Matt Harrison

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Matt Harrison

Matt Harrison, a West pointer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army, says the struggle for Hill 875, Battle of Dak was a microcosm of the entire war: “There was no reason to take that hill,” Harrison says. “I doubt there’s been an American on that hill since Nov. 23 [, 1967]. We accomplished nothing.” Harrison volunteered for a second tour hoping to save his brother from battle. “I think the first day I was there some guy showed me what looked like a bunch of apricots on a leather thong…Turned out they were ears, dried, desiccated. I understood theoretically what it meant to be in a war.”[1] Yet, most Vietnam vets never saw it happen. In one investigation of the televised October 9, 1967 edition of the “CBS Evening News” a soldier, cutting an ear off the body of a dead enemy, had been staged on the dare of CBS reporters Don Webster and John Smith who had provided the knife. The Army convicted the soldier of violating the Rules of Land Warfare and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Smith and Webster were not charged and CBS refused to correct its broadcast.[2]

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  1. Army Witnesses in the investigation of Tiger Forces atrocities claimed this was a common practice. Sallah and Weiss, Tiger Force, 335–336, 371.
  2. Guenther Lewy, Commentary, (February, 1978), 42-43; Robert Elegant, “How to Lose a War: The Press and Vietnam,” Encounter, (London), vol. LVII, August 1981, 73-9- at; William V. Kennedy, THE MILITARY and The MEDIA: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War, Westport: Praeger, 1993 excerpts at