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Vietnam War: The Real Story

I came across this video while looking for information, videos and pictures of our times in Vietnam (mid 1950’s to mid 1960’s). You may or may not have seen this video. Either way, it certainly is a reminder of how the Media, can and has throughout history, reported and presented distorted versions of events to the masses … Kinda reminds me of that old Johnny Cash song “What Is Truth” … You be the judge …

Bob

9 comments to Vietnam War: The Real Story

  • Kathy Connor Dobronyi

    The facts are that the French lost in Viet Nam even with supplies and aid from the United States. The facts are that the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong fought traditionally, and we knew it, but we had the hubris to think that we knew better because we had billions of dollars invested in our war industry.

    We got our asses whipped just like the French did, which is why they told us to get out when they did.

    We did not understand the government, the religion, nor the people. Hell, most of us didn’t even know where Viet Nam was located when our father’s got orders to report there.

    Don’t blame the media. Don’t blame the Vietnamese. Blame ourselves. We knew what we were getting into, but we blundered on with the cost of countless innocent lives–American, Australian, Thai, New Zealanders, and Vietnamese.

    My childhood was destroyed by my experience in Viet Nam. I couldn’t go to a movie, a restaurant, nor walk down the street without wondering what was going to explode and who was going to die. I still don’t sit with my back to the door when I am out in public. I cannot go to black powder shoots with my husband nor watch fireworks without the horror being replayed within my very soul. While our troops were in Viet Nam, you can be damned sure that I marched in the anti-war protests.

  • Frank Stoddard

    Kathy,
    When I left Vietnam in April 1961 I cried. I was leaving a place I dearly loved. Friends and “memories that just won’t die”. Again when I (with my Mom and two sisters) flew out of Saigon in August of 1962, I again cried. This sorrow was a little different. My father had just died. He had been wounded in the Philippines during WW II and his old injury on his neck and back was acting up. He was having a lot of pain and he could barely move his right arm. The last time I saw him was on a street in Saigon where he was getting on a cyclo that would take him to work. That afternoon he flew out to the hospital at Clark Air Force Base, P.I. A few days later he was dead.
    The next time I flew out of Vietnam I was overcome with joy. When the airplanes landing gear left the field at Da Nang on 8 August 1968, everyone, including me, yelled out a huge cheer. When the pilot announced that we’d be landing in the US of A in 10 minutes, everyone on the plane went dead silent. When the plane touched down… a roar erupted. When I got off the plane at El Toro MCAS, I got down on my knees and kissed the asphalt. I did not have a thought about Nixon or LBJ. Politics was not on my mind. I wanted water in a real glass, with real ice. I wanted to flush a real toilet. I wanted a “cold” beer. I wanted to kiss a girl. I wanted “French Onion soup” and a “lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing”…Why the soup and salad? I do not know, but that was what I wanted and I got it at LAX.
    Why America went to war and why we left the war will be discussed in the history books forever. The Vietnamese never attacked us and we never had a Dien Bien Phu like the French. I agree with you that the news did not cause the war to be lost, … nor do I believe that it got us into the war. (Unlike the Spanish American war. This one was directly influenced by a news agency that had an agenda. Fortunately we learned from that and won’t let that happen again!). I think Charlton Heston was an interesting actor and a smart man. But I also think in his case, wisdom did not necessarily come with age. It is easy to blame the press or a person or an event or whatever when things do not go the way we perceived it should have.
    Why we go to war is a long discussion in itself. That would take us several beers to get through. If however, I had to put it into one word, I would say “fear”.
    I have done a tremendous amount of study about the Vietnam War. I’m from the school of thought, like so many other military scholars were in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, that regardless of circumstance (good and bad), you cannot win a war unless you can define victory. If you do not know what it will look like to “win”, you cannot achieve it. Again, thank God we learned from that.
    I often go to http://www.thewall-usa.com. I look up names like Jimmy Nakayama, Ronny Moe, Gary Judd, and Frank Mazariegos. I do not do it in order to wonder if they died in vain. I do it to help myself. I wonder what their lives could have been like and I wonder if I am doing mine justice,. “The Vietnam legacy”…. None of us, even if we wanted to, can get away from it!
    Kathy, if you and yours ever come through southeast Arizona, give us a call. I’ll buy the beer!

  • Kathy Connor Dobronyi

    Frank,
    Thank you for your heartfelt words. They were truly appreciated. Unfortunately, I’ll have to take a raincheck on that beer. My husband and I moved to Florida in 2003 after living 35 years in Tucson.

    Howsomever, if you ever get to the west coast of Florida, look me up.

