vietnam war

The Wounds of War

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I’ve tried to temper my words lately. Being aggressive in disdain for those who blindly promote service to bankers and the war machine rarely works. It puts those complicit in delivering their sons and daughters into the bowels of the corrupt system of empire on the defensive. They have been programmed and it’s hard to undo.

Recently an older family member said of someone who is about to graduate from high school; “Isn’t he going to join the military? Wouldn’t that be the best thing for him?”

This person has been diagnosed as being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s so there was no need in arguing. Sometimes it seems that our entire country is in the last stages of the disease for which there is no cure. Perhaps that’s close to being true but there still are enough healthy people to make a difference, at least that’s the hope we still cling to.

Another extended family member, who is in college, thinks he wants to be in the FBI. There were too many people not interested in politics and propaganda around when this talk was going on this Easter Sunday so I held my tongue. One day I will try to plant the seed of doubt by asking him what he would do when confronted with orders that are not ethical or moral or constitutional as so often is the case. He’s a smart kid but I don’t think he has been exposed to the whole of possibilities that exist in that line of work.  It’s the same with soldiers and their families. Not being aware is a poor excuse but being caught up in the deceptions is understandable and we have to deal with it.

Just because you don’t want to hear something, doesn’t mean it isn’t true and also doesn’t mean you won’t hear it at some point, or be affected by it to your detriment or benefit. Great and seemingly invincible armies have been defeated. Massive armadas have sunk and drowned at the bottom of the sea. Vast empires are now nothing but ruins. These things are true.

Today is the 42th anniversary of the Kent State massacre.
Questions still remain but the same mechanisms of shoot first, think and ask questions later still remain. For some of us it was our first exposure to the reality that pawns working for those in power would kill their own and attempt to justify it in the name of security. It’s fairly commonplace now. Only the actors and victims have changed.

The protesters, the hippies, thought they could change the world and in small ways they did. We thought we could put an end to the insanity of war. Little did we know.

By 1974 the idealism of youth had taken a wrong turn . Hard drugs, downers, bad acid and creeping apathy infiltrated the movement and causalities at the fringe took their toll. By the end of the Vietnam War the hippies were starting to become yuppies and the consumer culture once again became dominant. The police state never rested and solidified and advanced the agenda exponentially with 9/11. The factors of where we are today are many. Just as there was no justice for the victims of Kent State, one ingredient of all collapsing empires is an absence of justice. Do we still have time to bring justice back to the forefront? We have to try.

From 1972, memories from the falling and failures of the counter culture … It was fun while it lasted.


Parallels: Vietnam and Afghanistan…Soldiers and Heroin

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It’s easy for soldiers to score heroin in Afghanistan

2007 – Simultaneously stressed and bored, U.S. soldiers are turning to the widely available drug for a quick escape.

The true extent of the heroin problem among American soldiers now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is unknown.

The military has statistics on how many troops failed drug tests, but the best information on long-term addiction comes from the U.S. Veterans Administration. The VA is the world’s largest provider of substance abuse services, caring for more than 350,000 veterans per year, of whom about 30,000 are being treated for opiate addiction.

Heroin “is everywhere.” And although they haven’t shown up in the statistics yet, reports from methadone clinics suggest the VA’s future patients may already be back in the States in force. Much like the caskets that return to the Dover Air Force base in the dead of night, America’s new addicts are returning undetected. {more}

Problems shooting up in Afghanistan

2009 – More than 100,000 people around the world are lost each year to heroin. Russia’s heroin crisis began after an occupation of Afghanistan. Our military presence must end in Afghanistan before we suffer the same fate and bring this epidemic back to the United States. {more}

2009 – In the end, no one knows exactly how many U.S. troops are using heroin, though it is unlikely that the military’s acknowledged “none” is any reflection of reality. But with the military’s outright refusal to acknowledge the reality of drug abuse and addiction among troops in the field, it’s equally unlikely that military or VA health services are prepared for any onslaught of addiction patients requiring counseling and rehabilitation. {more]

What are the heroin addiction statistics for US troops in Afghanistan

Romancing the Afghan Dragon

Anyone who has followed the tales of the returning troops from Vietnam knows that the use of heroin was fairly common. The parallels to Afghanistan could be repeating…

The following is a Vanderbilt University academic report on drug use among soldiers in the Vietnam war and even earlier.

Higher and Higher: Drug Use Among U.S. Forces in Vietnam

by Peter Brush

In 1898 the United States acquired control of the Philippines. The following year it began a brutal fight to suppress a guerrilla uprising. It is basic to guerrilla war that combatants will be mingled with the civilian population. Social behaviors flow one to the other. Soon after their arrival American soldiers learned to smoke opium. This practice became sufficiently common that U.S. Opium Commissioner Hamilton Wright felt compelled to deny it, claiming in a report to the 1909 Shanghai Opium Commission that “among the personnel of our Army and Navy [in the Philippines] there is not the slightest evidence that the use of opium or its derivatives has been introduced….”[1]

In reality, the drug habit among U.S. military personnel was “alarmingly increasing,” so much so that its occurrence was an agenda item at the 1903 meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association. There the Report of the Committee on Acquirement of Drug Habits noted that soldiers acquired the practice from Chinese and native Filipinos and that a number of enlisted men had been discharged for being habitual drug users. The discharge rate was several hundred percent higher during the previous five years than for any ten years before that.[2] The history of drug use among U.S. military personnel is not limited to the Philippines insurrection. The next time American soldiers fought to suppress guerrillas, in Vietnam, the use of drugs by American soldiers reached epidemic proportions.

Although marijuana is legally considered a drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act, its use was treated differently from other drugs by American commanders and military lawyers in Vietnam.[3] This distinction will be maintained here; use of marijuana will be related separately from use of other drugs.

Marijuana was present in Vietnam before the arrival of the Americans. Drug laws were not well defined and their enforcement had little priority in the Vietnamese criminal justice system. There was no central Vietnamese drug enforcement agency and no government control over marijuana. A survey made in 1966 by the U.S. military command in the Saigon area showed there were 29 fixed outlets for the purchase of marijuana.[4]

A comparison has been made between Vietnamese use of marijuana and the manner in which the French treat wine and sex: there are cultural regulations for use, sale, and protocol but no inherent sense of “illicitness” as in the United States.[5] Journalist Richard Boyle mentions its use by South Vietnamese soldiers. He even relates an incident where he smoked marijuana with the South Vietnamese consul in Cambodia. Craven “A” and Park Lane were the popular brands of grass available in Saigon. It was sold in the form of pre-rolled cigarettes in genuine Craven “A” and Park Lane packages.

Former North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldier Bao Ninh reports that smoking a marijuana-like substance became so pervasive that use spread throughout his entire regiment.[6] American soldiers note that the Vietnamese used marijuana openly. One saw it growing wild in Central Vietnam. Another discovered a sizeable quantity in the knapsack of a dead NVA soldier at Khe Sanh.[7]

Soldiers began using marijuana in Vietnam as early as 1963, during the advisory period, and before its use became widespread in the United States. Its popularity grew steadily.[8] In 1967 a Congressional investigation discovered 16 instances of marijuana use inside the Marine brig at Da Nang. The source was Vietnamese who gave it to prisoners on working parties, often throwing it into passing vehicles in which prisoners were riding.

Inmates not eligible for working parties did not necessarily have to go without marijuana. Marine lawyer Captain Robert W. Wachsmuth described how:

Members of working parties would obtain marijuana seeds [which were] planted in rows of dirt above the shower stalls which were opened to the outside by the gap between the tin roof and the wall….Spray from the prisoners’ showers would water the plants. When the plants reached a sufficient size, plastic…would be placed between the shower spray and the plant, causing the plant to die. The plants would then be crushed and rolled in toilet paper to make joints.[9]

Other Marines found easy access from street vendors as their vehicles passed through urban areas.

For most of the Vietnam War, prosecution for even a slight trace of marijuana was a court-martial offense for Marines. The lack of a crime laboratory in Vietnam before 1968 was a major handicap to efforts to punish marijuana offenders. Drug samples were sent to Japan for testing, a process that took 45 days to complete. That same year marijuana detecting dogs were pressed into service to search for marijuana among Marines returning to Vietnam from R&R trips abroad.[10]

While the Marines were subjecting all marijuana offenders to courts-martial, the Army took only dealers and users of hard drugs to trial. The more severe Marine approach was a failure: in 1969, nearly half the cases tried by the Marine Corps in Vietnam involved marijuana possession. Marijuana use was no longer confined to rear area units. A drug rehabilitation center was established at Cua Viet for drug users from infantry battalions. A senior Marine legal officer admitted the helplessness in stemming the tide of marijuana use: “I don’t know what the solution is….I don’t know what the hell we are going to do.”[11]

Before 1968, marijuana use among soldiers was largely ignored by the Army. Newspaper stories describing its widespread use helped publicize this situation, inclining Army officials to label it as a problem. Their solution was a comprehensive program to eradicate its use. Armed Forces radio and television proclaimed the dangers of marijuana consumption. Drug education lectures became mandatory. Troop quarters and secluded fields were searched for marijuana. Soldiers were warned by chaplains, physicians, and legal officers that marijuana use could cause not only physiological damage and lead to psychosis, but also result in injury to men dependent on this for marijuana possession reached as many as 1,000 in a single week.

