Another My Lai
October 27, 2003 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Another My Lai. Investigative journalism in action: a small Toledo newspaper called The Blade commits eight months to uncovering atrocities against civilians by an elite group of American soldiers in Vietnam called Tiger Force (pic at bottom). Will we have to wait 36 years to find out what's really happening in Baghdad?
posted by digaman (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"It was an elite fighting unit in Vietnam - small, mobile, trained to kill. Known as Tiger Force, the platoon was created by a U.S. Army engaged in a new kind of war - one defined by ambushes, booby traps, and a nearly invisible enemy."

Ring any bells?
posted by digaman at 7:25 AM on October 27, 2003

I read the article.

I was horrified by the content.

I'm confident the exact same thing could happen today.

Including the coverup.

And I also don't think reporters should be whipped for every paragraph of copy they turn in that contains more than one sentence.

Sadly, though, that appears to be the rule at the Toledo Blade.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:21 AM on October 27, 2003 [1 favorite]

I wonder how long we'll have to wait, until we find out what really happened under Saddam's Fedayeen, or under Mullah Omar's Taliban...
posted by reality at 8:36 AM on October 27, 2003

I doubt that anything like this has been happening in Iraq at the hands of American troops. It took years of trying to survive in horrible, unwinnable guerrilla conflict, with ranking officers complicit in the carnage, for this unit to go on its rampage.

The situation in Iraq hasn't been nearly as bad for soldiers on the ground, it hasn't been going on for anywhere near as long, and troops are monitored much more closely for this sort of thing.

Tragedy? Mammoth. Brewing in Iraq? Nah.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:57 AM on October 27, 2003

For what it's worth, the Blade is not just a paper, it's the daily newspaper in Toledo, though it is small by major city standards. Anyway, it is good to see small papers spending the time and money to do solid investigative work like this.
posted by pitchblende at 9:06 AM on October 27, 2003

The situation in Iraq hasn't been nearly as bad for soldiers on the ground

Not till they get back to the States, anyway:

"The army is investigating complaints that hundreds of sick and wounded soldiers who just returned from Iraq are languishing in crudely furnished barracks without proper medical care at the Fort Stewart military base in Georgia, army officials have disclosed. Many of the soldiers have been housed in short-term training barracks with concrete floors and outdoor latrines. Many have had to wait weeks to see a doctor."

V for Victory!
posted by digaman at 12:05 PM on October 27, 2003

As pitchblende stated, the Blade isn't just a paper. And it's not that small of one. It's Sunday circulation is about 185K (which places them 79th in Top 100 U.S. Newspapers by Largest Reported Circulation) although the daily circulation is a bit less. But they are operated by a "small" company instead of Gannett or Knight Ridder. Ok, I'll shut up now. Carry on.

former Blade deliveryperson,
posted by gluechunk at 1:03 PM on October 27, 2003

Why do I get the feeling that more than a couple of us former Blade-os got their hackles up at the description of the Blade as a wee little newspaper?
posted by Holden at 1:45 PM on October 27, 2003

Soldier on the lam battles guilt over Iraq combat killings

By Scott Calvert
Tribune Newspapers: Baltimore Sun

October 27, 2003

FT. CAMPBELL, Ky. -- During the Iraq war, Pfc. Tyrone Roper became a combat star. By early April his Kevlar helmet bore three hand-drawn feathers, one for each of his confirmed kills. His buddies in the 101st Airborne Division praised his machine-gun prowess. He was the one they most wanted by their side in a firefight.

These days, Roper's battles are raging mostly inside his head. He was evacuated to Ft. Campbell this past summer after being found psychologically unfit. He says he is still racked by bad dreams, acute loneliness and punishing guilt over the killings he carried out for the U.S. Army.
The Army has sent 478 soldiers home from the Iraq region for psychiatric reasons, said Medical Command spokesman Jaime Cavazos. And the Army is investigating the deaths of at least 11 GIs as possible suicides, said Maj. Steve Stover, an Army spokesman.

To some experts, Roper's ordeal sounds like a haunting 30-year echo of the Vietnam War, which produced a group of Americans who struggled with what came to be called post-traumatic stress disorder. Though the military is smarter and more sensitive about the battered psyches of troops, no one has found a way to prevent the damage.

(Via Eschaton, which has a related anecdotal blurb....)
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:47 PM on October 27, 2003

Sadly, probably another case where a C.A.P. unit would have been more effective.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 1:58 PM on October 27, 2003

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