  • Admin

    I say compromise and meet up in the the middle … like “Memphsis” … Beale Street … Blues, Rock n Roll … Beer and BBQ at Corky’s Smoke House… mmmmmmmm YUMMMMMMMMYYYYYY … 🙂

    Let the good times roll …. 🙂

    Bob

  • Frank Stoddard

    Bob, I love Beale street. The food, music, can’t explain it! Kathy and Bob, Saigon kids must stick together, no matter what! It is the rule!!
    By the way Bob, didn’t you go to reform school in Arizona? Love Ya Man! Frank

  • Admin

    Frank LOL @ reform school in AZ … hahaahaah … Yes after Saigon I was sent to the “reform school” in Scottsdale, AZ … and ohhhhhh did I get ‘reformed’ … hahha … It was a COED Boarding School!!! I LOVED IT!!! … Judson School closed in 2000 and the Wick family who founded, owned and operated it since the 1920’s turned the property into a ULTRA-LUXURY single family residence gated community. Peggy Goldwater graduated with me in 1962, and her dad Barry Goldwater spoke at our graduation. It was a full on PARTY school … LOL …

    Yeah man … Beale Street ROCKS!!

    Bob

  • Burt Parker

    Well, after much thought and consternation, and not a little trepidation, I have to chime in on this thread.

    I sincerely believe that the war was lost in the public mind, a mind that was significantly guided by the media. I was a captain in Viet Nam and I thought then and now that we were trying to do the right thing. The ‘domino effect’ and all that. Guess what, the ‘domino effect’ happened (although not as severely as was presumed back in the day) because we as a nation just quit. Not because of military defeats, but because of lack of resolve in Congress, which in my view was partly and significantly due to the liberal media.

    And because of misguided folks like Jane Fonda who put their oar in the water in a most unpatriatic, possibly treasonous way. (I don’t watch/buy any movie or have anything else to do with her as a result) I wonder what her response would be today if someone questioned her about what she thinks now of her activities then? Will the media ever do that? I doubt it.

    In my view, anyone who thinks that the media is not left leaning, especially TV (except for FOX which has the opposite problem) is seriously misinformed.

    Now, maybe we should have just stood by and let ‘all that’ just happen, that’s another question. After all, Viet Nam is becoming, albeit slowing, more capitalistic, with possibly higher standard of living, and all that; maybe even more democracy at least eventually. On the other hand, if we had stayed the course would ‘all that’ have happened? As an officer on the ground in Viet Nam, I cannot tell how often I despaired of how the politicos in Washington tied our hands, tactically and strategically. Oh sure, you might say: if we’d done the correct military solution it could have resulted in WWIII. Maybe so, but I doubt it. On the other hand, what got the North Vietnamese to the conference table?: the Cambodian incursion (which destroyed huge stores of supplies and weapons) and resumption of bombing North Vietnam, both of which showed them we could bring them to the knees if we chose to do so. We just decided to quit when we were ahead, militarily.

    Now, with that history lesson, I’m fearful we are also going to ‘quit’ in the middle east, which could have much more direct consequences to our security here at home in the long run re terrorists…

    Regards,

    Burt

    P.S. Kathy, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese did not fight traditionally until late in the war. And, every time they did they got whipped badly, especially in the Tet offensive, but also at Ka Son (sp?), and the tank army incursion across the demiliterized zone.

    P.P.S. I must say that it is not my intention to start some kinda political debate or ‘flaming’ session. I just want to put forth my perspectives, as Kathy and Frank have done. Saigon Kids have to stick together, as Frank says, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have differences of views on the issues of yesterday and today…

  • Burt Parker

    P.P.P.S. Kathy, I’m sorry your experience in Saigon destroyed your childhood. My experiences very much enriched my life forever during my junior year in Saigon. My sampan adventures withs friends on the canals and river of Saigon (seeing the Vietnamese lining the waterways and bridges waving and shouting ‘hello’, no doubt wondering why this crazy American kids didn’t have someone to row them around), our dance parties, parties at our home, our school clubs, the Bamboo Beacon, the Gecko yearbook, our softball team, our freedom-from-parents-giving motorcycles, the Cercle Sportif swimming pool (and all the lovely gals in bikinies), and so many, many other positive life changing rememberances…

  • Burt

    Ummm, I guess I have inadvertently shut down this thread. I am sorry if that is the case because I’d really like to hear other folks’ thoughts and memories on this subject…

    Does anyone remember the genencide in Loas at the hands of the communist Pathet Loa (Pot Poi)? Fortunately, for us, unfortunately for them, Loas was one of the few ‘dominos’ to fall…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathet_Lao

    There are other web sites that can show you the tens of thousands of Loastians dead at the hands of the Pathet Loa along canals and river banks, but you can find them for yourselves if so inclined. I won’t subject you to those images, as I find them so very gruesome…

    Again, I’d like to resume discussion on the Viet Nam war…

    Regards,

    Burt

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