A True Hero of the Vietnam War, Humanity and Country

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Killing in
an unjust and immoral war is neither laudable nor heroic. Yet, Senator
John McCain is constantly trumpeted by the corporate media as a
war hero with special emphasis on his being a prisoner of war. He
had the gall when he returned to Vietnam — decades after trying
to destroy it and its people, while piloting a multimillion dollar
jet armed with some of the most sophisticated and hellish weapons
ever produced (high-tech anti-personal bombs, napalm, etc.) — to
self-righteously complain that when the Vietnamese stopped him from
killing them and their children they did not treat him properly.
However, it should be noted they did not kill him, as "an eye
for an eye" morality could have easily justified. John McCain
in fact has gone on to live a rich and full life, which is more
than can be said for those Vietnamese, civilian and military, whom
he murdered (unjustly killed) or cooperated with the murder of from
his plane. Whether he or anyone else, who traveled 7,000 miles from
the U.S. to kill Vietnamese, personally considered at the time that
doing the bidding of Johnson, Nixon, McNamara and Kissinger was
murder is a very important point, when reconciliation before God
is considered — if there is a God and if life is not merely an accumulation
of spasms of pleasure and pain before total and permanent annihilation.
But, in 2007 the whole world knows that the U.S. attack on and destruction
of Vietnam and its people was, to use the words of Thomas Merton,
"an overwhelming atrocity." To continue today to refer
to a person by the term "hero" who participated in this
unjust human slaughter, for purposes of trying to morally prop up
this prior act of wicked savagery, is more than ludicrous — it is
participating in and perpetuating the evil out of which the Vietnam
depravity arose.

"Hero"
in reference to a person who unjustifiably kills people, serves
also as part of the indoctrination process for normalizing the evasion
of truth, the denial of reality and the manufacturing of facts that
today allows those who planned and executed the mass murder (unjust
destruction) of hundreds of thousands of human beings in Iraq to
be called "hero." This propagandizing of the "hero"
tag vis-à-vis those involved in an unjust and/or illegal
war is also part of the spin (deception) required to justify in
the eyes of ordinary people sending plane-load after plane-load
of future "heroes" over to Vietnam yesterday, Iraq today
and Iran tomorrow in order to continue the very profitable murder
operation of a perpetual war economy under some auspices or another,
e.g., the Communist Chinese will overrun Vietnam within six months
after the U.S. leaves; the radically hated U.S. is needed as a "peacekeeper"
force in Iraq! Whatever the case that may be made for the "heroic"
killing of other human beings in a just war — and I personally think
that such a case cannot be made — it falls apart completely once
the war is unjust and thereby the destruction of people becomes
unjustified killing, murder. John McCain, John Kerry, John Murtha,
Bob Kerry, etc., with their medals for homicide are not the heroes
of the Vietnam War, the war in "the land of the burning children"
as Daniel Berrigan accurately named it at the time.

NAPALM.
The most effective "anti-personnel" weapon, it is euphemistically
described as "unfamiliar cooking fluid" by those apologists
for American military methods. They automatically attribute all
napalm cases to domestic accidents caused by the people using
gasoline instead of kerosene in their cooking stoves. Kerosene
is far too expensive for the peasants, who normally use charcoal
for cooking. The only "cooking fluid" they know is very
"unfamiliar" — it is delivered through their roofs by
U.S. planes.

Some of its
finer selling points were explained to me by a pilot in 1966:
"We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The
original product wasn't so hot — if the gooks were quick they
could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene —
now it sticks like s__t to a blanket. But then if the gooks jumped
under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie
Peter (WP — white phosphorous) so's to make it burn better. It'll
even burn under water now. And just one drop is enough, it'll
keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from
phosphorous poisoning."

~
Vietnam,
Inc.
, Philip Jones Griffiths, 2001, pp. 210–211

So, what does
an authentic American hero of the Vietnam War look like? He does
not look like the U.S. jet pilot in Vietnam in 1966 whose photo
and comments are included above. Rather, he looks like Dale Noyd.

