Sunday, April 28, 2019

ON VIETNAM

On my ANZAC Day post Tom H challenged me (and other Vvets vets) to set out our views on the Vietnam conflict ... then and now.   It was a good question.   I replied thus ...

Given the mores of that time I had no problem with Vietnam ... guess I saw that conflict as an extension of Malaya where the combined Commonwealth forces had defeated the CTs in a twelve year 'Emergency' that lasted from 1948 through to 1960 (officially) and beyond.

Now, in retrospect, I can acknowledge this was a war best left to the Vietnamese. The Diem regime was corrupt and comprised the Catholic elite lording over the mainly Buddhist majority. Those that followed were not much better. Left to themselves the Vietnamese would have probably ended up a pseudo-communist (but with a hard underbelly) capitalist state ... much as they are now ... but without all of the devastation caused by 'our' presence.

One of my heroes from that conflict was a New Zealand decorated (from Vietnam) mid ranking officer who marched in uniform in an anti-Vietnam war protest. That took real guts. But nothing I've said should detract from the fact that those who served there did their duty in a shitty war where there were no real winners ........................

I know there are at least seven other Vvets (New Zealanders and Australians) who read this blog.   I would be really interested in their take on the conflict.

18 comments:

Noel said...

Probably some where in hers?
https://vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/pogo-vietnam-part-2

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

If you think that I'm going to put my thoughts on here and open myself up to the denigration and bullshit of the likes of Pysicko Milt and Jcuntdge Holdem then you have another think coming.

Like some of the wives of Viet Nam Vets on the Vietnam Vets and Families Facebook Group, those two dipshits think they know a fucking sight more about what we did than us mere Riflemen who did 300 odd days in the Jungle.

I'd liken those two self abusing fuckers to a Riflemans underpants and as you are well aware, no true Rifleman wore them - they'd have rotted off.

My thoughts, experiences and life are mine to be shared only with my mates.

David said...

Now, in retrospect, I can acknowledge this was a war best left to the Vietnamese. The Diem regime was corrupt and comprised the Catholic elite lording over the mainly Buddhist majority. Those that followed were not much better.

Many of us were pointing that out at the time, that the "war" was one of Imperial expansion, nothing to do with freedom, democracy, or human rights. It was America's grubby little hands taking as much territory as it could from the exhausted European colonists.

Late to the party, but good to know you have changed your mind.

David said...

TTSP, your post is reflective of the biggest ever cohort of Snowflakes.

You didn't get a victory parade. WahWahWah.

You were shunned by the WW2 Veterans. WahWahWah.

You came back and found all the best girls had been taken by the long-haired hippies. WahWahWah.

You were so ashamed of your abject failure in the field, of your inability to defeat a bunch of "pajama wearing gooks", that you had to invent stories of being abused and spat on in the streets to cover up your self-loathing.

The Veteran said...

TTSP ... sadly David's 3:48 post has proven your decision to be right.

David ... the problem I have with your self-righteous blather is that your loathing for America colours everything you say. Your 'imperial expansion' meme doesn't hold water; at that time Vietnam's oil/gas and bauxite resources were essentially unproven while its strategic importance was moot given the established US presence in the Phillipines, Taiwan and South Korea.

David said...

Veteran, you served your time as a useful tool of the American Empire.

...established US presence in the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea. reinforces my point. Not only those three but around another 80 countries are "hosts" to US Military Bases.

The purposes of foreign US military bases are partly aggressive. Our politicians like the idea that everything happening everywhere is their business.

They’re also partly financial. The main purpose of the US “defense” establishment since World War Two has been to move as much money as possible from your pockets to the bank accounts of politically connected “defense” contractors. Foreign bases are an easy way to blow large amounts of money in precisely that way.


US Foreign Military Bases Aren’t for “Defense”

Another few books to add to your reading list should be:

America's Deadliest Export

The Doomsday Machine

The First Casualty

Hegemony Or Survival

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/570367/the-road-to-unfreedom-by-timothy-snyder/9780525574477/

Read these, and you may discover that my "loathing for America", as you put it, has a sound, intellectual basis.

