Re: [sixties-l] RE: Vietnam retrospective

From: Jerry West (
Date: 10/26/00

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    Lauter, Paul wrote: (RE Bruce Franklin piece)
    I suspect he's also closer to the truth regarding how widespread GI
    opposition to the war became.
    JW reply:
    I can speak from personal experience in this area having been involved
    in the GI anti-war movement in Japan in 1970.
    Although we had help from US, Canadian and Japanese civilians,
    particularly in the churches, the movement at Iwakuni was spearheaded by
    GIs with an active core group and a large number of sympathizers among
    the ranks and even a number among the officers.
    The underground newspaper that we published frequently was circulated
    widely and drew national attention in Japan.  The movement also received
    coverage in the national Japanese media, both newspapers and magazines.
    Stars and Stripes even had to run at least one rebuttal argument that I
    know of.
    Common activities among the troops was to carry out mock sabatoge of
    aircraft which caused delays in flight schedules.  Stories came in from
    RVN about troops avoiding combat and otherwise not cooperating.  There
    is no doubt in my mind that the war finally came to a halt when it was
    apparent to Washington that the troops were unreliable on top of all of
    the other problems that the administration was facing.
    Where I was stationed there was not significant participation by blacks
    in the anti-war movement per se, as they were more concerned with the
    racial issues of the time.  However, there was communication between the
    two groups and the anti-war movement gave full support to the blacks.
    There was a huge riot at the Brig at MCAS Iwakuni on July 4, 1970 which
    involved both blacks and whites against the brass.  This can not be
    attributed to anyone cause, however, as there were a variety of
    undercurrents at play.
    Jerry West
    On line news from Nootka Sound & Canada's West Coast
    An independent, progressive regional publication

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