Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. For What It’s Worth (Pt. 2): Happy Vietnam Veterans Day

 

Read Part 1 here.

But, it wasn’t just Hollywood. Nearly 3,000 miles to the east, was an influence that was just as malevolent and that influence was found in the “Brahmans” of the Northeastern media establishment.

I suspect that many of the “sophisticates” of the Eastern establishment chuckled when told of the conversation that occurred between the then-Publisher and Chairman of the New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger and his son (and heir to both jobs) Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. When the elder Sulzberger asked his son who he wanted see die in a one-to-one fight; the American soldier or the North Vietnamese soldier, Junior didn’t hesitate. “I want to see the American die since it’s the North Vietnamese soldier’s country.”

At least he was being honest but I still had to wonder; if it were in 1945, would Junior have preferred the German soldier to kill the American who had crossed the Rhine into Germany? Would he have preferred the Japanese soldier to kill the Marine at Okinawa? Maybe it’s not important. However, I did suspect that the Northeastern establishment had no more use for the Vietnam Vets than Hollywood did. But, maybe their contempt was more subtle than that of Hollywood’s.

Despite all of this, the late ’80s became a watershed moment for the Vietnam vets; we were finally beginning to be portrayed in a positive light (President Reagan even referred to us as “Theirs was a noble purpose”). However, along with all those positive developments, there came a group of insidious individuals: the fake Vietnam veterans. They came in all varieties; actors, politicians, and seemingly normal individuals who wanted to mooch off the achievements that rightly belonged to the legitimate Vietnam veterans. I suppose that they all had different reasons for their behavior but many of these buffoons were totally grotesque. Showing up at public functions, with military decorations that made them look like World War II Soviet Field Marshalls, these clowns would parade through the crowds, often being asked to give speeches about their “heroism.” Unfortunately, there are still some of them around, courtesy of court rulings that have made their behavior “protected speech.”

For the vast majority of us that made it back, we made successes of our lives. We went to college, had successful careers, and raised families. To be sure, some of us had some bumps in the road, but those were just obstacles to be overcome. For the first five years or so, I had recurrent nightmares but that was something that was healed by time (and an occasional six-pack). “No biggie,” as we used to say.

Incredibly, over 10 years after I left the Army, I “re-upped” into the Air Force Reserve, where I spent 24 years serving in Combat Communications. (I had become the “Lifer” that I had previously hated!) I was recalled to active duty twice; once for Desert Storm and then again for Iraqi Freedom. I was honored to serve with some of the finest young men and women that you could possibly find today and I was tremendously pleased that none of them had to face the same kind of reception that we encountered when we returned home in the 1960s and ’70s. Perhaps America really did learn its lesson. Still, I wondered each time I heard, “I support the troops but I don’t support the war.” Just how does that work?

Perhaps one day I’ll figure that out. Until then, I’ll content myself with knowing that the generation of Americans that went to Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s were as good a group of fighting men that this country has ever produced. (I still remember the line from Patton, “What a waste of fine infantry.”) Under the worst conditions (and some of the worst leadership imaginable), we still did our duty and we have nothing to apologize for. So, when a person extends their hand and says, “Thank you for your service,” I will always tell them that I appreciate it. (Truth be told, the first few times that a person wanted to shake my hand, I would always be ready to go on the defensive. Cynic that I became, I still imagined that the next words out of their mouths would be, “So how many babies did you kill?”)

Although I’ve become pretty philosophical about the last 50 years, occasionally something will happen that really does hearken me back to those turbulent times. My wife is the ultimate “CSI” fan; whether it’s the original or any of the spinoffs, she’s down for it. Last year we were watching a “CSI Miami” rerun and one of the characters does something to startle another cast member. “Hey man,” the first character goes, “Are you going all Vietnam on me?” I took the remote and checked the on-screen menu. The episode had been made in 2011. I could only shake my head; when will it ever end?

