Thich Quang Duc self immolates himself to be the “flame of light” so that others can “see more clearly” that war is no answer to any problem
David Halberstam in the NY Times witnessing the self-immolation wrote:
I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think … As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.
“No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.” JFK
Around 350 monks and nuns marched in two phalanxes, preceded by an Austin Westminster sedan, carrying banners printed in both English and Vietnamese. They denounced the Diệm government and its policy towards Buddhists, demanding that it fulfill its promises of religious equality. Another monk offered himself, but Đức’s seniority prevailed.
The act occurred at the intersection[b] of Phan Đình Phùng Boulevard (now Nguyễn Đình Chiểu Street) and Lê Văn Duyệt Street (now Cách Mạng Tháng Tám Street) a few blocks Southwest of the Presidential Palace (now the Reunification Palace). Duc emerged from the car along with two other monks. One placed a cushion on the road while the second opened the trunk and took out a five-gallon gasoline can. As the marchers formed a circle around him, Duc calmly sat down in the traditional Buddhist meditative lotus position on the cushion. A colleague emptied the contents of the gasoline container over Đức’s head. Đức rotated a string of wooden prayer beads and recited the words Nianfo (“homage to Amitābha Buddha“) before striking a match and dropping it on himself. Flames consumed his robes and flesh, and black oily smoke emanated from his burning body.
When school children learn about Vietnam they are told that it was to prevent the “Domino Effect” of Communism coming down from Imperial China. A complete lie. What is not told was that we came to the rescue of the French who were having a hell of a time trying to colonize the “savages”, as Renault and other European concerns, wanted the Vietnamese rubber trees for tires and other commercial interests.
Lyndon Baines Johnson had pledged, as the major part of his platform to remain President of the U.S., that he would get us out of Vietnam and was elected after taking over the presidency after JFK was killed. JFK started his plan to remove troops from Vietnam thousands of troops from Vietnam and was assassinated. One year to the day that MLK gave is “Beyond Vietnam” speech, calling out the Military/Industrial/Media Complex, he too was assassinated.
So LBJ needed an excuse and, ever so conveniently, along comes the Tonkin Gulf incident. It is all but acknowledged as historical fact that U.S special forces created the Gulf of Tonkin false flag to allow the President to re-escalate the war to serve his true masters of the wealthy elite with names like Rothschild and Rockefeller.
This is why false flag events like 9.11 have continued and will continue because the powers that be still get away with it and are not help accountable for their actions. The people of this country still do not seem to care enough to do anything about the fact that our government continues to falsify, to lie, to deceive, to willingly mass murder anyone in their way, and to allow our own young men and women go to die for their own globalist agendas.
So we can and should fully expect more false flags until we the people demand accountability to those bastards who kill without conscience and justice served whenever these blatantly obvious inconvenient truths become known.
The information presented below is still relevant. There are many among us who still know vets from that era who are suffering and family members who were lost and left in Asia after the war, including my family, as you can read below.
Additionally, as you read the real reasons we “bugged-out” of Vietnam, after some 75,000 of our GI’s died, after we napalmed the crap out the innocent Vietnamese leading to their curse of generational cancer, and then left thousands of our own in POW camps in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Worst of all, still to this day, we refuse to even acknowledge that over 2 million Vietnamese and 1 million Cambodians and Laotians were killed by our highly advanced killing machines over a war that they had no defenses and was based on lies, deception and falsehoods.
That is 3 million people. And for what? There had to be a lesson learned. Or not. For we continue our imperialist march towards a global monarchy.
The picture on the header at the top of this page represents the ultimate sacrifice made by a Buddhist Monk during the height of the U.S. intervention in Vietnam. He keep his mudra throughout the entire torching of his body. After his flame was put out they found that his heart muscle was still in tact and now displayed in a museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
“The body was re-cremated during the funeral, but Đức’s heart remained intact and did not burn. It was considered to be holy and placed in a glass chalice at Xa Loi Pagoda. The intact heart relic is regarded as a symbol of compassion.”
For further understanding of the hidden Agenda behind the Vietnam war that continues on its path today, please read Daniel Ellsberg’s incredible book ‘Secrets’ and a fairly new book ‘Why JFK Died and Why it Still Matters”. Also watch the ‘Fog of War’ DVD by then Sec. of Defense, Robert McNamara as well as the DVD ‘Beyond Treason’ about the biological chemical agents we supplied Sadam Hussien of Iraq to use against Iran that also caused great illness to the GI’s who dealt with the secret bioweapon cache.
In one feat of ingenuity, the pilot of a small observation plane buzzed the deck of the Midway and dropped a note asking them to move the helicopters so he could land. The note was signed, ”Please rescue me”.
“To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.”
~ George Santayana
by Joel Geier
Our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous Conditions exist among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded in this century by… the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and 1917.
– Armed Forces Journal, June 1971
The most neglected aspect of the Vietnam War is the soldiers’ revolt–the mass upheaval from below that unraveled the American army. It is a great reality check in an era when the U.S. touts itself as an invincible nation. For this reason, the soldiers’ revolt has been written out of official history.
The army revolt pitted enlisted soldiers against officers who viewed them as expendable. Liberal academics have reduced the radicalism of the 1960s to middle-class concerns and activities, while ignoring military rebellion. But the militancy of the 1960s began with the Black liberation struggle, and it reached its climax with the unity of White and Black soldiers.
