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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The war: Vietnam photos & notes 1965 1975

The War

I have talked little about the war. I had the BBC World Service, The US Armed Forces Radio. I had The Stars and Stripes and various English language local newspapers. These latter were most amusing but I will deal with them later. I can't say I was ill informed. The war jogged on slowly and I was really only concerned with my little corner of Vietnam.

My own personal relationships were far more important to me than the fate of the country. That might seem selfish but I certainly had never gone to Vietnam with any missionary zeal to save the people from communism. I certainly didn't like communism. At times I feared it. But then I've never liked nor believed in politicians or generals. I have never voted in my life. Partly because I've never lived in a country where I've been allowed to vote, but mostly an utter contempt for those I would have to vote for. The US military I was associated with were of the old beer drinking long service types who had a job to do and got on with it.

The people of the country had lived with war so long it was a part of their life. However with programs to clear large areas of the countryside of its population and the creation of shanty towns. With the disparity in living conditions between most of the people and a minority of well-off Vietnamese. With the poorest staying in the army until they were killed or invalided out. With the sons of the rich going off to study abroad and not returning. With the corruption of the régime. With the money available to the US military and foreigners. With all this and more there was a growing discontentment.

There was also a certain contempt I felt on the part of certain of the military for the value of life. The use of the so called body count! The free fire zones! The use of agent orange! The use of napalm! The massive use of B52's! I certainly was no pacifist. I would not have been there if I were. One did wonder though over a period of time who exactly the enemy was and what was the friendly régime one was defending. It seemed one was supporting a very corrupt dictatorship in the name of what?

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