Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Random Thoughts for December 2021


Random Thoughts for December 2021

Robert A. Hall

Feel free to post or forward.


Health Update: On October 5, we learned that our grandson, who had been with us, tested positive for COVID. The VA tested me and I got my results right away—positive but no symptoms. Bonnie requested a test from her PCP at SSM. No response. VA calls me every three days to check in. So she got one at CVS. Also positive with no symptoms. Quarantined for 20 days until 10/25. Fine now.


November had two anniversaries. 11/3 was the 57th anniversary of my graduation from Parris Island and becoming in a Marine. November 7th was the 49th anniversary of my being elected to the Massachusetts Senate.


Biden claimed he had a plan to end COVID. Turned out his plan was to force as many people as possible to take the vaccine developed under Trump's operation Warp Speed.


I notice that in Virginia, the party of “old white men” elected a black woman, gun supporter and Marine vet Lt. Governor, and a Hispanic AG.


Being on quarantine gave me time to work on my genealogy. I found an ancestor who was hanged as a witch at Salem (Rebecca Nurse, 71), another who was poisoned by his wife and another guy, and one who was hanged for joining a rebellion against Richard II. Politics was rough in those days.


I'm gather I’m permanently banned from Facebook. First they said they don’t allow posts selling weapons and drugs. I didn't post any such. Then they said they don't allow any posts about suicide and hurting yourself. I didn't do that either. But my account is disabled. I’ve read that Facebook is as addictive as cigarettes. So maybe going cold turkey is good for me. More time for other stuff.


I learned that Col. John Studt, my CO in the Marines reserves, died October 5. He was 91. Fair winds and following seas, Sir. A great Marine officer, veteran of Korea and Vietnam.


My friend Master Gunnery Sergeant John Lewis went to the VA for tests. They put him in the hospital, where he had a stroke. Home for hospice. Dead at 74 eight days after going for those tests.


Going green sounds great until you figure out the green comes out of your pocket.


A three-day weekend doesn’t mean much when you are retired.


Given the number of scam calls, and they large numbers of us that are too wise to lose a dollar, one would think those who lost money would wise up, giving us herd immunity. Apparently not.


A little examination will show that mediocrity is the child of diversity.  Democrats fail to realize this, until the incompetence stares them in the face…and they still can’t accept responsibility for it.  –George S.


How naive is the Biden administration? They chided the Taliban, who keep sex slaves and force young girls into marriage, for not having women in their government.


When a little girl can buy an ice cream with a found blue rock from a guy selling from his roving truck, a good sign America has not gone completely mad. [That happened.] –Andy Weddington


A good grounding is history makes one less concerned about the tribulations of today.


"Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day." ~ Glen Cook


"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not." ~ Albert Einstein


Public arguments by this president don’t help. They persuade nobody of anything. The bully pulpit has been reduced to a walker. Nine months into his tenure, Biden is already a spent force that nobody listens to. In terms of his influence, he went directly from honeymoon to lame duck.  --Dan McLaughlin


After 70, health problems come in twos and threes.


Don't trust or take medical advice from anyone who would leave your ass in Afghanistan. [Borrowed from the net.] –Andy Weddington


There are a lot of people in leadership positions who do not have leadership skills.


The best gift you can get to have a successful life is self-discipline. And they will pay you to learn it at MCRD Parris Island and MCRD San Diego.


From MeWe: Due to unfortunate circumstances I woke up alive and am on my way to work.


If someone knows a way of making money he won’t spend his time trying to tell the world how to make money. He’s definitely going to spend most of his time making money. Unless you are his way of making money. –Tumelo B. Pule.


Great things never come from comfort zones. –MeWe.com


We had a rotten apple hidden in a bowl, so we became infested with fruit flies. We found the way to get rid of them was to put apple cider vinegar in a bowl, cover with saran wrap and hold in placed with a rubber band. Poke a few holes in the saran wrap, must be large enough the flies can get through them. Then wait. They get in, can’t get out, and drown in the vinegar.


Below published in Calliope by the Mensa Writer's SIG. Fall, 2021.


Autumn Lament


The boy skips ahead on the dirt road,

Impatient with an old man on a cane,

The dog bounding between us.

I point out the colors in the trees,

The hawk gracing a fence rail on the ridge,

The pink gathering in the west.

