I have spent the last week learning all I can about Eddie Adams and what transpired on February 1st, 1968. Like I have said, and will continue to say, there is a lot of bad information out there. And today it just got worse.
I cite my work so one can see where it came from. I try to go to the original source when I can. So when I read the Weekly Standards' piece called "Photographs Do Lie" and I see:
Adams frequently offered a qualified defense of Loan's infamous act. Within context, and given the inevitable fog of war, he would say, the killing was understandable, if not excusable. As historian Robert D. Schulzinger points out in A Time for War, the executed VC fighter "had killed some Saigon civilians, many of them relatives of police in the capital."I think cool, maybe now I'll get closer to finding out if the oft quoted - in one form or fashion - statement is factual:
Lém [the man General Loan shot] was captured near the site of a ditch holding as many as thirty-four bound and shot bodies of police and their relatives, some of whom were the families of General Nguyễn's deputy and close friend, and six of whom were Nguyễn's godchildren. Photographer Adams confirmed the South Vietnamese account, although he was only present for the execution. (From Wikipedia 2/5/11)So I look up "A Time of War" and discover it was written by a Yale Professor:
Cool! An academic - Yale guy too! These guys are held to a higher standard for the stuff they write, especially a historian. They need to do their research and get it correct, their reputation as a scholar is on the line.
So I look up "A Time of War" on Google and here is what I find:
Notice it? February 3rd? It happened on the 1st and appeared in the New York Times on the 2nd and was broadcast on NBC and ABC on the 2nd too! Don't believe me...look at my proof (I suck at Photoshop btw, so it's legit):
C'mon Professor, do a little homework and proofreading as well. Take some pride in your work my good man!
Here's the thing. With this failure to get these simple, well known, and important facts straight, the rest of the paragraph is now suspect.
I am waiting to get my hands on Bailey and Lichity's "Rough Justice on a Saigon Street" as well as Tom Buckley's "Portrait of an aging despot." We will see where this take me.
Nevertheless, for such and iconic photo and important historical event, a Yale Ph.D and historian Dr.Schulzinger should have gotten this little bit of really important and easily found information correct.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to not get our facts straight!
Note: 2/6/11: I removed my conclusion. Upon looking at what I wrote it implied that the rest of his statement regarding the the Vietcong fighter captured and shot by General Loan who "had killed some Saigon civilians, many of them relatives of police in the capital" was suspect because of incorrect dates used. Although that is a reasonable argument to cast suspicion on the whole work, I am being hypercritical to the point of not using objectivity and critical thinking. In other words, I should not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Next Post: The problems of the how's and why's