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I'm so accustomed to writing short comments, that one just slipped out.

So.

In answer to your question: No, having served in VIetnam does not confer automatic "hero" status on An American, in my opinion. NOr does having DIED in VIetnam, for that matter.

My father is considered by many historians a hero for the actions that led to his death. (PDF) He was awarded, posthumously, a Bronze Star and the usual Purple Heart.

As it happens, he enlisted -- Marines are not drafted. As it also happens, his letters home to my mother prove that several weeks prior to his death he came to believe the war a great folly and evil, and determined to leave the Marines on finishing his tour of duty. The greatest plans of mice and men...

I neither condemn nor laud the men who fought in Vietnam for their actions in that war -- excepting, of course, those who committed war crimes. I do applaud those who, on returning home, recognised the war's evil and renounced it -- and I condemn those who insisted -- and continue to insist -- it was a "noble" war. Only a blind man or a fool could do that; or worse, a liar.

I do not claim to see into the hearts and minds of men like John McCain; I do not know if he actually believes the bullshit he spews. I only know that it IS bullshit.

As for whether his actions were heroic in Vietnam? Well, he got through a hellish experience, and it takes some sort of heroic resilience to do that, so I applaud that strength. Bravo, John McCain of yesteryear.

But it is the man he is now with whom we are concerned.

And I know he is not a hero now.

If I can't rant, I don't want to be part of your revolution

by Maryscott OConnor (myleftwing@gmail.com) on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 06:38:24 PM EST
The title of the diary was for a reason. I didn't want to insult you or your father or make you feel pain, but I have trouble to accept the American framing, that being a soldier is such a great service to your country. Especially with the history of MY country, obeying orders in a war isn't what I can call at all heroic.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 07:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by an honest discussion of the Vietnam war.

I thought perhaps the title was to try to avoid the "ugly Americans" -- but wouldn't they be more likely to be of the sort we saw at the Republican convention?

At any rate -- this topic is always welcome.

Frankly, I consider the deserters, the draft dodgers and the protesters the true heroes of the Vietnam era.

If I can't rant, I don't want to be part of your revolution

by Maryscott OConnor (myleftwing@gmail.com) on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 07:52:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a veteran of the service during Viet-Nam era (pretty pale stuff for me since I was essentially a chow-hall inspector for the air force in N. California) I am fully prepared to say there is very little heroic in most military service.  I had no intention of being a hero-or I would have stood up and gone to Canada or prison like some of my favorite people did, to their detriment, I chose a branch of the service and a job in that branch that reduced the odds as far as possible.

The most anti-war guys I knew were the guys that came back to our little midwest town and said, "DO NOT GO!"

I think Americans need to have this discussion.  I've got a nephew over in Iraq that I worry about-I hope to high heaven that he isn't considered a hero.

I would say that the guys on the helicopter that stopped the My Lai massacre were heroes, to me they qualify.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 08:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To go one step further, I applaud those who wouldn't even finish their tour of duty, and who showed in one way or another that they don't value the life of locals lower than that of their comrades in the Band of Brothers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 10:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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