No apology needed, Mike. In fact thank you for the reminder and the candor in describing this act of betrayal. I was 12 and remember watching this live on TV. It is one of the iconic images, along with the children running from their village with napalm burns, the South Vietnamese Police Chief shooting the Viet Cong man whose hands were tied behind his back, body bags with US soldiers remains loaded onto helicopters and so many many more gruesome images. My dad fought in the Korean war and was vehemently opposed to the US’s entry and escalation in Indochina. He saw it as the further folly of politicians who had never experienced it themselves. He suffered the PTSD, depression and resultant alcoholism from it. I would add to your numbers the 1,450,000 plus Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian deaths that resulted. I’m no pacifist either, but it was these images and my dad’s war stance that had me questioning the US’s role and it’s continuing betrayal of its allies before and since this atrocity.
Fifteen years after the event depicted in the photo. I worked in a shelter for the homeless in Chicago and saw further betrayal by US politicians to the Vietnam vets who slept in the streets due to lack of, denial of, impossible access to benefits for housing, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, jobs.
Thank you for your service Mike and for being an historian that keeps all of the our realities’ feet to the fire.