Thursday, April 28, 2005

BLADE WINS PULITZER: Series exposing Vietnam atrocities earns top honor


I went to a panel held at Chapman University given by Orange County's Vets for Peace earlier this week to hear four Vietnam veterans speak about their experiences. They also discussed the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq and it was a lively discussion.

One of the presenters spoke about war crimes occurring in Vietnam and had actually started a file with the military regarding the atrocities he had seen. I spoke with him after the discussion and found out that he was a part of a VVAW chapter in Hawaii back in "The Day." I had a strong feeling he was VVAW because of the passion and truth in his words.

Anyway, his records were utilized by three journalists to uncover the atrocities of an elite U.S. Army fighting unit in Vietnam. Their investigative report, "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths" won a pullitzer surprise last year.

I don't know if this is old news for you guys, but I thought it was interesting none the less. If I had made it to Texas I would have loved to bring this up to Burkett, but of course I would have to sneak over and sit by his friends so he would assume I was an "ally" and call on me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


To succeed as a useful forum, VetSpeak must maintain a defined focus. There are many sites and blogs out there that cover a wealth of topics, including those that serve as advocacies for a multitude of competing progressive issues. This is the focus we have defined for ourselves:

Preserve the True History & Contributions of VVAW. We exist to preserve the true and venerable history of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and it's honorable and patriotic contributions to America and it's Veterans from all eras.

History Will Not Be Rewritten! We vow to "speak truth to power" whenever individuals or groups attempt to rewrite history and discredit VVAW, or any other progressive-thinking Veteran or Veteran-related individual or organization, for personal, capital, or political gain.

Remember & Remind. We exist to insure that the public knows and remembers the objective truths of Vietnam, OIF & OEF Theatres of war, and any future engagements where American service personnel are asked to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Preserve & Foster the Truth. We will work to insure that Truth is not a continuing First Casualty of War and becomes the criteria for objective evaluation of the strategic initiatives of certain groups and institutions related to Veteran, political and/or social issues we as a free press feel compelled to address.

Agree to Disagree. In the spirit of open communication and respect; we agree to disagree respectfully on issues upon which, in principle, we cannot come to agreement on as we continue to speak truth to power on issues which we do agree on. We agree to speak as one voice; that composed of all those speaking Objective Truth to power. This in our declared  role; that of a Veteran Advocacy & Resources internet site and non-profit multi-media publishing organization.

Motivated by Patriotism. We are motivated by our patriotism, our humanity, and our deep love of America.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

FEAR & LOATHING @ TTU: VVAW Faces Off With the Swifties in Texas


Several VVAW members from the early 70’s attended and presented at the Texas Tech Vietnam Project 5th Symposium in March, 2005. The preponderance of the attendees and presenters seemed to be there to defend the Vietnam Conflict and to blame the “loss of the war” on the anti-war movement in the USA. The general feelings seemed to be that we could have won the war, except for the likes of Jane Fonda, John Kerry, VVAW, and the antiwar people. There were many of the old “Ranch Hands” presenting much data that they claim proved their spraying of Agent Orange had no ill effect on our troops or the Vietnamese; not to mention the Swift Boat Vets and their types cherry-picking “facts” to support their arguments.

As one who participated in both the war and VVAW after I returned, I got the distinct feeling that there is an attempt rewrite the history of this era. It is as if they are angry that they “lost their war” and want to blame it on something/someone other than Cold War diplomacy run amuck.

Hope you historians are not letting the half-truths taken out of context influence you.

Please see:

Fear and (Self) Loathing in Lubbock
How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love Vietnam and Iraq

“Taylor's expressed his views recently at the 5th Triennial Symposium on the Vietnam War sponsored by the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech. That Taylor would offer his views at Texas Tech is not surprising, but it is a cause for concern that such ideas have become the de facto party line at the Vietnam Center in Lubbock and increasingly popular in public discussions of Vietnam. Unlike the Vietnam archives there, which remain a valuable resource with well-trained and professional archivists for anyone studying the war, the Center clearly resembles a right-wing think tank. On the surface, its ideological underpinnings are not a problem ­institutions should be able to reflect a variety of opinions ­but the Center also seeks academic legitimacy and claims to represent, as its director James Reckner says, opinions all along the spectrum of views on Vietnam. While it is true that Reckner has given a voice to officials from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and some antiwar groups, such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW], the vast majority of voices heard at Center events tend to represent the far right to the near right. Since it was established by a number of Vietnam Vets and has included a number of influential retired officers and government officials on its board, this might not be surprising, and is not illegitimate. But it seems to be imperative that the representatives of the Center in Lubbock make clear what their mission and purpose is. ”

Peace, Terry

Sunday, April 24, 2005

JANE FONDA: Aid & Comfort

Since Terry DuBose's appearance on Fox cable on 4/23, there has been much discussion about this topic. As a starting point, here are Scott Camil's comments:


Jane Fonda was a wealthy person who could have ignored the war and not been involved in controversy. She didn't have to worry about being drafted. She sacrificed her privacy to do what her conscience called for. I salute her for that. Yes, it may have been a mistake to allow herself to be photographed behind an anti-aircraft gun. People make mistakes. I don't know anyVietnam veterans, myself included, who would not change some of the things we did in Nam. We were young. It's more important to me what a person's motivations were rather than whether they made a mistake. I believe that Jane's motivations were pure, that she had no intentions to hurt us, the veterans. I had no intentions to kill innocent civilians, I just got caught up in the carnage. I think we should not let the other side frame the debate. How many mistakes did our government make?