But, probably my most “traumatic” time was brought about three or four years ago when a local PBS station ran the documentary Fog of War, a film about Robert S. McNamara and his conduct of the Vietnam War. I really didn’t mean to watch the movie; I had found it by accident while channel surfing. However, I forced myself to watch it. McNamara really hadn’t changed much. The same oily, slicked-back hair and the same oily, arrogant personality.

Although I had previously been in a good mood, that quickly changed. I felt a little like the words in Don McLean’s American Pie, “Oh and as I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage.” Here was McNamara, one of the main architects of that monstrosity, calmly sitting there telling me that, “Well, we came to understand that we really couldn’t win the war but blah, blah, blah.” Oh really, then what were we doing over there? And then, McNamara went on to give his 11 “lessons” on what we should have learned. Funny, nowhere in those “lessons” did he mention his grotesque “Project 100,000”, in which 100,000 men of substandard mental and physical abilities were taken into the military each year. But then, McNamara wasn’t really interested in those men or any of those who went to their deaths. As for McNamara, after destroying thousands of lives, he went on to become President of the World Bank and died peacefully in bed at the ripe old age of 93 in his toney Washington DC mansion.

As I said, I’ve moved on from the anger that I felt in the 1960s and ’70s. I really don’t think of the war protestors. I don’t think about the 2S deferments or the guys who joined the Guard or Reserves to get out of going to Vietnam. I don’t even think a great deal about the way we were portrayed by Hollywood. However, when it comes to Robert Strange McNamara and John Forbes Kerry; well, I hope the former is rotting in h*ll and that the latter will soon join him there.

So, for all you folks who made the trip, “WELCOME HOME – WELL DONE.” For those who didn’t make the trip, well, I know this guy who was in Vietnam and he told me that…

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A great pair of posts, CACrabtree. What a life you’ve had! And well written, too. 

    • #1
    • March 28, 2020, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Juliana Member

    After reading Dereliction of Duty (H R McMaster) I believed Robert McNamara should have been shot as a traitor.

    • #2
    • March 28, 2020, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Doug Watt Moderator

    Two great posts, thank you.

    • #3
    • March 28, 2020, at 2:53 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Juliana Member

    Thank you @cacrabtree for the insightful memory and your service. The Vietnam War was in the background throughout my high school/early college years. Everyone had an opinion except the men who had actually been there (and I did not know many). They rarely talked about what they did or saw. Reminds me of my uncle who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. There was always something different about him…distant even when he was joking with his brothers who had fought in other places. It is embarrassing and heart-wrenching to realize that we as a country turned Vietnam veterans into criminals and TV/film maniacs.

    • #4
    • March 28, 2020, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A great pair of posts, CACrabtree. What a life you’ve had! And well written, too.

    Thanks. Appreciate it.

    • #5
    • March 28, 2020, at 5:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Juliana (View Comment):

    After reading Dereliction of Duty (H R McMaster) I believed Robert McNamara should have been shot as a traitor.

    An excellent book. LTG McMaster also didn’t think much of the JCS at that time. Neither did I.

    • #6
    • March 28, 2020, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Two great posts, thank you.

    Thanks. Appreciate it.

    • #7
    • March 28, 2020, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Juliana (View Comment):

    Thank you @cacrabtree for the insightful memory and your service. The Vietnam War was in the background throughout my high school/early college years. Everyone had an opinion except the men who had actually been there (and I did not know many). They rarely talked about what they did or saw. Reminds me of my uncle who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. There was always something different about him…distant even when he was joking with his brothers who had fought in other places. It is embarrassing and heart-wrenching to realize that we as a country turned Vietnam veterans into criminals and TV/film maniacs.

    Thanks for your kind words. Appreciate it.

    • #8
    • March 28, 2020, at 5:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Randy Webster Member

    I never served. My lottery number was 191, and they never got to me. But the attitude of “The Best and the Brightest” towards those who did serve always infuriated me.

