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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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Files part of a once-secret archive assembled by a Pentagon task force in the early 1970s show that confirmed atrocities by U.S. forces in Vietnam were more extensive than was previously known.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-vietnam6aug06,1,2479259.story

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annabohly
Jingle Bell Hock


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My older brother was in Vietnam, and he had alot of problems during the late 80's dealing with that stuff. He told a little of what happened over there, but i'm sure there was so much more.

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And always remember....when life hands you Lemons, ask for tequila and salt and call me over !!!!!

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Ophiuchus
Deck the Malls


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I am not surprised at all any more hearing what happened in Vietnam... or WWII for that matter. 10-30 years from now we'll be hearing about things that are happening in Iraq, Afganistan and Lebannon right now that will make people sick. We just deny it is happening now and many people will continue to deny it in order to rationalize going through yet another war.

America is lucky in that no war besides those totally one-sided fights with the Native Americans and Mexicans has ever taken place on U.S. soil. People get upset about Pearl Harbor or 9/11, but for countries that have had a modern war within their borders those kind of things were the typical news of the day during that point. But, so long as the people with the biggest military and most power can keep an emotional distance from this reality, war will never end.

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queen of the bah-caramels
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
America is lucky in that no war besides those totally one-sided fights with the Native Americans and Mexicans has ever taken place on U.S. soil.

War of 1812?
Civil War ?

ETA War of Independance as you at least won that one [Wink]

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Focus On The Family- An opinion group who think more about Gay Sex than gay people do- Rick Mercer

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Norton II
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
America is lucky in that no war besides those totally one-sided fights with the Native Americans and Mexicans has ever taken place on U.S. soil.

Many people know about the Confederate POW camp at Andersonville. What isn't so well known is that most POW camps run by both sides of the Civil War were equally as bad. Atrocities are not something new to the American military.

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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Hmmm...out of the several hundred thousand troops that served in Vietnam in those 4 years, there's 203 individuals that they would have enough evidence to proscute. Even if you only count the couple of hundred thousand combat troops, that's roughly 1 instance of 'violent crime' per 1000 individuals. The US rate in 1968 was 33.7 per 1000. Is that good? No. But it's far from the image of the 'baby-killer soldier in a war where civilian massacres were commomplace' image that some groups and individuals would have us believe. Even the tone of this article implies that:
quote:
"Abuses were not confined to a few rogue units, a Times review of the files found. They were uncovered in every Army division that operated in Vietnam."
Um...there were only 11 divisions in Vietnam - 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, 23rd and 25th Infantry, 82nd and 101st Abn, 1st Cav, and 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions. With 227 instances, odds are there's at least one per division.

Of course, that viewpoint was boosted by the government failure to release this information at the time and proscuting the first couple might have prevented the rest.

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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DavieV
I Saw Three Shipments


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fyi Queen, we also won the War of 1812.
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Steve
Happy Holly Days


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Were there battles of the war with Mexico fought on U.S. soil?
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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
Were there battles of the war with Mexico fought on U.S. soil?

I've been waiting my whole life to say this:

Remember the Alamo!

Four Kitties

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If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

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Steve
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Four Kitties:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
Were there battles of the war with Mexico fought on U.S. soil?

I've been waiting my whole life to say this:

Remember the Alamo!

Four Kitties

I do, I do! It was blown up by those nasty Spaniards near Cuba and...wait, never mind.

Anyway, Texas wasn't part of the U.S. at that point. And, as far as I know, there was no fighting in the U.S. during the Mexican War--but then my military history isn't very good, so I'm curious.

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Jimmy Jive
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by DavieV:
fyi Queen, we also won the War of 1812.

Funny, I don't see any U.S. flags up here [Wink]

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Like Johnny says, I walk the line...

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
Texas wasn't part of the U.S. at that point.

I never said it was appropriate or accurate, only that I'd been waiting to say it. [Big Grin]
quote:
Originally posted by Jimmy Jive:
Funny, I don't see any U.S. flags up here [Wink]

Weren't any before, either. All the War of 1812 accomplished was to piss of Dolley Madison and make the British marginally less willing to impress American seamen. Oh, and they had to repaint the White House.

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If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
quote:
Originally posted by Four Kitties:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
Were there battles of the war with Mexico fought on U.S. soil?

I've been waiting my whole life to say this:

Remember the Alamo!

Four Kitties

I do, I do! It was blown up by those nasty Spaniards near Cuba and...wait, never mind.

