GI SPECIAL 3B14:
Soldier X 4.26.05)
A Letter From
From: Soldier X
To: GI Special
April 26, 2005
Try coping with
the pressures to conform into the red, white and blue poster boy.
I represent the armed conservatives, I am Capitalism’s hit man, I
am the defender of materialism, I am Captain America.
What happens to
our troops when they head home? They leave in flag draped caskets
or with trauma. They are confused and betrayed. They go back
home I guess? But where are they? Do they blend in so well we
don’t notice? I bet I will be able to spot a veteran a mile
away. The Joes with their duffle bags all stuffed with guilt and
Greetings once again,
So we just got back from Hamburg this
morning. Did I say Hamburg? Oh yes, I went to Hamburg and Bremen
over this weekend. We took the train which is the best way to move
about Europe. If the States had anything close there would be so
much less need for automobiles and oil.
But then again we would need a
government that was closer to socialism for the people to afford it.
The ride took five hours and was
fairly comfortable. Which was great because I stayed up the night
I guess I should go back to the night
before. Thursday we went out to Nurenberg. We went to all our
favorite spots. It took us four years on and off in Europe to find
them and no other soldiers know about them which makes them
unspoiled by the Ugly American GI, which we rarely get along with or
act like. So the night passed by with Guinness, Long Islands,
Seventies Music and Indie Underground. There was a night walk that
involved graffiti blitzkrieg and a run through a medieval moat.
As soon as we got back in I headed
back out with another group of friends to Northern Germany.
So green fields and cobble stoned
villages blurred by as I drool on myself in deep slumber.
In Hamburg we had a hard time finding
a place to sleep. There was an unexpected marathon in town and most
the hotels were taken up. We had to settle for a cheap dive in a
seedy Turkish district.
The Turks are Germany’s minority that
is seen as a dangerous underclass and they set up casinos, strip
clubs and doner kabeb stands. Doners are like Greek gyros.
We couldn’t rest our first night in
Hamburg so we went to the world famous St. Pauli district for some
hard drink. St. Pauli and Reeperbahn Strasse is a notorious party
location. Block after neon lit block of night club and pubs. I was
looking for one place in particular. The location that the Beatles
got off their feet. We finally found it after dipping into a few
interesting joints for a beer. The R+B and Jazz Bar is all it said
The entrance was poorly lit and after
getting into the door there was a curtain still dividing the inside
and doorway. After parting the cloth it was a world of Jazz and
soft red candle light. The bar was a heavy wood and old blues
characters leaned against it milking their long drinks. As we
passed through, we glanced at the black and white photos of Ringo
Star playing with the sound board, Aretha Franklin posing with the
old owner and Frank Zappa sitting at the piano that was still on
Jimi Hendrix wailed out of the red box
speakers from every corner of the bar while we settled into some
broken in leather couches surrounding a coffee table. Once we
learned the bartender could make mean Long Islands and Singapore
Slings knew right then we found heaven on earth. Before and after
every thing we did all weekend we went to that bar. It was our
little base of operations.
The whole time in Hamburg we
encountered youth dressed in denim jackets with flare covering them.
On the backs of the jackets were written the words Turbo Youth and
then some European city affiliation. These kids were Turbo Negro
fans, the punkish band from Norway.
Apparently the band was in town all
weekend and their die hards came out of the woodwork and all wore
matching uniforms. They all were in our way everywhere we went and
became a nuisance. I guess that is punk rock now? I just don’t
understand how punk became so conformed?
Despite the "Turbo Kinder," as we
called them, I did mange to see the Kunsthalle (Art Museum) while
some of the guys slept of hangovers. There was some great stuff
there. A Man Ray photography exhibit was the attraction this month
and those surreal photos were pretty impressive.
No Schiele there however. When all of
us were awake we saw the U-434, a Russian U-boat submarine from
WWII. It is now a museum and you can walk through it.
I would not have made a good sailor.
Those quarters are far to cramped for my liking and I must have hit
my head on a dozen pipes, gages, and round doorways. There was a
cool statue of Bismarck that was giant, The Rattans (city hall), and
St. Michael’s Kirsch (a cathedral with a huge golden statue of the
Angel stabbing a devilish looking beast).
On the way home we stopped in Bremen
for four hours. It was a small city famous for its music scene. I
had a children’s book about the animals that were abused by their
masters and one by one joined the traveling pack to get to Bremen
and become musicians. So I so very wanted to find the statue in
We walked and walked throwing Jelly
Bellys, singing out loud, and not seeing the statue. I even asked a
few people who sent us on wild goose chases. We followed signs that
ended up just being some bike path that used the acrobatic animals
as it’s symbol. Finally I bought a postcard that made the Bremen
Musicians look huge. Once I walked around pointing at the postcard
and looking confused we stumbled into the reel deal. A small sad
icon of one of my favorite books.
We also stopped
by the World Trade Center in Bremen to perform a small
performance. We folded an American dollar into a paper airplane
and slowly flew it toward the building. As it came in close we
lit it on fire and CRASH!
Smashed it into
the front door while security looked on in tense stares. I
thought it was symbolic and beautiful.
The rest of the Bremen day trip was
spent in a pizza joint drinking beer and eating "ZA". Then we headed
back home in a more crowded Sunday train ride and said good bye to
Northern Germany, the Turbo Kinder, and our favorite Beatles bar.
I have to go to
another formation here and receive an award for being one of God’s
favorite murderers. This Army is sick. I will be back to reply to
your letter in an hour.
That was a lot
faster for you than me.
I just got an Army
Commendation Medal for my work in Iraq. It is a pretty prestigious
award. Now I have a bronze hexagonal medal with an eagle holding a
bunch of arrows. What the hell am I going to do with it I
It is so hard to
hide my distaste for it all.
quietly, unobtrusively is my daily routine. I live in a world of
oppression where not only will I be viewed in a strange light if
people found out of my liberal subversive nature, I will be
They will take my
money, force me to do extra labor, restrict my weekends, demote me,
and confine me to prison.
So I understand
quite fully the difficulties of being different.
The military is the anti-freak power
and it gnaws at me every day. Paranoia and patriotism and the
battle to maintain some humanity and spirit is a constant challenge.
Try coping with the
pressures to conform into the red, white and blue poster boy. I
represent the armed conservatives, I am Capitalism’s hit man, I am
the defender of materialism, I am Captain America.
Trust you me, it makes me ill and I
will be lucky to survive the next hour much less the near month I
have left in service.
The things I don’t understand any
longer is how this is reflected in the real world. Small town
America is foreign to me. Apple Pie is now Apple Strudel and
Baseball is Soccer. I haven’t lived yet in America at war with
terrorism. I left before all that. But not for long.
I am out of touch with the yellow
ribbon wavers mental, emotionally, and even physically. Soon I will
be among them self absorbed pricks once again.
