Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War
SESSION 11 (Transcript)

What Other Outcome was There?

Dr. Robert F. Turner: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. When Steve asked me to make this presentation, the genesis of it is fairly simple. He got into a quarrel with Daniel Ellsberg a few years ago and Ellsberg said, “Look, if we had not pulled out when we did and had stayed another ten years, it would just be a lot more casualties and no decisive end. You know, we weren’t going to win the war and nothing good was going to come out of it, so presumably why the hell didn’t we just walk out in ‘64 or ‘65 or something like that.” So, I am going to be talking about a variety of things that all has something to do, conceivably, with what other outcome was there in Vietnam.

I happen to be a great fan of Jim Stockdale and you remember when he got up and offended some people by trying to be humorous and saying, “who am I?” Some of you know more about me. I thought this was going to be my first talk but like Jug and Scott, I grew up as an Air Force brat and I think that is one of those defining things just like being a Vietnam veteran and shaping people's lives. My dad was World War II Army Air Corp and then Korea Air Force Medical Corp. My only brother was a Korea marine, two tours in Vietnam. In fact, we were in Vietnam twice together; I still remember when a young enlisted man came in and said, “sir, did you know you have a brother in Vietnam?” And I looked at him and said, "I have a brother?" but actually yes, I knew he was in Vietnam, we kept in close touch, but that meant I didn’t have to be there he said, but I knew that too. Anyway, I got involved in Vietnam about 1965, I was actually in Paris at the time of the Tonkin Gulf incident and I remember going home one night and seeing a headline, the American bombers bombed the bases of North Vietnam and I was trying to think, where the hell is North Vietnam and what is this all about. The next morning, they tested the, I don’t know, the air raid siren or whatever, but there was a big alarm siren and I said we were in World War III. You know, it was a real panic movement for me, but apparently it was just the monthly testing of some alarm system. Anyway, I was a conservative like most military brats, but not particularly politically sophisticated and I got invited as they started having these teach-in’s and things. Somebody was looking for someone who was defending United States and I always liked to do that and after two or three of these things I said, “hey, if you are going to do this and also graduate you better shift your majors. So I became a government major and wound up doing my honors thesis on Vietnam and spent a lot of time looking at it and an awful lot of time in the library trying to find every book, article, newspaper column; they didn’t have New York Times index in those days. I literally went page by page from about 1947 to about 1960s in the New York Times looking for articles that might be of relevance and taking down notes on index cards of course because we didn’t have xerox machines in those days, but you all know that. I then got drafted into something called the National Student Committee for Victory in Vietnam and was their chief debater and research director. I wrote all of their stuff and over the years I was involved in more than a 100 debates. I took the view I will debate anybody, anytime, anywhere, on Vietnam and as an undergraduate and I actually wound up debating professors and one of the ironies, one of the things I found quickly was none of the major antiwar leaders would debate more than once. It was really fascinating. You know, they would go up, they had their usual line of BS, I would get up there with documents and show them where they were wrong; they would basically say, “well, it was nice meeting you” and go on and then they would go on in still the same line of rubbish at their next campus. There is one piece here I like because it is the piece that shows the students watching the anti-war speaker and then they got all the kids smiling and laughing. It was a good audience for me in that, and they weren’t all like that, I have a lot of audiences where there were no conservatives there. But anyway, I spent a lot of time working out at debating and I did a series of articles called Vietnam Myths that looked at a variety of the more common myths that were distributed and published in various places. And one of the things I did, it was a lot of fun, is we challenged several Senators to debate. Vance Hartke was against the war and he was coming to Indiana University, so I got another student group to issue a challenge for him to debate me while he was there. Hartke did not respond but he canceled his visit and didn’t show up on campus for more than a year. It may have been totally unrelated to that, but it was still fun and later we set up something called The National Student Coordinating Committee for Victory in Vietnam and issued a challenge to McCarthy to debate and that actually got some good play. It got picked up by AP and was in a number of papers that friends of mine saw and told me about and said, “you must think you are pretty important, don’t you?” Anyway, I went to Vietnam first ostensively as a journalist. What really happened is I had a friend who was the editor of the Indianapolis News who met me on some of the Vietnam programs. I was waiting for my orders to active duty after graduating and being commissioned. I kept going in and saying all of my friends have already gone off and I don’t even have orders and they said, “don’t worry about it, you know, you will get your orders.” Finally the guy said, “let me check your file.” He said, “aren’t you in law school”? And I said no. When I first joined ROTC before the war, I had said I would law school and then go on active duty, but he said it is going to be 4-5 months for the paperwork processed. I had dinner that night with Stan Evans. Stan said, “hey, how do you like to go to Vietnam and do some stuff or else look around, see what it is like.” I said, “twist my arm” and it was a wonderful opportunity because I got to stay in the press centers, they let me get a room for, I think it was maybe three dollars a night and steak dinner for two and a quarter. Then I had to associate with those damned journalists, which we started kind of an interesting thing, but one thing I had found is very few of them knew very much about Vietnam. They had a lot of the old mythology, so I spent a lot of time quarreling with them; we can talk about that later.

One thing is very important; I am in a room filled with war heroes, Medal of Honor winners, some Green Berets and so forth. I am not a war hero. I actually volunteered for the Infantry, volunteered for Infantry Recon, and became an Expert Infantryman but because of my scholarly work on Vietnam, when I got in country, the embassy said, we would like to borrow this guy for use in our North Vietnam Affairs Division. I worked for Don Rocklin, who a few people would know. Don had been there for about five years. He was considered a psych war troubleshooter. We ran something called Special Projects Branch and we did a lot of traveling. In five times in Vietnam; twice with the military and three as a civilian, I hit 42 of the 44 provinces plus Laos and Cambodia. I saw the war at a pretty low level, I dealt with ambassadors, so in terms of overall perspective, I probably had about a good an exposure to different aspects of the war seeing it as a journalist and a military officer, a congressional staff member. I was the last Hill staff member to come out of Vietnam in April 1975 and anyway just, you know, a little real quick stuff. When I left Vietnam, I was a fellow at Stanford Hoover Institution where I did the first major English language book on the history of Vietnamese Communism. It was about 550 pages. Went to the Senate; spent five years working for a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, visited Vietnam each year and again in the end, I came out during the final evacuation. Since about 1987, I have been teaching seminars for undergraduates, law students and also at the Naval War College when I taught up there on Vietnam. In fact, at the Naval War College, I was supposed to be their senior international law professor, but when I gave them the option of doing a course on Lessons of Vietnam or International Law, they jumped on the Lessons of Vietnam and that was actually the course I taught while I was up there. In 2000, we put together some of the top experts on Vietnam. William Colby was going to be there, but died; Harry Summers was going to be there, but died, but we got a lot of good people including Doug Pike and we had a conference on Vietnam called the Real Lessons of the Vietnam War that dealt with a lot of issues we are dealing with here this conference that came out a couple of years later.


Now, I want to start off with a fundamental question because I keep hearing people say there was no reason to go to Vietnam, why Vietnam? And I even meet vets that aren’t quite sure exactly what we were doing there and why it mattered. It did matter, it mattered tremendously and I am going to try just very briefly to tell you why. The Doctrine on Containment was established in 1950 on the basis of a document written by Paul Nitze who was the head of the Policy Planning Staff in State Department called NSC 68. Truman sat on it for a while, but after the Korean invasion, he quickly approved it and the doctrine was this; that is we have the international communist movement that wants to take over the world. They want to expand country by country. It is not in our interest or the interest of their potential victims to let that happen, so we are going to stop them and that’s where Containment came from. And after Korea, which was a very expensive war for us and a very unpopular war, Eisenhower in Dallas said, “The American people aren’t going to continue supporting massive defensive budgets or involvement in little small wars, so we are going to have something called massive retaliation. We are going to respond to future acts of aggression at a time and place of our own choosing in a massive matter.” They cut back the army tremendously, they beefed up strategic air command and the basic idea was, “Hey, Khrushchev, you want to start another little war, you better study about the half life of Uranium 235 because we may just come at Moscow instead of fighting you in Korea” or something like that. Interesting theory and Khrushchev bought it. Khrushchev backed off arms struggle. He did not give it up. He said “now is not the time for correlation of forces is not good; let’s prepare the way with political struggle, diplomatic struggle and especially political struggle, blaming the Americans as war mongers and saying it is only the peaceful Soviet Union that is keeping Europe from self destructing or blowing up in a nuclear holocaust. We also after the Geneva Convention, we had the SEATO Treaty, announcing in advance that if there was aggression against Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, we would come to their aid as would a number of other countries and JFK came in, and to his credit, he understood that we may need more flexibility. We may need to deal with guerilla wars or smaller situations where a nuclear response against Moscow is not appropriate. As Moscow began developing its own nuclear capabilities, the credibility of massive retaliation decreased dramatically because nobody believed that we were going to blow up Moscow in return losing New York, Washington and Boston to save the Phnom Penh or Vientiane or Saigon and since the deterrent is a function of perceptions, it lost its deterrent values. So Kennedy beefed up Special Forces and made a number of changes that were for the better in this area and JFK understood that Vietnam was important and indeed was one of the first supporters of the war; we will talk about that in a couple of minutes.

