Books & Review
Updated: Jan 30, 2013 02:08 AM EST

 'Kill Anything That Moves' Author Nick Turse Says Civilian Killings Quite Common during War

'Kill Anything That Moves' Author Nick Turse Says Civilian Killings Quite Common during War (Photo : Nick Turse Official Website)

In this new book "Killing Anything The Moves" author Nick Turse says the intentional killing of civilians during war is quite common.

The U.S government maintains that the shooting of Vietnamese civilians by the U.S army in 1968 was an "isolated incident in the conflict." However, "Killing Anything The Moves" author Nick Turse thinks otherwise.

According to the author killing civilians during war is common and this phenomenon usually claims 2 million civilian lives leaving 5.3 million civilians injured and 11 million refugees.

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Turse began writing his new book after he came across an unknown collection of documents in the basement of the National Archives that contained detailed allegations of atrocities in Vietnam. The cases, reveals Turse, "were closed with little or seemingly no investigation done."

"I asked the archivist, I said, 'Who's worked with this before?' And he told me that people had looked at one or two individual case files, but that no one had really worked with the records in total. And when I looked at them, I realized that these weren't in the secondary literature anywhere. Most of these cases had never been written about by historians, so I knew that this was a significant collection. And it took me a while, but I knew that I needed to work with it."

While collecting material for his book, Turse interviewed more than 100 veterans and found that most of these killings took place due to "deliberate policies" that were made by personals at the highest U.S military ranks. According to these policies, body count was the main priority.

"They had only this one metric really to go by - body count," says Turse. "And they really never rethought how to fight the war. So when they weren't able to achieve victory through attrition - through the body count, basically - the only recourse was to increase the firepower, and this was just turned loose on the Vietnamese countryside."

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