents. It was not that he didn’t suspect something was going on and try to interview soldiers – he did, but they wouldn’t talk. One GI, however, hinted at what we’ve now learned belatedly from Turse:

          You wouldn’t believe it so I’m not going to tell you.
          No one’s ever going to find out about some things,
          and after the war is over, and we’ve all gone home,
          no one is ever going to know.*

Aside from the individual GI’s personal responsibility for atrocities committed during the war, can some root source be detected for the widespread mayhem? Was it Kennedy’s hot Cold War rhetoric and initial escalation or Johnson’s later massive raising of the stakes. Possibly causality began with General Westmoreland, the creator of ‘search & destroy’, the policy of attrition, and ‘body count’ as the metric of success.

Or was it the divisional commanders (CO) ambitious for promotion who put enormous pressure on subordinate officers to deliver high body counts. At one HQ, the CO had two large scoreboards maintained by a staff officer, one for weekly National Football League results, the other for the body count ‘score’ called in by his field units.

Perhaps the root the problem was further down the chain of command at battalion or company level – among officers who were intending to make a career of the military and very mindful of the performance metric. The VC had been famously elusive, breaking off an engagement, melting back into the jungle, carrying their dead and wounded with them – in effect denying their adversary a tally.

Early on, field CO’s would inflate or even fabricate body counts. Following a battle in which the only countable Vietnamese 
casualties were several dead peasants killed in a jeep accident, the frustrated CO told his radioman to signal a body count of 300. The savvy radioman, said, but sir, you can’t call in an even number.

As the war relentlessly rolled on and the toll of civilian dead mounted by virtue of collateral damage (the military euphemism for mistakes) or by deliberate killing, CO’s no longer bothered to fake the numbers – they had bodies, not necessarily combatants, but bodies all the same. All the various explanations may have been contributing factors, or what might be called necessary conditions, but one is still left to reflect on the ‘sufficient condition’ accounting for the descent into acts of depravity of so many GIs and Marines in Vietnam.

The latest revelations remind me of a former student who had been a much decorated big city policeman, respected for making arrests with minimal force. One night he and his patrol partner came upon a burglary in progress. They each covered the store’s exits. When no one emerged from the front, the honored cop went around to the back where he found his partner unconscious, his head beaten in with a crow bar – irreversible brain damage.

Filled with rage and a thirst for revenge, the good cop soon became an avenger, tearing into any miscreant he could lay his hands on. Fortunately for his sanity, he recognized he was going to kill someone without cause. He resigned the force and went to college.

We know that something similar was experienced by some of the units that went berserk in Vietnam. In addition, the elite forces among them, especially Marines and airborne, had been conditioned for maximum aggressiveness and commonly saw themselves patrolling ‘Indian country’. In ’67, a Marine company lost a man to a booby trap. Enraged and unable to find the enemy, they tore what remained of a nearby village apart, killing men, women, and young children with automatic rifle fire and grenades.

In a word, much like the cop who lost his moral bearings, in the absence of perpetrators upon whom to vent violence, the Marines became brutalized and fell upon powerless civilians within reach. Unlike my student, however, the Marines could not ‘resign’; they were bound to remain at risk in the ethical wilderness of non-frontal guerrilla warfare for the remainder of their tours.

Turse uses this tragic incident as a microcosm of the war:

          In the story of Trieu Ai one can see virtually the entire
          war writ small. … Angry troops primed to lash out, often
          following losses within the unit; civilians trapped in their
          path, and officers in the field issuing ambiguous or illegal
          orders to young men conditioned to obey – that was the
          recipe for many of the mass killings for army soldiers and
          marines over the years.**

So we turn back to the atrocity photo which Jeff Sharlet ran in Vietnam GI so long ago – at the time a rare glimpse into what was really going on behind the facade of official battle reports crafted in spare military rhetoric. Nearly a decade after that photo was snapped, journalist Michael Herr, who became the Ernie Pyle of the Vietnam War, reported that mutilation of corpses was common among the troops and that many soldiers even carried in their packs scrapbooks of photos of their handiwork.***

The VGI photo brought out by Joe Carey now hangs in Vietnam’s War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.