What happens to our
troops when they head home? They leave in flag draped caskets or
with trauma. They are confused and betrayed. They go back home I
guess? But where are they? Do they blend in so well we don’t
notice? I bet I will be able to spot a veteran a mile away. The
Joes with their duffle bags all stuffed with guilt and bad dreams.
We have been warned to stay clear of
the Arabic people here in Germany. This is very hard considering
the Turkish immigrants are numerous.
I have never had a problem with any of
them and all and all Europe is a fairly law abiding place compared
to the US.
I guess the Muslim
is an easy target for the unknown fearing Americans. The Western
world has no understanding of the Arabic culture, language or
religion. It makes them different and open for attack. They are on
Prejudice Pete’s black list for a long time I am afraid.
Americans love to
choose sides and when you look and act so distinctly from someone
else it is simple to pick who is on what side of the holy barbed
wire. Bigotry is a disease for the numb mind.
I am off again to
yet another formation. This one is in the motor pool and most
likely was called just to waste my time.
The Army hates me
and I hate the Army,
David Honish, Veterans For Peace, who sent this in.]
Do you have a
friend or relative in the service? Forward this E-MAIL along, or
send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra
important for your service friend, too often cut off from access
to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and
inside the armed services.
Send requests to address up top.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
York Man Injured,
Two Others Wounded
Apr. 28, 2005 By the Lincoln Journal
A York soldier was injured Friday
while sweeping for land mines in Iraq, his father said Wednesday.
Second Lt. David
Folkerts of the 7th Engineering Battalion out of Ft. Riley, Kan.,
was working with three other Army soldiers Friday when a mine
exploded, said his father, Curtis Folkerts. David Folkerts' left
arm and hand were badly injured in the blast.
David Folkerts was rushed to a
hospital in Baghdad and was then transferred to Germany before he
arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He
underwent surgery in which a vein from his leg was placed in his
arm, and will undergo another surgery today, Curtis Folkerts said.
Three of the four
soldiers sweeping for mines were injured, Curtis Folkerts said.
David Folkerts graduated from
Heartland Community High School in Henderson and later from Wayne
State College with a degree in education, his father said. He had
been in Iraq for about a month before being wounded.
Curtis Folkerts said it was too early
to tell the extent of his son's injuries — in an e-mail to family
members earlier this week David Folkerts said he had feeling in just
two of his fingers but hoped to make a full recovery.
The e-mail was short, his father said,
because he typed it with just his right hand.
Tikrit Car Bomb
Wounds Three U.S. Soldiers
4.28.05 By Alexandra Zavis, AP &
Near Tikrit, a car
bomb exploded near an Iraqi army checkpoint, wounding three U.S.
soldiers, the U.S. military said.
The car bomb went off at 7.30am (0330
GMT) and targeted a joint US-Iraqi military checkpoint in the north
of the city, about 180km north of Baghdad, US Major Richard
Iraqi police said
that two Iraqi soldiers were killed, adding that 12 other Iraqis
were wounded, seven of them soldiers.
Denied CO Status:
Faces May 11 Trial
For Combat Refusal
From: Robert Finnegan
To: GI Special
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 4:23 PM
Subject: BREAKING NEWS/WAR/IRAQ
This is today's: Breaking/Sgt. Kevin
Feel free to publish.
Robert S. Finnegan
04/28/2005 By Robert S. Finnegan,
Managing Editor, Southeast Asia News
They could not
give a reason for their refusal of his request, they simply
Ft. Stewart, GA
Yesterday at Ft.
Stewart Georgia, U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman was dealt a
setback in his battle with the U.S. Army when his application for
Conscientious Objector status was denied by his command.
Benderman applied for CO status after
having already served one combat tour in Iraq during which his
Captain ordered personnel in the unit to fire on Iraqi children
throwing rocks. This was one of many incidents during his
deployment that Benderman said convinced him that war is immoral and
it is his duty to refuse to kill.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has
pronounced the war in Iraq illegal and recent polls show a
significant decline in American and British public support for
continuing what majorities in both countries now believe is a lost
cause. Both administrations have been battered recently over
revelations regarding non-existent WMD’s, Iraqi civilian casualties,
torture allegations, missing funds, American casualty counts and
aggressive recruiting practices targeting disadvantaged youths.
There has also been
a recent surge in complaints from both active duty and Iraq war
veterans, who are now going public with their stories. In addition,
recent police actions targeting protesters at anti-war rallies,
reminiscent of the Vietnam War demonstrations have outraged the
public and threaten to unleash a wave of lawsuits against both local
and federal law enforcement personnel.
Benderman is also being charged with
Desertion and Missing a Movement under Articles 85 and 87 of the
is scheduled for May 11 at Ft. Stewart, with a heavy worldwide media
presence expected to cover the trial.
The trial in itself promises to be
contentious and acrimonious, pitting a lone combat veteran NCO, his
beliefs and his attorneys against the full weight of the U.S. Army.
The outcome could
set precedence for Conscientious Objectors and the military as a
whole, in addition to bringing into the public domain possible
instances of illegal activities by Benderman’s former command
staff, who under UCMJ law must be brought back from Iraq to
testify against him, providing the opportunity for Benderman’s
attorneys to interrogate them under oath.
Immediately following Benderman’s
application for CO status he received a letter from his
then-Battalion Chaplain, Captain Matt Temple who is now in Iraq,
informing him that Temple was “…ashamed of the way you have
conducted yourself. I certainly am ashamed of you. I hope you will
see your misconduct as an opportunity to upgrade your character and
moral behavior for your own good and the good of your fellowman.”
Benderman said the letter disgusted
him, stating “Nothing in my career as a professional soldier has
prepared me to respond to something like that letter from Chaplain
Temple.” He also noted that his then-First Sergeant Donald
McClinton, also now in Iraq and due to be recalled for his upcoming
courts-martial had called him a “coward.”
A subsequent interview however with
Benderman’s newly assigned Chaplain; Major Pete Brzezinski yielded a
different analysis. “It is my belief that Sgt. Benderman’s beliefs
are sincere and that he holds strongly to his asserted convictions.
His demeanor, lifestyle and his outward manifestation of his beliefs
demonstrate his sincerity. Sgt. Benderman’s willingness to file for
this status is an _expression of his deeply held conviction and his
moral belief that he is forbidden to bear arms and take life.
Everything else is subordinate to this belief.
“It is my opinion that the applicant
is sincere in his beliefs and that his lifestyle is congruent with
his claim for conscientious objection,” Brzezinski said.
Monica Benderman’s views are succinct
and to the point.
“When someone truly believes in what
they stand for, what they speak out for, they have no problem
expressing those beliefs and feelings. Kevin has spoken quite
eloquently about his beliefs and feelings regarding war and it’s
opposite, non-violent solutions to our problems.