A working-class army
From 1964 to 1973, from the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, 27 million men came of draft age. A majority of them were not drafted due to college, professional, medical or National Guard deferments. Only 40 percent were drafted and saw military service. A small minority, 2.5 million men (about 10 percent of those eligible for the draft), were sent to Vietnam.
This small minority was almost entirely working-class or rural youth. Their average age was 19. Eighty-five percent of the troops were enlisted men; 15 percent were officers. The enlisted men were drawn from the 80 percent of the armed forces with a high school education or less. At this time, college education was universal in the middle class.
In the elite colleges, the class discrepancy was even more glaring. The upper class did none of the fighting. Of the 1,200 Harvard graduates in 1970, only 2 went to Vietnam, while working-class high schools routinely sent 20 percent, 30 percent of their graduates and more to Vietnam.
College students who were not made officers were usually assigned to noncombat support and service units. High school dropouts were three times more likely to be sent to combat units that did the fighting and took the casualties. Combat infantry soldiers, “the grunts,” were entirely working class. They included a disproportionate number of Black working-class troops. Blacks, who formed 12 percent of the troops, were often 25 percent or more of the combat units.
When college deferments expired, joining the National Guard was a favorite way to get out of serving in Vietnam. During the war, 80 percent of the Guard’s members described themselves as joining to avoid the draft. You needed connections to get in–which was no problem for Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and other draft evaders. In 1968, the Guard had a waiting list of more than 100,000. It had triple the percentage of college graduates that the army did. Blacks made up less than 1.5 percent of the National Guard. In Mississippi, Blacks were 42 percent of the population, but only one Black man served in a Guard of more than 10,000.
The middle-class officers corps
The officer corps was drawn from the 7 percent of troops who were college graduates, or the 13 percent who had one to three years of college. College was to officer as high school was to enlisted man. The officer corps was middle class in composition and managerial in outlook.
Superfluous support officers lived far removed from danger, lounging in rear base camps in luxurious conditions. A few miles away, combat soldiers were experiencing a nightmarish hell. The contrast was too great to allow for confidence–in both the officers and the war–to survive unscathed.
Westmoreland’s solution to the competition for combat command poured gasoline on the fire. He ordered a one-year tour of duty for enlisted men in Vietnam, but only six months for officers. The combat troops hated the class discrimination that put them at twice the risk of their commanders. They grew contemptuous of the officers, whom they saw as raw and dangerously inexperienced in battle.
Even a majority of officers considered Westmoreland’s tour inequality as unethical. Yet they were forced to use short tours to prove themselves for promotion. They were put in situations in which their whole careers depended on what they could accomplish in a brief period, even if it meant taking shortcuts and risks at the expense of the safety of their men–a temptation many could not resist.
The outer limit of six-month commands was often shortened due to promotion, relief, injury or other reasons. The outcome was “revolving-door” commands. As an enlisted man recalled, “During my year in-country I had five second-lieutenant platoon leaders and four company commanders. One CO was pretty good…All the rest were stupid.”
Aggravating this was the contradiction that guaranteed opposition between officers and men in combat. Officer promotions depended on quotas of enemy dead from search-and-destroy missions. Battalion commanders who did not furnish immediate high body counts were threatened with replacement. This was no idle threat–battalion commanders had a 30 to 50 percent chance of being relieved of command. But search-and-destroy missions produced enormous casualties for the infantry soldiers. Officers corrupted by career ambitions would cynically ignore this and draw on the never-ending supply of replacements from the monthly draft quota.
Officer corruption was rife. A Pentagon official writes, “the stench of corruption rose to unprecedented levels during William C. Westmoreland’s command of the American effort in Vietnam.”The CIA protected the poppy fields of Vietnamese officials and flew their heroin out of the country on Air America planes. Officers took notice and followed suit. The major who flew the U.S. ambassador’s private jet was caught smuggling $8 million of heroin on the plane.
The war was fought by NLF troops and peasant auxiliaries who worked the land during the day and fought as soldiers at night. They would attack ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and American troops and bases or set mines at night, and then disappear back into the countryside during the day. In this form of guerrilla war, there were no fixed targets, no set battlegrounds, and there was no territory to take. With that in mind, the Pentagon designed a counterinsurgency strategy called “search and destroy.” Without fixed battlegrounds, combat success was judged by the number of NLF troops killed–the body count. A somewhat more sophisticated variant was the “kill ratio”–the number of enemy troops killed compared to the number of Americans dead. This “war of attrition” strategy was the basic military plan of the American ruling class in Vietnam.
For each enemy killed, for every body counted, soldiers got three-day passes and officers received medals and promotions. This reduced the war from fighting for “the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese” to no larger purpose than killing. Any Vietnamese killed was put in the body count as a dead enemy soldier, or as the GIs put it, “if it’s dead, it’s Charlie” (“Charlie” was GI slang for the NLF). This was an inevitable outcome of a war against a whole people. Everyone in Vietnam became the enemy–and this encouraged random slaughter. Officers further ordered their men to “kill them even if they try to surrender–we need the body count.” It was an invitation to kill indiscriminately to swell a tally sheet.
Rather than following their officers, many more soldiers had the courage to revolt against barbarism.
Ninety-five percent of combat units were search-and-destroy units. Their mission was to go out into the jungle, hit bases and supply areas, flush out NLF troops and engage them in battle. If the NLF fought back, helicopters would fly in to prevent retreat and unleash massive firepower–bullets, bombs, missiles. The NLF would attempt to avoid this, and battle generally only occurred if the search-and-destroy missions were ambushed. Ground troops became the live bait for the ambush and firefight. GIs referred to search and destroy as “humping the boonies by dangling the bait.”
