Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Confusion About Vietnam

Let me say at the start that I am not well versed in the history of the Vietnam war, so what I say is just conjecture.

I've read some of John Kerry's "The New Soldier" on line.

It contains the testimony of Kerry in front of Congress in 1971. As I read through his words, I remembered the zietgeist of the country's youth in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Yes, I was all of 13 in 1969, but I remember the anti-war movement, the Hippies, the drug culture, rock and roll, etc. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me in my old age (48), that what we saw at that time was an overindulged youth gone hedonistic. Just do whatever feels good. After all, dying in a war doesn't feel good, so why do it?

What I did notice in Kerry's book is that his "Veterans Against the War" was a small group, in comparison to the number of soldiers that fought in Vietnam. In other words, they were a minority. Those who actually confessed to war crimes were numbered 150 with "very many" other highly decorated veterans thrown in. I'll take the 150 and leave the "very many" to the side. These are the 150 who met in Detroit and had what sounded like a mass sharing session about the horrible things they'd done. 150 hardly makes for a majority. In addition, there is a poll done at the end of the book. It is a poll to show what type of demographics are covered by those who joined the "Veterans Against the War" movement. The poll was done among 1000 Veterans who were protesting on the Mall in Washington. In one interesting question, the results showed that a great many were students, while an even greater number were unemployed. Why didn't those who were unemployed take advantage of the GI bill and get a college education?

Kerry makes a lot of blanket statements about racism in the military, unemployment among the vets (note that the unemployment numbers that were very high were only documented among the bunch of 1000 demonstrators), crimes committed by soldiers, etc.

However, the group he represented was perhaps a few thousand strong; not a majority.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb. In the 60's and 70's America had the draft. 34%
(according to Kerry's poll of 1000) of those who joined "Veterans Against the War" were drafted. The rest enlisted. When you draft, you get what you get. You don't necessarily get the cream of the crop, or those who are committed to the war they are going to fight. In the early 60's, a new generation grew to young adulthood that had been spoiled rotten by their parents. This is the generation that indulged itself with no holds barred. This is the generation that produced "Veterans Against the War". This is the generation that had a lot less "cream of the crop" than that of WWII it seems.

I'm thinking those 150 who confessed to war crimes would have committed crimes right here in THIS country had there been no war. I'm thinking the few thousand who joined with Kerry and Fonda were self-indulgent, self centered ne'er-do-wells anyway. If there had been no war, these would have been the ones who were in trouble with the law, drank too much or drugged too much. Instead, they went to Vietnam and got in trouble there.

The only problem is they were recognized as legit by Congress. They got some people with power and money behind them, like Kerry, to represent them. That's like all the population of those in jails getting their own Congressman and Special Interest Group.

What really astounds me is that this small group dared to say it represented ALL the Veterans of America, all the youth and EVERY AMERICAN'S opinion about the war in Vietnam at that time. That since they represented the WHOLE country, that Congress should honor their wishes, as in "government by the people." Um.....government by a couple thousand losers...at best, government by a couple thousand misguided, hormonal youth?

Very interesting reading, anyway. I recommend it. For myself, I'm going to pore over the Internet and the local library until I'm comfortable with my take on Vietnam history. I've already made up my mind about Kerry - dangerous loser.


Blogger Some Cranky Guy said...

War is messy. It is designed to be that way. War is about killing and destroying. It is not a clean business. What Kerry did was to betray all of his fellow soilders still fighting in the war. He disgraced his uniform and his country. He threw away his medals. Now, he is proud of his killing and fighting. Proud of his medals. What an ass.
Here is an interesting link:

8:16 PM  

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