Marijuana use was fairly easy to detect: it is a bulky commodity and emits a distinct odor when smoked. Consequently, the Army was able to wage a vigorous suppression campaign. In 1968, responding to U.S. pressure, the Vietnamese government publicly condemned the sale and use of marijuana. Province chiefs were ordered to forbid its cultivation. Aircraft were used to locate marijuana fields and South Vietnamese troops were sent into the field to destroy crops. U.S. Army Press releases claimed the drug problem was being brought under control. Eventually the anti-marijuana campaign by the Army was relaxed, although use remained high among enlisted personnel and junior officers.[12]

In fact, marijuana use was mostly a problem because it conflicted with American civilian and military values. Use of marijuana did not constitute an operational problem. Smoking in rear areas did not impact operations. Use among combat personnel came when units stood down rather when in the field. The Commanding General of the 3d Marine Division noted “there is no drug problem out in the hinterlands, because there was a self-policing by the troops themselves.” Life for combat soldiers depended on their being clear-headed.[13]

Army Major Joel Kaplan of the 98th Medical Detachment realistically appraised the use of marijuana. While noting that marijuana was used at high rates, alcohol consumption among career military personnel was a larger problem. “I think alcohol is a much more dangerous drug than marijuana.”[14] One Air Force officer understood well the difference: “When you get up there in those early hours, you want the klunk you’re flying with to be able to snap to. He’s a lot more likely to be fresh if he smoked grass the night before than if he was juiced.” A much larger problem was on the horizon for American military commanders in Vietnam. When heroin use became commonplace, one Army commanding officer rationally described the implications of marijuana use. “If it would get them to give up the hard stuff, I would buy all the marijuana and hashish in the Delta as a present.”[15]

Soldiers in Vietnam smoked marijuana and took other drugs who would not do so at home. A soldier’s friends become extremely important; new soldiers adhere to behavior of members of their group. Marine commander Major Ives W. Neely claimed “at least 70 to 80 percent” use within his company. Marines would catch a new man as he reported into the unit, instructing him that if he was going to buy marijuana he would buy it from them. If anyone told, turned in any of their names, “there were ways to do these people in.”[16]

When young men, many still teenagers, are in a strange land and surrounded by enemies (real and potential), they do not have to be cajoled into assuming the habits of their new friends who proceeded them to Vietnam. One former Marine related his first experience with marijuana in the form of hashish. He was with a small group guarding the Hai Van Pass, certainly one of the most beautiful places in Asia in terms of physical geography. Fresh water flowed in a pipe on a hill near an oil refinery and emptied into the South China Sea. Vietnamese fishermen would come ashore while the Marines bathed in the pipeline outflow. For ten piasters (about ten cents), the Marines could buy French bread, hashish, and fresh lobsters from the Vietnamese. The Marines smoked the hashish in a pipe fashioned out of a M-14 shell casing. With their appetites stimulated from the hashish, they ate the bread. The lobsters were flash-fried in a helmet. Cooking fuel was provided by plastic explosives (C-4), which burns vigorously when ignited. This practice was a common one for the platoon guarding the oil refinery at the Hai Van Pass in 1965.[17] It was a practice that would prove impossible to eradicate.

Other drugs were available to U.S. forces. In 1967 opium cost $1.00 while morphine went for $5.00 per vial. Tablets of Binoctal, an addictive drug consisting of Amytal and Seconal, were available in tablet form from Vietnamese children at from $1.00 to $5.00 for twenty tablets. Although technically a prescription drug, Binoctal was available over the counter at almost any Vietnamese pharmacy for about eight piasters for twenty tablets. Twenty tablets, consumed at once, was a fatal dose. One soldier had died from Binoctal use, and three near-fatalities had been reported. “O.J.’s” were opium joints. After 1970 the name was often a misnomer, since heroin was widely available to U.S. forces. A tobacco cigarette was rolled between the finger and thumb to loosen the tobacco. The cigarette was partially emptied. A vial containing 250 milligrams of 94 to 96 percent pure heroin was poured into the cigarette, which was smoked.[18] Widespread heroin use would dwarf previous drug problems among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam. It was the attempt of the U.S. military command to suppress the use of marijuana that caused to the switch to heroin.[19]

Chinese immigrants to Vietnam in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries brought their opium smoking habit with them. Initially the emperors of Vietnam welcomed these Chinese for their entreprenuerial skills. Over time opium addiction appeared among the Vietnamese. In the 1830s Britain exported opium from India to China in large quantities. Opium smokers in Vietnam paid for their opium in silver, causing a drain of specie and inflation in Vietnam. The Vietnamese court strongly opposed opium smoking on both moral and economic grounds, and opium was outlawed soon after it appeared.

The French fought their way into Vietnam about the time of the U.S. Civil War. In order to pay an indemnity to the French, the emperor established an opium franchise in the northern region. Opium became a lucrative source of income for French colonial administrators. A modern opium refinery was constructed in Saigon. Opium dens and shops were opened to meet consumer demand. By 1918 there were 1,512 dens and 3,098 retail opium shops in French Indochina and the opium business was booming. [20]

By the beginning of World War II Indochina had over 100,000 opium addicts. By now the opium source was Iran and Turkey and imports totaled about 60 tons annually. During the war the British blockaded shipping to Indochina, forcing the French to expand opium production in Laos and Vietnam to avert a fiscal crisis. Indochinese opium production increased from 7.5 tons in 1940 to over 60 tons in 1944. By the late 1950s the region was self-sufficient in opium production. By 1969 the Golden Triangle (the opium producing regions of Laos, Thailand, and Burma) was harvesting 1,000 tons of raw opium annually.

In late 1969 and early 1970, Golden Triangle laboratories instituted a more sophisticated opium refinement process, allowing them to produce high-grade (80 to 99 percent pure) no. 4 heroin. A CIA report said the adoption of this new production technique seemed to be due to the large market in South Vietnam. Previously heroin had been unavailable in South Vietnam. Now teenagers sold it to American soldiers on the highways; street dealers gave it to GIs as they walked through Saigon, and maids sold it to military personnel while cleaning their living quarters. In 1970 there were 1,146 arrests for hard drugs. The following year arrests in this category increased to 7,026. That year 1971 U.S. Army medical officers estimated that 10 to 15 percent of the lower-ranking enlisted personnel in Vietnam were heroin users. .[21]

Psychoanalyst Dr. Norman E. Zinberg, a consultant for the Department of Defense on drug abuse in Vietnam, noted that heroin use was done casually by U.S. troops. More than one-third picked up the habit during their first month in Vietnam, and probably 90 percent in their first four months. A typical heroin user in Vietnam was quite unlike the typical heroin user in the United States: the soldiers may have come from small towns in the Midwest or South. All ethnic and educational groups were represented in about equal proportion. Users existed in administrative, combat-support, and combat occupational specialties. Combat troops avoided heroin use in the field. Zinberg notes one soldier who stood down after 13 days on a long patrol. One of his first actions was to pour a vial of heroin into a large shot of vodka and drink it.

In the U.S. heroin was injected and rarely smoked. In Vietnam, where the drug was much more pure, the opposite was the normal route of consumption. Heroin was also snorted and taken orally. These means of ingestion minimized the physical risks of injection. There were no deaths from overdose. Men used heroin to pass the time, to deal with the danger, boredom, and purposelessness of their lives.[22]

In terms of physical geography, South Vietnam consists of a coastal plain in the east and a long mountain chain in the west in addition to the Mekong delta in the far south. The source of opium lay on the other side of the Annamite Mountains. Opium and later heroin dealers in Vietnam had to have connections in the Golden Triangle area and means of transporting the drug back into South Vietnam. In the 1950s the French provided these transportation services through their association with Laotian military irregulars. By 1965-1967 the Vietnamese Air Force under Colonel Nguyen Cao Ky shipped opium from Laos to Saigon. Professor Alfred W. McCoy speculates that the May 1970 invasion of Cambodia may have opened another route of entry into South Vietnam. Most reports give early 1970 as the beginning of large scale heroin addiction among U.S. military personnel. Before the invasion Cambodia was hostile to pro-American regimes in South Vietnam. After the invasion there were large volumes of truck, naval, and air traffic between South Vietnam and Cambodia.[23]

Heroin was used by an estimated 15-20 percent of the GIs in the Mekong Delta under the command of Army Major General John Cushman. In mid-1971 Cushman ordered a crackdown. All troops were confined to base, guard patrols were increased, all personnel entering base areas were searched, and emergency medical clinics were established. Cushman determined these efforts were futile as long as the South Vietnamese protected drug dealers among the Vietnamese population. With drug smuggling entrenched among the Vietnamese air force, army, navy, police, customs, and politicians, the importation and sale of narcotics was too lucrative to eradicate. Further, there was an unwritten rule among U.S. embassy personnel to not implicate high-ranking Vietnamese in connection with the traffic in heroin. The CIA avoided gathering information on Vietnamese involvement. Within two weeks after its beginning Cushman’s campaign fell off in intensity.[24]

Nonmedical drug use was a serious crime for soldiers in Vietnam. The usual punishment for convicted offenders was the maximum sentence: up to ten years’ confinement, dishonorable discharge from the military, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. Alcoholics, by contrast, were given unsuitability discharges, which usually were honorable or general. That soldiers were not deterred from heroin use speaks to the special conditions they faced in Vietnam. Heroin was also available in neighboring Thailand. Even though heroin supplies there were greater than in Vietnam, heroin use among Army and Air Force personnel was less than one percent.

