Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Michelle Malkin has an article about "Operation Homecoming", an event in Branson, MO, for Vietnam Veterans. It's a good idea, but for far too many of my friends from those days, it's too late. They're no longer around to receive the belated "welcome home", 30 years after the fact. While it's appreciated, it's also not going to erase the anger, hurt, and utter disgust that most of us felt upon our return, when we were called "baby-killers", murderers, and a few names no self-respecting blog would publish.

The main problem for many of us is that the Vietnam War was warped and twisted by everyone not directly involved in it into something unclean. That's been the major impression of the majority of American citizens ever since. Maybe the United States needed a "Vietnam" to learn that excessive political control of combat operations destroys the effectiveness of those operations, but for those of us involved in it, it was a nightmare that lingers until this day.

The war was mis-managed and ill-defined from the time Lyndon Johnson became president until Richard Nixon removed the last American troops. We should have been doing the same thing in Vietnam we're now doing in Iraq: helping the Vietnamese develop a representative government, building up the Vietnamese military to respond to the attack from the North, and keeping them supplied and equipped to fight a protracted guerilla war. Instead, we backed one despot after another, half-trained the Vietnamese while keeping them dependent upon American forces for heavy support, and failed to gain the "hearts and minds" of the locals.

Even these half-efforts would have succeeded if Congress had had the courage to provide the necessary material support to the Vietnamese military. Instead, Congress chose to cut and run, and all the sacrifices made by 59,000 men and women were nullified. That leaves a bitterness in the mouths of tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans that no amount of parades and celebrations will ever remove.

Thank you, Branson, and all the people involved, for finally thinking of us, and deciding to honor us. But until Congress apologizes, until the people who trashed us (and still do) in a thousand ways can give up THEIR hatred, and until people like John Kerry and John McCain can stop treating Vietnam Veterans as mindless trash, it's too little, far too late.


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