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Vietnam : The Truth

Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 13,019 ✭✭✭✭
T R U T H

The Vietnam War

by Terry Garlock, Peachtree City, GA

Well into the autumn of my life, I am occasionally reminded the end is not too far over the horizon. Mortality puts thoughts in my head, like ?What have I done to leave this world a better place??

There actually are a few things that I think made my existence worthwhile. I will tell you just one of them, because so many of you need to hear it.

No matter how much this rubs the wrong way, I am quite proud to have served my Country in The Vietnam War. Yes, I know, most of you were taught there is shame attached to any role in the war that America lost, an unfortunate mistake, an immoral war, an unwise intrusion into a civil war, a racist war, a war in which American troops committed widespread atrocities, where America had no strategic interest, and that our North Vietnamese enemy was innocently striving to re-unite Vietnam.

The problem is, none of those things are true. That didn?t stop America over the last 50 years lapping up this Kool-Aid concocted by the anti-war machine, a loose confederation of protesting activists, the mainstream news media and academia. They opposed the war with loud noise, half-truths and fabrications. They are the ones who still write their version in our schoolbooks, and their account of history conveniently excuses themselves for cowardly encouraging our enemy while we were at war. You see, having the right to protest does not necessarily make it the right or honorable thing to do.

So, yes, I am defiantly proud to have been among those who raised our right hand swearing to do our duty for our country while so many others yelled and screamed and marched, burned their draft cards, declared, ?Hell no! I won?t go!? and some fled to Canada. In that period of uncomfortable controversy, even patriots tended to look the other way when activists heartily insulted American troops as they returned through California airports from doing the country?s hardest work in Vietnam. War correspondent Joe Galloway summed it up nicely in a column about Vietnam vets in the Chicago Tribune long ago; ?They were the best you had, America, and you turned your back on them.?

To be sure, there were lots of warts and wrinkles in the war. We were fighting a tough Communist enemy, defending South Vietnam?s right to remain free. At the same time we were betrayed by our own leadership in the White House with their incompetent micromanagement and idiotic war-fighting limitations that got thousands of us killed while preventing victory. And we were betrayed by fellow citizens encouraging our enemy.

I was trained to be an Army Cobra helicopter pilot. I remember many times, with no regrets, shooting up the enemy to protect our ground troops, firing to cover fellow pilots, and firing to keep the brutal enemy away from South Vietnamese civilians. A high school student asked me last year how I deal with the guilt. I answered that I don?t have any guilt, that I was doing my duty and would proudly do it again.

When John Lennon turned the Beatles into a protest band, his song ?Give Peace a Chance? was hailed as genius. Look up the inane lyrics and judge for yourself At protest rallies, crowds of tens of thousands would raise their arms to wave in unison while chanting in ecstasy, ?All we are asking, is give peace a chance!? over and over. Luminaries like Tom Smothers, presidential candidate George McGovern, writer and self-acclaimed intellectual Gore Vidal and a host of others lauded Lennon?s song and observed ?Who wouldn?t prefer peace to war??

What self-indulgent, naive stupidity!

My friend Anh Nguyen was 12 years old in 1968, living in the city of Hue, the cultural center of Vietnam. One morning when he opened the shutters to his bedroom window, a shot was fired over his head, the first he knew the enemy?s Tet Offensive had begun. The Communists had negotiated a cease fire for their New Year holiday of Tet, then in treachery attacked on that holiday in about 100 locations all over South Vietnam.

The enemy was well prepared, and they took the city of Hue. They had lists of names and addresses provided by spies, and they went from street to street, dragging from their homes political leaders, business owners, teachers, doctors, nurses and other ?enemies of the people.? The battle raged four weeks before our Marines retook the city. In the aftermath, mass graves with nearly 5,000 bodies were found, executed by the Communists, many tied together and buried alive.

Anh and his family had evacuated to an American compound for protection. Anh says when the battle was over and they walked Highway 1 back to their home, the most beautiful sight his family had ever seen was US Marines lining the road, standing guard over South Vietnamese civilians. To follow John Lennon?s plea, Anh?s family and countrymen could ?Give peace a chance? by surrendering to the Communist invaders, but even a mush-head like Lennon should know there are some things you don?t give up without a fight. I doubt Lennon would have understood the best way to ensure peace is to carry the biggest stick.