“I find it
intriguing that he has so easily put voice to his beliefs, and yet
those who have denied his constitutional right to stand for his
beliefs really do have no justification for that denial. Their
response to Kevin's request to be allowed to follow his conscience
was to have no response.”
“They could not
give a reason for their refusal of his request, they simply
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to email@example.com.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
U.S. Majority Says
Iraq War Not Worth It
[Thanks to PB, who
sent this in.]
April 28, 2005
by Brad Knickerbocker, Christian Science Monitor
Asked if "it was
worth going to war in Iraq," the latest Gallup poll finds 45 percent
saying "yes" and 53 percent answering "no." Put another way, 46
percent of those polled say sending US troops to Iraq was "a
What does this bode for President
Bush? He's now running at his lowest approval rate (45 percent)
yet, according to Gallup.
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK
OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth
- about the occupation or the criminals running the government in
Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we
want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the
resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or
inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to
become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed
services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help
you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what
you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a
network of active duty organizers.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
Olean Man Injured
In Iraq Receives Purple Heart
04/28/2005 By CHARLES FIEGL, The Times
U.S. Army Spc. Todd Reed of Olean
received the United States’ oldest military decoration on Saturday —
the Purple Heart.
The award came as no surprise to Spc.
Reed, he said by phone from the Walter Reed Medical Center in
Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. He was presented the honor at the
Amherst Pepsi Center in Amherst.
On Dec. 3, Spc.
Reed suffered severe injuries during a roadside bomb attack north of
Baghdad, Iraq. He’s now restricted to a wheelchair recovering from
multiple broken bones in his legs. Doctors say he’ll be able to
walk in two years.
Soldier Wins Fight
Against Iraq Deployment;
"I Feel Like I Have
A New Lease On Life"
April 28, 2005 By Associated Press,
The Army honorably
discharged a Reserve officer who had gone to court to challenge his
assignment to Iraq, saying he had properly resigned more than a year
Carl A. Petitto,
32, dropped his lawsuit against the Army after securing his
honorable discharge, which took effect Thursday.
"I feel like I have
a new lease on life," said Petitto, who resigned
as a first lieutenant to run two health-care centers in rural
northern New York.
After serving 14 years of active and
reservist duty for the Army and Navy, Petitto filed for resignation
in February 2004.
His lawyer said the
military failed to respond for nearly a year, then denied the
application. He was to report for duty on March 24 and faced
deployment to Iraq for at least a year and a half.
U.S. Army Reserve spokesman Steve
Stromvall said when Petitto's first application for resignation was
denied, he was told he could try again if he provided "more
compelling reasons" for the Army to grant the request. Petitto did
and the resignation was approved, Stromvall said.
Committee Endorses DU Testing For La. Troops
From: Ward Reilly
Sent: April 28, 2005 3:45 PM
Today the Louisiana
House Committee endorsed legislation (HB 570) calling for all
Louisiana troops to be tested for Depleted Uranium, stipulating that
the Federal Government see to it, through their budget, to test all
Louisiana troops that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
VFP and VVAW members Bob Smith of New
Orleans, and Ward Reilly of Baton Rouge, testified before the House
Committee at the capitol, making the request for the legislation,
sponsored by Rep. LaFonta, New Orleans.
As lagniappe, (the
word for the day, all you veterans, and there WILL BE a test!) we
also managed TV interviews on the subject with Baton Rouge's local
ABC and CBS stations, and the major newspaper in Baton Rouge, "The
This is a solid
first step in seeing to it that DU does not become the next Agent
Orange, at least as far as caring for those exposed. Obviously we
need to ban DU completely, but that is another issue.
Peace from Ward,
Veterans Against The War & Veterans For Peace
Response To An Illegal War”
April 27, 2005 By Raed Jarrar, Raed In
Anyone who had even
a minimum of information about Iraq and Iraqis would have known that
Iraqis would have strong resistance to the occupation.
Iraqis, with their
heterogeneous demography and culture, have decades of experience in
fighting and enough weapons to go through long wars; they were not
expected to stand still under the illegal foreign occupation.
In addition, what made things even
worse and more violent than expected is the corrupt, irresponsible
and culturally-insensitive plans the US army and administration used
resistance is the very direct reaction to the invasion and
occupation. It’s simply an indigenous response to an illegal war.
All the attempts of the US administration to accuse
non-Iraqi-Arabs-and-Muslims of administrating the emergent
resistance in Iraq didn’t and won’t work.
What’s happening in
Iraq was predictable and is very easy to analyze: a national,
cultural and religious defense against a national, cultural, and
The Jafari government will be
announced today or tomorrow, but as the Iraqi proverb says: We
fasted for three months then broke our fast with an onion.
Most of the bogus
governmental structures built in Iraq by the US administration are
falling apart. They were born deformed and weak in the first place,
they didn’t do their work efficiently in the first place, but now
they are falling apart.
A short report in Ad Dustour, a
Jordanian Newspaper, had interesting news about the Iraqi Ministry
The report said
that more than 250 top officials and other thousands of low-level
officers and clerks are not showing up to their jobs in the
“anti-terrorism” departments. The Ministry of Interior in Baghdad
is losing contact with other offices of the ministry around the
I said this three
years ago, and I said it three months ago, and I’m saying it again
today: The US army is going to burn in Iraq. We are still way off
MORE ON J.
April 28, 2005 By Kelebdooni,
anybody know that Talabani spent a good portion of his shifty life
fighting rebel Kurds led by Barzani (father of current one) on
behalf of the central government, before and during the Saddam era?
And he's probably responsible for killing more Kurds than anyone
Also, he executed Iraqi soldiers and
civilians who happened to be in and around Sulaimaniya in 1991
immediately upon receiving the gift of US protection? I even heard
a live execution on BBC radio at the time.
Naah... I don't suppose that matters
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Six U.S. Military
Apr 28, 2005 DUBAI (Reuters)
Militant group Army
of Ansar al-Sunna said it shot dead six abducted Sudanese drivers
working for U.S. forces in Iraq, according to a
video posted on the Internet Thursday.
The hostages said on the tape they
were hired by a Jordanian firm to work at the U.S. base near the
"I regret what I did and advise my
brothers who work with occupying U.S. forces to quit immediately,"
said one hostage in the video posted on a Web site used by
"We tell those who
want to work with American forces that sooner or later this will be
their fate," the group said in an accompanying
IF YOU DON’T LIKE
4.28.05 UPI & By Beth Potter, Middle
East Online & By Alexandra Zavis, AP & Aljazeera
Guerrillas killed a senior Interior
Ministry official in Baghdad Thursday.
