Hearts and Minds (1974) Script

When the Second World War was over, we were the one great power in the world.

The Soviets had a substantial military machine, but they could not touch us in power.

We had this enormous force that had been built up.

We had the greatest fleet in the world.

We'd come through the war economically sound.

And I think that, in addition to feeling a sense of responsibility, we also began to feel... the-the sense of a world power, that possibly we could control the future of the world.


Our vision of progress is not limited to our own country.

We extend it to all the peoples of the world.

Military action in Indochina.

French regulars land along the coast in search of roving communist bands.

For France, it represents a tremendous sacrifice... of manpower and financial resources.

Without American help, the burden would be too great.

I do not expect that there is going to be a communist victory in Indochina.


I affirm that Secretary Dulles... offered me two atomic bombs.

Two, uh...

Neither one, neither three. Two.

If Indochina goes, several things happen right away.

The Accra Peninsula, the little bit of end hanging on down there... would be scarcely defensible.

The tin and the tungsten... that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming.

We don't see the end of the tunnel, but, uh, I must say...

I don't think it's darker than it was a year ago, in some ways lighter. Yes?

So we must be ready to fight in Vietnam, but the ultimate victory will depend upon the hearts... and the minds of the people who actually live out there.

Throughout the war in Vietnam, the United States has exercised a degree of restraint... unprecedented in the annals of war.


There was just one thing, one small word that enabled myself and my buddies... to stay alive those many years.

That one thing was faith.

Faith in my family, my God and my country.

I remembered high school. I remembered playing sports there.

And I can remember my coach saying...

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going, because winners never quit and quitters never win."

Why did I go to Vietnam?

I will have to go back to 1965, when I was 22 years old.

At that time, communism was once again trying to muscle its way... into a free country.

That would assert that there's a majority of people in that country... that want to be communist.

Why do they need us then?

Because they were subjected to, uh, military attack from outside.

Uh, the, uh...

Are you really asking me this goddamn silly question?

You really want me to go into this? Yes.

I mean... I mean, you know, we really got to go back to...

You just want me to go back to the origins of this thing then.

All right, I'll do it, but this is pretty pedestrian stuff, I must say, at this late stage of the game.

Honestly it is.

I'll do it. All right.

There's disagreement about the origins. No, there's not.

No, there's not. There's no doubt.

All right, I'll answer your question, you can throw away that tape.

I didn't expect to have to go back to this kind of sophomoric stuff, but I'll do it.

The problem, uh, began, uh, in its present phase, after the Sputnik, the launch of the Sputnik in 1957, October.

This opened a phase of not well-coordinated, but universally optimistic and hopeful communist enterprise... in many parts of the world.

Renewed hostile actions... against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin... have today required me to order military forces of the United States... to take action in reply.

We always hesitate in public to use the word "lie" but a lie is a lie.

I mean, it's a misrepresentation of fact.

And it's supposed to be a criminal act if its done under oath.

Mr. Johnson didn't say it under oath, he just said it.

We don't usually have the president under oath.

There are those who ask why this responsibility should be ours.

The answer, I think, is simple.

There is no one else who can do the job.

If necessary, I am ready to go back.

We all must be ready.

You must have the political, economic and philosophical courage to send me... or do whatever you think is necessary.

I must be ready to go. If I did well, it is only because Linden did well in bringing me up... and making me into a man.

If I served the military well, it is only because the military trained me to be a good officer.

If I am a good American, it is only because America brought me up to be a good American.

Three, two, one...

It was a sight to touch the heart of the most callous.

Lieutenant George Coker was back in Linden, New Jersey, the hero of the day.

Three thousand people turned out to greet him. Schools were closed... and streets were blocked as the young former prisoner of war... walked on a red carpet to the steps of city hall.

Mike is still open. Two, one...

I'm from Duncan, Oklahoma, which is about 90 miles south of here.

And, uh, and I lived around several places... uh, Missouri, Chicago, Detroit, uh, Germany, Uh... by the time I got out of high school, I was very conservative.

We have, in Duncan high school... we bought... the high school had bought a, uh...

Excuse me... a John Birch package on communism.

So we studied communism via the John Birch Society, the big red map with the flowing out of the disease and so forth, and-and learned how Karl Marx was a very cruel man... and used to, uh, make his family suffer and so forth.

Uh, so when I got out of high school, I thought basically that, um, Teddy Roosevelt's what this country needed, and F.D.R. had kind of sold us down the drain to the commies.

The communist conspiracy is a deliberate and predictable plan of action... to subvert the world.

Mosinee, Wisconsin, in a unique Mayday object lesson, shows what could happen here if communism took over.

The unyielding chief of police is liquidated by American Legionnaires... portraying Red trigger men.

A grim demonstration of what subversion could lead to, Mosinee's Mayday serves as a sharp warning to all democratic communities.

It's an international, criminal conspiracy.

Before we know it, we're gonna turn our backs around someday, the whole United States, we're gonna turn around and see nothing but V. C... or not V.C., but communism... we're gonna turn around and say, "What happened?"

People just walking in with riots, drugs, you name it.

They're tearing us down from the inside out.

In 1917, when the communists overthrew the Russian government, there was 1 communist for every 2,277 persons... in Russia.

In the United States today, there is one communist... for every 1,814 persons in this country.

If we lose Indochina, Mr. Jenkins, we will lose the Pacific, and we'll be an island in a communist sea.

Go ahead, how does it go? Oh, mother.

I swear that I am not now... or ever have been a member of the communist party.

Feel better?

Of course, when it gets down to communism, uh, I've been fighting communism since 1951, actually.

I was looked at, you know, the American fighting man, as being, uh, you know, like a warrior of sorts, you know, due to my background, the way my mother brought me up.

She always spoke of the warrior societies of our tribe... and of the different tribes around us and how that these men... always had to work to gain the respect of the people around them... and how they had to live, uh, more or less a life dictated to them... by the society that they belonged to, and it was extremely hard.

I-I looked around and from listening to my uncles and a lot of my relations... they had been in the Marine Corps... and they always told me that... the Marine Corps was the hardest service to cope with physically and mentally.

And I naturally wanted to be the best at that time, and I looked at the Marine Corps as being the elite of the elite, the warrior society in the United States.

Now it might sound cliché-ish to say that, "My country, may it always be right, but right or wrong, my country."

But that's how I felt back in '67.

And during my senior year, I said I've got an obligation to serve.

I've got to fulfill it.

There's no reason physically why I would be exempted, and therefore, I'm gonna enlist.


What you got there? Picture.

Picture? How much picture?

Three thousand? I go beaucoup hungry. I sell 3,000.

You go here, too much money. I buy watch for 1,500.

No, you sell to me? You lie. You lie, you die.

