John K. Mahon
Military History and Policy Specialist (March 1971)
"The assumption that the United States must fight on to victory is
based on obsolete views. In the thermonuclear-guerrilla war era, there
are no victors in the traditional sense of the word "victory."
"Because the enlisted soldiers do not believe in our mission in this
war, discipline is breaking down in the military services. The army
particularly is demoralized and threatened with permanent damage. Not
only are orders disobeyed, but the lives of officers and nom-coms are
endangered by their own men. It has made some young persons determined
to destroy our military institutions at home.
"The President's assertion that we are getting out of Southeast Asia,
followed by massive escalation of bombing, and the invasions of Cambodia
and Laos has made many lose faith in all official pronouncements. Such
a loss of credibility is dangerous to the future of the United States."
Gainesville, Florida (3/18/1971)
Father Michael V. Gannon, Pastor
St. Augustine Catholic Church, Gainesville (March 1971)
"In travels from the DMZ in the North to the Mekong delta in the
South, on the battlefields, in the rice paddies and throughout the cities,
I saw at first-hand the futility of the War. And sometimes I heard it, as
from Nguyen huu Chung, member of the South Vietnam House of Representatives.
In Saigon, Mr. Chung told met
"'The military and political leaders of my country are anti-Communist,
to be sure, but why? Because many of them are exploiting the war to make
personal firtunes. War is an unhappy means. It should never become an end.
Nobody should live on this war. But many of our leaders are living on it,
and will be sorely disappointed if it ever ends, because that will bean
the end of their rank, power and privilege.'
"'I asked him what the common people though about all that.
"'It is hard to say. Certainly, they are discouraged. They have been
at war for so long, and for what? When they see American convoys go by,
it is just like the French convoys 15 years ago. They sense that their
country is simply being used--by Saigon, by Hanoi, by Peking, by
Washington. They are not masters of their own destiny.'"
Jim Richardson III (Gainesville, March 1971)
"I spent 377 days in Vietnam. Flying in helicopters on medical
evacuation missions I saw the gray waste of defoliation, the orange
bomb scars in the clay, the wrecks that had been hamlets and villages.
And I saw a lot of dead and dying people. Recently a friend of mine,
a World War II veteran who hesitated to oppose the President on as
complex a problem as the war, said to met "Anyone who's ever been in
combat is against war, unless he's a nut." I'm not the first person to
have picked a man's arm off the ground and put it beside him on a
litter, or to have pumped my breath into a nine year old girl long
after she was dead, or to have held the head of a straight-jacketed
man, gone mad with frustration, boredom, and fear. But before, in
World War II, didn't it have to be? When we looked at the dead, the
wounded, the maimed, and all the destruction, couldn't we says
"There was no other choice"? ----- We have another choice now, Can't
we take all our good will, all our guns and bombs and planes and men,