Memories of Viet Nam War still engender bitter discussion, opinions



Memories of Viet Nam War still engender bitterdiscussion, opinions
EDITOR:
The debate over the Sen. Kerrey episode in Vietnam boils down to the issue of civilian casualties or what the hard core call collateral damage. Those who supported the war, like Georgie Geyer and many others, just continue to issue a lot of verbiage and conclude that our troops couldn't tell the enemy from civilians and that in a lot of cases women and children acted as the enemy by doing everything one could imagine and a lot of things you would never think of, like offering GIs Coca-Cola spiked with poison.
In Kerrey's case, the troops may not have said so but their actions showed that since they could not identify the enemy they attacked everyone at a given site, acting on the assumption that everyone in a village was the enemy or potentially the enemy.
Ms. Geyer refers to a & quot;Viet Cong village. & quot; Does that mean it is OK to kill all the inhabitants?
To those of us who opposed the war from its first day, way back when JFK was alive and even before he was president, opposed fighting a guerilla war with conventional weapons on the mainland of Asia, it turned out to be an unwinnable war, with no battle lines and no end possible -- short of killing every last Vietnamese. There are a dozen or more factors to be considered in analyzing the Vietnam war, from media behavior to America's poor generals and presidential politics, but when troops burn villages because the villages may have been harboring the enemy, they ignore spiritual, cultural, nationalistic and practical considerations which ultimately turned the South Vietnamese population against us in most cases.
In sum, the Kerrey story is the best explanation of all when explaining why we should never have gone into Vietnam at that time. We lost at least 55,000 young men there; about the same number of South Vietnamese civilians were killed.
Those who remember Lt. Calley and his captain, & quot;Mad Dog & quot; Medina, remember how a large group of American soldiers landed at a village called My Lai which was believed to be occupied by Viet Cong. Lt. Calley, et al killed hundreds of women, children and oldsters who were hiding in ditches and underground dugouts.
This was all based on the & quot;intelligence & quot; that Viet Cong inhabited the village. For this Lt. Calley was severely punished and made an example of because the public here in the U.S. had been informed by journalist Seymour Hersh. In Kerrey's episode, as in dozens like it, there was no such publicity.
When the war was in its final stages, American Vietnam veterans formed an organization called Vietnam Vets Against the War. One of their main actions was to expose the American public to the atrocities of the war.
The Vietnam Vets Against the War added to the inevitability of American withdrawal.
MYRON GARWIG
Youngstown
Forum Health nurses ask for community support
EDITOR:
The RNs at Forum Health have cared for this community for years. We need your support during the strike.
We want to provide the best care in this area. Mandatory overtime creates problems for the nurses and their patients. We have families to take care of after we work 12 hours. We do not feel it is safe for the hospital to demand us to work mandatory overtime.
Our job involves taking care of critically ill patients, and we need to be alert. We are working with lives and cannot afford mistakes. A mistake can cause a death.
We also need health benefits after we retire and a pension that is worthy of the profession.
I hope the community will back us and realize quality care is a necessity. We appreciate your support during this difficult time.
DENISE YOUNG-NYCZ
Boardman

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