Debate, and discuss, just dont Bore me.
How the media betrayed the Innocent
Published on December 12, 2004 By Dr Guy In Vietnam War

This speaks for itself.  But I would add that we learn the lesson of yesterday when reading what the media is doing today. You dont have to be conservative to easily see the media cares nothing for the lives, just for their own warped agenda.

To: AAGEN&ADM, Undisclosed Key Military, military

Subject: Vietnam Facts vs Fiction..... Bruce Dwyer.. Forwarded by LTG Billy Thomas USA ret

Date: Mon 06-12-2004 04:23 PM

On Fri, 3 Dec 2004 21:43:24 EST, LTG Billy Thomas USA ret forwarded:

Subject: Vietnam Facts vs Fiction

For nearly 30 years I.... like many Vietnam veterans....seldom spoke of Vietnam, except with other veterans, when training soldiers, and in public speeches. These past five years I have joined the hundreds of thousands who believe it is high time the truth be told about the Vietnam War and the people who served there. It's time the American people learn that the United States military did not lose the War, and that a surprisingly high number of people who claim to have served there, in fact, DID NOT.

As Americans support the men and women involved in the War on Terrorism, the mainstream media are once again working tirelessly to undermine their efforts and force a psychological loss or stalemate for the United States. We cannot stand by and let the media do to today's warriors what they did to us 35 years a go.

Below are some assembled some facts most readers will find interesting. It isn't a long read, but it will....I guarantee....teach you some things you did not know about the Vietnam War and those who served, fought, or died there. Please share it with those with whom you communicate.

Bruce

Vietnam War Facts: Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled

9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.

2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam

Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.

240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War

The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

58,148 were killed in Vietnam

75,000 were severely disabled

23,214 were 100% disabled

5,283 lost limbs

1,081 sustained multiple amputations

Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21

11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old

Of those killed, 17,539 were married

Average age of men killed: 23.1 years

Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.

The oldest man killed was 62 years old.

As of January 15, 2 004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War

97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged

91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served

74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.

Vietnam veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans Administration Study)

Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.

85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.

Interesting Census Stats and "Been There" Wanabees:

1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August, 1995 (census figures).

~ During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was: 9,492,958.

~ As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00. That's 390 per day. During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this errored index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense. (All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. - Nixon Presidential Papers

Common Myths Dispelled:

Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.

Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.

Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.

Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group.

Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.

Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book "All That We Can Be," said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam "and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia - a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war."

Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.

Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.

Here are statistics from the Combat Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993. The CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall): Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. (Although 58,169 names are in the Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date. Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who were listed as missing in action)

Deaths - Total: Average Age:

58,148 23.11 years

Enlisted: 50,274 22.37 years

Officers: 6,598 28.43 years

Warrants: 1,276 24.73 years

E1: 525 20.34 years

11B MOS: 18,465 22.55 years

Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.

Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

Myth: The Common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.

Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America's commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.

Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.

Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II ....75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).

Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972.....shown a million times on American television....was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.

Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. "We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF," according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc's brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim's cousins not her brothers.

Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.

Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkley a renowned expert on the Vietnam War). This included Tet 68, which was a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.

THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID. Read on........

The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.

How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides' forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam. Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States.

As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.

"Vietnam History" http://4dw.net/jqueen/history.html

VIETNAM REMEMBERED http://remembervietnam.homestead.com/

Top 100 Vietnam Veterans WebSites http://www.topsitelists.com/start/vietnamvet/topsites.html

"18th Engineers" http://4dw.net/jqueen/truth.html

Movie Review: We Were Soldiers (Once.....and Young) http://remembervietnam.homestead.com/idrrang.html

"
Comments (Page 2)
on Dec 14, 2004

The domino theory was accurate


this isnt a fact much less a well-considered opinion.  more time spent researching the history of southeast asia and less attention paid to true-believer ideologues in league with corrupt special interests would have made that as clear 40 years ago as it is today.  thats the reason there was such an uproar when the pentagon papers were published.  see 'fog of war', errol morris' excellent documentary film interview with robert mcnamara.

despite the sincere vision that inspired this amazing collection of statistics, those who suffered and died while serving in vietnam, cambodia, laos and mynamar continue to be victimized by those who stare brazenly into the bright and shining lie yet refuse to acknowledge its existence.

on Dec 14, 2004

despite the sincere vision that inspired this amazing collection of statistics, those who suffered and died while serving in vietnam, cambodia, laos and mynamar continue to be victimized by those who stare brazenly into the bright and shining lie yet refuse to acknowledge its existence.