God’s artistry, I tell him,

Hoping he will remember.

But probably not.

And for a moment I imagine

This is still the country I grew up in.


It’s hard to be a stalker when you use a walker.


For Halloween, I dressed as a Taliban and hit the White House and Pentagon. Boy did I get goodies!


Has there ever been a society, including communists ones, where wealth was evenly distributed?


Both the left and the right have their loud whack jobs, who have influence out of proportion to their numbers because they are loud and make good copy for the media.


Remember that stimulus check you were so happy about? It’s long been eaten up by Biden’s inflation.


Anybody who doesn’t believe inflation is out of control should see what Hunter Biden is charging for a painting. –NR


The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of Democrats’ Build Back Better Act on Thursday, estimating that—before taking the effects of stricter tax enforcement into account—it would add $367 billion to the deficit between 2022 and 2031. In a separate analysis, the CBO estimated that BBB’s additional IRS funding would generate an additional $207 billion in revenue over the same time period, meaning if the CBO projections are accurate, the legislation would ultimately add about $160 billion to the deficit over 10 years. –Morning Dispatch


About twice a week we get a fund-raising call for a military, police, or firefighter’s charity. Usually I’ve never heard of them and assume they are scams. Doesn’t matter. Being retired means we don’t have the funds to support all the legit causes we’d like to.





Get the collection! My “Random Thoughts” from 2009 through July, 2013 are collected in this book: The Old Jarhead's Journal: Random Thoughts on Life, Liberty, and Leadership by Robert A. Hall


The Old Jarhead’s Journal is a collection of Random Thoughts on politics and life and Conservative Political Essays, mostly published on the author’s blog, including the essay “I’m Tired” which went viral on the Internet in 2009, “The Hall Platform,” “This I Believe,” and “Why I’m a Republican.” While they will be of interest to conservative thinkers, they are collected here in book form as a service to readers who wish to give a copy to favorite liberals and watch their heads explode. All royalties are donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.




Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Collapse-American-Republic-prevent/dp/1461122538/ref=sr_1_5?s=booksandie=UTF8andqid=1304815980andsr=1-5 For a free PDF of Collapse, e-mail him at tartanmarine(at)gmail.com. Hall’s twelve books are listed here: http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/07/new-book-published.html. His blog of political news and conservative comment is www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com. He currently works part-time as a writer-editor in the My Life, My Story program as the Madison VA hospital, interviewing vets and writing up their life histories. During the crisis he is working from home.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

John Durham Is Getting Close to the Jugular

 This will, I hope and pray, get very interesting in the next several months.  Everyone may get to see a spotlight shined directly on the slime bed that went on so successfully for so long.  And just maybe some perpetrators will get the recognition they deserve.

John Durham Is Getting Close to the Jugular
By: Charles Lipson

Monday, November 22, 2021

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Waukesha incident: One dead and 20 hurt as car drives into parade - with shots fired

 Waukesha incident: One dead and 20 hurt as car drives into parade - with shots fired

Excerpt: A woman told Fox6 TV station the SUV hit a dance team of girls between 9 and 15 years old (somebody protesting the KR verdict. He'll get off. ~Bob)

Saturday, November 20, 2021

This Foreign Country Ran A Misinformation Campaign in 2020 to Elect Biden

 This Foreign Country Ran A Misinformation Campaign in 2020 to Elect Biden

The Trial

 I’d share this on FB but I’m on suspension. Maybe someone can share this for me. --Bonnie

Posted by Yvonne Moreno Stoffey on FB Women for American Values WAV :

Great summary posted about the Rittenhouse trial..

I didn't know that Kyle put out a dumpster fire that was being rolled down to a gas station to blow up, with people all around.

I didn't know that the Police were told to stand down as businesses were destroyed.

I didn't know that Kyles Dad, Grandma and Friends all lived in Kenosha, 20 minutes from where he resided with his Mom part time in Illinois.

I didn't know that Joseph Rosenbaum knocked him down twice and then attempted to kick him with lethal force to the head.

I didn't know that Huber had hit him in the head 2x with a skateboard.

I didn't know Gaige Grosskreutz, a felon in possession of firearm, aimed his gun at Kyle first, as he admitted on the stand.