Iraqi police said
Gen. Mohsen Abdel Sada, assistant Interior Ministry director for
was riding in the neighborhood of
Dora, in the southwestern part of Baghdad, when insurgents
intercepted his car and sprayed him with bullets, killing
The attackers then sped off and ran
In another similar incident,
suspected insurgents killed a senior
police officer in eastern Baghdad Thursday before
In the city of Tikrit,
a booby-trapped car exploded near a convoy of Iraq national guards,
At least two people
connected with fuel distribution have been murdered in recent
months. The son of Luey Jabbar, manager of imports, was killed a
week ago, an oil ministry manager said, declining to be named.
Hussein Fattah, the former imports
manager, was killed in January, and his family has gone into hiding.
In Baghdad, Lt.
Col. Alaa Khalil Ibrihim, who worked in the visa section of the
Interior Ministry, was killed on the way to work in eastern Baghdad,
police said. A roadside bomb exploded, wounding two policeman, in a
different part of Eastern Baghdad.
In Samarra, about
100km north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb placed on a motorcycle
killed two police officers and wounded five, police said.
The Fall of Saigon
April 30 1975:
April 16, 2005 By John Pilger,
lewrockwell.com [Yeah, it’s
long, but he was there.]
Saigon, April 1975.
At dawn I was awake, lying under my
mattress on the floor tiles, peering at my bed propped against the
French windows. The bed was meant to shield me from flying glass;
but if the hotel was attacked with rockets, the bed would surely
fall on me. Killed by a falling bed: that somehow made sense in
this, the last act of the longest-running black farce: a war that
was always unnecessary and often atrocious and had ended the lives
of three million people, leaving their once bountiful land
The long-awaited drive, by the
legatees of Ho Chi Minh, to reunify Vietnam had begun at last, more
than 20 years since the "temporary" division imposed at Geneva. On
New Year's Day, 1975, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) surrounded
the provincial capital of Phuoc Binh, 75 miles from Saigon; one week
later the town was theirs. Quang Tri, south of the Demilitarised
Zone, and Phan Rang followed, then Bat Me Thout, Hue, Danang and Qui
Nhnon in quick succession and with little bloodshed.
Danang, once the world's greatest
military base, was taken by a dozen cadres of the Front for the
Liberation of Vietnam (the NLF, known as the Vietcong by the
Americans) waving white handkerchiefs from the back of a truck. A
United Press wirepicture of an American punching a South Vietnamese
"ally" squarely in the face as the Vietnamese tried to climb on
board the last American flight from Nha Trang to Saigon held a
certain symbolism of what had gone before.
By mid-April, the end was in sight as
the battle for Xuan Loc unfolded 30 miles to the north-west of
Saigon, which itself was already encircled by as many as 15 PAVN
divisions armed with artillery and heatseeking missiles. On 20
April, Xuan Loc was captured by the PAVN. Only Saigon was now left.
Among the ribbons of refugees heading
away from the fighting were embittered troops of the army of the
US-backed Saigon regime, whose president and commander-in-chief,
General Thieu, had acknowledged their defeat by fleeing to Taiwan
with a fortune in gold. On 27 April, General Duong Van ("Big") Minh
was elected president by the National Assembly with instructions to
find a way to peace. It was "Big" Minh who in 1963 had helped to
overthrow the dictator Ngo Dinh Diem and had sought, with his fellow
officers, to negotiate a peace settlement with the NLF. When the
Americans learned about this they bundled Minh out of office, and
the war proceeded.
It was now eight o'clock; I hurried
across Lam Som Square to get some urgently needed coffee. Saigon had
been under rocket attack for two nights. One rocket had cut a swathe
through half an acre of tiny, tightly packed houses in Cholon, the
Chinese quarter, and the fire storm that followed had razed the lot.
There were people standing motionless,
as if in a tableau, looking at the corrugated iron which was all
that remained of their homes. There were few reporters; yesterday's
rockets were news, the first to fall on Saigon in a decade; today's
rockets were not. A French photographer blundered across the
smouldering iron, sobbing; he pulled at my arm and led me to a pyre
that had been a kitchen.
Beside it was a little girl, about
five, who was still living. The skin on her chest was open like a
page; her arms were gutted and her hands were petrified in front of
her, one turned out, one turned in. Her face was still recognisable:
she had plump cheeks and brown eyes, though her mouth was burnt and
her lips had gone completely. A policeman was holding her mother
away from her.
A boy scout, with a Red Cross armband,
clattered across the iron, gasped and covered his face. The French
photographer and I knelt beside her and tried to lift her head, but
her hair was stuck to the iron by mortar turned to wax by the heat.
We waited half an hour, locked in this one dream, mesmerised by a
little face, trying to give it water, until a stretcher arrived.
Following the attacks the American
Ambassador, Graham Martin, appeared on Saigon television and pledged
that the United States would not leave Vietnam. He said, "I, the
American Ambassador, am not going to run away in the middle of the
night. Any of you can come to my home and see for yourselves that I
have not packed my bags. I give you my word." America's last
proconsul on the continent of Asia, Martin was a private,
strong-willed and irascible man.
He was also very sick; his skin was
sunken and skeined grey from long months of pneumonia; his speech
was ponderous and frequently blurred from the drugs he was taking.
He chain-smoked, and conversations with him would be interrupted by
extended bouts of coughing.
To describe Graham Martin as a hawk
would be to attribute to that bird qualities of ferocity it does not
have. For weeks he had told Washington that South Vietnam could
survive with an "iron ring" around Saigon supplied by B-52s flying
in relays back. But Martin could not ignore completely what he saw;
he knew it was his job, and his job alone, to preside over the
foreclosure on an empire which had once claimed two-thirds of
Indo-China, for which his own son had died, nine years before. In
the American embassy, a tree, one of many mighty tamarinds planted
by the French a century before, dominated the lawns and garden
outside the main foyer.
The only other open space big enough
for a helicopter to land had the swimming pool in the middle of it,
and the helipad on the embassy roof was designed only for the small
Huey helicopters. If a helicopter evacuation was called, only the
marines' Chinook and Jolly Green Giant helicopters would be able to
fly large numbers of people to the Seventh Fleet, 30 miles offshore,
within the course of one day. The tree was Graham Martin's last
stand. He had told his staff that once the tree fell, America's
prestige would fall with it, and he would have none of it.
Tom Polgar was the CIA station chief.
Unlike many of his predecessors, he was unusually well informed and
he despaired openly of the Ambassador's stubbornness. When Thieu
locked himself in the bunker beneath the presidential palace for
three and a half days, refusing to resign or even to take any phone
calls, it was Polgar, together with the French Ambassador,
Jean-Marie Merrillon, who finally persuaded Graham Martin that he
To Martin, the felling of President
Thieu became like the felling of the embassy tree: a matter of pride
and "face," for himself and for America. The United States
government had solemnly committed itself to Thieu and the southern
state it had invented; he often said that his own son had died so
that Thieu's "South Vietnam" could remain "free." On April 28 the
NLF raised their flag on Newport bridge, three miles from the city
centre. The monsoon had arrived early and Saigon now lay beneath
leaden cloud; beyond the airport were long, arched bolts of
lightning and the thunder came in small salvos as President Minh
prepared to address what was left of his "republic."
