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Memories of war protests and civil rights demonstrations.

 
 
dyslexia
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 07:14 pm
and this!
WASHINGTON -- Former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, selected by Democrats to help lead an independent commission that will investigate last year's terrorist attacks, withdrew Wednesday. He cited two factors: time and money.
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 07:20 pm
Kissinger is news, thanks. Lee Hamilton to replace Mitchell. Was Hamilton the one who closed the doors on Iran Contra behind closed doors without a report on what actually happened?
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 09:20 pm
I have followed this thread with interest, though my path in life could not have been more different from those implied by the several contributors to this thread. My war was 3 deployments flying A-4s and later F-4s from carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin in '67, '69, and 70. My experience with Black people (or Negroes as we said then) started as a boy in Detroit. They were a part of life and could be found in most walks of life - including Naval Aviation ('tho one had to look for them in some circles) Apart from skin color they were like us - no big deal (I'm Irish - it was the Italians we hated).

I viewed life as a bit of a struggle - for everyone. Mostly we were suspicious of people who presumed their morality was at a higher plane than others. No one seemed then to fit that bill better than the 'war protesters' who emerged after 1967.

It is odd to note the similarity of the 'protest stories' I have read on this thread to the 'war stories' often told (and exaggerated) by veterans (and sometimes non-veterans) of very different struggles. We had a saying in my squadron about excessively colorful combat stories, "Those who know don't tell, and those who tell don't know" . Could that also be true of protest stories? Even of "war" stories told by protesters?

Life has a way of diminishing all impassioned youthful fancies and increasing one's awareness of the complexity and contradictions in all things that are man made. Have any of you considered just how little justice and mitigation of the hardships of life the Communist governments of Cambodia and Vietnam brought to the people they ruled? Happily that ghastly government in Cambodia is gone now, but 27 years later Vietnam remains the poorest, most economically backward and least free country in South aisia, still in the grip of an ossified bureaucracy that controls everyone and limits human imagination and achievement in everything it touches. After our departure, a generation had their lives wasted in "reeducation camps" being "taught" by the intolerant priests of an oppressive secular faith who, it turns out, themselves knew very little. So much for the "peaceful agrarian reformers" for whom so much rhetoric was wasted.

And what has Jesse Jackson contributed to American life? The self-appointed spokesman for the professionally oppressed; chasing headlines wherever he can; shaking down corporations with his cadre of professional agitators; finally becoming a caricature of himself, pathetic and despicable.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 09:45 pm
George0b1
Nobody on this thread has said a good word about North Vietnam. That is because, speaking for myself, I recognize the oppressive nature of that government. But the situation that led to the war was the result of western nations dividing and using that land to their own ends. After the Vietnamese concentrated political strength to the north and drove out the French it was to our own interest and, as it turned out, the south's interest to let the process take its course. There would have been millions less dead if we had done so and the government would be but little different than it is now. I believe Kennedy's concept of the war was a proxy war with the USSR, which put the whole Vietamese population in the crosshairs in this global struggle. It was uncalled for. And the Cambodian government did not become so evil until Nixon's expansion of the war destabilized the original government. The killing fields would probably not have occurred there but for Nixon.
I refuse to argue Jesse Jackson on this or any other thread.
As for the personal tales on this thread, none of us has said all that much. There was certainly no claimed glory or personal danger to what I told. My wishful thinking was my boldest remark.
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:08 pm
george, If you speaking of my tales, I slept in the rain soaked jungles. My tales are true - do you doubt my patriotism also - many have because I don't believe the way they do. If you wish not to believe, that is your right - I have nothing to hide and I have a warm, dry bed tonight. Come out of your plane and hump in my boots!
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dyslexia
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:21 pm
i think its pretty safe to say that our histories/experiences color our vision and understanding of the world we live in and that seems to me to be espeicially true of those of us coming of age in the 60's. i finished High School in '62, went to Nam in 63 came home and started college and got involved in civil rights mostly due to my experiences in southeast asia and the combined antiwar/civil rights movement so common at that time. after college i, like many others at the time, felt a compulsion to change what we saw as inequalities in the world and became a social worker. All that now seems pretty ordinary in looking back at my life but again we all see the world from our own colored views. On this forum i have found a number of people who have had similiar experiences and some that have had different ones and fortunately a meeting of minds often produces understanding of the variety of views and tolerance of others. Not a bad thing at all.
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:38 pm
edgar,

