Last Friday (1 February) was the 40th anniversary of one of the iconic images of our times. On 1 February 1968, with the Tet offensive in its early stages Eddie Adams photographed South Vietnamese officer General Nguyan Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner.
Jams O'Donnell goes on to say
For me (and probably most everyone else – apart, probably, from those who were there at the time), this and the one of Phan Thi Kim Phuc running screaming along a road are the two images that spring to mind when I think of the Vietnam War. For me most it is a dreadful image, a powerful statement of the brutality of war. I must admit I knew very little about the background to the photo. I found Adams’s feelings about the photo interesting and not what I had expected.
You can find the rest, including Adams's description of how he came to take the photo here The Poor Mouth: An iconic image, and it's worth reading.
And the amazing thing is that an American government composed of people who were alive at the time of those events, and knew what happened, should start not one, but two unwinnable wars a generation later, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As many people sang back then, when will they ever learn?