I probably shouldn't get involved in this, but,...
This thread began when Adrian Sidle, on Wed, 3 Mar 1999 07:49:57 EST, wrote:
>I have served in the military of my country during an unpopular war (Viet Nam).
Let me direct the reader's attention to the careful phrasing. Adrian doesn't want to tell you that he was never in Vietnam. He doesn't want to tell you that he joined the navy; that he never sacrificed a nights sleep, or a meal; and that he never risked personal injury more serious than a hangnail. And you thought he was a modest, crafty, battle-scarred Vietnam Vet. But he didn't say that. What the modern reader will also be unaware of is that joining the navy at that time was an act of pragmatism bordering almost on cowardice. Almost, but not quite. You see, back then, anyone of military age who wasn't a complete idiot was concerned about their personal safety. You could get killed in that damn war. But, if you joined the navy, you avoided the draft, and with it the army, and the possibility of combat. You got to have your cake, and eat it too. The recognition of honorable service to your country in its time of need, with an absolute guarantee that your butt would never be on the line (as in "battle" line). Army, Air Force, and Marines were all stationed on Vietnamese soil. Only those in the Navy were not, with only a few exceptions. So no one back then thought that joining the navy was a cowardly thing to do, they thought it was a smart thing to do, damn smart. Many's the draftee who wished he had figured that out _before_ he got drafted.
>Contrary to popular opinion, I and the overwhelming majority of my comrades believed >in the justice of that war.
Yes they did. They were boys out of high school, raised on John Wayne movies and rabid anti-communism, who wanted a war like dad had in WW2, and their uncles in Korea. A war like on tv where men died with heroic grace, where the enemy was an evil sub-human who deserved to die, and who did so with cinematic convenience. These were boys who were charged up with testosterone and anxious to prove their manhood and their patriotism. They would fight,...and kill...and die...for the country they loved and which, they believed, could do no wrong. They knew nothing about justice, nothing about war, nothing about history, and less than nothing about Vietnam. In short, they were clueless. An examination of the facts clearly shows that the US involvement in Vietnam was a wholly criminal affair. Those who believed or believe otherwise are, to be blunt, wrong. As in two plus two equals anything but four. Wrong.
>Is it not the highest form of love to give your life to save your friend's life? Is it not then the same to give 58,000 of your dearest American lives to save millions of Asian lives? We did it in WW2.
No one who went through that period, and who learned ANYTHING, could repeat the above infantile cliche horseshit. This is "I wanna be a hero just like dad."
>Not to open a hornet's nest, but my comrades and I were certain that cowardice was at the root of the protester's actions.
And this, this is the worst. No, no it's not. Two MILLION Vietnamese murdered; 58,000 clueless American boys murdered. Heroes all. Killed for profit, for the vanity of power, for bigotry, and for stupidity; that's worse. The people who, for various reasons, protested this crime, who understood about injustice and war, and who tried to stop it, were heroes as well; but more to the point, they were regular people who retained the ability to distinguish right from wrong, and who had the courage to act on this knowledge, at a time when cultural influences worked almost overwhelmingly against them. In June of 68 I notified my draft board that I was ready to go. Stupid. They drafted me, and I served in the army from Sep 68 to Jun 70. But I got lucky and did not go to Vietnam. I was near clueless back then, as so many of us were. We ALL learned something. Some more than others. Getting at the truth, especially about the history of "difficult" times, can be tough. You will not learn it in school, or find it in the mainstream press. But it can be done. If you want the truth about Vietnam, read Chomsky. I wrote this because I wanted readers like Randall Randall and Harvey Newstrom, who stated that they were too young to experience these events first hand, to have a chance at the truth. Best, Jeff Davis "Everything's hard till you know how to do it." Ray Charles