Anyway, Texas wasn't part of the U.S. at that point. And, as far as I know, there was no fighting in the U.S. during the Mexican War--but then my military history isn't very good, so I'm curious.

Depends on how you decide what constitutes American soil. Mexico at the time would have said no, no battles were fought on US soil during the Mexican American War, however America would have said "American blood on american soil!" BURN UM'!!!! There were a few small battles fought in Texas, after it was annexed by the US and made a state, however they were, as I recall, in the disputed area South of the Nueces and north of the Rio Grande, the Rio Grande being mutually recognized as the boudary after the war.

Just the same, I don't think any of the battles fought on US soil, save those of the Civil War, were particularly bloody by modern terms.

ETA:
quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
People get upset about Pearl Harbor or 9/11, but for countries that have had a modern war within their borders those kind of things were the typical news of the day during that point. But, so long as the people with the biggest military and most power can keep an emotional distance from this reality, war will never end.

That sounds like a gross over simplification. It's like Wilsonianism taken to its most twisted and perverted extreme: if there can be a war so horrible as to end all wars then, surely, we must have such a war for the good of humanity.

If it's that simple, then how do you explain all the wars that have been started by war ravaged third world nations like Iraq and Iran? How about the not so backwards nations like France, Germany, and Russia? They had plenty of bloody massacares take place on their soil for hundreds of years and it didn't stop them from having more wars. You can claim all you want that Western Europe has turned its back on war finally because, as your theory says, they have finally had enough and are weary of war, but I'd say they're done with war because they aren't on top anymore. Now, sadly, it's America's turn to be the cause of all war and the root of all evil because we have the power to be. It's easy to be a good man when you don't have the strength to beat your wife, the gasoline to burn down your neighbors house, or enough bombs to wage war with.

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"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Casey, making hot chocolate
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quote:
Originally posted by Norton II:
quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
America is lucky in that no war besides those totally one-sided fights with the Native Americans and Mexicans has ever taken place on U.S. soil.

Many people know about the Confederate POW camp at Andersonville. What isn't so well known is that most POW camps run by both sides of the Civil War were equally as bad. Atrocities are not something new to the American military.
Camp Douglas would be one. 12,000 Confederate troops in 1864, between 6000 and 7500 would die there.

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"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
Countdown: 177 days and counting... or less. My blog. 14 keyboards owed.

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rogue
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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From what I remember, the deaths of POW's during the civil war was from disease, poor sanitation and housing conditions (which was often a problem with the troops themselves during war) and not from active abuse.

A more fitting comparision (although still lacking) is Quantrill's Lawrence raid, but he only killed men, not women or children.

I do not want to be an apologist, but when you are fighting a force that attacks using non-uniformed "troops" and women/children, along with booby-trapped suicide bombers, I fully understand feeling threatened by "civilians."

Having said that, the killing of an unarmed individual in custody is NOT justified. Failure to follow instructions (such as "stop right there") given the above circumstances, would constitute a threat and response under ROE.

-Rogue

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"'Cause you might enjoy some madness for awile."

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wanderwoman
Bluetooth Christmas


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quote:
But it's far from the image of the 'baby-killer soldier in a war where civilian massacres were commomplace' image that some groups and individuals would have us believe.
What "groups and individuals" are you talking about?

No snark intended. I just don't think the image of the 'baby-killer soldier in a war where civilian massacres were commomplace' you are talking about is generally accepted. But I am open to any evidence that you might have.

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"But I'm adding this to my reasons why I never really liked really good looking men much. Sheesh, what good is good looking if you have to stuff a sock in his mouth." - Sara at home
NFBSK, IIRC and other mysterious Snopester language

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Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I've thought about this for a few days. Wanderwoman's question about those that propogate the stories of commonplace massacre and wanton destruction by US forces made me try to piece together, from a relative outsider's point of view, a reasonable thought on how this lives.

I have come up with the following:

During the war and in the few years following cessation of hostilities with US forces it was a very vocal anti-war crowd. This is well documented, and their actions have grown to hyperbolic proportions over the years. Take Jane Fonda's exploits and the apocryphal veteran spitting incidents.

However, in the 1980s the trend of the character/identity of the Vietnam Veteran began to transform. I liken it to the fact that popular media started portraying these veterans, not as mindless killers, but as humans with the scars they will bear for their lives. Magnum PI and Bruce Springsteen jump to mind as popular icons that helped transform the image of the Vietnam Vet. The building of the wall certainly helped bring about understanding.

