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Letters to Editor
I have no personal connection with the Vietnam war, other than as a constant protestor against it. But it has been my wish and hope that the government would push heavily for children to once again learn to speak other languages so that we can have people in the diplomatic corps who understand the people they work with in other countries. We MUST be able to understand people from all over the world, particularly if sent to their countries. Our embassies are full of people who do NOT speak the language of the country to which they are sent. Our country is sadly lacking good, trained diplomats, as we sell our embassies to old wealthy men and women who want to live overseas in the luxury those embassies give them.
I would further hope that a Peace Academy be formed, to train our best college students in diplomacy, and teach them of other ways and languages. We have to be one of the first to try for peace over war, but we do not seem able to come up with people trained in Peace, but merely those from the Dept. of Defense, which is merely a Dept. of War, full of OLD MEN, who are willing and happy to send our young to die.
I am an 89 year old writer who lived through WWII and all the other dreadful little wars and "actions" since, marching and marching for the PEACE that I hope someday will come, as I now have grandchildren I wish can live long lives as I have, and not on battlefields.
Dear VVAW brothers and sisters,
The Spring 2013 edition of the VETERAN arrived as I was finishing reading Henry Kissinger's 600 page tome: "Ending the Vietnam War." The contrast, of course, could not be more vivid. It reaffirmed my great respect that VVAW earned during the Vietnam War, but also the great dedication you have had in keeping the organization, the message and the history alive for so many years. It also got me off my butt to send in some dues.
I'm now in Minneapolis, working with the very active Vets for Peace chapter here, tutoring math to immigrants and enjoying my latter years as health permits. The wife and kid are fine.
Best to you all,
Please accept this meager $2 gift to keep the coffee or tea in your office available. No need for an acknowledgement.
When I am done reading the newspaper you send I donate it to the Chaska Library.
During the Vietnam war I did 2 yrs. of civilian work in lieu of induction as a conscientious objector.
Although our backgrounds are different, I appreciate that we're on the same page.
The Spring edition (Volume 43, Number 1) of the Veteran shed some light on something I have questioned for years. The POW/MIA claims were nebulous decades ago, and much less credible as time went on. I saw no logical reason for North Vietnam to hold prisoners for leverage or bargaining advantage. For what? It made no sense.
What baffled me was how the fantasy came about, much less how it was promoted to a gullible, possibly guilt-ridden public. As the years passed and the deception continued, I noticed something. Most of those who beat the old drum had profoundly different views on matters of war and peace than I. I didn't realize my anti-war sentiments until I had been in one (RVN 1968-'69). A good number of the zealous were indeed "Chicken Hawks" who had weaseled their way out in the day. Just look at them now!
Quite often, their rant centered around the politician or President they wished to demonize at the moment. Nixon was indeed a sly dog and understood the deceptive benefit in conflating the categories. In the run-up to the Iraq disaster, many in the arm-chair soldiers were quick to accuse me of not supporting the troops as I questioned the lies. As always, one must consider the source. That's the kind of stuff you get from cowards and fools. In truth, I spoke on behalf of the GI who would experience the reality of situations the would-be heroes could only fantasize about when they told fake war stories at the Legion. Thanks (I think) for verifying my suspicions on the ruse.
Peace on ya!
—Gary L Davis
Honor the Warrior, Not the War...
Here is my two cents toward ending the political stalemate and economic stagnation that our country seems to be in. On the surface it looks like a full employment policy and the funding of expanding health care, education, infrastructure and pension programs are in a tug-of-war with fiscal common sense as embodied in the argument to reduce the nation's debt. It is as if the rope in this tug-of-war is stretched across a bottomless chasm. It seems to me that no matter which side wins, the nation as a whole will lose.
What we have here is a failure to communicate, communicate a shared understanding of recent history, or of the priorities we have in common. It is this failure that necessitates a new labor based-populist type political party.
For many the struggle for better priorities began with the effort to stop the war in Vietnam and to solve the problems here at home. What's happened since then? In 1975 the military budget was $112 billion. This year it is about $680 billion. Total debt in the US, that owed by households, businesses, all governments, and financial institutions in 1975 was between 3 and 4 trillion dollars. As of 2006 the total debt had risen to over 42 trillion dollars and this year the federal government owes 19 trillion of the total. What with the poor economic and social situation today, as well as the Iraq-Afghan war, it seems like the call for new priorities was buried under a pile of borrowed money.
There is a circular self-reinforcing relationship between an imperial US foreign policy, the wars that follow (Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq), and military spending. The more the corporations depend upon those government war contracts the more they support the bad foreign policy that results in those contracts.
For the People, it means death and destruction abroad and high taxes, reduced resources and more debt at home.
What is needed is a more positive approach to the rest of the world. This can be achieved by taking the profit out of war through nationalizing the corporations that do military and national security work. Granted, this is a fairly radical economic proposal, which is why I believe a new political party is needed.
Al Donohue was in Vietnam 1966 with the 101st , active with U. of Buffalo Vets Club, participated in Dewey Canyon III '71, National Steering Comm. meetings in Taos N.M. and Milwaukee Wis., The Last Patrol '74 and represented VVAW in Rome Italy at an anti-imperialist rally sponsored by L'UNITA.