Some of my books are a little controversial from a political standpoint, but I’m completely okay with that. My theory has always been that in order to really understand a situation, you need to look at it from other sides, and so that’s become my specialty – looking at things from another point of view. Why be like everyone else, right?
Well, I imagine I’m about to cause a little more furor out there in Politics Land. If I ever stop causing furor, just shoot me, okay?
As I’ve been finishing up this last portion of my Work in Progress, which takes place in the jungle camps of South Vietnam, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. My favorite book right now is “Why Didn’t You Get Me Out?” by Frank Anton. In this book he presents some information that I found absolutely startling, and yet it also makes perfect sense.
I’ve often wondered why it is that the Vietnam veterans were labeled as baby killers. Babies, women, children, and elderly have been killed in every war. World War I, World War II, Korea, you name it, they’ve been killed. Why is it that the Vietnam vets are the only ones who have ever been so branded by the people? I’ve wrestled with this question repeatedly but have never come up with an answer.
However, Frank Anton answered it for me. I’m paraphrasing here, but he in essence says that his interrogators informed him that the war in Vietnam was being fought, and won, on the streets of America, and that the protestors were winning it for the Viet Cong. He goes on to point out that the “baby killer” slogan was fed to the American public by the VC as part of a propaganda scheme that was ridiculously successful. People in America were already upset about the war, and when reports of baby killing started trickling out, it was fuel to the fire. Interesting, isn’t it, that the reports were started by the VC? Possibly the most successful bunch of propaganda we were ever fed, and we ate it.
Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not saying babies weren’t killed. I know they were. My point is that they’ve been killed in every war, and probably in greater numbers than were experienced in Vietnam. The VC killed quite a few innocent bystanders themselves – they went through villages and mowed down anyone who didn’t agree to work with them. My point is that we took their line and we spouted it as our own. We were told what to say by those very individuals we were fighting.
There comes a time when we’ve got to exhibit some sort of faith in our military. During World Wars I and II, we trusted our soldiers implicitly. They came home as heros. Vietnam changed all that and it’s still different today. I’m hearing reports of our soldiers in the Middle East getting criticized for what they’re doing, and it’s just not right. They’re out there risking their lives because they believe in this country and all the goodness it stands for. Our government has made some mistakes, that’s for sure. But at the core, America is good, and our men and women are fighting to make sure that it remains good. That’s what they were trying to do in Vietnam, and that’s what they’re trying to do today.