I also didn't know that in the State of Wisconsin, it is legal for Kyle to have a gun, even at 17 (which was why the gun charge was dismissed).

I didn't know that Kyle did not cross state lines with a gun he wasn't supposed to have. The rightful gun owner did, as he was legally permitted to do.

I also didn't realize that Rosenbaum was a 5 time convicted child rapist and that Huber was a 2 time convicted woman beater.

I didn't know that Grosskreutz was a convicted Burglar with an assault on his record also.

IF THE MEDIA DID THEIR JOB... we would ALL have known this!”

Monday, November 15, 2021


 Why The Left Always Projects

The slurs and smears levelled by the elites are all the more toxic because they have always known these sins firsthand as their own.
By Victor Davis Hanson

Sunday, November 14, 2021



Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell  


Cornwell is, in my opinion, the best historical fiction author writing today, and I have read about 20 of his novels, including The Last Kingdom series. So when I saw he had written a history of Waterloo, I was sure his excellent writing and research, attention to detail, and understanding of the psychology of men in battle, would make this book a winner. I was not disappointed. He lets the battle’s participant tell their story by quoting extensively from soldiers’ letters and diaries, from the enlisted ranks as well as officers. Waterloo was a battle of mistakes (I suppose most are) and the allies made the fewest. This is the best book I have read on the battle and I highly recommend it.




By: Bill Schoettler

November 11, 2021


Missouri Senator Joseph Hawley is under fire for asserting what has been a human tradition for thousands of years, what the Left calls “assertive masculinity”. Men should be “husbands, fathers, responsible” people, said the Senator and thus o?ended the members of that segment of society who consider themselves the arbiters of culture.


Let us contemplate the significance of human traditions that have existed for thousands of years, since Adam and Eve, since every history book, mythological tale, every folk tale, every traditional pattern followed consistently throughout the entire world. This would be the idea that it is the male who is the hunter, the protector, the manager of people and it is the female who is responsible for child rearing, educating children, caring for the emotional welfare of and comfort to the “family”.


But wait a minute! Hold your horses there, Bucko. Females are fully equal with men, just as smart, just as competent, just as capable (with only a few, obvious exceptions) as any male. Today we have women doctors, women lawyers, women business executives, women functioning on the same level as men in virtually every aspect of human life. To suggest returning to the pre-historic, antediluvian notion that somehow women should be relegated to lesser type jobs than men is not only anti-social, certainly not “woke”, but is antithetical to the very structures of society.


Okay…but let’s examine the facts. There is no question but what some women have, throughout history, demonstrated exceptional characteristics generally considered exclusively masculine. Women have led countries and nations (Queen of Sheba, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I (queen of England), Queen Isabella of Spain, Prime Ministers of India (Ghandi), England (Thatcher) Germany (Merkel), and even Vice President of the USA (Harris). Women have led armies (Joan of Arc), been astronauts and have served in virtually every level of government, the military and almost every occupation imaginable…all with success and outstanding accomplishment.


True. No argument that women have demonstrated the ability, talent, skill and temperament to compete with men in any field and on any level.


Having said that, let us continue with the analysis of history and ask why it is that up to roughly the past 100 years the social and cultural attitude toward women has been consistent. Yes, some women have demonstrated full equality with men. How many, in what percentages have these demonstrators been noted? The truth is that women have followed what can only be called a “traditional role”. They have functioned quite well as helpmates, housewives, caregivers, comforters, mothers, educators of children…all the roles now denigrated as somehow of lesser import, lesser significance, lesser in every way as actions which contribute to the cultural realities of today.


The mistake being made today is to evaluate the so-called traditional role of women as somehow being of lesser social/ cultural value than the traditional role (there is that toxic masculinity again) of men. Men could not have functioned at the level of competence or ability that they regularly demonstrated without the equally valuable support and contribution of women. The roles of both sexes (yes, there are really only two sexes) have regularly supported and complemented each other. To describe women’s historic role as being in some way less significant than the historic role played by men is unrealistic and grossly unfair. The equality of the two genders, the two sexes has always been the same, equal in every respect. Because the definition of these roles has been di?erent does not denigrate either category.


How did we raise children a hundred years ago? Boys were given toys that were thought to prepare them for what is now called “toxic masculinity” while girls played with dolls, were taught domestic skills and were prepared to be wives and mothers. It worked!