Vietnam GI headless photo on the wall in the War Remnants Museum, Vietnam

Obviously, not all the hundreds of thousands of young men who passed through the combat units in Vietnam committed the acts described, but the totality of the cruelty inflicted, now fully revealed, implicates the command and the entire mission in Southeast Asia. Above all, the current unearthing of the awful past begs the question how these latest revelations will affect the planned 15-year long commemoration of the war and its veterans announced by President Obama with much fanfare on Memorial Day 2012.

*J Schell, “The Real Vietnam War,” The Nation (February 4, 2013), 22.
**N Turse, Kill Anything That Moves (2013), 39.
***M Herr, Dispatches (1977), 198-199.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Music to Die For

Late ’67, the Army finally let Jeff Sharlet go after three years active service plus three years inactive reserve – at last the coveted Honorable Discharge. He was fortunate to have completed his military obligation when he did.  Others were not so lucky.  The Vietnam War was in full bore, the draft calling up previously deferred classes of men, both undergraduate and graduate students, married or not, with or without children, their prospects for avoiding war dimming daily as the “green machine” gobbled them up.  Many chose flight from the US or conscientious objection (CO); for some others already in the ranks, desertion was an option, but those paths didn’t prove successful for all.

Heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali, a convert to Islam, was one of those, and he paid dearly for standing up for his antiwar principles.  Despite having failed a key psychological test in ‘64 (the Army had lowered its standards by ’67) and meeting all the requirements for CO status, Ali refused induction. He was convicted for draft evasion, sentenced to 5 years in prison, fined $10,000, stripped of his title and passport, and banned from fighting in the United States. 

Not until ’71 did Ali’s appeal finally reach the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that he had indeed met the three standards for CO status: he opposed war in any form, his beliefs were based on religious teaching, and his objection was sincere.

It's a natural situation for a man to be free
Oh, what a feelin's just come over me
Enough to move a mountain, make a blind man see
Everybody's dancin', come on, let's go see
Peace in the valley, now they want to be free

Muhammad Ali, the Champ

While finishing his education at Indiana University (IU), Jeff  developed some ideas about how to reach out to GIs fighting the war.  He had gone to New York for an antiwar demonstration during summer ’67, and while there joined the newly formed Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), headed up by Jan Barry Crumb and a few other like-minded veterans.
Moving on to the University of Chicago for graduate work that fall, Jeff was torn between his academic aspirations and a near term desire to pursue anti-war work. Resolving his ambivalence, he left grad school and used the funds remaining from his Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to found Vietnam GI (VGI), an underground newspaper designed to give voice to serving GI’s who opposed the war. Arguably the first such newspaper, VGI eventually inspired hundreds of others. 

Times were a-changing as the great Human Be-In took place in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park earlier that same year. The Be-In drew national attention to the Haight-Ashbury scene with its hippie drug culture and Flower Power peace movement. It was there that Timothy Leary proclaimed "Turn on, Tune in, Drop out." 

The following year young people adopted the song San Francisco as an anthem for freedom during the ‘Prague Spring’, the reform movement for ‘Socialism with a human face’ in Communist Czechoslovakia. The psychedelic pop song was an instant hit in the States and Western Europe. As psychedelia became a commercial and mainstream success, hippie counterculture, art, fashion, and music grew wildly popular:

All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion
There's a whole generation with a new explanation...

….For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there

Psychedelic art poster

The explosion of psychedelic music can be traced to the Beatles. The group had become interested in Eastern music and religion, and wove it – along with other innovative styles, instruments, and methods – into their music.  Their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club was voted the #1 all-time album by Rolling Stone, the bible of the new music. Critical reception was extraordinary, with one influential critic writing that it was a work of “bold ambition” and “startling originality,” eclipsing the earlier Elvis and Beatlemania phenomena.