Anyway, Hanoi made a decision in May 1959; I documented that in my honor thesis and in my book, years before Hanoi admitted it, to liberate the South. That was an active aggression under international law. It was illegal. It was also a violation of Containment. It also was a threat to the human rights and to the lives of millions and tens of millions of people in Southeast Asia. Kennedy, we all know his famous inaugural address speech about we would pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, and so forth, for the cause of freedom. This is the great promise that another JFK helped undermine a few years later in the interest of becoming the next JFK President. Vietnam then became a test case and here is the issue. Now Khrushchev said, “cool it, no arms struggle right now.” Mao and Castro said, “Hey, that’s BS.” The imperialist appeared to be very fierce, but in reality they were the paper tigers because we could use guerilla war and guerillas were living and working among the people that looked just like the people, they can't use nukes against guerillas and again, they are going to nuke Moscow because Moscow will nuke Washington, so it is a paper tiger. It looks fierce, but ain’t going to do anything. Anyway, Vietnam quickly was recognized as a test and the question was can the United States stop people’s warfare, stop wars of national liberation, and the entire world was looking. Just to give you a few examples, this is Mao’s famous, you know, the atom bomb is a paper tiger, all reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance they are terrifying, but in reality they are not powerful because they cannot use nukes to stop guerillas. Lin Piao, the Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was at the forefront of making the argument that Vietnam was the critical test case. He denounced the Khrushchev revisionist, because he said, they are so afraid that any spark we set off will start a nuclear war around the world and they insist that nations that don’t have nuclear weapons can't defeat an enemy that does have nuclear weapons, but in fact, they are forbidding to make revolution and that is a Right Wing deviation from Marxism and Leninism; we are not going to live with that. He talked about, but we let’s just move on up. At this time, it is critically important to remember this, and I am sure most of you know it, China was providing arms training and other supplies to antigovernment guerillas, not only in Indochina but also in Thailand, Indonesia and even as far away as Mozambique. China viewed it as a fraternal duty, a socialist duty to support liberation movements all over the world. Lin Piao wrote, ‘Vietnam is the most convincing current example of a victim of aggression defeating US imperialism by people’s war. The United States,’ he said, ‘has made South Vietnam a testing ground for the suppression of people’s war. Everybody can now see that the US aggressors are unable to find a way of coping with people's war. Vietnam will lead to a chain reaction. The people of other parts of the world will see still more clearly that US imperialism can be defeated and that what the people of Vietnam can do, they can do too.’ This is critically important. This is why it was a test case. People all over the world were watching. Third world countries were trying to decide whether to side with the Soviet Union or with the West as they tried to stay in power and not get swallowed up by the giants. Lots and lots of dissatisfied groups around the world who wanted power, just ambitious people, we even had a few in our navy, I am told, were looking for ways to get power and if they saw the Communists were winning these wars, they were going to say, “Hey, commies, come on in here and give me some training and stuff. We will work together.” And of course once I get power, I will get rid of you guys. It just never happened that way. Che Guevara in Cuba said “the focal point of all contradictions is at present the territory of the peninsula of Indochina.” He said, “the Vietnam battlefront is most important for the future of all America. Vietnam is the great laboratory of imperialism. The victorious end of this battle will also spell the end of North American imperialism.” That is to say, it will prove the Chinese and Cuban line about people's warfare is correct and it will lead to one, two, three, a dozen Vietnams. He said, “when the day we enthusiastically raise the flag of South Vietnam,” by that he means the Viet Cong Flag, “we do it because that battlefront is the most important for the future of all America.” Le Duan had made some more comments of course as did Vo Nguyen Giap and others, but the point is, it was important. It was not just a little territory isolated off in the world. It was where the world was looking to find out who was going to win the Cold War.


Now, just briefly, I want to hit on a little bit of Ho's background. I talked about this yesterday. This is the quote I meant to have in the other slides yesterday. This actually is from outlined history of the Vietnam Working Party, the Dang Lao Dong Vietnam was then published in 1970. You can read it. When Ho went to Macao in February 1930 to set up the party, the party's official history is acknowledged. He was there as the official representative for the Communist International not just as another Vietnamese Communist leader. He spent 30 years as a Comintern agent. Now there is a real popular myth that Ho was a potential Tito, but this ignores a long history of North Vietnam of denouncing Yugoslavia and Tito as a tool for the CIA. This goes back as early as 1948. Now, some people say, “Hey look, he was getting aid from Stalin because the Americans would not help him. Stalin was quarrelling with Tito.” You don’t go out and pee on the trousers of your benefactor for no good reason, but he really wanted to be like Tito but he had to keep Stalin happy because Stalin was paying his bills. It is an interesting theory. The problem is, it does not tell us why after Stalin died and Khrushchev came to power, he went to Belgrade and hugged Tito, the North Vietnamese continued to denounce that Tito’s revisionist clique was the greatest threat to international Cmmunism. Was Ho its potential Asia Tito? Well, these are just some things you can read yourself, but for years, he talked about my country Indochina. Indochina was not a country. It was an artificial French administrating zone that the Comintern told him was going to be the area where all the communists worked together. He tried to hide his Comintern past. He slaughtered lots and lots of nationalists. He betrayed nationalist leaders who would not accept party leadership to the French for money. In 1959, in his will, he referred to my family being the working class throughout the world. Sorry that was not his last will. His last will was 1969 and he referred to the day, “when I go and join the venerable Karl Marx, Lenin and other revolutionary elders.” He didn't mention the great revolutionary heroes of Vietnam or the great nationalist leaders. He was in fact, an internationalist, not a nationalist, to the extent those two are incompatible and often they are.


On the 14th of January, 1950, Ho announced the desire to establish diplomatic relations with all countries of the world. Tito was one of the first to respond. Tito said that he accepted the offer to establish relations. The New York Times said this is the most sensational victory over Stalin since Tito’s split. Hanoi then responded, “we take note of your offer of recognition.” They did not accept recognition; they never considered Yugoslavia to be part of the Socialist world. They referred to that as a third world state and ultimately, the New York Times acknowledged Hanoi denounces Tito as a spy for American imperialism, a long standing line of the Viet Minh. The Vietnamese Communists supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the invasion of Yugoslavia [Czechoslovakia], of the invasion of Afghanistan, the hardcore coup against Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. Le Duan, at the Third Party Congress says, the modern revisionists represented by the Tito clique in Yugoslavia, are trumpeting that imperialism has changed. If you want to lay bare the aggressive and bellicose nature of imperialism, the Communists must necessarily direct their main blow against revisionism and he said that it is precisely Comrade Mao who has most brilliantly carried into practice the teachings of the great Lenin, that is to say a major reason in the Sino-Soviet split, not the only one, but a major one was this issue of “can the Communists around the world proceed immediately to arms struggle?” On that issue, the Vietnamese Communists were firmly in the Chinese camp. I would add that after the war, they provided M16s we left behind to be paid for by Moscow and smuggled to Cuba and Nicaragua to supply guerillas in El Salvador to fight for liberation. They saw that as a duty. There are some more things in the same thing. Truong Chinh, ‘we must oppose every manifestation of Bourgeois Nationalism.’ These people were not nationalists as we use the term.

Now, what went wrong in Vietnam and we could spend two or three days talking about what went wrong, but just a few points. One of the biggest mistakes we made was the overthrow of Diem. I did a lot of work with Bui Cong Tuong who was I think, the most senior defector we had in the entire war from the Communist side; he was chief of education, culture, propaganda and training in what they called Ben Tre Province, very knowledgeable, very senior. I was driving back to Saigon with him late one evening and I asked him, “what did you think of Diem?” And he said, “we senior party officials view Diem as a great patriot in the same category as Ho Chi Minh, but because he would not accept the party's leadership, we had to discredit him with the people. But when we heard the reports that Diem had been killed, we said it must be some sort of a trick. The Americans could not be so stupid as to allow Diem to be killed.”

What else went wrong? Well, if you were looking for one particular person to blame, this is a good start. Robert Strange McNamara had this idea that because he was such as wiz with computer information, you remember at Ford he was responsible for the Edsel and for blocking the Mustang, so he got a pretty good batting record when he came in. He didn’t think he had to listen of those damn military guys and he basically ignored the Joint Chiefs and also he and LBJ ignored the CIA. The documents are now declassified and we know that from the very beginning the CIA and the JCS were saying, “You got to hit them hard. This gradualism is encouraging them; it is going to get a prolonged war that we cannot win and after a while they believe we will give up.” Kerry talks about how we were in there just shooting everybody we wanted to and so. There were incredible rules of engagement, restricting what we could do. If there are any pilots in the group here, incredible restrictions on what targets you could hit. During the war authorized by Congress, you are flying over North Vietnam, you see a base with MiGs or a base with ten missiles, you can’t target that. They have to launch those MiGs against you before you can shoot them down and they have to fire those missiles at you before you can take notice of them. Incredible restrictive rules, simple-minded rules, the kind of rules that some schoolchild might come up with trying to play nice. What else went wrong? Well, Hanoi from the beginning placed emphasis on the World Peace Movement and especially the Peace Movement in the United States. We talked about this yesterday. They beat the French this way, at least that was their understanding and it is also my understanding, they thought they would win this way against us. They thought all we have to do, and I saw lots and lots of notebooks where lower level Viet Cong and North Vietnamese would take notes from political lectures and the messages was, ‘we don’t have to defeat the Americans on the battlefield; we just need to tie them down and inflict casualties and as time goes on the progressive forces of the world will pressure the American Congress to cut off money.’ The North Vietnamese and the Communists found a very great gullible population in this country, particularly vulnerable to their persuasion were a group of draft age young men in college campuses who had Left Wing professors who said, “oh yeah, we are over there violating human rights and propping up dictators and we are preventing free elections and all sorts of others stuff” but it didn’t really need that. Most of the antiwar people, you know, the student protesters, weren’t thinking very seriously about the merits of the case. A lot of this became the 1960s versions of the 1950 panty raids. It was a lot of fun, you get out, make a little noise, you meet some cute chicks and then the peace chicks were a lot friendlier than some of these old conservative girls in the sorority houses, so if you want to have some fun, this is the crowd to be in, this is where you get good drugs, you know. Anyway, you will see in some of the photos, they march with Viet Cong flags and North Vietnamese flags. I still remember the anger I felt in Vietnam when I picked up the stars and stripes one day and saw a great big photo on the front page of a Vietnam flag with the Washington monument behind it. I respect the first Amendment, but that did not make me feel good to know that college students back at home were out there wanting the other side to win this war, because I had seen what the Viet Cong would do.

