One of our members thoughtfully recommends this episode of “Courage to Resist” podcast in partnership with Vietnam Full Disclosure featuring Dennis Stout. Click this link to listen, and read our local member’s thoughts here:
I just got through listening to Dennis Stout talk about his combat tour in Viet Nam in 1967. Without a doubt, this is one of the most powerful eyewitness stories of the Viet Nam War. You hang on every word, because the truth demands it of you. There is no rest for the messenger until the message has been delivered. I met Dennis a couple of years ago at the VFP National Convention in Chicago. I had some private time with him, as much of what he said on the Viet Nam Full Disclosure podcast, he talked to me about.
I asked some specific questions, because I truly believe the truth is always in the details. Dennis was very accommodating, as the information he gave was important for him to talk about, especially to another veteran. His truth telling and integrity was so powerful, as his story was extremely simple in the words he chose to use. He was very matter of fact, as there was absolutely no restraint in the information he was transferring to me. It was the unedited truth about the Viet Nam War, or the American War. I have heard many atrocity stories from Viet Nam veterans. Like most of us, I have read a great deal about the unspeakable truth about what the United States Government did in Southeast Asia.
What happens in the field, stays in the field. What the public knows about war, you could stick in a thimble, and it has always been that way, because silence always gives birth to the next war. When you look at some simple facts about the war in Southeast Asia, it is not always easy to come to conclusions, because one’s core belief system is always at stake. I finally came to some critical conclusions because I found myself in two psychiatric facilities after I came back from Viet Nam. My core belief system was dismantled, and the only way I was able to survive was to release my rage and grief. All of this happened over a period of time, in order to finally rebuild another belief system based on absolute truth. When I spoke to Dennis Stout two years ago, his truth was so validating.
The United States Government was responsible for 26 million bomb craters during the war. Nothing was off limits. There must have been a gazillion artillery rounds fired by U.S. bases in Viet Nam to include Navy Ships, that killed hundreds of thousands of people. According to Col. David Hackworth, who was known for his role in the creation and command of Tiger Force in Viet Nam, there were hundreds of My Lai Massacres during the war. He was quoted as saying this in a New York Times article. The United States Government dropped 230 million Cluster Bombs over Laos. And then, there was the spraying of the deadly defoliant Agent Orange throughout South Viet Nam.
The following is a short poem I recently wrote about Agent Orange. The title is: Agent Orange In Viet Nam –> It was called, “Operation Ranch Hand” by the U.S. Military. A Western cowboy swagger. American Indians wrapped in contaminated small pox blankets. A quick genocide. History down the memory hole, so war crimes can be repeated. ) Most of what I have written is not news to anyone on this list serve. You have all heard it before throughout the years. But, as Dennis Stout said at the end of his podcast, ” If you are a vet, keep telling the truth.” It is always the young people who need to hear this history. Three weeks ago I spoke in a college classroom. I displayed a photo essay of over 60 panels. At the end, the class was completely quiet, but it had been very attentive. Quite simply, they had never been told the truth about the Viet Nam War. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. In the end, the truth was encapsulated in one sentence: There was not one day during the Viet Nam War that the United States Government did not commit an atrocity. Not one day!! W A R—–> Wealthy Are Richer. American Corporations Can’t Make A Killing Off Of Peace. As Veterans For Peace, our task is to expose National Shame.