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Sun Mar 30, 2014, 01:59 PM

question about the VN war and its veterans

Last edited Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:38 PM - Edit history (2)

Not a troll post, honest.

Like most DU'ers, I do a differentiation between civilian leadership and the active duty military. I reserve the right to criticize the civilians, but I don't criticize the active duty military or the veterans. Like most of DU (or all of DU, haven't done a poll), I think the civilian leadership made a mistake going into VN, especially after the bogus Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Question: How does one, in public, make that point known to a VN vet without being disrespectful to the vet ? Some vets, in my experience, seem to take it pretty personally. I've never said anything critical of an individual vet, but yes, I've expressed my opinion of the war.

Maybe I should just avoid the topic from now on.


Thanks, Steve

ETA: I'm referring to outspoken war hawks in public with the VN war. I routinely say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, in public or private.

ETA2: Ok, I'm never discussing it again with anyone in public. No one. I probably won't even discuss it in private. Super toxic issue, just like abortion.

45 replies, 1571 views

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Reply question about the VN war and its veterans (Original post)
steve2470 Mar 2014 OP
Autumn Mar 2014 #1
steve2470 Mar 2014 #2
Autumn Mar 2014 #3
steve2470 Mar 2014 #4
Autumn Mar 2014 #5
MindMover Mar 2014 #6
steve2470 Mar 2014 #7
MindMover Mar 2014 #8
steve2470 Mar 2014 #9
MindMover Mar 2014 #10
steve2470 Mar 2014 #11
MindMover Mar 2014 #12
steve2470 Mar 2014 #13
MindMover Mar 2014 #15
unhappycamper Apr 2014 #42
pinboy3niner May 2014 #45
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #14
MindMover Mar 2014 #16
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #22
MindMover Mar 2014 #24
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #25
MindMover Mar 2014 #35
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #36
MindMover Mar 2014 #37
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #38
MindMover Mar 2014 #39
steve2470 Mar 2014 #17
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #18
steve2470 Mar 2014 #20
steve2470 Mar 2014 #19
upaloopa Mar 2014 #21
steve2470 Mar 2014 #23
YarnAddict Mar 2014 #26
steve2470 Mar 2014 #27
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #28
steve2470 Mar 2014 #29
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #30
steve2470 Mar 2014 #31
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #32
steve2470 Mar 2014 #33
pinboy3niner Mar 2014 #34
unhappycamper Apr 2014 #43
unhappycamper Apr 2014 #40
steve2470 Apr 2014 #41
salimbag Apr 2014 #44

Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:17 PM

1. As the wife of a Vietnam Vet I do know some Vets think it was a mistake but they went,

you didn't. Why do you have a need to make your opinion that Vietnam was a mistake known to a Vet in public? You can bet your ass all the Vets that I know will take your criticism personal. They may think it was a mistake but a Vietnam Vet has a taste in their mouths that you will never know. My 2 cents.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:22 PM

2. ok, read my post again

If I can't even mention the war and my opinion of it without offending vets, then...I won't. I've never ever implied or said, YOU made a mistake.

FWIW, the vets I've said that to were the more RW variant. They provoked ME with their outspoken support of the war, so...tada...I said my opinion. I usually don't express my opinion when meeting vets. Free speech, sometimes it's not fun.

I'm not an asshole. I don't go around gratuitously insulting VN vets. As I said above, I say nothing usually. The vets on this board seem to be able to discuss the war without getting upset. Absolutely no one here insults them, not me, not anyone.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:31 PM

3. I did read it. I took issue with the "in public, make that point known to a VN vet" part.

It's different to have a one on one conversation but to get them in public and tell them something that they did, something that to most vets has had a profound impact on their lives is wrong. You talk and listen to one on one, odds are they will say something like that.

I didn't say you can't mention the war and your opinion. I didn't say you were insulting them I asked why do you need to make your opinion known to them in public? I'm not trying to argue.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:37 PM

4. my last word on this

If a VN veteran is going to be absolutely belligerent that the VN war was right..and do it in public..then yes...free speech...tough shit to him. You get really outspoken in public, someone is going to call you out. Fact. THIS....was what my post was about. Again, I'm not an asshole, despite what you're trying to imply here.

Otherwise...I say absolutely nothing in public or even in private. I have the utmost respect for the veterans. I'm already detecting that the VN war is a forbidden topic in public. It's like religion and politics. Someone is going to get offended. Have a nice day.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:43 PM

5. I agree, if a VN veteran is going to be absolutely belligerent that the VN war was right

and do it in public..then yes... Go for it if you want to argue it, but to be clear that wasn't what your question was, and I in no way implied you are an asshole. You have a nice day too.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:43 PM

6. I am an Army VN veteran 68-69, Phu Bai ...

My question to you is ...

Does honoring a treaty (SEATO) that was signed by the USA and eight other Southeast Asian countries constitute a mistake .?

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/556523/Southeast-Asia-Treaty-Organization-SEATO

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Response to MindMover (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:44 PM

7. yep

We agree to disagree. No point in going further.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:49 PM

8. Then every war that has ever been fought has been a mistake ...

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Response to MindMover (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:50 PM

9. I dare you to make your argument in GD. Make an OP.....

I dare you. See what happens.

