Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bart Osborn on His Decision to Testify at the National Veterans' Inquiry

Kenneth Barton Osborn gave this as his reason for testifying about the incidents of torture and murder he witnessed while serving as a military intelligence case officer near Danang.  His job was to run networks of Vietnamese agents to gather intelligence about Viet Cong activities. Although he served in the Army, much of his work included providing the Marines of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force intelligence information during 1967-68, after which he worked with Project Phoenix.  At the National Veterans' Inquiry in Dec. 1970, he testified that he witnessed a Marine kill a Vietnamese detainee by pushing a small wooden dowel through the man's ear into his brain during questioning.

"I feel as if this standard operating procedure, which is authorized by the American military community, and by the CIA, is against the American value system. I don’t feel that I can come back with a clear conscience from Vietnam and consider myself a good Christian, or a don’t feel I can have a clear conscience, knowing that my government is working despicable methods of operation in other parts of the world and denying it; working against the Geneva Conference and blaming other nations for doing the same thing that we’re doing, it’s just that we classify it as they do – we catch them, they catch us, and it constitutes on heck of a hypocrisy. The reason I’ve said these things today is simply to document or add evidence to the fact that we are doing these things, and my suggestion would be that we don’t have to. We should not criticize others for doing the same things that we’re doing, or we ought to cut it out. One of the two. I simply want to add to what the others have said, and that’s why I’m here today.”

James Simon Kunen, Standard Operating Procedure: Notes of a Draft-Age American, Kindle edition, location 3395.

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