Archive for the ‘Vietnam’ Category
Flashback: Jerry Brown, Biden and other Dems refused to accept Vietnamese refugees
by WorldTribune Staff, January 30, 2017
Some liberal Democrats are fighting back tears when discussing President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslims from seven nations.
But in 1975, leftist Dems went to great lengths to keep Vietnamese refugees (even orphans) out of the United States.
During his first stint as governor, Jerry Brown fought to stop Vietnamese refugees from being delivered to California. /AP
Trump issued the order, the White House said, so that a better system to vet refugees coming from those nations can be put into place.
The Democrat complaints in 1975 appeared to center on the fact that the refugees were escaping communism, an ideology, analysts say, liberals did not find that objectionable.
Leading the effort to ban the Vietnamese refugees was California’s Gov. Jerry Brown. Other prominent Democrats calling for the ban were Delaware’s Sen. Joe Biden, former presidential “peace candidate” George McGovern, and New York Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman.
A heartfelt thanks to Colonel (Ret) Bernard L. Talley, a US Air Force Pilot and a Vietnam POW for 6 1/2 years for sharing with us this extraordinarily emotional story of James Stockdale, a fellow prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton. This very successful high level espionage operation was kept top secret all these past 42 years so that the technique could be used by future POW’s. This operation was just declassified this year and the movie was produced by the Smithsonian Channel. Please be aware that there are scenes of torture in this movie that are very difficult to watch. Nancy
Smithsonian Channel to Premiere THE SPY IN THE HANOI HILTON, 4/27
|Smithsonian Channel Premieres THE SPY IN THE HANOI HILTON Tonight
April 27, 2015
The spy network was led by James Bond Stockdale, an air-wing commander who was shot down on a bombing mission into North Vietnam on Sept. 9, 1965. He was one of the two most senior-ranking U.S. Navy officers imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton. Stockdale later rose to the rank of Vice Admiral, became one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the Navy, and ran for Vice President. He was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his secret communication network and for bravery in the face of torture. Former CIA official Robert Wallace calls Stockdale’s spy network “one of the most significant activities in Agency history.”
A Walk Past the Mass Graves
A survivor of the Khmer Rouge looks back.
Les Sillars Les Sillars teaches journalism at Patrick Henry College and is writing Manickam’s story, Intended for Evil, to be published next year by Baker Books
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: Early in the morning of that April day, Communist troops drifted into Phnom Penh and the other major Cambodian cities like clouds of poisonous gas. It was the end of a brutal, five-year civil war between the Khmer Rouge and the U.S.-backed Khmer Republic. Giddy residents welcomed the Communists with cheers and flags. But almost immediately the Khmer Rouge began herding at gunpoint the city’s 2 million residents into the streets and from there into the countryside.
They started with the hospitals, forcing gravely ill and wounded patients out of their beds to hobble into 100-degree heat. Murder of a Gentle Land, by journalists John Barron and Anthony Paul, published two years later, relates how relatives or friends pushed the beds of patients unable to walk, holding up bottles of dripping plasma: “One man carried his son, whose legs had been amputated. The bandages on both stumps were red with blood, and the son, who appeared to be about twenty-two, was screaming, ‘You can’t leave me like this! Kill me! Please kill me!’ ” Thousands were shot or beaten to death, and many more died of dehydration or dysentery in the evacuation, with corpses dotting the sidewalks and ditches as crowds shuffled down the major boulevards.
The sign was clear, in English, and made an entirely reasonable request: “Please don’t walk through the mass grave.”
I was visiting Choeung Ek, memorial site for Cambodia’s infamous “killing fields,” last December. It was the execution grounds for the Phnom Penh prison called Tuol Sleng, where the Khmer Rouge tortured some 14,000 prisoners into ridiculous confessions of spying for the CIA or the Vietnamese. Underneath stands of chankiri trees, the path meandered beside grassy depressions and sandy hollows where thousands of bodies had been dumped after people’s heads were bashed in or their throats cut.
A little further along were the “killing trees” against which cadres had smashed the heads of infants, and a bit beyond that was a tall Buddhist stupa. Inside I came face to face with hundreds of human skulls on shelves in cases with glass on all sides. Visitors can look through the cases to the sunlit grounds, or up to see the shelves of skulls, one after another, rising to the ceiling. (more…)
Even from a remove of 40 years, those last, tragic images from outside the U.S. embassy in Saigon remain a painful reminder of one of the less-noble chapters in American history.
The crush of desperate South Vietnamese begging to be let in. The Marines standing atop the walls, pushing back against the Vietnamese men and women trying to climb over. Finally, on the morning of April 30, the last helicopter takes off from the rooftop, just hours before a North Vietnamese tank breaks through the gates of the presidential palace.
Overseas Vietnamese, many of them former refugees, call this “Black April,” because it marked the end of their nation. It also marked America’s humiliation before the world.
In the 40 Aprils that have come and gone since, Vietnam has become shorthand for a political orthodoxy built on the idea that American military intervention overseas creates more problems than it solves. This thinking feeds an entire industry pumping out tedious lectures about “The Lessons of Vietnam.”
Still, the most obvious lesson of Vietnam is the one hardly ever acknowledged: the terrible price paid—human as well as strategic—when America loses a war.
