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Much of what was “wrong” with the Vietnam war was the same kind of leftist campaign to smear American soldiers as barbarians, animals and baby killers in order to demoralize the nation and the military. This effort was led by people like Jane Fonda, who, in 1972, visited Hanoi and was photographed sitting atop a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) enemy anti-aircraft battery. She called American POWs “military careerists and professional killers” and claimed they were lying about their mistreatment. She also participated in ten radio broadcasts during which she denounced American political and military leaders as “war criminals.”
In 1971, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, who had joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), testified that his fellow American soldiers ”raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war…” It was later revealed that the so-called Winter Soldier investigation was a lie based “eyewitness” testimony from people later revealed to be frauds.
As for the “widespread atrocities” committed by American troops, between 1965 and 1973, a grand total of 201 soldiers and 77 Marines were convicted of serious crimes against the Vietnamese. This was out of over two million military personnel, including 1.6 million who served in combat. How many people died at the hands of the “benevolent” Communists after Americans withdrew from the Southeast Asian Peninsula? A genocidal total of more than three million in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia — one for which the American left steadfastly refuses to accept an iota of responsibility, despite their whole-hearted effort to turn Americans against the war.
Nothing has changed. LA Times writer David Horsey, in an article titled “Blame for killings in Afghanistan is shared by us all,” reiterates the psycho-soldier bit, claiming that “incidences of post traumatic stress disorder among returning soldiers are so common they seem almost the norm” before he takes the entire nation to task. “A volunteer Army lets us off the hook. Even worse, it makes it too easy for the politicians,” he writes. “They speak with bravado about standing up to tyrants and bearing any burden for the sake of liberty. And then, to make good on their bold words, they find another place to take the nation into war.”
The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald takes it one step further calling America an empire “subject to no laws or accountability other than its own, even when it comes to crimes committed on other nations’ soil and against its people.”
Such odious characterizations of our nation and our soldiers are malicious nonsense. That so many detractors use William Calley as a basis of comparison to Robert Bales inadvertently reveals the overwhelming integrity of America’s fighting forces: one must reach 41 years into the past to find a soldier to whom Bales can be compared. As for the larger context, the “widespread” atrocities attributed to Vietnam troops by the left actually totaled slightly more than one-hundredth of one percent of the number of soldiers who served there.
Furthermore, the psycho-soldier meme, or the claim that virtually every American soldier suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), or simply teeters on the edge of psychosis, is also undone by the reality that out of the more than one-half million soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan only one has committed an alleged massacre in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
What about the idea that multiple tours caused Bales to commit the atrocity? While it is likely his defense lawyer may employ that reasoning in an effort to get Bales acquitted, there are 51,270 soldiers, active duty, reserve and retired, who, like Bales, have been on four or more deployments, and another 81,000 with three deployments. All of them have somehow managed to avoid committing mass murder, no doubt to the consternation of those so quick to paint an isolated incident with the broadest of broad brushes.
As long as threats to America’s national security exist, America’s fighting forces will be called upon to defend the nation. And as the American left’s long history of smearing American soldiers indicates, they will spare no effort to portray those fighting forces a horde of bloodthirsty barbarians, barely clinging to sanity, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority our troops have performed with courage and valor. Their current poster boy is Sergeant Robert Bales, one of the precious few bad apples among literally millions of men and women who have served our nation with honor. That the American left chooses to focus on the exception rather than the rule reveals far more about them and their pernicious agenda than it does the American military.
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