Ask what was the result of such centuries-old traditions of child-raising? There was an emphasis on the importance of the family, children had loving supervision, received good educations, somehow civilization struggled along to the position it enjoys (?) today and everything worked pretty well. Because some would change historical validity does not deny historical accuracy.


This is not to suggest that women should be restricted in any way, that they should somehow be relegated to any position. But it is to suggest that to condemn thousands of years of historical custom in the interests of the misguided and capricious cultural revolution that is currently taking place in this country is as absurd as opening our borders, attacking such fictional characteristics as toxic masculinity, believing that banning the production of fossil fuels in this country when urging other countries to produce excess fossil fuels for us to purchase somehow makes sense. Believing that sacrificing the e?ciency and abilities of our manufacturing ability, military ability and even our traditional cultural ability will somehow alter the changing world climate by one-half-a-degree.


What have been the consequences in this country of pushing children out of the family and giving them to baby-sitters, schools that refuse the participation of parents, gender-confusing programs, historical attacks that deny the reality of ever-changing cultural concepts and destroying and denying the true significance and contributions of historical figures?


Today we have rising crime, lowering education standards, a disintegrating social structure that continues to look for relevance in the real world and a social culture that is unable to deal honestly with reality.


No, the answer is not to bar women from anything but to simply recognize that long ago [say roughly a million or so years ago] mankind [yes, Mabel, we have always called it “mankind”] adopted roles for both male and female and somehow through the many centuries of humanity’s existence we have survived, thrived, and progressed. Is it time to change? No. Is it time to evolve? Evolution will continue, both social and physical…but it takes time and time seeks its own pace.

The Criminalization of The World Economy


The Criminalization of

The World Economy
By: Ilan Berman


November 11, 2021


Between 2014 and 2016, when it was at the pinnacle of its power, the Islamic State was estimated to be generating as much as $2 billion in annual revenue, a sum that made it the best-funded terrorist group in recorded history. It did so through a variety of means, ranging from informal value transfer networks such as hawala to the taxation of the captive citizens under its control. In all, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, the Islamic State's complex financial infrastructure encompassed seven distinct pillars: black market oil and natural gas; black-market commodities; antiquities; extortion, taxation, and robbery; kidnappings for ransom; support from nation-states in the Gulf; and fraudulent financial activities. 

Fast forward half a decade, and the situation remains far too familiar. Despite the ignominious end of its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, Islamic State is still fiscally solvent—and dangerous.

Just this spring, the U.S. Treasury Department estimated that, despite the international community's best efforts, the world's most notorious terror group still had access to around $100 million in cash reserves in safe havens across the Middle East, more than enough to enable it to carry out global operations on an ongoing basis. Moreover, the government memo laid out, these funds are being replenished by multiple sources, including associates in Turkey, smugglers in Iraq, and other facilitators.

The Islamic State's ongoing solvency owes a great deal to the contemporary economic environment, where the lines between licit and illicit commerce have become progressively blurred, and where the connections between criminal groups and terrorist organizations are increasingly intimate.

That nexus is the subject of Servants of the Devil, a collection of studies curated by veteran financial experts Norman Bailey and Bernard Touboul. Their central contention is stark but compelling: that the global economic context has changed fundamentally. Gone, they argue, are the days when criminals and terrorists represented qualitatively different things, with separate worldviews and agendas. Instead, propelled by rapid globalization, we are now witnessing growing interplay among—and cooperation between—a wide range of malicious actors.

It's an idea that has gained currency among scholars and national security practitioners in recent years. For instance, researchers at the National Defense University, America's premier institution for the higher education of its military, have in recent years advanced a theory of "convergence" that highlights the growing proximity between transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups. Bailey and Touboul, however, take the concept further. According to them, what has taken place is nothing short of the "criminalization of the world economy," and that shift "has caused irreparable damage to the world and a transformation in the nature of its actors."

Those actors are diverse. There are the "professional facilitators"—a category encompassing not only crime syndicates (for whom illicit activity is a stock in trade) but also businesses and corporate entities. By their nature and functioning, such entities serve to legitimate corrupt transactions and provide them with a veneer of authenticity. By doing so, they help "to transform illegality into legality." And their significance cannot be overstated. In the authors' estimation, they now represent "the key factor in the infiltration of crime and terrorism into the economy, politics, and the functioning of society."