Without helicopters, search and destroy would not have been possible–and the helicopters were the terrain of the officers. “On board the command and control chopper rode the battalion commander, his aviation-support commander, the artillery-liaison officer, the battalion S-3 and the battalion sergeant major. They circled…high enough to escape random small-arms fire.” The officers directed their firepower on the NLF down below, but while indiscriminately spewing out bombs and napalm, they could not avoid “collateral damage”–hitting their own troops. One-quarter of the American dead in Vietnam was killed by “friendly fire” from the choppers. The officers were out of danger, the “eye in the sky,” while the troops had their “asses in the grass,” open to fire from both the NLF and the choppers.
When the battle was over, the officers and their choppers would fly off to base camps removed from danger while their troops remained out in the field.
Of the 543,000 American troops in Vietnam in 1968, only 14 percent (or 80,000) were combat troops. These 80,000 men took the brunt of the war. They were the weak link, and their disaffection crippled the ability of the world’s largest military to fight. In 1968, 14,592 men–18 percent of combat troops–were killed. An additional 35,000 had serious wounds that required hospitalization. Although not all of the dead and wounded were from combat units, the overwhelming majority were. The majority of combat troops in 1968 were either seriously injured or killed. The number of American casualties in Vietnam was not extreme, but as it was concentrated among the combat troops, it was a virtual massacre. Not to revolt amounted to suicide.
Officers, high in the sky, had few deaths or casualties. The deaths of officers occurred mostly in the lower ranks among lieutenants or captains who led combat platoons or companies. The higher-ranking officers went unharmed. During a decade of war, only one general and eight full colonels died from enemy fire. As one study commissioned by the military concluded, “In Vietnam… the officer corps simply did not die in sufficient numbers or in the presence of their men often enough.”
The slaughter of grunts went on because the officers never found it unacceptable. There was no outcry from the military or political elite, the media or their ruling-class patrons about this aspect of the war, nor is it commented on in almost any history of the war. It is ignored or accepted as a normal part of an unequal world, because the middle and upper class were not in combat in Vietnam and suffered no pain from its butchery. It never would have been tolerated had their class done the fighting. Their premeditated murder of combat troops unleashed class war in the armed forces. The revolt focused on ending search and destroy through all of the means the army had provided as training for these young workers.
Tet–the revolt begins
The Tet Offensive was the turning point of the Vietnam War and the start of open, active soldiers’ rebellion. At the end of January 1968, on Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the NLF sent 100,000 troops into Saigon and 36 provincial capitals to lead a struggle for the cities. The Tet Offensive was not militarily successful, because of the savagery of the U.S. counterattack. In Saigon alone, American bombs killed 14,000 civilians. The city of Ben Tre became emblematic of the U.S. effort when the major who retook it announced that “to save the city, we had to destroy it.”
Westmoreland and his generals claimed that they were the victors of Tet because they had inflicted so many casualties on the NLF. But to the world, it was clear that the U.S. had politically lost the war in Vietnam. Tet showed that the NLF had the overwhelming support of the Vietnamese population–millions knew of and collaborated with the NLF entry into the cities and no one warned the Americans. The ARVN had turned over whole cities without firing a shot. In some cases, ARVN troops had welcomed the NLF and turned over large weapons supplies. The official rationale for the war, that U.S. troops were there to help the Vietnamese fend off Communist aggression from the North, was no longer believed by anybody. The South Vietnamese government and military were clearly hated by the people.37
Westmoreland’s constant claim that there was “light at the end of the tunnel,” that victory was imminent, was shown to be a lie. Search and destroy was a pipe dream. The NLF did not have to be flushed out of the jungle, it operated everywhere. No place in Vietnam was a safe base for American soldiers when the NLF so decided.
What, then, was the point of this war? Why should American troops fight to defend a regime its own people despised? Soldiers became furious at a government and an officer corps who risked their lives for lies. Throughout the world, Tet and the confidence that American imperialism was weak and would be defeated produced a massive, radical upsurge that makes 1968 famous as the year of revolutionary hope. In the U.S. army, it became the start of the showdown with the officers.
The refusal of an order to advance into combat is an act of mutiny. In time of war, it is the gravest crime in the military code, punishable by death. In Vietnam, mutiny was rampant, the power to punish withered and discipline collapsed as search and destroy was revoked from below.
Until 1967, open defiance of orders was rare and harshly repressed, with sentences of two to ten years for minor infractions. Hostility to search-and-destroy missions took the form of covert combat avoidance, called “sandbagging” by the grunts. A platoon sent out to “hump the boonies” might look for a safe cover from which to file fabricated reports of imaginary activity.
But after Tet, there was a massive shift from combat avoidance to mutiny. One Pentagon official reflected that “mutiny became so common that the army was forced to disguise its frequency by talking instead of ‘combat refusal.’” Combat refusal, one commentator observed, “resembled a strike and occurred when GIs refused, disobeyed, or negotiated an order into combat.”
Acts of mutiny took place on a scale previously only encountered in revolutions. The first mutinies in 1968 were unit and platoon-level rejections of the order to fight. The army recorded 68 such mutinies that year. By 1970, in the 1st Air Cavalry Division alone, there were 35 acts of combat refusal. One military study concluded that combat refusal was “unlike mutinous outbreaks of the past, which were usually sporadic, short-lived events. The progressive unwillingness of American soldiers to fight to the point of open disobedience took place over a four-year period between 1968-71.”