Want to know what causes me shame?

In 1973, when we basically had the war won, the US gave it away in a peace agreement when escape from Vietnam was the only politically acceptable option. In the peace agreement, the US pledged our ongoing financial support to South Vietnam?s defense, and pledged US direct military intervention if the North Vietnamese ever broke their pledge not to attack South Vietnam. In the 1974 elections, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and President Nixon?s resignation, Democrats were swept into Congress and promptly cut off all funding to South Vietnam in violation of the US pledge.

Of course North Vietnam was watching.

In early 1975 when the North Vietnamese attacked South Vietnam, President Ford literally begged Congress to fund the US pledge to intervene, and Congress refused.

The same news media, protesters and academia who had screamed against the war, firmly turned their back in 1975 and refused to notice the slaughter and inhumanity as the Communists overwhelmed the ally America had thrown under the bus. Even today, few on the anti-war side know or care there were roughly 75,000 executions, that a panicked million fled in over-packed rickety boats and died at sea by the tens of thousands, that a million were sent to brutal re-education camps for decades and also died by the tens of thousands, or that South Vietnamese who fought to remain free - and their descendants - are still persecuted to this day. Abandoning our ally to that fate is America?s everlasting shame.

We could have won that war if our military had been allowed to take off the soft gloves, but it went on far too long with no end in sight, mismanaged to a fare-thee-well by the White House and became America?s misery. Through it all, even the betrayals from home, we fought well and never lost one significant battle.

Leftists think they know all about the war and the Americans who fought it. They don?t know didley.

At the 334th Attack Helicopter Company in Bien Hoa, we Cobra pilots were 19 to 25 years old with very rough edges. We thought of ourselves as gunslingers and might have swaggered a bit. We drank too much at the end of a sweat-stained day, for fun or escape or both. We laughed off close calls with the bravado of gallows humor. We toasted our dead and hid the pain of personal loss deep inside. We swore a lot and told foul jokes. We pushed away the worry of how long our luck would hold, and the next day we would bet our life again to protect the South Vietnamese people and each other.

To properly characterize my fellow Vietnam vets, I need to borrow words from John Steinbeck as he wrote about the inhabitants of Cannery Row, and ask you to look from my angle, past their flaws, to see them as I often do, ? . . saints and angels, martyrs and holy men.? America?s best.

I am proud to be one of them because we faced evil together in a valiant effort to keep the South Vietnamese people free, doing God?s work for a little while, even though it failed by the hand of our own countrymen working against us from safety at home.

More than any other class of people, I trust and admire the American men and women who served in Vietnam and met the test of their mettle, even the ones I don?t know. I wouldn?t trade a single one of them for a thousand leftist anti-war elites

Everyone deserves a second chance But for the naval-gazing flower children who remain unrepentant about encouraging the enemy we were fighting, who still smugly know all the wrong answers about us and the Vietnam War, who have never known mortal danger and didn?t give a fig when Saigon fell, and the Commies made South Vietnamese streets run red with the blood of innocent people.



I want to be sure to deliver this invitation before I get too old and feeble:

Kiss me where the sun don?t shine!

Terry Garlock lives in Peachtree City, GA.

Published on Wed Jan 30, 2019 in The Citizen, a Fayette County GA newspaper.
I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.

Comments

  • kimikimi Member Posts: 44,741 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Angels and Demons...thank God for family, friends, typical patriotic people, and all good things, to include, social justice warriors of the conservative kind. In Jesus' name I pray...Amen.
    What's next?
  • wpageabcwpageabc Member Posts: 8,968
    edited November -1
    The truth shall indeed set us free...

    What a shame, what this country did to Vietnam vets and the South Vietnamese.

    Blame the same politics, media, Hollywood types the led the sheeple to false and fake information.

