This past week I received an email from the Heritage Foundation inviting me to contribute and join incoming Heritage president Senator Emeritus Jim DeMint in his efforts to revitalize the American conservative movement:
Our nation faces extreme peril.
Runaway government is threatening our individual freedoms. Government spending is driving our nation deeper into debt. Taxes and regulations are smothering our already-weakened economy.
And all too many Americans think more government is the only solution.
The Heritage Foundation is developing a plan to refine the conservative message in order to better communicate proven conservative ideas to the American people.
Find out more about the plan we’re developing with Heritage President-Elect Jim DeMint . . . and what we’re planning for this Tuesday, February 26.
Plan the Takeover
Win the $10,000 Liberty Prize,
Plus Fame, Appreciation, and
the Opportunity to Save America
This struck me as an excellent opportunity to more widely disseminate my thoughts and earn a little extra cash to boot. During the process of gathering archived articles, reports, and outlining my contemplated masterpiece, I began to realize I was accumulating enough material for at least one book, let alone an essay suitable for contest submission.
But then, from Brigadier Rudy, I received a link to the following CBS Sunday Morning segment originally broadcast on June 10, 2012:
I was stunned. Stopped dead in my compositional tracks. I began to see more clearly and realized what we as a nation are losing, perhaps have already lost. I was humbled by the emotion that welled up in a French woman’s voice when she called out the name of an American fighter pilot who, shortly after D-Day, crashed nearby while valiantly avoiding her village. Sixty-eight years later the people of Les Ventes continue to remember and honor 1st Lt. Billie D. Harris.
On my desk I keep a small shrine of my own:
That’s Jim’s yearbook entry from pilot training. Jim and I graduated together at Williams AFB, class 67C. I went to Europe, he went to Vietnam. I came back, he didn’t. Jim’s Virtual Wall entry can be found here.
What troubles me is that Lt. Badley will never be remembered or honored by the Vietnamese as Lt. Harris is by the French. And it’s not because Lt. Badley was less brave than his WW II counterpart or his actions less honorable. Rather, it’s because his country broke its promise and abandoned the South Vietnamese people. Many of his countrymen dishonored, nay, vilified those who risked and gave their lives in the jungles and skies of Southeast Asia. Forty years after the return of American POWs from Hanoi and the prison they called the “Hilton,” that kind of cynically traitorous practice continues.
Nick Turse Describes the Real Vietnam War
February 8, 2013
Journalist Nick Turse describes his unprecedented efforts to compile a complete and compelling account of the Vietnam War’s horror.
BILL MOYERS: Just like Susan Crawford, my next guest has been driven to tell a story the powers-that-be would rather we forget. He found it by chance in documents buried deep in the recesses of the National Archives in our nation’s capital. The discovery led him on a journey of twelve years that has now concluded with this beautifully written account of ugly horrors, “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam,” by Nick Turse.
There have been many memorable accounts of the terrible things done in Vietnam – memoirs, histories, documentaries and movies. But Nick Turse has given us a fresh holistic work that stands alone for its blending of history and journalism, for the integrity of research brought to life through the diligence of first-person interviews. Those interviews skillfully unlock the memories of American warriors and expose the wounds that to this day still scar the hearts and minds of villagers who survived the scorched earth of Vietnam. Here is a powerful message for us today, a reminder of what war really costs.
Ironically, Nick Turse wasn’t even around as the Vietnam War raged. He was born in 1975, the year it ended. Not until 25 years later, while pursuing his PhD in sociomedical sciences, did he discover the secret trove of documents that sent him on this long search. In addition to two earlier books and countless articles and essays, Nick Turse is managing editor of TomDispatch.com – the indispensable website if you want the news powerful people would prefer to keep hidden.
Nick Turse, welcome.
I doubt it is accidental that this was broadcast a week after Sen. John Kerry ascended to his State Department throne. Kerry was, as I’m sure you recall, embroiled in a bitter dispute during his 2004 Presidential campaign with a group calling themselves the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. That organization is no longer active, but the basis for their objections to Kerry as Commander in Chief are nicely summarized in this video clip:
This evolved from Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April of 1971 while the Vietnam war continued. This, as well as specific actions by Kerry during his tour in Vietnam, led to the formation of the Swift Vets organization and their campaign to prevent Kerry’s election to the Presidency. Following America’s departure from Southeast Asia, much has been discovered, documented and written that definitively discredits the actions and statements of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and their spokesman, John Kerry. If you’re unfamiliar with the origin and history of the left’s efforts to discredit and demonize American military men and their actions in SEA, you should find the following informative:
But the left’s standard catechism defining the Vietnam war and everything associated must not be discredited. So, Messrs Moyers and Turse are called upon to update the progressive imprimatur.
Equally discrediting are the left’s failures to document events and disseminate information regarding the atrocities of the Vietnamese Communists. Particularly incriminating are the horrendous events surrounding the Tet Offensive of 1968. Here’s a description of the mass executions that took place in the ancient city of Hue during the days of Communist occupation as written by David Warren in the Ottawa Citizen:
The Tet Offensive was a desperate ploy by the Communist enemy in Vietnam. Tens of thousands of his troops were flung simultaneously at more than 100 South Vietnamese towns, and into the heart of Saigon. The Communists announced a general uprising, but that did not occur. The tide was actually turned within a few days by the U.S. and South Vietnamese armies. As they re-took town after town, they discovered massacres the Communists had committed while in possession. The enemy’s real object had been to decapitate a whole society.
My friend, Uwe Siemon-Netto, a German Lutheran pastor and also life-long journalist, was there as a reporter. Entering Hué as the smoke was clearing: “I made my way to university apartments to obtain news about friends of mine, German professors at the medical school. I learned that their names had been on lists containing some 1,800 Hué residents singled out for liquidation.
“Six weeks later the bodies of doctors Alois Altekoester, Raimund Discher, Horst-Guenther Krainick, and Krainick’s wife, Elisabeth, were found in shallow graves they had been made to dig for themselves.
“Then, enormous mass graves of women and children were found. Most had been clubbed to death, some buried alive; you could tell from the beautifully manicured hands of women who had tried to claw out of their burial place.
“As we stood at one such site, Washington Post correspondent Peter Braestrup asked an American TV cameraman, ‘Why don’t you film this?’ He answered, ‘I am not here to spread anti-communist propaganda’.”
After discovering, re-discovering and watching such as this, I am at a loss trying to understand how Messrs DeMint and Viguerie think they will be able to reverse past and current besmirching of American honor and purpose. For progressives, this is their bread and butter. They are very good at it, and they are very persistent. And this is only one drop in the sea of woes we find ourselves drowning in.
And so, I’ve come down with a bad case of the Disappearin’ America Blues. For some strange reason I find a resonance to this and some small comfort in the last stanza and final refrain of Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans”:
Update: America’s military on PC-ness
Wall Street Journal
Via Power Line
February 22, 2013
America’s Kinder, Gentler Department of Defense
Cutting the military to fuel the welfare state doesn’t instill fear in a nation’s enemies.
By Mackubin Thomas Owens