The 1968 combat refusals of individual units expanded to involve whole companies by the next year. The first reported mass mutiny was in the 196th Light Brigade in August 1969. Company A of the 3rd Battalion, down to 60 men from its original 150, had been pushing through Songchang Valley under heavy fire for five days when it refused an order to advance down a perilous mountain slope. Word of the mutiny spread rapidly. The New York Daily News ran a banner headline, “Sir, My Men Refuse To Go.” The GI paper, The Bond, accurately noted, “It was an organized strike…A shaken brass relieved the company commander…but they did not charge the guys with anything. The Brass surrendered to the strength of the organized men.”
This precedent–no court-martial for refusing to obey the order to fight, but the line officer relieved of his command–was the pattern for the rest of the war. Mass insubordination was not punished by an officer corps that lived in fear of its own men. Even the threat of punishment often backfired. In one famous incident, B Company of the 1st Battalion of the 12th Infantry refused an order to proceed into NLF-held territory. When they were threatened with court-martials, other platoons rallied to their support and refused orders to advance until the army backed down.
As the fear of punishment faded, mutinies mushroomed. There were at least ten reported major mutinies, and hundreds of smaller ones. Hanoi’s Vietnam Courier documented 15 important GI rebellions in 1969. At Cu Chi, troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry refused battle orders. The “CBS Evening News” broadcast live a patrol from the 7th Cavalry telling their captain that his order for direct advance against the NLF was nonsense, that it would threaten casualties, and that they would not obey it. Another CBS broadcast televised the mutiny of a rifle company of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
When Cambodia was invaded in 1970, soldiers from Fire Base Washington conducted a sit-in. They told Up Against the Bulkhead, “We have no business there…we just sat down. Then they promised us we wouldn’t have to go to Cambodia.” Within a week, there were two additional mutinies, as men from the 4th and 8th Infantry refused to board helicopters to Cambodia.
In the invasion of Laos in March 1971, two platoons refused to advance. To prevent the mutiny from spreading, the entire squadron was pulled out of the Laos operation. The captain was relieved of his command, but there was no discipline against the men. When a lieutenant from the 501st Infantry refused his battalion commander’s order to advance his troops, he merely received a suspended sentence.
The decision not to punish men defying the most sacrosanct article of the military code, the disobedience of the order for combat, indicated how much the deterioration of discipline had eroded the power of the officers. The only punishment for most mutinies was to relieve the commanding officer of his duties. Consequently, many commanders would not report that they had lost control of their men. They swept news of mutiny, which would jeopardize their careers, under the rug. As they became quietly complicit, the officer corps lost any remaining moral authority to impose discipline.
For every defiance in combat, there were hundreds of minor acts of insubordination in rear base camps. As one infantry officer reported, “You can’t give orders and expect them to be obeyed.” This democratic upsurge from below was so extensive that discipline was replaced by a new command technique called working it out. Working it out was a form of collective bargaining in which negotiations went on between officers and men to determine orders. Working it out destroyed the authority of the officer corps and gutted the ability of the army to carry out search-and-destroy missions. But the army had no alternative strategy for a guerrilla war against a national liberation movement.
The political impact of the mutiny was felt far beyond Vietnam. As H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, reflected, “If troops are going to mutiny, you can’t pursue an aggressive policy.” The soldiers’ revolt tied down the global reach of U.S. imperialism.
The murder of American officers by their troops was an openly proclaimed goal in Vietnam. As one GI newspaper demanded, “Don’t desert. Go to Vietnam, and kill your commanding officer.” And they did. A new slang term arose to celebrate the execution of officers: fragging. The word came from the fragmentation grenade, which was the weapon of choice because the evidence was destroyed in the act.
In every war, troops kill officers whose incompetence or recklessness threatens the lives of their men. But only in Vietnam did this become pervasive in combat situations and widespread in rear base camps. It was the most well-known aspect of the class struggle inside the army, directed not just at intolerable officers, but at “lifers” as a class. In the soldiers’ revolt, it became accepted practice to paint political slogans on helmets. A popular helmet slogan summed up this mood: “Kill a non-com for Christ.” Fragging was the ransom the ground troops extracted for being used as live bait.
No one knows how many officers were fragged, but after Tet it became epidemic. At least 800 to 1,000 fragging attempts using explosive devices were made. The army reported 126 fraggings in 1969, 271 in 1970 and 333 in 1971, when they stopped keeping count. But in that year, just in the American Division (of My Lai fame), one fragging per week took place. Some military estimates are that fraggings occurred at five times the official rate, while officers of the Judge Advocate General Corps believed that only 10 percent of fraggings were reported. These figures do not include officers who were shot in the back by their men and listed as wounded or killed in action.
Most fraggings resulted in injuries, although “word of the deaths of officers will bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units.” The army admitted that it could not account for how 1,400 officers and noncommissioned officers died. This number, plus the official list of fragging deaths, has been accepted as the unacknowledged army estimate for officers killed by their men. It suggests that 20 to 25 percent–if not more–of all officers killed during the war were killed by enlisted men, not the “enemy.” This figure has no precedent in the history of war.
Soldiers put bounties on officers targeted for fragging. The money, usually between $100 and $1,000, was collected by subscription from among the enlisted men. It was a reward for the soldier who executed the collective decision. The highest bounty for an officer was $10,000, publicly offered by GI Says, a mimeographed bulletin put out in the 101st Airborne Division, for Col. W. Honeycutt, who had ordered the May 1969 attack on Hill 937. The hill had no strategic significance and was immediately abandoned when the battle ended. It became enshrined in GI folklore as Hamburger Hill, because of the 56 men killed and 420 wounded taking it. Despite several fragging attempts, Honeycutt escaped uninjured.