The different rates of heroin use between military personnel in South Vietnam and Thailand reflected the different natures of duty in those countries. In Thailand, men got days off from work. They were free to travel among the friendly Thai population. There was no anxiety caused by danger from enemy action. Military duty was considered purposeful. By contrast, military service in Vietnam during the era of troop withdrawals was considered less meaningful. Soldiers worked seven days a week, often 12 hours per day, and felt there was little point in getting killed before the war was officially declared over. Many U.S. military personnel felt the Vietnamese tried to take every possible economic advantage of them. Soldiers were taught to not trust the civilian population; there were frequent reminders that civilians might be Viet Cong supporters. The goal of lower-ranking military personnel in Vietnam was to stay alive for one year and return home. Heroin use was a way to pass the time while thinking about leaving.[25]

Drugs did not only affect the lower ranks. In 1970 an Air Force major was apprehended at Tan Son Nhut air base near Saigon with $8 million dollars worth of heroin in his aircraft. In 1971 a colonel was court-martialed for leading marijuana parties in his squadron. Nor were U.S. security forces immune: that year 43 military policemen at Cam Ranh Air Force Base were arrested in narcotics raids. At Pleiku, a newly arrived lieutenant was gunned down in front of his entire platoon by four Army drug dealers. The company and battalion commanders were relieved of their commands; the feeling was both should have known about the drug dealing in their command. In 1971 U.S. customs at an Army post in New Jersey seized about 15 pounds of heroin from Bangkok in a package mailed through the U.S. military postal system. In March and April 1971 248 pieces of mail containing drugs were detected by customs in the Army and Air Force postal systems.[26]

In late 1970 heroin made its way to Marine Corps units operating in the northern part of South Vietnam. Marine Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons considered the effect of its use on Marines, saying it wa

“impossible to quantify just how debilitating drug use may have been….In general, poor performance attracts attention which leads to revelation of drug use. But this does not ‘prove’ that drug use caused the poor performance nor does it give any indication of how many ‘good’ performers use drugs.”

Marine Major General Alan J. Armstrong was more decisive in his analysis of heroin’s effects, noting that in one aviation unit at least, heroin use was an operational problem and no longer only an administrative problem.

Military commands employed all available media to inform personnel of the moral, legal, and physical consequences of drug use. Pamphlets were created and distributed to platoon leaders. Drug education teams gave lectures. Drug abuse councils were created, traveling from unit to unit to spread the word. When education failed to stem the use of drugs, the Marine Corps relied upon punishment. When the judicial system could not court martial Marines fast enough, administrative discharges were used to get rid of offenders. The feeling of Marine Corps Commandant General Louis H. Wilson Jr. was that the Corps would go down in strength rather than allow unsuitable Marines to stay within its ranks.[27]

Senior military leaders understood that new arrivals were being introduced to drugs by existing users among the U.S. forces in Vietnam. Ridding itself of users was chosen to “guard against further infection.” Amnesty programs for users were the means to accomplish this house cleaning. The Navy selected two barracks ships moored at Nha Be (near Saigon) for the site of its rehabilitation center. Within one month 100 hundred sailors had turned themselves in for treatment. By comparison, at the same time (July 1 1971) the Army was treating 460 men while 350 airmen sought drug treatment.[28]

Drug use was less of a problem in the Marine Corps than in the Army. Towns and villages in the Marines’ area of responsibility were off limits to Marines, thereby limiting their accessibility to drugs. Marine units began withdrawing from Vietnam in 1969, with the last Marine ground unit out of the country by 1971. The Army remained in Vietnam until the end, fighting a defensive campaign to cover the U.S. withdrawal. This was when the drug problems of the Army peaked: in 1973, 34 percent of American soldiers in Vietnam had commonly used heroin.[29]

On June 22, 1971 the Army instituted its new program to deal with drug use. Every soldier leaving Vietnam was obligated to submit to a urinalysis test that detected heroin use within the previous five days. Those with positive test results were confined to a detoxification center and not allowed to return home until they could pass the test. Coupled with mandatory testing was the amnesty program, guaranteeing every soldier the right to declare himself an addict and receive treatment. By September 22 (a period less than three months), 3,580 armed forces personnel had tested positive for heroin use.

This program was flawed in its execution. Unit commanders began declaring anyone who failed two drug tests to be of “negligible value to the United States Army.” The U.S. military command in Vietnam discharged between one thousand and two thousand heroin addicts per month. These men were flown back to the United States and discharged almost immediately. Follow-up treatment was mostly nonexistent. In August 1971 a congressional subcommittee on public health noted that Veterans Administration hospitals handled only three referrals out of 12,000 heroin-using servicemen from Vietnam. Now on their own, many of these veterans returned to communities as addicts that had always been free from heroin addiction. Two years later a White House task force survey found that one-third of those servicemen who had tested positive for heroin in Vietnam were still heroin addicts. [30]

The market for heroin among U.S. military personnel was worth $88 million dollars to South Vietnamese drug traffickers, who viewed naively viewed heroin as solely “an American problem.”[31]

These profits were taken even though the Vietnamese had the most to lose from the withdrawal of American military forces. Golden Triangle heroin laboratories did not go out of business when American soldiers stepped up their withdrawal from Vietnam. In 1971 the Laotian ambassador to France was apprehended with 60 kilograms of heroin destined for the United States. Later that year a diplomat from the Philippines was arrested in New York with 15.5 kilograms of Laotian heroin. During the twenty years before 1972, the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics claimed that only five percent of America’s heroin came from Southeast Asia. By 1972 that figure had risen to 30 percent.

In 1974 there were an estimated 150,000 Vietnamese heroin addicts in Saigon. The following year, with the fall of the government in the South, these addicts became the problem of the new communist regime, in a manner similar to that of American Vietnam veteran addicts in the United States.32 The United States was unable to end its heroin problem in Vietnam even by ending its participation in the war: heroin came home with us..[32]

[1] David T. Courtwright, Dark Paradise (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 202n

[2] E. G. Eberle et al., “Report of Committee on the Acquirement of Drug Habits,” Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 1903, vol. 51, p. 475.

[3] Gary D. Solis, Marines and Military Law in Vietnam: Trial by Fire, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps), 1989, p. p. 74n

[4] George S. Prugh, Law at War: Vietnam 1964-1973, (Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 1975, p. 106.

[5] Electronic communication from John S. Baky dated August 2, 1996. Baky was a military policeman in Vietnam.

[6] 6Richard Boyle, The flower of the Dragon, (San Francisco: Ramparts Press, 1972), p. 190, 212. Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War, (New York, NY: Riverhead Books), 1996, p. 10

[7] The author raised the issue of Vietnamese use of marijuana on the Internet Usenet Newsgroup Soc.History.War.Vietnam on August 1, 1996. The comments about open use by the Vietnamese and marijuana growing wild are in email communications to the author by American veterans who wish to remain anonymous. The report of marijuana in the knapsack of a dead NVA soldier was related to the author at the 1993 reunion of Khe Sanh veterans in Washington, D.C

[8] Norman E. Zinberg, “G.I.’s and O.J.’s in Vietnam,” New York Times Magazine, December 5, 1971, p. 120.

[9] Solis, p. 104

[10] Solis, pp. 74-75, 104. W. Hays Parks, “Statistics Versus Actuality in Vietnam,” Air University Review, vol. 32, no. 4, May-June 1981, p. 86

[11] Solis, p. 127

[12] Zinberg, ibid., Prugh, p. 107

[13] Solis, p. 104

[14] Boyle, pp. 73-74

[15] Zinberg, ibid.

[16] Solis, pp. 126-127

[17] Electronic mail communication dated August 5, 1996, from a Marine Vietnam veteran who wishes to remain anonymous

[18] Solis, p. 74; Zinberg, p. 37, 114; Boyle, 69

[19] Zinberg, p. 120

[20] Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin, (Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill), 1991, pp. 109-111

[21] McCoy, pp. 113, 115, 222-223; Prugh, p. 107

[22] Zinberg, p. 114, 116, 118, 122

[23] McCoy, pp. 196-197, 225-226

[24] McCoy, pp. 224-225, 255

[25] Zinberg, pp. 116, 118, 122-123; Cosmas and Murray, p. 361n

[26] Robert D. Heinl, Jr., “The Collapse of the Armed Forces,”in Marvin E. Gettleman et. al., Vietnam and America, (New York: Grove Press), 1995, p. 329; James Kittfield, Prodigal Soldiers, (New York: Simon & Schuster), 1995, p. 189, 190; McCoy, p. 259

[27] Graham A. Cosmas and Terrence P. Murray, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1970-1971, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps), pp. 360-361; Solis, pp. 231-232

[28] R. L. Schreadley, From the Rivers to the Sea, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press), 1992, p. 368

[29] Parks, p. 85, 86; McCoy, p. 258

[30] McCoy, pp. 256-258; Schreadley, p. 369

[31] McCoy, p. 224; Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake, (New York: Vantage Books), 1973, p. 564

[32] McCoy, p. 259, 260, 261.