Actually, that is just your opinion, and no more valid than those who profess belief in the domino theory.  Whether it would have suceeded, or we stopped it is a matter of opinion and debate.  That it was the plans of the communists is not in question.

on Dec 14, 2004
Well, you did mention it was 'fact'. As long as it's just a belief then I'm prepared to let it slide. Thanks for clarifying your position.
on Dec 15, 2004

That it was the plans of the communists is not in question.

i dont know how you arrive at that.  perhaps my comment was too subtle because your statement quoted here is exactly the kind of jingoism and deliberate ignorance of 1000 years of vietnamese history to which i referred in my comment.  the vietminhwas first and foremost a nationalist, anti-colonialist movement that we should have been supporting (you have read ho chi minh's declaration of independence from france?) as a nation born from very similar determination.

the following is taken verbatim from the pentagon papers (an official 7000 page dod report on indo-china):

From the autumn of 1945 through the autumn of 1946, the United States received a series of communications from Ho Chi Minh depicting calamitous conditions in Vietnam, invoking the principles proclaimed in the Atlantic Charter and in the Charter of the United Nations, and pleading for U.S. recognition of the independence of the DRV, or--as a last resort--trusteeship for Vietnam under the United Nations

china and vietnam were enemies for centuries. what kinda theory was in effect in feb 1979 when china attacked vietnam?  reverse dominos?  in 1978, vietnam invaded cambodia and eventually drove the kmer rouge out of power.  even more reverse dominos?

if four american administrations had made the effort to focus on the content of the pentagon papers or been willing to look at the situation thru the eyes of the vietminh (as mcnamara now advocates they should have done) many if not all of the casualties your post enumerated might never need had been counted.

on Dec 15, 2004

china and vietnam were enemies for centuries. what kinda theory was in effect in feb 1979 when china attacked vietnam? reverse dominos? in 1978, vietnam invaded cambodia and eventually drove the kmer rouge out of power. even more reverse dominos?

Your quote from the Pentagon papers does nothing for your arguement, or rebut mine.  That China and Vietnam had a border skirmish is irrelevant as it was Russia that was bankrolling them (and China tghe Khmer Rouge) and the animosity was there during the entire war. Vietnam drove the Khmer Rouge out because they were hated enemies (China Coms vs USSR Coms).

You failed to even address the point that it was a part of a long range plan by the soviets to install Russian communism on China's South border to keep China in check (since they were avowed enemies from the mid 50s on). You fail to even stay on topic.  I dont see why you even posted that as it was just totally irrelevant.

 

on Dec 15, 2004

i dont know how you arrive at that. perhaps my comment was too subtle because your statement quoted here is exactly the kind of jingoism and deliberate ignorance of 1000 years of vietnamese history to which i referred in my comment. the vietminhwas first and foremost a nationalist, anti-colonialist movement that we should have been supporting (you have read ho chi minh's declaration of independence from france?) as a nation born from very similar determination.

And a foot note.  SO was Castros.  I suppose you dont consider him communist either?

And sorry you lost the debate so quickly by resorting to name calling. A careful read of my response will show no jingoism of any kind, nor commenting on ancient history. Your attempt at a snide attck fell flat.

on Dec 15, 2004
That China and Vietnam had a border skirmish is irrelevant as it was Russia that was bankrolling them (and China tghe Khmer Rouge) and the animosity was there during the entire war. Vietnam drove the Khmer Rouge out because they were hated enemies (China Coms vs USSR Coms).


In one of those intriguing pieces of realpolitik the US was also bankrolling the Khmer Rouge, for the obvious reasons. So in this little game of statecraft the US and China were on the same side!

A careful read of my response will show no jingoism of any kind, nor commenting on ancient history


True, but some of it is inaccurate or opinion masquerading as fact. However you have clarified the main factual inaccuracy that I could see so I don't see any problem with this.
on Dec 16, 2004

A careful read of my response will show no jingoism


"the plans of the communists were not in question" is just part of the domino theory jingo.


You failed to even address the point that it was a part of a long range plan by the soviets to install Russian communism on China's South border to keep China in check


the domino theory--as proposed by eisenhower during a press conference in april 1954--was much more focused on chinese aggression in indochina than soviet involvement there (the predominant concern about the ussr was the fact of their having developed and tested a hydrogen bomb).

"Then with respect to more people passing under this domination, Asia, after all, has already lost some 450 million of its peoples to the Communist dictatorship, and we simply can't afford greater losses.

