Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: Vietnam War


VIETNAM: No defense for My Lai massacre

PBS’s “American Experience” recently presented the story of one of the most abysmally heinous incidents in American military history: the murder of approximately 500 innocent old men, women, young children and even infants in the My Lai hamlet of South Vietnam. There was not even one enemy combatant among the dead.

At the end of the program, one of the Army participants defended his actions by saying that he was doing only what he was told to do. Those are the words of a guilty man and an empty soul. The murder of innocent, unarmed old people, not to mention infants, is

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MILITARY: Might hasn’t brought us peace

Re: “Obama’s cuts weaken defense” (letter, 3-6).

The writer calls for “peace through strength.” Does he mean peace like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? Since when has our military strength, almost as great as the rest of the world’s combined, brought us peace? Since World War II it hasn’t brought us victory either unless you want to count Grenada.

Maybe we should try new tactics, like not dropping drones on innocents and not supporting dictators and rebels seeking to overthrow democracies. Our children aren’t likely to thank us for our wars since we’re leaving it to them to pay for

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MLK: Speech reflected King’s spiritual growth

As we approach Martin Luther King Day, I read about the various celebrations to honor him. Among other things, mention is made of the historic “I Have a Dream” speech. But nowhere do I read about the speech he gave on April 4, 1967, at the Riverside Church in New York, “Declaration of Independence from The War in Vietnam.”

King’s closest advisers urged him not to make this speech for fear that it would diminish the strides that had been made to end the evil of segregation in the South. But King had been gradually deepening his spiritual life for

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JFK: Unfortunate consequences of assassination

We recently commemorated the assassination of John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. This event was a national tragedy that set in motion two ensuing tragedies: the rise in power of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Johnson was put on the 1960 Democratic ticket to help JFK win Southern votes. John Kennedy and his brother, Robert, did not like Johnson, but recognized him as a necessary evil. Johnson couldn’t wait to get involved in the Vietnam quagmire. In fact, he tried to run the tactical operations of the war from the Oval Office. I suppose he thought his work in public

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VIETNAM WAR: Give Gen. Giap his due

Re: The death of Gen. Vo Nguyan Giap (TNT, 10-4).

Give Giap his due; not many of our own military leaders accomplished nearly as much in their lifetime (much less the rest of us armchair warriors).

Giap, without the benefit of a West Point education, successfully fought the Japanese and then the French before he faced half a million U.S. troops. And while he did have material support from the Soviets and Chinese, his greatest allies were the arrogance of the U.S. military industrial complex and the weakness of American politicians (still an Achilles’ heel for American foreign policy).

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WAR: Welcome home to Vietnam veterans

Re: “Everyone in Legislature votes to honor Vietnam veterans” (TNT, 3-26).

Most of my Vietnam vet friends had a similar experience as I did when we came home, and it was not a positive one. I changed out of my uniform in a San Francisco airport bathroom to avoid the sign-waving antiwar protesters in 1970.

Since Vietnam, we have learned it isn’t soldiers and airmen who wage war, they just carry out the political decisions of our government.

Saturday has been designated “Welcome Home to Vietnam Veterans Day,” so if you know a vet, or see one wearing the

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MILITARY: Citizens’ rights not always protected

Re: “Military would protect Constitution” (letter, 1-28).

In responding to another letter (TNT, 1-24), the writer asks if he really thinks that those under oath to protect and defend would turn their guns on their fellow citizens.

Has the writer ever heard or read about the 1970 incident at Kent State University in Ohio? During the Vietnam War, the National Guard fired on unarmed protesters, killing four and wounding nine Americans who were only taking advantage of their constitutional right to protest.


MILITARY: Why the draft should be reinstated

Re: “Concern grows that no-draft society creating warrior class” (TNT, 1-4).

These articles missed what may be the biggest issue in the debate: When and why do we go to war, and why is the draft relevant?

As one who lived through the Vietnam-era protests over an ill-defined mission in Asia, it is clear that without the draft protests the Vietnam War would have dragged on for years more.

At the time of 9/11, when President George W. Bush was asked what the average citizen should do, he responded by saying we should go shopping. And when Secretary of

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