The Vietnam Veterans ‘Moving Wall’ Comes to Middle Tennessee

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An article at a local news site spurred me to respond. I had to tone it down a bit. This is a rural, bible belt area and sometimes a more subtle approach is best. My comments are below the re-posted article. Thanks to the Cannon Wire for allowing other views.

Ken Wilson, AKA Purple Haze, as part of the Patriot Guard

Cannon Countian to help escort ‘The Moving Wall’

Some things need to be repeated. Then, of course, some things just don’t.

You have heard that “The Moving Wall,” the mobile version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be on display at Westwood Elementary School, 912 Oakdale Street in Manchester, just a short drive away.

You also probably know that it will be on display October 29 thru November 1 and will be open 24 hours a day. You also may know that there is an opening ceremony scheduled for 7 pm Thursday night October 29.

Another thing you may be aware of is that The Patriot Guard Riders along with Rolling Thunder and The American Legion Riders will be providing a Motorcycle escort of The Moving Wall from The Ambassador Inn on Interstate drive in Manchester to the display site at Westwood Elementary School.

However, what you may not know is that Cannon County’s own Ken Wilson rides with the Patriot Guard Riders and will be part of the escort.

Are you old enough to remember Vietnam?

Vietnam soldiers were the forgotten veterans of an unpopular war. It was an unsettling time where every belief system seemed to get turned upside down and inside out.

Most of the nation, worked up to a media feeding frenzy, didn’t want the war, didn’t like the war, and disrespected those who were in it, forgetting that those who went were drafted and didn’t have much of a choice.

In Cannon County, citizens for the most part are insulated from what occurs in larger cities. Cannon County was lucky because most didn’t see active war protesters except on TV.

Across the nation, Americans were even going so far as to participate in flag burning ceremonies, bra burnings, and of course, we can’t forget Woodstock, where the sex, drugs, and rock and roll were free and easy.

Vietnam was the first nationally telecast war, brought to you in Technicolor, in the comfort of your living room, by your local sponsor.

In Cannon County, the most you may have seen locally were kids who wore POW/MIA bracelets, peace signs, and you may have noticed a patch of the American Flag that had been sewn on a kid’s posterior.

That is, if you lived during that era.

Most didn’t understand that those people who were in Vietnam and millions like them gave Americans the right to express freely their opinions. The American soldiers gave Americans the right to desecrate a patriotic emblem that in many countries would have been a hanging offense.

During that black time in American History, boys, barely old enough to grow hair on their chin, saw things that people only in war see, did things that people do only in war, and at the end of their tour, if they were lucky, they came home.

There were no welcome home bands playing, no patriotic flag waving, no kisses and no hugs.

Instead, they were spit on, physically hit, and mentally slapped by curses when they stepped off the plane and onto American soil.

By the way, don’t think it didn’t happen to those who were from Cannon County, because it did.

Never heard anyone from Cannon County who did any spitting on our soldiers, though.

Overall, our country didn’t mourn and honor the lost, instead, they protested the coffins bearing those that came home, causing even more grief to the families that had the ultimate grief to bear.

There were even protesters at their funerals, appalling to everyone except the protesters.

Years later, the worm turned.

In 1979, a group of Vietnam veterans started the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, choosing to take that black time in patriotism and turn it to good, in order to honor those who served and educate others.

The group lobbied Congress for a two acre plot of land in the Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to see it though. It was a three and half year task to build the memorial and to orchestrate a celebration to finally salute those who served in Vietnam. It’s not a war Memorial but a Memorial to those who served in the war, both living and dead.

“The Moving Wall” is the half-size replica of the Washington, DC. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been touring the country since 1984 and there are actually two that travel from April through November.

If you have never been to Washington, felt the power by placing your hand on the cold marble and in awe felt all the names engraved, you now have your chance at the next best thing.

Another organization sprang up with another mission, but just as noble is the Patriot Guard Riders.

Yes, the Patriot Guard Riders ride motorcycles and they have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security.

Ken Wilson has ridden many miles to different locations to participate in this worthwhile endeavor.

The Guard’s mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Their mission is also to show sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities and to shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters, so that what happened in the past will never happen again.

Of course, they accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

We must never forget to show respect to those who have served, those who are currently in service, and those who have died to keep our great America free.

Veterans Day is November 11 and Cannon County is remembering our veterans with a parade and more.

Lessons were learned when the worm turned.

source: Cannon Wire


I have stood at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C. I have laid my hands on the names of a best friend, former neighbors and those that I did not know. I felt a tingle in my spine and tears upon my cheeks. I also remembered those that I knew whose names are not on the wall but who died prematurely from their time in Vietnam, not from physical wounds but from the demons they brought back with them.

My respect for those who served and died has been unwavering for over 40 years. My disrespect and contempt for those who sent them has also never wavered.

If you don’t want to hear a counterpoint to some of the notions in this article, read no further. My intent is not against any present or former service member but to challenge the propaganda and lies that the wars of our time have been for America’s freedom and security. You may say that questioning the actions of our government is un-American. I call it patriotic.

A hard thing for folks to accept is that our government has been hijacked by forces in the military/industrial complex, the CIA, the lobbyists, the profiteers of war. Eisenhower in his last speech even warned us of what was coming. {}
It could be argued that the assassination of JFK was a coup d’etat from which we have never recovered.

An even harder thing to accept is that our government would send our sons and daughters to kill and be killed for one thing…the profits of a few. We tend to think that politicians and U.S. contractors are just like us. Perhaps that is the biggest deception of all. Remember the quote from one of the architects of the Vietnam war and still an ‘adviser’ to the current administration, Henry Kissinger?
(Soldiers are) dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy. {}

The escalation of the Vietnam War was based on the Gulf of Tonkin incident which in hindsight was a big lie. {} The same type of lies were used in the government/media creations of the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq where the plans were already in place before 9/11. {} The war planning think tank The Project for a New American Century conceived the concept of ‘permanent war’ in 2000 with their “Rebuilding America’s Defense”. All that was lacking was a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ which so conveniently happened just one year later. {http://www.sourcewatch.orgindex.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century}

The author above is certainly correct about the despicable treatment of returning Vietnam vets. I am thinking that the worst of these actions happened as the vets returned to the West Coast where the anti-war movement was most prevalent. Although there were millions of sincere protesters, it is known now that many of the major groups were infiltrated by the FBI and other government lackeys. These agent provocateurs encouraged the spitting and name calling and some followers blindly obliged. It was another ‘divide and conquer’ technique to paint all activists as disrespectful to the involuntary draftees who were forced to do what they did. Of all of the hundreds of Vietnam vets I have known, I also never heard of this happening in the middle Tennessee area.

By some estimates we are now nearing $1 trillion spent on war since 2001 and those figures may be low. {} This does not include the cost to America for our ‘best friend’ in the middle east, Israel, who is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II. {}

Cui bono – Who benefits? Who profits and who pays? As in all crime scenes…follow the money.

Our taxpayer military expenditures are now 54% of total federal outlays. {}

Besides that, in an economic crisis, the U.S. is expanding its role as the world’s leading weapons supplier. {}

War is our biggest industry. Just about the only one we have left. History has shown that we tend to arm all sides in a conflict. The CIA created and funded al quada to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, then they became our enemy. Saddam was our ally once, we supplied all the WMD’s he could pay us for in the Iraq/Iran war and then he became our enemy too. Without enemies of our own creation, the profits of the war machine would dwindle. Iran is the new one with Pakistan and their nukes right alongside.We’ve caused the deaths of over 1 million Iraqis, displaced millions more and destroyed their country while losing over 4,000 American lives as a result of our occupation. What for…to save them? Please name one thing that the Bush administration told us in 2003 that was a true reason for our invasion

8 more U.S. soldiers died today in Afghanistan on top of the 14 this past weekend. Did they die for our ‘freedoms’ or did they die for the money machine we call the defense industry enabled by a Congress with conflicts of interest? The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has calculated that more than 151 members of Congress have up to $195 million invested in major defense contractors that are earning profits from the US military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. {}

Once more…Does the government and media ever lie to us? Most of you will say yes to that question. My other question is how do we discern between the truths and the lies that we are fed daily? Could it be that the profiteers of war are liars who will bring our great country down economically and morally using our children as pawns in this killing game.

I salute our soldiers. I bow in respect to the Vietnam wall and the lost lives it represents. But I will never bow to the orchestrators of false wars.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?

All warfare is based on deception.

Sun Tzu


Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial – My Small Tribute to Eric Duffer

Fort Campbell’s ‘Modern’ Welcome Home for Vietnam Vets can not make up for the lies of war

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“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.” George Orwell The Grunt

Leaders decided to make it up to the previous generation

Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers returning to Fort Campbell have been greeted by waving flags, an Army band and plenty of family and friends.

That was not the case in the 1960s and early ’70s, when there was very little support for many Vietnam veterans returning from combat.

So leaders at Fort Campbell decided to make it up to the previous generation and give them a long-awaited welcome-home celebration this week.

The event will be Sunday as a part of the installation’s annual celebration for the 101st Airborne Division, called Week of the Eagles.

Robert Nichols, a retired command sergeant major from the 101st Airborne, is helping organize the event along with the 101st Airborne Division Association, an organization for former members of the storied division.