Then there are the "financial facilitators," institutions like banks and financial services firms which help move large quantities of funds around the global system. With some deft maneuvering, these entities allow rogue states and other bad actors to skirt international sanctions, evade critical oversight, and acquire critical economic sustenance. Meanwhile, "business facilitators" (legitimate businesses active in gray and black markets) give criminal groups and syndicates the ability to access and exploit the increasingly opaque, interconnected nature of today's financial system. And non-governmental organizations, both domestic and international, have—under the guise of charitable or humanitarian assistance—been used as conduits for funds that have flowed to malevolent causes, with terrorist groups the major beneficiaries.

All the above, in turn, has been greatly enabled by the advancement of technology. The advent of the internet has provided new modalities for criminality (such as online gambling and the "dark web") and made the transfer of sensitive data much simpler. Secure communications and encrypted applications have propelled the field further still, allowing criminals and terrorists to interact away from the prying eyes of authorities and reducing the risk of them being caught.

The international community has not yet begun to grapple in earnest with this new and increasingly inhospitable financial terrain. As Bailey and Touboul note, "the criminal economy is totally globalized, while the laws combatting crime and terror remain essentially territorialized." Their point is apt. The prevailing approaches adopted by world governments have long focused on the "where" and "what" of crime and terrorism: the geographic places bad actors operate, and the types of activities they engage in. That's perhaps an unavoidable feature of today's international system, which (despite the inexorable drift toward globalization) still puts a premium on sovereignty and territorial boundaries. Yet it's also woefully insufficient because the very groups they are hunting are moving freely across borders and exploiting a variety of means not only to survive but to thrive.

They are also increasingly ubiquitous. "Today's reality is that a very significant portion of the world's economic and financial activity is now controlled by criminal syndicates, often allied with terrorist organizations looking to finance their nefarious activities," Bailey and Touboul warn. The key to severing this link, they believe, is by raising the costs to the facilitators themselves. Those entities, be they banks or law firms or charities, have up to now largely escaped scrutiny—let alone punishment—for their role in perpetuating today's crime-terror nexus.

So how should they be held to account? Parallel to the "frontal" assault on crime syndicates and terror groups taken by assorted world governments, the authors argue, the international community needs to embrace an "interdisciplinary approach" that raises the reputational and transactional risks for supporting entities. Via tactics like "naming and shaming," as well as targeted sanctions, it may be possible to ratchet up the costs of doing business for the middlemen and intermediaries who have assumed a crucial role in perpetuating crime and terror.

Bailey and Touboul, at least, believe so. "The day this starts to happen is the same day that the massive threat to Western society—its economic, political, social, moral, and ethical structure—from the criminal/terrorist networks will begin to recede," they contend. In the face of today's increasingly complex threat environment, it's certainly a proposition worth testing.

The Military


Trey Gowdy & Military Service

Trey Gowdy (former US Congressional Representative from South Carolina and current contributor to Fox News) expressed a few candid facts about military service in response to a loaded question from a CNN reporter about the ban of transgenders serving therein.  His remarks follow: 

Nobody has a "right" to serve in the Military.  Nobody.

 What makes people think the Military is an equal opportunity employer?

Very far from it.  The Military uses prejudice regularly and consistently to deny citizens from joining for being too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short.

Citizens are denied for having flat feet, or for missing- or for additional-fingers.  Poor eyesight will disqualify you, as well as bad teeth.  Malnourished?  Drug addiction?  Bad back?  Criminal history?  Low IQ?  Anxiety?  Phobias?  Hearing damage?  Six arms?  Hear voices in your head?

Self-identify as a Unicorn?  Need a special access ramp for your wheelchair?  Can't run the required course in the required time?  Can't do the required number of pushups?  Not really a "morning person” and refuse to get out of bed before noon?

All or any of those can be reasons for disqualifying a person for Military service.

The Military has one job.  Warfare.  Anything else is a distraction and a liability.

Did someone just scream, "That isn't Fair!"?

Warfare is very unfair.  There are no exceptions made for someone being special or challenged or socially wonderful.  To be accepted, train and serve in the Military, you must change yourself to meet Military standards.  Not the other way around.