Another thing that went wrong, a number of bright professors who knew enough about what was going on to make a difference refused to stand up and be counted because to do so would be unpleasant. People would call them baby killers, would spit on them, and throw things at them and maybe put a pie in their face and they said, ‘I am going to let the government take care of this’ and the government could not do it and didn't do it and ultimately we lost the debate with the public. People would go into church groups and say, “I was a Special Forces guy and they told me to murder all the prisoners.” Of course we later learnt the guy have never got within 500 miles of Vietnam, but he would go from church group to church group breaking down in tears about all the trauma of having murdered all those women and children and how it really hurt him and because others did not stand up, they were a smaller number of people who were out there in debating circles all the time, but darn few others; we lost.


Now, in the final years, what happened? Well, the Congress; we talked yesterday about Congress. The Congress pushed LBJ into the war. LBJ didn’t drag Congress into the war. At first, it was a no risk proposition; Congress had passed three prior joint resolutions authorizing the President to use force. First in Formosa, in 1955, in 1957 in the Middle East and 1962 in Cuba; each time when the Congress got behind the President and stood up there and flexed their muscles, the other side had not done anything bad. Now whether Mao was actually going to invade Taiwan we don’t know, but at least he didn’t. We had reason to believe he was thinking about it; it worked. So when Johnson came in and said, “hey I ain’t going nowhere in Vietnam without a formal approval from Congress.” They said “hey, it is a freebie and where the hell is Vietnam. These little guys don’t even speak English, you know, they are not going to stand up to us.” So they said, “sure” and they gave him an almost unanimous vote. They were 504-2 total votes authorizing war; we talked about that yesterday. But then as the war went on and candidates for election went out to campaign and peaceniks stood up in the audience and said, “why you supporting this horrible war where we are napalming babies and, you know, committing war crimes?” Most of these clowns couldn’t have found Vietnam on a map. They didn’t know how to answer these questions and they were difficult questions and they were making people angry and that is not a good thing when want to be reelected and so they started equivocating and saying, “well, you know, the Republican said it was all LBJ's fault. We weren’t involved in it at all, we never declared war.” And as soon as Nixon came in, it became easier because most Congressmen were Democrats and then immediately it became Nixon's war and his responsibility, you know, we Congressmen had nothing to do with it.

Now, I do have a caveat out here, and that is to make the point, the most opponents of the war were not evil people in their thoughts. That is to say, they honestly, probably, believed the garbage they were hearing about the US blocking free elections and violating treaties and propping up dictators and supporting a government that puts any one who uses the word “peace” in a tiger cage and so forth, and if you believe that you probably ought to be out there trying to stop it, because it would be a real evil thing to do. But when I say they were not evilly motivated and some of them certainly were, the Tom Haydens of the world certainly were, but the people they duped into this weren’t, but that does not mean they are not responsible for the consequences of their actions and obviously their actions led to the deaths of millions and the enslavement of tens of millions.

Oh, there is an interesting point here. Almost nobody knows this, but in 1950, Truman did not ignore Congress. Truman went to Congress repeatedly and wanted to go to a joint session and actually had Acheson draft a Gulf of Tonkin type statute and all the Congressional leaders said, stay away from Congress, we are going to back you, no problem, but don’t slow things down, why don’t you make this speech as a fireside chat. and Truman finally said, “well, I just didn’t want to seem to be doing anything extra-constitutional or unconstitutional, but if you guys don’t think I should do this, I wont push it.” If you go back and read the debates in 1945 at the time of the UN charter, the view of the overwhelming view of both houses was the Congress had no role in international peacekeeping. That was peace not war and thus it didn’t involve the power of Congress to declare war. J. William Fulbright among others said that. If you are interested, I did a long law review article that goes into the whole history side into the congressional record and the hearings. Some of the leading conservatives praised Truman while saying Acheson should resign because his inept weak policies provoked the aggression. They said, finally Truman is doing the right thing; we fully support it. He does not need the declaration of war. As soon as the war became unpopular, and it had an 80% approval rating in the early days, soon as it became unpopular though some of those Republicans Carl Mott, Richard Nixon and others screamed, “oh, it is an illegal unconstitutional war.” He ignored Congress and the public said he is a liar, he is a cheat, he is a crook. Okay, we don’t like this war either and when Truman was finally knocked off, his public approval rating was about 19%. In fact, his record on this issue was quite admirable one. He really did try to get Congress on board.


Now when Nixon came in, it became easier. In May 1973, as we talked about yesterday, Congress passed a law making it illegal to spend money on combat operations. That was the invitation. We told Hanoi, it is alright, you can commit international aggression and take over your neighbors and slaughter people. Congress has decided that we no longer care about those people. Why is Kerry important? Even Howard Zinn who was probably the most outspoken professor against the war; he said that Kerry was, by far, the most effective antiwar activist. He gave the critics some respectability.

Now, two other things happened, My Lai and Nguyen Ngoc Loan, who I have a great deal of respect for, but you have all seen the famous pillar of surprise photo of Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting the tied Viet Cong, shooting him in the head when his arms are bound behind him. Some of you know the story of that, some of you know more about Loan; if you don’t, we can talk about it later, but both of those shocked the American people when they saw them on TV and all of a sudden they started saying, “all these smelly hippies that have been telling us we are over there doing evil things, by God, they must be right. We are doing evil things in Vietnam.” Walter Cronkite right after Tet made it respectable to be a war critic. The Wall Street Journal came out against the war at the same time. They also contributed to the same attitude, but Kerry more than anybody else gave the protesters a credibility they would not have had without him. There were other very vocal passionate speakers against the war, but none of them had one chance of Kerry's credibility. They didn’t have Silver Stars; most of them weren’t real veterans. Here it is Al Hubbard the famous Executive Director or Executive Secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Against The War, the guy that sat next to Kerry on Meet the Press and many many other shows, or you can say Kerry’s left hand man if you will, who claimed to have been and Air Force captain wounded on the second tour while landing at Da Nang, turned out he didn’t even have a Vietnam service ribbon. The Air Force said there is some chance he might have been on the plane that landed and stayed overnight somewhere over the years, but he certainly had no Vietnam assignments and since his jacket doesn’t show a Vietnam service ribbon, which he would have qualified for if he had landed for five minutes, it appears that he was never even, he never ever set foot in Vietnam. Also, his injury was not shrapnel in the back landing at Da Nang, it was a 1961 soccer game.

A little more on this; just quickly on Jane Fonda. She was not, I think, not as effective as Kerry because she didn’t have the credibility; she was basically a cute Hollywood bimbo and you know, when they listen to her, I remember hearing her on Johnny Carson talking about the B-52s taking off from the decks of the aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin, and unless we had some 12,000 foot aircraft carriers that were stealth, that didn’t really pass the straight face test and much of what she said didn’t. But she did nevertheless commit treason. She did go into a foreign government, in a foreign country, at whom Congress had legally declared war; they didn’t call it that, but they had legally authorized hostilities, they had authorized a war very very clearly, and she allowed herself to be photographed pretending to shoot down American planes; she made several radio addresses that were as bad as anything Tokyo Rose ever said. There is an interesting book out by a Brooklyn lawyer called "Aid and Comfort" that if you are interested in seeing the transcripts of her statements, they are in the appendix to this. Here is one of her broadcasts. She said "This is Jane Fonda speaking from Hanoi. I am speaking particularly to the servicemen on the aircraft carriers in the Gulf. I don’t know what your officers tell you you are loading, but those of you who load the bombs in the planes, you should know that these toxic weapons this poison gas that’s really in there are illegal weapons and using these bombs makes one a war criminal and the men who ordered you to use these weapons are war criminals according to international law and in the past, men who were guilty of these kinds of crimes were tried and executed. Why do you follow orders telling you to destroy a hospital or bomb a school?” Now, we can talk about bombing schools, Bach Mai Hospital, we dropped a bomb on Bach Mai Hospital and that is because it was situated between a railroad yard and an oil storage depot. One bomb fell short, but the Linebacker II bombing was the most precise bombing in the history of the world to that date. For twelve days, we bombed a major city and by Hanoi’s own figures, the total KIA, the total casualties, the total fatalities in Hanoi and Haiphong alone from that B-52 bombing was just over 1400 human beings. Now compare that with World War II when we killed tens of thousands in one day of bombing on several occasions.


Unidentified Audience Member: When we were up in Hanoi they showed the dome of Bach Mai Hospital. They had [INAUDIBLE] right in the middle of the front courtyard and they showed all of the nurses and doctors up on the roof firing at American planes.


Dr. Robert F. Turner: Yeah, as soon as you do that, under international law you lose your protected status, if you turn a hospital into a military position. Now hospital can have guns, because doctors are allowed to have guns to defend their patients and their own lives, but if you start firing at and you know maybe they can make an argument, “well, we thought those bombs were trying or aimed at us” or something like that but basically they repeatedly put key military targets right next to orphanages, schools, dikes anything, thinking well they probably won't attack, even if they do maybe they will miss and we will get great publicity in the world with these photos of these poor blown apart children, the Americans just intentionally bombed. Here is another one; Fonda in the spirit of John Kerry's charge that we were acting like Genghis Khan; she said we were carrying out mass genocide. And here’s one; she talks about, “I hear there are some soldiers who were rolling grenades in their officer’s tents. Now, now I certainly don’t need, I don’t want to see anybody get killed or anything, but it sure is good there are soldiers down there who are beginning to think for themselves.” Interesting statement. I was actually on a panel on a Treason Conference at the University of North Carolina Law School last year and I used some of these slides and I figured I would have every faculty member there at my throat; not one question, no one challenged that issue at all. Well, I am not going to spend a lot of time on Kerry, you know about that. Could we have won the war? I submit not only could we, I submit we had the war effectively won by the end of 1972.


