One thing in that interview with Nick Turse…
On how the military trained U.S. troops to dehumanize the Vietnamese
“The idea was that the Vietnamese, they weren’t really people. They were subhuman, mere ‘gooks’ who could be killed or abused at will and, you know, veterans I talked to told me that from the moment they got into basic training they were told, ‘Never call them Vietnamese. Call them gooks or dinks, slopes, slants, rice-eaters.’ Anything to take away their humanity, to dehumanize them and make it easy to see any Vietnamese — all Vietnamese — as the enemy.”
Oh really? That’s very interesting.
I always knew that went on, of course, but I’m not sure I knew it was part of the training. I did know it was part of the training in World War I, and that dehumanization has always been part of military training – but I must not have known that in the Vietnam war recruits were actually told never to call them Vietnamese, because hearing it startled me.
So the words you call people matter, then? They make a difference? They’re important enough to include as part of basic training during a war? Certain kinds of words can take away the humanity of a set of people, and make it easy to see them as the enemy?
Well imagine that.
I thought that was all wrong. I thought that was a delusion of the crazy feminists. Well, maybe crazy feminists were in charge of military training during the Vietnam War. Yeah that must be it.