I say again:  You don't change the Military.  You must change yourself.  The Military doesn't need to accommodate anyone with special issues.  The Military needs to win Wars.  If any of your personal issues are a liability that detract from combat readiness or lethality, thank you for applying, and good luck in your future non-military endeavors.  

Who's next in line?


 Even with all my collection of comments from many vets and historians, including others from Jim Webb, I had never come across this one.  It is a super classic, that I think the great majority of Viet Nam vets and perhaps a lot of others will like.  And maybe given recent events in Afghanistan, it will strike chord with the veterans of that tragic mess.


Peace? Defeat? What Did the Vietnam War Protesters Want?

May/June 1997
by James Webb, American Enterprise Institute

It is difficult to explain to my children that in my teens and early twenties the most frequently heard voices of my peers were trying to destroy the foundations of American society, so that it might be rebuilt according to their own narcissistic notions. In retrospect it’s hard even for some of us who went through those times to understand how highly educated people—most of them spawned from the comforts of the upper-middle class—could have seriously advanced the destructive ideas that were in the air during the late ’60s and early ’70s. Even Congress was influenced by the virus.

After President Nixon resigned in August of 1974, that fall’s congressional elections brought 76 new Democrats to the House, and eight to the Senate. A preponderance of these freshmen had run on McGovernesque platforms. Many had been viewed as weak candidates before Nixon’s resignation, and some were glaringly unqualified, such as then-26-year-old Tom Downey of New York, who had never really held a job in his life and was still living at home with his mother.

This so-called Watergate Congress rode into town with an overriding mission that had become the rallying point of the American Left: to end all American assistance in any form to the besieged government of South Vietnam. Make no mistake—this was not the cry of a few years earlier to stop young Americans from dying. It had been two years since the last American soldiers left Vietnam and fully four years since the last serious American casualty calls there.

For reasons that escape historical justification, even after America’s military withdrawal the Left continued to try to bring down the incipient South Vietnamese democracy. Future White House aide Harold Ickes and others at “Project Pursestrings”—assisted at one point by an ambitious young Bill Clinton—worked to cut off all congressional funding intended to help the South Vietnamese defend themselves. The Indochina Peace Coalition, run by David Dellinger and headlined by Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, coordinated closely with Hanoi throughout 1973 and 1974, and barnstormed across America’s campuses, rallying students to the supposed evils of the South Vietnamese government. Congressional allies repeatedly added amendments to spending bills to end U.S. support of Vietnamese anti-Communists, precluding even air strikes to help South Vietnamese soldiers under attack by North Vietnamese units that were assisted by Soviet-bloc forces.

Then in early 1975 the Watergate Congress dealt non-Communist Indochina the final blow. The new Congress icily resisted President Gerald Ford’s January request for additional military aid to South Vietnam and Cambodia. This appropriation would have provided the beleaguered Cambodian and South Vietnamese militaries with ammunition, spare parts, and tactical weapons needed to continue their own defense. Despite the fact that the 1973 Paris Peace Accords called specifically for “unlimited military replacement aid” for South Vietnam, by March the House Democratic Caucus voted overwhelmingly, 189-49, against any additional military assistance to Vietnam or Cambodia.

The rhetoric of the antiwar Left during these debates was filled with condemnation of America’s war-torn allies, and promises of a better life for them under the Communism that was sure to follow. Then-Congressman Christopher Dodd typified the hopeless naiveté of his peers when he intoned that “calling the Lon Nol regime an ally is to debase the word…. The greatest gift our country can give to the Cambodian people is peace, not guns. And the best way to accomplish that goal is by ending military aid now.” Tom Downey, having become a foreign policy expert in the two months since being freed from his mother’s apron strings, pooh-poohed the coming Cambodian holocaust that would kill more than one-third of the country’s population, saying, “The administration has warned that if we leave there will be a bloodbath. But to warn of a new bloodbath is no justification for extending the current bloodbath.”

On the battlefields of Vietnam the elimination of all U.S. logistical support was stunning and unanticipated news. South Vietnamese commanders had been assured of material support as the American military withdrew—the same sort of aid the U.S. routinely provided allies from South Korea to West Germany—and of renewed U.S. air strikes if the North attacked the South in violation of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords. Now they were staring at a terrifyingly uncertain future, even as the Soviets continued to assist the Communist North.