    • #9
    • March 28, 2020, at 9:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Skyler Coolidge

    When I was a second lieutenant and got to my first duty station, I was put very, very briefly (like a day) under the tutelage of a rather demented Staff Sergeant. He was at his terminal rank and frankly he never should have been promoted that high. He was a Vietnam vet. The war had ended eleven years earlier but for some reason he kept pictures and other memorabilia in his desk. Mostly the pictures were of his ear collection he had in Vietnam. The ears were strung together in the picture and there were probably not quite a dozen on each of the two or three strings. He was quite proud of those pictures, and loved showing them to me. I think he wanted me to react to them. Frankly, I didn’t care about the pictures, I just didn’t much like him as a person and was looking for a way to get to the next guy to snap me in.

    I also have met WWII vets at the O’Club bar who regaled me with stories much worse than that.

    It seems to me that what made the Vietnam War different for veterans is that we didn’t fight it to win, and Americans don’t like not winning. We had politicians who were afraid to fight hard and yet believed that there was something we could achieve called “victory” without fighting hard. Americans don’t like losers.

    My dad told me that his tours off the coast of Vietnam were stupid. Their job was to lob a few 5″-54 shells into a grid square every hour. It didn’t matter where or when, so long as it was in the grid square once an hour. I can’t imagine a more stupid mission either.

    When George Bush II sent us into Iraq he had amazing support from a huge percent of the country. But then he listened to idiots (and maybe was one himself) who told him that we needed fewer and fewer troops. Rather than double or triple what anyone thought was needed, he tried to fight a war on the cheap. Instead of going in with a huge force, occupying it briefly, and controlling it thoroughly, he tried to win the war with more and more “special forces.” The Bushes are really good at starting wars but have no idea how to win them. The American people will support any war they feel is just, at any cost in material and people, SO LONG AS they think we are on a path to victory. Bush squandered the good will he had in 2003 by not fighting to win.

    Vietnam vets will be remembered, wrongly, as long haired hippies who are always ready to snap and go crazy like Rambo or something. The most recent vets will be remembered as helpless people who need service dogs to keep them from getting anxiety attacks. All because we don’t fight to win anymore.

    • #10
    • March 28, 2020, at 10:47 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. Ontheleftcoast Member

    I remember going to meet with my draft board. I had a disqualifying medical condition (a life threatening bee sting allergy; I had had an anaphylactic reaction when I was about 16.) The board felt that a 4F classification might stigmatize me in the future, and recommended that I continue with my educational plans with the 2S deferment. Over the next couple of years I came to think that the 2S was a terrible and divisive idea and that people who had deferred being drafted ought to be required to do some form of national service. In the event, the government didn’t agree with me. In the 1973 lottery my number was in the high 60s, which but by then I wouldn’t have been called up anyway.

    In hindsight, I had already begun to experience the first symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (my guess is that the last round of bee sting desensitization helped set it off) and now think I might not have made it through boot camp anyway. I don’t think I would have been able to do the heavy rucks.

    • #11
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Titus Techera Contributor

    This is a timely, affecting testimony! Thank you for recalling the momentous events–it seems America has not yet recovered from that catastrophe, so far as waging was is concerned. Worse, the country seems divided now along the lines that became obvious then.

    I’m a film critic, so I’d like to know your opinions, & those of other veterans, if the subject’s come up over the years, of the various movies about Vietnam. I’d say the noblest portrayal of American soldiers in Vietnam is We Were Soldiers. 

    • #12
    • March 29, 2020, at 4:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Zafar Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    It seems to me that what made the Vietnam War different for veterans is that we didn’t fight it to win, and Americans don’t like not winning.

    Does that affect how people see Iraq or Afghanistan veterans?

