LBJ on the difference between the "terrorists" and the US in Vietnam
Lyndon B. Johnson, Address on U.S. Policy in Vietnam Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Tennessee State Legislature. March 15, 1967
Now as to bombing civilians, I would simply say that we are making an effort that is unprecedented in the history of warfare to be sure that we do not. It is our policy to bomb military targets only.
We have never deliberately bombed cities, nor attacked any target with the purpose of inflicting civilian casualties.
We hasten to add, however, that we recognize, and we regret, that some people, even after warning, are living and working in the vicinity of military targets and they have suffered.
We are also too aware that men and machines are not infallible and that some mistakes do occur. But our record on this account is, in my opinion, highly defensible.
Look for a moment at the record of the other side.
Any civilian casualties that result from our operations are inadvertent, in stark contrast to the calculated Vietcong policy of systematic terror.
Tens of thousands of innocent Vietnamese civilians have been killed, tortured, and kidnapped by the Vietcong. There is no doubt about the deliberate nature of the Vietcong program. One need only note the frequency with which Vietcong victims are village leaders, teachers, health workers, and others who are trying to carry out constructive programs for their people.
Yet, the deeds of the Vietcong go largely unnoted in the public debate. It is this moral double bookkeeping which makes us get sometimes very weary of our critics.