It always breaks my heart when I hear how badly vets were treated when they came home from Vietnam, though before I actually met any vets I suppose I had a fixed idea of babykilling American soldiers, which had been pushed to me by history books, movies and media. The truth of it, as far as I can see, was that most of these boys didn’t fucking want to go, it was an old man’s war, fought by poor men’s boys who weren’t rich enough to get out of it.
They fought for nothing, the Vietnamese suffered greatly for no reason, in the end, to quote someone who I don’t care much to google, we might have well have stayed home and we shot thousands of ours right here at home, and they agreed to do the same. “TPS the US economy doesn’t function without a war now and again, that’s why it happened.” Well I don’t know about that, I don’t have a political bone in my body, but I do know it was a waste of life and a cause of suffering, and it ruined lives here and there.
All I know is war is bad, and peace is good, and if we are not fucking careful we are all going to tip into having our beloved boys sent off to do old men’s dirty work yet again, and they will have my son over my dead cold body. Vietnam was a racist war, more anti Asian bullshit, which seemed to be punishing the Vietnamese for fighting back to defend their families. Great atrocities happened, and we can’t wholly blame the poor American boys who were tipped out there with no idea how to handle war. From what little I can gather there was a culture of brutality and dehumanization amongst some platoons, which was built on fear of the enemy. Just as sad, it destroyed the lives of those that survived, and took away the lives of those that didn’t, the lives of young American men who had no grudge towards the Vietnamese, who were conscripted, and came back forever changed.
Country Joe and the Fish did a great job of mobilizing the hippies for a moment, he clearly believed what he was singing, when he said: how are they going to stop the war if they don’t sing better than that. If singing could stop war, Joe, I’d be leading the fucking chorus. What are we fighting for? Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity. To defeat communism? Do we even understand what Communism means as a country? I really don’t think we do. What do we want from war? What if the Chinese let Covid loose on purpose, or even a biological weapon by accident? Do we want to spend more lives on punishing people for it? The slow inexorable slide into violence has to be halted. Surely at this point in human existence we can use our damn words to defuse situations.
Or maybe not. Perhaps it is impossible for Humanity to sing from the same songbook. If rich old men’s son’s were the ones sent to fight and die, or fight and be maimed, I think there would be a whole lot more singing going on.