This is not the received wisdom, which holds that wars are always unwinnable and the best thing America can do is to stay out or get out. The keepers of this flame do not take kindly to dissent, which this reporter saw firsthand as a White House speechwriter in 2007, when George W. Bush challenged this thinking head-on. As we prepared for a Veterans of Foreign Wars speech about America’s role in the advance of democracy in Asia, we both knew he would have to address Vietnam. Here’s what he ended up saying: (more…)
Saigon’s Fall Still Echoes Today
Myths about the Vietnam War persist, weakening America’s role in the world.
Four decades ago this week, in what was then Saigon, I was trying to facilitate the evacuation of orphans as North Vietnam’s armed forces approached the city. I had left the U.S. Army after two tours in Vietnam and had returned to do what I could to help as America fled a war—a fight for freedom—that it had shamefully chosen to forfeit.
As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon on April 30, we would do well to clear away the myths that still adhere to that bloody conflict and understand why America got involved, what went wrong and what the consequences were.
We went to war because by ratifying the United Nations Charter in 1945 and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (Seato) treaty a decade later, the U.S. pledged to oppose armed international aggression. Critics have long claimed that the State Department lied when it said the U.S. was responding to North Vietnamese aggression. That charge is baseless. After the war, Hanoi repeatedly acknowledged—including in its official history, “Victory in Vietnam”—its decision in May 1959 to open the Ho Chi Minh Trail and send vast numbers of troops, weapons and supplies to overthrow its neighbor by armed force. That was every bit as illegal as when North Korea invaded its southern neighbor in June 1950.
The U.S. made mistakes, but the two most decisive factors in the outcome of the war were incompetent micromanagement by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and Hanoi’s brilliant propaganda campaign, which fueled a gullible—and often disingenuous—global peace movement. Protesters, as angry as they were misinformed, ultimately persuaded Congress in May 1973 to prohibit spending on further U.S. combat operations in Indochina. (more…)
Jeremiah Denton, 1924-2014
Fred Barnes on an unforgettable hero.
Jeremiah A. Denton Jr. had three careers in the course of his 89 years. He was a Navy pilot. He was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for seven years and seven months. And he was a U.S. senator from Alabama.
He excelled in all three, but it was as leader of the POWs at the Hanoi Hilton that he should always be remembered. He spent four years in solitary confinement and was brutally beaten many times. Yet he defied his captors year after year and suffered as much as the POWs he led.
When he and the others were released in 1973, he was the first off the plane. He was smiling. He offered no complaints about a policy that led to their imprisonment. His statement was terse. “It was one of the most remarkable scenes in American history,” said Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, who spoke at Denton’s funeral and burial at Arlington National Cemetery last week.
Here’s what Denton said 41 years and six months ago: “We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our commander in chief and to our nation for this day. God bless America.”
I knew Denton through my wife’s family, close friends of the Denton clan for more than a half-century. Like many others, I referred to him as “Admiral Denton,” never “Senator Denton.” His term in the Senate (1981-87), while important, was not what made him a great man. His actions as a POW did. (more…)
How one American became the symbol for U.S. POWs
and those missing in action
Jeffrey Heisley’s profile has long been a symbol for America’s prisoners of war.
Most Americans don’t know who Jeffrey Heisley is, but chances are good they’ve seen his profile and contemplated the painful sacrifices of countless Vietnam veterans and their families.
It is the silhouetted face of a young Heisley that adorns the iconic POW/MIA flag that flies above the White House with Old Glory on the Fourth of July and just below the star-spangled banner on flagpoles throughout the nation. The black and white banner, which drew attention to U.S. combat forces taken prisoner of war or deemed missing in action, was designed by Heisley’s father in 1970, and the then-22-year-old’s turn as a model came about quite by accident.
“My Dad was a commercial illustrator and did a lot of work in the New York/New Jersey area,” Heisley, who grew up in Glen Ridge, N.J., said.
One of Newt Heisley’s freelance clients was Annin Flags, America’s oldest flag maker, which was chosen by POW advocate The National League of POW/MIA Families to produce the flag.
Heisley was in the United States Marine Corps’ officer candidate program, and dealing with a bout of hepatitis that would eventually force him to drop out. Between the rigors of training and his illness, the young Heisley had inadvertently taken on the gaunt look of a POW.
“It’s very important for the families of those missing in action and for former prisoners to have a tangible symbol of what their families have gone through.”- Jeffrey Heisley (more…)
America is experiencing a generational shift away from military intervention. Those of us in our 50s and 60s witnessed the American defeat in Vietnam and the subsequent U.S. retreat from the world, followed by the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan that same year, and the imposition of martial law in Poland from 1981-83.
We also witnessed the U.S. military revival under President Ronald Reagan, his willingness to confront the Soviet Union, and the U.S.S.R.’s subsequent collapse and an American victory in the Cold War. We saw the successful use of U.S. military power in Iraq in 1990-91 and in Kosovo and Serbia in 1994-99, and contrasted that with the genocidal results of inaction in Rwanda. America’s use of war to shape the world seems to many of us both necessary and proper.
Now consider how many Americans in their 20s, 30s and 40s view the world. The Cold War to them was unnecessary—a tense and massively expensive arms race for little if any gain. The minor triumphs of the 1990s to them seem unimportant and related somehow to what is uppermost in their minds: the long and painful failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Al Qaeda killed Americans on 9/11, so killing Osama bin Laden was justified, but the U.S. did not have to wage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to do that. China and Russia suppress democratic reforms and bully their neighbors, but how will military force help anything? (more…)