I don’t know if letters in "The Mail" department of The New Yorker are copyrighted, and I don’t care. Let them sue me. Below is one that appeared in the May 28, 2001 issue of that magazine which I think is too important to worry about legal niceties. Granted that a lot more people read The New Yorker than read the SouthernCross Review. Nevertheless, maybe some SCR readers don’t read the former, so this is for them. In a previous issue, an article by Hendrick Herzberg appeared in which he described Senator Bob Kerrey’s anguish about a raid he led as a young man in Viet Nam which resulted in the killing of innocent civilians. This "letter to the editor" is in reply to that article.
"Herzberg is right to call the decision, made far above Kerrey, to wage a war in Vietnam which could be won only “by systematically denuding the land of people” a choice that corrupted our democracy as well as our soldiers. In 1966 and 1967, I was an officer in an Army psychological-operations unit near Da Nang. We would fly over designated villages and drop leaflets instructing the population to leave, because in forty-five minutes there would be an air strike to destroy this “suspected stronghold” of the Vietcong. Of course, any Vietcong were probably out of there in five minutes with their weapons and a bag of rice. That left the women, the children, the sick and the old folks, whose families had lived there for generations, to burn in the rain of napalm and missiles that followed. It was some time before I understood the effects of what I was doing well enough to think of refusing to continue. Bob Kerrey and thousands of other veterans were duped. There were no “god guys” – only confused and misled guys. Let the armchair logicians and moralists cast their self-righteous judgment on the politicians who kept the war going, and on their corporate sponsors, and leave Bob Kerrey and the rest of us murderers to the healing of our souls."Printer BowlerMissoula, Mont.
Home is where the heart is.