You give massage? What else you give? Yes.

Huh?

I buy you one beer, okay? You-You buy me one beer?

No, no. No money. Go home, mama-san.

Please, go home, mama-san.

No. Go home, mama-san.

No. Go home, mama-san. Okay? No. Go home, mama-san.

You will like. No. No.

Huh?

How much? One thousand.

You? Ah, it's too much. Beaucoup.

Yeah, for sure. No, no good.


We thought of ourselves, I think, as trying to defeat communists.

Defeat... Accepting a view of, uh... the Walt Rostow kind of view... of covert aggression of some kind.

The kind of view that enabled you to think of the conflict... in, really, World War II terms.

That was an unquestioned assumption.

It had an idealistic flavor to it, but it was the underpinning of an imperial policy, basically.

I shared the assumption, very easily, and felt it as an idealistic one really.

We were doing something for them.

I recall that I was in the New York area at the time, and I stopped by to see General MacArthur, who I had known for several years.

Uh, when he greeted me, he made, uh, quite a prophetic statement.

He said, "Westmoreland, I-I see you have a new job."

He said, "I hope you appreciate that this new assignment... is filled with opportunities, but fraught with hazards."

And indeed, uh, this was a prophetic statement.


It can be described much like, uh... a-a-a singer doing an aria... that's totally into what he's doing, you know, totally feeling it.

He knows the aria, and he's experiencing the aria.

And he knows his limits, and he knows whether he's doing it and doing it well.

Flying an aircraft can be a great deal like that.

What's a race driver feel like?

Why does a guy want to drive in the Indianapolis 500?

I guess, perhaps, the risk of dying, being killed is part of it that makes it thrilling.

I can tell when the aircraft feels right, when it's about to stall.

I can tell when I cant pull another fraction of a pound... or the airplane will stall, flip out and spin on me.

I would follow a pathway on something like a TV screen in front of me... that would direct me right, left or center... follow the steering, keep the steering symbol, uh, centered.

I'd see a little attack light when we'd stepped into attack.

I could pull the "commit" switch on my stick, and the computer took over.

A computer figured out the ballistics, the airspeed, the slant range... and dropped the bombs when we got to the appropriate point, in whichever kind of attack we'd selected, whether it was flying straight and level or tossing our bombs out.

So it was very much of a technical expertise thing.

I was a good pilot, you know. I had, uh, uh, I had a lot of pride in my ability to fly.

You're up there doing something that, uh, mankind has only dreamed of; the flying, especially at night, in an aircraft.

The A-6 is one of the few that can really do it the way we did it.

Um, a World War II aviator would not even dream of doing the things we did.

It's definitely the ultimate in aviation.

Almost everybody has blown off firecrackers.

The thrill you get when you see something explode as a child, or even as an adult almost.

You put something in the can and watch the can blow up in the air.

And the excitement, the sense of excitement, especially if you're getting shot at, is just incredible.

You get there, have a real good mission, hit your target, find out later your target was totally destroyed, that it wasn't one of these misses or almost, you got it.

And come back and make a night carrier landing recovery. Uh, that's fantastic.

To say it's thrilling, yes, it's deeply satisfying.

The planes again.

Are they American or Vietnamese?

I don't know whose they are. Just airplanes.

What was this here?

I used to raise pigs here, right there.

Where was the kitchen?

The kitchen was here. They built it with bricks.

This was the floor. And this was for the heat.

What's that?

That is the bomb crater.

The bombs dropped there and destroyed everything I had.

An older sister died, and I've another older sister left.

Yes, there were just the three of us. But then one died.

And I'm supposed to live in a house over there.

But now it's just a heap of rubble.

How old was your sister?

Seventy-eight.

What did she die of?

Bombs. Bombs were dropped here the other day, and they killed her.

I'm so unhappy.

My sister died and I've got no home left.

I've moved in with my sister here.

I've been wounded.

I can't do anything for a living now. I'm old and weak.

I've got nothing to sell. Nothing to do.


Mm.

You really just don't have time for personal thoughts... when you're up there flying around at 500, 600 miles an hours.

You might call it an electronic war in a certain way.

I didn't have time to think about anything else.

If you wanted to later, you might. But it was all business.

It's, um, just strictly professionalism.

We had a job to do and we did it.

Never could see the people. You never could see...

Occasionally you saw the houses when you were bombing around a village... or bombing in a village.

Uh, you never heard the explosion.

You never saw any blood or any screams. It was very clean.

You're doing a job.

You're an expert at what you do.

I was a technician.

Everything just collapsed under the bombs.

Everything just caved in.

It's like a bird and its nest.

The way things are with the house in the rubble, the bird comes home and finds no nest.

Where am I to find a place to sit and work for something to eat?

Even a bird needs a nest it can go back to, crawl into for sleep and food.


Look, they're focusing on us now.

First they bomb as much as they please, then they film.

We fought against the Chinese for 12 centuries.

We fought against the French for 100 years.

And finally, when the war was lost by the French in 1954... at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnamese were liberated from foreign oppression.

But it was at that precise moment that the Americans came to Vietnam.

Little by little at first. Then more and more as an invasion, an invasion of the American army.

Five hundred thousand of them in Vietnam.

And this war became a war of genocide.

The people of North Vietnam and South Vietnam... fight only for freedom, independence and national unity.

This war is a war against the American imperialists.

This is our war for independence.

What we are trying to put across this afternoon is to get you to realize... that these weren't mythical, hazy people from the past.

These were very real people.

When they rose up against the most powerful army in the world, they were actually putting everything on the line that they had:

Their homes, their wealth, their past and their future.

That all men are created equal.

That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.

That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

And when you judge the Revolution and the problems and the success we had, it was a two-way street.

A good many citizens at the time of the Revolution... actually stayed and fought with the British.

It was close to being a civil war in many areas.

You actually split many-many families.

Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of revolution is..." or "The tree of liberty is... watered by the blood of revolution every generation."

And I think that's a little exaggerated, but there's some truth to that.

The war had come to Westchester County, but so too had independence and a new responsibility.

Men are getting killed, men are killing. That's the parallel.

As far as politics, are you kidding?

Oriental politics? Don't put me on, man.

Fire!

We haven't found his weapon yet. We're still looking for it.

You got a weapon? No, sir.

He had one, man. This guy's got ammo.

I'm planning to medivac this guy.

The people who are living in the jungle, under the bombs, without pay, without their families, are doing so because they are fighting for independence.

Because they're fighting, in this case, for unification... and they're fighting for revolution.

Of course, the name for a conflict... in which you're opposing a revolution is counter-revolution.

And this is something we never admitted to ourselves at all.

It's-It's what we were really doing.