They were wrong about the Gulf of Tonkin. They were wrong to violate the Geneva accords, signed andagreed to by both the French and the Vietnamese, the actual warring parties. There were many provisions that the United States violated, sending arms, training soldiers, installing Diem and so on. One of the main motivations for the US was to not allow the Vietnamese people to democratically elect a leader that would reunite the country of Vietnam. Why? Because we knew that Ho Chi Minh would win and that was unacceptable to us. (Mandate for Change, Dwight Eisenhower) Going to war to stop Democracy does not have any integrity. Trying to stopthat war is where the integrity is. The crimes of nixon and kissinger are also much worse than what Jane did. They lied about a secret plan to end the war. They rejected a treaty offer to end the war and then, after more than 20,000 moreAmerican lives were lost, many more wounded and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese killed and wounded, we accepted the treaty. To me, this crime so far overshadows Jane's mistake of sitting behind that gun that it is almost nonexistent in the big picture.

What's really going on is that the right wants to divert the attention away fromthe guilt of what our government did by starting this illegal war andits official conduct such as "Free Fire Zones", "Search and Destroy operations" and mostly using the dead as a measure of success officiallyknown as "Body Count". They never talk about things such as My Lai. The right also ignores things such as the use of agent orange and what that did to us and Vietnam. The right seeks to make all wars started byus just and moral and that is just not the case.

I think that on this issue we should be focused on what hell, suffering and death Jane and the Anti-War Movement were trying to stop. It's about honest attempts by citizens in a democracy to stop an illegalwar. It's about the steps that these people took to try to correct thelies being fed to the citizens of our democracy by the government to secure support for an immoral, illegal war. When you weigh Jane Fonda's mistake on one side of the scale and the Lies, conduct of our government and motivations of our government on theother side, Jane's mistake doesn't even register. Don't let them frame this debate.


THE EVIL LIE: Jimmy Massey


Jimmy Massey, founder of Iraq Vets for Peace and author of "Cowboy from Hell" recently spent a few days with Vets for Peace in Minneapolis. There was a good article about him in "The Pulse," that had this quote:

"I killed innocent people for our government, for what?
What is the good coming out of it?
I feel like I've taken part in some sort of evil lie
created by our government.
I just feel embarrassed, ashamed about it."

Lies our government tells us and expects us to foster -- the lies the Swifties carry the torch on -- seem key to what VetSpeak is all about. In many cases it isn't just war that creates PTSD (post-traumatic-stress disorder) for many veterans, it is the LIES we are expected to live, foster and defend that ruins faith, marriages and lives. Refuse and react -- and you become invisible and discredited by people like the Swifties who want to keep a rosy glow on America at all costs.

The vets among us resent having their patriotism and military records wrongfully discredited. They resent being labeled traitors, whistleblowers and worse for trying to bring America into balance with truth, heart -- and facts. We have all known people who live that way: Putting a rosy face on a life that is, at least in part, a house of cards. It is not a good way to conduct a life, and is not a good way to run a country. The world is pushing back against America -- and at the forefront are some of America's veterans who have paid a huge price for these lies, whether in Iraq, Vietnam or...

Sgt. John W. Kniffin, who recently passed away from side effects of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, once wrote: "I have taken an oath to defend the government and constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. What do I do when my government becomes the greatest enemy of the constitution?"

Diane Ford Wood, author
Camouflage & Lace
Kniffin quote supplied by Vet supporter Nancy Miller Saunders

Friday, April 22, 2005

TV FACE OFF COMPLETED: DuBose/Swiftie Gardner on "Heartland w/John Kasich", Saturday, 4/23.


Ok, folks, just trying to do my part for VetSpeak... but I am nervous about this one. I agreed to be a part of a live, one hour long TV show, The Heartland with John Kasich" on FOX News tomorrow evening (April 22, 2005, 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central). I am anxious because I know how FOX News is, but I think we have to be willing to go there, if we are going to make a difference.

A not-so-Swift person, Steve Gardner, will be on the same show. He is the only not-so-Swift liar on John Kerry’s boat that did not support Kerry. He has also been caught in a lot of double-talk about John’s military service and metals… a real Minister of Misinformation.

I expressed caution about Fox News, saying that I own two copies of "OutFoxed", and am worried about it. I asked if O'Reilly would be part of it, and was assured that O'Reilly would not participate, and that it will be unedited, live. I was assured that Kasich would have a shouting match. We don't have cable so I have never seen Heartland, and am not familiar with John Kasich.

If anyone can give me any advice or cautions about what to expect and how Heartland works, I would appreciate it. I can now say that you brothers & sisters provided me with a wealth of information to debunk the not-so-Swift Liars... thanks, and good on you.So here we go, in to the breach… the “belly of the monster” as the Windbinder and Che say. Peace, Terry
2:54 PM