    • #13
    • March 29, 2020, at 4:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Stad Thatcher

    Lee Teter’s creation says it all (brings a tear to my eye):

    • #14
    • March 29, 2020, at 5:50 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Skyler Coolidge

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    This is a timely, affecting testimony! Thank you for recalling the momentous events–it seems America has not yet recovered from that catastrophe, so far as waging was is concerned. Worse, the country seems divided now along the lines that became obvious then.

    I’m a film critic, so I’d like to know your opinions, & those of other veterans, if the subject’s come up over the years, of the various movies about Vietnam. I’d say the noblest portrayal of American soldiers in Vietnam is We Were Soldiers.

    There are no good Vietnam war movies in my opinion. “We Were Soldiers” suffers from a few terrible flaws, but the only one I can recall now is the cliche of making the opposing commander appear as some enlightened noble warrior. He was a communist thug. He may have not been a dummy, but he didn’t stand in a bunker somewhere with dispassionate timeless philosophical ruminations about strategy while a fierce battle was being waged. 

    • #15
    • March 29, 2020, at 6:28 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thanks @CACrabtree. I appreciate your service and insights. I was born in 1963 and to my lasting shame never did my part. Your reflections on McNammara and that data-driven, corporate type of management were very interesting and still appear to be in place today. It seems like some of that work is necessary: where is enemy activity strong/weak, trying to quantify things but then it seems to morph (like any bureaucracy I suppose) into a metrics/number game as an end in itself. 

    Do you think the policy of Korea and Vietnam was basically the same but Korea turned out more successfully due to not having Cambodia as a safe zone from where men & materials could be moved? That the 38th Parallel was ‘easier’ to defend?

    What are your thoughts on Don Rumsfeld? I just watched a documentary with him and continue to find him a fascinating person, one who asks thought provoking questions. I found the questions he asked and continues to ask important. How much of Iraq & Afghanistan going sideways was his ‘fault’ vs Bush or the military or State Department bureaucracies? The initial invasions of both seemed brilliantly executed but turned badly as things were turned over to the same failed local people/societies that preceded our invasions.

    • #16
    • March 29, 2020, at 7:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Skyler Coolidge

    WI Con (View Comment):
    What are your thoughts on Don Rumsfeld?

    He is an extremely intelligent and thoughtful man who has proven time and again to have no understanding of war. Rumsfeld and Cheney were the biggest advocates for pushing special forces to lead the effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

    They also killed off the A-12 Avenger. And the A-6F. They put naval aviation about two decades behind where they should be. 

    Rumsfeld is a much more sympathetic man than MacNammara, but he’s of the same cloth. I like him but he couldn’t have been more wrong in his policies. 

    • #17
    • March 29, 2020, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Titus Techera Contributor

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    This is a timely, affecting testimony! Thank you for recalling the momentous events–it seems America has not yet recovered from that catastrophe, so far as waging was is concerned. Worse, the country seems divided now along the lines that became obvious then.

    I’m a film critic, so I’d like to know your opinions, & those of other veterans, if the subject’s come up over the years, of the various movies about Vietnam. I’d say the noblest portrayal of American soldiers in Vietnam is We Were Soldiers.

    There are no good Vietnam war movies in my opinion. “We Were Soldiers” suffers from a few terrible flaws, but the only one I can recall now is the cliche of making the opposing commander appear as some enlightened noble warrior. He was a communist thug. He may have not been a dummy, but he didn’t stand in a bunker somewhere with dispassionate timeless philosophical ruminations about strategy while a fierce battle was being waged.

    Is this a judgment on the man who commanded the Vietnamese during the battle? I dunno his name myself, much less what kind of commander he was, or man: What do you know about him?

    • #18
    • March 29, 2020, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Skyler Coolidge

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    This is a timely, affecting testimony! Thank you for recalling the momentous events–it seems America has not yet recovered from that catastrophe, so far as waging was is concerned. Worse, the country seems divided now along the lines that became obvious then.

    I’m a film critic, so I’d like to know your opinions, & those of other veterans, if the subject’s come up over the years, of the various movies about Vietnam. I’d say the noblest portrayal of American soldiers in Vietnam is We Were Soldiers.

