There's a Tough Bunch
Mauldin, William (1921-2003) 1969
Between five hundred thousand and one million Vietnamese civilians died between 1954 and 1975. In the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) rural farmers and the ethnic minorities suffered the largest numbers of casualties at the hands of the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) and the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN). In 1957, the Viet Cong began an armed propaganda campaign in South Vietnam. In an effort to intimidate the rural population, the Viet Cong spread true and sensational tales of murder throughout Vietnam. After a series of attacks in the Mekong Delta in 1960, the Viet Cong created what they called “liberated zones” governed by communists. Unable to differentiate between willing Viet Cong members and intimidated civilians, United States soldiers often fixated on identifying the actual enemy. United States forces were ordered to collect statistics on the number of soldiers killed; called the body count. A confirmed kill consisted of a body with a rifle.