Bye.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:56 PM

10. It is your logic, not mine ...

You have stated that you think our involvement in Vietnam was a mistake.

By your logic, if upholding a treaty was a mistake then at least half the wars that have been fought are a mistake and the other half without treaties are definitely a mistake or worse.

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Response to MindMover (Reply #10)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 02:57 PM

11. you're wrong, face it

Again, I double dog dare you to make this argument in GD.

Go for it. Prove YOUR argument in GD.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:04 PM

12. Again, this is not my logic ... it is yours ... BTW, I quit taking dares at about 12

Your statement, "that you think Vietnam was a mistake"

It is your logic that you have to prove it was a mistake, not mine.

I served my Commander in Chief and I am proud of my service.





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Response to MindMover (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:07 PM

13. good for you, I honor you for your service

You're still wrong. We got involved in a CIVIL WAR. The VN war was a complete clusterfuck. I can't believe I'm arguing this on DU. Absolutely amazing. Fuck the treaty. We intervened on the side of the corrupt Diem government in a CIVIL WAR.

I see you're not willing to face all of DU with your argument. Telling. You must not really believe it with all your heart.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:19 PM

15. Every war is a complete clusterfxck ...

And, that is what the latest tyrant Putin said, "Fuck the treaty."

and unfortunately so many other cultures and peoples have been persecuted because of that same logic ... "Fuck the treaty."

Of course, you are trying to turn this, "mistake thought of yours," into my argument ...

Your argument so far about why Vietnam was a mistake is that it was a clusterfxxx and we intervened on the side of a corrupt government.

Hate to break it to ya, but if you take a close look at almost every government today ... it could be said that they are corrupt, and I know that every war is a clusterfxxx.

So your argument is ...

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Response to MindMover (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 07:08 AM

42. Phu Bai rings a bell.

My first tour was just in time for Tet of 68.

At the time I was in the 198th Light Infantry Brigade, 123 Maint Bn., (Americal Division) stationed in Chu Lai. (I was an REMF 31E Field Radio Repairperson.)

REMF or not, one tour in a combat zone will change you.

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Response to unhappycamper (Reply #42)

Mon May 5, 2014, 04:48 AM

45. Phu Bai '69-'70 here

Some of the 101st Airborne Division's battalions were headquartered there at LZ Sally, incuding mine--2/501 infantry.

We spent all our time in the field and rarely saw Sally, but that was our basecamp.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:18 PM

14. I agree the war was a mistake but I have no interest in re-fighting that old debate

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and it's wiser not to respond, especially to someone who likely has a heavy emotional investment in the issue.

I speak about the war in high schools and colleges, often with other vets. I don't get political unless another vet speaker does or a student asks about my opinion on something in the Q&A. My approach is not to be argumentative, but to show another perspective--and to demonstrate that not all VN vets think alike; we are diverse in our opinions.

But I think that's different from your situation encountering a vet who's a warhawk one-on-one in a public place.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:22 PM

16. Warhawk ... LOL

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Response to MindMover (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:36 PM

22. We'll have to disagree on this one, brother

I also was at Phu Bai--'69-'70. 2/501 Infantry, 101st Airborne Div. LZ Sally, Firebase Bastogne and beyond to the A Shau.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:39 PM

24. Then every war that has ever been fought has been a mistake ...

if you agree with the post that Vietnam was a mistake.

and welcome home. ... HQ 24th Corps

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Response to MindMover (Reply #24)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 04:02 PM

25. Welcome home to you, too

I really don't want to re-fight that debate, but I should point out that whether or not the U.S. obligation under the treaty applied is debatable, not an absolute truth. And there's probaby a debate fallacy term for extending that debatable point to say, "If you agree with that, then you MUST believe...."

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #25)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 06:44 PM

35. I believe in holding a man to his word ... I know that is old fashioned, but that is me

I am sure that you understand where I come from when I make that statement,

that you have to trust another brother to have your back when he says he will.

and in that word, that extends to not only individuals but to every walk of my life.

If we do not have this trust then we are all just a huge biker club with no rules ...

and I do not understand your comment that a signed treaty is not an obligation .?

and of course, I do not expect you to believe everything I believe ...

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Response to MindMover (Reply #35)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 06:51 PM

36. When I say it's debatable...

...I mean that it is seen by many as a civil war, in which the treaty does not apply.

You should at least admit that that's a valid point.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #36)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 07:04 PM

37. I am not exactly sure how you jump from it being a civil war ...

(which is debatable, because the war was between two countries, not : a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.)

to a treaty that would not apply . ?

My history book says that ...

The French were in Vietnam before WWII, after that war Vietnam was split into two separate countries. French Colonial South and the North. Ho Che Minh wanted to merge back into one country and the South did not want to. The North had China as it's main Allie the South had the USA and a few other countries.

I am confused ..