He stood at the end of the great hall
in the presidential palace, which was heavy with chandeliers and
gold brocade, and he spoke haltingly, as if delivering a hopeless
prayer. He talked of "our soldiers fighting hard" and only, it
seemed, as an afterthought did he call for a ceasefire and for
negotiation. As he finished speaking, a succession of thunderclaps
drowned his last words; the war was ending with a fine sense of
I walked quickly along Tu Do, the
city's main street, as the lightning marched into the centre of the
city. Half a dozen shops had closed since the day before, their
owners having evacuated themselves to the bowling alley and
gymnasium at Dodge City, the code-name for the old American command
cocoon at Tan Son Nhut airport, where they paid handsomely for a
place in the queue.
The Indian tailor at No 24 Tu Do,
"Austin's Fine Clothes," was morosely counting his dollars and
cursing his radio for not picking up the BBC World Service news. I
had known the tailor at Austin's for a long time, and our
relationship had always been one of whispers and comic furtiveness,
involving the handing over of one green note, which would be
fingered, snapped, peered at and put up against the light, and the
receiving of a carrier bag filled with best British Vietnamese
piastres. (Britain's greatest export to South Vietnam was
Thunder pulverised the city as the
tailor counted his money; he had at least 5,000 dollars in that
drawer, today's and yesterday's takings, and his Indian passport
protruded from his shirt pocket. "Communists respect passports," he
said, patting his without knowing what they respected. He said
Saigon would not fall for at least a month, which caused the
Vietnamese assistant, whirring at his sewing machine behind the
curtain, to laugh.
The thunder had a new sound, dry and
metallic. It was gunfire. The city seemed to be exploding with
weapons of every kind: small arms, mortars, anti-aircraft batteries.
"I think we are being bombed," said the tailor, who flinched from
his counting only to turn up the volume on his radio, which was
tuned to the Voice of America's Oldies arid Goldies hour.
For the next half-hour the shop itself
seemed to be a target and I ensured that two walls stood between me
and the street. The tailor, however, remained at his post and
counted his dollars while the Voice of America played "Cherry Pink
and Apple Blossom White," which was barely audible above the
gunfire. It is a profoundly witless song, but I sang along with the
tailor, and I shall probably never forget the words.
In a far corner, like a wounded bird,
an old Vietnamese woman clawed at the wall, weeping and praying. A
joss stick and a box of matches lay on the floor in front of her;
she could not strike the matches because her whole body was shaking
with fear. After several attempts I was able to light it for her,
only then realising the depth of my own fear.
The loud noises, including the
thunder, stopped, and there was now only a crackle of small arms
fire. "Thanks to the gentlemen who have bombed us," said the tailor,
"the rate has just risen a thousand piastres." He opened the steel
shutters, looked out and said, "OK, run!"
It seemed that all of Saigon was
running, in spasms of controlled, silent panic. My own legs were
melting, but they went as they never had before, and were given new
life by an eruption of shooting outside the Bo Da café.
A military policeman, down on both
knees, was raking the other side of the street, causing people to
flatten or fall; nobody screamed. A bargirl from the Miramar Hotel,
wearing platform shoes, collided with the gutter, badly skinning her
legs and her cheek. She lay still, holding her purse over the back
of her head. On the far corner, opposite the Caravelle Hotel and
outside a gallery which specialised in instant, hideous girlie
paintings, a policeman sprayed the sky with his M-16 rifle. There
was a man lying next to him, with his bicycle buckled around him.
Saigon was now "falling" before our
eyes: the Saigon created and fattened and fed intravenously by the
United States, then declared a terminal case; capital of the world's
only consumer society that produced nothing; headquarters of the
world's fourth greatest army, the ARVN, whose soldiers were now
deserting at the rate of a thousand a day; and centre of an empire
which, unlike the previous empire of the French who came to loot,
expected nothing from its subjects, not rubber nor rice nor treasure
(there was no oil), only acceptance of its "strategic interests" and
gratitude for its Asian manifestations: Coca-Cola and Napalm.
At one o'clock in the morning, Graham
Martin called a meeting of his top embassy officials to announce
that he had spoken to Henry Kissinger, who had told him that the
Soviet Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, had promised to
pass his (Kissinger's) message to Hanoi requesting a negotiated
settlement with President Minh's government. Martin said Kissinger
was hopeful that the Russians could arrange this. He said he wanted
the evacuation by fixed-wing aircraft to continue for as long as
possible, perhaps for 24 hours.
It was shortly after four o'clock in
the morning when scores of rockets fell on Tan Son Nhut airport,
followed by a barrage of heavy artillery. The waiting was over; the
battle for Saigon had begun. The sun rose as a ragged red backdrop
to the tracer bullets.
A helicopter gunship exploded and fell
slowly, its lights still blinking. To the east, in the suburbs,
there was mortar fire, which meant that the NLF were in Saigon
itself, moving in roughly a straight line towards the embassy. A 6am
meeting between Martin and his top officials was, said one of those
in attendance, "a disaster." All of them, except Martin, agreed that
they should start the evacuation immediately. Martin said no, he
would not "run away," and announced to their horror that he would
drive to Tan Son Nhut to assess the situation for himself.
There was no more than a suspicion
among the embassy staff that the last proconsul of the empire might,
just might, have plans to burn with Rome. When the meeting ended in
confusion, Polgar ordered that the great tamarind tree be chopped
The tree-cutters assembled, like
Marlboro men run to fat. These were the men who would fell the great
tamarind; a remarkable group of CIA officers, former Special Forces
men (the Green Berets) and an assortment of former GIs supplied by
two California-based companies to protect the embassy.
They carried weapons which would
delight the collector, including obsolete and adorned machine guns
and pistols, and a variety of knives. However, they shared one
characteristic; they walked with a swagger that was pure cowboy:
legs slightly bowed, right hand hanging loose, fingers turned in and
now and then patting the holster. They were issued with axes and a
power saw, and secretaries from the embassy brought them beer and
sandwiches. They were cutting down the Ambassador's tree without the
At the same time, a fleet of cars and
trucks pulled into the market outside the Botanical Gardens and Zoo,
and quickly discharged their cargo: frozen steaks, pork chops,
orange juice, great jars of pickles and maraschino cherries, cartons
of canned butter beans and Chunkie peanut butter, Sara Lee cakes,
Budweiser beer, Seven-Up, Wrigley's Chewing Gum, Have-A-Tampa
plastic-tipped cigars and more, all of it looted from the Saigon
commissary, which had been abandoned shortly after an NLF sapper
unit strolled in Indian file past its rear doors.
