norm hill, Vietnam veteran
plano, tx, usa
Just caught the tail end of your first program. I was at the Ft Dix Officers Club when Johnson gave his Gulf Of Tonkin speech. A roar of macho bravado went up,with expressions of how we were going to show those guys how to fight a war. Within a day or two a billboard at the main gate had the message in giant letters "WIN IN VIETNAM". The next day the Commanding General had an officers call at the post theater. There he gave the party line of "We are not in Vietnam to win ..but to help the people of Vietnam." etc.... we took note and said well it's the only war we got.
I had a basic training company at the time and saw the young patriotic youth rush to the aid of the country..the country that lied to them. They believed what the government was telling them and were willing to die to "defend their country." How sad. These soldiers were the ones who got the abuse upon their return.
The ones at fault went on to head the world bank and live the goodlife, get fancy jobs and wear trappings of power.
As a soldier I was not for the protests, as I felt it hurt the men who were serving. As a civilian I look back and see they were necessary. For the first time since our early history the American people questioned their government. They went to the streets and made the politicians reapond. Our government would not have moved to action without that pressure. The spilled blood of that war was the fuel for those protests.
I was however,sad to see the student protesters grow quiet when the draft was ended. Perhaps their fervor was not for the unjust war... but for self preservation.
The American fighting man did not loose that war. Our civilian leaders lost it. They lied, made billions and our youth paid the price. That is the shame of the war..our government's shame. I hope that lessons learned will not fade with time.