"In my opinion, Hayden and Fonda were both heroes for opposing the Vietnam
war. On the other hand, president Lyndon Johnson (who created an excuse to escalate the war
by staging an event in the Gulf of Tonkin) should have been tried as a war criminal; along
with that psycho, Richard Nixon, who needlessly caused many more American servicemen
by prolonging the war."
I had to wait a day before I could respond to Mary's posting. To say I was a
little hot under the collar would have been an understatement. The following is my
response to Mary.
Mary, your note hit a raw nerve and I will try to be polite in my response.
Since I know nothing about you, I don't know if you are talking from the personal
experience of losing a loved one during the war, or if you were a demonstrator during the
war, or even if you are basing your opinion on what you learned in school.
Hayden and Fonda in my opinion committed treason and sedition. I define treason as anyone
who gives aid or comfort to the enemy (North Vietnam). In 1968, after the Tet offensive,
we had severely crippled the NVA in their attempts to overtake South Vietnam. The Tet
offensive was a major defeat to the NVA and would have probably brought the North
Vietnamese to the Peace Table shortly thereafter if it weren't for the News media and
their yellow journalism along with the much-publicized student demonstrators. Their
actions caused the North Vietnamese to turn the TET defeat into a source of hope and
encouragement for them to continue fighting. This, in turn, caused the needless loss of
thousands of additional lives. The North Vietnamese, after TET were effectively defeated.
With the unrest in the U.S. and people like Jane Fonda going over to Vietnam, not to work
for peace, but to put on a show of support against American troops, this provided morale
and propaganda support to the North Vietnamese.
Enrollment during this time in the colleges and universities was at an all time high just
to avoid going to Vietnam. As student deferments began ending with graduation or flunking
out, increased visible protests for the cowards became the way of life. The public
demonstrations caused the politicians to interfere with the military in achieving their
objectives. You either fight a war or don't fight a war at all. You cannot limit your
military. Cambodian intrusion was a prime example. We were to destroy all enemy resources
and supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but public response caused this operation to be
limited to 30 miles and the troops out in 60 days. This was known to the enemy and they
knew that they could fall back to their new sanctuaries and regroup. As the 60th day
approached, they came back into the area and played havoc on the withdrawing troops,
causing needless loss of lives.
I served my time in Vietnam as a medic who watched friends beg for life and die. I was one
of the lucky ones who came home but bitterly scarred by the lack of support by the
American public and also scarred by our government because they did not prosecute
demonstrators under the federal statutes for treason and sedition*. I felt betrayed by my
country for not giving complete and total support to the troops.
Today I do not believe in the war in Kosovo, but as long as Americans are
there, I will give them my utmost respect and support. You will also notice that there are
no longer any types of demonstrations because there is no draft. If this war continues and
the draft is reinstated, you will find a whole new generation of cowards and demonstrators
becoming vocal and highly public.
If you consider Hayden and Fonda heroes, then you may as well move to Vietnam, since it is
now open for tourism. You should take them with you. Unless you have seen War first hand,
you should keep your mouth shut and show respect to those who fought and served this
country. If you want to have a hero, check out the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Those men and
women are all heroes.
* sedition - incitement of public disorder or rebellion against the government by speech
or writing promoting such disorder or rebellion.
Jane Fonda's - Anti-War profile and photos
Mary Tracey posted her comments on a bulletin board run by Don Poss at War-Stories:
(Featuring 60's music and AFVN snippets)