The letters and the reports we had... on Ho Chi Minh's attitude back in 1946... he wrote I think it was seven letters to this government and received no reply.

The-The-The pathos, almost, the sadness...

Here's a man who felt and believed the United States... would be sympathetic to his purpose of gaining his independence... from a colonial power.

And then to find we... You know, this is what he'd read.

He'd been here, read our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

He thought surely the United States would be interested.

We had testimony in the committee that his one worry... was that it was so insignificant...

Vietnam was so far away, insignificant... we would never bother about it.

It's too small to ever attract the attention of the United States.

He was sure in his own mind... that if we ever put our minds in focus upon it, we would be for him.

How different history would have been for us and for them... if we had felt a common interest... in the colonial province like Vietnam... seeking its independence from France.

The Ho Chi Minh of '56, I don't think could have got elected dogcatcher in South Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh, uh, dead...

Could beat any candidate we've ever put up in Vietnam.

You asked me about my oldest son Bing.

He was a graduate of Harvard, 1965.

And he was not a soldier at heart.

Uh, but he realized, I'm sure, there's no question, he realized he was part of a big job that had to be done, and he was gonna do it the way he did everything... full out.

And he went out on this mission... Minh River... and it was a big assault mission bringing elements... to this area just south of Da Nang along the railroad line.

And they encountered heavy, sustained, uh, automatic weapons fire.

And the helicopter ahead of him, I believe, was, uh, uh, destr... was shot down.

And then he went in and his helicopter was, uh, uh...

He was actually killed in flight. That's what they...

And the airplane crashed, and he and his co... He was killed.

His copilot was very badly injured.

And I think there were 12 out of 15 or 16 of the people aboard... were either killed or badly hurt.

Many bombs, many coffins.

These are for children.

Eight or nine hundred a week. I have lost seven children myself.

Many have died here.

It's nothing like in the countryside. Many more have died there.

In the country, there are no coffins. There's no money to buy them.

How did all the children die?

Poison. Poison, you know.

These planes keep spouting and spraying the stuff, and so many people have died.

It seems to destroy their intestines.

With this spraying and bombing, so many have died.

Each day, right on time, the bomb craters appear.

Hundreds of tons are dropped each day.

And we can't talk about it. We can't talk about it... because we are afraid of the government.

Come on.

You look nice. How do you feel?

What'd you do?

Uh, shaved.

I liked it better long.

So what you been doing?

In little more than a week, I'll be going back to the military.

You what?

Why? Well...

After what they've done to you?

Well, it's... it's a choice between that... or, uh, Canada, again.

Or, uh, staying underground.

Which is, uh, as you know, impossible...

Have you been in contact with them? No.

No. But I've got a lot of support.

You'll get the same deal Mike's getting.

It's going to be a different type thing. I'm going back publicly.

We're having, uh, Ad Hoc Congressional Hearings.

Yeah?

It's really been building up over the past couple of months.

And... Am I going to be able to be there?

Of course you're going to be there. I'm gonna try to get Ronnie there, too.

"Cause you know what I feel about the army.

These people holding their heads high because they lost a son... in Vietnam or something.

I don't think that's much to be proud of.

They've lost more than they'll ever gain for the rest of their lives.

And I remember I was sitting at the base of the hill, and I was on one of the tanks.

And I had an M-16, and I had stacks of magazines.

And there were two guys, you know, that were going through, like, some grass and bam!

I dinged in on one of 'em, and I nailed him, you know.

And the Aussie with me confirmed, you know, that I dinged him.

And I felt good. And I wanted more.

And it wasn't that I wanted more for politics or anything like that.

No. I couldn't of cared if they were whatever.

I just wanted them because they were the opposition, the enemy.

Stinking little savages. Wipe 'em out, I say.

Wipe 'em out. Wipe 'em off the face of the earth!

Will we ever understand these Eastern races?

Hit me, Poon Soon.

You hideous yellow monster!

I wanted to go out and kill some gooks, you know?

I-I really... I-I don't know. I guess I had been totally brainwashed, because I could remember when people used to call me "blanket ass"... or "chief" and they still did, you know?

I think my name was, uh, Ira Hayes in boot camp.

Either Ira Hayes or squaw, depending on what mood the drill instructor was in.

But there I was, you know, saying I wanted to go kill some gooks.

They were instructed to remove the eyes of the individual... and place them in a hole in the middle of the back, and that would say to the Vietnamese, you have to understand, uh, that whoever did that was ubiquitous.

In other words, the eye being the symbol of ubiquity, uh, or of all-present, all-powerfulness on the part of the Saigon government.

Which is an easy message for the local villagers to get.

In fact, the American advisors didn't have that much of a stomach for it.

So they used to use CBS logos.

You know, the eye of CBS?

And they would kill the individual and then they would leave him... with kind of a calling card on him.

At one point, I was invited to go along on an airborne interrogation... in a helicopter with the marines northwest of Da Nang.

And they took along two Vietnamese.

And one was already reduced by beatings with a rubber hose... and some other methods of, uh, beating and torture... to the point where he couldn't talk, he couldn't respond.

As an example to the one they wanted to question, they'd say, "If you don't tell us what we want to know, we're gonna throw you out of the helicopter."

And, uh, he couldn't respond. He didn't understand.

They were using, uh, pigeon Vietnamese, which he didn't understand.

It was more English than Vietnamese.

They'd run him up to the helicopter... two hefty E.M. were along... they'd take him by each elbow and run him up to the door of the helicopter.

They'd do this three or four times. He was reduced to whimpering and crying.

And they finally, um, uh, told him that this was the last run.

He still responded the same way, and they winged him out of the helicopter.

The second fellow immediately started to babble.

Anything he could tell them.

Any kind of information he could give them for one goal.

And that was to reach the ground alive again.

I just can't see in my mind somebody throwing somebody out of a helicopter.

I don't believe this kind of stuff happened. Maybe it did. I don't know.

I never saw it, put it that way.

I've seen G.I.'s get mad and, uh, uh, rather than shoot one of these dinks, uh, just punch him right out, yeah, with his hands.

Americans say Vietnamese are just slant-eyed savages.

The Vietnamese have 5,000 years of history.

We fight against the invaders. It is not we who are the savages.

I don't know where they are. That's the worst thing.

Right around and run into the sewers and the gutters, anywhere.

They can be anywhere. Just hopin' you can stay alive from day to day.

I just want to go back home and go to school. That's about it.

Have you lost any friends? Quite a few.

We lost one the other day. The whole thing stinks.

The dude in the foxhole with me, he was dead.

And, like, here come the jets. Everybody's, "Yay, jets! Do it to 'em.

Get these motherfuckers off our ass." You know.

'Cause they were diggin' in our behind real good.

