Click image to enlarge.
Hiya R** --
And now for something entirely different.
Most of us despise war for the obvious reasons. And those are good enough reasons to despise war.
But then, for those who get through a war safely and in one piece, there's the saddest thing -- the rest of your life violently shaken up like a milkshake about the political and cultural trauma of your war.
Ain't no use telling K******* -- and the 7,000,000 other Vietnam-era folks who still want to have Jane Fonda publicly executed -- to Get Over It already. I run into this all the time, I see it all the time on Fox News Channel, half my V-vet acquaintances fall into this camp.
And There Is No Cure.
Jane just chose to make herself a central lifelong icon in America's Culture Wars. To half the people of the 60s, she's Woodstock and Love and Peace. To the other half, she's an unforgivable traitor whose punishment -- public burning -- is 40 years overdue.
And no one in either camp is ever going to hear or read anything persuasive enough to switch sides.
I met her once, btw, when she spoke at my community college, I guess in 1973. I was in student government and my job that night was to take tickets at the entrance to the auditorium. When she and her entourage got to the door, I impersonated a robotic moron and put my hand out and asked for her ticket. She got a big chuckle out of that. I was happy I could make her laugh.
Sigh ... poor K*******. I am so happy he came home in one piece. But medical health can be such a small part of your life after the war. I didn't even get to Vietnam, and that fucked-up interminable war has been making me sick, jumpy, depressed and neurotic ever since. Ditto K******* and about 7,000,000 other Americans of roughly our vintage.
And there is no cure. There is no healing. On both sides of the Vietnam Culture War, we're all like that painting "The Scream," and none of us seems to be able to stop screaming.
Buddhism has been very tempting to me -- they promise a method to Let It Go.
I think they're lying. Maybe it works for every other kind of woe, but I don't think Buddha ever ran into something as big, toxic and intractable as the American reaction to the Vietnam War.
You know I'm from Washington DC and still have friends and family there. But I've never gone near the Vietnam Memorial. Can't work up the nerve.
Where it hurt me the worst was when I went back to college, very naturally joined the veterans' club, and found myself in the middle of the most violent, hate-filled feud between the lefty vets (pot) and the righty vets (beer). I'd naively assumed all us vets would make common cause and work together to make our re-integration into civilian life as smooth and successful as possible. In very short order I had to flee the company of the student vets, the lingering Vietnam War was just too painful.
Poor K*******. I'd give him a hug, but that's the last thing he wants; he'd pull a knife and stab me.
And it's happening all over again with the Iraq-Afghanistan generation. (And Libya -- Watch This Space for Further Developments.) Now we're institutionalizing wars without end and wars without political consensus.
We're institutionalizing lifelong lingering wars among the veteran survivors. Jane Fonda has been replaced by PFC Bradley Manning and the Wikileaks guy.
Well, okay, here's the best Buddhism I can come up with. We need to hug our loved ones, define them as The Only Important Thing In Life, and free the rest of the world to blow itself up and go to hell in a handbasket -- with no help from us. We choose far more important things to do.
If we're feeling superhuman, of course we can keep advocating for peace, for wiser political leadership, for sanity -- and for the safety of our children and the world's children.
But America's capacity for perpetual warfare and perpetual unforgiveness -- I am ashamed to confess what a weenie I am, but maybe it's bigger than we are. It sure seems to have sent K******* 'round the bend.
I liked him back then. I knew he had a Short Fuse, I knew he was wrapped in an unusual degree of Anger, and I strongly suspected his politics were quite different from mine. But I liked him. He was generous, he was honest, he was everything you need from another soldier you're stuck in the barracks with.
If Buddhism falls short, hell, I'll pray for a miracle to heal him. To heal all of us who lived through those ghastly times.
Big Sad Sigh.
Here's the e-mail from my old Army buddy R** (from the USA state shaped like the palm of a right-hand mitten, so you can point to the palm of your right hand to show where you live), and the forwarded e-mail from our old Army buddy K*******.
Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam in June 1972. I was honorably discharged from the US Army (never got anywhere near Vietnam, but lots of my buddies did) in March 1971. The names of several of my high school friends are carved on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC -- among about 52,000 other names of USA servicemen and servicewomen killed in the war.
K******* just sent this Never Forgive a Traitor thing to me. What do you think of this?
I often feel like I can’t believe either side's arguments completely. It was just a giant mess we were in.
Seems like we keep doing it.
------ Forwarded Message
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 08:47:17 -0400
Subject: Never Forgive A Traitor
If you had family in Vietnam this will interest and remind you of a time long forgotten by many.
Never Forgive A Traitor
For those of you too young to remember, Hanoi Jane is a bad person and did some terrible things during the Vietnam war. Things that can not be forgiven!
and now President OBAMA wants to honor her ...
In Memory of LT. C. [LTC = Lieutenant Colonel] Thomsen Wieland who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton
IF YOU NEVER FORWARDED ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE, FORWARD THIS SO THAT OTHERS WILL KNOW.
She really is a traitor.
A TRAITOR IS ABOUT TO BE HONORED .
KEEP THIS MOVING ACROSS AMERICA
This is for all the kids born in the 70's and after who do not remember, and didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers and sisters had to bear.
Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the '100 Women of the Century.'
BARBARA WALTERS WRITES:
"Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam ..."
The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, "a River Rat".
In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF [United States Air Force] Survival School was a POW [Prisoner of War] in Ho Lo Prison, the 'Hanoi Hilton.'
Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.
He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant 's feet, which sent that officer berserk.
In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.
From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's) ... He spent 6 years in the 'Hanoi Hilton' ,,, the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a 'peace delegation' visit.
They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it, in the palm of his hand.
When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.
She took them all without missing a beat ... At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper ...
Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.
I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years.
I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia; and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi. My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam , whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs)
We were Jane Fonda's 'war criminals ...'
When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her ...
I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received ... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient.'
Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane.
I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.
These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget ...' 100 Years of Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots.
There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.
RONALD D. SAMPSON
CMSgt [Chief Master Sergeant]
USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron
Chief of Maintenance
DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343
PLEASE HELP BY SENDING THIS TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK. IF ENOUGH PEOPLE SEE THIS MAYBE HER STATUS WILL CHANGE!