Harry Summers went to Hanoi in January 1973 and he met a North Vietnamese colonel. He said, “you know, you never defeated us on the battlefield.” And the colonel looked at him and said, “that may be so, but it is also irrelevant” and both men were right. Bill Colby who used to come down every year to lecture in my Vietnam seminar at the Law School wrote in his wonderful book "Lost Victory" that by the end of 1972, on the ground in South Vietnam the war had been won, and that is exactly right. If you look at who had control of territory, who had control of population, what happened when the American ground troops stopped fighting and the North Vietnamese tried a major offensive, the Easter Offensive of 1972 and the South Vietnamese ARVN pushed them back with only US air power; that was a major defeat for their side. It showed South Vietnam had a functioning army that could protect it. The 1972 bombing totally demoralized North Vietnam and brought them back to the peace tables. Doug Pike, a dear friend; Doug and I used to work in the same office, but never at the same time. When he was out of Vietnam, I was often there, when I left he would come back, when he left I came back and he was there I think four times and I was there twice. But Pike says, “I believe we could have won the war. I believe future historians will say not only could the war have been won, it had been won, but in the end it was defeat we snatched out of the jaws not victory. Had American credibility been maintained” and here he is talking about Congress, “that would never have happened.” We talked yesterday about what happened afterwards; you know what happened. The Fulbright amendment that made it illegal to spend money on combat operations; by the way, a lot of us think was unconstitutional but Ford was not able to fight it, Nixon was not able to fight it. Nixon was trying to survive an impeachment effort and Ford, when he came to power, was an unelected, not even an elected Vice-President and just had no authority, no presidency, no mandate from heaven or whatever from the people to take on an angry Congress.


Now, did anything good come out of the war? This is a very important point because there is a popular view that Vietnam was about nothing; we should have walked away. MacNamara now says that if he had to do it over again, he would have just walked away from Vietnam in 1965 or 1966. Staying another decade was very important. In 1965, Thailand and Indonesia were absolute basket cases. They had major revolutions, Communist revolutions going on, funded by the Chinese, armed by the Chinese and had we walked away from Vietnam, both of those countries would not have lasted very long in my view. By 1975, there had been dramatic improvements in both countries; they were much more stable and were able to resist [Communist] efforts. The most important single factor, in 1965 China was engaged in its internationalist duty to support revolutionary movements around the world. They had lots of arms, they had enough money and they were going to fund any group that wanted to overthrow power in the name of the people. By 1975, there had been something called The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. Lan Piao had been purged and China was no longer in the business of exporting revolution in a major way. Tremendous difference. Had we walked away in 65, we might have even ended the Sino-Soviet rift, and I had that because I know several cases where feuding factions, I will give you two examples; the Farabundo Marti National Liberation in El Salvador and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua had split like so many Communist parties around the world, split into basically three factions. You had the loyal Moscow line official Communist party, you had a Trotskyist or other deviant group of screwballs and you had the Maoists or Castro line. Castro went to the Sandinistas and the FMNL and said, “if you guys will stop quarreling among yourselves, I will give you weapons and training and guns and money, so you can seize power.” And they said, “Power? Hey, I can get along with you for power, sure.” Well, in the same way, once China and Vietnam had shown the Americans can't resist people's war and will just cut and run, there is no reason at all for Khrushchev to stay back where is no armed struggle now. If you look at the way they reacted after ‘75, all of a sudden Moscow became far more adventuristic. Moscow started air lifting human troops into Angola to seize Angola which they did because of Congress and they told the Latin American countries. Now the Latin-American communist parties, most of them had premature revolutions in 1919-1920 and the governments had gone in and slaughtered, in some cases 8 or 9,000 people. Every Communist in the country got butchered and Lenin said, cool it, the opportune moment is not right. The correlation of forces is not in your favor, you are in this zone of the Munroe doctrine. The Yankees will not allow you to seize power, you will be slaughtered if you go to armed struggle. Now, you must rely upon political diplomatic struggle, you know all these other major propaganda and the like, so time will come for armed struggle. After 75, Moscow said, “Hey guys, armed struggle is allowed now” and we started getting revolutions down in Latin America.


Unidentified Audience Member:  I think you have got a date [INAUDIBLE], down there.


Dr. Robert F. Turner: Oh, undoubtedly.


Unidentified Audience Member: Because the cold revolution [INAUDIBLE], started around, I think it was 65 [INAUDIBLE], was around 58 and 59. [INAUDIBLE], end started around 65.


Dr. Robert F. Turner: No, no. You are misreading it. It said ended that, The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution ended support for guerillas around the world.


Unidentified Audience Member: [INAUDIBLE[ very important in 65.


Dr. Robert F. Turner: Well, the date was between 1964-1975, that’s all that matters because we held them at bay until 1975, and by that time the Chinese were no longer exporting revolution. But anyway, I am way behind on this, we probably lost a few minutes, but I am going to try to go quickly now. Did anything good come out of it? Well, one thing is very clear. We could not have fought ten Vietnam wars; we were barely able to fight one. Had we walked away from Vietnam, I am quite confident we would have found ourselves fighting other, we were faced with other peoples’ wars in Latin-America, Asia and Africa and we would have had to say, we can't fight them. And that might have meant, we would have two choices; do we allow the Communists to take over one country after another as more and more third world governments realize the Americans can't protect me, I better cut the best deal I can and accept a coalition government or whatever or we would have said, okay, you know what Eisenhower said about using nukes against Moscow; let's take this thing to the nuclear level to see who wins that one and then somebody would have pointed out, ‘well you know, since Eisenhower said that, the Soviets have an awful lot of nuclear weapons. Do you really want to stand for reelection after they bowl out New York and Washington, Chicago, and LA and so forth,’ it was not credible. We could have lost the Cold War had we walked away from Vietnam in 1965, but we don’t know. There is no way we are ever going to know what might have happened. There are some things we know what did happen. I just briefly want to look at the human consequences of what happened in Vietnam. Now, when I came back from Vietnam and took up a position as the resident Vietnam scholar at Stanford’s Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace, I got really involved, I am not quite sure why, in the blood bath debate. Well, I do know why in a way and that is while in Vietnam, I spent a lot of time working on that issue. One of the jobs of Special Projects Branch was to go out in the field and investigate acts of Viet Cong terror, assassination, and the like. Every document that got captured and sent up intelligence channels by any military unit in country eventually made its way across my desk. Anything that had any political significance, I mean your letters to mom they didn’t send up, but any kind of a Party document or any kind of a notebook of a training session and I kept reading that they kept telling their people make blood debt list of all the traitors in your district, so that when we get power we can deal severely with them, we can punish them, we came out with a variety of euphemisms for “kill” they had. And many times, I personally investigated many examples where people had gone in and murdered people, sometimes in quite gruesome ways, and a lot of you saw the same thing, but my job was to go all around the country looking at these kinds, or part of my job, looking at these kinds of incidents. After the Hue massacre when they started digging up bodies in 1970, I was the guy the Embassy sent up there to figure out what's going on, what we can do to neutralize the damage done in terms of frightening South Vietnamese, perhaps to exploit it with the International Press and so forth. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out why some of those people were targeted. I remember one little old lady supported herself by picking up, basically collecting, wood and selling it as firewood. No political involvement, certainly no connection with Diem or the government or anything else. We finally found out her son was a corporal in the Airborne. If you were a draftee, you were alright, but if you are member of any of the voluntary organizations or Black Panthers, Special Forces, what have you, they would often go to your parents and say if your son does not get out of the unit, you will be killed. And we found out that they had gone to this woman, her son was a corporal, I think he was in the Airborne but in one the elite units anyway and they came back and murdered her. A lot of the people, they tied their arms behind their backs, threw them down in pits and poured dirt, sand and dirt on top of them and they suffocated. It was a pretty nasty business; it sort of gave us a precursor of what Pol Pot and his boys did a few years later. Anyway, I did some writing on this, Garrett Porter was writing some silliness and so I actually wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post and in my anger it was like seven pages long, seven or eight pages long and they published every word of it. It took up almost half a page as a letter to the editor, but I talked about my own experiences in Vietnam and so forth. One morning my phone rings, I was writing my book at that time and I would work until 3 or 4 in the morning, go out and jog and then go home and sleep until 10 or 11 or 12, get up go play tennis and then go to work, but 9 o'clock in the morning which was noon New York Time, Harrison Salisbury called me, “would you write an op-ed for the New York Times on this issue of what would be blood death?” What he didn’t tell me is they were asking Garrett Porter to do a companion piece and thank God, unusually, they didn’t tell him either and his entire piece was saying there is only authority saying there is going to be a bloodbath, that’s Hoang Van Chi who wrote From Colonialism To Communism and he was a CIA agent. How do we know that? Because what was the name of the group; the CIA set up a group that would fund books and other things to get them out, I forget what it was called now.


Unidentified Audience Member: I think it was called the Cultural Congress?


Dr. Robert F. Turner: Was it Congress of Cultural Freedom, yeah, and Chi didn’t know anything about this. He wrote his book based on some of his experiences with the Viet Minh and when the CIA found out about it, they did kick in some money to help get him some distribution. That doesn’t make him a CIA agent, it doesn’t make him corrupt or unreliable; it was an excellent book by a very principled Vietnamese nationalist who became a friend over the years. At any rate, so his whole thing is saying, the whole thing is this one guy and he is easily impeachable. Right next to it is my article talking about my interviews with defectors and prisoners and so forth, and that was a win for the good guys. In my honors thesis, I had a chapter on the bloodbath issue and the original Senator Dodd, we would like to say the good one, Senator Tom Dodd of Connecticut, put that whole chapter in the congressional record. If anybody is interested, ask Steve and I will give him a copy and he can put it on the website because I have got a couple of copies, in fact I think I gave him a copy of it, and in January 1973, I was invited to appear on something called “The Advocates.” You were all old enough to remember it, we may have been in Vietnam at that time but there used to be a Sunday night PBS show that was sort of a debate format, it was something like a trial format; you had advocates and they had witnesses and Frank Trager who was a very distinguished professor of strategy at NYU and I were the two witnesses for the side that said, ‘yes, there will be a bloodbath’ and William Sloane Coffin, the Yale chaplain, and an unknown first-term Congressman named Les Aspin were on the other side, and we had a really interesting debate on this issue. Yes sir?


