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Not U.S. attack

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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The news story “1972 Vietnam napalm victim shares tale of healing” (Nov. 8 and about a speaker at Sewickley Academy was inspirational. However, as they were 41 years ago, a lie was repeated and certain relevant facts were omitted:

• The village where she was injured was a Viet Cong stronghold under attack by South Vietnamese forces.

• A South Vietnamese Air Force pilot mistook the fleeing villagers for enemy soldiers and dropped the napalm.

• U.S. forces were nowhere near the village.

None of those facts alters the reality that war is horrible or that she was an innocent victim. At the time, the North Vietnamese government, the Viet Cong and various Communist governments used the incident as a propaganda tool against what they termed “U.S. imperialist aggression.”

Unfortunately, they were joined by the anti-war U.S. mainstream media in twisting and omitting the facts of the story, which perpetrated the falsehood that the attack was executed by American forces.

In every war, it is near impossible to avoid civilian casualties. In Vietnam, it was not U.S. policy to target and kill innocent civilians, and troops who did so were court-martialed.

Quite often, what isn't reported is sufficient enough to obscure the truth.

Leo Patterson


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