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November 16, 2012

"Don't ask me, I don't give a damn. / Next stop is Vietnam."

A striking collection from both sides now: Vietnam in photos by Horst Faas, Henri Huet, Sal Veder, Rick Merron, Bill Ingraham, John Nance, Nick Ut.

You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?

-- Once In A Lifetime

Posted by gerardvanderleun at November 16, 2012 2:21 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I gotta say, those pictures of the privileged larking about in "demonstrations" are just as annoying as they were 45 years ago.

I definitely didn't want to go to Vietnam (who did?), but I had an out: because my dad died in WWII, I wasn't eligible under the Sole Surviving Son provision of the Draft legislation. Because it was apparent that i'd gotten a free pass, and one I wasn't proud of, I had the humility to keep my damn mouth shut.

Almost without exception, the loud and self-righteous of my acquaintance were guys who weren't gonna go nohow no way, and had a big family net for later after they got being a radical out their systems. Having a life to figure out, it took me another 40 years to identify those little snots as "liberals," but it sure all makes sense now.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at November 16, 2012 4:02 PM

I also found the photos of the protestors to be just as obnoxious now as I did back when they were on the evening news. Having now put in my time, almost 27 years between Active Duty and Reserves, I believe even more strongly than I did back then that the protestors were motivated more by personal cowardice than any political viewpoint they may have professed.

Rob, your reason for not being draft-eligible is nothing to be ashamed of. The law was there for a reason, and your father's sacrifice made your exemption possible. While most governmental attempts at compassion miss the mark, this one got it right.

Posted by: waltj at November 16, 2012 5:47 PM

Thanks for posting. Those are some profound images. Really, several took my breath away.

Posted by: Kerry at November 16, 2012 6:32 PM

Spent 1968-69 in the Iron Triangle in the 25th Infantry Division. Thanks for a glimpse into our war. We were soldiers once and young.

Posted by: bill at November 16, 2012 8:57 PM

I had my moment when a friend, a WWII Navy vet asked me to photograph his daughter's wedding. (I worked with his wife for Gannett as a photographer)

The groom had run off to Canada, came back after Carter blessed the cowards.

I did the job for him, not for his daughter. His daughter wound up supporting the dickweed.

Posted by: Peccable at November 17, 2012 5:21 AM

I was there. Those photos dredged up memories that I would have preferred to have kept permanently buried.

Many of my high school classmates majored in 'Education', thus obtaining an automatic draft deferment. That cowardice caused other boys to have to step up and fight in their place.

The result was that those same draft dodgers are now teaching young, impressionable kids that the draft dodgers were the anti-war heroes -- and we soldiers were the bad guys. Despicable.

Posted by: Dr. Everett V. Scott at November 18, 2012 9:16 PM

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