Unidentified Audience Member: [INAUDIBLE]


Dr. Robert F. Turner: Yeah, a lot of these were thrown together, very much at the last minute. And I thank you; I will try to catch that but that is a really Freudian slip, isn't it. I may keep that. Actually, I used to do my teaching with 35 millimeter PowerPoint slides, I had used PowerPoint, but then have them converted for five bucks a slide for that use and the first time I taught my seminar, I had a slide of the HESS system, you know the map that Hamlet Evaluation System with all the little colored dots on it and it wound up upside down and backwards in the slide projector and I looked at it and I said, “that’s alright, just equally useful in this form” because it was a farce, you know, nobody paid any attention to it except MacNamara; everybody would come into a hamlet, the villages, as an advisor and realize their predecessor had rated this as 80% secure when it was really more like 20% secure. If you want to get your Bronze Star for Achievement, you don’t tell them, “oh, by the way, during my year, we have just dropped more than half in security” so you say 85% and a year later, it goes up to 90% and it was not a very reliable system. Anyway, we got a lot of play on this stuff. The Wall Street Journal did an interesting editorial on my attack; this I think was based on the Letter to the Editor in the Post on Porter. Porter debated me once and would never do it again and so he was not as stupid as I thought. I knew him in Vietnam; he was a allegedly a journalist working for the Dispatch News Service -- a Communist front news service basically and we saw, in fact Rocklin and I were at Vung Tau Beach once and we saw his wife in a bikini making moves on GIs; we thought probably recruiting them for the Party, but we don’t know for sure about that. Anyway, you know about the Hue massacre, I am not going to spend any time on that other than to say, these things gave us a sense of what we should have expected. When the Congress passed a law saying the US cannot legally protect anybody, North Vietnam said, okay, let’s take it, and they left the 325th division back to guard Hanoi. Talk about a lack of deterrence. You are involved in a war. On the other side is the United States of America and you send your entire army outside the country? There is this absolute contempt for the United States, but of course, they knew Congress was not going to let Nixon or anybody else do anything to protect the people of Indochina and they conquered their neighbors. Pike says even by the most cautious estimate, more Indo-Chinese have died violently since the end of the Vietnam War than during the war itself, perhaps by 2 million. Human suffering has been in an unprecedented scale far worse than the wartime days. Earlier we did not believe that deliberate inflictions suffered in Vietnam was as great as in Cambodia. However, new studies indicate that executions and vengeance killings in the first few years were far more numerous than anyone had believed to Vietnam bloodbath. Rudy Rummel, if you don’t know him, you ought to get his books. He wrote three books. He is a brilliant Professor Emeritus, R.J. Rummel. He was a Yale professor, visited Hawaii, said “hey, I can enjoy teaching here.” University of Hawaii may be fourth string or fourth rate or fourth tier or whatever, but it sure is a nice place to live and work and he taught there for years and then retired. He did some of the landmark work on the Democratic Peace Theorum on the idea that democracies don’t go to war with each other that has become so important in recent years. One of his theses is that during the 20th century, totalitarian governments killed almost four times more people than died in all the wars of the century. We funded that. When I was President of the US Institute of Peace and one of these duties was to give out grants. When I read his grant proposal I wondered what he was smoking. I said this can’t be true, we would know if it was true and I started looking at his data and if anything, they were understated, incredible, but good. He had really looked at all of them. His work on the land reform in Vietnam was better than that of most Vietnam scholars. The Washington Post did a piece on Stalin and Mao’s purges. Their figures of casualties were higher than Rummel’s, you know, just so you get the idea. Anyway, Rummel concludes that in less than four years, they killed over 30% of the men, women and children in Cambodia, a third of the population. The Black Book of Communism, if you don’t know it, get it; it is wonderful. It was written by some French former Communist, European former Communist. They are still pretty far to the Left, but they realized that Communism was truly an evil system and they estimated that between 80 and 100 million people were killed by Communism during the 20th century. You know the cost of defeat. This is one group that I don’t need to talk to about what happened after we left. This is a photo I took during the evacuation out of Saigon on the plane that I was on. A lot of frightened people with almost nothing leaving their homes, never having been in an air plane, not knowing what was going on and of course it was a dark air plane just a little bit of light. I kept shooting off this flash which antagonized some of them, no place to stand, I was really hanging from a strap on the wall, reaching out, trying to take pictures; this one is probably a second shot, you can see people have their hands over their eyes I think in some cases and are looking over to see what's going on, but anyway you know about the boat people. Roughly half a million people made it to safety as boat people, risking their lives in the process. The UN High Commission on Refugees estimates that for everyone that made it another one drowned, starved, was raped and murdered by pirates or didn’t make it. That is another half million people to add to the cost of Congress' decision to abandon the people that John F. Kennedy had promised we would defend at any cost. Doug Pike in talking about myths, he is wonderful here. I want you to read it. A lot of people there in the back who can’t read it on the video. “For centuries for now, the final comment on this issue and the war's origin has to do with American intellectual responsibility. On this and a dozen other issues involving the Vietnam War, American intellectuals were guilty of grievous error. They were massively and endlessly wrong and when proved wrong, they did nothing. They merely moved on to something else. If an engineer builds a bridge that collapses or a lawyer loses all of his cases or a doctor his patients, a certain stigma attaches. That is not true in the academic community. There, you can be visibly and eternally wrong, it doesn’t matter. We have them walking around the University, (he was at Berkley at that time, a ballsy guy) we have them walking around the University of California with their heads up showing no embarrassment.” It is true. I can't tell you the number of Social Sciences Departments now chaired by former anti-Vietnam activists who repeated every one of these myths as they went along or all of them conflicted here and they are held in the highest respect and they are able to block the appointment of anybody who might differ with their political views.


Now, last point, National Security consequences of what happened. First of all, the apparent success of people's warfare combined with the neo-isolationist trends in the United States resulting from anger over the war, encouraged the Communists to become more adventuristic. Moscow began immediately flying Cuban volunteers into Angola. Moscow told the Latin-American countries they could go to armed struggle -- the Americans were no longer going to be a problem -- and Congress became absolutely terrified of any situation that involved the risk of US casualties and undermined us Left and Right, again leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings. I am going to skip over that although it is an interesting point.

Lovelock makes a point, that the customary war to defeat is a lesson you learn, but in Vietnam, we don’t know what happened and so we can't the lessons, and if you look at the lessons that we think we learned, “don’t go to war without the support of Congress or the People.” While Congress supported it 504-2, the People gave LBJ a 58% increase in approval because of going into Vietnam. That is simply not a valid lesson, but you will not believe even the number of conservative legislators I hear that echo that is the lesson of the Vietnam War. Another one, “we should not give blank checks to Presidents for war like the Gulf of Tonkin [Resolution]. Of course, Congress didn’t authorize war in Vietnam, they were bypassed completely, but by the way, let’s not write any more blank checks like that one. It is really so fun to watch him try to, Kerry is good at talking out bull size in his mouth but some of them when you push them say, “well, I didn’t really mean, it is really nice of you to drop in and see me today.” Anyway, another one; you can’t trust the government. Government lied to us. How do we know that? Because the anti-war movement and the press told us that. Somebody came back and said “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” that was obviously a lie. A lot of what happened, I didn’t see that much lying. There was some lying, but a lot more of it was just incompetence. There was static analysis, it was somebody looking at a map and seeing force deployments and saying, “hey, if I had another hundred thousand troops over here, I will have a much superior position and I can probably beat them.” Well, a year later they got a hundred thousand troops there and they look back at the map and they see, “damn, they added a hundred thousand. I didn’t know they could do that, that’s not fair.” And so the war dragged on, but people in honest good faith looking at a situation saying, “if I change this factor, that will give me a good correlation of forces,” did not contemplate the idea that the other guy gets to play with his forces as well in the process. And again the lesson “Vietnam was a senseless and totally unnecessary war.” We are magnifying the cost because Vietnam has paralyzed the ability of the United States to protect its interests and to protect the cause of freedom around the world.

