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Vietnam Just Fuel, Not Fire

Reader comment on item: Lee Harvey Oswald's Malign Legacy
in response to reader comment: Vietnam not Oswald

Submitted by Michael USA, Viet Vet (United States), Dec 5, 2007 at 21:34

You are misinformed concerning your feelings about the Viet Nam war. I am a two-time veteran of that war (not conflict) and the anti-American sentiment in our population preceded the war. The war may have been a battle cry for the up and coming New Left that was emerging but the sore was already festering.

I enlisted (not out of patriotism but to better my situation in life) but the bulk of ground pounders were drafted. Unfortunately the draft was still in place from the popular world war-II. The majority of young men in Viet Nam did not want to be there or in the military. There was no threat or attack on the U.S. and the support of the war from the average citizen came from a general trust in the government doing the right thing. They did not loose their morale, many never had it in the first place. I joined and I wanted to go home just as bad as many but I signed the papers and a deal is a deal.

I was 19 years old and I feel prey to the anti-war rhetoric because I desired to be "hep" (not hip). When my ex-contemporaries treated me with disdain after my first tours completion, my eyes were opened. Let me not forget the politics that ran amok during the war, many politicians, politically minded senior military leaders, Hanoi Jane and her ilk made it intolerable for young and seasoned warriors alike.

If we had the means: trained and willing troops like we have today or the freedom to attack at will, we could have handily won. Unfortunately winning the peace may have proved as difficult as it is in Iraq. By the way, we did win the initial war in Iraq faster than a Viking horde could sack an English hamlet. With true but few allies. It's the peace that's a bitch.

Involvement in Viet Nam was not morally wrong, it was a mistake. The South Vietnamese were not our friends. They were a problem we inherited from the French before we learned to out spend the communists instead of fight them. There was still a great deal of anti-commie sentiment that survived the McCarthy era and JFK was a bit infected with that bug. America was still a young country and we had only become a world power during WW II. We became one of two "Big Kids on the block" during the nuclear build up. As a rule we regular Americans would just like to be left alone. Unfortunately the spread of rampaging far left liberalism is working its way mainstream and we may find ourselves turned into a Western Europe.

War is neither moral nor immoral. Sometimes it is necessary, sometimes it's not. The responsibility of judging the morality of an act (or lack there of) rests with the individual. The responsibility for protection of the group lies with its government.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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