Okay, so maybe I should have titled this: "Why General Loan should not be described as a "good guy""
Who am I to decide who is good and bad? I mean that's been the point of these posts, hasn't it? How should we look at someone, how should we classify an act, what factors are important in making a decision on how we should feel about something?
What started me down the Eddie Adams path was a completely baseless assertion from a General Brady and my response to it. In the process of researching the Tet Offensive, I came across the Eddie Adams photograph and a whole bunch of "facts" regarding what took place and how the photo helped/hurt the Vietnam war effort.
If you read my blog (Woot! I have three readers now!) you will notice I have a problem with half-truths, lies, propaganda, and ignorance. Opinion is one thing, misstating something because you failed to fully research it is another. I hold a lot of contempt for people who should know (General Brady) and use their power/title (the "General") to further an ideology or perpetuate a false history using innuendo, bogus information, and outright lies. Tet can be looked at objectively for what it was, it does not need to be rewritten using a made-up event and conversation with General Vo Nguyan Giap, the supreme communist commander during Tet.
The same goes for the Eddie Adams photo, Adams himself, General Loan, and Nguyen Van Lem. The truth is the truth, regardless of where it leads or what it tells you about us, them, or humanity in general.
We have on record that Eddie Adams called General Loan a "good guy." Now he may have been figuratively speaking, as in - good guy because he was on our side, but that's not what I hear when I listen to him say "good guy."
In my last post, I discussed what makes some one good or bad, and how which side of the fence you are on helps form your response. I contend that it should not matter. Bad is bad and good is good. Which brings us back to General Loan and Adams' assertion that he was a good guy.
Hopefully I have been able to support why I believe Eddie Adams used that term to describe the man. I don't think Adams was naive, I do think he was mislead by both General Loan and those that needed the incident to be downplayed. That, and his guilt over the harm the photo caused General Loan (see post) lead to the designation of "good guy" he used.
So, looking at it objectively, was General Loan a "good guy?"
I contend that he was not. I base this on a lot of background information, CIA reports, and observations from other journalists. I'll show you what I mean, but first I want to print the one account that sealed it for me, an incident that takes General Loan from a "good guy" to not a very nice human being.
From Tom Buckley's: "Portrait of an Aging Despot", Harper's, April 1972 Page 72:
This was after the Tet incident in 1968. Does that sound like someone worthy of the title "good guy?"
Oh, but wait...there is more.
Next Post: And it's one, two, three WHO are we fighting for?