Dale Noyd was
a decorated Air Force fighter pilot, who was given a medal for landing
a badly damaged, nuclear-armed F-100 Fighter at an English airfield.
He also taught at the Air Force Academy. In 1966, after 11 years
in the Air Force, he asked that he either be allowed to resign his
commission or be classified as a conscientious objector because
of his feelings about the Vietnam War. His request was denied, and
Dale Noyd took his case to federal court in Denver in March 1967.

The American
Civil Liberties Union, which represented him, said it was the first
lawsuit claiming conscientious objector status because of an opposition
to a specific war. In December 1967, using a legal dodge ("We
are not responsible here"), that echoed the defense offered
by the German judges who were tried at Nuremberg for war crimes
after World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case,
saying that the military had jurisdiction.

The Air Force
then ordered Captain Noyd to train a pilot who was probably on the
path toward Vietnam. Noyd refused and was court-martialed for disobeying
an order.

During his
military trial, the Military Court also availed itself of a position
in direct contradiction to principles on which people were convicted
at Nuremberg, namely, "Hand over your conscience to us, your
moral objections not withstanding — or else." Captain Noyd’s
belief in conscience that the Vietnam War was immoral and illegal
was not addressed. The panel of 10 officers, who were all Vietnam
veterans, did not allow discussion of his beliefs. The central legal-moral
issue, of whether his objecting to a particular war rather than
all wars was legal, was ruled out as a matter of consideration by
the Court. The U.S. Supreme Court for a second time refused his
appeal to hear his case! Therefore the ultimate choice Captain Dale
Noyd was given was to either abandon his conscience and become morally
a murderer in his own eyes, i.e., take part in what he saw as the
unjustified killing of human beings, or become a prisoner of war.
Dale Noyd chose to be true to the truth of his conscience. He was
sentenced to a year in prison, given a dishonorable discharge, and
stripped of his pension and benefits.

This is what
a Vietnam hero, a hero of humanity and of country looks like. It
is Dale Noyd, whose life is a profile in courage on behalf of life,
humanity and country. It is Captain Dale Noyd whose bravery should
be held up before those in the military today, including chaplains,
who know in their consciences that this war on Iraq is unjust, perpetrated
and sustained by a ceaseless flow of lethal lies — that it is nothing
more or less than "big-time" murder incorporated. Most
of all it is Dale Noyd, his integrity, his empathy for those being
unjustly destroyed on all sides, his patriotism, his valor and his
guts, that should be deliberately and ceaselessly placed before
the eyes of each and every U.S. Representative and Senator. Held
up in front of them until every bloody one of them, who knows in
his or her conscience that this war is grotesquely immoral and/or
illegal, acts — without calculation concerning his or her personal
political fortunes — to effectively and immediately put an end to
it.

Dale Edwin
Noyd joined the universal community of the dead on January 11, 2007.

The story ends
here — or does it?

February
6, 2007

Fr.
Emmanuel Charles McCarthy is a priest of the Eastern Rite (Byzantine-Melkite)
of the Catholic Church. Formerly a lawyer and a university educator,
he is the founder and the original director of The Program for the
Study and Practice of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution at the University
of Notre Dame. He is also co-founder, along with Dorothy Day and
others of Pax Christi-USA. He has conducted retreats and spoken
at conferences throughout the world on the issue of the relationship
of faith and violence and the nonviolence of the Jesus. He was the
keynote speaker at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee for
the 25th anniversary memorial of the assassination of Rev. Martin
Luther King, Jr. there. He is author of several books, including
these: All Things Flee Thee because Thou Fleest Me: A Cry to
the Churches and their Leaders to Return to the Nonviolent Jesus
and His Nonviolent Way; Christian Just War Theory: The logic of
Deceit; August 9: The Stations of the Cross of Nonviolent Love.
He has also authored innumerable articles on the subject of violence,
religion and the nonviolent love of friends and enemies taught by
Jesus by word and deed. His audio/video series, BEHOLD THE LAMB,
is almost universally considered to be the most spiritually profound
presentation on the matter of Gospel Nonviolent Love available in
this format. BEHOLD THE LAMB is now available on
mp3CD through his website
, either at the cost of $5.00 for a
disc or it can be acquired directly by an mp3 downloaded from
the website for no cost
. Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy was
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his life’s work on behalf
of peace within people and among people. He may be reached and his
work may be accessed at the Center
for Christian Non-Violence
.

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