A veteran of both Vietnam and the Persian Gulf wars, Nichols said there was a stark difference in how he was treated when he came home each time.

“I was just 18 and 19 in Vietnam, and I did what my country asked me to do,” he said. “When we came home, everyone was mad at us, and it was confusing and it was emotional. It was very hard.”

He’s hoping that these veterans will get a chance to experience the support and gratitude that current soldiers enjoy. {more – the Tennessean}

I don’t know what area of the country Mr. Nichols was refering to when he said “everyone was mad at us.” I don’t recall that being the case here in the middle Tennessee area. That would be misplaced anger, wouldn’t it? Most of the ‘grunts’ sent to Vietnam were forced to go there, it was called the draft. The anger I saw, even my own, was towards the government who told nothing but lies about why we were there.

I’m all for supporting war vets but that doesn’t mean glorifying the lies. Vietnam, just as Iraq and Afghanistan, was never about freedom, security or any of the rest of the nonsense our ‘leaders’ and the bought media tried to convince us to believe.

I hope this so called ‘better late than never’ ceremony helps a few of the vets. I suppose it is a form of group therapy and maybe a few old wounds will be healed.

But the greatest help for all should come from those vets who have not succumbed to the constant bombardment of propaganda that ‘war is peace’ and have the realization that all these wars are for one thing…the profit of a few.

Perhaps just one Vietnam vet will stand up and shout “You lied about everything, over 50,000 of our brothers died in vain and now you want to ease the guilt by having a band play in our honor. Bullshit!”

Perhaps just one vet will say “Never Again.”

Where is the outrage against the lies of war?


Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial – My Small Tribute to Eric Duffer

Dick Holbrooke – The Zionist Agent in Obama’s Viet Nam

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by Christopher Bollyn

Dick Holbrooke in Afghanistan in 2006. Understanding Holbrooke’s mission in Central Asia requires knowing who this Zionist “master of disaster” really is.

War weary Americans who hoped the new Obama administration would change U.S. policies in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring the troops home must be sorely disappointed. The only Americans coming home these days are those who have died in the senseless conflict. More troops are being sent to fight a war that is understood neither by the American public nor by the people doing the fighting.

Americans are coming home from Afghanistan in caskets under the cover of night.

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, July 5, to discuss U.S. military actions in the Middle East. During the interview Mullen revealed what he called the real strategy in Afghanistan: to clear, hold, and build. The first question asked of Mullen was about the military situation in Afghanistan as the U.S. Marines carry out a large offensive known as Operation Strike of the Sword or Operation Khanjar (Arabic for “dagger”):

Admiral Mike Mullen: I suspect it’s going to be tough for a while. And again, we have enough forces there now not just to clear an area but to hold it so we can build after. And that’s really the strategy.

The logical question to ask Mullen would have been, “What is it that we want to build in Afghanistan?” although John Dickerson of CBS News did not ask. If building is “really the strategy” in Afghanistan as Admiral Mullen says, what is it that so badly needs to be built?


U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since October 2001 when they were supposedly sent in response to 9-11, although no Afghans were involved in the terror attacks. The U.S. reportedly gave up its pursuit of Osama Bin Laden years ago. So why did the U.S. invade Afghanistan and why are we still there? Why has President Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan? The short answer is the TAPI gas pipeline, which will carry gas from Israeli-owned and managed gas fields in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and China.

The TAPI pipeline needs to cross Helmand province in the south of Afghanistan.

Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are both very rich in gas reserves. The Turkmen mineral assets are managed by the former Mossad agent Yosef Maiman. Building the TAPI pipeline is a Zionist pipe dream that will use the mineral wealth of Turkmenistan to benefit Maiman and his partners. This is the main development project that U.S. policy is trying to accomplish. Transit fees from the gas pipeline are intended to support the government in Kabul.

Mullen touched on this development in the interview:

We’ve got to move to a point where there’s security so that the economic underpinnings can start to move, development, that we can create governance so that the Afghan people can get goods and services consistently from their government.

Are we to believe that the U.S. is fighting an 8-year war in Afghanistan in order to make sure the Afghans can get “goods and services consistently from their government?” Have we spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Afghanistan so we can build post offices, train stations, and power plants? What are the “economic underpinnings” that need to “start to move?” Why would the U.S. government care more about providing “goods and services” to the people of Afghanistan than, say, the people of California?

Mullen touched only lightly on the subject and CBS News was certainly not asking the questions that would allow Americans to really understand the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

“The economic development the generals talk about, including gas pipeline construction, requires stability,” Gary Leupp wrote in Counterpunch on July 6, “But Afghanistan, like Iraq, was destabilized precisely by a U.S. attack and occupation in the first place. More ominously, Pakistan has been destabilized by the invasion of the next-door country.” Why are Americans fighting wars in Central Asia for a pipeline from Turkmenistan?

To understand why Obama is pushing the war in Afghanistan, one needs to understand that the Obama administration is really a Zionist-controlled government. If this were not already abundantly clear, it can be seen by the person appointed to apply U.S. policy in the region. That person is Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke, one of Obama’s first appointments. Holbrooke, a Zionist Jew and a long-time associate of Henry Kissinger, is the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Holbrooke was a director of Maurice Greenberg’s incredibly badly-run A.I.G. insurance company from 2001-2008. A.I.G. is really a criminal enterprise, indicted on numerous charges, which insured investment banks against losses from the extremely risky financial “instruments” that caused the financial collapse of 2008. When these risky instruments failed, A.I.G. was bailed out with more than $180 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars, which it then distributed to the dodgy investment banks it had insured. A.I.G. has already cost every man, woman, and child in the United States about $600 each. Holbrooke was a key insider in this tremendous scam. Greenberg and A.I.G. are also involved in the terror attacks of 9-11 and the fraudulent “War on Terror” in many ways. The first plane that struck the World Trade Center, for example, flew directly into the secure computer room of a Greenberg-owned and managed company, Marsh.

Prior to A.I.G., Holbrooke was a vice chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston. First Boston was the place where the mortgage-based securities were first created under Laurence D. Fink. (Fink developed mortgage-based securities at First Boston in the mid-1970s when 9-11 “whistle-blower” Indira Singh worked there on the IT and risk consulting end of the business.)

On January 22, two days after taking office, Obama named Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. At this point, the U.S. government had already bailed-out Holbrooke’s company to the tune of some $180 billion. Yet two months later, Obama blasted A.I.G., calling their business practices “outrageous” and trying to distance his administration, which includes a former director of A.I.G., from the tremendous cost the A.I.G. bail-out imposed on the U.S. taxpayer: “Nobody here was responsible for supervising A.I.G. and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in,” the president said.

Richard Holbrooke of A.I.G. and George Mitchell were both early Obama appointments. Obama reportedly did not talk with Holbrooke about the $180 billion bail-out of the company he had been a long-time director of. Instead he lied by saying no one in his administration was responsible for supervising A.I.G.

Obama’s denial is clearly not true. Holbrooke, an Obama appointee, had his hands deep in the A.I.G. scam for 8 years and had made a good living doing so. Fox News reported on March 19, 2009, that Holbrooke made more than $250,000 a year as a director at A.I.G.:

Holbrooke joined AIG’s board in February 2001 and resigned in July 2008, two months before the company nearly collapsed. Over more than seven years as a board member, he may have earned as much as $800,000 in cash and company stock, according to AIG financial documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Since September, AIG has received $180 billion in taxpayer money to keep it from failing and causing more damage to the U.S. economy…

For much of his tenure on the AIG board, Holbrooke had a role in approving salaries and compensation. From 2001 until mid-2005, he was a member of the board’s compensation committee. According to AIG financial statements, the committee sets the salary for the company’s chief executive officer [Maurice Greenberg] and gives advice on how other senior managers are to be compensated.


When critics call the conflict in Afghanistan “Obama’s Viet Nam” they are not far off. Holbrooke was a key player in the Viet Nam war from 1962 to 1969. His biography concerning Viet Nam looks like this: Joined Foreign Service US Department State, 1962, served in South Vietnam Saigon, 1963-66; staff member The White House, 1966-67; assigned US Department State; staff Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam, 1968-69. From his high-level positions in the Viet Nam conflict we can see that Holbrooke and Henry Kissinger have worked together since the mid-1960s.

Holbrooke and Kissinger have continued to work closely together at the American Academy in Berlin, which they founded in 1994. The academy is located in a lakeside mansion across from the train station in Wannsee. In 2008, Holbrooke gave the Kissinger award to George H.W. Bush. Why are Holbrooke and Kissinger giving prizes to former U.S. presidents?

George W. Bush receiving the Kissinger Prize in 2008

In an odd breach of protocol, Henry Kissinger was sent by the Obama administration to hold high-level talks with the leaders of Russia in March instead of the Secretary of State. Why was Kissinger speaking for the United States under the newly-elected Obama administration? Who really makes U.S. foreign policy?

Kissinger meeting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on March 19, 2009

Holbrooke also played a key role in the U.S.-led bombing and subsequent Balkanization of Yugoslavia, in which the formerly prosperous and socialist nation was carved up into ethnic mini-statelets. The breaking up of Yugoslavia resulted in a significant reduction in the standard of living across the nation. NATO continues to control the statelet of Kosovo, which was literally ripped off from Serbia along with Trepca, one of the richest mines in Europe.