As Vietnam GI argued after Hamburger Hill, “Brass are calling this a tremendous victory. We call it a goddam butcher shop…If you want to die so some lifer can get a promotion, go right ahead. But if you think your life is worth something, you better get yourselves together. If you don’t take care of the lifers, they might damn well take care of you.”
Fraggings were occasionally called off. One lieutenant refused to obey an order to storm a hill during an operation in the Mekong Delta. “His first sergeant later told him that when his men heard him refuse that order, they removed a $350 bounty earlier placed on his head because they thought he was a ‘hard-liner.’”
The motive for most fraggings was not revenge, but to change battle conduct. For this reason, officers were usually warned prior to fraggings. First, a smoke grenade would be left near their beds. Those who did not respond would find a tear-gas grenade or a grenade pin on their bed as a gentle reminder. Finally, the lethal grenade was tossed into the bed of sleeping, inflexible officers. Officers understood the warnings and usually complied, becoming captive to the demands of their men. It was the most practical means of cracking army discipline. The units whose officers responded opted out of search-and-destroy missions.
An Army judge who presided over fragging trials called fragging “the troops’ way of controlling officers,” and added that it was “deadly effective.” He explained, “Captain Steinberg argues that once an officer is intimidated by even the threat of fragging he is useless to the military because he can no longer carry out orders essential to the functioning of the Army. Through intimidation by threats–verbal and written…virtually all officers and NCOs have to take into account the possibility of fragging before giving an order to the men under them.” The fear of fragging affected officers and NCOs far beyond those who were actually involved in fragging incidents.
Officers who survived fragging attempts could not tell which of their men had tried to murder them, or when the men might strike again. They lived in constant fear of future attempts at fragging by unknown soldiers. In Vietnam it was a truism that “everyone was the enemy”: for the lifers, every enlisted man was the enemy. “In parts of Vietnam fragging stirs more fear among officers and NCOs than does the war with ‘Charlie.’”
Counter-fragging by retaliating officers contributed to a war within the war. While 80 percent of fraggings were of officers and NCOs, 20 percent were of enlisted men, as officers sought to kill potential troublemakers or those whom they suspected of planning to frag them. In this civil war within the army, the military police were used to reinstate order. In October 1971, military police air assaulted the Praline mountain signal site to protect an officer who had been the target of repeated fragging attempts. The base was occupied for a week before command was restored.
Fragging undermined the ability of the Green Machine to function as a fighting force. By 1970, “many commanders no longer trusted Blacks or radical whites with weapons except on guard duty or in combat.” In the American Division, fragmentation grenades were not given to troops. In the 440 Signal Battalion, the colonel refused to distribute all arms. As a soldier at Cu Chi told the New York Times, “The American garrisons on the larger bases are virtually disarmed. The lifers have taken the weapons from us and put them under lock and key.” The U.S. army was slowly disarming its own men to prevent the weapons from being aimed at the main enemy: the lifers.
Peace from below–search and avoid
Mutiny and fraggings expressed the anger and bitterness that combat soldiers felt at being used as bait to kill Communists. It forced the troops to reassess who was the real enemy.
In a remarkable letter, 40 combat officers wrote to President Nixon in July 1970 to advise him that “the military, the leadership of this country–are perceived by many soldiers to be almost as much our enemy as the VC and the NVA.
After the 1970 invasion of Cambodia enlarged the war, fury and the demoralizing realization that nothing could stop the warmongers swept both the antiwar movement and the troops. The most popular helmet logo became “UUUU,” which meant “the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful.” Peace, if it were to come, would have to be made by the troops themselves, instituted by an unofficial troop withdrawal ending search-and-destroy missions.
The form this peace from below took came to be called “search and avoid,” or “search and evade.” It became so extensive that “search and evade (meaning tacit avoidance of combat by units in the field) is now virtually a principle of war, vividly expressed by the GI phrase, ‘CYA’ (cover your ass) and get home!”
In search and avoid, patrols sent out into the field deliberately eluded potential clashes with the NLF. Night patrols, the most dangerous, would halt and take up positions a few yards beyond the defense perimeter, where the NLF would never come. By skirting potential conflicts, they hoped to make it clear to the NLF that their unit had established its own peace treaty.
Another frequent search-and-avoid tactic was to leave base camp, secure a safe area in the jungle and set up a perimeter-defense system in which to hole up for the time allotted for the mission. “Some units even took enemy weapons with them when they went out on such search-and-avoid missions so that upon return they could report a firefight and demonstrate evidence of enemy casualties for the body-count figures required by higher headquarters.”
The army was forced to accommodate what began to be called “the grunts’ cease-fire.” An American soldier from Cu Chi, quoted in the New York Times, said, “They have set up separate companies for men who refuse to go out into the field. It is no big thing to refuse to go. If a man is ordered to go to such and such a place, he no longer goes through the hassle of refusing; he just packs his shirt and goes to visit some buddies at another base camp.”
An observer at Pace, near the Cambodian front where a unilateral truce was widely enforced, reported, “The men agreed and passed the word to other platoons: nobody fires unless fired upon. As of about 1100 hours on October 10,1971, the men of Bravo Company, 11/12 First Cav Division, declared their own private cease-fire with the North Vietnamese.”
