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One more lesson from Viet Nam

I was born too late to really "live" through Viet Nam, but I've read and seen enough to realize there were a lot of lessons we learned as a nation. One of the most profound was that, regardless of your feelings on the war, you do NOT take them out on those who go off and fight it. The guys on the front lines don't set policy, they're just serving our country, and to take out our frustrations on them is just wrong. We alienated and scarred a whole generation of those who served our nation, and in many ways we're still paying the price for that.

It's not talked about much, but it's probably the most significant social change brought out by that war.

I've noticed it a lot lately. It seems that nearly every highway overpass I see has a home-made "WELCOME HOME" or a "COME HOME SAFE" or "WE'RE PROUD OF" or -- most sad of all -- "IN MEMORY OF" banner for at least one service member, by name. Radio stations hold drives to get supplies and care packages for troops, and the biggest fashion accessory on cars these days are gold, red/white/blue, or camouflage ribbons.

Not everyone, it seems, has learned that lesson.

(Note: links are NOT safe for those with high blood pressure or heart problems. Vice President Cheney, you in particular should not click on any of them.)

J.


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Comments (14)

I don't suffer from hyperte... (Below threshold)
Adam Wood:

I don't suffer from hypertension...


Until now.

DAMN!... (Below threshold)

DAMN!

I shouldn't have. I think ... (Below threshold)
Jackie:

I shouldn't have. I think I'm having a stroke.

Remind me never to read any... (Below threshold)

Remind me never to read anything from Ted Rall again. Ever.

Ted Rall is subhuman. I sho... (Below threshold)

Ted Rall is subhuman. I shouldn't have read your links. Words fail me.

I am old enough to remember... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I am old enough to remember the Vietnam War -- at least the part which was fought in the homeland.

Before I became a cop, while in college, I knew a lot of anti-war activists. They hated America. Period. Also, there was tons of money being pumped into the anti-war movement by Communist front organizations. The big factor, however, was when the news media decided to become advocates against the war rather than purveyors of information. Former broadcast news veteran Liz Trotta -- in her book about her career"Fighting For Air" -- believes the MSM got it wrong during the Vietnam War. She also exposed guys like Dan Rather, Roger Mudd, etc. who would stay in their hotel rooms in Saigon and pretend they were out with the troops on patrol. Trotta writes that most of the time, they'd go to see what the Associated Press or UPI had and then report it as their own.
The big turning point was when Walter Crankface reported that the Tet Offensive was an American defeat. It was not. In fact, the US armed forces did not lose ONE battle in Vietnam.

But back to the war: I was against the war because, based on what my friends who were returning said, the US was fighting a war of containment (sound familiar?). We weren't fighting to win. However, I never flew a Viet Cong flag nor did I spit at members of our military. America could have turned North Vietnam into a parking lot. It's debatable whether or not we should have.

I was a teen during the Vie... (Below threshold)
tarpon:

I was a teen during the Vietnam war. What I now see is how the media shaped and twisted the war to what outcome they wanted. To be frank, I did not realize what had happened until the Swift Boat Vets came on the scene. These vets are owed a debt of gratitude by their countrymen.

As you point out, we cannot let what happened to the Vietnam vets ever happen to our soldiers again.

The Old Media will never be able to shape the news the way they did during the Vietnam war -- never again. This is the legacy the Internet is writing.

I was in Nam in '68 & '69, ... (Below threshold)
rls:

I was in Nam in '68 & '69, returning about the same time as Kerry. I went back to college after I returned and was released by the USMC. I was obviously older than most of my classmates and invariably ended up being coaxed into relating my past experiences. I could NOT convince anyone that the Military in Nam were not baby killers or war criminals.

That is why I and many of my buddies have not been willing to forgive or forget John F. Fonda and his Senate testimony.

I am glad to see that, by and large, the "Street" is supportive of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Respect for those in unifor... (Below threshold)
Waffle King:

Respect for those in uniform, especially those serving in war zones, is the norm rather than the exception in U.S. history; therefore, I'm not sure that this is a lesson learned from the Vietnam conflict as much as a gradual healing of the anti-establishment mental illness of the 60's. Our military personnel had to earn respect from a sizable chunk of the population all over again, in Grenada, Panama, and the Gulf War, and now the military possibly is the most trusted public institution in the nation, quite a comeback from the Vietnam era. Not surprising, though, considering the behavior of politicians, journalists, and others the last few election cycles, compared to the highly professional VOLUNTEER personnel in the armed services. And I don't think the Democrats will be able to shed the anti-military virus until all their leaders from the Vietnam era have passed on.

I was a twenty-year-old dur... (Below threshold)
Pat Adkins:

I was a twenty-year-old during the Vietnam War. I remember Jane Fonda, and the repulsion I felt, and many of my countrypersons felt, about her absolute support for the NVN cause. She was married to that anti war activist, Tom Hayden, at the time. He must have had a dick about a mile long! Why else would she have gone along with disparaging our troops?

She apologized much later in her misguided life. I'm not sure any of the Vietnam Vets accepted her apology. After all, she had a movie career she needed to get going again (thus, the apology.) The major elite media never apologized for painting the military as nothing more than what John Kerry painted them as "baby killers."

The major media are STILL trying to paint our valiant, ALL VOLUNTEER force, in the same light.

I say F--- the major media! Our guys and girls are doing an admirable job in trying to bring freedom to a nation that has not known freedom for at least 35 years. God bless our troops!!!

The left has not learned an... (Below threshold)

The left has not learned anything from Vietnam. They are the same today as then.

When all the troops come ho... (Below threshold)

When all the troops come home this time, they'll be welcomed with some huge red state glory.

I came across a really beau... (Below threshold)
BR:

I came across a really beautiful poem by Russ Vaughn* called "The Last Battle of Vietnam" here, in honor of all Vietnam Vets and particularly the Swiftboat Vets and their courageous efforts to expose Kerry.

(*Russ Vaughn: 2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Vietnam 65-66)
The poem is posted at the above-linked site at 13 Nov 04 2:15 PM by Sergeant America.

Too bad I didn't read that ... (Below threshold)

Too bad I didn't read that before the Patriots game. Now I'm pissed off.

I keep getting little digs at work from all the lefties there, as I work with a bunch of thirtysomethings with doctorates. There are 3 vets in the office, with our military electronics training and no degrees.

I've got a bit of a temper and I'm not a small guy by any means. I really don't know how I would react if someone really unloaded that kind of crap on me (or in front of me for that matter), but it would probably get ugly.




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