Friday, July 13, 2018

A German Remembers Vietnam

Via Lê Bá Dzũng

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President Richard M. Nixon later cited my report about this incident in his book, The Real War. So pardon my vanity if I quote a United States President quoting me: Nixon wrote: “…German journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto provided a vivid illustration of how communist guerilla groups use terrorism to effect their purpose. Siemon-Netto, who accompanied a South Vietnamese battalion to a large village the Vietcong had raided in 1965, reported: "Dangling from the trees and poles in the village square were the village chief, his wife, and their twelve children, the males, including a baby…"
The Vietcong had ordered everyone in the village to witness this family first being tortured, and then hanged. "They started with the baby and then slowly worked their way up to the elder children, to the wife, and finally to the chief himself. ... It was all done very coolly, as much an act of war as firing an anti-aircraft gun…"

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I read this recently and it is excellent.


  1. But the picture the press showed the world was of a Vietnamese General who executed a man found and captured at a mass grave with the bodies of 34 people, officers, soldiers, their families, women and children that he had executed. A story similar to this man and his family's execution by the Vietcong. But the man the South Vietnamese police general executed was a Vietcong who was known and admitted that he did this sort of execution.
    Would you put a bullet through the head of the man who was caught doing this sort of execution during a battle wartime?
    I would find it hard not to.
    ... " Did Loan’s action violate the Geneva Conventions for treatment of prisoners of war? He executed the partisan after he had stumbled upon the bodies of his men and even their families that were killed by the Vietcong. The Vietcong were indiscriminately killing people. Summary execution of partisans is allowable under Geneva.

    According to Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, irregular forces are entitled to prisoner of war status provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. If they do not do meet all of these, they may be considered francs-tireurs (in the original sense of “illegal combatant”) and punished as criminals in a military jurisdiction, which may include summary execution. The guy shot was an “illegal combatant”, a francs-tireurs. "

    1. Thanks and I would have done the same. I have more, but the links below may be of interest as there is a video and pictures that you may not have seen.


    1. Watching now and haven't seen it before. Thanks.