|Pic courtesy Lurching into Decrepitude|
The Oz (the fart of the nation) published this piece by Gerard Henderson on August 20th.
As usual, Murdoch's broadsheet (which operates consistently at a loss), is smearing the ABC and SBS. You have to pay to comment on the Oz, so I'm using this platform to expose some of the comprehensive rewriting of history that is a feature of News Limited reporting of the Vietnam era.
Read Gerard's piece, and then reflect on this, gentle reader. Gerard's contributions are in italics -
Rather than debunking myths, Gerard’s piece creates a few of its own.
When I went out on operations with my infantry unit, we moved through country that was not controlled by the South Vietnamese government. That was why we were armed, patrolled without noise, and put out sentries at night. We behaved exactly like an invading army.
“The conflict between communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam was concluded in April 1975 when the North Vietnamese Army, with assistance of the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, who supported the Hanoi regime, conquered Saigon.”
COSGROVE: I don’t think the political environment inside South Vietnam was conducive to an enduring democratic state. I think the people in Vietnam across the board, ultimately seemed to prefer self-determination rather than the presence of a large number of foreign troops.
“This focus on the Vietnam protest movement overlooks the fact most Australians supported the commitment.”
Again, a complete over simplification. There were two issues. One was sending troops to Vietnam, the other was conscription. Support for the commitment was initially strong, but began to wane during and after the Moratorium marches which took place in 1970, the year I was in Vietnam.
Support for conscription was never strong, and when the two issues became conflated, it became apparent very quickly, that community support for the troops was no longer there. That was an untenable situation, and Vietnam veterans suffered as much when they came home as they did in theatre. The government in power at the time bears as much responsibility for this situation as the anti war protestors. They conscripted us and sent us – not the protestors.
“As Edwards acknowledges, the US-led Vietnam commitment delayed a communist victory by 10 years — much to the benefit of nations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. This was also to Australia’s advantage.”
There is another way of looking at this. The continued support of a series of corrupt “governments” in South Vietnam may have simple prolonged the agony, and contributed to the millions of civilian casualties.
History is sacred, Gerard, especially to those who lived it.
Don't rewrite it.