However, in my estimation, it was in the early 1990s, after the first Gulf War that things started to change. The liberation of Kuwait did bring out the protesters, but the veterans who fought that battle held the moral high ground in that war. They returned to parades and yellow ribbons.

Where did that leave the Vietnam Veteran? Undoubtedly, most were pleased. However, I believe there was a very vocal minority who relished being the ones scorned. They use the internet to pass on hyperbole as truth, and even though many, if not most, claims have been debunked, they "were there" and do not accept it. I would hazard a guess that they take a perverse pleasure in being the societal reject seeking acceptance. It is just that they cannot see that society is ready to accept them.

As I said above, this is a very vocal minority. Most Vietnam Vets I know are easy going, middle aged men, who enjoy a good story, a cold beer and baseball. I know they are proud of their service, and are quick to point out others who claim to have been there. They are not overly wrought with psychological scars, even though the scars are there. They do not sport Vietnam era combat shirts as popular iconographic photos would have us believe. They wear normal clothes, but may have a baseball hat with their unit insignia on it, and a dozen pins from museums and reunions.

These are not the fellas propogating the stereotype of the babykiller. Likewise, the protesters of old are not the ones perpetuating the myths they helped start. It seems to be the bitter veterans, who propogate the myth by proxy by their continual attacks on the myths themselves.

Anyways, that's what I've thought.

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Very well-thought out post, UEL. I find myself in total agreement.

Additionally, I encourage anyone interested in the issue to read Stolen Valor by B.G Burkett and Glenna Whiley. Among other issues, it illustrates that many of those "veterans" who most vocally propogate the "scarred for Life 'Nam vet" steroptype had never even been there, or even served at all.

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High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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Norton II
Deck the Malls


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Southeast Asian waffles

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Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

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Norton II
Deck the Malls


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I'm a Vietnam veteran. The only souvenirs I have are a couple of hundred photographs, mainly of people I can't put a name to (I'll never forget old What's-His-Name). I don't have any pieces of uniform left, which wouldn't fit anyway. I don't have any pins or bumper stickers saying "Nam Vet." I generally don't tell war stories. I am a middle-aged man who got sent somewhere almost 40 years ago and who didn't particularly like being there.

BTW, I recently reread Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. It is, IMNSHO, the best piece of fiction about the war.
quote:
A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.


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Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by queen of the car-amels:
quote:
Originally posted by Ophiuchus:
America is lucky in that no war besides those totally one-sided fights with the Native Americans and Mexicans has ever taken place on U.S. soil.

War of 1812?
Civil War ?

ETA War of Independance as you at least won that one [Wink]

The United States won the Civil War.

ETA:

quote:
Originally posted by UEL:
Magnum PI and Bruce Springsteen jump to mind as popular icons that helped transform the image of the Vietnam Vet.

You mean the characters in Bruce Springsteen's songs, right? I don't believe Springsteen is a Vietnam veteran, although he is old enough to have served (born in 1949).

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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wanderwoman
Bluetooth Christmas


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UEL, thanks for a thought-provoking post. I agree with your analysis, for the most part.

My question you were responding to arose from my feeling of disconnect with some of the hindsight accounts of the attitudes toward vets in a time I lived through. I will not deny that there were people whose rhetoric and actions were hurtful to the returning vets during that time.

However, most of the people I knew, even those who were against the war, saw our military as victims rather than perpetrators. They wanted to welcome them back when they came home, but felt awkward because they had heard many stories about what the vets had gone through and they weren't sure how to relate to them. That, and not outright hostility, is what I think was hurtful to our returning Vietnam vets.

I think the awkwardness existed on both sides and I think about that when I hear stories from Iraqi veterans that indicate they feel the same sort of disconnect when they come back. I think it must be hard for them to relate to the mundane concerns of civilians who have not experienced war as they have.

I eventually married a Vietnam vet. When we met he was not involved in any organized way with other veterans. He became involved with a veterans group after we had been together for awhile, and I thought it would be a good thing for him. Unfortunately it turned out to be a group of bitter men who rehashed old grievances and could not seem to move past the late '60s. Much like those you have described.

One thing that I think is important is that my ex became a user of drugs other than alcohol while he was in Vietnam, and developed a marijuana dependency that I have reason to believe persists to this day. In general, the others in his veteran's group had similar drug problems.