As the shocked and demoralized South Vietnamese military sought to readjust its forces to cope with serious shortages, the newly refurbished North Vietnamese immediately launched a major offensive. Catching many units out of position, the North rolled down the countryside over a 55-day period. In the ensuing years I have interviewed South Vietnamese survivors of these battles, many of whom spent ten years and more in Communist concentration camps after the war. The litany is continuous: “I had no ammunition.” “I was down to three artillery rounds per tube per day.” “I had nothing to give my soldiers.” “I had to turn off my radio because I could no longer bear to hear their calls for help.”

The reaction in the United States to this debacle defines two distinct camps that continue to be identifiable in many of the issues we face today. For most of those who fought in Vietnam, and for their families, friends, and political compatriots, this was a dark and deeply depressing month. The faces we saw running in terror from the North Vietnamese assault were real and familiar, not simply video images. The bodies that fell like spinning snowflakes toward cruel deaths after having clung hopelessly to the outer parts of departing helicopters and aircraft may have been people we knew or tried to help. Even for those who had lost their faith in America’s ability to defeat the Communists, this was not the way it was supposed to end.

For those who had evaded the war and come of age believing our country was somehow evil, even as they romanticized the intentions of the Communists, these few weeks brought denials of their own responsibility in the debacle, armchair criticisms of the South Vietnamese military, or open celebrations. At the Georgetown University Law Center where I was a student, the North’s blatant discarding of the promises of peace and elections contained in the 1973 Paris Accords, followed by the rumbling of North Vietnamese tanks through the streets of Saigon, was treated by many as a cause for actual rejoicing.

Denial is rampant in 1997, but the truth is this end result was the very goal of the antiwar movement’s continuing efforts in the years after American withdrawal. George McGovern, more forthcoming than most, bluntly stated as much to this writer during a break in taping a 1995 edition of CNN’s “Crossfire.” After I had argued that the war was clearly winnable even toward the end if we had changed our strategy, the 1972 presidential candidate who had offered to go to Hanoi on his knees commented, “What you don’t understand is that I didn’t want us to win that war.” Mr. McGovern was not alone. He was part of a small but extremely influential minority who eventually had their way.

There is perhaps no greater testimony to the celebratory atmosphere that surrounded the Communist victory in Vietnam than the 1975 Academy Awards, which took place on April 8, just three weeks before the South’s final surrender. The award for Best Feature Documentary went to the film Hearts and Minds, a vicious piece of propaganda that assailed American cultural values as well as our effort to assist South Vietnam’s struggle for democracy. The producers, Peter Davis and Bert Schneider jointly accepted the Oscar. Schneider was frank in his support of the Communists. As he stepped to the mike he commented that “It is ironic that we are here at a time just before Vietnam is about to be liberated.” Then came one of the most stunning—if intentionally forgotten—moments in Hollywood history. As a struggling country many Americans had paid blood and tears to try to preserve was disappearing beneath a tank onslaught, Schneider pulled out a telegram from our enemy, the Vietnamese Communist delegation in Paris, and read aloud its congratulations to his film. Without hesitating, Hollywood’s most powerful people rewarded Schneider’s reading of the telegram with a standing ovation.

Those of us who either fought in Vietnam or supported our efforts there look at this 1975 “movie moment” with unforgetting and unmitigated amazement. Who were these people who so energetically poisoned the rest of the world’s view of us? How had they turned so virulently against their own countrymen? How could they stand and applaud the victory of a Communist enemy who had taken 58,000 American lives and crushed a struggling, pro-democratic ally? Could they and the rest of us be said to be living in the same country anymore?

Not a peep was heard then, or since, from Hollywood regarding the people who disappeared behind Vietnam’s bamboo curtain. No one has ever mentioned the concentration camps into which a million South Vietnamese soldiers were sent; 56,000 to die, 250,000 to stay for more than six years, and some for as long as 18. No one criticized the forced relocations, the corruption, or the continuing police state. More to the point, with the exception of the well-intentioned but artistically weak Hamburger Hill, one searches in vain for a single major film since that time that has portrayed American soldiers in Vietnam with dignity and in a true context.

