Proof of American War Atrocities:
Benhoa, Vietnam, 1967

This blog entry doesn't seem to be about music, and indeed I won't be making any explicit comment on the pieces on the album covered by this blog. Yet it is because of the commercialization of an album by a local San Diego rock band that we are able to get at a greater, obvious truth.

During the course of the 2004 presidential race John Kerry, whatever you may think of him as a politician, was slandered by the right wing as, among other things, a coward, a liar and a traitor for saying publicly that war atrocities during the Vietnam War were made on both sides, including our side. He was right. American soldiers (like all soldiers in war it seems to be -- that was Kerry's point as he argued against George W. Bush's occupation of Iraq) committed atrocities in Vietnam. That the ironically named "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" are unable to admit this is as much their own personal problem as it is ours as a nation. That they must slander a courageous man rather than recognize this truth should make any compassionate person sad for the state of their health - and worried for the collective state of ours and for the future of this country.

At the bottom is a link to two photographs from the war documenting just one such instance. WARNING: The images are graphic and may be upsetting to people, especially those who believe the U.S. can do no wrong, or feel, as I do, that commodification of such albums for its shock value may be too unpalatable to accept. A band named SIRENS WAIL used these images, taken by one of the member's father who was there, as the cover to one of their albums. The images and the following information is posted with his permission:

    "First of all let me start by saying, we are not a political band, there are enough people in this world drowning us with their political views. We were however, a band in search of a cool album cover, one that was catchy, interesting, unique, and went along with the BlindHanger vibe! Now don't get me wrong, we don' t think death is a cool thing, but it is inevitable. Unfortunately the young man on our cover, that we have nicknamed Charles, reached his untimely death for reasons that I already told you we are not. He did however, die for something he truly believed in, and for that we celebrate his life with 'BlindHanger.'

    "It was January of nineteen sixty-seven, I was still rustling around in my mothers uterus trying to find a comfortable position. Lyndon Johnson was the tenant in the White House, and our national anthem was peace,love,dope. I 'm sure many young American men were freaking out at the time, my dad (Rick DiMuccio) probably being one of them. But suckit up they did, and off they went to fight for our country. Ah. Er. Somebody s country, I guess. I' m trying to tap dance around being political, how am I doing? It was during the celebration of Tet , in the village of Benhoa and orders had come down to hit em hard, with hopes that the VC would have their guard down a bit during this celebration period. The irony here is, that one year later the infamous Tet offensive would occur, and ultimately mark the beginning of the end to U.S involvement in Vietnam.

    "I often wonder as I look at the picture what was going through my dads mind when he took the picture and that of the young GI passerbys in the photo. Pop hasn't spoke of Vietnam much and I haven' t asked much, although this pea brain of mine is sometimes flooded with curiosity, some things are better left in the past. So now, in the words of the great Paul Harvey, you know the rest of the story.

    "In closing Id like to say,'Dad, what a great picture!' Many may see that comment as morbid, but to me, when a picture can churn so many different emotions, the greatness lies so much deeper than the obvious first glance would imply. So to Charles and everyone who died fighting for what they believed in, we dedicate BlindHanger to you!" --- Rich Mayo

    BlindHanger SIRENS WAIL
    Disturbing rock album cover of photo from Vietnam War