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War Without Fronts: The USA in Vietnam

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  • War Without Fronts: The USA in Vietnam 
    Title: War Without Fronts: The USA in Vietnam
    Format: PAPERBACK
    Publication date: 01/10/2009
    Imprint: BODLEY HEAD
    Price: $35.00
    Publishing status: NOT YET PUBLISHED

    A groundbreaking investigation into the true extent of war crimes committed by US troops during the Vietnam War – shocking in its parallels with the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Description of book

    Shortly before 8 a.m. on 16 March 1968, C-Company, First Battalion, Twentieth Infantry, Eleventh Brigade, Americal Division, on a search-and-destroy mission in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam, entered the small hamlet of My Lai. By noon every living being the troops could find was dead – about 500 women, children and old men had been systematically murdered.

    To this day, the My Lai massacre has remained the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War. Yet it is now becoming clear that this infamous incident was not an exception or aberration; on the contrary, as Bernd Greiner shows in harrowing detail, atrocities and massacres were commonplace. Based on extensive research and unprecedented access to US Army archives, War without Fronts reveals the true extent of war crimes committed by American troops in Vietnam. In a series of case studies Greiner looks at the killing work of US Army death squads in the Northern Provinces in 1967; gives a detailed and harrowing account of the massacres at My Lai and My Khe on 16 March 1968; and portrays the war of attrition in the Southern Provinces between 1968 and 1971. In these chapters Greiner has created a microcosm of the Vietnam War that illustrates how the war over the population soon became a war against civilians.

    Yet rather than pointing the finger at the ‘grunts’ fighting a dirty war on the ground, Greiner argues that the responsibility for these atrocities extends all the way up to the White House and the Pentagon. A political leadership frightened for the United States to lose its credibility and unable, against better advice, to stop the war; a military that devised a strategy of attrition based on ‘body counts’ as the only way to defeat an enemy skilled in unconventional warfare; officers who were badly trained, lacking in motivation and interested only in furthering their careers; soldiers who realised they were utterly disposable and sought to empower themselves through random killing – all these factors lead to an escalation of violence on the ground: the torture, rape, maiming and murder of countless Vietnamese civilians.

    Impeccably researched, multi-layered in its analysis, and balanced in its conclusions, this is an important book: it is the comprehensive, and arguably final, indictment of the American war in Vietnam.

    ISBN: 9781847920805
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