    There are no good Vietnam war movies in my opinion. “We Were Soldiers” suffers from a few terrible flaws, but the only one I can recall now is the cliche of making the opposing commander appear as some enlightened noble warrior. He was a communist thug. He may have not been a dummy, but he didn’t stand in a bunker somewhere with dispassionate timeless philosophical ruminations about strategy while a fierce battle was being waged.

    Is this a judgment on the man who commanded the Vietnamese during the battle? I dunno his name myself, much less what kind of commander he was, or man: What do you know about him?

    I know he was a communist and he was an effective military commander. I was read up on him at one time, but I don’t recall details. Who he was is unimportant. The movie maker employed a tired cliche, much like they portrayed Yamamoto in “Tora Tora Tora.” All they needed was a scene with someone falling off a cliff and the hero holding him by the hand. Silly unnecessary cliche that adds nothing and isn’t true. 

    • #19
    • March 29, 2020, at 10:10 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. mareich555 Member

    Thanks for the great post.

    I served from 19 September 1966 – 29 August 1968 and I owe nearly everything I have in my life today to those 2 years. I make it a point to go out of my way to shake the hand of every Vet I see: since I live in Berkeley it usually surprises people.

    My service was as a veterinary technician and I spent most of the 2 years handling and then killing a bunch of dogs. However, I did see my potential as a dog handler and I was always envious of the troops who where handling the Military Working Dogs and yearned for establishing the kind of bond they had with their dogs. At 75 I have finally achieved that bond by training for Search and Rescue with Wally, my German Shepherd. As I am still working, but am able to work from home (even before the current crisis), Wally and I are together nearly 24 x 7. When I take him out into the field and watch him pick up a scent it is just wonderful.

    Besides having SAR in my life now, I have done well writing software and live comfortably. I learned to write software while in the service and it has been the only job I have had since 1968. I took up software so that I could get to be in the only air-conditioned room on our base: the computer room. I self taught to keep kool and found that I had a real passion for it, as well as ability. The reason why I was stationed at a top-secret base was that I scored perfect scores on and Army’s GT set of exams (IQ) and they wanted to put my skill to use. In the Army, if you have any initiative the sky is really the limit and I was free to use the mainframes to my heart’s content.

    To this day, I still have nightmares seeing the incinerator where I put the dogs.

    • #20
    • March 29, 2020, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    This is a timely, affecting testimony! Thank you for recalling the momentous events–it seems America has not yet recovered from that catastrophe, so far as waging was is concerned. Worse, the country seems divided now along the lines that became obvious then.

    I’m a film critic, so I’d like to know your opinions, & those of other veterans, if the subject’s come up over the years, of the various movies about Vietnam. I’d say the noblest portrayal of American soldiers in Vietnam is We Were Soldiers.

    Oh wow. First of all thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them.

    Geez, it’s tough for me to rate the movies, since, for the most part, I have avoided them. It’s not that I get flashbacks or anything like that but some scenes do make me uncomfortable. When Apocalypse Now came out in 1979, the lady that I was dating wanted to see it so, reluctantly, I went. The premise of the movie was a bit absurd but it was mildly entertaining until the helicopter assault on the village and that hit a little too close to home; I broke out in a cold sweat. From then on, I preferred to stay away from Vietnam movies. But, I did enjoy the first part of Full Metal Jacket. R. Lee Ermey’s performance as a DI was so spot on that he was the reincarnation of my own Drill Sergeant. Except for striking trainees, my Drill Sergeant’s insults and other mannerisms were identical to Ermey’s even down to the “This is my rifle and this is my gun” march through the barracks. (Any reference to our rifle as a “gun” was an automatic 25 pushups.) I generally stop watching the movie after Private Gomer blows his brains out.

