This is one of the earliest systematic accounts of the human consequences of the war, published in Liberation, February 1966. It is based largely on public sources.
In the bitter controversy over our Vietnamese policies which has raged across the nation since the President's decision last February to bomb North Viet-Nam, there is only one point which supporters of U.S. policy will concede to the opposition: the sheer, mindnumbing horror of the war. Despite the barrage of official propaganda, reports in the American and European press reveal that the United States is fighting the dirtiest war of its history in Viet-Nam. The weapons in the American arsenal include torture, systematic bombing of civilian targets, the first use of poison gas since World War One, the shooting of prisoners and the general devastation of the Vietnamese countryside by napalm and white phosphorus. Not since the days of the American Indian wars has the United States waged such unrelenting warfare against an entire people.
Torture of prisoners and "suspects" by Vietnamese troops and their U.S. advisers is a matter of public record. "Anyone who has spent much time with Government units in the field," writes William Tuohy, Newsweek's Saigon correspondent, "has seen the heads of prisoners held under water and bayonet blades pressed against their throats. . . . In more extreme cases, victims have had bamboo slivers run under their fingernails or wires from a field telephone connected to arms, nipples or testicles." ( New York Times Magazine, November 28, 1965.)
Donald Wise, chief foreign correspondent for the London Sunday Mirror, reports that such torture is condoned and even supervised by U.S. officers. "No American is in a position to tell his 'pupils' to stop torturing," Wise writes from Saigon. "They are in no mood either. . . ." Some of the standard tor-