Holbrooke, who is called “the bulldozer” by some who know him, is a pushy individual who has been involved at the highest level in one disaster after another since the early 1960s. Now he is the point man in a disastrous and senseless war in Central Asia, which has gotten much worse since he joined the effort in January 2009. Why is Holbrooke put into such positions of power in the first place? The man, after all, has a long record of creating mega-disasters.

Holbrooke visited refugees who had been driven from Pakistan’s Swat valley in early June. “Are you glad the army came in, even though you were driven out of your homes?” Holbrooke reportedly asked the refugees.

To understand why Holbrooke is put into these positions, it is necessary to understand who he really is. Although it is not reported in biographical sketches, Holbrooke belongs to a very highly-connected family that is related to the Rothschild and Guggenheim families, among others. It is his German Jewish family connections that have placed him in positions of power in the U.S. government.

Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was born April 24, 1941, to Dan Holbrooke and Gertrudis “Trudi” Moos Holbrooke. Dan, his father, was a Polish Jewish immigrant who changed his name to Holbrooke. Biographical sketches claim that Dan’s original surname has been lost, which is very unlikely. Dan Holbrooke’s real name has been hidden in the same way that the family has sought to hide its Jewish roots. But why would the Holbrooke family want to hide its Jewishness? It it because that is their secret connection to power that they want to conceal?

Celia Mcgee of the New York Observer wrote about Holbrooke in 1998:

The son of Dan and Trudi Holbrooke, raised in Scarsdale, N.Y., schooled at Brown University, he was a son of assimilated, upper-class Jews who fled Nazi racism. “I’ve been with him plenty of times when his Jewishness was obvious,” said his friend Stanley Karnow, the journalist and author, “and he jokes about it plenty, too. It just isn’t an issue with him, or Kati.”

Holbrooke’s father, whose real name is not known, died when Holbrooke was 16. His mother comes from the influential merchant Moos family of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The Moos family is engaged in leather trading and moved their business to Argentina in 1922. Holbrooke’s grandfather Samuel Moos was born in Reutlingen in 1889 and married Valesca Friedheim of Zurich. Samuel and Valesca lived in Buenos Aires where the leather-trading business is run in the name of the company founder, Elias Moos S.A. The Moos family, which is related by marriage to the Rothschild, Guggenheim, Weil, Marx, and Einstein families, traveled frequently by ship between Buenos Aires, New York, and Europe. There is even a seminar room at Tel Aviv University named in honor of Samuel and Valesca Moos. The Moos family collected nearly 1 million Swiss francs from Switzerland in 2007 for money they claimed to have lost in accounts during the war, which was multiplied by a factor of 12.

The graves of Ludwig Rothschild and his wife Hanchen Moos in the Jewish graveyard of Gailingen, Germany.

By understanding who Dick Holbrooke is we can see that there is a secret agenda behind the war in Afghanistan, which is likely to become much worse with his involvement.

Source: Christopher Bollyn

The Soldier’s Revolt

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Excerpts and adaptation:
The Soldier’s Revolt
by Joel Geier

Our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with
individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and
noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous
conditions exist among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded
in this century by…the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and 1917.

Armed Forces Journal, June 1971

The most neglected aspect of the Vietnam War is the soldiers’ revolt–the mass upheaval from below that unraveled the American army. It is a great reality check in an era when the U.S. touts itself as an invincible nation. For this reason, the soldiers’ revolt has been written out of official history.

The army revolt pitted enlisted soldiers against officers who viewed them as expendable. Liberal academics have reduced the radicalism of the 1960s to middle-class concerns and activities, while ignoring military rebellion. But the militancy of the 1960s began with the Black liberation struggle, and it reached its climax with the unity of White and Black soldiers.

A working-class army

From 1964 to 1973, from the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, 27 million men came of draft age. A majority of them were not drafted due to college, professional, medical or National Guard deferments. Only 40 percent were drafted and saw military service. A small minority, 2.5 million men (about 10 percent of those eligible for the draft), were sent to Vietnam.

This small minority was almost entirely working-class or rural youth. Their average age was 19. Eighty-five percent of the troops were enlisted men; 15 percent were officers. The enlisted men were drawn from the 80 percent of the armed forces with a high school education or less. At this time, college education was universal in the middle class.

In the elite colleges, the class discrepancy was even more glaring. The upper class did none of the fighting. Of the 1,200 Harvard graduates in 1970, only 2 went to Vietnam, while working-class high schools routinely sent 20 percent, 30 percent of their graduates and more to Vietnam.

College students who were not made officers were usually assigned to noncombat support and service units. High school dropouts were three times more likely to be sent to combat units that did the fighting and took the casualties. Combat infantry soldiers, “the grunts,” were entirely working class. They included a disproportionate number of Black working-class troops. Blacks, who formed 12 percent of the troops, were often 25 percent or more of the combat units.

When college deferments expired, joining the National Guard was a favorite way to get out of serving in Vietnam. During the war, 80 percent of the Guard’s members described themselves as joining to avoid the draft. You needed connections to get in–which was no problem for Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and other draft evaders. In 1968, the Guard had a waiting list of more than 100,000. It had triple the percentage of college graduates that the army did. Blacks made up less than 1.5 percent of the National Guard. In Mississippi, Blacks were 42 percent of the population, but only one Black man served in a Guard of more than 10,000.

The middle-class officers corps

The officer corps was drawn from the 7 percent of troops who were college graduates, or the 13 percent who had one to three years of college. College was to officer as high school was to enlisted man. The officer corps was middle class in composition and managerial in outlook.

Superfluous support officers lived far removed from danger, lounging in rear base camps in luxurious conditions. A few miles away, combat soldiers were experiencing a nightmarish hell. The contrast was too great to allow for confidence–in both the officers and the war–to survive unscathed.

Westmoreland’s solution to the competition for combat command poured gasoline on the fire. He ordered a one-year tour of duty for enlisted men in Vietnam, but only six months for officers. The combat troops hated the class discrimination that put them at twice the risk of their commanders. They grew contemptuous of the officers, whom they saw as raw and dangerously inexperienced in battle.

Even a majority of officers considered Westmoreland’s tour inequality as unethical. Yet they were forced to use short tours to prove themselves for promotion. They were put in situations in which their whole careers depended on what they could accomplish in a brief period, even if it meant taking shortcuts and risks at the expense of the safety of their men–a temptation many could not resist.

The outer limit of six-month commands was often shortened due to promotion, relief, injury or other reasons. The outcome was “revolving-door” commands. As an enlisted man recalled, “During my year in-country I had five second-lieutenant platoon leaders and four company commanders. One CO was pretty good…All the rest were stupid.”

Aggravating this was the contradiction that guaranteed opposition between officers and men in combat. Officer promotions depended on quotas of enemy dead from search-and-destroy missions. Battalion commanders who did not furnish immediate high body counts were threatened with replacement. This was no idle threat–battalion commanders had a 30 to 50 percent chance of being relieved of command. But search-and-destroy missions produced enormous casualties for the infantry soldiers. Officers corrupted by career ambitions would cynically ignore this and draw on the never-ending supply of replacements from the monthly draft quota.

Officer corruption was rife. A Pentagon official writes, “the stench of corruption rose to unprecedented levels during William C. Westmoreland’s command of the American effort in Vietnam.” The CIA protected the poppy fields of Vietnamese officials and flew their heroin out of the country on Air America planes. Officers took notice and followed suit. The major who flew the U.S. ambassador’s private jet was caught smuggling $8 million of heroin on the plane.

The war was fought by NLF troops and peasant auxiliaries who worked the land during the day and fought as soldiers at night. They would attack ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and American troops and bases or set mines at night, and then disappear back into the countryside during the day. In this form of guerrilla war, there were no fixed targets, no set battlegrounds, and there was no territory to take. With that in mind, the Pentagon designed a counterinsurgency strategy called “search and destroy.” Without fixed battlegrounds, combat success was judged by the number of NLF troops killed–the body count. A somewhat more sophisticated variant was the “kill ratio”–the number of enemy troops killed compared to the number of Americans dead. This “war of attrition” strategy was the basic military plan of the American ruling class in Vietnam.

For each enemy killed, for every body counted, soldiers got three-day passes and officers received medals and promotions. This reduced the war from fighting for “the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese” to no larger purpose than killing. Any Vietnamese killed was put in the body count as a dead enemy soldier, or as the GIs put it, “if it’s dead, it’s Charlie” (“Charlie” was GI slang for the NLF). This was an inevitable outcome of a war against a whole people. Everyone in Vietnam became the enemy–and this encouraged random slaughter. Officers further ordered their men to “kill them even if they try to surrender–we need the body count.” It was an invitation to kill indiscriminately to swell a tally sheet.

Rather than following their officers, many more soldiers had the courage to revolt against barbarism.

Ninety-five percent of combat units were search-and-destroy units. Their mission was to go out into the jungle, hit bases and supply areas, flush out NLF troops and engage them in battle. If the NLF fought back, helicopters would fly in to prevent retreat and unleash massive firepower–bullets, bombs, missiles. The NLF would attempt to avoid this, and battle generally only occurred if the search-and-destroy missions were ambushed. Ground troops became the live bait for the ambush and firefight. GIs referred to search and destroy as “humping the boonies by dangling the bait.”

