2 Comments

  1. Beauregard

    The news we get every day is problematic. The following is
    submitted to tell what was not told:

    Now 45 years later we learn the
    truth about a photograph taken
    in Vietnam. So, ask how much
    of the news we get every day is
    true and accurate?

    The following was taken from Robert
    Hall’s web site. Several others
    post for Bob on this site and sign
    their names to the post.

    http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2017/11/general-leons-shooting-in-context.html

    —- // —-

    General Leon’s shooting in context

    The Missing Context: General Loan’s Shooting
    of the Viet Cong Terrorist

    “Context is everything,” goes an old saying. Unfortunately,
    the Sunday, September 24 episode of the PBS Documentary
    “The Vietnam War” did not provide the context of the most
    iconic photo of the war-that of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan
    executing a Viet Cong terrorist. Let me provide that context,
    based on conversations with both the late General Loan and
    the late Eddie Adams, the photojournalist who won the
    Pulitzer Prize for taking the photo. I was one of five US Army
    captains working under a US Marine Corps Lieutenant
    Colonel and a senior CIA official with General Loan’s
    National Police to develop innovative means to identify
    the Viet Cong leadership.

    I left Vietnam five months before the Tet Offensive. When
    Loan came to the United States after the fall of Vietnam,
    he opened a restaurant in Burke, VA. My wife and I, with
    our young daughters, would often go there. We also saw
    Loan at reunions in Northern Virginia of the Vietnamese
    National Police. On most of these functions, Loan and I
    sat together, discussing the Vietnam war, particularly the
    events of that fateful day of the photo.

    He told me the man he shot was Nguyen Van Lem, also
    known by his Nom de Guerre of Captain Bay Lop. He
    was a sleeper Viet Cong agent who then surfaced as
    commander of one of the assassination teams with the
    mission of decapitating the leadership of the South
    Vietnam government in the opening hours of the Offensive.

    The PBS documentary, to its credit, covers in detail these
    death squads, perhaps the first tine the American public
    has learned of them. Sunday’s episode, however, failed
    to point out that the specific target of Lem’s team was the
    National Police leadership. Lem was captured at a mass
    grave site containing the bodies of more than 30 police
    officials and their families. He had just killed a senior
    officer, his wife, and six small children. Upon being
    captured, Lem stated he was proud of what he had done.
    He was brought to Loan, who had been briefed on Lem’s
    crimes. Loan pulled the trigger at the precise second Adams
    took the photo. A strong argument can be made that, under
    Article 4 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, Lem was an
    “illegal combatant” and thus could be subjected to military
    justice, including summary execution.

    I’ll leave it to lawyers to argue that, but the American
    public, lacking the facts surrounding the execution,
    certainly condemned Loan as a war criminal. General Loan
    died in July 1998. At his funeral, I spoke with Eddie Adams
    ( who passed away in 2004) who had become a close friend
    of the General. He confirmed what Loan had told me. He
    added that he had taken many photos of Loan rallying his
    police and the Vietnamese people, but the Associated Press
    refused to publish them. He wrote a poignant eulogy on General
    Loan for Time Magazine in which he said, “The General killed
    the Viet Cong. I killed the General with my camera.” I thank
    the Washington Post for allowing me to tell the story behind
    this photo.

    Lawrence Tracy, Bethesda
    The writer is a retired US Army colonel who spent 32
    months in Vietnam

    If the caption on the famous photograph of General Loan
    shooting Bay Lop in the head was captioned “In the midst of
    a fierce battle, an ARVN officer executes a captured terrorist
    (who had committed multiple war crime murders and boasted
    about them) in accordance with the rules of war”, then things
    would have been very, very different for many millions of people
    all over the world. That caption should still be under that image
    every time anyone sees it.

    Del

    Reply

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