I am not going to spend time in the War Powers Resolution. If you are interested I have written two books on it, I don’t get royalties from them, otherwise I would say I would love to have the money on both. You will probably only find them on Ebay or on the Internet or something like that because it has been out of print for a while. But it was based on a lie and the lie was that Congress didn’t authorize the war in Indochina. It clearly exceeded the Constitutional power of Congress and thus violated the Constitution. I started writing about this. I was working in the Senate right after it passed for five years and I wrote a number of pieces and got my Senator to give a few speeches talking about why it was unconstitutional. Ultimately, Majority Leader George Mitchell, Democrat, came out and agreed just as did Sam Nunn, Bobby Byrd and John Warner and a number of others. Section 2(c) of the War Powers Resolution is fascinating. It says the power of the President to send troops into harm’s way are exercised only presuming it to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization or a national emergency created by attack upon the United States or its Armed Forces. A couple of interesting things about this. First of all, specific statutory authorization; you remember the Gulf of Tonkin, aha…that was specific statutory authorization. In fact, I have a quote from the Foreign Relations Committee in 1967 saying that Congress can authorize war by resolution such as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as well, but later as the public turned against the war, they forgot about that and they said, “oh no, we weren’t even there when that happened; that was all Nixon.” Now, what would have happened if some terrorist groups seized -- I like to make it interesting; you got a cruise ship, it is filled with Noble Prize winners, every one still alive in the United States and their wives and husbands and their children, their grandchildren, lot of little 3-year-olds crawling around, they are on this wonderful cruise ship going to Oslo for their award of the Nobel Peace Prize and a bunch of terrorists get on the boat and they pick up four or five little kids and slit their throats and throw them over the side and they say, we have agents in the United States who will know when this is done; every half hour we are going to kill another fifty of these people, your best Nobel Prize thinkers and so forth, Mother Theresa might be there too, let's wind up a little bit and put a other nice people, put Jimmy Carter, there are too many….. Let's say anyway, you have to release every accused terrorist in every jail and prison in the United States and until you do, we are going to keep killing fifty every half hour. What are the President's options? Under the War Powers Resolution, he can release prisoners or he can sit back and watch as people are thrown overboard because Congress in its wisdom, as with so many laws they passed in another areas, in the intelligence area, ‘we don’t want the FBI infiltrating groups, so stay away from Al-Qaeda or stay away from mosques and so forth. No warrants unless you can establish somebody is an agent of a foreign government or of a terrorist organization. Moussaoui was not an agent; Moussaoui was a lone wolf. Congress went berserk when they found the FBI had denied a warrant to seize Moussaoui’s computer and look inside it. You know why it happened? Because they had passed a law saying you can't have a warrant for that. They are now playing with an amendment that will allow it, but Shelby went out after Spike Bowman, he is very respected retired Navy JAG Captain who is the head National Security Lawyer at FBI. Spike is one of my best friends. I taught most of his lawyers, most of the lawyers in his office came through our program at Virginia and they are very good. There were seven lawyers to look at that application and they said, “this hasn’t got a prayer; don’t send it up” and they kicked it back and they said, “here is what you need if you want a warrant” and the woman who they sent it back to then went public and became Time’s Woman Of The Year because she exposed the corruption and the incompetence in the FBI because they wouldn’t give her this warrant in violation of the law. Congress did a lot of things like that and this particular law does not allow the President to use armed force to protect American civilians abroad, very clear from the language. I debated Jacob Javits in December of 1984 at the International Law Association and I made the point that this was unconstitutional, but under the Constitution the President clearly has the power to protect American civilians abroad. To my shock Javits got up in his rebuttal and said, “Secretary Turner is exactly right. The President does have this power. We and the Senate wanted to acknowledge that, but the House would not agree, so we went along with a compromise,” and because of my affection for Jacob Javits despite his dishonest behavior on Vietnam, I did not then get up and say, “oh, and so then you passed an unconstitutional law in violation of your oath of office” but is in fact what they did. George Mitchell really summarizes the War Powers Resolution beautifully and Ho Chi Minh’s birthday, May 19, 1988, they had a colloquially, Warner, Nunn, Mitchell, Byrd and four or five others and they all took turns talking about how horrible the War Powers Resolution was and just to give you a couple of quotes; “the War Powers Resolution does not work, because it oversteps the constitutional bounds of Congress' power to control the Armed Forces in situations short of war and because it potentially undermines our ability to effectively defend our national interests." The War Powers Resolution therefore threatens not only the delicate balance of power established by the Constitution; it potentially undermines America's ability to effectively defend our national security. I could not say it better; I will leave it at that.

I was in the Senate when Congress in 1975 passed the Clark Amendment making it illegal to spend money on covert operations to assist the two non-communist groups in Angola who were trying to resist the Cubans that the Soviets were flying in. I remember, I will never forget it, it is called the Clark Amendment because Dick Clark was the junior Democrat in the Foreign Relations Committee. You got to pick your subcommittee by seniority; nobody wanted Africa, and so Clark becomes the Africa Subcommittee Chairman. I have forgotten his background, but it certainly had nothing to do with war or Africa other than maybe a war protester and yet he became the world's great authority on Africa and he made a couple of junkets to his credit and he came back and I sat on the Senate floor one day and he got up and talked about how Kissinger and the State Department didn’t know what the hell was going on and just last Tuesday, I had dinner with Roberto Holden and he told me, so he had lunch with Roberto Holden and he told me so and so, and I am looking around the room and nobody else has even raise an eyebrow because I was the only one in the room that understood he was talking about Holden Roberto. He didn’t even know the name of the guy he met with and yet he was saying State Department and CIA don’t know anything, they are just a bunch of lying cheats and so Congress passed a law making it illegal for us to help defend the people of Angola and as a result tens of thousands of people died over a period of ten years. I was Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations in 1984 when Congress came to us and said, “why aren't you doing something about all those damn Cubans in Africa?” There were close to 50,000 Cubans in black Africa at that time, and I remember writing speeches for my boss, taking about the fact that we had discovered there were a few hundred Cubans in Africa and Clark said, “no there are not and even if they are, as soon as we get out, the Africans will take care of it; the Organization of African Unity will sell those Cubans out just like that.” That’s the kind of thinking that gets coalition governments to be taken over by Communists. Anyway, in this debate you could go back and search it, Vietnam, Vietnam, no more Vietnams, never again, the whole thing was driven by the idea that if we tried to defend people in Africa, it was going to be another Vietnam. Tens of thousands of lives were lost.

Quickly in El Salvador, Congress again, no more Vietnams, it is going to be another Vietnam. Carter actually started the aid for El Salvador just a week or two before he went out of office, just as he started the covert operation to support the Muhujadeen in Afghanistan. People think those rigging operations were actually started by Carter, but Congress as soon as Reagan expanded it said, “oh, its going to be another Vietnam, we need to cut off funds” and so forth. To appease Congress and to avoid triggering the War Powers Resolution, our soldiers were told by advisors, when you go out, you can't take an M-16. You can only take a side arm. It’s true there are people out there who want to kill you, that have got AK-47 and M-16s. M-16s we left behind in Vietnam, but we don’t want Congress to think the President is lying to them, so you are going to make an unnecessary risk of your life because Congress thinks the President is a liar. This is absolutely outrageous. [In] Nicaragua, the Sandinistas in the early ‘60s bragged about being a Marxist Lenin's group and the heirs of the October Revolution. Castro got them together and said, “hey, guys stop talking about Marxism. You need a united front. You need to talk about freedom of speech and stopping corruption and all this kind of stuff and then the people will follow you.” And they did, it did work. I think probably Pedro Joaquin Zamora was murdered by the Sandinistas. I have no reason to believe that other than it was certainly in their interest to do it and the murder of the most popular press critic of the government led to a revolution and brought them to power. Maybe Somosa was most stupid enough to do it, I don’t know. I did a book about this if you are interested, you probably will never find a copy of it but maybe you can. Anyway, I was down there, I was the Counsel to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board at the White House and I went down because my job was to tell the President if anybody was breaking the law in the intelligence operations. I went down and looked at that carefully. I remember being in a dirt floored field hospital with a man in front of me who was about to die and the doctors telling me Congress has cut off aid again, we don’t have medicine, we can't save his life. This was the guy, he was a very famous commandante who had been in and out of Nicaragua time and again and finally got belly shot and they were sitting there trying to fight an infection with no antibiotics because Congress had gotten up in the morning and looked at the latest polls and said, “oh, turn off the aid to the Contras” and it was pathetic. This was another one that John Kerry committed another felony, he violated the Logan Act and went down and negotiated with these clowns.

Beirut, the saddest of all perhaps, this was one who was very close to me and I should admit in the interest of full disclosure that the Colonel who was in charge of Beirut was one of my best friends. In fact, I just spent the previous week, the Monday before the bombing, I had gotten back from a week at Camp Lejeune, where I was down both meeting with Al Gray, the Division Commander who later became Commandant of the Marine Corps, but also Karen Garrity and Shaun, Tim’s son, and I just on Friday sent about six or seven rolls of pictures to Tim. I had taken his son fishing, soccer, everything he did and taken lots of pictures hoping Tim would enjoy seeing his son growing up. I got up that morning and saw the rubble and I saw Tim. My wife looked at it and said, he has lost the sparkle from his eyes. You know it destroyed him. He knew those men. It was Congress' fault. Congress didn’t kill him. Congress did not plant the bomb. But Congress told the terrorists, and they were warned, that if you kill some more Marines, we will cut off the funding.

I am going to skip a lot of this stuff here, just general background stuff, most of you know. Anyway, basically we went in there with no Congressional opposition, but as soon as we went in Congress started saying, “well, he didn’t report under the going into combat clause, he is threatening a Constitutional crisis because we are clearly going into combat.” Hell, we told the various factions, we are not going into combat, and we are coming to help keep peace so you guys can talk. If we had sent up a declaration of war, every damn one of those crazy groups would have said, “They told me they were coming to keep peace. They are coming to war, they must be coming all the way to fight us; hey, guys get down to the beach and welcome on the Americans,” it was just absolutely crazy. Anyway, you can read those if you are a fast reader but I am not going to spend a lot of time on it because I don’t have much time. There was no Congressional criticism on the merits other than Zablocki says Reagan is threatening a constitutional crisis because he is not reporting under section 4A1 of the Resolution, which he shouldn’t have reported under. Cranston said, the he would approve what he is doing if he would tell us exactly how and when we proposed to extricate those troops, that’s one of the new things after Vietnam. We need an exit plan. Tell us what day they are coming back. Imagine, December 8, 1941, an FDR talks about a day, which will live in infamy and members say, ‘well, Mr. President, we will give a declaration of war, but first we want to know what day are the boys coming home and oh, my colleague over here wants a list of the casualties from his district so he can consult with the families.’ You can't predict what day they are coming home because you don’t know what the bad guys are going to do and the worst thing you can do is say, “okay, we don't want upset the cry babies on the hill, so we are only going to stay thirty days” because there is not one of those dirt bags over there who can’t hold his breath for thirty days if he knows the Americans are going to give up that quick. You can't do it and this is why John Locke wrote about the Executive Power and said “the control of war and peace has to be left in the hands of the Prince or the Executive because Congress can't control the behavior of foreigners by law and Congress cannot predict in advance every development that might occur in the cabinet around the battlefield.” We could talk about that for hours, but time is running out. Anyway, the Washington Post acknowledged that, the Democrats saw partisan advantage from this and insisted on a vote, a resolution of approval, they were almost united against and indeed, I worked for five years with the Foreign Relations Committee, followed them for decades and I am not aware of another instance in its history when they have had minority views of all members of one party. Lots of times, they were split on Party lines, but they didn’t call it minority views of every Democratic members of the committee. They were planning for the 84 election. They thought something was going to happen and it would make the people mad and they were going to show everyone of us was against him and we warned him and so forth. P. X. Kelly went to Congress and pleaded with them that this partisan debate is endangering the lives of my Marines. They listened politely, thanked him for coming, and said nothing about it.