Without helicopters, search and destroy would not have been possible–and the helicopters were the terrain of the officers. “On board the command and control chopper rode the battalion commander, his aviation-support commander, the artillery-liaison officer, the battalion S-3 and the battalion sergeant major. They circled…high enough to escape random small-arms fire.” The officers directed their firepower on the NLF down below, but while indiscriminately spewing out bombs and napalm, they could not avoid “collateral damage”–hitting their own troops. One-quarter of the American dead in Vietnam was killed by “friendly fire” from the choppers. The officers were out of danger, the “eye in the sky,” while the troops had their “asses in the grass,” open to fire from both the NLF and the choppers.

When the battle was over, the officers and their choppers would fly off to base camps removed from danger while their troops remained out in the field.

Of the 543,000 American troops in Vietnam in 1968, only 14 percent (or 80,000) were combat troops. These 80,000 men took the brunt of the war. They were the weak link, and their disaffection crippled the ability of the world’s largest military to fight. In 1968, 14,592 men–18 percent of combat troops–were killed. An additional 35,000 had serious wounds that required hospitalization. Although not all of the dead and wounded were from combat units, the overwhelming majority were. The majority of combat troops in 1968 were either seriously injured or killed. The number of American casualties in Vietnam was not extreme, but as it was concentrated among the combat troops, it was a virtual massacre. Not to revolt amounted to suicide.

Officers, high in the sky, had few deaths or casualties. The deaths of officers occurred mostly in the lower ranks among lieutenants or captains who led combat platoons or companies. The higher-ranking officers went unharmed. During a decade of war, only one general and eight full colonels died from enemy fire. As one study commissioned by the military concluded, “In Vietnam…the officer corps simply did not die in sufficient numbers or in the presence of their men often enough.”

The slaughter of grunts went on because the officers never found it unacceptable. There was no outcry from the military or political elite, the media or their ruling-class patrons about this aspect of the war, nor is it commented on in almost any history of the war. It is ignored or accepted as a normal part of an unequal world, because the middle and upper class were not in combat in Vietnam and suffered no pain from its butchery. It never would have been tolerated had their class done the fighting. Their premeditated murder of combat troops unleashed class war in the armed forces. The revolt focused on ending search and destroy through all of the means the army had provided as training for these young workers.

Tet–the revolt begins

The Tet Offensive was the turning point of the Vietnam War and the start of open, active soldiers’ rebellion. At the end of January 1968, on Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the NLF sent 100,000 troops into Saigon and 36 provincial capitals to lead a struggle for the cities. The Tet Offensive was not militarily successful, because of the savagery of the U.S. counterattack. In Saigon alone, American bombs killed 14,000 civilians. The city of Ben Tre became emblematic of the U.S. effort when the major who retook it announced that “to save the city, we had to destroy it.”

Westmoreland and his generals claimed that they were the victors of Tet because they had inflicted so many casualties on the NLF. But to the world, it was clear that the U.S. had politically lost the war in Vietnam. Tet showed that the NLF had the overwhelming support of the Vietnamese population–millions knew of and collaborated with the NLF entry into the cities and no one warned the Americans. The ARVN had turned over whole cities without firing a shot. In some cases, ARVN troops had welcomed the NLF and turned over large weapons supplies. The official rationale for the war, that U.S. troops were there to help the Vietnamese fend off Communist aggression from the North, was no longer believed by anybody. The South Vietnamese government and military were clearly hated by the people.37

Westmoreland’s constant claim that there was “light at the end of the tunnel,” that victory was imminent, was shown to be a lie. Search and destroy was a pipe dream. The NLF did not have to be flushed out of the jungle, it operated everywhere. No place in Vietnam was a safe base for American soldiers when the NLF so decided.

What, then, was the point of this war? Why should American troops fight to defend a regime its own people despised? Soldiers became furious at a government and an officer corps who risked their lives for lies. Throughout the world, Tet and the confidence that American imperialism was weak and would be defeated produced a massive, radical upsurge that makes 1968 famous as the year of revolutionary hope. In the U.S. army, it became the start of the showdown with the officers.


The refusal of an order to advance into combat is an act of mutiny. In time of war, it is the gravest crime in the military code, punishable by death. In Vietnam, mutiny was rampant, the power to punish withered and discipline collapsed as search and destroy was revoked from below.

Until 1967, open defiance of orders was rare and harshly repressed, with sentences of two to ten years for minor infractions. Hostility to search-and-destroy missions took the form of covert combat avoidance, called “sandbagging” by the grunts. A platoon sent out to “hump the boonies” might look for a safe cover from which to file fabricated reports of imaginary activity.

But after Tet, there was a massive shift from combat avoidance to mutiny. One Pentagon official reflected that “mutiny became so common that the army was forced to disguise its frequency by talking instead of ‘combat refusal.'” Combat refusal, one commentator observed, “resembled a strike and occurred when GIs refused, disobeyed, or negotiated an order into combat.”

Acts of mutiny took place on a scale previously only encountered in revolutions. The first mutinies in 1968 were unit and platoon-level rejections of the order to fight. The army recorded 68 such mutinies that year. By 1970, in the 1st Air Cavalry Division alone, there were 35 acts of combat refusal. One military study concluded that combat refusal was “unlike mutinous outbreaks of the past, which were usually sporadic, short-lived events. The progressive unwillingness of American soldiers to fight to the point of open disobedience took place over a four-year period between 1968-71.”

The 1968 combat refusals of individual units expanded to involve whole companies by the next year. The first reported mass mutiny was in the 196th Light Brigade in August 1969. Company A of the 3rd Battalion, down to 60 men from its original 150, had been pushing through Songchang Valley under heavy fire for five days when it refused an order to advance down a perilous mountain slope. Word of the mutiny spread rapidly. The New York Daily News ran a banner headline, “Sir, My Men Refuse To Go.” The GI paper, The Bond, accurately noted, “It was an organized strike…A shaken brass relieved the company commander…but they did not charge the guys with anything. The Brass surrendered to the strength of the organized men.”

This precedent–no court-martial for refusing to obey the order to fight, but the line officer relieved of his command–was the pattern for the rest of the war. Mass insubordination was not punished by an officer corps that lived in fear of its own men. Even the threat of punishment often backfired. In one famous incident, B Company of the 1st Battalion of the 12th Infantry refused an order to proceed into NLF-held territory. When they were threatened with court-martials, other platoons rallied to their support and refused orders to advance until the army backed down.

As the fear of punishment faded, mutinies mushroomed. There were at least ten reported major mutinies, and hundreds of smaller ones. Hanoi’s Vietnam Courier documented 15 important GI rebellions in 1969. At Cu Chi, troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry refused battle orders. The “CBS Evening News” broadcast live a patrol from the 7th Cavalry telling their captain that his order for direct advance against the NLF was nonsense, that it would threaten casualties, and that they would not obey it. Another CBS broadcast televised the mutiny of a rifle company of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

When Cambodia was invaded in 1970, soldiers from Fire Base Washington conducted a sit-in. They told Up Against the Bulkhead, “We have no business there…we just sat down. Then they promised us we wouldn’t have to go to Cambodia.” Within a week, there were two additional mutinies, as men from the 4th and 8th Infantry refused to board helicopters to Cambodia.

In the invasion of Laos in March 1971, two platoons refused to advance. To prevent the mutiny from spreading, the entire squadron was pulled out of the Laos operation. The captain was relieved of his command, but there was no discipline against the men. When a lieutenant from the 501st Infantry refused his battalion commander’s order to advance his troops, he merely received a suspended sentence.

The decision not to punish men defying the most sacrosanct article of the military code, the disobedience of the order for combat, indicated how much the deterioration of discipline had eroded the power of the officers. The only punishment for most mutinies was to relieve the commanding officer of his duties. Consequently, many commanders would not report that they had lost control of their men. They swept news of mutiny, which would jeopardize their careers, under the rug. As they became quietly complicit, the officer corps lost any remaining moral authority to impose discipline.

For every defiance in combat, there were hundreds of minor acts of insubordination in rear base camps. As one infantry officer reported, “You can’t give orders and expect them to be obeyed.” This democratic upsurge from below was so extensive that discipline was replaced by a new command technique called working it out. Working it out was a form of collective bargaining in which negotiations went on between officers and men to determine orders. Working it out destroyed the authority of the officer corps and gutted the ability of the army to carry out search-and-destroy missions. But the army had no alternative strategy for a guerrilla war against a national liberation movement.

The political impact of the mutiny was felt far beyond Vietnam. As H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, reflected, “If troops are going to mutiny, you can’t pursue an aggressive policy.” The soldiers’ revolt tied down the global reach of U.S. imperialism.


The murder of American officers by their troops was an openly proclaimed goal in Vietnam. As one GI newspaper demanded, “Don’t desert. Go to Vietnam, and kill your commanding officer.” And they did. A new slang term arose to celebrate the execution of officers: fragging. The word came from the fragmentation grenade, which was the weapon of choice because the evidence was destroyed in the act.

In every war, troops kill officers whose incompetence or recklessness threatens the lives of their men. But only in Vietnam did this become pervasive in combat situations and widespread in rear base camps. It was the most well-known aspect of the class struggle inside the army, directed not just at intolerable officers, but at “lifers” as a class. In the soldiers’ revolt, it became accepted practice to paint political slogans on helmets. A popular helmet slogan summed up this mood: “Kill a non-com for Christ.” Fragging was the ransom the ground troops extracted for being used as live bait.

