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Civilian Casualties Mount in South Vietnam

Feb. 22, 1963 - Civilian casualties in South Vietnam are being partially attributed to strikes by T-28 and B-26 planes piloted by Americans. Both Vietnamese and American officials have raised doubts whether the effectiveness of air strikes against the Viet Cong is outweighed by the harmful psychological effect of killing and wounding civilians by accidental strafing, bombing, and dropping of firebombs. Communist agents are telling villagers the “rain of death” from the skies is America’s special contribution to the war in Vietnam. American servicemen are being portrayed on village posters as looters and rapists. Posters depicting casualties from air strikes emphasize planes with U.S. markings. Women and children are sometimes the victims of air strikes because Communist guerrillas place their positions in the midst of the civilians. The U.S. Air Force has more than 2,000 men in South Vietnam, and the fighter pilots no longer wait to be shot at by the Communists. They are now authorized to make actual tactical strikes.


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