The NLF responded to the new situation. People’s Press, a GI paper, in its June 1971 issue claimed that NLF and NVA units were ordered not to open hostilities against U.S. troops wearing red bandanas or peace signs, unless first fired upon. Two months later, the first Vietnam veteran to visit Hanoi was given a copy of “an order to North Vietnamese troops not to shoot U.S. soldiers wearing antiwar symbols or carrying their rifles pointed down.” He reports its impact on “convincing me that I was on the side of the Vietnamese now.”
Colonel Heinl reported this:
That ‘search-and-evade’ has not gone unnoticed by the enemy is underscored by the Viet Cong delegation’s recent statement at the Paris Peace Talks that Communist units in Indochina have been ordered not to engage American units which do not molest them. The same statement boasted–not without foundation in fact–that American defectors are in the VC ranks.
Some officers joined, or led their men, in the unofficial cease-fire from below. A U.S. army colonel claimed:
I had influence over an entire province. I put my men to work helping with the harvest. They put up buildings. Once the NVA understood what I was doing, they eased up. I’m talking to you about a de facto truce, you understand. The war stopped in most of the province. It’s the kind of history that doesn’t get recorded. Few people even know it happened, and no one will ever admit that it happened.
Search and avoid, mutiny and fraggings were a brilliant success. Two years into the soldiers’ upsurge, in 1970, the number of U.S. combat deaths were down by more than 70 percent (to 3,946) from the 1968 high of more than 14,000. The revolt of the soldiers in order to survive and not to allow themselves to be victims could only succeed by a struggle prepared to use any means necessary to achieve peace from below.
The army revolt had all of the strengths and weaknesses of the 1960s radicalization of which it was a part. It was a courageous mass struggle from below. It relied upon no one but itself to win its battles.
The only organizing tools were the underground GI newspapers. But newspapers became a substitute for organization.
The hidden history of the 1960s proves that the American army can be split. But that requires the long, slow patient work of explanation, of education, of organization, and of agitation and action. The Vietnam revolt shows how rank-and-file soldiers can rise to the task.
What Happened To Major Lundy?
by Jamie Lee
on Jun 9th, 2010
I am inspired to share a personal family story after reading Mr. Cockburn’s excellent article last week, “Vietnam MIAs.” (Portions of this were lifted directly from the testimony of Albro Lundy III in front of the POW/MIA Senate Select Committee hearings in the summer of 1991 headed and chaired by Senator’s McCain and Kerry.)
In March of 1970 at the age of 37, Major Albro L. Lundy, Jr. said goodbye to his parents, wife and six children to answer his country’s call. In the face of extreme controversy about a conflict half a world away, he unquestioningly went off to fight for freedom against an enemy he, nor the American people, new at all. The Lundy family was raised God fearing Christians and believed wholly in their government and its stated mission to protect democracy against communist threat.
On Christmas Eve 1970, Major Lundy was flying a med-evac search and rescue mission in North Central Laos over the Ban Ban Valley looking to rescue a pilot reportedly shot down the day before. Although two other A1E fighter groups had refused this mission, Major Lundy volunteered. Three Air American helicopters, two Raven forward air controllers, and Air America C-7A and another A1E were flying on that mission. Major Lundy reported having a rough engine and that he needed to leave the airplane. Subsequent intelligence analysis indicated that his engine was hit by ground fire, as the area was heavily defended by both North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao ground troops.
Major Lundy announced that he was leaving the airplane and the observers watched an apparently normal chute deployment. One observer reported seeing someone in the chute initially, while other observers reported that no one was in the parachute as it neared the ground. Ground rescue teams were unable to reach the parachute site as the area was very hostile and casualties were taken.
Major Lundy was declared MIA (Missing in Action), survivability rated as Category 1 (indicating out of aircraft at time of crash-. Two days later Major Lundy was declared KIA/BNR (Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered). There is no clear explanation given as to why he was declared KIA. Commander of the 56th Special Operations Wing, Col. E.J. Walsh, specifically indicated that Major Lundy did not leave the aircraft and that “he died instantly as a result of the aircraft crash.” Yet, one witness states that he saw Major Lundy in his parachute and the government to this day lists his survivability category as 1, meaning that he was out of the airplane. Additionally, the family was told that a parachute deployed from the plane, yet no adequate explanation has ever been given as to how his parachute could deploy if he went down and was incinerated in the plane.
In addition to his family, his love was flying and he was very skilled at it. During the first eight months of his tour in Southeast Asia, Major Lundy was awarded the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Force Air Medal and six Air Force Commendation Medals, (Fourth through Ninth Oak Leaf Clusters.)
The Lundy family living in Palos Verdes, California went on with their life. Johanna Lundy, Major Lundy’s wife of 20 years, went to law school, became an attorney and raised six children on her own. Major Lundy’s loss was so traumatic to the family that they completely avoided the POW/MIA cause even while the war was ongoing. The Lundy family accepted the death of Major Lundy so firmly that when Lt.Scott Barnes met some of the family at church in the summer of 1981 and said he had information that Major Lundy was still alive, the family said they were not interested in his information because Major Lundy was dead.
Lt. Barnes approached the Lundy family because he had been told by corpsman, Eric Brace, that Mr. Brace had seen Major Lundy’s unique name in a ‘visitor’s’ book in Laos while he was held prisoner there.
Mr. Brace had been declared dead by the U.S. government, yet returned alive in 1973 during Operation Homecoming.
