By the Numbers: America’s Long History of War Crimes

June 4th, 2023 - by S. Brian Willson / Facebook

The Unspeakable Barbarism of the USA
Brian Willson / Facebook

I am staggered by the amount of firepower the US used, and the incredible death and destruction it caused on an innocent people. Here are some statistics:

Seventy-five percent of South Viet Nam was considered a free-fire zone (i.e., genocidal zones)

Over 6 million Southeast Asians killed

Over 64,000 US and Allied soldiers killed

Over 1,600 US soldiers, and 300,000 Vietnamese soldiers remain missing

Thousands of amputees, paraplegics, blind, deaf, and other maimings created

13,000 of 21,000 of Vietnamese villages, or 62 percent, severely damaged or destroyed, mostly by bombing

Nearly 950 churches and pagodas destroyed by bombing

350 hospitals and 1,500 maternity wards destroyed by bombing

Nearly 3,000 high schools and universities destroyed by bombing

Over 15,000 bridges destroyed by bombing

10 million cubic meters of dikes destroyed by bombing

Over 3,700 US fixed-wing aircraft lost

36,125,000 US helicopter sorties during the war; over 10,000 helicopters were lost or severely damaged

26 million bomb craters created, the majority from B-52s (a B-52 bomb crater could be 20 feet deep, and 40 feet across)

39 million acres of land in Indochina (or 91 percent of the land area of South Viet Nam) were littered with fragments of bombs and shells, equivalent to 244,000 (160 acre) farms, or an area the size of all New England except Connecticut

21 million gallons (80 million liters) of extremely poisonous chemicals (herbicides) were applied in 20,000 chemical spraying missions between 1961 and 1970 in the most intensive use of chemical warfare in human history, with as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese living in nearly 3,200 villages directly sprayed by the chemicals

24 percent, or 16,100 square miles, of South Viet Nam was sprayed, an area larger than the states of Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island combined, killing tropical forest, food crops, and inland forests

Over 500,000 Vietnamese have died from chronic conditions related to chemical spraying with an estimated 650,000 still suffering from such conditions; 500,000 children have been born with Agent Orange-induced birth defects, now including third generation offspring

Nearly 375,000 tons of fireballing napalm was dropped on villages

Huge Rome Plows (made in Rome, Georgia), 20-ton earthmoving D7E Caterpillar tractors, fitted with a nearly 2.5-ton curved 11-foot wide attached blade protected by 14 additional tons of armor plate, scraped clean between 700,000 and 750,000 acres (1,200 square miles), an area equivalent to Rhode Island, leaving bare earth, rocks, and smashed trees

As many as 36,000,000 total tons of ordance expended from aerial and naval bombing, artillery, and ground combat firepower. On an average day US artillery expended 10,000 rounds costing $1 million per day; 150,000-300,000 tons of UXO remain scattered around Southeast Asia: 40,000 have been killed in Viet Nam since the end of the war in 1975, and nearly 70,000 injured; 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured since the end of the war

13.7 billion gallons of fuel were consumed by US forces during the war

If there was space for all 6,000,000 names of Southeast Asian dead on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, it would be over 9 sobering miles long, or nearly 100 times its current 493 foot length.

Brian Willson is a US American Vietnam veteran, peace activist, and trained attorney. Willson served in the US Air Force from 1966 to 1970, including several months as a combat security officer in Vietnam. He left the Air Force as a Captain. Willson was severely injured when he staged a nonviolent railway protest against the war in Vietnam and a military train ran over him and severed his legs.

The Peaceful Path of the “Four Nos”
Nicolas Davies

Vietnam’s foreign policy is based on its “Four No’s”:

No military alliances;
No siding with one country against another;
No foreign military bases or use of its territory by foreign military forces;
No threat or use of force against another country.

As a recent Vietnamese defense document says: “This “Four Nos” policy is a message of peace, deeply expressing the aspiration for peace of Vietnamese people to all countries in the world.”