And, like, the jet came in and "Yay, jet, get 'em."

And you see 'em swoopin' all around. "Yay, jet, get 'em."

And he came over that way and let it go, and you say, "Uh-oh."

And you could see it's napalm cannister, because you can tell 'em.

They spin asshole over head, backwards as they're tumbling through the air.

And the thing is just tumbling down. You know it's coming right at you.

You know. And, like, wow. The napalm hit, I grabbed this dude, just put him up over my head in the hole like that.

Fuckin' napalm went down the whole line. Just creamed everybody in the line.

Thirty-five dudes, man, just burnt. Post-toasty to the bitter, you dig?

And that napalm was just drippin' on both sides of this dude.

He's dead, you know. I'm just holdin' him up, using him as a shield.

I just chunked this dude off of me and just sprung out of the hole.

I didn't know which way I was going outside of back, you dig?

And just ran through. Burned my pants off.

Spent the rest of the battle running with no drawers. My stuff hanging out.

You ever try to fight a battle without any drawers on, man?

Awful sick of it. I'll be so glad to go home.

I don't know. It's the worst area we've been in since I've been in Vietnam.

You think it's worth it?

Yeah. I don't know. They say we're fighting for something. I don't know.

I was at a very kind of sobering thing last night.

Memorial service for four men in the second squadron... who were killed the other day.

One of them being a medic.

And, uh, the place was just packed.

And we sang three hymns and had a nice prayer.

I turned around, looked at their faces, and they were...

I was just proud. My-My, uh, feeling for America... just soared because of their...

The way they looked. They looked determined... and-and-and reverent at the same time.

But still they're a bloody good bunch of killers.

"When you go forth to war against your enemies... and see horses and chariots in an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid."

Well, let's not anybody be so naive as to think we're here, in any way, to worship football.

Nor are we here, as I'm sure many people believe, to pray for a victory.

We believe in victory.

We believe it will come to the team that's best prepared.

This is serious business that we're involved in.

And that's religious, and God cares.

There are going to be men made tonight.

And that's religious, and God cares about that.

We're concerned about the big game.

But we're also concerned about the bigger game, the biggest game of all that surrounds us: The game of life.

May you be winners.

Winners in the big game.

But even more importantly, winners in the biggest game of all, which we all play. Let us pray.

That's a touchdown.

Because we got our kids geared to crack like hell.

Holding, number 37.

You got to tell them they're number one, no matter what.

You're number one.

Wow. Why don't you just say "wow"?

Say what? 'Toy hoy" means "wow"?

Toy hoy? Yeah.

Like, toy hoy means, like, wow, you know?

Look at the hickeys I gave this chick. You gave her hickeys?

Yeah. I can imagine. Where?

Uh, one on each side.

It's a place where she can't hide 'em. Oh, really?

See, this one? I gave her this one.

And this one, this is the first one right there.

It came out kind of nasty, you know.

And... No can do, I know. Maybe he's dead.

He's not dead. Wake him up. No can wakey up.

Why?

Wakey him up. He no hard. Huh? Why he's no hard?

Uh-huh. 'Cause you no wake him up.

Hey, Charles. You getting anything out of yours?

This one's, uh, kind of sour on me, you know? Uh...

Well, keep her going, man. Huh?

Keep her going. I'm trying to.

You know what it is about these chicks down here, like, they're, uh... Well, what would you want to do... except for, you know, have a ball with them.

And, uh... Right? Right.

You're number one.

This one's got a set of knockers, man.

This one does, too, but she won't take her goddamn bra off.

Take it off for her.

Take it off for her?

That's the name of the game. Here, you don't want this.

I know. I know what you want.

Hey. Hey, Charles. Charles. What?

Yeah? It's about time.

Ah, you don't be mad at me, okay?

It took you long enough, you know that?

Oh, yeah. Check it out, baby. Check it out later, man.

Check it out later? Mm!

You know, if my chick at home could see this now, man, she'd flip.


One more. Yeah, this man here.

Hurry up down that tunnel.

Let's make a quick check and let's go.

Okay, well, hurry it up and check it out quickly.


Some people enjoy it, some don't.

Some just go out and do it as a job. It's a daily grind.

What is it for you? I enjoy it.

Now I know that he will have a very important message for each one of us, so I want you all to listen very attentively... to what he has to say to you.

Lieutenant Coker. If you ever have to go to a war, and unfortunately, someday you probably will have to fight a war, you'll find out that life becomes very simple.

Because the only thing you're concerned about is living and dying.

Everything else is unimportant, because suddenly your life is at stake.

And that's what it's like to be when you become a prisoner, particularly, a prisoner of war.

Because the thing that got us through were the things we learned... before we were ten years old.

I'd like to open up to questions now.

Just raise your hand or yell it out and you can ask any question you want.

And I'll do the best I can to answer them.

How did you feel when the Vietnam war was over?

How did I feel when the war was over?

I felt real good. Real good.

It was a long war and a very difficult war to understand.

But the reason we went there was to win this war.

I volunteered to go. I'd go again if I had to.

And we wanted to win. That was our number one ambition.

That's what we really wanted, was to win this war.

And it took us a long time. So when we knew that we had won, we felt great; we really felt great.

What did Vietnam look like? What did Vietnam look like.

Well, if it wasn't for the people, it was very pretty.

Uh, the people over there are very backward and very primitive.

And they just make a mess out of everything.

How did you... How did you, um...

What do you feel about the people that, um, went and burned their draft cards and went into Canada?

We don't agree with them. I think these people were legally wrong.

I think sometimes they were cowards.

If they wanted to leave and go to Canada, that's okay.

But they can't come back, though, because they have disagreed.

They say, "We don't like your country, we don't like your people."

They're saying that to you and me.

"I don't like you, so I'm leaving."

Well, fine, that's okay. There's no reason to hate a guy for that.

'Cause that's also his right, but he can't come back.

Instead of helping and aiding the Vietnamese people, I saw that we were party to their deliberate and systematic destruction.

The Vietnamese were considered, less than humans, inferiors.

We called them "gooks," "slopes."

Their lives weren't worth anything to us because we'd been taught to believe... that they were all fanatical and that they were all V. C... or V.C. sympathizers, even the children.

Many of us, however, began to understand... through our personal experiences in Vietnam... the depth of the lies and deceptions practiced upon us, and the American people, by our country's leaders.

It was they who trained us to kill without question... and to hate our enemy... the Vietnamese.

They concocted such phrases as "kill ratios", "search and destroy", "free fire zones", "secure areas", and so on... to mask the reality of their combat policy in Vietnam.

I make no apology for this act of resistance.

I could do nothing else at the time.

But underground life has become intolerable to me.

So I'm here today to draw attention to the true facts concerning my case... and the cases of tens of thousands just like me.