Though the Beatles’ pop love ballad Michelle was the Grammy Song of the Year, the more memorable Sgt. Pepper with its ground-breaking music, lyrics, and album cover, along with the hit single Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, was released just in time for summer ’67. Dubbed the ‘Summer of Love’, it was the sequel to the earlier Be-In,  drawing over 100,000 to the Haight, the epicenter of hippie counterculture, and spawning copies Sgt. Pepper all over the world:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Lucy in the sky with diamonds….

File:Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.jpg

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

The psychedelic drug culture may have exhorted peace, love, and flower power, but the grim end game for many was addiction and often death by overdose (OD).  Musicians were not exempt—superstars Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison were among others who OD’d in ’70 and ’71.  Each of them had a unique, immensely popular  style.

Janis Joplin's electrifying stage presence and raspy, hoarse voice well-seasoned by booze, drugs, and fags earned her the title of the best white blues singer of her generation – if not of all time – and the Queen of Rock.  Her #1 hit, Me and My Bobby McGee, resounded with the spirit of the time.

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
Nothin', don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free, no no
And, feelin' good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin' good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby Mcgee

Jimi Hendrix, widely regarded as the best electric guitarist of all time, shared a common fate of many young men with no particular direction who’d run afoul of the law one time too many:  Prison or the Army, said the judge.  Jimi took the Army.  He summed up his distinctive style in a note attached to demo tapes he submitted to a studio:  Distortion intentional, do not correct.  One of Hendrix's best known renditions was of Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower, which was widely associated with the futility of the Vietnam War and viewed as implying an impending cataclyism that would upend established society:

‘There must be some kind of way out of here’, Said the joker to the thief,
‘There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessman they drink my wine, Plowmen dig my earth
None will level on the line, nobody offered his word, hey’

Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, shared some of Jeff Sharlet’s characteristics:  iconic, charismatic, and dead at 27.  He was a product of a strict military upbringing and made his feelings about the Vietnam War known in his psychedelic rock song, The Unknown Soldier”:
Unborn living, living, dead
Bullet strikes the helmet's head
And it's all over
For the unknown soldier

Although psychedelic music captured many of the top popularity slots, it smoothly co-existed with other genres, notably the ‘Motown Sound’ out of Detroit, then still in its creative heyday, with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and other well-known groups. 
The Supremes were the premier Motown girl group whose popularity rivaled the Beatles’.  Their eleventh #1, the dramatic ghetto protest-lament – Love Child – is a tale of shame and desperation as a woman, born out of wedlock herself, explains to her man why she holds herself back from him:

Love child, never meant to be
Love child, born in poverty
Love child, never meant to be
Love child, take a look at me

Country music also had a following, and now and then a crossover hit would make it to the top of the charts.  Perhaps no one better exemplifies this than “The Man in Black,” Johnny Cash, who scored big with his A Boy Named Sue, the story of a boy whose father named him Sue, then abandoned him and his Ma.  Sue grows up “mean and hard” and determined to get revenge by finding and killing the “son of bitch,” but has a change of heart upon hearing his father’s side of the story:

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan teamed up for Dylan’s breakthrough country rock album Nashville Skyline, which included Dylan’s major hit Lay Lady Lay. It was later sung by the Byrds, the oft-recognized originators of the country rock genre with their ’68 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo,† which aimed at making country music appealing to the younger generation.  However, it didn’t sit well with traditional country musicians who saw the rock spin-off as a hippie ploy to subvert their beloved country music.

The folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was known for political activism as well as music, and often the two went hand in hand.  One number was Teach Your Children, which appeared in ‘70, but is as meaningful and relevant today as it was then. The inspiration was a photo of an angry-looking child holding a toy grenade as he pondered what it meant for children about war and other societal issues:

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so, become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed, them on your dreams, the one they picked, the one you're known by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.

One of Jeff’s favorite groups was the folk rock group Stone Poneys featuring the lovely and very talented Linda Ronstadt who would go on to become known as the First Lady of Rock.  Her hit single in ’67, Different Drum, originally written from a man’s point of view, reflected the new feminism as she sang it from the woman’s perspective:

♫You and I, travel to the beat of a different drum.
Oh, can't you tell by the way I run,
Every time you make eyes at me... Wo-oh.

