Skip to comments.When it comes to war politics, the left is up to its old tricks
Posted on 10/11/2004 5:37:43 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback
After a decade of research, Vietnam veteran B.G Burkett and investigative reporter Glenna Whitley came to a stunning conclusion: Virtually everything the American public knows about Vietnam is a myth. They present their case in the book Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed if Its Heroes and Its History, debunking everything from widespread drug use to the picture of babykillers who came home psychologically devastated, myths adopted for political purposes. Political cover for John Kerry is the reason the slander is being repeated this election year, and even updated for use against a new generation of troops.
The babykiller chargethe allegation that atrocities against civilians were business as usualwas the most hurtful and far-fetched. In a way, it was a mirror image of what really went on. The total death toll from communism in Southeast Asia ran into the millions, and continues to build today. Just as todays antiwar movement is more concerned with Abu Ghraib than with Saddams torture chambers and mass graves, the leadership of the Vietnam protestors focused on the My Lai massacre, not Ho Chi Minhs jungle gulags or the thousands of civilians filling mass graves in Hue.
For some, My Lai is the essence of the Vietnam War. A platoon of soldiers led by Lt. William Calley entered a village and shot hundreds of civilians. Calley himself killed 22 people he had herded into a ditch. Though the incident was immediately reported, the public wasnt aware of the crime until Life Magazine ran pictures of the massacre. Investigations revealed that Calleys platoon, even his whole brigade, was a massacre waiting to happen, with training and discipline far below standards.
The Left was quick to seize on it as a rallying point, especially the newly formed Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). With guerilla theater they portrayed atrocities, then passed out fliers to onlookers reading in part, A U.S. infantry company just came through here. If you had been Vietnamese--We might have burned your house shot you raped your wife and daughter HELP US TO END THE WAR BEFORE THEY TURN YOUR SON INTO A BUTCHER At one rally, Jane Fonda described My Lai as not an isolated incident but rather a way of life. Also featured was a VVAW leader named John Kerry, who was instrumental in planning the next major event, the Winter Soldier Investigation.
At Winter Soldier, over 150 veterans testified to war crimes they had witnessed. They described horrors such as calling in artillery fire on villages for fun, chopping civilians limbs off, and skinning prisoners alive. The problem is, they were lying. The witnesses refused to talk to Navy investigators. Few had actually served in the military; fewer still served in Vietnam; some were using stolen identities. Despite this, Kerry went before a Senate committee to portray the testimony as fact, and war crimes as a daily occurrence condoned by officers at every level. He also went on record with Meet The Press and the Washington Star to say that he had taken part in atrocities.
If atrocities were the order of the day, why didnt the hoards of journalists in Vietnam catch on? Why was My Lai even reported? Why was America the number one destination for Vietnamese refugees? How about Al Gore, who was a military journalist, does he have any atrocity stories? Anti-war journalist Peter Arnett said, [Soldiers] went out of their way to be kind and decent with the people. Kerrys defenders change the subject or continue to portray atrocities as the rule, not the exception. As of this writing, an inaccuracy-riddled website article about My Lai hangs in the window of Stephenson County Democratic Headquarters. Can there be any other reason for it to be there than to say, Kerry told the truth about atrocities?
The myths Burkett and Whitley debunked are on parade again for Iraq: Only the poor and minorities are fighting, The Iraqis wont defend themselves and want us out, Were losing. Last week in Baghdad, terrorists killed over 30 children by attacking an area where American troops were handing out candy. In 1971, Kerry said that America refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out candy bars and chewing gum. With his help, the Left morphed the Vietnam veteran from kind to cruel, from savior to psychopath. Now the Left is trying the same tricks again, trying to morph every troop in Iraq into Lyndee England. Valor on the battlefield is once again being betrayed with lies on the homefront. They will only succeed if we do nothing, and old wounds will only fester if we let the Vietnam slanders stand.
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- - "Vietnam atrocities revealed in report: Elite unit said to kill hundreds of civilians." ... "An elite unit of American soldiers mutilated and killed hundreds of unarmed villagers over seven months in 1967 during the Vietnam War, and an Army investigation was closed with no charges filed, The Blade reported yesterday." ... "Soldiers of the Tiger Force unit of the Army's 101st Airborne Division dropped grenades into bunkers where villagers -- including women and children -- hid, and shot farmers without warning, the newspaper reported. Soldiers told The Blade that they severed ears from the dead and strung them on shoelaces to wear around their necks." ... "The Army's 4 1/2-year investigation, never before made public, was initiated by a soldier outraged at the killings. The probe substantiated 20 war crimes by 18 soldiers and reached the Pentagon and White House before it was closed in 1975, The Blade said." -AP via -Boston/Globe
Thanks for the ping, Mr. Silverback.
I gave my brother the book Stolen Valor for Christmas last year and regret I didn't read more of it before mailing it out.
If atrocities were the order of the day, why didn't the hoards of journalists in Vietnam catch on? Why was My Lai even reported? Why was America the No. 1 destination for Vietnamese refugees? How about Al Gore, who was a military journalist, does he have any atrocity stories? Anti-war journalist Peter Arnett said, "(Soldiers) ... went out of their way to be kind and decent with the people."
Atrocities simply did not happen in Vietnam on a scale worse than that of previous American wars, and certainly not as an organized procedure condoned by officers.
Admin Mod, please take note of this newbie's first post, smells trollish to me.
Admin Mod, please take note of this newbie's first post, smells trollish to me.
The son of a woman who worked for our family drove trucks in Viet Nam. He told his mother how the Viet Cong would place babies in the road in order to stop U.S. trucks. They knew OUR guys cared about things like innocent life.
I thought your editorial was right on! Please DO add me to your ping list. Many thanks.
Excellent op-ed, Mr. Silverback! Bookmarked.
Thanks for the ping.
Of course, you probably put that link in here for other folks...I'm telling you folks, you need to read this book, and read Useful Idiots by Mona Charen.
Your local library has it or can get it through interlibrary loan. I recommend it highly.
That's why Saddam hid his weapons in schools and residential areas. The apeaseniks can say all they want that we "gave him WMDs" and we are responsible for the Hallabjah massacre (we didn't, but that's another story) and that we supposedly killed thousands of civilians going in to depose, but the bottom line is that Saddam knew we valued human life, and he made tactical choices that depended on those values.
Also, your story brings to mind an item from the Winter Soldier testimony, where one of the fake vets claimed that he was a Chinook crewman in the 228th Battalion, 1st Cavalry, and they used to use rotor wash (which could get up to 100mph) to blow South Vietnamese people around, including a game where they would surprise them during the morning bathroom break on the way out to the rice paddies and blow them around in the village's latrine area. He also told how his crew accidentally blew a little boy in front of a truck while lifting a howitzer, and how he and the flight engineer were joking about it afterward because the military "brainwash[es] you..[to] take all the humanness out of you."
As usual, our enemies have more respect for us than the leaders of the anti-war crowd.
Thank you all very much for your compliments, I appreciate them very much.
USAF 1989-1994 379th Bomb Wing
380th Air Refuelling Wing
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."--Isaiah 5:20
Woe to John Kerry, who called Ho Chi Minh's atrocity machine "good" and our gallant men "evil."
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