You may be right - at least in part. The conventional view is that the US and USSR fought it out in the body of Vietnam. However it is well to remember that many Western (and prominently U.S.) leaders fully recognized the wrenching changes that must take place in the former colonial empires of our European mentors, and the dangers that an all to real international communist movement could present to such nations/places in the midst of post War political and economic transition. Even during WWII our war aims were to end European colonialism and to prevent its replacement by any of the various forms of 20th century totalitarianism. Our leaders were mindful of the successful British containment of a marxist led insurgency in Malaysia, followed soon after by Britains peaceful withdrawl from that country. Indeed the British struggle was our initial model for the 'salvation' of Vietnam. It was perhaps a matter of historical hubris that we believed we could succeed in a place in which the cold dead hand of French colonialism had recently been defeated by a Communist movement that clothed itself in the rhetoric of nativism and nationalism and which had been steeled by years of combat. In the end Bernard Fall may have been right. However a quick comparison of Malaysia and Vietnam today should remind us that there may well have been there something worth fighting for.


I don't believe you can defensibly assert that the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia was a result of 'Nixon's expansion of the war'. It was the North Vietnamese who first introduced the war to Cambodia, and it was they who initially supported the Khmer Rouge in their struggle against Sianouk's delicately balanced coalition governments. Later, after we left the Vietnamese revealed their expansionist ambitions in their own invasion of Cambodia. Pol Pot was what he was and his bloody movement had borrowed freely from Mao's thought and tactics. Every communist revolution indulged in its "elimination of the irreconcilables" (Lenin's term). Pol Pot just took the process a bit far. No one has yet written the equivalent tale from China, and the Russian story has only partly emerged.
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mikey
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:44 pm
We lose George Mitchell and Henry Kissenger we are done,
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:48 pm
mikey, could you expand?
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mikey
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:56 pm
Do the best I can BW, I think we are done, as a nation, heroes, superpower.
We have no leader/leaders in this country anymore. I think, we look like a joke to the rest of the world, universe.
We will be a third world country before you know it.
Just my opinion.
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georgeob1
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:57 pm
Bill,

I meant nothing specifically about you and I certainly don't doubt or question your patriotism. If you were offended, I regret it and offer my apology. (Funny - we all looked forward to the occasional divert to Da Nang with its hooches and booze.)

I was, however, reacting to a thread that was getting a bit sticky and which evoked too well what I view as the worst qualities of an age and much of a generation notable mostly for its narcism and self-indulgence.
The irony of wistful recollections of past protest adventures clothed as they were in a style and form so like their own caricatures of the "reactionary" forces they opposed, was just too much for me.
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JoanneDorel
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:57 pm
George on of the most important things a person can learn in life is not to make assumptions and secondly not to read to much into one's own perceptions of what happened in certain circumstances based on their personal experiences. We are all different we came from different backgrounds and we all saw things based on different perceptions some fact based and some clouded by personal experiences.

I to served in the military during Viet Nam but as a civilian employee, first at 32nd street Naval Station Commander Cruiser Forces Pacific COMCURDESPAC (65-66), then in Tucson, AZ, at Davis Monthan AFB where Colonel Chappy James the first black Air Force General. was the Tactical Wing (66-67) Office of public information and then at Commander Amphibious Forces Pacific, (COMPHIBPAC) Flag Office (68-70).