In the spring of 1991, the government sent Ms. Johanna Lundy a transcription of letter purportedly written for Major Lundy. The government classified them as “dog tag reports” of an obviously fraudulent nature although the report contained correct information not found on a dog tag. Johanna’s response was to toss them in the trash and mention them to her family in passing. This is another example of how firmly the family believed that Major Lundy was dead.
Albro III Lundy then had ordered his own set of documents and while examining them found a mention of thumbprints buried in the bottom of the transcription. It was difficult for him to understand why this wasn’t mentioned in any of the government’s analysis. Certainly this could prove or disprove the correct nature of the report and whether or not Major Lundy did survive. Albro III called his Air Force Liaison officer, William Frampton, about the case. His first question was, “Have you run the fingerprints yet?” Frampton replied that THEY DO NOT CHECK FINGERPRINTS UNLESS THE NEXT OF KIN REQUESTS IT. Albro III was stunned and heartbroken that his government would do this to his father and his family.
Mr. Lundy then went to the Department of Motor vehicles and learned that they had no record of his father ever having a driver’s license. He also attempted to attain records from the three military bases Major Lundy was stationed at over his years of service. When he pressed the State Department as to why there were no records of his father serving at the bases he did, the State Department, under threat of lawsuit, admitted that they had ‘expunged’ the records to keep the black marketeers of Southern Asia from exploiting the POW/MIA families with false information. (The U.S. government claimed that the families were being blackmailed with information gleaned from U.S. government records and the Laotian/Cambodians were extorting ransom payments for further information about their husband/son’s whereabouts in the area where loved ones were missing.)
In late April of 1991, 20 years after his father had been shot down in the jungles of Southeast Asia, Judge Hamilton Gayden called Albro III and suggested he contact Gladys Fleckenstein, the mother of Lt. Comdr. Larry Stevens, because she might have a photo of Major Lundy. Ms. Fleckenstein, the Mother of Lt. Commander Stevens, had attained a black and white photograph of what she believed was her husband, still alive in Cambodia/Laos. Included in the photograph, which made the covers of Newsweek, People and Time magazines, was another airman, Lt. James Robertson, as well as an unidentified third middle aged Caucasian.
Ms. Fleckenstein had previously been aware of the Lundy family name from a letter sent to her by Chuck Trowbridge of the DIA (Department of Internal Affairs) in February 1991 stating that Major Lundy was supposedly held with Robertson and Stevens. Ms Fleckenstein requested the Lundy family address; however, the government would not release this information. The fact that private individuals had to bring these families together is not so incredible when compared to the fact that the government possessed a three-man photograph with an unidentified third man and independent corroborating evidence that these three men were being held together and never once contacted the Lundy family to possibly identify the third man. This blatant government malfeasance directly contradicts the stated POW policy of being the “nation’s highest priority.”
Upon receiving a copy of the photograph from Ms. Fleckenstein’s source, an American humanitarian worker who received the photo at Site 2, Thailand was contacted for the photo. Albro III immediately submitted it to a preliminary photo analysis that showed the photo had not been tampered with, except for the label applied as the sign. Albro who wanted to protect his family, especially his mother, did not mention the photo or his investigations.
Albro III finally told his mother about the existence of the photo in early July, just prior to flying to Washington for the National League of Families conference. Johanna demanded to see the photo before hearing any corroborating evidence, and she identified the photo within minutes. “That is a picture of my husband!”
Albro Lundy III made four trips in 1991 from California to the Pentagon to see the file on his father and was denied access each time by the POW/MIA steering committee headed at the time by Senators John McCain and John Kerry.
The first time occurred during the League of Families conference where the Robertson, Stevens, and Lundy families all met together for the first time. When all three families questioned Pentagon officials during the League of Family Conference July 11-14, they all said they had never seen the photo before. Because of the families’ definite identifications of the men in the photo, Carl Ford and Ken Quinn made plans to give the photo to the Vietnamese and request repatriation of the men.
Before Ken Quinn could even get to the bargaining table on July 25th, the real OFFICIAL government policy was made quite clear to the Vietnamese: THE POWS ARE ALL DEAD.
The Pentagon undermined Ken Quinn’s trip to Hanoi to discuss the Robertson/Lundy/Stevens photo by releasing to CBS News a seven-page analysis discrediting the letters and therefore, by association, the photo, even though the two had never before been connected, on the eve of this meeting. This analysis, containing a plethora of errors and misinformation too numerous to cite here, was handed to nation-wide news media before it was released to the three families involved.
One of the most tragic results of this breach was the fact that Ms. Johanna Lundy was told by reporters over the phone that the analysis indicated that remains of her husband and his identification card had been found. The fact that the government would even have printed this information when it knew that Major Lundy flew “sanitized” is preposterous. (‘Sanitized’ is the term airmen still use to mean to fly without any identification because of the United States illegal wars and covert operations.)
The United States lost 586 servicemen, missing in action, in Laos during the Vietnam War. In February of 1973, the communist Pathet Lao, through their spokesman Soth Petrosky, claimed to hold dozens of our men as prisoners of war and demanded that the US negotiate for their release. Within two months, President Nixon fell from power because of Watergate and never negotiated with the Pathet Lao. The Vietnamese, as recently as July 1991, through their UN Ambassador, told Johanna Lundy that the Vietnamese did not negotiate with the United States regarding POWs held in Laos and that the US must negotiate directly with the Path Lao. To this day, not one living American POW has returned from Laos. “You do not understand…there is a greater destiny for our foreign policy in Asia and the POWs are expendable in pursuit of that policy…” said Harriet Isom, Charge’d d’ Affairs, United States Embassy, Vientiane, Laos, 1990.