Trump is an unmitigated disaster for American democracy, but at least up until now, he is the first President since Carter who hasn't attacked another nation. Yes, he has continued Bush's and Obama's wars but has kept his own powder dry.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

My apologies to Tom Hunter. It seems that you honestly wanted to know.

You can see from the above why I personally will not open up to anyone who I dont know.I will only tell you that I served at the same time and in the same unit as Veteran and Egbut.

I suspect that there are reasons David left the Air Training Corps that he will not reveal - his resulting grasp for relevance has my bullshitometer going off the scale.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Jeez Tinker, are going soft in the head? Why are you apologising to someone who lied about his fathers military service.

Veterans agenda in introducing him to the blog is his own business but you have to wonder why the spin.

It's funny how the older we get the more pure our motives are. As the balls dry up and the liver runs up the white flag we become just like our fathers...."I fought for this country you know" and "We gave our lives for freedom" etc etc.

Then on the other hand we have the Davids who didn't want to be "Lackeys of American imperialism" and "murderers of innocent villagers" etc etc.


The truth is more prosaic, we joined for EXACTLY the same reasons our fathers and grandfathers joined....a free trip home, adventure, anything to get away from NZ or mum and dad or the magistrates suggested it as an alternative.

None of us could give a flying fuck who was running Vietnam at the time as long as it didn't interfere with the beer supply....with age comes wisdom, hindsight and pomposity.

If you want to know the truth about soldiers and war you have to wait at the bottom of the gangplank because returning soldiers are the worlds biggest bullshitters and once a lie has been told in cannot be untold.



David said...

I suspect that there are reasons David left the Air Training Corps that he will not reveal

No, I revealed all in my earlier post outlining how I transitioned from being a potential part of the war machine to becoming a leading activist in the fight against war in general, and conscription in particular.

If you ever needed any proof of the different way Australians saw WW2 and Vietnam you only need to look at which war needed conscription to feed the meat grinder. Conscription for Vietnam was the only time Australia used conscripts in a foreign war, 200 killed and almost 1,300 wounded and for what?





David said...

The truth is more prosaic, we joined for EXACTLY the same reasons our fathers and grandfathers joined....a free trip home, adventure, anything to get away from NZ or mum and dad ... and that, my friend, pretty well sums up the rationale for the young fools who headed off to join ISIS.

The Veteran said...

TTSP ... I now REALLY regret that I posted this post. I did it because I thought Tom deserved an honest answer. David effectively highjacked it to unleash his visceral hatred of all things American. His 'pajama wearing gooks' comment defines him as an idiot. The rest is just bile from a sad individual yearning for a socialist nirvana.

For the record, in Phouc Tuy Province 'we' faced 273 and 274 Regiments. These were NVA regular soldiers. They were properly equipped with significant firepower reinforced by their integral crew served weapons. They didn't wear pajamas ... they wore jungle green. We also faced D445 (Regional) Battalion and two District (local force) Companies. By the time 1 ATF withdrew from Phouc Tuy in 1972 the two District Companies had ceased to exist; D445 had been reduced to a scavenging role in the deep jungle while 273 and 274 Regts had been redeployed out of the province which became effectively a 'no go' area for serious NVA operations.

I have no wish to continue any dialogue with David. This thread is at an end.

Tom Hunter said...

My apologies to Tom Hunter. It seems that you honestly wanted to know.

No need for apologies TTSP, and yes I did honestly want to know. I wanted a comparison to what my Dad thought about going into WWII. Suffice to say they were not as lightweight as "..adventure, anything to get away from NZ or mum and dad.." and so forth, although he knew men like that even in that war. There will always be such soldiers and that's fair enough.

In short, my dad knew why he was getting into the fight, if not the what of it, and I wondered what Vietnam vets were thinking. It's just that on Anzac day I see the young soldiers of WWI used as the stand-in for all their successors, as if WWII was not worth the fight, or Korea, or Vietnam for that matter.

I also wondered if the experiences of their fathers had taught them that war was anything but an adventure, and I figured that the Vietnam vets who read this blog would have had WWII vets as fathers, at least in some cases, not to mention relatives who fought in WWI.