The Senate voted 54-46, that is to say a four-vote change could have posed a tie and denied the President any authority. Two Democrats in the entire Senate supported Reagan and after the debate, 29 September 1983, even Chuck Percy, the Republican Chairman of the Committee got up and said they just authorized 18 more months of deployment.


We are not washing our hands off this issue and certainly if there are any further casualties, we can reconsider this vote at any time. All you got to do is change four votes and you will stop him. You are now a terrorist with an IQ of at least say, 81, and you say what do we do to get the Americans out of here. Well, what had he said, “if there are more casualties I will have another vote.” Oh, we can probably arrange that. Congress put a bounty on the lives of those troops. They didn’t mean to, but they did. The Foreign Minister of Syria said the Americans are short of breath. You know, they watched this, they saw us quarreling among ourselves and radical Muslims told their people if we kill fifteen Marines, the rest will leave. October 23, a truck bomb killed 241 marines and of course Congress wanted P. X. Kelly to bring the head of the Marine that was responsible for all of this so they could put it up on the pole out in front and make sure the public knew Congress didn’t bear any responsibility for this and they had taken care of it. Here is a Washington Post clipping on how they reacted when somebody in the White House repeated Kelly's warning, they were in endangering the Marines. Tom Eagleton says to suggest a congressional insistence that the law be lived up to is somehow giving aid and comfort to the enemy is totally unacceptable, the administration has thrown out a red herring. When the anonymous White House comment implying danger for the Marines was reported on Capitol Hill, Democratic leaders were infuriated and, if anything, hardened their position. Interesting, go back and read the debate, again, it is 29 September 1983. The debate went on for a couple of days, Joe Biden gets up and says, “some of you have probably heard the arguments that I have heard as well that by merely having this debate, we are somehow endangering those Marines.” Well that may be true, but we will never know that until we have one of these debates, will we? Interesting, I am waiting for him to run for President because I am going to write about that one. You know since then, he has not been a champion of the War Powers Resolution. Fascinating. Apparently, he remembered saying that but nobody was listening. The Christian Science Monitor, ‘Congressional hesitation reservations or fears are such that should American troops suffer casualties, many Senators and Congressmen would immediately reconsider their support.’ Yeah, maybe they read The Christian Science Monitor outside of wherever it is published, Boston, I think, isn’t it? Yeah, okay. Anyway, and here is the actual message. This was leaked and actually appeared in US News and World Report on the issue dated 31 October, which means it came out on the 24 September, you know they date it a week ahead and so the day after the bombing, must have gone to press Friday, this was published. ‘If we kill fifteen marines, the rest will leave,’ and you know the rest of what happened. This is a national photograph of that bombing. Bill Casey, the head of the CIA came into my office in the White House one day and saw that on the wall and said what the hell was this. When I told him, he had not seen it. He sent his people over that afternoon and they borrowed it and made copies of it. The story is there is a great ethnic joke here if we could tell those because it is a black and white picture, but actually the original was in color. Col Garrity brought it back for me when he came back and knew I would want one. A British soldier was up on top of the British compound taking sunrise pictures. All of a sudden he heard the explosion, he turned he snapped and he yelled, ‘my God, they have nuked the Yanks’ because you see that big mushroom cloud and these are high rise buildings down here. These are 14-15 storey buildings and way up here, you can hardly see it, is this giant mushroom cloud. The FBI experts said it was the largest manmade non-nuclear explosion of which they were aware. Very sophisticated. Apparently East German technology involved, very effective and Reagan said, “we are not going to be deterred” and few weeks later we brought the Marines home, and Osama Bin Laden was watching and has mentioned that as one of the reasons he decided the Americans have no will.

Desert Storm, I am not going to spend time on it other than to make one point and that is when Congress authorized it by the narrowest of votes, 85% of Democrats voting to give the President no power to uphold the Security Council and enforce the International Law Against Aggression. They said acting under Resolution 678, the President can use force to achieve implementation of 660 to 677 and the reason for this - it was written this way to try to get more democratic votes because the only other military objective in any of those resolutions was 660 which said the Iraqis have to withdraw to the position they were in on August one. Now this is a great example of the legislative draftsmanship. You say you got a stand there poised to attack right on the border. Why not let them go home and furlough the troops who even the out passes. No, no, the UN says you must withdraw to that threatening position you were in the day before. Again there are idiots writing legislation around, but 678, the resolution they were not allowed to be enforced but than to say, if given the authority not only to implement the other resolutions, but also to restore international peace and security in the area which might even include going to Baghdad and getting that bad person and taking him back somewhere to have a war crimes trial. I wrote an article in the International Herald Tribune in October 1990 saying that when this thing is over, we got to have a War Crimes Trial for Saddam and also the UN should put controls on his WMDs and a number of other proposals that ultimately became part of policy. I don’t know to what extent that article had any influence on it, but I was pleased to see the emphasis on that and anyway let’s go on. So, the irony of it is after Desert Storm is over, nobody could anticipate that Swartzkoff would have that brilliant end run and have the whole Revolutionary Guard beaten, di di mau out of Kuwait City. The Democrats said, “well Bush was a wimp and he stopped 48 hours too soon. He should have gone to Baghdad and arrested Saddam Hussein or what have you” and these are the guys that said, “screw the UN, you can’t have any authority to enforce the UN Security Council or the UN Charter”.

So the only point I want to make is poor old Les Aspin -- God bless his soul; I introduced him at an ABA luncheon once we talked about the TV show; he had forgotten about it, but we had a good laugh. He came from being Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he knew about Congressional fears of another Vietnam. When General Montgomery asked for Abrams tanks for exactly the kind of contingency -- in case we get men cut off and actually want to get them -- and Colin Powers said, “yeah, let him have them,” Aspin said, “that’s not going to happen.” Because he felt Congress, if they knew he was sending over heavy armor, would think he had lied to them when he said they were going to be withdrawing the troops soon and so he left those troops exposed -- out of courtesy and respect for his colleagues in Congress, who of course, in the best tradition of Washington repaid him by calling for his resignation. Anyway, 17 Rangers were killed 106 wounded. Aspin could have stopped that or prevented a lot of it had it just listened to the General.

Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am going to skip over. Terrorism, the only point is the weakness and also ensure having it addressed, the constraints on the intelligence community imposed by Congress in the wake of Vietnam had a lot to do with how little information we got on Bin Laden because Bin Laden could not be tracked by high tech satellites completely. We did get some stuff from it, but Congress immediately said let’s investigate to find out what Bush did to cause this war and I have not yet read the Report of the Commission, but I bet they don’t even touch on this and if you want the main cause, it was the weakness we showed in the decades since Vietnam because Congress was afraid of any casualties and Congress enjoys scoring points against the President saying, “he tried to get us into another Vietnam.”


Anyway, conclusion, Vietnam was a noble cause, effective political warfare by Hanoi, brilliant political warfare assisted by people like Kerry and he was probably the most effective, pressure to frighten Congress to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I talked to Bill Colby about this. He said I went up repeatedly and briefed them and told them we were winning and so forth, but they would not listen, most of them would not even receive him. Why? Because the CIA was dirty at that point, and it was a rogue elephant and I don’t know how many of you read the reports of the Church-Pike Committee, I was working in the Senate at that time, but in the end, Church quietly said, “well, actually they weren’t a rouge elephant; everything they did I didn’t write was on orders from either the White House or State Department or political policy makers and the assassination, you remember the picture in the front page of every paper in the country with the assassination; well, when you get to the very back of this several hundred page report, they say well, “actually the CIA never assassinated anyone. No one, zero.” But that is not the message the American people got. Anyway, as a result of what Congress did, millions of people were slaughtered and tens of millions lost any chance at freedom and we continue today to suffer badly because neither the Public nor Congress had any real sense of what really happened in Vietnam.

All Americans should be grateful for each of you for your service and not only for your service, but in this room are some of the real war heroes, Special Forces, Medal of Honor winners and the like. We should each be grateful to Steve Sherman for his job in making this conference possible and my hope is that the video archives will be made available so that at least future students can learn about what was said here. We must continue this struggle to educate the Public about the truth in Vietnam. This is not just a matter of fairness to the guys who died for a noble cause, this is a matter of getting the country back on the right track if we are going to protect our interest and be a leader of the world for the cause of freedom and justice. Don’t forget to show up at the capital on Sunday, September 12, don’t forget to vote, and once again each of you can make a difference.



Dr. Robert F. Turner: I am very skilled at timing because I have spoken for 1 hour 30 minutes and 41 seconds of my 1 hour time limit and that probably protects me from hard questions but maybe Steve will let me take a few. If Steve is not here let’s go for it.


Unidentified Audience Member: No problem. He is just at the next station [INAUDIBLE]


Dr. Robert F. Turner: Okay. So we have got twenty minutes, we can at least take five minutes. Yes, sir?


Bill Laurie: Not really a question but I do want to thank you for an excellent presentation. Just a couple of points to add to you. You talked about the over 1400 killed in Haiphong and Hanoi in 72 that’s quite true, and the selective outrage is amazing because there was no outrage shown for the residents of Quang Tri and An Loc they were blown to bits by NVA artillery. As far as the Chinese involvement in Thailand, the North Vietnamese were also involved in the Thai insurgency. They started training Thai insurgents in North Vietnam in 1962. So Hanoi was hand in glove with China in destabilizing Southeast Asia.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: You are exactly right on both points.

Bill Laurie: As far as the myth and its legs and the aftermath, two years ago Neil Sheehan was on television on C-SPAN live and he said that after 1975, they meaning the NVA, Hanoi ideologues, they didn’t shoot anybody and there was no bloodbath. Neil Sheehan said that on national television and finally. . . .

Dr. Robert F. Turner: A lot of these he said over the years by the way.

Bill Laurie: Many, many.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: His batting average wasn’t high.

Bill Laurie: Another thing, old Les Aspin who decided not to give the military the armored vehicles they wanted, it should be noted earned his spurs under Robert MacNamara.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: Yes, yes, very good. Yes sir?