The vibrant folk music scene at IU dwindled around ‘68, one theory being that the antiwar frenzy had drained energy away from it.  So it was around the world, with protestors takin’ it to the streets in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, London, Rome, and elsewhere.  It was the year protest turned deadly serious; every week, and sometimes more frequently, a new shocker made headlines.  Among the worst:

  • North Vietnam and the VC launched the countrywide Tet Offensive in the South, with over 7,000 Americans killed in action. CBS’s Walter Cronkite reported to the nation on return from Viet Nam, “We are mired in stalemate.”
  • Our shame, the My Lai Massacre, with over 500 civilians slaughtered took place, though the Pentagon covered it up for a year and a half before we learned of it.
  • Reverend King (MLK) assassinated in Memphis TN, 46 dead in ensuing riots in over a hundred American cities; Senator Robert Kennedy (RFK) eulogized him eloquently in Indianapolis IN, pleaded for a gentler nation, and averted a riot in that city.
  • In France ‘Bloody Monday’ was one of the most violent days of the Parisian student revolt against both the American war in Vietnam and the French government.
  • RFK assassinated in Los Angeles just two months after MLK.
  • The Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the ‘Prague Spring’; bloody clashes between antiwar protestors and police at the Democratic Presidential Convention in Chicago.
  • Police and military troops murdered hundreds of student demonstrators in Mexico City.
The year that rocked the world, 1968, ended on a note of musical tribute to leaders felled by assassins’ bullets – Abe Lincoln, JFK, MLK, and RFK.   Abraham, Martin, and John, a plaintive folk rock lament, was balm for troubled, despairing spirits and the pain of America’s collective loss:

Didn't you love the things that they stood for?
Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?
And we'll be free
Some day soon, and it's a-gonna be one day ...

Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill,
With Abraham, Martin and John.

The following March of ’69 the cover was blown on the My Lai Massacre, and the country learned the horrifying details of the most shocking event to date of the Vietnam War that had been  perpetrated a year earlier. It was beyond comprehension that US troops could commit such brutal acts against hundreds of defenseless people —wanton mass killing, rape, mutilation, and destruction. Adding to the shock of the massacre, the public learned that military authorities had issued an internal report shortly afterward stating that the attack was: “well planned, well executed, and successful. Friendly casualties were light and the enemy suffered heavily.”

The only saving grace that terrible day was Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson and his helicopter crew who intervened to stop the killing.  Singer/songwriter Thom Parrott memorialized their selfless actions in Pinkville* Helicopter:

The pilot looked down at the lieutenant’s gun
It was smoky and hot from the killing.
Said, “If I have to give my life for this child,
Then, by God, you know that I’m willing.”

Then the gunner who stood in the helicopter door
Called out to the lieutenant,
Said, “We’re calling your bluff.  There’s been killing enough.
If your gun starts more, mine will end it.”
So they flew the kids out to the medics who said,
“War is hell.  Even babies get wounded.”
The pilot just looked at his gunner and shook.
Said, “To kill them was what was intended.”

Civilians slaughtered at My Lai and environs, March ‘68

The full story of the massacre, emerging slowly over time, was published in the June ’70 issue of Vietnam GI almost a year to the day of Jeff Sharlet’s death on June 16, 1969 – the day the music died.  Jeff would have approved VGI’s verdict that the ‘authors’ of the war should stand trial:

             When you come right down to it, the wrong people
             are on trial for atrocities.  Nixon, Westmoreland,
             Abrams and Mendel Rivers, the very bullshitters
             who are most eager to see Charlie Co. brought to
             justice, are finally the men most responsible for
            My Lai. … They are the ones who taught us to kill,
            who put us over here in this mind-fucking shit hole
            and told us to go to it. In short, they started the war
            and they know you never have a war without atrocities.


*Pinkville was military jargon for a Viet Cong stronghold.
†Links to music videos:
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds:

Me and My Bobby McGee:

All Along the Watchtower:

The Unknown Soldier:

Love Child:

A Boy Named Sue:

Sweetheart of the Rodeo:

Teach Your Children:

Different Drum:

Abraham, Martin, and John:

Pinkville Helicopter: