First Liar Wins

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The First Liar Wins

I wrote the following piece at the request of Stephen Sherman, a man I came to admire during infantry training at Fts. Jackson, Gordon, and Benning.

His efforts on behalf of the truth about American servicemen in the decades since has only buffed up my opinion this able and patriotic man.

The emergence of the Ken Burns series on the Vietnam War motivated Steve to solicit an array of opinions to put the Burns series in a truthful perspective.

I told Steve that I could not be very much help because upon seeing Burns propagandize Ho, Chi Minh as a benevolent patriot of the Vietnamese people, that was enough nonsense to dissuade me from watching the rest of the series.

The unpublished truth is that Ho and his fellow Commies were ruthless killers and consolidators of power.

If you think otherwise, read up on what happened to the French Army defeated at Dien Bien Phu.

Just as hint, it is the same that happened to the British Army that unwisely gave up Singapore and were then subsequently enslaved and starved to death according to Lee Kwan Yew, founder of Singapore.

The truth is the Ho, Chi Minh was a product of the Russian's Moscow world-terror college as was Mao Tse-Tung, Chiang Kai Shek, and an array of other terrorists salted around the world and then actively supported by the Russian Comintern.

Thus Burns' characterizations of Ho tainted the rest of his send up to such an extent, I didn’t want to be insulted any further.

But Steve wondered what would be the impact of Burns' propaganda on them on our newest generations.

As a veteran politician, I ultimately became knowledgeable about the tools of the trade of the left as a result of being on the receiving end of their nonsense long enough to learn how to spot and respond.

The Burns pieces are just another case of the left knowing a terrible aspect about how the human brain processes information.

The cold, hard fact is that "THE FIRST LIAR WINS."

I do not claim credit for figuring this out.

For more on the subject read "the Blank Slate" or anything else by Dr. Steven Pinker (no "conservative"), who is Professor of Psychology at Harvard and MIT.

Burns is just another clever propagandist, or liar, applying the primary tool of the left.

Yes, the Vietnam War was, and continues to be, an up-front and very personal issue with me.

Here is why.

I graduated from San Diego State College in 1964 and then moved to Alaska to have some adventure, make some money working construction, and marry the woman of my dreams.

That all came to an end in the summer of 1965, when I received a call from my angry mother in San Bernardino, California, telling me that my younger brother, Marine PFC Elgin Stirling, had been killed in action in the vicinity of DaNang, South Vietnam.

This was a terrible blow because not only had I lost a brother, I had been the one to talk him into joining the Marines in spite of our parent’s objections.

Dad was a WWII South Pacific Navy veteran and mother had been married to another war-weary Navy veteran of the battles of Midway and the Guadalcanal invasion where his ship, the Astoria, had been sunk during the late-night Japanese counterattack.

Brother "Rusty" was a troubled youth who did not do well in school.

But he had participated in the Marine's "Devil Pup" program at Pendleton and liked the rough and tumble even though he had not been active in sports in high school.

So the Marines seemed, to my amateur-psychologist mind, to be a good way to "shape" him up.

I was right as far as I analyzed it.

I was there on the MCRD grinder the day he finally emerged from the disciplinary platoon, graduated, and was allowed to wear the Marine Corps insignia.

Upon hearing the words "You Marines (first time they are called that)are dismissed!" he trotted over to the family knot with tears of joy and pride in his eyes.

For the few weeks we lived together after his graduation, he was a young man changed for the better in every way. Courteous, confident, poised, cooperative, one could not have asked for more success I gloated to myself.

I saw him one more time during his advanced infantry training at Pendleton but missed saying good bye at the port when he boarded ship because I simply could not find him among the hundreds of men and pieces of equipment that were being loaded that day.

I was well into my new life and love in Anchorage when I got the fateful call.

For days, my knees would unexpectedly buckle and I would drop to the ground in sobs in the middle of my construction work.

I am not sure who said it, but I agree with the notion that "one never gets over grief, one just gets around it."

"Rusty" had been part of the first Marines that went ashore at China Beach just north of Da Nang City.

Years later, my wife and I visited there and retained a guide who said she was a teenager standing by when the Marines came ashore and then described the scene for me.

Before that, I had met the Marine liaison officer with the Infantry School at Ft. Benning who had been with the patrol when Rusty was killed.

So the picture of what happened is pretty clear even after all these years.

I was so shocked by the whole event that I put my promising life on hold, drove over the nearby Ft. Richardson, and asked to join the Army.

The combat in Vietnam was not yet daily headline news; we still felt justified for intervening because of the communist slaughter of priests, mayors, and school teachers; and the (cleverly named) "anti-war" minions had not yet stepped up their propaganda game.

As a college graduate, I was accepted into the Army's "college-option" program which required completion of basic and advanced infantry training, but promised an Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS) date if I successfully completed both of the prior schools.

I reported to the Los Angeles Induction Center, took the oath inauspiciously late one night in a janitor’s closet and boarded a plane for the Ft. Jackson, South Carolina reception center.

All military guys know what happened after that.

I was immersed in the strange world of southern military bases named after Civil War generals, located in cities where Jim Crow Democrats still ruled, and the city buses were still (shocking to my California-boy conscience) segregated.

However, the remarkable takeaway experience was meeting other men from all over the country with whom I endured the cold, fatigue, incompetence, and most importantly, the Vietnam controversy that would consume what little left-over time to talk and think that we were able to share and from time to time, has ever since.

Learning with and talking to men such as fellow Californian, Bill Van Dam, veteran of the Tet Offensive; Rex Williams (Boston, Ranger, two silver stars earned with the First Cav); Tracy Murray, (Miles City, Montana, Distinguished Service Cross and KIA with the 173d Abn Division); and Jack Salter, who along with your author Stephen Sherman, served with the Special Forces in Vietnam, resulted in becoming life-long friends who still ponder the war and defend military veterans.

But wonder or not, we like to see our fellow military people and our well-intentioned country at large, treated with the truth and not the left-wing bullshit I saw in the Ken Burn's chapter.

It strikes me that Burns and his ilk want to convince yet another generation that America is somehow fatally flawed as its "error" in entering and then "losing" the Vietnam war demonstrate.

He wants the new generation of uninformed viewers to be fertilized with the notion that the old America should be abandoned and that a new version drawn from the puerile (and vague) notions of intellectual lightweights, like Tom Hayden, be substituted in.

I knew Hayden in the state legislature and listened for a coherent national or world view. There was none.

He denied to me that he was a "liberal."

Of course not, I came to learn. He was a nihilist: a toy buster.

He and his buddies remind me of small children in the nursery that grab a new toy, then shake it or bang it on the floor or wall, simply to see if they can break it.

That sums up Tom and all his comrades.

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