Michael Lee Lanning: Again a wonderful presentation. Just of some interest to you that may have left the military right after Vietnam, Bob talked about Angola and the Cubans in Angola. I was commanding a mechanized infantry company in Germany in 1975 and to show you that the American soldier was ready to go back and fight Communists again, we had no official word but the unofficial word amongst the troops were we were going to deploy from Germany to Angola and their morning Jody calls during the PT were, how we were going to fight Communism and kill the Commies in Angola. So they were ready to go. I would like to back up a little bit though and I hate to sound like I am against part of it, I certainly wouldn't ever question Doug Pike and yourself. I think the bloodbath in Vietnam was not as bad as a lot of people anticipated because I think we thought that it was pretty well going to be everybody. They did establish huge re-education camps, a euphemism for concentration camps, and people are still in prison for them, but in my opinion, they really didn’t kill as many people as I thought they would.

Max Friedman: You have brought up a couple of points and I think it is crucial to understand something. I have not seen any major news story done on retribution against the South Vietnamese after the war and again, I was the one who put together the Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam study for Congress. It was actually the only study of this type done by Congress during the war. Dan Piadora’s Part II was the answer to Gary Porter’s lies about the Land Reform Program, and what has happened is interest died in Vietnam after 1975, especially by the reporters. It took a good while for them to begin to realize what was going on in Cambodia. If you read some of the stuff I have in my bag, the Communists were say nothing was going on in Cambodia, it was all lies. Finally Schanberg came out and then Solaris came out with some hearings where he called Gareth Porter and Guy Gran and Hildebrand liars to their face and they crawled away, but it wasn’t until Ginetta Sagan did a study in 1980 for the Aurora Foundation that anybody had paid any attention to the survivors of the concentration camps who had basically escaped that came to the United States and she began to do a study based on the information they gave on how many people were in the camps and how many they saw die from disease, clearing land mines, being executed. Jackson and Desbarat (Jackson was in the White House at that time) did a follow-up study in 1983. Now the figure they gave were 83,000 people killed and the question was whether it was 200,000 in the camp or 500,000 in the camp, still almost 20% of the people are willing to bet today just based on what I tried to do in the early ‘90s that this figures are going to be well over a 100,000 or 150,000 people out of say 500,000 in the camp, but that does not include (Mike Benge here knows it) what happened to the Montagnards, what happened to over 200,000 Hoi Chanhs, what happened to the 8000 North Vietnamese defectors and prisoners who were there and what happened to some of the other minorities, the Nungs, and the Chams. [It] is silence, it is a graveyard silence and I don’t think anybody has been able to penetrate it. You start adding those figures up and you are going to get close to central half a million which is the only half of what Pike's early estimates were and Hosner’s studies and the other, you don’t know what went on back in the boondocks and nobody really has had access to get back there and try to find out and people really aren’t going to talk about it, but we need another Jackson and Desbarat’s study of the South Vietnamese and other refugees here, especially the new Montagnards that are coming in to find out what they saw from the period of ‘75 or ‘80 or up into the ‘90s into the year 2000, to how many people were killed or died because of Communist rule, and when those figures go up that is the bloodbath. We predicted this early on because we knew what the Communist tactics were. The press refused to cover it with one or two honorable exceptions I think Dan Sutherland may have done it and Lawrence did it in the Washington Post column, but nobody covered the Senate studies, nobody covered the Sagan study, nobody covered the Desbarat’s study, nobody gave a goddamn about these people and to me this is the most moral bit of racism on the part of the liberals that you are ever going to see and as to the guys in this room who were with them are the only ones who care. That’s why the guys in this room are the heroes and the ones who oppose them are the bastards.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: Just let me pick up on that. I spent a lot of time looking at these issues; it stopped in ‘75. I was working in the Senate, when I came out I have not independently researched what happened afterwards, I can give you one anecdote and that is, I was there at the time of the final evacuation and I knew Graham Martin fairly well and he saw me up in the hallway, I was trying to stay out of his way, asked me to come in and he spent about 45 minutes just unloading all his frustrations in the last few days. I don’t know what day it was, but it was within probably five days of the final evacuation, but when I came out of his office, Wolfe Layman, the DCM, said I have got some people I want you to see and they were several CIA people who just come down from the North (they were not North Vietnam, but from the I Corps area, the mountainous area and so forth) and they were telling me stories about what they heard, witnessed, and had been told by their people who would come out about the Party having lists and going into villages and taking people out and people hearing gunshots and people not coming back, so we know some of this was taking place at that time. Doug Pike was a dear friend, he has now passed away as you know, but he was a dear friend and I trusted him immensely and I have relied upon his figures mostly on this. I know The Black Book of Communism uses a figure of 1 million for South Vietnam, 2 million for Cambodia; the point is an incredible number of people in Indochina died because of what happened. Just on John Kerry, one last thing; I think we are missing an opportunity here; it is true in his testimony, he was sort of all over the place. At one point he talked about a few thousand and one point a little more than that, but he also referred to recriminations perhaps having millions of victims and saying those lives would be on our conscience, but our fault was of course in telling these people, they could resist something they couldn’t resist. I mean Communism was inevitable. If the American people could read or hear what he said and have a little bit explained to them, his basic message was, the thing that made him the angriest was the idea of fighting Communism and trying to resist it. He laughed about it and said, “they are not going to take over our McDonald's hamburger stands, you know.” Now, what do you know, and a lot of us knew it then. Again he didn’t have to be an intellectual to know what the hell they have been doing in the world and know what Stalin had done. [Robert] Conquest, I knew about Conquest, he has been at the Hoover Institute for years, Conquest was denounced by the main stream media. Now we know he understated it, it was worse, but he was damn close. It was a brilliant piece of work. If we can get the truth out to the People (every now and then I get this sense that people in Congress think the American people are idiots; they are not; they often are ignorant, often they don’t have the information they need to understand and they could be misled, but if you get the American people the facts) they will make the right decision more often than not, right not only on the self interest but right morally. They don’t want this government involved in conquests; they don’t want us to be the world's bully. They do like the idea of us going in and stopping some really bad tyrants that are abusing women and kids and innocent people, but what we need to make sure is they get the facts of what's going on and if we do, I would stake my future on them making the right decision.

Max Friedman: We only got a few months to get out the information from this conference, this is why I am pushing few people to keep in touch with us, but also take time to process the transcripts from this hearing, so whatever gets on the internet, the missed conference site or Winter Soldier is good, but each individual here, who has access to the internet, could start going in and finding sites that add commentary too. You have mentioned something so important that we had the greatest success on Front Page Magazine when a guy said they were no Red Chinese troops in North Vietnam during the war. I found the Washington Post article that said there was 340,000. I wrote the whole thing out. I also wrote about the article on the 40,000 Cuban troops in Angola and the Russian troops that were in Vietnam. We slam dunked this guy so hard, he will never address it again, but he was not important, it was the Vietnam veterans who had never seen this information who picked it up and emailed it and forwarded to their friends. So if you write something from your experiences and you put on the Internet, even in a commentary sections, say on Front Page Magazine which I do write for, it is being watched and it is being forwarded to other people, other veterans who are also interested and didn’t know that conferences like this were being held. I put it on the internet long before it was authorized and what has happened is that there is the network now of angry Vietnam veterans and their survivors who want to know the truth, they wanted to know it now because Kerry is the pivot point, he opened up the Pandora's box on Vietnam. Not only has he betrayed the veterans, he betrayed the people of Vietnam and that to me is a moral issue, of moral leadership of which he has none, but we have to act with the information not in notion but on the information that we have available or could provide to each other to tell the American public what this man stands for and what the consequences were of his actions that he does not take responsibility for. I want a leader no matter which party to be responsible and to look at the consequences of their action. My son fought in Iraq. I backed the President. If it was a Democratic President going in, after seeing those mass graves, I am there. You have got to tell the people what the truth is and you have got to do it now.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: We are running out of time. If anybody, I know some of us are older than others and need to visit the men’s room at least once every couple of days, feel free to walk out and do that now. One last thought though. I quoted the famous line, "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men do nothing," [Edmund] Burke. You can make a difference. We need to have people who know what's going on, contact veterans’ groups around the country and say, “go to Washington September 12th. If we do not turn out a large number of, if we fill up a big square in Washington with Vietnam veterans, C-SPAN just might well cover us as they have covered all the others and if they don’t, we are going to raise hell with them. If the American people hear these stories, that will turn this election around, but if we sit over here and fume among ourselves and say, “gee, somebody ought to do something” we are going to wind up with John F. Kerry as the President of the United States and now the consequences of that, I don’t need to tell you. As I said earlier, I am on vacation this week. These are personal views, but they are views held with great passion. So between now and November, let us all commit ourselves to do everything we can to get the truth out about Vietnam and about John F. Kerry and that’s all I have got to say, I will be here for the rest of the conference. Catch me any time if you want to talk about these sayings. If I have offended you, xin loi, it happens, but you know.

Steve Sherman: Okay, we are going to start again in about five minutes and ………

Dolf Droge: One comment. Your excellent presentation, as you closed you said that that Gulf War, Desert Storm, was not one of those examples of the failure of the Press.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: I didn’t mean to say that.

Dolf Droge: George Bush watched television with three television sets. They all had one theme, the Highway of Death. Those were looters who went into the apartments in Kuwait but what I am saying is, the country doesn’t know that………

Dr. Robert F. Turner: Yeah. P.J. O’Rourke did a wonderful story about the bombing of the microwave ovens, and the Mercedes and so forth. If they had just [gotten out of their cars and run they would have been OK,] but they were trying to [keep the] loot [and got] blown away and under the international war, that is perfectly legal.

Dolf Droge: But the cost of that is George Bush then decided we have made the rebel bounce, we are redundant and Colin Powell said, “the President doesn’t want you to continue the operation” and that is where the media again ruined an ending to a war that was the best of the best wars and it was again a media failure and Bush was the victim because he watched three television sets and thought he was seeing children's clothes because they died in the cars. No he was looking at the loot that the soldiers were pulling out with the Republican Guard going back to Iraq and nobody clarified that.

Dr. Robert F. Turner: I agree with that.