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Saturday, May 19, 2012

FIFTY YEARS - THE VIETNAM WAR - 1962 -2012.

The time has come to first respect; thank those who were sent to fight the Vietnam War as American soldiers.


The time has come to salute those that came home to the United States - and were NOT welcome.


Young men and women answered their Nation's call. Never mind - if the politicians had it their way. The men followed the orders - much as they do today - as they did going to fight a war - in Iraq and Afghanistan.


We; in the United States lost 58,000 soldiers in Vietnam. Many of our soldiers dead bodies - were shipped to the Presidio of San Francisco - where make shift arrangement were made - before the remains were shipped all over the Nation.


50 years have flown quickly - and some of us have forgotten that horrific war - in Vietnam.


Here in California we have thousands of Vietnamese who fled their Nation - to become citizens of the United States. These Vietnamese have their story to tell.


Many of them are my friends - but, I try to stay away from the politics of what the North stood for and what the South tried to attain.


Once ruled by the French - the Vietnamese - had to survive and fight their own independence. Much as we see today - in North Korea and South Korea. Palestine and Israel. India and Pakistan.


Many chose not to go to Vietnam - chose to flee to Canada and to other countries.


There was much confusion - with the military spreading reports that all was well - when our troops were killed in the thousands.


That war in Vietnam in the dense jungles was a guerrilla war where the Vietnamese soldier - could control the war in a manner that our soldiers - were not trained for.


It was common for many Vietnamese soldiers from the North - living in burrowed tunnels - then coming up in droves; in pitch darkness and surprising our soldiers - in the middle of the camp.


At other times building bunkers in the middle of the jungles - with means of supporting the guerrilla with thousands of soldiers - who lived in tunnels buried deep in the ground.


What favored the guerrillas was their ability to eat little - starve - the small bodies made it possible for them to crawl in small spaces, climb trees, and conduct clandestine operations - without being seen.


Our troops had never ever encountered such type of guerrilla fighting and surprise encounters.


Once in Vietnam in the thick jungles - it was too late to do anything - accept adapt - and this was difficult. The dense jungles, the mosquitoes, the rivers, the many paddy fields - other difficulties - had our soldiers at a - disadvantage.


What advantage our Nation had was air power. So, when we decided to bomb the jungles and use Agent Orange - it was as a last resort. We bombed, destroyed the foliage- bared the trees - but as I said miles of tunnels underground remain intact.


We remember the frustration of some of our soldiers - killing everyone in sight - and many a times unarmed women and children. That comes with hysteria, fear, and the dawning of utter defeat.


The Vietnamese from North did the same - treat our captured soldiers with disdain. Humiliate them and did not adhere to the Geneva Convention. To this day - historians will point the salient differences - and try to portray - our soldiers being on their best behavior.


War is a terrible thing. You see death and when you stare at death - nothing else matters.


 We learned this in World War II - and early in the many battles fought in the Civil War - where millions died.


There is not a thing pretty about war - and especially in a war - where our Nation involves ourselves - under a pretext that is dubious in nature.


Seeing a dead body; seeing a wounded blooded soldier - is  not pretty.


And when body bags are brought home - all the glory of marches, and vain talk of wining a war - come to a rest - and sorrow and pain - quickly become a reality. There is a silence that is unbearable - but one that brings us to our senses - are reality sinks in.


I was old enough to have met hundreds of American soldiers - who revealed to me - a lot about the Vietnam War they had to endure.


It is amazing when you lose thirty, forty, and at times fifty of your buddies - and you live to tell the story with an amputated arm or leg. Bullets still in your body.


Nightmares,night sweats, imagining the enemy is near when you are far away in a neutral country - are realities   - I have witnessed. Years after the Vietnam War.


Fifty years have passed and the scars still remain with our soldiers.


I know too many soldiers who won the purple heart - others who won higher awards.


The awards do not mean much to the soldiers - they always speak highly of those that died and could have lived - and feel that they should have been the ones - who should have done better - and sacrificed their lives.


Recently our President, Barack Hussein Obama - publicly stated - the time has come to salute and thank our American soldiers - who served in Vietnam. I agree.


God bless America. God bless Australia and the many other countries that helped us - Cambodia, Thailand, and others who helped as as Rangers and in other pertinent - ways.


God bless the wives and children of those that did not return from the Vietnam War.


God bless those who did not return from the more recent wars - Desert Storm and Desert Shield, the Iraq war, the continuing war in Afghanistan.


It is always the children, the wives, the families, the friends - the loved ones - that some how have to resolve the loss of a loved - one. War spreads more hurt then love - we know it - but, yet - the politicians think war is the way to go.


Nations must go to war as a last resort - in recent years - we have not done that - we have chosen go to war and then fond out - why the hell we went to war?


As with the Vietnam war - the politicians often think they know better.


Generals in the Military will tell you - that is if you know some personally - that politicians have no role telling the military what is best for our Nation.


We should have learned our lesson in Vietnam. But we did not.


We went on skirmishes, bulling smaller nations - but we fell prey in Iraq and to this day in - Afghanistan.


We must honor the 58,000 who died in the Vietnam War and the many - Missing In Action - God Bless America.