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Response to MindMover (Reply #37)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 07:07 PM

38. I agree. You are confused. :)

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #38)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 07:19 PM

39. Thanks for telling me that I am confused about your explanation.

civil war: a civil war is between two parties in the same country

war: a war is between two countries

treaty: and a treaty is an obligation

mistake: an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.

now, what am I confused about.?

and if you want to say it is wrong to go to war, I will agree.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:22 PM

17. this op was probably a mistake

I've learned with the really outspoken RW types, nothing you can say will change their mind. I don't routinely bring it up. It's just a really toxic issue, like abortion. Next time someone brings it up in public, I'm walking away and getting a cool drink.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:28 PM

18. Not a mistake

There's (almost) no such thing as a dumb question, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask.

But you may want to edit your OP to clarify that you're responding to hawkish statements, not an a mission to make your views known to every VN vet you encounter.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:30 PM

20. ok clarified

Yes, someone who routinely tells vets THE WAR WAS A MISTAKE...not cool to me, especially in public. I just leave it alone.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:28 PM

19. btw thanks for being diplomatic about this

You're a good guy. I respect your service and would never insult or demean you in any way.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:36 PM

21. As a Vietnam Vet I ask why don't you

leave it be?
What does it matter if they have a different opinion than you do?

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 03:36 PM

23. read all my posts...thanks nt

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 04:24 PM

26. "Thank you for your service"

and leave it at that. the VN war was nearly 50 years ago, and you aren't going to change anyone's mind on it at this point. so, there is really no point at all in discussing it.

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Response to YarnAddict (Reply #26)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 04:25 PM

27. I agree, this op was a mistake nt

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 04:51 PM

28. Don't be so easily discouraged

The old war question does come up in some circumstances and not everyone is closed to discussing it. The vets you've encountered obviously have no problem going back to it, even if they may consider the subject closed for them.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #28)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 05:06 PM

29. it just seems *some* veterans conflate the war with their personal worth

It's obvious to me that you don't do that. I've never known of anyone insulting a VN vet in any way. I think your service gives you special standing to discuss it. I was not a vet. I was a child during the war. I think vets like you have real credibility and have heard every argument under the sun.

It's just not worth it to me to engage with rabid RW veterans or even veterans who bristle at the very mention of it. I'd rather go eat some chocolate cake. And think of some puns.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #29)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 05:25 PM

30. Now you're just puntificating :)

No, you don't need to engage the rabid.

It helps to understand that a lot of us are heavily invested in the issue. We sacrificed our youth, endured the pain and grief of losing our friends, and maybe even spilled our own blood there.

But not all of us need the war to be "right" or "just" to justify our experience.


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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #30)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 05:32 PM

31. massive respect and kindness to all you guys and ladies

I still don't feel good about this OP. I don't want people taking me wrong. The people who did not show respect from 1964 to present day are not honorable. I know the VN vets have it the worst out of all our vets. That's wrong. It's especially bad that the VA has not gotten adequate funding.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #31)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 05:55 PM

32. We VN vets no longer have it the worst

We eventually gained recognition, and after long struggles we finally got most of our issues addressed.

Now Gulf War vets are struggling with their "syndrome," OEF/OIF burn pit issues are ongoing, and suicide and mental health issues among recent war vets and sexual abuse in the military still have not been addressed adequately.

I think most VN vets would urge that attention be focused not on us, but on those who followed.

Vietnam Veterans of America said, "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another," and they've been true to that by mentoring groups like Iraq and Afghan War Veterans and helping them to adopt the VVA's successful model for advocacy.

Don't worry about us--worry about our current returning and recently-returned vets.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #32)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 06:00 PM

33. would you make a post in GD on that very issue ?

I always thought VN vets had it the worst. If not, I completely understand.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #33)

Sun Mar 30, 2014, 06:31 PM

34. We did have it the worst for a long time

That eventually changed. Check out the new post here:

After the Wars: A Legacy of Pain and Pride

http://www.democraticunderground.com/11795301

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #33)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 07:37 AM

43. Speaking for myself only.

Vietnam was the only war I've been in; I saw what I saw and I did what I did.

After I came back I said nothing about Vietnam for probably 30 years, but I stated reading. I read about our Indian Wars, our Civil War, everything Vietnam and most of the conflicts we have been in for the last 200 or so years. Grenada (WTF?). I read about Agent Orange and found out from other RVN vets that we also used Agents Purple and White. Willie Pete and cluster bombs were used with abandon. While in Chu Lai I watched carpet bombing B-52s doing their thing on a regular basis.

Along the way I bumped into Howard Zinn's writings. Oh fuck, that man got me to thinking... In some respects I still am thinking.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 05:56 AM

40. I did two tours in Nam even tho I knew

what we were doing was not correct in any way.

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Response to unhappycamper (Reply #40)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:21 PM

41. much respect to you, sir nt

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 12:47 AM

44. No sweat bro, don't mean shit

To address your honest question, I would not say anything in public. As a vn vet, I know the war was wrong. Knew it from the first day I was there. War sucks for everyone, but some people have conflated their service with justification. But to discuss it in public is not a productive enterprise. Just know that there are many vets that agree with you, and some that do not. So fucking what!!! Just be glad you survived, and have educated yourself about the real issues of war. The rich and powerful NEVER die in war, only the poor folks that get sucked into fighting.

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