    From what I’ve heard from other vets (who are not as squeamish as I) We Were Soldiers is very good. I was still in training when the battle of Ia Drang happened; it was really a knock down-drag out affair. The 1st Air Cav was a hard riding outfit; maybe the best in Vietnam (although I might get an argument from the Marines!)

    To get an idea of the movies of the period I would recommend From Hanoi To Hollywood by edited Linda Dittmar and Gene Michaud and, to a lesser extent, Inventing Vietnam edited by Michael Anderegg In both books, there are chapters that I totally disagree with but there’s enough in both books to give you and idea about how Vietnam vets were portrayed. And, as I recommend to almost everyone, the book Stolen Valor by D.G. Burkett is a must-read for anyone trying to understand how Vietnam vets were maligned by politicians and Vietnam fakers.

    Best Wishes

    • #21
    • March 29, 2020, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  22. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Thanks @CACrabtree. I appreciate your service and insights. I was born in 1963 and to my lasting shame never did my part. Your reflections on McNammara and that data-driven, corporate type of management were very interesting and still appear to be in place today. It seems like some of that work is necessary: where is enemy activity strong/weak, trying to quantify things but then it seems to morph (like any bureaucracy I suppose) into a metrics/number game as an end in itself.

    Do you think the policy of Korea and Vietnam was basically the same but Korea turned out more successfully due to not having Cambodia as a safe zone from where men & materials could be moved? That the 38th Parallel was ‘easier’ to defend?

    What are your thoughts on Don Rumsfeld? I just watched a documentary with him and continue to find him a fascinating person, one who asks thought provoking questions. I found the questions he asked and continues to ask important. How much of Iraq & Afghanistan going sideways was his ‘fault’ vs Bush or the military or State Department bureaucracies? The initial invasions of both seemed brilliantly executed but turned badly as things were turned over to the same failed local people/societies that preceded our invasions.

    Well, in commenting on Korea, like everyone else, I have to rely on historians and hope that I’m getting the “straight stuff”. I suppose there are similarities in the Korean and Vietnam wars but there also a lot of differences. Of course, in both instances, you get a lot of jargon of the times, all driven by the Cold War. “Containment” was used in both Korea and Europe. Of course there was all the talk of “dominoes” falling in Southeast Asia.

    To me, when I attempt to study both conflicts, it’s very important to look at what legimate historians have to say and not just second-guessers disguised as historians. The latter is getting to be very common.

    It’s easy to blast both JFK and LBJ today but what was their thought process? Some things should have been evident to LBJ, even back then, that Ho Chi Minh was not interested in business-like (“I’ll give you a billon dollars to quite fighting”) approach. Ho wanted the country unified and was not going to be satisfied until it was. Still, I think that both JFK and LBJ were trapped in the spirit of the time; neither one thought they could back out without losing “face” but they still didn’t have a battle plan (“escalation” was a complete loser) for dealing with the Vietnamese. Moral: Study the history; not the second-guesser.

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    • #22
    • March 29, 2020, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Skyler Coolidge

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    • #23
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    There was a General Officer there and I believe she fell on her sword. From what I’ve seen I still don’t understand how those pictures could have been taken if Senior NCOs and field grade officers were present. As I recall, many of those mugging for the camera (with hooded captives) were Guardsmen from West Virginia. Perhaps I am being too harsh on Rumsfeld (and I freely admit that I wasn’t there; the closest I got to the sandbox was Turkey) but some of those decisions (such as the wholesale disarmament of the Iraqui Army) seemed to me to be shortsighted. Perhaps I’m not following my own policy of not second-guessing but having trained military walking around the streets without any job prospects just seems like a bad way to go.