We are not criminals to be hunted and imprisoned.

Over a half million of us have deserted the military since 1965.

Most of us have already returned to the military... to be punished with jail and bad discharges... that will be carried around for the rest of our lives.

And it is a supreme irony to be prosecuted by the very same men... who planned and executed a genocidal war in Indochina.

Now, inside this hearing room, Eddie Sowders has surrendered himself.

Urged on, he says, by a hand-to-mouth underground existence... that still nags at many of his fellow deserters... who continue to look over their shoulders.

Paul Udell, NBC News, Washington.

How was your sound? One more time.

Let me respectfully tell the American people... that this is their dirtiest and longest war.

The Vietnamese fight only in self-defense.

Ultimately, the Americans will see the light.

If not, they will defeat themselves.

You know, Vietnam, uh, reminded me of a... of a child, the developing of a child.

The laws of nature control the development of this child.

A child has to sit up before it crawls.

It has to crawl before it walks.

It has to walk before it runs.

No matter how many decades America fights,

I'm telling you so that you will go back and repeat it to President Nixon.

Over here, as long as there is rice to eat, we'll keep fighting.

And if the rice runs out, then we'll plow the fields and fight again.

I know very little about it over there, I'll tell ya.

And the less I know, the better off I'll be.

It has not affected me a whole lot.

I mean, the American... The way of life is still here.

And if you work for it, it's there for you.

We're taught that we're to obey our government, and I would have to go if I was instructed to.

Once in a while, I think about it, but I like to think about the things that are happening right now to me.

I don't it's affected mine at all.

I don't even know who we're fighting for over there, to be real honest with you.

I think we're fighting for the North Vietnamese, ain't we?

I fled from Dau Tien to go live in Suoi Dua.

Then I was allowed to go back, and I went back... and stayed in Ben Chua.

While I was in Ben Chua, trouble broke out again.

So I was taken up to Co Tach.

I was picked up again and sent to Ben Chua... to be lumped together with the others.

My house burned down while I was away.

Once more, I got sent to Co Tach.

I've fled five, six, at least seven times already.

The lives of my countrymen are worth no more than that of a fly.

You take it and swat it dead... just like that.


Ladies, listen to me.

There were some women amusing themselves and one pushed the other onto a table.

The lady's falsies broke the table in two.

If a table breaks, think of what would happen to a man's face.

Watch it, they're filming. Don't joke.

People in America will think we're ridiculous.

We have about 15 companies now, including an insurance company and a tractor company.

We are in the hotel business, in the travel agency business.

We are the exclusive dealer for Ford in the country, Ford cars.

Oh, many, many other things, like, uh, an oil company in the forming.

We, uh, have a bottling company. In other words, uh, we greatly... we greatly believe in the future of this country, and, uh, we think there's a great future for Vietnam.

And, uh, we think that Vietnam will be liveable, will not go communist, because otherwise, all these companies will go to waste.

And the way we work is we take a calculated risk.

If we don't lose South Vietnam within the next three to five years, then nobody can catch up with us.

I'm a Johnny-come-lately as far as war profiteering is concerned.

Uh, the reason why I... uh, organized this group of companies is because when I was in Paris, I saw that peace was coming, whether we liked it or not.

Therefore, I got home in order to prepare for peace.

All these companies have been organized in order to prepare for peace... and prepare for the economic takeoff that will come with peace.

We have the infrastructure of hotels, of travel agencies and things like that.

But, of course, there are no tourists in Vietnam now. But there will be.

And, uh, we are getting ready for that sort of thing.

Does it feel comfortable?


Keep it flat. Just like you do with your good leg.

Now try to walk.

Well, it really isn't that much. We were just walking and...

We were walking on a patrol and, uh, we ran into an ambush.

About six, seven guys really got hurt.

Ran into a battalion ambush, they said it was.

And it was supposed to be one of the biggest ambushes of Tet season.

And we called in two or three medivacs, and they got hit.

So, finally, the last one came in and got us out.

From that, I never saw any of the others I was with, except for one or two.

And that was about it.

Most of the guys I keep in touch with are guys in the hospital.

They usually have a reunion once a year.

That's about it. There's really not that much to talk about.

Here we are for one thing that we said, and I don't give a shit now.

I don't care about the football game now.

I don't care about anything now.

The one thing that we wanna show these bastards with Masillon pride... is that we come down and show 'em a great Masillon effort.

And what the piss you doing? What are ya doing?

Get going! Goddamn it, Tony!

Don't let 'em beat us! Don't let 'em beat us!

Let's go! Show 'em Masillon pride.

Come on! Go! Go!

Go, go, go, go!

Get him! Get him!

Make no mistake about it.

I don't want a man in here...

To go back home thinking otherwise.

We are going to win.


Go, motherfucker! Go!

Since the Lunar New Year, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese have proved they are capable... of bold and impressive military moves... that Americans here never dreamed could be achieved.

Whether the Vietcong can sustain this onslaught long remains to be seen, but whatever turn this war now takes, the capture of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon for seven hours... will be a story to rally and inspire the Vietcong.

Don North, ABC news, at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

I know that, as was the case in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, that after the enemy exposed himself, we would defeat him.

He would be weakened, and we could follow that up.

Through the use of, uh, the maximum military force that we could bring to bear on him, through the bombing, through the mining of the harbors, through the cutting of his lines of communication, by moving in and cleaning out his sanctuaries, the enemy would have no choice... but to come to some accommodation.

In the beginning of 1968, General Westmoreland needed 206,000 more troops.

We met hour after hour after hour in the Pentagon.

And I started in and asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "How long do you think that we'll still be in the war?"

None of them knew.

"Uh, do you think that the 206,000 men will be enough?"

Nobody knew.

"Uh, might we have to send more men?" "Well, possibly."

"Well, in six months?" "We don't know."

"A year? Eighteen months?"

I couldn't get answers to these questions.

By the end of that four-day interrogation, I was getting down... by the end of it... into very serious questions, "Do any of you men, as you look at it objectively, do you find any diminution in the will of the enemy to fight?"

Well, they said, "No, we guess we don't."

"Are they sending the same number of men down through the Ho Chi Minh trail?"

"Well, yes, and even they might be a little more."

"And how about our bombing? We've placed great reliance on our bombing.

Is our bombing stopping them?" "No."

"Well, what is the amount of attrition that our bombing's causing?"

"Well, maybe 10 to 15 percent."

So I remember asking one question.

"If a North Vietnamese field commander in South Vietnam needed 1,000 men..."

They said, "Yes."

"If he asked for, say, 1,200 men, 1,000 would get through?"

"Well, that's right."

'then he'd have the thousand he needed." "Well, yes. That's so."