Beginning in 1992 and over the next five years, the second oldest Son of Major Lundy, William, traveled and lived in Cambodia and Laos looking for evidence that his father might still be alive. He found much evidence, not only of his father’s possible whereabouts and existence, but other POWs possibly alive as well. Through his brother, Albro III, he sent the evidence he found to the attention of Mr. Kerry and Mr. McCain directly who promised “to do everything possible to look into the matter with utmost urgency.” Yet no one from the government MIA/POW agency ever contacted them until some 12 years later when Albro III was called from the State Department and told “We have your father’s bones and have positively DNA identified the remains as your fathers”!
The Lundy family, who held no belief any longer in their government, demanded an independent DNA lab test of the remains. The State Department agreed and sent the remains to Hawaii where the family paid for an independent test that confirmed up to “97% positivity” that the remains, in fact, were their father’s.
Details remain unknown about by whom, how and where Major Lundy’s remains were found.
On April 7, 2004, the entire Lundy family flew to Arlington cemetery for a full military burial with honors at Arlington Cemetery to finally put to rest their heroic father. My wife and I (my brother married the oldest daughter of Major Lundy, Terry Lundy Lee), all flew in for the big ceremony given by our government to this hero “killed in the line of duty serving his country.”
It was very impressive with the military parade led by a casket draped in the American flag, with riding boots facing backwards. The missing man formation flyby by F-14′s flew in precision as the appointed military speakers spoke all the altruistic words about how Major Lundy “gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.”
Standing next to me at the funeral was my oldest nephew, Joshua Lee, 20. He is the oldest grandson of Major Lundy and was in his second year of school at the United States Air Force Academy. (On a sad irony, my brother had passed away in 1995 due to cancer leaving Joshua’s mother, Terry, to raise their five children without a father once again.) Joshua had flown on a military plane to Hawaii and had personally escorted the remains of Major Lundy Jr. to Arlington, Virginia. After the ceremony I asked him “In the end, what was your grandfather’s death all about? Why did he have to die for a war that killed millions of innocent people with the express approval of Senators of this country who still serve in as leader in our Congress? And why has no one been held accountable for the illegal sercret wars held in Cambodia and Laos by our U.S. government?”
In his full military attire, he simply shrugged and said, “I have no idea.”
He then boarded the plane back to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado to learn to be an ace fighter pilot, to learn further how to prepare for more undeclared wars with the most powerful weapons the world has ever known, against all declared and undeclared enemies “who are not with us,” solely for the express purpose to continue America’s manifest destiny over all others on her unapologetic goal of hegemonic dominance over all, foreign or domestic.
Gulf of Tonkin ~ False Flag of Epic Proportion.
Now, some 40 years later this amazing account of what really happened in Vietnam is further disclosed:
- Bounties by GI’s on their direct commanding officers , 25% of GI deaths from friendly fire, Body bag quotas ordered by senior commanding officers of anyone Vietnamese to perpetuate the killing.
- Massive drug running by the CIA (as well as the current, ongoing drug exporting in Afghanistan still run by the CIA where soldiers die here), who had, and still have, their own personal airline service called ‘Air America’ of all names here.
- And the detente made by the ever day soldiers who refused to fight anymore with the Vietcong and N. Vietnamese thereby bringing an abrupt halt to the conflict forcing the mighty U.S. military to flee the country.
This is why the most powerful military power in the world had to blow out of Vietnam with their/our tails between our legs, leaving those Vietnam patriots, who chose to be on the side of ‘freedom and democracy’, were knowingly left to die in the hands of the enemy and fend for themselves known as Operation Frequent Wind here.
“Over 1,100 pages of previously classified Vietnam-era transcripts released this week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee highlight the fact that several Senators knew that the White House and the Pentagon had deceived the American people over the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident.
The latest releases, which document skepticism over the pretext for entry into the Vietnam war, date from 1968.
Four years into the war, senators were at loggerheads with Lyndon B. Johnson. At the time Foreign Relations Committee meetings were held behind closed doors.
It would take over thirty years for the truth to emerge that the Aug. 4, 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, where US warships were apparently attacked by North Vietnamese PT Boats – an incident that kicked off US involvement in the Vietnam war – was a staged event that never actually took place.
However, the records now show that at the time senators knew this was the case. In a March 1968 closed session of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Albert Gore Sr. of Tennessee, the father of former vice president Al Gore, noted:
“If this country has been misled, if this committee, this Congress, has been misled by pretext into a war in which thousands of young men have died, and many more thousands have been crippled for life, and out of which their country has lost prestige, moral position in the world, the consequences are very great,”
Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, said in an executive session in February 1968:
“In a democracy you cannot expect the people, whose sons are being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them,”
Other senators were keen to withhold the truth about Tonkin in order not to inflame public opinion on the war:
Senator Mike Mansfield, Democrat of Montana, stated, “You will give people who are not interested in facts a chance to exploit them and to magnify them out of all proportion.”
Mansfield was referring to the proposed release of a committee staff investigation that raised doubts over whether the Tonkin incident ever took place.
The committee decided in the end to effectively conceal the truth, with Senator Church noting that if the committee came up with proof that an attack never occurred, “we have a case that will discredit the military in the United States, and discredit and quite possibly destroy the president.”
In Afghan fields the poppies grow as U.S. soldiers guard the precious resource that funds our global Black Operations that are kept off book.
Between the crosses.
Row on row.