Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

This is coolbert: Unfortunately, Craig is 100 % right about what he says. A lot of phoney baloney was said about the Vietnam veteran and all those who served during the Vietnam era period.

It IS unfortunate that the "angles" the media loved in Vietnam were just so negative. "Stories" abounded about Vietnam and Vietnam GI's. Most were later to be disproven.

One "story" that was thoroughly disproven was the claim that by 1970, MOST GI's returning from Vietnam were hooked on heroin. This was apocrypha going around the media that was widely disseminated. "Everyone" knew this to be SO!! As a result of this rumor mongering, the military began to test for drugs GI's returning from Nam. And they did find some heroin addicts indeed. But the percentage of GI's that were heroin addicts was no greater at all than the addiction of the general public in the U.S. NOT greater at all!! And yet the story persists that GI's coming back from Nam were just junkies on smack?!

Another story the media loved to cover was that the South Vietnamese army [ARVN] was a bunch of worthless cowards who would not fight, were corrupt, and were mostly derelict in their duty. Any and every image that could be put on TV to buttress this claim was broadcast. BUT, it is noteworthy that in all of the years of combat in Vietnam, there was only ONE week when the death toll of American GI's surpassed the weekly death toll of South Vietnamese soldiers. When ably led, the South Vietnamese soldiers did fight well. This was just never reported, or if it was, it was "counter-balanced" by images of say General Loan executing a VC terrorist or South Vietnamese soldiers looting the bodies of dead VC. U.S. intelligence was able to determine that even after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the subjugation of South Vietnam by the communists, some South Vietnamese units continued to fight, even in absolutely hopeless circumstances.

Why was all this done? I just cannot say. It is really beyond me. Maybe it is the way journalism is taught in this country? I have heard that journalism professors tell their students it is not necessary to tell the truth. It IS necessary to tell your perception of the truth!!?? Whatever that means?



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