Well, this type of interrogation... Finally, by the end of four or five days, I must say that my thinking... had undergone a very substantial revolution.

Come on, everybody!

As long as the American President... is commander in chief... of the biggest war machine in human history, with bases on every continent, we are going to get into trouble.

Our enemy is the growing militarization of American life.

Our enemy is American imperialism.

And there is an awakening.

The enemy was on the ropes after the Tet offensive was over.

And it's like two boxers in the ring.

One boxer has the other one on the ropes, but the man who is about to be the victor... has his second throw the towel in.

Accordingly, I shall not seek... and I will not accept... the nomination of my party for another term as your president.

I don't think we helped 'em one bit.

All I think we've done is destroyed their country, laid it waste.

No. I don't think we helped 'em.

As fellow human beings, I don't think they should be there doing that.

Certainly a mature person can say they made a mistake.

Why can't a government?

You let us all go off to war and said, "Yea, team. Fight in Vietnam," and all this kinda shit in 1965 through 1968.

Now 1968 comes along and "Boo, team. Come on home," and all this shit.

"And don't say nothin' about it, 'cause we don't want to hear about it...

'cause it's upsetting around dinnertime."

Well, Goddamn. It upset me for a whole goddamn year.

It upset a lot of people to the point where they're fuckin' dead, you know?

All this shit. You don't wanna hear about it? I'll tell you every day.

Make you sit out and puke on your dinner, you dig?

Because you got me over there, and now you done brought me back here... and you wanna forget it so somebody else can go do it somewhere else.

Hell no. Uh-uh. You gonna hear it all.

Every day as long as you live, because it's gonna be with me as long as I live.

When I get up in the morning, when John gets up, when a lot of dudes sitting here get up, man, their gut hurts because they got shot there.

I gotta put on an arm and a leg, 'cause it ain't there no more, you dig?

Now, my man's got a hole in his stomach. He can't work right, you know?

You do something about that. Make that all disappear, you dig?

Make it all go away with the 6:00 news.

Turn it off or switch it to another channel.

Uh-Uh. To hell with that, you dig? It's here and it's for real.

And it's gonna happen again unless these folks get off their ass... and realize it has happened.

The country is ready to pass a reasoned judgment on this war.

The people have judged, I think, that it's unwise and immoral... and not in the national interest of this country... and that, therefore, it must be brought to an end.

For 20 years, first the French, and then the United States... had been predicting victory in Vietnam.

In 1961 and in 1962, as well as 1966 and 1967, we have been told that the tide is turning, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we can soon bring our troops home, victory is near, the enemy is tiring.

Once, in 1962, I participated in such a prediction myself.

But for 20 years, we have been wrong.

The history of conflict among nations... does not record another such lengthy and consistent chronicle of error... as we have shown in Vietnam.

I had just given the policy line, stayed up all night with Adam Walinsky and Peter Edelman, helping on a speech for Robert Kennedy... which proved to be his last speech given in San Francisco here... to a businessman's luncheon on Vietnam.

Uh, I went up with some corrections last thing in the morning... and shook hands with him in his bathrobe as he stood there.

And then he came down from the Ambassador Hotel and got into a car.

We were struck with how easy it was to get onto that floor... and approach him at that point.

At the conference on lessons on Vietnam, of course, in the morning I learned that Robert Kennedy had died.

Well...

So...

So, uh...

Well, that was a way for a lot of people to feel powerless.

So, um, it began to look as if there was no way to change this country.


We'd been going down this road for so many years, and I had felt so strongly before that this was the right policy, that it was difficult for me to change.

I know now that the domino theory was a false theory.

I know now that we should not have become involved.

As far as I'm concerned today, I have no hesitancy whatsoever... in saying I could not have been more wrong... in my attitude toward Vietnam.

Ground combat, Vietnamese cross of gallantry with a silver star, gallantry in ground combat, four air medals, an "I was there" ribbon.

I got a colonel that's flying upstairs, and he's gettin' down on me... and he's saying, 'take the hill, take the hill, take the hill."

So I got together with the tank commander... and I said, "Look, let's take three tanks... and we'll walk the A.R.V.N. Up the hill, you know?

And we'll lay down a base of fire as we're going."

He says, "Okay." I got with the A.R.V.N. And says, "Let's fly."

So I popped up behind the lead tank... and, uh, started to go up the hill.

And everything was cool, until we started taking fire.

And, uh, the A.R.V.N. started to split.

And that's when I got it.

I said, "Oh, my God. I'm hit." I couldn't believe it, you know?

"I can't believe it. I'm really hit."

And my first, first thought... was Kay, my girl, you know?

It's gonna sound stupid, but I'm... but my thought was "she'll kill me."

You know, here I was dying and I was worried that she was gonna kill me.

But then I realized that I didn't have to worry because I was dying.

It's all over. And for what, you know?

My last... My last conscious thought... was "I can't believe it. I'm dying.

On this shitty piece of ground, I'm dying... and I can't fuckin' believe it."

Bobby was a surfer, he was a wrestler, he was a long-distance runner.

We danced. He was active. Active, active.

Our whole life was active.

And now they're telling me that he's paralyzed.

He couldn't believe it and I couldn't believe it. Right now...

Bobby's not a boyfriend. He's not a husband. He's not a brother.

It-It's very...

It's very hard.

What hurts the most... and this is a purely personal thing, you know?

Right, wrong or indifferent, that's how I feel.

When I was in the Marine Corps, I remember I was in the Marine Corps barracks in Washington...

They call it "A," "F," and "I."

And they had the Marine Corps drill team there.

And I was standing at attention in my uniform... and they were playing the "Marine Corps Hymn".

And then they played the 'star-Spangled Banner."

And I actually started to cry.

I cried because I was so proud to be an American, you know?

And I was so proud to be a marine... and in uniform, standing there at attention.

That-That represented so much to me... in the way of life and...

That's gone, you know?

And that hurt. That hurts.

That's what I'm bitter about.


Ha! Didn't think we were here, did you, you dirty rotten rats!

We're still here! We'll always be here!


Truman lied from 1950 on... on the nature and purposes of the French involvement, the colonial reconquest of Vietnam... that we were financing and encouraging.

Eisenhower lied about the reasons for... and the nature of our involvement with Diem, and the fact that he was in power, essentially, because of American support, American money, and for no other reason.

Kennedy lied about the type of involvement we were doing there, our own combat involvement, and about the recommendations that were made to him for greater involvement.

President Kennedy lied about... the degree of our participation in the overthrow of Diem.

The, um... Johnson, of course, lied and lied and lied... about our provocations against the North Vietnamese... prior to and after the Tonkin Gulf incidents, about the plans for bombing North Vietnam, and the nature of the buildup... of American troops in Vietnam.

