"He fired at it [the baby] with a .45. He missed. We all laughed. He got up three or four feet closer and missed again. We laughed. Then he got up right on top and plugged him."
— Transcript of the Court Martial for the My Lai Massacre
Private Robert Maples: Calley and Meadlo were firing at the people. They were firing into the hole. I saw Meadlo firing into the hole.
Interrogator: Well, tell me, what was so remarkable about Meadlo that made you remember him?
RM: He was firing and crying.
I: He was pointing his weapon away from you and then you saw tears in his eyes?
— Transcript of the Court Martial for the My Lai Massacre
Mike Wallace: So you fired something like sixty-seven shots?
Paul Meadlo: Right.
Wallace: And you killed how many? At that time?
Meadlo: Well, I fired them automatic, so you canít- You just spray the area on them and so you canít know how many you killed Ďcause they were going fast. So I might have killed ten or fifteen of them.
Wallace: Men, women, and children?
Meadlo: Men, women, and children.
Wallace: And babies?
Meadlo: And babies.
— Interview with Meadlo on CBS News
"'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,' a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong."
— Journalist Peter Arnett in The New York Times
"We sure liberated the hell out of this place."
— Attributed to an anonymous soldier, on a village destroyed during a firefight
Otto: You know your problem? You don't like winners.
Otto: Yeah. Winners.
Archie: Winners, like... North Vietnam?
Otto: Yeah, l — Shut up. We didn't lose Vietnam. It was a tie.
Archie: I'm tellin' ya baby, they kicked your little ass there. Boy, they whooped yer hide REAL GOOD.
Bomb the village
Kill the people
Throw some napalm in the square
Do it on a Sunday morning
Kill them on their way to prayer
Ring the bell inside the schoolhouse
Watch the kiddies gather round
Lock and load with your 240
Mow them little motherfuckers down
— "Napalm Sticks to Kids" - US Army Military Cadence during the Vietnam War
"They're sending me to Vietnam. It's this whole other country."
"The Vietnamese people deeply love independence, freedom and peace. But in the face of United States aggression they have risen up, united as one man."
— Ho Chi Minh
"In the final analysis, it's their war: they're the ones who have to win it or lose it."
—President John F. Kennedy
And it's 1, 2, 3, what're we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's 5, 6, 7, open up the pearly gates
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die.
— "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag", Country Joe and the Fish
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
— John Kerry, addressing a U.S. Senate subcommittee in April, 1971
"How are you, GI Joe? It seems to me that most of you are poorly informed about the going of the war, to say nothing about a correct explanation of your presence over here. Nothing is more confused than to be ordered into a war to die or to be maimed for life without the faintest idea of what's going on."
— North Vietnamese propaganda broadcast directed at US troops
Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
"Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn't really war,
We're sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Vietnam from Vietnamese."
— "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation", Tom Paxton
We're waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
— "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy", Pete Seeger
"If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam."
— Martin Luther King
"We weren't on the wrong side. We were the wrong side."
— Daniel Ellsberg
"They crossed the water
Back in '69
They fought for glory
Behind the enemy lines
Fighting for the nations
Pushed into the war
Without not even knowing why
Or what they're fighting for"
— "Yellow Rain" by Pretty Maids
"Tonight, back in more familiar surroundings in New York, we'd like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet offensive against the cities? I'm not sure.
The Vietcong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw. Another standoff may be coming in the big battles expected south of the Demilitarized Zone. Khesanh could well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there; but the bastion no longer is a key to the rest of the northern regions, and it is doubtful that the American forces can be defeated across the breadth of the DMZ with any substantial loss of ground. Another standoff.
On the political front, past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won't show the dynamic qualities demanded of this young nation. Another standoff.
We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi's winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that — negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms.
For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. This summer's almost certain standoff will either end in real give-and-take negotiations or terrible escalation; and for every means we have to escalate, the enemy can match us, and that applies to invasion of the North, the use of nuclear weapons, or the mere commitment of one hundred, or two hundred, or three hundred thousand more American troops to the battle. And with each escalation, the world comes closer to the brink of cosmic disaster.
To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations.
But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.
This is Walter Cronkite. Good night."
— Walter Cronkite
"If I've lost Cronkite on Vietnam, I've lost Middle America."
Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?
— Anti-War Protest Chant
"Vietnam, to this day, is far removed from the manner of civilization westerners are accustomed to. Many of the country's populace either reside in or have ties to tribal roots. It is a culture that lies in the midst of the old and the modern.
The Indochina Conflict was a struggle for the independence of a people. The Vietnam War was a continuance of world politics imposing itself on the Vietnamese."
— Battlefield: Vietnam loading screen