    • #24
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Skyler Coolidge

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    There was a General Officer there and I believe she fell on her sword. From what I’ve seen I still don’t understand how those pictures could have been taken if Senior NCOs and field grade officers were present. As I recall, many of those mugging for the camera (with hooded captives) were Guardsmen from West Virginia. Perhaps I am being too harsh on Rumsfeld (and I freely admit that I wasn’t there; the closest I got to the sandbox was Turkey) but some of those decisions (such as the wholesale disarmament of the Iraqui Army) seemed to me to be shortsighted. Perhaps I’m not following my own policy of not second-guessing but having trained military walking around the streets without any job prospects just seems like a bad way to go.

    “Fell on her sword” is not the term I would use. She was demoted and whined and cried like a little child over it.

    • #25
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:39 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    There was a General Officer there and I believe she fell on her sword. From what I’ve seen I still don’t understand how those pictures could have been taken if Senior NCOs and field grade officers were present. As I recall, many of those mugging for the camera (with hooded captives) were Guardsmen from West Virginia. Perhaps I am being too harsh on Rumsfeld (and I freely admit that I wasn’t there; the closest I got to the sandbox was Turkey) but some of those decisions (such as the wholesale disarmament of the Iraqui Army) seemed to me to be shortsighted. Perhaps I’m not following my own policy of not second-guessing but having trained military walking around the streets without any job prospects just seems like a bad way to go.

    “Fell on her sword” is not the term I would use. She was demoted and whined and cried like a little child over it.

    Oh, I didn’t hear about that (and thanks for the info). I think her name was Karpinski or something like that. I don’t know what her background was before she got her star.

    BTW, in response (and agreement) to one of your other comments concerning the movie Rambo, that movie did as much as anything to set Vietnam vets back. I still laugh at the scene (where he’s just leveled half the town and shot the sheriff ) and launches into a soliloquy ending with “I can’t get a job”. Well, duh. Sort of hard to get a job with that on your resume.

    By the way, you may already know it but the sheriff in Rambo is one of the Vietnam fakers that I alluded to.

     

    • #26
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    There was a General Officer there and I believe she fell on her sword. From what I’ve seen I still don’t understand how those pictures could have been taken if Senior NCOs and field grade officers were present. As I recall, many of those mugging for the camera (with hooded captives) were Guardsmen from West Virginia. Perhaps I am being too harsh on Rumsfeld (and I freely admit that I wasn’t there; the closest I got to the sandbox was Turkey) but some of those decisions (such as the wholesale disarmament of the Iraqui Army) seemed to me to be shortsighted. Perhaps I’m not following my own policy of not second-guessing but having trained military walking around the streets without any job prospects just seems like a bad way to go.

    “Fell on her sword” is not the term I would use. She was demoted and whined and cried like a little child over it.

    Oh, I didn’t hear about that (and thanks for the info). I think her name was Karpinski or something like that. I don’t know what her background was before she got her star.

    BTW, in response (and agreement) to one of your other comments concerning the movie Rambo, that movie did as much as anything to set Vietnam vets back. I still laugh at the scene (where he’s just leveled half the town and shot the sheriff ) and launches into a soliloquy ending with “I can’t get a job”. Well, duh. Sort of hard to get a job with that on your resume.

    By the way, you may already know it but the sheriff in Rambo is one of the Vietnam fakers that I alluded to.

     

    The trope of the troubled vet was commonplace before the movie came out. It was older than the Vietnam war too: certain people were worried about WWII vets being similarly traumatized.

    Stallone was taken aback by the blowback on that film. I think that was as much a part of the impulse behind Rambo II as was the POW/MIA issue.

    • #27
    • March 29, 2020, at 1:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree

    Percival (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    There was a General Officer there and I believe she fell on her sword. From what I’ve seen I still don’t understand how those pictures could have been taken if Senior NCOs and field grade officers were present. As I recall, many of those mugging for the camera (with hooded captives) were Guardsmen from West Virginia. Perhaps I am being too harsh on Rumsfeld (and I freely admit that I wasn’t there; the closest I got to the sandbox was Turkey) but some of those decisions (such as the wholesale disarmament of the Iraqui Army) seemed to me to be shortsighted. Perhaps I’m not following my own policy of not second-guessing but having trained military walking around the streets without any job prospects just seems like a bad way to go.