Nixon, as we now know, misled and lied to the American public... for the first months of his office in terms of our bombing of Cambodia... and of Laos, ground operations in Laos, the reasons for our invasion of Cambodia and of Laos, and the prospects for the mining at Haiphong that came about in 1972, but was envisioned as early as 1969.

The American public was lied to month by month... by each of these five administrations.

As I say, it's a tribute to the American public, that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to.

It's no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public.

We have adopted a plan... which we have worked out in cooperation with the South Vietnamese... for the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat ground forces... and their replacement by South Vietnamese forces... on an orderly, scheduled timetable.

This withdrawal will be made from strength and not from weakness.

As South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater.

Congratulations to Battalion 332... on your recent victories over the communists.

We ask ourselves, "When will peace come?"

And I tell you, if you chase the communists back to the north, there won't be any war in this hamlet.

Help rebuild the houses.

Help the people.

Rid the hamlet of all V. C... so there will be no more suffering and destruction... for ourselves and our compatriots.

Oh, my friend.

How you doing? Good to see you again. You just get back?

Yeah. How you doing, men? Very good to see you.

How you doing? Trung, good seeing you.

Good to see you, sir. How you doing? Fine.

Just came in this afternoon, sir. Been very quiet?

Except last time, when the, uh... When the rockets went off?

Yeah.

Very nice. I read about it in Stars And Stripes.

That's one of our success stories here, this battalion is.

We had a real, uh... a lot of trouble with it.

We just gave, uh, four bronze stars... and five Ar-Comms with V-device this week... to a battalion commander and three of his officers and five soldiers.

And we have six N-pac awards... pending for last Saturday night's action... where we killed six V.C. And captured nine weapons.

Good grief.

He had been the recon company commander of the, uh, 263rd... and he'd done a real tremendous job just as recon company commander.

And then they moved him over here.

In a ten-day period or two-week period, he completely reversed it.

They had the battalion here under a very poor major.

They had it to the point where the company commanders... were throwing down their weapons and crying... or at least one of them did.

Ten days later they had a big contact with the V. C... and in 3 days killed 42, lost none of their own.

He does it with a fairly limited staff.

Although some of his people, like that young major there, Major Yuk... tremendous guy.

He just heard his name over there. Hey.

It's no surprise that in a very poor country... you can find people who will wear foreign uniforms.

What has always surprised us, what we've never been willing to predict or understand, is that the Vietnamese communist leadership... can find enough people to live in the tunnels, fight for nothing wearing ragged shorts, year after year under the American bombs.

A war in which one side is entirely financed... and equipped and supported by foreigners... is not a civil war.

The only foreigners in that country... were the foreigners we financed in the first part of the war... and the foreigners we were in the second half of the war.

Basically, we didn't want to acknowledge... the scale of our involvement there.

We didn't want to realize that it was our war, because that would have been to say that every casualty on both sides... was a casualty caused by our policy.

The question used to be "Might it be possible we were on the wrong side... in the Vietnamese War?"

We weren't on the wrong side.

We are the wrong side.

You have exemplified, in your corner of the world, patriotism of the highest order.

You have brought to your great task of organizing your country... the greatest of courage, the greatest of statesmanship.

I had two possibilities.

Either I could submit to Washington's politics...

Every morning, "Yes, sir."

Or I would have to resign.

You can be sure that as a soldier I only submit very rarely.

And, in fact, never.

I chose the second solution, that of resigning.

On the Vietnamese side, I would say the most encouraging factor... is the promise offered by General Khanh's government.

Through a security service in the president's office, we taped all communications with the outside.

All telephone communications.

And fortunately, among these taped telephone communications, I still have the tape from which we can hear precisely...

General Taylor...

stating precisely that he wants me, General Khanh,

to leave Vietnam.

Can you let us hear it?

Certainly. I hope it works.

General Taylor. Uh, this is General Khanh speaking.

How are you? Glad to hear you.

Uh, uh, may I speak in French?


Mr. President and ladies and gentlemen, as our joint communique indicates, President Thieu and I have had very constructive talks... with regard to how we shall work together in the years ahead, working for the program of peace, which we now hope will all be the wave of the future, not only for the Republic of Vietnam, but for all of the countries in Indochina.


What kind of freedom could you preserve here... when you put so many of our compatriots into prison... without any charge, without any reason why?

Just because you want us to have freedom?

What kind of freedom could you give us?

We know that we only have freedom if we fight for it.

But here we fight for what?

We fight for prisons?

People can be arrested at any moment by any organization.

And then tortured in inhuman ways in all the prisons.

And, above all, in police stations.

And then imprisoned for years and years without trial.

Their only crime is loving their country.

They had the courage to tell the truth.

They asked for the liberation of political prisoners.

They asked for an end to the war.

They asked for peace, for national reconciliation.

And all that is considered a crime by the government of Thieu.

I was arrested in 1968.

I was at home when the security police came.

They took me to headquarters for a few questions... and kept me.

You can't imagine how badly I was beaten.

Mostly on the head. My eyes are bad now.

After I was arrested, I was beaten so badly... even now I sometimes have headaches... and nosebleeds and ear-bleeds.

In those days, all we were getting to eat was rotten fish, so we asked for some vegetables.

But when we complained, we were beaten and chained... and lime powder was thrown on us.

And they poured water on us, and we had nowhere to run.

Our cells were this big... and we could do nothing but stand where we were... and get the water and the lime all over us.

Some of us lost our teeth and our hair.

And when the lime got wet, it just boiled up, bubbling all over us.

Our hair fell out and our skin became covered with sores.

They said that if we were innocent, they would beat us until we were guilty, and that if we were guilty, they would beat us until we repent.

In a country where the people don't hold national sovereignty, in a country where the government has proven itself... to be the enemy of the people, the prisoners are the patriots.

And no matter how badly treated we are, still we are proud, because at least we are free, instead of enslaved as so many of the so-called government officials.

And so, you see, when a Vietnamese works for peace and for liberty, he is considered a communist.

It is an honor for the communists to have to work for peace and justice.

So it is the government which gives validity to being a communist, because they continue to say... that the people who work for justice and for peace are communists.

You see?

We were learning to be good soldiers... back when you're three, four, five, six years old.

That's when good ol' mom is telling you to obey the local camp regulations.

In this case, it's the house.

And you start to learn to respect authority.

And so, finally, lo and behold, at 20, 22 years old, you find yourself in service and maybe take that last and final step, where you become quite regimented... in a military form of discipline.

That stuff isn't worth the paper it's written on, if the basis isn't there.

You need that cornerstone that goes back to childhood, and who's teaching you, but good old moms, women like yourselves.

