Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by BobHelm » August 23, 2009, 9:57 pm

Well there was undoubtedly atrocities committed by both sides in this conflict. A few facts must also be recognised.
The "Viet Cong" were actually citizens of Vietnam. Any foreign troops serving there do not have that excuse.
The Government of the so called "South Vietnam" was as a corrupt, self serving affair as has existed in the area - comparable with the Burmese "Government" of today.
In a democratic & free vote of all Vietnamese citizens Ho Chi Min would undoubtedly been swept to Government by an overwhelming majority from all the citizens of Vietnam.
"Uncle Ho" was badly let down & promises broken after his and the Vietnam people's efforts in expelling the Japanese from the peninsula - without the help of the French who had long run away & then were gifted Sovereignty of the area at war's end...
The true perpetrators of crimes in Vietnam were those in high office in the USA who involved America in this conflict. Without their insistence American troops (many of which were conscripts) would not have been within 6,000 miles of the area to commit any offence.



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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by jimboLV » August 23, 2009, 10:16 pm

BobHelm wrote:Well there was undoubtedly atrocities committed by both sides in this conflict. A few facts must also be recognised.
The "Viet Cong" were actually citizens of Vietnam.
They were citizens of NORTH Vietnam. This gives them the right to commit numerous atrocities against the people of both North and South Vietnam?

Mind you, I hold no brief with the corrupt government of Diem in South Vietnam, who with Kennedy's help was trying to establish a religious dictatorship in the South (Catholic). But the Commies took advantage of this to try to advance their empire by a campaign of terror, very similar to our friends the Muslims in current history. Remember, history repeats itself.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by BobHelm » August 23, 2009, 10:40 pm

NORTH VIETNAM???? that was a figment of imagination imposed on the country with no legitimacy what so ever just because Ho Chi Min & the Vietnamese's Army gave the French invaders a pasting.
It never ceases to amaze me how "the land of the free & the brave" seem to think that only applies to THEIR country & that other countries should do as they are told by America.

Vietnam under Ho Chi Min could have become Americas staunchest ally in SE Asia if only it had delivered on its promises made in a time of crisis.
The same is absolutely true of the Muslim Arab States (promised the earth by UK during the first world war for support against Germany & then dealt a very poor hand when victory happened).
You are correct history does repeat itself. One of the first lessons countries learn is that if people fail to deliver on promises made in a time of crisis then:
1. They are probably not to be trusted.
2. They will lie again to you.
3. There promises are not worth the paper they were written on.
4. They are probably not your friend.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by jimboLV » August 23, 2009, 10:49 pm

BobHelm wrote:Vietnam under Ho Chi Min could have become Americas staunchest ally in SE Asia if only it had delivered on its promises made in a time of crisis.
The same is absolutely true of the Muslim Arab States (promised the earth by UK during the first world war for support against Germany & then dealt a very poor hand when victory happened).
Amazing. Bob. I admire you but your lack of knowledge of history amazes me.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by laphanphon » August 24, 2009, 12:28 am

i think a lot of people need to reread the history or vietnam. there was a UN peasce accord/resolution for free eledtions, until it became quite obvious, Uncle Ho was going to win, and sadly, the skeptics, immediately thought he would align with communist china, since he had visiied there. big mistake.

a lot more to be learned, worth a search and read. one of the biggest world and usa embarrassments of all time. :evil:
GOOD BYE CRUEL WORLD

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by Fawn » August 24, 2009, 1:40 am

Read 'A Bright and Shining Lie' by Neil Sheehan, an enlightening read.
Doug! Doug! Doug!

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by BKKSTAN » August 24, 2009, 6:58 am

BobHelm wrote:NORTH VIETNAM???? that was a figment of imagination imposed on the country with no legitimacy what so ever just because Ho Chi Min & the Vietnamese's Army gave the French invaders a pasting.
It never ceases to amaze me how "the land of the free & the brave" seem to think that only applies to THEIR country & that other countries should do as they are told by America.

Vietnam under Ho Chi Min could have become Americas staunchest ally in SE Asia if only it had delivered on its promises made in a time of crisis.
The same is absolutely true of the Muslim Arab States (promised the earth by UK during the first world war for support against Germany & then dealt a very poor hand when victory happened).
You are correct history does repeat itself. One of the first lessons countries learn is that if people fail to deliver on promises made in a time of crisis then:
1. They are probably not to be trusted.
2. They will lie again to you.
3. There promises are not worth the paper they were written on.
4. They are probably not your friend.
In general kind of way,I tend to agree.We should also remember ,regarding Viet Nam,that our great allies FRANCE,refused to allow NATO air bases in France,if the USA didn't help them and their Southern allies in Viet Nam.At the time Russia was the biggest concern to the free World.
It should also be remembered,that ALL politicians,break or bend their promises as compromise is the only avenue to reaching their self or their countries immediate goals!