But I also guessed that "David" would turn up with his boilerplate bile to relive his glory days: "leading activist" Indeed. I had a good chuckle about that.

An activist in in aiding Communist Imperialism more like, as he still does. If his "wha, wha" comments annoyed you, just enjoy knowing that he must have howled and screamed and cried when the USSR collapsed and China and Vietnam went back to free enterprise.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

In terms of honesty and wearing your heart on your sleeve David is far more honest than you chunter....you may not like what you read but he does not weave like a snake through these posts trying to be all things to all men.

Talking of conscripts.....when President Johnson visited these shores in 1965/66 to whip up support for Vietnam after the UN and the British had turned him down the NZ National govt, farmers to a man, decided that it would be a good idea to join the US on this enterprise to save the free world. At the same time NZ beef tariffs were lowered for the US market...only a coincidence mind you.

So what did we get out of it....about the same as Australians who also had preferential access to US markets.....realpolitik trade.

Chunter, even if it took your father 10 years to get a leg over after 1945 you would still be 63. If you want to talk about honesty now is your chance to set the record straight.

TimS said...

I'm not a vet. I protested against the Vietnam war (and our govt's policy for it) at the time. But I always kept a high respect for all those who did serve - doing their duty for their country as decided by the government of the day. I thought returning servicemen were treated shabbily then and I thank them all again now. With that context I was moved by Vet's considered and balanced opinion expressed here and thank him for posting it.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

TimS....thank you for your post. All servicemen and women regardless of operational service should be treated with respect and not held accountable for government decisions. Ours not to reason why.

I'm afraid the treated shabbily bit is a bit of hyperbole stoked by the media obsession with that war. In this case we are the author of our misfortunes by a few playing the sympathy card usually with a push and a shove from journalists with an agenda.

David said...

Tim & LEN -

All servicemen and women regardless of operational service should be treated with respect and not held accountable for government decisions. Ours not to reason why.


Cannot agree. That is getting too close for comfort to Befehl ist Befehl. They made a choice. In the case of volunteers, they chose to be servants of the war machine. They could have declined or protested being sent to Vietnam. In the case of conscripts, they made a choice to be conscripted. They could have refused to register, fought conscription, and helped bring about an end to that grubby episode.

Because they made their choices, and because those choices were bad ones, I can have no respect for them. Sympathy, especially for those damaged, yes. Concern for their wellbeing, of course.

It is quite Orwellian (to use a phrase beloved of the Right these days) that both NZ & AU use the term "Defence Force" when they are both used more often as an Offence Force.

The Veteran said...

David ... you can't defend unless you have the capability to attack. Simple really. I know you would prefer to see swords transformed into plowshares but conflict is an unfortunate reality of life ... starting at the family level which you have alluded to.

David said...

To a point, you are correct. But when you pretend to defend by attacking nations that present no direct threat Vietnam), when you attack to keep holding hands with America (Iraq), when you attack because you are a follower, not a leader, (Afghanistan) then all pretence of defence flies out the window.

One more book I suggest you take a look at is Fear of Abandonment by for ONA Director, Allan Gyngell.

In Fear of Abandonment, expert and insider Allan Gyngell tells the story of how Australia has shaped the world and been shaped by it since it established an independent foreign policy during the dangerous days of 1942. Gyngell argues that the fear of being abandoned – originally by Britain, and later by our most powerful ally, the United States – has been an important driver of how Australia acts in the world.

Spanning events as diverse as the Malayan Emergency, the White Australia Policy, the Vietnam War, Whitlam in China, apartheid in South Africa, East Timorese independence and the current South China Sea dispute, this vivid narrative history reveals how Australia has evolved as a nation on the world stage.

Fear of Abandonment is a gripping and authoritative account of the way Australians and their governments have helped create the world we now inhabit in the twenty-first century. In revealing the history of Australian foreign affairs, it lays the foundation for how it should change.


I know you would prefer to see swords transformed into plowshares ...

Well, a man needs a hobby, and just what is wrong with trying to improve the World we leave to our grandchildren?