A VIETNAM VETERAN remembers his first day at war:
“We were about five miles down the road where there was some Vietnamese children at the gateway to the village. They gave the old finger gesture, and it was just [clicks fingers] the guys’ response, including the Lieutenant, to get up and blow all the kids away.”
The soldier’s story features as part of a documentary examining the Winter Soldier Investigation of 1971, which is getting a rare screening in Dublin this weekend.
The IFI have scheduled showings of the harrowing film on Friday evening, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Although welcomed in Europe, the documentary, which includes evidence from former US presidential candidate John Kerry, was kept almost-under wraps for decades until it was finally released to American cinemas in 2005.
The details were collated in 1971 when the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) invited returning soldiers to speak about what they saw while stationed in Vietnam.
More than 125 men gathered in Detroit, Michigan to give eye-witness testimony to war crimes and atrocities that they both saw and participated in.
The VVAW said the purpose of its investigation was to “bring to light the nature of American military policy in Vietnam”.
Soldiers spoke of killing civilians “whether they were innocent or not”, the destruction of whole villages and the deaths of young children. They also revealed the use of torture and rape, as well as executions of POWs.
“Harrowing, chilling, and ultimately tragic, it’s a portrayal of how easily the dark side of human nature can be brought out.”
(YouTube Credit: WinterTrooper1972)