I saw a bumper sticker the other day which said "Bush Lied and Our Soldiers Died." I thought back to when I realized that my government had lied to me and that the lives of the 58,000+ Americans killed in Vietnam were lost because of lies.
It didn’t happen right away. I came home from the war and I looked at the peace movement with anger. I was, you might say, still in the jungle. I still knew lots of guys who were counting down their days and I couldn’t believe that young Americans were not joining up to "fight the good fight."
When I got back to the States I still thought we were trying to save the South Vietnamese from the terror of Communism and that if we could get a few good Generals, it would be over in months.
I never realized that Washington wasn’t trying to win the war, nor did I know the whole thing was started by a President lying to the American people about an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened.
It is hard to believe that our leaders in Washington could sit there and watch as thousands and thousands of Americans were getting killed and wounded every month. I remember in Da Nang, seeing body bags in rows next to the runway. Almost every day over there I saw somebody’s blood, be them American or Vietnamese.
That first summer home I would wonder why the killing went on and on. In my mind, I was still a Marine and Semper fi, I had to back what the Marine Corps was doing. I just knew the Marines would never waste one of their own.
I guess it was harder to convince me that the war was wrong, because I had too much invested in it. That is why to this day there are thousands of Vietnam Vets, who think the war was worth the effort. They just can’t admit that they were "had" by Washington and that all those deaths and wounds were for nothing, but that is a fact, jack.
We look at Vietnam today and wonder what the war was all about. We LOST. I will say that again for all my brothers in arms, America lost that war. Washington sent us there on a lie and watched as we bled and bled and only with the effort of millions of Americans was the war brought to an end.
Today, Vietnam is an American trading partner. Thousands of Americans go there as tourists. Vietnam is not trying to hurt us, they are trying to increase trade with us. We were told we were fighting them to protect America…that was another lie.
Many people will tell you many reasons that the war ended, but the real reason to pull our troops out and stop fighting, is that politicians could see if they didn’t stop the war, they would not get reelected.
Washington is all about money and power. If a politician loses an election, he loses his power and his chance to get more money. Right now many politicians are starting to hedge their bets with little quips about what is wrong with Bush’s War in Iraq. The war they voted to start.
Many thought by giving up their Congressional power to declare war, they would be held innocent and all blame would fall on Bush. Now they see that too many Americans are coming home in boxes or on stretchers. There has been enough American blood spilled in Iraq, so that every Congressional District has been splattered and politicians are starting to worry.
George isn’t helping things with talk of staying the course and Rumsfeld saying Americans might be dieing in Iraq for a dozen more years hurts everyone’s poll numbers. Things are heating up in Afghanistan too and after holding up that country to the voters as a success, new American deaths do not sound right.
Soon a majority of American voters will know that they have been "had" too, just as we were back in the 60s. They will see that this war is about making billions for a few of the powerful in Washington. They will see that those in Congress are willing to watch our sons and daughters bleed and die as long as their political future seems safe, but once those in Washington get scared about losing power, this war will end fast.
That bumper sticker should have read, "Washington Lied and Our Soldiers Died." I am sure there are many powerful people in Washington who are now ready to pull the plug on this war. They have their 30 pieces of silver and more.
Jim Glaser [send him mail], a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and Commander of VFW Post 3869, works to educate the American public on the consequences of war. His personal website is James-Glaser.com.