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by steveway2 » August 24, 2009, 8:54 am

In a general sense USA 's role in Vietnam was just an extension of the disgusting role of eurpoean colonisation in SE asia, with a dollop of anti-comminist hysteria and a flawed domino theory logic thrwon in for good measure.

I think the US got "sucked in" and did not know how to get out (without losing face).

It never ceases to amaze me how the 'colonial powers" try to justify murder, rape, plunder and pillage in the name of "democracy" and the introduction of a "better way".

I think that the botom line is the "white folk" of the day did not consider "yellow folk" to be truly human - just something to be exploited.

At the end of the day it was all about protecting someboodys "investment" - when they think they have got their money back they will pull out, and not a day before.

And I am not US bashing here - just pointing out that we cannot ecsape the "sins" of the past - they alwyas come cak to haunt (Iraq, Afghanistan)

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by BKKSTAN » August 24, 2009, 9:42 am

steveway2 wrote:In a general sense USA 's role in Vietnam was just an extension of the disgusting role of eurpoean colonisation in SE asia, with a dollop of anti-comminist hysteria and a flawed domino theory logic thrwon in for good measure.

I think the US got "sucked in" and did not know how to get out (without losing face).

It never ceases to amaze me how the 'colonial powers" try to justify murder, rape, plunder and pillage in the name of "democracy" and the introduction of a "better way".

I think that the botom line is the "white folk" of the day did not consider "yellow folk" to be truly human - just something to be exploited.

At the end of the day it was all about protecting someboodys "investment" - when they think they have got their money back they will pull out, and not a day before.

And I am not US bashing here - just pointing out that we cannot ecsape the "sins" of the past - they alwyas come cak to haunt (Iraq, Afghanistan)
I don't think racial predjiduce is a leading factor!And all powerful nations have been ''colonizers''!
It is as simple as economic interests of the politicians acting on what they think are the best interests of their respective countries!

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by jimboLV » August 24, 2009, 10:20 am

One of the advantages of being an old fart like myself is that you get to see history, that you have lived through, being rewritten to fit the stereotypes of certain idealists. The current subject of this thread is a perfect example. We all know all the excruciating details of Calley and his gang of thugs. But who remembers, or even acknowledges, the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocents by Uncle Ho and his communist cohorts in their attempt to establish a communist Southeast Asia? Truly a mass murderer who is held up as a great patriot, thanks to an adept propaganda machine. I have no doubt that in 30 or 40 years, we will be reading about the courageous freedom fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan who mightily resisted attempts by the West to colonize them.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by jackspratt » August 24, 2009, 10:44 am

One of the advantages of time progressing is that you get to see history from a wider, and generally more balanced perspective.

It is nor about revisionism to suit an agenda, but more about examination and analysis - which you certainly don't get at the time things are happening. How many newspapers, TV programs etc would be game to go against their government (western) in the initial stages of a war (read - invasion). Certainly not many in Oz, nor would I imagine in the US or the UK. There are of course honourable exceptions, but then you get the conservative nuts and commentators (talking heads) starting to use words such as (the detestable) "patriot", and "traitor".

You know, the - "you are either with us, or against us" sort of tripe sprouted by a recent president.

No one (hopefully) doubts the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by heinous individuals such as uncles Ho and Joe, and the worlds biggest mass murderer, Mao. But in western democracies, there is not much more we can do other than recognise, and not forget.

On the other hand, we can make a difference in out own backyards by constantly reminding ourselves, and others, of the atrocities committed in our name - but generally, for very different reasons.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by BobHelm » August 24, 2009, 10:51 am

Indeed a very selective memory jimbo.
After the fall of Japan in 1945 Ho Chi Minh and his supporters ceased power and created the Independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam. To my deep shame this area of SE Asia was 'gifted' to France by the Allies. British troops entered Vietnam from the South & released & rearmed captured French troops. Chinese Nationalist Forces entered Vietnam from the North.
The French gradually gained military control of large parts of Vietnam. Despite this in 1946 Ho Chi Minh won elections held in the North & Central Vietnam.
In January 1950, the communist nations, led by the People's Republic of China (PRC), recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the government of Vietnam. Non-Communist nations recognized the French-backed State of Vietnam in Saigon led by former Emperor Bao Dai the following month
The two parts of Vietnam were at war & while the French provided the troops, America met 80% of the cost of this war.
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat, and on 7 May 1954, the French Union garrison surrendered. At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh. Independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
The peace accord that followed in Geneva allowed for free elections. These were cancelled by the South as it became obvious that even in the South 80% of the population would vote for Ho Chi Minh.
Yes, undoubtedly innocent women & children were killed by both sides. However if the Geneva agreement had been followed many of those who did die would have not. America (not for the first or last time) supported a corrupt & undemocratic Government against a Democratic one..The Southern Government only existed on the back of American money & then American troops. If American politicians had done the honourable thing & supported the Geneva convention resolution then it is doubtful that many deaths would have followed.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by jimboLV » August 24, 2009, 11:08 am