    “Fell on her sword” is not the term I would use. She was demoted and whined and cried like a little child over it.

    Oh, I didn’t hear about that (and thanks for the info). I think her name was Karpinski or something like that. I don’t know what her background was before she got her star.

    BTW, in response (and agreement) to one of your other comments concerning the movie Rambo, that movie did as much as anything to set Vietnam vets back. I still laugh at the scene (where he’s just leveled half the town and shot the sheriff ) and launches into a soliloquy ending with “I can’t get a job”. Well, duh. Sort of hard to get a job with that on your resume.

    By the way, you may already know it but the sheriff in Rambo is one of the Vietnam fakers that I alluded to.

     

    The trope of the troubled vet was commonplace before the movie came out. It was older than the Vietnam war too: certain people were worried about WWII vets being similarly traumatized.

    Stallone was taken aback by the blowback on that film. I think that was as much a part of the impulse behind Rambo II as was the POW/MIA issue.

    True, but the portrayal of WWII vets was a bit more nuanced. The Best Years of Our Lives was an example.

    • #28
    • March 29, 2020, at 4:57 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    As for Rumsfeld, I think he was very intelligent. But I still can’t get past Abu Ghraib. Where were the company grade officers that should have been jerking a knot in the a&&es of those picture-taking enlisted idiots? Can’t understand it.

    I think it’s unrealistic to put any particular blame on Rumsfeld for Abu Graib. He had a General Officer in charge of that facility. There were field grade officers in charge too. In addition to company grade officers, there were senior enlisted as well. There’s a lot that went wrong long before Rumsfeld could have known about it.

    There was a General Officer there and I believe she fell on her sword. From what I’ve seen I still don’t understand how those pictures could have been taken if Senior NCOs and field grade officers were present. As I recall, many of those mugging for the camera (with hooded captives) were Guardsmen from West Virginia. Perhaps I am being too harsh on Rumsfeld (and I freely admit that I wasn’t there; the closest I got to the sandbox was Turkey) but some of those decisions (such as the wholesale disarmament of the Iraqui Army) seemed to me to be shortsighted. Perhaps I’m not following my own policy of not second-guessing but having trained military walking around the streets without any job prospects just seems like a bad way to go.

    “Fell on her sword” is not the term I would use. She was demoted and whined and cried like a little child over it.

    Oh, I didn’t hear about that (and thanks for the info). I think her name was Karpinski or something like that. I don’t know what her background was before she got her star.

    BTW, in response (and agreement) to one of your other comments concerning the movie Rambo, that movie did as much as anything to set Vietnam vets back. I still laugh at the scene (where he’s just leveled half the town and shot the sheriff ) and launches into a soliloquy ending with “I can’t get a job”. Well, duh. Sort of hard to get a job with that on your resume.

    By the way, you may already know it but the sheriff in Rambo is one of the Vietnam fakers that I alluded to.

     

    The trope of the troubled vet was commonplace before the movie came out. It was older than the Vietnam war too: certain people were worried about WWII vets being similarly traumatized.

    Stallone was taken aback by the blowback on that film. I think that was as much a part of the impulse behind Rambo II as was the POW/MIA issue.

    True, but the portrayal of WWII vets was a bit more nuanced. The Best Years of Our Lives was an example.

    In the theaters, sure. I remember reading articles on rumors that some of the troops hadn’t been repatriated yet because they were undergoing treatment at off-shore facilities to allow them to reintegrate with civilians. The author wasn’t writing about the reality of that, but about the reality of the rumors, which apparently went on a while.

    • #29
    • March 29, 2020, at 5:47 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Last July I had a short post about how the film and TV image of the WWII generation was formed, and changed, during the First Woke Era, roughly 1970-72.

    • #30
    • March 29, 2020, at 7:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes