Day by Day

Monday, September 27, 2004

I work with a couple guys who are retired servicemen...

...and I overheard them having a conversation last week. One fellow, Marine Corps 1981-1985, had sent a link to this CNN article regarding the death of photographer Eddie Adams to the other (retired Army, veteran of the Vietnam War). Adams' most famous photograph accompanies this post.

These two guys were mentioning that this was the first time they had seen the photograph accompanied in mainstream press by an explanation of why the prisoner was shot. Most of the press the picture got, they said, seemed designed to simply potray our allies in Vietnam as being vicious and evil, and sought to portray America's policies as being similarly evil, since we had created an environment in Vietnam where street executions like this one occured.

The fellow who had served in Vietnam was genuinely grateful for the link. He said he was treated poorly upon his return, and "that photograph was a big part of it". He said his return flight plan was from Asia to San Francisco to New York, but it almost wound up being Asia to San Francisco to jail, because some guy sitting next to him on the flight from California to New York spent an hour explaining to him how soldiers had been abused and brainwashed and corrupted and used to spread the evil of America into Vietnam. The photo here was cited in the conversation.

Anyway, my colleague said it was the thought of arriving at home ASAP that saved this fellow sitting next to him two or three bouts of oral surgery.

You've seen this picture. Do you know why the "victim" was shot?

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