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The Papers Said It Was Just A Military Conflict
By Allen Meece
Down in Key West, where I went to the Fleet Sonar School in the Navy in 1963, we get a lot of tourists walking around who refuse to wear protective masks on the narrow sidewalks and who risk infecting others with the COVID-19 plague which is spreading strongly in nearby Miami, where they're from.
Some of them don't care if they infect me with deadly virus and kill me as they preserve their precious "Freedom" not to wear a virus mask. They are concealed within the herd and can't be traced or blamed or pay the price if I should die from their spreading a disease.
American airmen, soldiers, spies and sailors treated the Vietnamese people that way. It was safe to kill them to protect the nebulous "Freedom" of our country, seven thousand miles away across the wide Pacific even though we weren't actually threatened by their socialist leanings.
"The 'Communists' want to steal your green '59 Plymouth Belvedere convertible with a 318 cubic inch V-8 and they want to rape Carrie, your buxom brunette babe," is what my crafty Boot Camp Company Commander told me. "Those rabid millions want to amphibiously land on Malibu Beach and take all our women and toys," was the scenario the lie was promulgating. Newspapers bought and sold the swill. "China and Russia are waiting in the wings," said the dim-witted propaganda parrots.
In the sixties, after the US had saved the world in The Big One, we believed everything the media said about world politics. We knew for certain that Our Side never printed propaganda. It told us that the armed skirmishes in the Republic of Vietnam were nothing to worry about. A little push and shove and slapping-around. Nine to five on weekdays with weekends off for recreation. No Big Deal.
Fifty-eight thousand Americans would die there, along with a few million locals while unspeakable terror took place. It was an atrociously horrendous BIG Flocking Deal. The media still cannot stop itself from lying but thankfully the scale of the wars are smaller than then.
My Philosophy going into The Nam was that since I had grown up on Air Force bases, I knew The Government was Noble And Infallible. It could be Violently Firm, if need be, to Defend Us, but it was benevolent and Just Plain Nice. I was a kid, I didn't know what propaganda was. I know now. It's anything the government says.
My warship, DD950, anchored offshore of Vietnam, Republic of, and did "Gunfire Support." We shot five-inch projectiles into the lush green rainforest hills, day and night for a week at a time. They never shot back. Never sent fighter-bombers after us but we wouldn't stop shooting them.
If they can't fight back, aren't we just slaughtering them? They have no artillery that can reach us out here. Through the big Search Binoculars, on the Flying Bridge, we could just barely see their outrigger fishing canoes pulled up on the beach. They had no missiles to shoot down the B-52's flying five miles over them and dropping bombs while they're trying to earn a living by catching fish from canoes. How am I supposed to hate them enough to kill them? It was an insane expedition. I was getting combat pay for being exposed to supposed danger. Fifteen dollars a week, the same as I had made on my paper route.
If this is just a Military Conflict for Political Concerns, why don't we stop killing them and negotiate in the Diplomatic Theater like a country of mature adults?
These explosives are meant to scare them into making a political decision in the capitalists' favor. This is coercion by fear of death. This is not the diplomacy of a respectable nation
Somebody was making big money out of this lethal nonsense. Warfare is corporate welfare. The weapons of war are the highest-priced luxuries that national treasuries can afford.
Weapons are costly and need continuous repurchase and replacement. They become obsolescent in one day when the enemy invents a deterrent. Then they get buried and thrown away or jettisoned. In battles, they are destroyed, damaged and stolen. The perfectly profitable product is a weapon of war during a war.
When national survival is at stake, big shots will spare no tax to defend big shot property. Death-dealing becomes a meteoric growth industry. Corporations want it to go on forever. They pay their mouthpieces to tell Congress to Hang In There for a hundred emotional reasons. They conceal the truth that warfare Pours Peachy Profits into Plump Portfolios.
My Philosophy after the lessons of the Vietnam American War was that congress never learns.
Congress has supported five tacky wars since Vietnam and it proves that it always needs watchdogs and the oversight of veterans who know better, like VVAW. Unjust laws proliferate under the power of primitive people who gain leadership roles through force of will and ambition rather than through any intellectual good sense.
Hatred for Socialists by the top financial echelon is always with us.
To protect their personal fat-ass wallets; they always revert to type: Will kill for money. Not pretty but there you are. In this enlightened modern day and age, we have moneyed killers who are still in charge of many big things. It's the human condition.
VVAW helps me cope when it reminds me that the herd, the system, the power structure, The Man, was obscenely wrong sixty years ago and hasn't improved much. So I don't feel alone when I scoff at their cliche patriotic lies that justify foreign murder. Same as it ever was. It is still every American's patriotic duty to suspect and Question Authority.
The media still lies about chauvinistic US bullying of third-world nations such as little old poverty-stricken Yemen, of all places. This VVAW newspaper is one media that speaks of the reality of power, pretty or not.
That's why I wrote the fictional novel Tin Can. It is a way of committing an imaginary conscientious mutiny where men with Codes of Honor take their Destroyer away from The Navy and escape the Insanity In The Tonkin Gulf.
Allen "Somerset" Meece was a sonar technician on the USS Edwards, DD950 during one of the 1964 Tonkin Gulf Incidents. His books are available at Amazon.com