Sunday, 11 September 2016

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning"

I dont see any great conspiracy in Facebook's initial decision not to allow people to post the famous and heart-rending image of a terrified napalm drenched vietnamese child fleeing a burning village. I'm willing to accept what Mark Zuckerberg says when he stated it was previously banned from facebook because it contravened the popular social network's policy on nudity.

It goes without saying that - because of the vile trade which exists on the internet in explicit images of children - any responsible site has to be vigilant when the matter of nude images of children arises.That said it was good to see common sense prevail and the site lift its 'ban' on this image, hopefully the row surrounding the photo will serve to remind people of the circumstances behind this iconic and haunting image.

During the vietnam war it was deliberate policy of the US military to target civilians - part of the deranged policy of 'destroying a village in order too save it'. At the time US government spokespeople casually passed civilian vietnamese deaths off as 'collateral damage' - a seemingly benign term which sought to conceal the terrible fact that this bombardment of vietnam and its villages resulted in the deaths of over 1 million vietnamese people.

While a further insight into the sheer insanity of US military policy in vietnam can be gauged from its policy of 'denying the enemy camouflage'. It was decided the jungles in which north vietnamese forces might be hiding should also be destroyed and so millions of tons of the defoliant 'agent orange' were dropped on vietnamese forests - a policy which arguably represents the most murderous act of environmental destruction in human history. It resulted in the incineration of  5 million acres of vietnam's forests. And if that wasnt grotesque enough a chemical included in agent orange - dioxin - has been responsible for thousands of vietnamese children being born with serious birth defects, indeed it's still doing so today.

Furthermore innocent vietnamese are still being killed or injured in vietnam's countryside, a terrible legacy of the fact the US dropped more bombs on vietnam than all the bombs put together in the second world war.

The brilliant film Apocalypse Now tries to capture the mindless insanity and staggering brutality of much of the US military campaign in vietnam - illustrated perfectly in the shape of the terrifying character Lieutenant Kilgore. Have there ever been more chilling words uttered on celluloid than "i love the smell of napalm in the morning"?

It would be nice to thnk that after the terrible carnage the US military inflicted on vietnam it's political leaders would never dare to undertake anything so murderous again. But alas less than 3 decades after its forces were kicked out of vietnam George Bush was authorising the illegal invasion of Iraq - an invasion and occupation which it is estimated resulted in the deaths of at least one million Iraqis. But at least they couldnt drench Iraq in Napalm in the way they did Vietnam - its use against civilians was banned by the United Nations in 1980.

No comments:

Post a Comment