Why? Because the film community, as with other elites, never liked, respected, or even understood those who answered the call and served. And at a time when a quiet but relentless battle is taking place over how history will remember our country’s involvement in Vietnam, those who ridiculed government policy, avoided military service, and actively supported an enemy who turned out to be vicious and corrupt do not want to be remembered as having been so naive and so wrong.

Among everyday Americans, attitudes during this troubled time were much healthier. Behind the media filtering and distortion on Vietnam, the fact is that our citizenry agreed far more consistently with those of us who fought than with those who undermined our fight. This was especially true, interestingly, among the young Americans now portrayed as having rebelled against the war.

As reported in Public Opinion, Gallup surveys from 1966 to the end of U.S. involvement show that younger Americans actually supported the Vietnam War longer than any other age group. Even by January of 1973, when 68 percent of Americans over the age of 50 believed it had been a mistake to send troops to Vietnam, only 49 percent of those between 25 and 29 agreed. These findings that the youth cohort as a whole was distinctly un-radical were buttressed by 1972 election results—where 18- to 29-year-olds preferred Richard Nixon to George McGovern by 52 to 46 percent.

Similarly, despite persistent allegations to the contrary by former protesters who now dominate media and academia, the 1970 invasion of Cambodia—which caused widespread campus demonstrations, including a riot that led to four deaths at Kent State University—was strongly supported by the public. According to Harris surveys, nearly 6 in 10 Americans believed the Cambodian invasion was justified. A majority in that same May 1970 survey supported an immediate resumption of bombings in North Vietnam, a complete repudiation of the antiwar movement.

Vietnam veterans, though persistently maligned in film, news reports, and classrooms as unwilling, unsuccessful soldiers, have been well thought of by average Americans. In the most comprehensive study ever done on Vietnam vets (Harris Survey, 1980, commissioned by the Veterans Administration), 73 percent of the general public and 89 percent of Vietnam veterans agreed with the statement that “The trouble in Vietnam was that our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win.” Seventy percent of those who fought in Vietnam disagreed with the statement “It is shameful what my country did to the Vietnamese people.” Fully 91 percent of those who served in Vietnam combat stated that they were glad they had served their country, and 74 percent said they had enjoyed their time in the military. Moreover, 71 percent of those who expressed an opinion indicated that they would go to Vietnam again, even knowing the end result and the ridicule that would be heaped on them when they returned.

This same survey contained what was called a “feelings thermometer,” measuring the public’s attitudes toward various groups on a scale of 1 to 10. Veterans who served in Vietnam rated a 9.8 on this scale. Doctors scored a 7.9, TV reporters a 6.1, politicians a 5.2, antiwar demonstrators a 5.0, and draft evaders who went to Canada came in at 3.3.

Contrary to persistent mythology, two-thirds of those who served during Vietnam were volunteers rather than draftees, and 77 percent of those who died were volunteers. Of those who died, 86 percent were Caucasian, 12.5 percent were African-American, and 1.2 percent were from other races. The common claim that it was minorities and the poor who were left to do the dirty work of military service in Vietnam is false. The main imbalance in the war was simply that the privileged avoided their obligations, and have persisted since that time in demeaning the experience in order to protect themselves from the judgment of history.

And what of these elites who misread not only a war but also their own countrymen? Where are they now, other than in the White House? On this vital historical issue that defined our generation, they now keep a low profile, and well they should.

What an eerie feeling it must have been for those who staked the journey of their youth on the idea that their own country was an evil force, to have watched their naiveté unravel in the years following 1975. How sobering it must have been for those who allowed themselves to move beyond their natural denial, to observe the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese fleeing the “pure flame of the revolution” on rickety boats that gave them a 50 percent chance of death at sea, or to see television pictures of thousands of Cambodian skulls lying in open fields, part of the millions killed by Communist “liberators.” How hollow the memories of drug-drenched and sex-enshrined antiwar rallies must be; how false the music that beatified their supposedly noble dissent.

Indeed, let’s be frank. How secretly humiliating to stare into the face of a disabled veteran, or to watch the valedictory speech of the latest Vietnamese-American kid whose late father fought alongside the Americans in a cause they openly mocked, derided, and despised. And what a shame that the system of government that allowed that student to be so quickly successful here is not in place in the country of her origin.