To the Saigonese, stealing from their
mentors and patrons had become something of a cultural obligation,
and there was a carnival air and much giggling as fast-melting
T-bones were sold for a few cents. A pick-up truck discharged a
dishwashing machine and a water cooler was quickly sold and driven
away in a tri-shaw; the dishwasher was of the Blue Swan brand and on
its box was the Blue Swan motto: "Only the best is right for our
customers." The dishwasher was taken from its box and left on the
road. Two hours later it was still there, unsold and stripped of
vital parts, a forlorn monument to consumer enterprise in Vietnam.
Saigon was now under a 24-hour curfew,
but there were people in the streets, and some of them were soldiers
from the 18th ARVN Division which had fought well at Xuan Loc, on
Highway One. We had been expecting them and awaiting the first signs
of their anger as they watched the Americans preparing to leave them
to their fate. That morning, when they first appeared in the centre
of the city, they merely eyed foreigners, or robbed them, or fired
into the air to relieve their frustration.
I walked back to the Caravelle Hotel
where I was to meet Sandy Gall of Independent Television News (ITN);
he and I were the "evacuation wardens" for the TCN Press, which
meant Third Country Nationals, which meant everyone who was not
American or Vietnamese. For some days Gall and I had concerned
ourselves with the supremely eccentric task of trying to organise
those representatives of the British, Canadian, Italian, German,
Spanish, Argentinian, Brazilian, Dutch and Japanese press who wanted
to be evacuated.
The American embassy had distributed a
15-page booklet called SAFE, short for "Standard Instruction and
Advice to Civilians in an Emergency." The booklet included a map of
Saigon pinpointing "assembly areas where a helicopter will pick you
up." There was an insert page which read: Note evacuational signal.
Do not disclose to other personnel. When the evacuation is ordered,
the code will be read out on American Forces Radio. The code is: THE
TEMPERATURE IN SAIGON IS 112 DEGREES AND RISING. THIS WILL BE
FOLLOWED BY THE PLAYING OF I'M DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS."
The Japanese journalists were
concerned that they would not recognise the tune and wondered if
somebody could sing it to them. At the Caravelle, Gall and I had
nominated floor wardens who, at the first hint of yuletide snow in
Saigon, were to ensure that reporters who were infirm, deaf, asleep,
confined to a lavatory or to a liaison, would not be left behind.
There was more than a modicum of self-interest in this arrangement;
I had, and have, an affliction which has delivered me late for
virtually every serious event in my life.
Two C-130 Hercules aircraft from Clark
Air Force Base in the Philippines were over Tan Son Nhut. They were
ordered not to land. Scouts sent to the perimeter of the airport
reported that two platoons of PAVN infantry had reinforced the
sappers in the cemetery a mile away; a South Vietnamese pilot had
landed his F-5 fighter on the runway and abandoned it with its
engine running; and a jeep-load of ARVN were now ramming one of
their own C-130s as it tried to take off. "There are some three
thousand panicking civilians on the runway," said General Homer
Smith on the VHF. "The situation appears to be out of control."
Graham Martin, alone in his office,
watched the tree fall and heard his CIA Station Chief cry,
'Timberrrr!' When Kissinger phoned shortly afterwards, in compliance
with President Ford's wish that the American Ambassador should take
the final decision on the evacuation, he listened patiently to an
exhausted and ailing Graham Martin. At 10.43 a.m. the order was
given to "go with Option Four" (the helicopter evacuation; the other
options had involved evacuation by sea and by air). But Martin
remained steadfast in the belief that there was "still time" to
negotiate an "honourable settlement."
The Caravelle emptied without the
knowledge of the Unofficial Joint TCN Warden. Nobody told me. Bing
Crosby did not croon on my radio. When I emerged, the rooms looked
like the Marie Celeste, with clothes, papers, toothbrushes left. I
ran to my room, gathered my typewriter, radio and notes and jammed
them into one small bag; the rest I left. Two room attendants
arrived and viewed my frantic packing, bemused and slightly in awe.
One asked, "Are you checking out,
sir?" I said that I was, in a manner of speaking. "But your laundry
won't be back till this evening, sir." I tried not to look at him.
"Please ... you keep it ... and anything else you see." I pushed a
bundle of piastres into their hands, knowing that I was buying their
deference in the face of my graceless exit. After nine years, what a
way to leave. But that I wanted to leave was beyond question; I had
had my fill of the war.
Outside, Lam Son Square was empty,
except for a few ARVN soldiers slouched in doorways and in the
gutter. One of them walked briskly up Tu Do, shouting at me; he was
drunk. He unholstered his revolver, rested it on an unsteady arm,
took aim and fired.
The bullet went over my head as I ran.
A crowd was pressing at the gate of the American embassy; some were
merely the curious who had come to watch the Americans' aerial
Dunkirk, but there were many who gripped the bars arid pleaded with
the marine guard to let them in and waved wax-sealed documents and
letters from American officials.
An old man had a letter from a
sergeant who a long time ago had run the bar at the Air Force
officers' club in Pleiku. The old man used to wash dishes there, and
his note from the sergeant, dated 5 June, 1967, read, "Mr Nha, the
bearer of this letter, faithfully served the cause of freedom in the
Republic of Vietnam."
Mr Nha also produced a toy Texas
ranger's star which one of the pilots at Pleiku had given to him. He
waved the letter and the toy Texas ranger's star at the marine guard
who was shouting at the crowd," Now please don't panic... please!"
For as long as they could remember, these people, who worked for the
Americans, had been told to fear the communists; now they were being
told, with the communists in their backyards, that they should not
The old man attempted to slide through
the opening in the gate and was pushed to the ground by the marine
who was telling them not to panic. He got up, tried again and was
tackled by a second marine who propelled him outside with the butt
of his rifle and hurled the Texas ranger's badge over the heads of
Inside the embassy compound the
marines and the cowboys were standing around the stump of the great
tamarind tree. "OK, you tell me what we're gonna do about this
immovable bastard?" said one of the cowboys into his walkie-talkie.
"Take it easy, Jed," came an audible reply, "just you and the boys
level it down by at least another foot, so there's plenty of room
for the rotors.
And Jed, get all those shavings swept
up, or sure as hell they're gonna be sucked into the engines." So
the marines and the cowboys went on swinging their axes at the
stump, but with such mounting frustration and incompetence that
their chopping became an entertainment for those both inside and
outside the gate, and for the grinning French guards on the high
wall of the French embassy next door.