It's terrifying. When you're facing a torture session with a bunch of gooks, it's gonna be pretty darn miserable.

No doubt about it. You're scared. You're really petrified.

But at the other side, you have a bunch of women back there... telling you, "You better do something," you know?

That's the wrath of God. You don't want 100 women climbing down your back, So you figure the gooks aren't so bad.

So you press on.

In many respects, the destiny of our country, and more personally, the destiny of me, your men, your children... is in your hands.

If you are proud of the P.O. W. S and personally of me, then you should be proud of yourselves, because I was what you made me to be.

As for my own view, uh, I thought through as best I could... the meaning of Southeast Asia to the United States in the 1950s, Looking backward and looking forward... in terms of what I know about the dynamics of societies and so on.

And on balance... It is an on-balance judgment...

I came to the judgment that it's a vital interest to the United States.

I've never had any reason to change that judgment.

And, uh, therefore, I, uh, I do believe that what we have done is generally right, although I would have preferred to have seen a different, more decisive military strategy.

Certainly, to me, the day you can say that a sacrifice such as that is not worthwhile... is the day that you've destroyed all your real values... of what is worthwhile and what isn't.

And there's no question in my mind... that he and everybody else that did what he did... there's no sacrifice that is in vain.

Absolutely none. Down the line, that's the price you pay for freedom... and that's the price that you pay for the kind of stature that we have... and it's the kind of risk you take... to preserve the ideals that we have.

He had just a tremendous sense of humor... and just an amazing, instinctive sense of what was important and what wasn't.

I remember when I was getting ready for our oldest daughter's wedding, and I was upset because something or other wasn't going well, and he called up from Pensacola and he said, "How are thing's going?"

And I said, "Fine, Bing, but such-and-such has happened."

He said, "Oh, Mom, don't sweat the small stuff."

You know, it just made all the difference.

I thought, "Gee. That really is small stuff, you know?"

And it was. Yeah.

And it made the whole thing much easier.

And, of course, I came up in a tradition where military service was...

In World War II, there was no question everybody was part of it.

There was not the kind of dissension and so forth... that there has been surrounding the Vietnam thing.

But I think that most of the people of this country... are too busy to get involved deeply... in, uh, uh, on, uh, the kind of things that the dissenters do.

In other words, I think that really the strength of our system, and I think it's a terrific system, is that you do rely on somebody like President Nixon for leadership.

I think his team of people with him are outstanding... and, to me, the leadership that he has shown... and decisions that he has made, uh, really have... They're the kind of decisions...

I would expect from the president of this country.

And the action he has taken is the action I'd expect... from the president of this country.

I think the whole executive, legislative and judicial system that we have is superb.

It has worked many, many... far better than any other system I'm aware of... and brought us to our state of power... and, uh, really, of international stature... that we have a responsibility to stay with and to uphold.

What did your son want to become?

I suspect he would have gone into the newspaper.

He actually had just got a job with the New York Times... when he went into the, uh, O.C.S.

And he'd worked for newspapers in the summer... while he was at college.

I suppose that it's like any pain.

You don't remember pain too well... afterwards.

Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President, dear people.

I'm thrilled to be here with you guys. This is what I like... a captive audience.

It is always the custom at a dinner at the White House... to have a toast to the honored guest.

The difficulty tonight is that there are so many honored guests... that we would be drinking all night and into the day.

Somebody just said, "What's wrong with that?"

The most difficult decision that I have made since being president... was on December the 18th of last year.

There...

And there were many occasions... in the 10-day period after the decision was made... when I wondered whether this country really supported it.

After having met each one of our honored guests this evening... and after having talked to them, I think that all of us... would like to join in a round of applause... for the brave men that took those B-52s in and did the job.


My eight-year-old daughter was killed.

And my three-year-old son.

A son, three years old, killed.

Nixon, murderer of civilians.

What have I done to Nixon so that he comes here to bomb my country?

My daughter died right here.

She was feeding the pigs.

She was so sweet.

She is dead. The pigs are alive.

My mother and my children took shelter here.

Here they died.

The planes came from over there.

No targets here.

Only rice fields and houses.

I'll give you my daughter's beautiful shirt.

Take it back to the United States.

Tell them what happened here.

My daughter is dead.

She will never wear the shirt again.

Throw the shirt in Nixon's face.

Tell them she was only a little schoolgirl.


Well, the Oriental... doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner.

Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient.

And, uh, as the, uh,

philosophy of the, uh, of the Orient, uh, uh, expresses it, uh, uh, life is, uh, is not important.

During the missions, after the missions, the result of what I was doing... the result of this-this game, this, uh, exercise of my technical expertise... never really dawned on me.

That reality of the screams or the people being blown away... or their homeland being destroyed,

uh, just was not a part of what I thought about.


Uh, we, as Americans, have never experienced that.

We've never experienced any kind of devastation.

When I was there, I never saw a child that got burned by napalm.

I didn't drop napalm, but I dropped other things just as bad.

I dropped C.B.U. s, which can't destroy anything.

It's meant for people. It's an antipersonnel weapon.

We used to drop canister upon canister of these things... with 200 tumbling little balls in there about this big around... with something like 600 pellets in each ball... that would blow out as soon as it hit the ground, uh, and shred people to pieces.

They couldn't be gotten out in many cases.

People would suffer. They would live, but they would suffer, you know?

Then often they would die afterwards.

This would cause people to have to take care of them, you know?

But I look at my children now... and, uh, I don't know what would happen if, uh... uh, what I would think about if someone napalmed them.


Do you think we've learned anything from all this?

I think we're trying not to.

I think I'm trying not to sometimes.

I can't even cry easily.

From my, uh, my manhood image.

I think Americans have tried...

We've all tried very hard... to escape what we've learned in Vietnam, to not come to the logical conclusions of what's happened there.

You know, the military does the same thing.

They don't realize that, um, people fighting for their own freedom...

uh, are not gonna be stopped... by just changing your tactics, adding a little bit more sophisticated technology over here, improving the tactics we used last time, not making quite the same mistakes.

Uh, you know, I think history operates a little different than that.

And I think that those kind of forces are not gonna be stopped.

I think Americans have worked extremely hard... not to see, uh, the criminality, uh, that their officials and their policy makers, uh, have exhibited.


Number one! Number one!


It's your country, not a toilet, you bastards!

They oughta go to Cuba. That's where they belong. Or Russia.

Boo!

You motherfuckers!

Man, let me talk to somebody. I was in Vietnam.

I was a platoon leader over there.

What is this? What the hell is this?

We were the ones that got shot.

You guys were over there too with your damn cameras.

Holy... Make my day!

Come on, smile a little bit!

Come on! Smile! Smile!

Be happy! Smile!