Famous Saigon Execution picture is not what you think

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Famous Saigon Execution picture is not what you think

“Saigon Execution” is one of the most recognizable photographs in military history, and it played a contributing role in turning public opinion against the Vietnam War. The image—by combat photographer Eddie Adams—captures the moment a uniformed South Vietnamese officer fires a bullet into the head of a man who appears to be a civilian.

Taken out of context, the photo seems to show a senseless act of brutality, which explains why it was later used in support of the moral argument that protesters made against the war.

But the reality is that the shooter (General Nguyen Ngoc Loan), was executing a ruthless Viet Cong assassin (Nguyen Van Lem, aka Bay Lop), who was leading a team that had targeted the general himself.

The man who was shot was Bay Lop, who had beheaded people, been caught in the act of gunning down policemen, and killed the family of one of General Loan’s friends.

That doesn’t necessarily justify what Loan did. But when stripped of context, it looked like someone from the South Vietnamese national police gunning down some helpless guy, and that was not the case. Bay Lop was the leader of a sophisticated assassination team that was attempting to knock off all the top leaders [of South Vietnam], and General Loan was on their list.

South Vietnamese sources said that Lop commanded a Viet Cong death squad, which on that day had targeted South Vietnamese National Police officers, or in their stead, the police officers' families. Corroborating with this, Lop was captured at the site of a mass grave that included the bodies of at least seven police family members.

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By netchicken: posted on 7-3-2011








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