13 August 2007

“I Wake Up Screaming—Vietnam and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”

An exerpt from “I Wake Up Screaming—Vietnam and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” by Lucian J. La Joie describing his experiences in Vietnam:

...A native village flooded during the monsoon season. Every year this village floods during the rainy season. An American would think, move the village to higher ground. To the native peasant Vietnamese, the ancestral homeland where the past generations are buried is one of the most precious, important possessions of life. This is one of the reasons that the Strategic Hamlet Program of the South Vietnamese government failed. Uprooting the peasant farmers from their homeland and keeping them in "protected enclaves" generated resentment between the peasants and the South Vietnamese Government.

At this particular village, the villagers were being evacuated by the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN). There was a shortage of boats to evacuate the villagers. Too many people, not enough boats. The ARVN were in charge of the operation. Our squad was assigned for extra security under operational control of the ARVN. The ARVN Captain said because of the shortage of boats the peasants could only bring one item as a carryon. One suitcase, one bag, one box, one only, no exceptions, one only.

A Vietnamese peasant woman shows up. Under one arm she has her baby about one year old. Under her other arm she had a small pig about fifteen inches long. The ARVN Captain stops her and says only one item as carryon. The peasant woman protests, arguing that the human baby is a live child and not a carryon. The ARVN Captain will not budge on his position. Only one carryon per person.

The peasant woman steps back and places her baby face down in the river and drowns it, holding the baby until it quits kicking and lets go of the baby's body and climbs into the boat with the pig under her arm. The peasant woman could always have another baby but she might not ever own another pig. That is how poor the peasants were.

Tears stream down the mother's face as she watches the small corpse float down the river. The ARVN Captain gloats and the Marines are getting pissed off. We are here to help these people, not to enforce a police state. The ARVN troops think what has just happened is funny.

After the baby's corpse floats down stream about fifty yards the ARVN troops use it as target practice, laughing all the while. I walk over to the ARVNs who are shooting and use my steel helmet and hit the ARVNs in the head and knock one of them unconscious. I sucker punch them with my helmet. The rest of the ARVNs point their weapons at me and, in response, all the marines point their weapons at the ARVNs. It is a Mexican standoff.

Here we are, supposed to be allies and we are pointing weapons at each other ready to shoot the shite out of each other. The ARVN Captain orders the u.s. Marines to lower their weapons because he outranks everybody. I tell the ARVN Captain he is a bad officer and marines do not take orders from bad officers. The ARVN Captain then orders the marines to provide security until the ARVNs had evacuated all the peasants. I tell the Captain ''F**k you, we're leaving! 'The marines promptly get into their boat and escort the boats of peasants that are already loaded in boats down the river.

Upon returning to our parent unit, Echo Company, I filed an after action report detailing the incident, including statements from those who witnessed the Vietnamization [i.e. “pornerization”] was in progress. The report was buried in the paperwork. Life is cheap in a war zone.

What can you say? You know it goes on. You know it is happening right now in Iraq. You know this is the attitude of the IDF to the Palestinians.


Blogger RoseCovered Glasses said...

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak. I believed another Vietnam could be avoided with defined missions and the best armaments in the world.

It made no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:


Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see:


10:11 PM  
Blogger cyregray said...

When i read what happened to that child i could only shudder in disbelief... the reality is in stark contrast to what I thought possible. Disturbing, yet it is only the tip of the iceberg, the result of those Without Conscience running the show.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:47 AM  

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