I worked in addiction treatment for awhile, and one of the observations about people with drug dependencies is that they stay stuck emotionally, because the drug keeps them from fully feeling the emotions they need to feel in order to grow and mature and learn from their mistakes. I think that drug dependency plus a lackluster welcome contributed to the lingering bitterness of my ex and his buddies.

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"But I'm adding this to my reasons why I never really liked really good looking men much. Sheesh, what good is good looking if you have to stuff a sock in his mouth." - Sara at home
NFBSK, IIRC and other mysterious Snopester language

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I don't know how common atrocities were, so I will not dwell on that.

Instead, I'd like to make some observations on the issue of covering up atrocities.

Basically, it all boils down to this:

It makes good sense for the current war to cover them up. After all, we don't want our people to think that we are the bad guys, do we?

For the next war, however, it's a bad idea. Atrocities will be uncovered sooner or later, as will the coverup. This will cast a doubt on our operations in all future war we will be involved in, as people will always expect coverups of atrocities to be going on.

So, it's all a matter of what's good at the moment and what's good in the long run.

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/Troberg

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Four Kitties:
...Oh, and they had to repaint the White House.

They did repaint it the same color, though. In case anyone is wondering, it's always been white.
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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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War dehumanises the winners and losers alike.
One thing you can be sure of whoever wins the war it's not the people fighting on the front lines.

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All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by DesertRat:
Very well-thought out post, UEL. I find myself in total agreement.

Additionally, I encourage anyone interested in the issue to read Stolen Valor by B.G Burkett and Glenna Whiley. Among other issues, it illustrates that many of those "veterans" who most vocally propogate the "scarred for Life 'Nam vet" steroptype had never even been there, or even served at all.

What's amazing and disturbing is how well (or how easily) these guys fooled their friends, wives, coworkers, the VA and sometimes themselves that they were actually traumatized combat veterans, then use that as an excuse for everything from drug use to wife beating to the coveted VA disability.

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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musicgeek
Deck the Malls


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A buddy of mine is a Vietnam vet and commander of the local VFW post who counsels other vets. He's annoyed to no end by the "look at me, I was in 'Nam" vets, who as Delta-V points out, use it as an excuse for drunkenness, inability to hold a job, etc. There's one guy who shows up regularly at the VFW bar spouting stories of Special Forces service, all of which have been proven false, but they let him alone because it's easier than trying to have him thrown out.

His (ETA the commander, not the phony) favorite joke:

"How many Vietnam vets does it take to change a light bulb?"

"I don't know."

"Of COURSE you don't know, 'cause you weren't NFBSKin' there!!!"

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[God said] "I'll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid; that's what I call intelligent design." - Chris Smither, "Origin of the Species"

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vonmazur
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I did two tours as an Aviator in the Army, before I was old enough to vote.....I have had enough of the archetypical supposed vets....I know of several who claimed to be vets, and turned out to have served in the National Guard to avoid 'Nam...Including a former governor of a southern state.....(Not Klinton).....

I do not understand the "fetish for atrocitites", that seems to accompany this war....other than the excessive media coverage....

Dale in Ala

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"Neca eos omnes-Deus suos agnoscet"

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
I did two tours as an Aviator in the Army, before I was old enough to vote
Forgive my curiosity, but you mean enlisted aircrew, right? Because the only other way I can see you being an aviator before being old enough to vote is having been a flight warrant officer (and from a state whose voting age was 21).

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High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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The Rubber Chicken
The First USA Noel


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quote:
As I said above, this is a very vocal minority. Most Vietnam Vets I know are easy going, middle aged men, who enjoy a good story, a cold beer and baseball. I know they are proud of their service, and are quick to point out others who claim to have been there. They are not overly wrought with psychological scars, even though the scars are there. They do not sport Vietnam era combat shirts as popular iconographic photos would have us believe. They wear normal clothes, but may have a baseball hat with their unit insignia on it, and a dozen pins from museums and reunions.

Just wanted to say, real good narrative there. My father was an Army aviator in Vietnam and that pretty much describes him to a T. Before I joined the Army, I talked about it a little with him. He said he still has bad memories and occasional nightmares, but he doesn't regret serving, and said he would do it again if given the choice. Aside from some physical scars, though, he isn't traumetized, mentally unstable, or bitter. And most other Vets I know fit your description very well.

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Posts: 716 | From: Seoul, South Korea | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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