No one knows how many officers were fragged, but after Tet it became epidemic. At least 800 to 1,000 fragging attempts using explosive devices were made. The army reported 126 fraggings in 1969, 271 in 1970 and 333 in 1971, when they stopped keeping count. But in that year, just in the American Division (of My Lai fame), one fragging per week took place. Some military estimates are that fraggings occurred at five times the official rate, while officers of the Judge Advocate General Corps believed that only 10 percent of fraggings were reported. These figures do not include officers who were shot in the back by their men and listed as wounded or killed in action.

Most fraggings resulted in injuries, although “word of the deaths of officers will bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units.” The army admitted that it could not account for how 1,400 officers and noncommissioned officers died. This number, plus the official list of fragging deaths, has been accepted as the unacknowledged army estimate for officers killed by their men. It suggests that 20 to 25 percent–if not more–of all officers killed during the war were killed by enlisted men, not the “enemy.” This figure has no precedent in the history of war.

Soldiers put bounties on officers targeted for fragging. The money, usually between $100 and $1,000, was collected by subscription from among the enlisted men. It was a reward for the soldier who executed the collective decision. The highest bounty for an officer was $10,000, publicly offered by GI Says, a mimeographed bulletin put out in the 101st Airborne Division, for Col. W. Honeycutt, who had ordered the May 1969 attack on Hill 937. The hill had no strategic significance and was immediately abandoned when the battle ended. It became enshrined in GI folklore as Hamburger Hill, because of the 56 men killed and 420 wounded taking it. Despite several fragging attempts, Honeycutt escaped uninjured.

As Vietnam GI argued after Hamburger Hill, “Brass are calling this a tremendous victory. We call it a goddam butcher shop…If you want to die so some lifer can get a promotion, go right ahead. But if you think your life is worth something, you better get yourselves together. If you don’t take care of the lifers, they might damn well take care of you.”

Fraggings were occasionally called off. One lieutenant refused to obey an order to storm a hill during an operation in the Mekong Delta. “His first sergeant later told him that when his men heard him refuse that order, they removed a $350 bounty earlier placed on his head because they thought he was a ‘hard-liner.'”

The motive for most fraggings was not revenge, but to change battle conduct. For this reason, officers were usually warned prior to fraggings. First, a smoke grenade would be left near their beds. Those who did not respond would find a tear-gas grenade or a grenade pin on their bed as a gentle reminder. Finally, the lethal grenade was tossed into the bed of sleeping, inflexible officers. Officers understood the warnings and usually complied, becoming captive to the demands of their men. It was the most practical means of cracking army discipline. The units whose officers responded opted out of search-and-destroy missions.

An Army judge who presided over fragging trials called fragging “the troops’ way of controlling officers,” and added that it was “deadly effective.” He explained, “Captain Steinberg argues that once an officer is intimidated by even the threat of fragging he is useless to the military because he can no longer carry out orders essential to the functioning of the Army. Through intimidation by threats–verbal and written…virtually all officers and NCOs have to take into account the possibility of fragging before giving an order to the men under them.” The fear of fragging affected officers and NCOs far beyond those who were actually involved in fragging incidents.

Officers who survived fragging attempts could not tell which of their men had tried to murder them, or when the men might strike again. They lived in constant fear of future attempts at fragging by unknown soldiers. In Vietnam it was a truism that “everyone was the enemy”: for the lifers, every enlisted man was the enemy. “In parts of Vietnam fragging stirs more fear among officers and NCOs than does the war with ‘Charlie.'”

Counter-fragging by retaliating officers contributed to a war within the war. While 80 percent of fraggings were of officers and NCOs, 20 percent were of enlisted men, as officers sought to kill potential troublemakers or those whom they suspected of planning to frag them. In this civil war within the army, the military police were used to reinstate order. In October 1971, military police air assaulted the Praline mountain signal site to protect an officer who had been the target of repeated fragging attempts. The base was occupied for a week before command was restored.

Fragging undermined the ability of the Green Machine to function as a fighting force. By 1970, “many commanders no longer trusted Blacks or radical whites with weapons except on guard duty or in combat.” In the American Division, fragmentation grenades were not given to troops. In the 440 Signal Battalion, the colonel refused to distribute all arms. As a soldier at Cu Chi told the New York Times, “The American garrisons on the larger bases are virtually disarmed. The lifers have taken the weapons from us and put them under lock and key.” The U.S. army was slowly disarming its own men to prevent the weapons from being aimed at the main enemy: the lifers.

Peace from below–search and avoid

Mutiny and fraggings expressed the anger and bitterness that combat soldiers felt at being used as bait to kill Communists. It forced the troops to reassess who was the real enemy.

In a remarkable letter, 40 combat officers wrote to President Nixon in July 1970 to advise him that “the military, the leadership of this country–are perceived by many soldiers to be almost as much our enemy as the VC and the NVA.

After the 1970 invasion of Cambodia enlarged the war, fury and the demoralizing realization that nothing could stop the warmongers swept both the antiwar movement and the troops. The most popular helmet logo became “UUUU,” which meant “the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful.” Peace, if it were to come, would have to be made by the troops themselves, instituted by an unofficial troop withdrawal ending search-and-destroy missions.

The form this peace from below took came to be called “search and avoid,” or “search and evade.” It became so extensive that “search and evade (meaning tacit avoidance of combat by units in the field) is now virtually a principle of war, vividly expressed by the GI phrase, ‘CYA’ (cover your ass) and get home!”

In search and avoid, patrols sent out into the field deliberately eluded potential clashes with the NLF. Night patrols, the most dangerous, would halt and take up positions a few yards beyond the defense perimeter, where the NLF would never come. By skirting potential conflicts, they hoped to make it clear to the NLF that their unit had established its own peace treaty.

Another frequent search-and-avoid tactic was to leave base camp, secure a safe area in the jungle and set up a perimeter-defense system in which to hole up for the time allotted for the mission. “Some units even took enemy weapons with them when they went out on such search-and-avoid missions so that upon return they could report a firefight and demonstrate evidence of enemy casualties for the body-count figures required by higher headquarters.”

The army was forced to accommodate what began to be called “the grunts’ cease-fire.” An American soldier from Cu Chi, quoted in the New York Times, said, “They have set up separate companies for men who refuse to go out into the field. It is no big thing to refuse to go. If a man is ordered to go to such and such a place, he no longer goes through the hassle of refusing; he just packs his shirt and goes to visit some buddies at another base camp.”

An observer at Pace, near the Cambodian front where a unilateral truce was widely enforced, reported, “The men agreed and passed the word to other platoons: nobody fires unless fired upon. As of about 1100 hours on October 10,1971, the men of Bravo Company, 11/12 First Cav Division, declared their own private cease-fire with the North Vietnamese.”

The NLF responded to the new situation. People’s Press, a GI paper, in its June 1971 issue claimed that NLF and NVA units were ordered not to open hostilities against U.S. troops wearing red bandanas or peace signs, unless first fired upon. Two months later, the first Vietnam veteran to visit Hanoi was given a copy of “an order to North Vietnamese troops not to shoot U.S. soldiers wearing antiwar symbols or carrying their rifles pointed down.” He reports its impact on “convincing me that I was on the side of the Vietnamese now.”

Colonel Heinl reported this:

That ‘search-and-evade’ has not gone unnoticed by the enemy is underscored by the Viet Cong delegation’s recent statement at the Paris Peace Talks that Communist units in Indochina have been ordered not to engage American units which do not molest them. The same statement boasted–not without foundation in fact–that American defectors are in the VC ranks.

Some officers joined, or led their men, in the unofficial cease-fire from below. A U.S. army colonel claimed:

I had influence over an entire province. I put my men to work helping with the harvest. They put up buildings. Once the NVA understood what I was doing, they eased up. I’m talking to you about a de facto truce, you understand. The war stopped in most of the province. It’s the kind of history that doesn’t get recorded. Few people even know it happened, and no one will ever admit that it happened.

Search and avoid, mutiny and fraggings were a brilliant success. Two years into the soldiers’ upsurge, in 1970, the number of U.S. combat deaths were down by more than 70 percent (to 3,946) from the 1968 high of more than 14,000. The revolt of the soldiers in order to survive and not to allow themselves to be victims could only succeed by a struggle prepared to use any means necessary to achieve peace from below.

The army revolt had all of the strengths and weaknesses of the 1960s radicalization of which it was a part. It was a courageous mass struggle from below. It relied upon no one but itself to win its battles.

The only organizing tools were the underground GI newspapers. But newspapers became a substitute for organization.

The hidden history of the 1960s proves that the American army can be split. But that requires the long, slow patient work of explanation, of education, of organization, and of agitation and action. The Vietnam revolt shows how rank-and-file soldiers can rise to the task.


Post by way of and thanks to: Atheo News

Kent State Massacre – (Find The Cost of Freedom; Vietnam)

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From: WolfEchoes

Intense actual footage from The Kent State protest as it decays into chaos and murder. Including the fall of Saigon video images and the final days of US occupation.
Set to CSNY “Ohio” and “Find The Cost of Freedom” non-commercial music versions.

More anti-war music videos: Living With War Today