Re: [sixties-l] Vietnam Memorial and flags

From: Joe McDonald (
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 03:07:17 CUT

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    monkerud wrote:

    > If Joe's views are supposed to be from the left, we're in bad shape. And yet his views reveal how little the ideas that we put forth reached ordinary Americans.
    > We should perhaps cut the guy some slack ... he's a musician after all and apparently didn't learn much from being around the political movement.

    Well this is pretty nasty stuff. You callin me an "ordinary American"! That alone is... well, hard to understand in such a diverse country. Yes us musicians are pretty stupid! The word chauvinist comes to my mind. "supposed" and "apparently" are words that describe what you assume about me.

    In July 1954 The Geneva Agreement was signed. French and Democratic Republic of Vietnam met at an international conference of Great Britain, United States, Soviet Union, and China plus State of Vietnam, Kingdom of Cambodia, Kingdom of Laos (called Three Associated States of Indochina). They agreed to divide Vietnam at the 17th parallel. Both side were to evacuate troops. Truce was declared.

    The people of Vietnam were given 300 days to decide whether to live in the North or the South. Now there is a hard decision to make! It split up families.

    Elections to be held in 1956 to reunify the country. They were never held.

    In April 1960 North Vietnam imposed universal military conscription.

    The United States had universal military conscription left over from WW2 and Korean War. Conscription meaning "draft" or forced joining of the military.

    The Vietnamese were "drafted" for the duration just like in WW2 for Americans, and Korea,i believe. The Americans were "drafted" for 12 months of war service except the Marines who did 13 months in country. At least the Marines did 13 months at first as volunteers but with 80% casualties they soon were drafting Marines and they spent only 12 months in country then.

    It is very hard to resist the draft no matter what country you are from. In the old days you could buy yourself out of the "draft" or hire someone else to take your place. Not so for the Vietnam Era.

    The average age of US soldiers drafted into the military in the Vietnam War era was 19. At that age then you had no constitutional rights and were still under the control of your parents. I don't know the average age in Vietnam, North or South but i imagine it was even younger.

    This is a pretty hard place to put a teenager in. What are the choices? What are the options? i thank god i was not forced to make that decision. And once you are in the military you are governed by military law! This is a pretty hard thing to deal with. No one has yet done a study on the US incountry military jail at Long Binh called LBJ for Long Binh Jail, but i have heard stories that are pretty terrible. I am sure that the Military of North and South had their
    own jails for similar resistors.

    i did military service in Japan and remember well the feeling that i was 10,000 miles from home in a country that spoke a language i could not speak without the wherewithal to get myself back home on my own. What was i suppose to do?

    It is govt.'s that force young people into these situations and then civilians who judge them afterwards. And in America the government is elected by the people then over 21 years of age only. To send the military to Vietnam was an almost unanimous civilian decision. Like i said in my song A VIETNAM VETERAN STILL ALIVE

    "I came home from the war to a war at home.
    And I can't help but wonder what it was I done.
    Seems like I went off to fight the enemy.
    Now I'm back home and the enemy is me.

    So listen old son, if you want to go and fight
    Just make sure you know what is wrong and right.
    The passion of today could be tomarrow's shame
    And the folks at home will just have you to blame."

    cheers, country joe mcdonald

    -- "Ira Furor Brevis Est " - Anger is a brief madness

    country joe Home Pg <>
    country joe's tribute to Florence Nightingale <>
    Berkeley Vietnam Veterans Memorial <>
    Rag Baby Online Magazine <>

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