On July 4, 1987, twenty-one years ago today and twenty years after I left Vietnam, HBO presented a special program, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans, with lots of chatter about it being time the rift was healed, that we're all Americans, yada yada yada.
Against my better judgment, I tried to watch it. Sometimes you just feel self-destructive, you know?
Many of the usual suspects were there, perhaps the most obviously hypocritical being the cinematic liar, Oliver Stone. My feeling then (and now, for that matter) was that they weren't there for any reconciliation, but simply to show how magnanimous they could be when we - those who had gone, and gone willingly - were so obviously in the wrong. Such is their world.
My attempt to watch the program didn't last long. I had a 50 inch Mitsubishi TV in a white oak cabinet, and when I began to get the urge to put my foot through the screen I changed the channel.
If you didn't live through those times, or if you did and you were brain dead, there's something you should understand:
When you see clips or read articles about those people and their "anti-war" protests, you are being lied to.
They were not anti-war, they were anti-US, although the distinction was never made - and is not much made even today - in the mainstream news media.
When Jane Fonda visited North Vietnamese hospitals, she saw what was for her the sum total of the war's casualties. You know how many South Vietnamese hospitals she visited, right? That's right, none. When she posed laughing in a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun embankment, pretending to look through the sights for those she described as "blue eyed murderers," she wasn't saying "Stop the war," she was saying "I'm with you, North Vietnam."
Who can say with a straight face that people who chanted
Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh,
Viet Cong are gonna win.
were not anti-US, only anti-war?
As late as today, these "anti-war" celebrities refuse to face the consequences of the US withdrawal of troops and then funding: more than a million boat people; more than a million people sent to "re-education camps," some never to see their families again; tens of thousands of people executed without trial. These anti-US grasshoppers had no time for that. They had to move on to other areas in which we were in need of their wisdom, such as nuclear energy.
My first thought when I saw the title of this program in 1987 and the banner flaunted on the show,
Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans
was how incredibly arrogant it was. Running through my mind was "We've been home all along. Where have you been?"
Time does not mellow everyone, at least not in all respects. It was twenty years from the time I left Vietnam until that HBO show aired, and now it has been another twenty-one years. Want to know what I think about it now?
Fuck you and your "Welcome Home."