Then other side of the photo

This is the famous photo of General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Captain Nguyễn Văn Lém of the Viet Cong.

Like many, always assumed it was a terrible crime. but I've found out the case is more nuanced.

Lém was in civilian clothes, despite being an armed solider. This arguably makes him a spy, for which there is a long of summary executions.

Also Lém was accused of murdering South Vietnamese Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Tuân, his wife, six , and 80-year-old mother. Only the first was a legitimate .

Now don't get me wrong. I still think he shouldn't have been summarily executed. He should at least have been given a quick military trial. But it does make you understand better why he was executed – because he was not in uniform, and had slaughtered a family.

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