    Will we as a country ever learn from our past errors?
    "What is truth?'
  • HessianHessian Member Posts: 257 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    At least three times we could have won that war, Even using Kissingers grand plan screw up, of limited warfare and diplomacy.
    Two are only supposition, the middle one in 1969 I was a small part of planning and logistics. I was a Generals driver and knew a whole lot more than I should have. Later I helped set up a parallel command communication system, a series of TOC's along an invasion route into North Vietnam.
    My best guess is many didn't want to win that war. IMO Kissinger was a major part of that strategy. A school book strategist and weak-kneed politicians.
    Out of my seven close high school buddies five went into the military, one died, one lost an arm, another lost use of an arm and one came home a junkie. I came home wounded and disillusioned. Hearts and minds was a joke, we used to say grab them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.
  • Wild TurkeyWild Turkey Member Posts: 2,269 ✭✭✭
    I was commissioned in Aug '72.  My class at Signal Officer Basic was the first not to be sent to Vietnam.
    I later worked with Hank Schroder who earned a Silver Star for continuing to fight his platoon after a mine blast seriously wounded him (lost an arm and use of a leg).
    He was a combat-vet CPT and I was a green 2LT that he chose to mentor as we worked in a training office.
    I mentioned to him once that I wondered how I would have handled being in combat, and his reply was classic for the way Vietnam was fought.  He looked straight at me and firmly stated: 
    "It's not worth knowing."

    A sad epitaph for the lives changed or lost in the hell of that situation. 

  • gmcftgmcft Member Posts: 2
    edited January 22

    "You have to realize my vision of the beach was very small. I could only experience what I could see," he told The Associated Press, speaking from the now-glimmering Omaha Beach, where he landed 75 years ago – Charles Shay WWII veteran.

    These words are most important. This is what we hear from war veterans. They never see the big picture.

    All evidence and facts from USA and Vietnam prove the USA won the Vietnam War. The USA made two mistakes. The politicians controlled the military actions during the war. We left South Vietnam after we won the war.

    During the 1950s, official documents from Ho Chi Minh’s Communist party were discovered by French troops that his ‘new’ Vietnam nation included plans to conquer Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

    The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was created in 1954 to stem further communist takeover of countries in the Pacific region. SEATO was created contain communist power.

    Representatives from Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States, under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, (from which SEATO was formed), pledged to defend against what it saw as an escalation of communist military aggression against democracy.

    What is communism? It is the political ideology that is responsible for more deaths and destruction than all others combined. It is an ideology that has failed every time in every country on this planet. And we were fighting to keep the people free that did not want this tyranny.

    The Democratic and Republican administrations during those years prevented the US military to fight the war as it should have. Our troops had these ridiculous ‘rules of Engagement’ and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) had none. Militarily, our men were severely restrained. However they still accomplished all objectives and forced North Vietnam to admit defeat and sign the peace agreement. 

    North Vietnam knew they could not defeat the US and they developed one of the world’s largest propaganda organizations (Dich Van) to defeat us psychologically. They successfully divided us by pitting the US population (especially naïve college students) against our politicians and soldiers. The news media played into their hands without researching facts or sources. The public was suckered by the repeated disinformation from North Vietnam along with Communist and other dubious sources from within our nation. For some reason our government was not able or prepared to adequately counter this form of warfare. 

    The NVA was a well-trained army. They also were just as well equipped - supplied from China and Russia. They actually had better field artillery equipment (Russian). Records reveal the so-called ‘Viet Cong’ actually were largely NVA trained soldiers. 

    According to North Vietnam, the American military killed 1.2 million of their soldiers. This was nearly triple the number we had estimated. Can you imagine the length of their war memorial wall? It became obvious that North Vietnamese men were going to war, never returning and families not notified. It was later shown that the NVA had a tremendous desertion problem and men doing all possible not to be drafted. The young men had a saying, “Born in the North to die in the South”. 

    There was increasing unrest within North Vietnam because they had no access to the factual progress of the war. As in all Communist governments, they had no freedom of speech or press and they still do not. It would take years before families discovered their sons were killed in combat.

    CBS “60 Minutes” verified during and after the war, the North Vietnamese government secretly hid the badly wounded soldiers from their families and the public because of the enormous casualty rate. The amputee soldier was confined to asylums away from the public. *as of 2019, these NVA veterans are still kept in seclusion.

    Also, Ho Chi Minh was absolutely vicious to his own people in North Vietnam. From 1957 to 1975 the North Vietnamese government executed around 50,000 North Vietnamese civilians (most were executed by 1960). Source: R.J. Rummell (1997). "Vietnam Democide: Estimates, Sources & Calculations".

    Throughout the war the North Vietnamese government had a detailed and systematic plan to murder South Vietnamese citizens they deemed as threats. 