There is in the Vietnamese language,
which is given much to poetry and irony, a saying that "only when
the house burns, do you see the faces of the rats." Here was Dr Phan
Quang Dan, former deputy prime minister and minister responsible for
social welfare and refugee resettlement, a man seen by Washington
and by Ambassador Martin as the embodiment of the true nationalist
spirit of South Vietnam.
An obsessive anti-communist who was
constantly making speeches exhorting his countrymen to stand and
fight, Dr Phan Quang Dan was accompanied by his plump wife
sweltering under a fur coat and by a platoon of bagmen whose bags
never left their grip. The "beautiful people" of Saigon were also
there, including those young men of military age whose wealthy
parents had paid large bribes to keep them out of the Army.
Although they were listed as soldiers
on some unit's roster, they never reported for duty and their
commanding officers more than likely pocketed their wages. They
were called "ghost soldiers" and they continued to lead the good
life in Saigon: in the cafés, on their Hondas, beside the pool at
the Cercle Sportif, while the sons of the poor fought and died at
Quang Tri, An Loc, and all the other places.
"Look, it is me ... let me in, please
... thank you very much ... hello, it is me!" The shrill voice at
the back of the crowd outside the gate belonged to
Lieutenant-General Dang Van Quang, regarded by his countrymen and by
many Americans as one of the biggest and richest profiteers in South
The marine guard had a list of people
he could let in, and General Quang was on it. With great care, the
guard helped General Quang, who was very fat, over the 15-foot bars
and then retrieved his three Samsonite bags. The General was so
relieved to be inside that he walked away, leaving his 20-year-old
son to struggle hopelessly in the crowd. There were two packets of
dollars sagging from the General's jacket breast packet. When they
were pointed out to him, he stuffed them back in, and laughed. To
the Americans, General Quang was known as "Giggles" and "General
Among the Americans
in the embassy compound there was a festive spirit. They squatted on
the lawn around the swimming-pool with champagne in ice buckets
looted from the embassy restaurant, and they whooped it up; one man
in a western hat sprayed bubbly on another and there was joyous
singing by two aircraft mechanics, Frank and Elmer. Over and over
they sang, to the tune of "The Camp Town Races":
We're goin' home in
Doo dah, doo dah;
We ain't goin' home
in plastic bags,
Oh doo dah day.
"This is where I've come after ten
years," said Warren Parker almost in tears. "See that man over
there? He's a National Police official ...nothing better than a
torturer." Warren Parker had been, until that morning, United States
Consul in My Tho, in the Delta, where I had met him a week earlier.
He was a quiet, almost bashful man who had spent 10 years in Vietnam
trying to "advise" the Vietnamese and puzzling why so many of them
did not seem to want his advice.
He and I pushed our way into the
restaurant beside the swimming-pool, past a man saying, "No
Veetnamese in here, no Veetnamese," where we looted a chilled bottle
of Taylor New York wine, pink and sweet. The glasses had already
gone, so we drank from the bottle. "I'll tell you something," he
said in his soft Georgia accent, "if there ever was a moment of
truth for me it's today. All these years I've been down there, doing
a job of work for my country and for this country, and today all I
can see is that we've succeeded in separating all the good people
from the scum, and we got the scum."
At 3.15 p.m. Graham Martin strode out
of the embassy lift, through the foyer and into the compound. The
big helicopters, the Jolly Green Giants, had yet to arrive and the
stump of the tamarind was not noticeably shorter, in spite of the
marines' and cowboys' furious chopping and sawing. Martin's Cadillac
was waiting for him and, with embassy staff looking on in shock, the
Cadillac drove towards the gate, which was now under siege. The
marine at the gate could not believe his eyes.
The Cadillac stopped, the marine threw
his arms into the air and the Cadillac reversed. The Ambassador got
out and stormed past the stump and the cowboys. "I am going to walk
once more to my residence," he exclaimed. "I shall walk freely in
this city. I shall leave Vietnam when the President tells me to
leave." He left the embassy by a side entrance, forced his own way
through the crowd and walked the four blocks to his house. An hour
and a half later he returned with his poodle, Nitnoy, and his
As the first Chinook helicopter made
its precarious landing, its rotors slashed into a tree, and the
snapping branches sounded like gunfire. "Down! Down!" screamed a
corporal, high on Methedrine, to the line of people crouched against
the wall, waiting their turn to be evacuated, until an officer came
and calmed him.
The helicopter's capacity was 50, but
it lifted off with 70. The pilot's skill was breathtaking as he
climbed vertically to 200 feet, with bullets pinging against the
rotors and shredded embassy documents playing in the downdraft.
However, not all the embassy's documents were shredded and some were
left in the compound in open plastic bags.
One of these I
have. It is dated May 25, 1969 and reads, "Top Secret ... memo from
John Paul Vann, counter insurgency ...900 houses in Chau Doe
province were destroyed by American air strikes without evidence of
a single enemy being killed.
The destruction of
this hamlet by friendly American firepower is an event that will
always be remembered and never forgiven by the surviving
From the billowing incinerator on the
embassy roof rained money. I found it difficult to believe my eyes.
The unreal and the real had merged. From the heavens came 20, 50 and
100 dollar bills. Most were charred; some were not. The Vietnamese
waiting around the pool could not believe their eyes; former
ministers and generals and torturers scrambled for their severance
pay from the sky. An embassy official said that more than five
million dollars were being burned. "Every safe in the embassy has
been emptied and locked again," said an official, "so as to fool the
gooks when we've gone."
At least a thousand people were still
inside the embassy, waiting to be evacuated, although most of the
celebrities, like "Giggles" Quang, had seen themselves on to the
first helicopters; the rest waited passively, as if stunned. Inside
the embassy itself there was champagne foaming on to polished desks,
as several of the embassy staff tried systematically to wreck their
own offices: smashing water coolers, pouring bottles of Scotch into
the carpets, sweeping pictures from the wall. In a third-floor
office a picture of the late President Johnson was delivered into a
wastepaper basket, while a framed quotation from Lawrence of Arabia
was left an the wall.
The quotation read: "Better to let
them do it imperfectly, than to do it perfectly yourself, for it is
their country, their war, and your time is short."
It was approaching midnight. The
embassy compound was lit by the headlights of embassy cars, and the
jolly Green Giants were now taking up to 90 people each. Martin
Garrett, the head of security, gathered all the remaining Americans
together. The waiting Vietnamese sensed what was happening and a
marine colonel appeared to reassure them that Ambassador Martin had
given his word he would be the last to leave. It was a lie, of
course. It was 2.30 a.m. on April 30 when Kissinger phoned Martin
and told him to end the evacuation at 3.45 a.m.
After half an hour Martin emerged with
an attaché case, a suit bag and the Stars and Stripes folded in a
carrier bag. He went in silence to the sixth floor where a
helicopter was waiting. "Lady Ace 09 is in the air with Code Two."