But when we come to the possible sequence of events, the loss of Indochina, of Burma, of Thailand, of the Peninsula, and Indonesia following, now you begin to talk about areas that not only multiply the disadvantages that you would suffer through loss of materials, sources of materials, but now you are talking really about millions and millions and millions of people."

during that press conference, there are several references to chinese agression in asia; concerns about the ussr are mentioned only in connection with senator mccarthy's charge that communist influence in the eisenhower administration caused our development of an h-bomb to be delayed by 18 months.  Link

until the late 60s, communism was most commonly perceived by america as a monolith without differentiation between chinese communism vs soviet communism.  it was a simplistic view of the 'i say it's spinach and i say the hell with it' kind and further complicated by mccarthy's demagoguery. 

perhaps the most important reason to see morris' 'fog of war' is one scene in which mcnamara recalls going to vietnam in 1995 and meeting with his old adversaries.  during their first lunch, his counterpart--the former north vietnamese minister of defense--is enraged nearly to the point of physical violence upon hearing mcnamara explain us involvement in vietnam was based on our government's everpresent belief that vietnam was the first domino we couldnt afford to permit china to topple. 

"Don't you ever read a history book? We've been at war with China for a thousand years to escape their domination!", he shouts.  mcnamara is equally dumbfounded by the emphatic assertion of all those present that they fought so fiercely because for them it was all about liberating their country from colonial oppression and believed we intended to take over from france.

while that could be just another manifestation of 'the big lie'--a companion piece to the domino theory--mcnamara didnt think so.  for years ive been convinced the real tragedy of vietnam wasnt merely the number of casualties or the huge expenditure of money and resources.  both sides paid such an incredily high price...as did everyone who lived in either country during that time whether they realize it or not.  what makes it almost to painful to think about at times is the ever-accumulating evidence that it didnt have to happen the way it did.

on Dec 16, 2004

"the plans of the communists were not in question" is just part of the domino theory jingo.

No, that is a matter of public record.  Was the Declaration of Independence Jingoistic?  If you beleive quoting historical facts jingoistic, you dont know what you are talking about.

the domino theory--as proposed by eisenhower during a press conference in april 1954--was much more focused on chinese aggression in indochina than soviet involvement there (the predominant concern about the ussr was the fact of their having developed and tested a hydrogen bomb).

Note, I did not at any time state this was about anyone's domino theory, and also note I said that since it did not happen, there is no way it will ever be proved.  So you are barking up the wrong tree.

 

Try debating what is stated in black and white, by me and the author.  If you want to debate Eisenhower's theory, fine!  We can start a new thread.  Until then, stick to pertinent facts.

on Mar 06, 2005
As a current servicemember, I always hold those that came before me in high regard, and Vietnam vets hold a special place in my heart.

They endured hardships not just in the jungle, but mentally, and at home that no other group of vets can relate to. And although its been 30 years, I still reap the rewards for their sacrafice. As a vet of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom have largely been spared the treatment heaped on the returning Vietnam G.I., and all because of their brave sacrafice and grace under undeserved criticism. They served honorably, in a noble campaign, only to return as the bastard children of America.

Through their honorable behavior, they exposed the injustice of an ignorant population, and spared all those that came after them that miserable experience. And for that, I can never repay them.
on Mar 09, 2005
Wow, that was alot of mass deception by the friggin media then. I hope this article reaches as many people as possible. Especially the young generation that tends to do demonstrations and create riots without even knowing the reality of things. Thank you for posying this Dr Guy
on Oct 12, 2005
I was a marine corporal in Vietnam with the 1st FSR, FLC north of Danang.
Some of what is stated in the article sounds correct but other so called facts I believe are bogus. The article makes it sound like Viet Vets did ok after coming back. I managed to get a college degree and became a teacher, but from what I've seen that was rare of most enlisted non-officer Vets. Most of the marines in my unit, like me, were from poor families and college was out of the question. After the war it was still hard to make the transition from veteran to college student, even with the GI Bill.
Bob
Dillon, MT
on Oct 12, 2005

J davis died in '61.

Do you have a link for that?

on Oct 12, 2005

from what I've seen that was rare of most enlisted non-officer Vets.

Not from the ones I knew.  It was rare that they went postal. Most are middle aged men now leading healthy and happy lives, and bearing the scars that the war did cause

on Jun 09, 2006
Im doing a english project in my high school. We were required to come online and find stories or poems from Vietnam Veterans. We had to reply to stories and let people know what we thought of them.
I can't believe people who did not go and defend our country would tell other people that they fought when in all reality they have no idea what happened. To me I would feel disrespected like they were talking about the war and just talking to get the positive attention the Veterans get. Its actually pretty disappointing that people could actually try to take the credit from the men and women who actually fought and even those who lost their lives. To me war is a scary thought because I don't think I personally could handle it. It would be totally devistating to think that it could be my friends, my family, my mom or dad, my boyfriend, or anyone really close to me. I can't imaging losing people like everyone that had friends and family there. I wish that I could see everyone that fought for our country because I know my generation doesn't show how much we apprecate everything y'all did for us, but I know there are people that do in fact appreciate everyone that defending our country.