    According to Guenter Lewy, Author and Political Scientist, Viet Cong insurgents assassinated at least 37,000 civilians in South Vietnam and routinely employed terror. Ami Pedahzur has written that "the overall volume and lethality of Viet Cong terrorism rivals or exceeds all but a handful of terrorist campaigns waged over the last third of the twentieth century". 

    According to a U.S. Senate report, squads were assigned monthly assassination quotas. Peer De Silva, former head of the Saigon department of the CIA, wrote that from as early as 1963, Viet Cong units were using disembowelment and other methods of mutilation for psychological warfare.

    Notable Viet Cong atrocities include the massacre of over 3,000 unarmed civilians at Hue during the Tet Offensive and the incineration of hundreds of civilians at the Dak Sơn massacre with flamethrowers. Up to 155,000 refugees fleeing the final North Vietnamese Spring Offensive were killed or abducted on the road to Tuy Hòa in 1975. 

    According to Rummel, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops murdered between 106,000 and 227,000 civilians in South Vietnam. North Vietnam was also known for its extreme inhumane and abusive treatment of American POWs, most notably in Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), where severe torture was employed to extract ‘confessions’ or just for amusement. 

    In December 1972, Nixon finally gave permission to the air force to conduct military bombing missions their way. In a matter of days the effect was so devastating that there literally were no more targets left to destroy. All service to air (SAM) sites destroyed and their entire missile supply depleted. The civilians in Hanoi believed they were defeated, began hanging and waving white flags at U.S. planes. This ‘one’ bombing campaign was so successful that North Vietnam actually could not conduct the war any further. This could have and should have been done years earlier.

    The last American combat troops had already left South Vietnam by the previous August 12, 1972. The NV politicians were so frightened that they quickly agreed to sign the peace treaty. North Vietnam signed the peace treaty January 27, 1973. It was more than two years later when North Vietnam violated the peace treaty, invaded and defeated South Vietnam in 1975.

    This had nothing to do with us. The USA was long gone by then. 

    Our mistake was that we left South Vietnam after we overwhelmingly defeated North Vietnam. We left South Vietnam because of public sentiment based upon false information derived from the news media. We stayed in Germany, Japan and South Korea but not South Vietnam. Which of these countries are better off? Which of these countries would you choose to live in? 

    North Vietnam’s brutality did not stop at the war’s end. Close to 300,000 South Vietnamese were forced into communist re-education camps, resulting in 95,000 deaths. Another 500,000 were involved in forced labor projects, which killed 48,000 civilians. Another 100,000 were executed. Finally, 400,000 people died while trying to flee Vietnam. This does not include the unknown fate of the indigent people enslaved for laborious work on the Ho Chi Minh trail throughout the war.

    In addition, by 1977 the Communists in control imprisoned 300,000 government officials and civilians that had begun public dissension against them. By 1978, the Communists purged between 70,000 - 90,000 from their ranks with arrests and forced deportations. During the years 1977-1979, approximately 263,000 fled into china. By 1990, nearly 2 million boat people fled from Vietnam. Many didn’t survive the voyage to Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand or Indonesia. More than one half of all who successfully fled ended up in the United States.

    Have you ever read anything where the international community held NVA/VC soldiers accountable for the countless planned and premeditated slaughter of civilians throughout the war? 

    Americans always wanted to forget the war and most will never study what actually occurred. There are a few ‘objective’ books written with historical accuracy. Unheralded Victory by Mark W. Woodruff is an easy read that cites data and sources from American and Vietnamese military commanders. 

    My guess is that once you read this book, you will be in awe of the American veterans’ accomplishments. In general, our nation and veterans have nothing to be ashamed of for our participation in the Vietnam War. 

    Our military veterans who won the war and defeated the North Vietnamese communists were forced to endure stress from combat, ignorant politicians, news media false reports and disgraceful attitude from some citizens. In addition, the Vietnam veteran has endured all this and Hollywood fake movies/TV shows for decades. 

    Because of this I consider the Vietnam veterans to be the "Greatest Generation of Soldiers".

  • danielgagedanielgage Member Posts: 10,257 ✭✭✭

    the old man I study the Bible with says that the Korean and Vietnam war broke the back of communism

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