Chaitanya Jyothi Museum Opening, 2000

In the Name of The Father, and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, Amen.



Scott Johnson at Power Line wrote recently about the USA fighting in Vietnam when he was a young man.  I have written previously about Vietnam here.  Clint Eastwood wrote about it as the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales, his favorite of all he has made.  Final line:

Fletcher: He’s got the first move. I owe him that.  I think I’ll try to tell him the war is over.  What do you say, Mr. Wilson?

Josey Wales: I reckon so.  I guess we all died a little in that damn war.

Johnson’s post has many comments, many thoughtful.  Three of those comments, and my responses to them, follow:

Nathan Pitts: My very best “boyhood” friend went to Viet Nam as an infantry man.  He was eventually wounded, in such a manner that he never really recovered from it, and never had a very productive life afterwards.

After returning home, in the mid 70’s. he married and fathered children yet even with family responsibilities he was haunted by the horrors that he witnessed first hand.  Visions of close buddies being blown to bits, and others begging for someone to kill them, to stop the awful hurting they were having to endure, ran through his mind on a regular basis.  Little help was available for this man …. and thousands of others just like him, who had endured the “unspeakable tragedies” of war. So he, along with many of his fellow Americans who had served “in country” tried to medicate his mental issues with alcohol…….eventually drinking himself to death….way before his time!

He was not, by any stretch of the imagination …….. alone!

These men, who gave everything they had in the effort, were treated like “lepers” by the American left, that Bernie Sanders is still proudly claiming to be part of today!

They deserved far more than that from their country ……. but most never got the thanks for their service that they deserved!

I commented:

What did/do you do to help your friend?

Lynn Joiner: Early in the Vietnam war a friend of mine observed, “We’re fighting on the wrong side.”  There is an element of truth there: Ho Chi Min was a hero to the Vietnamese, the ‘George Washington of Vietnam’ as some called him, because he was fighting for independence.  He was Western-educated.  It was Cold War logic that put him on the Communist side and the South Vietnamese on ours.  Had we the presence of mind to adopt Ho vis-a-vis both the French and the Chinese, maybe back in the ’50s, the results might have been far different.  But there were blinkers on all sides.

Wasn’t it Ike who said, essentially, never try to fight a land war in Asia?

/L. E. Joiner (Walking Creek World)

I commented:

“Ho Chi Min was a hero to the Vietnamese.” — sure, to himself and his Marxist cronies and camp followers, who were Vietnamese.

“He was Western-educated.” — So was Pol Pot. Marxism is a “Western” artifact, but with Levantine roots.

“It was Cold War logic that put him on the Communist side and the South Vietnamese on ours. ” — a curious argument for non-human agency.

“But there were blinkers on all sides.” — a whiff of the sententious.

“Wasn’t it Ike who said, essentially, never try to fight a land war in Asia?” — MacArthur, reportedly (and probably, I think) to Kennedy. He meant it in this sense: do not fight a land war in Asia if you do not intend to win it.  There are some, to include yours truly, who believe that JFK was assassinated by the Left/Deep State because he intended to defeat the Red Army’s hook, through Vietnam, around the left flank of the USA’s western defense littoral (i.e., the east coast of Asia from Naukan to Port Moresby).

Ike left the USA engaged in a land war in Asia, as she remains to this day, rather than winning it.  He was a staff officer his entire career, had nearly zero combat experience.  Also, as rank increases, experience expands and expertise contracts.

A land war in China proper would be a logistician’s nightmare unless China were triangulated on her north, south and east.  Even then, supply via China’s terrain would be hugely expensive and time-consuming.  Every problem can be solved, but land war in China proper certainly would test the mettle of nations doing it.

Mark Hodges: Failure.  Failure.  Failure.  They never took into account the terrain of Vietnam.  They never took into account the environment in which we fought.  I remember the large tiger tracks that circled us on patrol in Tiger Valley on the DMZ.

We were never going to invade the North.  Thus, we fought a defensive war holding ground.  If your objective is to hold ground, you stalemate and lose.  We would take a hill then retreat.  It never had no chance of success.  It was a high price to pay in lives just to prove a domino point.  We did not have the support of the Buddhist in Vietnam, the poor folk.  The Vietnamese soildier was one off the toughest and well trained in history.  And, we didn’t have support at home.

I lived with it all my life.  I live with it every day.  The more so as I near 70.

I am one of the fortunate ones who survived and waltzed in and waltzed out through every bad part of it.  The mud, the rain, the heat, the blood, the Naval Hospital, the malaria/dysentery, the hunger, the bites, the sores, the leeches, the rats, the snakes, the rock apes, and panchos with your dead buddies.  And more.  It is still a bummer.

i commented:

Thank you for your service to our country, badly sent on it as were you and your friends.  I honor you while I condemn those who sent you but would not let you and the Vietnamese fight through to unconditional surrender by Ho, who deserved that fate.

At far higher cost than could have/should have been incurred, the Red Army’s march around the southern flank of the USA’s western defense perimeter was deflated.  It should have been defeated, could have been defeated, as you guys on the ground well-knew.  But it was deflated and now over the years, of its own monstrosity, dissipated.  So there is that to comfort one who was there.

Now the Red Army is punching directly into the center of the USA’s western defense perimeter.  The Red Army has lost its sense of asset relativity.  Its resilience is forced, not natural.

Update 1: Scott Johnson again: The Ken Burns Version

Update 2: Barry McCaffrey: The Forgotten South Vietnamese Airborne

Related: McCaffrey with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Update 3: Veterans on the Ken Burns film.

Update 4: Scott Johnson on the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary with more from Scott here and here and here and here.

Update 5: Ken Burns’ Warped Mirror

Update 6: Bing West: The Vietnam War Documentary: Gloom And Despair

Update 7: Vietnam Veterans Set the Record Straight After PBS TV Series Whitewashes Communism


Ann-Margret With The 82nd Airborne Division, Vietnam

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