I had married a Naval Aviator who also served in the Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club on the Hancock 68-69 and then the Connie (75-77). In between 70-74 we had shore duty in Iwakuni, Japan at Fleet Air Wing Six, the P-3s were based there before the moved to Misawa. Then an assignment to Naval recruiting duty in Columbus, Ohio, prior returning to his squadron at NAS Miramar or as we called it Fighter Town USA.

It was during my tenure at COMPHIBPAC that I learned the most about what I know about Viet Nam. Although I never saw combat first hand I had and have knowledge about all the major battles in the war and all the major operations in the war. Nothing that I have read in this interaction leads me to believe anyone is exaggerating except maybe you. Why would I think that because you seem to be holding your self out as being more than by virtue of you commission and designation as a Naval Aviator jet jock.
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JoanneDorel
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:03 pm
What I want to know is what do you really have against Jesse. I know him personally, I have marhed with him, and have worked for him. My favorite march with Jesse was the one from the chicken processing plant in N. Carolina where 120 women died in a fire because the owners locked the emergency exit so no one could sneak outside for a break. Wher the women even those pregnant were not allowed any breaks except a 30 minute lunch perid. We walked from the factory to the State Capitol in an effort to get the owners to provide some financial support to the children and families of the women who died. What is so wrong with that do to Jesse's efforts some benefits were paid by the company and the state relented and released some money too.
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:14 pm
george, you just fully described me. As low a person as you think I am, I am really OK. I live, I breath, I love, I bleed red blood and I am one of those whose "worst qualities of an age and much of a generation notable mostly for its narcism and self-indulgence.
The irony of wistful recollections of past protest adventures clothed as they were in a style and form so like their own caricatures of the "reactionary" forces they opposed" and yet I fought on the ground in Viet Nam.

You know what - we were possibly over there at the same time, and I called and was a grateful receiver of many an air strick we called in. You may have been one of the bombers, I was one of those grunts on the other side of the "red smoke". Do you realize I was 1 1/2 clicks from a full blown B-52 strike. The B-52s were 6 miles away. You have no idea how scary it is for the bombs to be walking toward you and you only realized they were going to miss you as they went away. Yes, I was there and I was also one of "THEM" - before I went, while I was there and after I got back!

Herbert Spencer addresses this issue directly, "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

But, for this I forgive you because God already has!
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:14 pm
Joanne, the reason I have refused to argue about Jesse is because his detractors are too irrational about it. They all parrot identical words and phrases like they all memorized the same little pamphlet. As soon as you say anything in his defense they morph into "Jesse and Al sharpton". Any more and it's suddenly "Jesse and Al sharpton and farakhan". Endless name calling and nothing gets resolved.
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mikey
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:14 pm
Georgeob1....I sat on the curbstone with my friends as they shed their tears, the rough tough macho guys, as I'm sure we all did, and listened to them pour their hearts out, 'if they came home alive', the guys that were "lucky" to come back, and not in a body bag, ball less, legless, armless, footless. or in a wheelchair forever.
And for what? You tell me.

This country has lost sight of itself.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:19 pm
I stand by my assessment of Nixon and Cambodia. I stand by everything I have said on this thread. I consider that the Peace Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in conjunction embodied most of the more noble attributes of human striving, in that or any age.
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:23 pm
george, I wanted to add one very important thing, I go a lot with gut feeling - it's my way. I feel you are a good man, I truly like you. One person's higher morals - another person sees as a fault. In the end we are all the same and we return to worm food!
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JoanneDorel
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:23 pm
I think the guys that fled to Canada were heros too. They gave up the comforts of home and being surrounded by friends and family let alone there status as wanted criminals.

Everyone made choices in that horrible war, we all wre affected. No one experience is more than any other.
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 11:31 pm
It sent society into shambles - it was the destroyer of families, friendships and politics today are the result of the chasm. I have live my life on these issue, it is my pariah and and it is my saviour. Unfortunately, today it is coming back to haunt us. If GWB continues his course he will never be forgiven. Are there no lessons learned!
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