BobHelm wrote: However if the Geneva agreement had been followed many of those who did die would have not. America (not for the first or last time) supported a corrupt & undemocratic Government against a Democratic one..The Southern Government only existed on the back of American money & then American troops. If American politicians had done the honourable thing & supported the Geneva convention resolution then it is doubtful that many deaths would have followed.
Then how do you explain the thousands upon thousands of land owners, school teachers, etc. who were slaughtered by Uncle Ho and his Chinese friends in his pursuit of a "democratic government"? Or the hordes of people who moved to the South once they had the chance to escape the oppression of Ho?

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by BobHelm » August 24, 2009, 11:20 am

and engaged in a drastic land reform program in which an estimated eight thousand perceived "class enemies" were executed
I don't explain it (& neither do I need to) it was an outrageous act & one which Ho publicly apologized for.
In 1956 the Communist Party leaders of Hanoi admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners
Yes Catholics did flee to the South fearing that they would be persecuted for their views.
Following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as, "The Virgin Mary is heading south", and aided by a U.S. funded $93 million relocation program, which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet.

But none of that explains WHY the South refused to have elections as per the Geneva Agreement & why America supported this undemocratic approach..

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by jimboLV » August 24, 2009, 11:23 am

jackspratt wrote: How many newspapers, TV programs etc would be game to go against their government (western) in the initial stages of a war (read - invasion). Certainly not many in Oz, nor would I imagine in the US or the UK.
Very well said, jackspratt. I agree in principle with everything you said except for the above. There was opposition to the US engagement in Vietnam from the get go, both in the US press and in the Congress. In fact, the opposition in his own party was a primary cause of President Johnson's reluctance to pursue an all out war, which eventually IMHO led to the defeat of the Americans.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by laphanphon » August 24, 2009, 11:50 am

But none of that explains WHY the South refused to have elections as per the Geneva Agreement & why America supported this undemocratic approach..
too simply, Uncle Ho didn't care about american business interest in the south, he cared about unifying his country. he would of won the election and the american busness interest wouldn't of been a top priority. it would of been profits lost to american business men, even the president/wife (johnson) had investments in vietnam.

once again, war comes down to the corporate bottom line, what is good for business, not to mention the profit made on the simple cost of running a war. the 58,000 plus yanks and millions of vietmanese killed, 100's of thousands injured for life, were just a notation of collateral damage to a profit margin sheet. all seemingly acceptable........then.............today............tomorrow. war is good business, and nobody cares except the profiteers. the main reason the economy is in the toilet, gulf war 2, trillions in bills to the taxpayer, trillions made by haliburton/Cheney/bush/oil companies/war mongers. never ending cycle, hmm, what war next. just follow murdoch entertainment news, the war on terrorism, never needed or existed, axis of power, iran/korean nuclear threats, just more gloom and doom, and maybe the next false reason to have a war and make some more money.
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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by steveway2 » August 24, 2009, 12:15 pm

Robert Mc Namara - the ex US Sec of State has publicly stated that the US failed to recognise the legimate aspirations of the vietnamese to self-determination and instead reduced the whole affair to an anti-communist crusade. Of course - financial intersts of business decide which way the "war" went - the interest waned when they got the money out. For the vietnamese it was a war of liberation - not of idealogy. Not to mention the bombing of Camodia and Laos - the number of unexploded ordnace still in Laos contributes to the poverty of the country and prevents its development - this also has / had an impact on "issan". It takes generations to recover from these sorts of things - I think at least 3 generations - it will take that long in Iraq and Afghanistan also.

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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by PAUL STAKER » August 29, 2009, 2:58 am

trubrit wrote:I think Stan has a very good point about the military programed physic. It is still apparent in many ex service men.One of the reasons I stopped attending the NM meeting was because 5 of our own local ex were arguing amongst themselves, aided by drink of course . The subject? How many Viets did you kill in the war.
So many years after the event its still a matter of pride ? That can only be down to military physic.These guys are normally good people.
This is quite disturbing that you guys were arguing about killing fellow human beings. Is this really something that you can boast about?

Regards,

Paul.
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Re: Ex-Vietnam Lieutenant Apologizes for His Role in Massacre

Post by Fawn » August 29, 2009, 5:43 am

PAUL STAKER wrote:This is quite disturbing that you guys were arguing about killing fellow human beings. Is this really something that you can boast about?
Regards,
Paul.
You're a pacifist, Khun Starker? You must be of Vietnam era drafting age, did you burn your card and hop across the Canadian border?
Doug! Doug! Doug!

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