"Code Two" was the code for an American Ambassador. The clipped
announcement over the tied circuit meant that the American invasion
of Indo-China had ended. As his helicopter banked over Highway One,
the Ambassador could see the headlights of trucks of the People's
Army of Vietnam, waiting.
The last marines reached the roof and
fired tear-gas canisters into the stairwell. They could hear the
smashing of glass and desperate attempts by their former allies to
break open the empty safes. The marines were exhausted and
beginning to panic; the last helicopter had yet to arrive and it was
well past dawn.
Three hours later, as the sun beat
down on an expectant city, tanks flying NLF colours entered the
centre of Saigon. Their jubilant crews showed no menace, nor did
they fire a single shot. They were courteous and bemused; and one of
them jumped down, spread a map on his tank and asked amazed
bystanders, "Please direct us to the presidential palace. We don't
know Saigon, we haven't been here for some time."
The tanks clattered into Lam Som
Square, along Tu Do, up past the cathedral and, after pausing so
that the revolutionary flag on their turrets could catch the breeze,
they smashed through the ornate gates of the presidential palace
where "Big" Minh and his cabinet were waiting to surrender. In the
streets outside, boots and uniforms lay in neat piles where ARVN
soldiers had stepped out of them and merged with the crowds.
There was no
"bloodbath," as those who knew little about the Vietnamese had
predicted. With the invader expelled, this extraordinary country was
again one nation, as the Geneva conference had said it had a right
all those wasted years ago.
The longest war of
the 20th century was over.
“Act Of Betrayal”
Curry Spied On US
Soldiers Who Didn’t Support The War;
Then He Turned
Against It Himself
27 April, 2005 BBC News, Washington
[Thanks to Z, who
sent this in.]
David Curry turned
against the war during his time as an intelligence officer
Intelligence officer David Curry was
based in a bar, not the jungle during his Vietnam war.
But he did not escape the
Mr Curry spied on
US soldiers who did not support the war effort. Sometimes he
"I remember gradually getting more and
more disillusioned with the job," he told the BBC.
"I helped to
identify three South Vietnamese soldiers working against us and I
later found out that those people were killed. That was when I
turned the corner."
He asked for a
discharge, but was refused.
"Many people saw it as an act of
betrayal," he said.
"But as those people moved away from
me, more people came towards me - people who shared similar views.
"At first I
actually thought that I hated the Vietnamese - but I saw they were
people whose whole lives were being changed by forces beyond their
control, and I had a whole different attitude towards my country.
"They are thoughts
that still stay with me today - I get very emotional."
Huge U.S. Majority
Still Rejects Vietnam War
April 28, 2005
by Brad Knickerbocker, Christian Science Monitor
"There's little question that the
average American considers the Vietnam War to have been a mistake,"
writes Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.
"In fact, a
majority of the public began to think the war was a mistake in the
summer of 1968 as the war was still raging, and have continued to
think so across 12 separate polls conducted since that point. Most
recently, in November 2000, 68 percent said that it was a mistake,
while 24 percent said that it was not."
Absent North Korea
invading South Korea, or a terrorist attack in the US on the scale
of Sept. 11, "US public opinion will not accept an Indochina-size
war under any circumstances I can think of," says Fred Branfman.
"This is the
enduring legacy of Vietnam in the 21st century as I see it," he
says. A new strategic landscape
Thanks To Billy
To: GI Special
Sent:, April 28, 2005
Subject: [30 April 1975 - 30 April
I write the poor
man, less frequently than I used to, to remind him that he is a
liar, murderer, and a war criminal. Sometimes I think the poor
bastard just went out way over his head.
But he took the job. He bears
responsibility for what he's done.
A real man could still stop now. What
could they do, kill him?
So I play the million to one shot.
That's the odds, if you ask me, of any
reversal coming about before these guys fly the plane we're all on
straight into the goddam ground.
Thanks to Billy
Kelly for telling it like it is.
I'm sure he'll
never forget what he did.
But he has regained
JF’s Letter To GWB:
Dear George W Bush,
Here are the reflections of a man,
Billy Kelly, who did not stay safe at home during the American War
in Viet Nam, as you and I did. As Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz
and the rest of the war mongers in "your" administration did.
Billy Kelly recounts the things he
wishes he had never done. See :
What Billy Kelly feels now, thirty
years after the end of that monstrous war, the war that murdered
50,000 Americans and more than 2,000,000 Viet Namese, the war which
the United States of America waged with chemical weapons that are
maiming and destroying newborns in Viet Nam to this day, the war in
which the United States of America strew murderous munitions
throughout Lao, Cambodia and Viet Name that murder and maim to this
day, what Billy Kelly feels now
is what all the innocent Americans you've sent to murder and be
murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan are beginning to feel now and will
feel for the rest of their lives.
“The conclusion I
have reached with enormous personal pain and sorrow is this: If the
end is immoral, unlawful and dishonorable, then, whatever the means
used to reach such, will be equally immoral, unlawful and
“There are no free
passes. No shrink in the world can undo what I did. I killed other
human beings who were fighting against me for what is now recognized
as an honorable and just end. My opponents were fighting for their
freedom, liberty and independence. The Viets had a goal. A
justifiable end might permit a justifiable homicide.
“I envy them. All
wars suck but some might be deemed just or necessary. Our opponents
took up arms to defend their homeland from an aggressive invader who
was occupying their land. An occupier who was intent on imposing
his will upon the will of another by use of brute force. To resist
that is a persons duty and obligation.
“Sadly, I now know
that I was the neighborhood bully!
Faciunt, Pacem Appellant"
"They Made a
Wasteland and They Called It Peace" - Tacitus
“Hoa Binh, Billy
You are personally
responsible for every violent death in Iraq since your shocking,
awful invasion and occupation of that country.
You are a liar, a
murderer, a war criminal.
You call yourself a
Christian. It would be far better for you if a millstone were tied
around your neck and you were hurled into the deepest sea than for
you to have done what you have done.
You will be tried
as the war criminal that you are. You can run, but you cannot hide.
Yet still, even now, you can stop the
murders in Iraq. How many more innocent people will you murder and
maim if you continue as you have done until January 20, 2009?
You are a murderer and will have to
answer for your crimes, but you can still stop murdering now! You
can stop compounding your error. Your terror.
Think of the joy that thousands of
wives, mothers, children and sweethearts will feel if you do not
murder their husbands, fathers and lovers between now and January
20, 2009! You have the power to stop in your wicked, monstrous
tracks and prevent thousands more murders!
Or you can continue
as you have, a mad dog of man. Undeterred by reason. Murdering,
maiming and destroying. Snorting and blaspheming as you do so.
Stop. Just stop.
Just say no to Perle, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and the rest.
I can assure you
that not only will a crushing burden be lifted from your shoulders,
it will be lifted from the shoulders of innocents throughout America
and the world.
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