Thank you for your story on Craig Venter—an amazing
man. I had no service in Vietnam or anywhere near Vietnam,
but I salute those who did.
As a corpsman in a very drastic situation, he stood up to
the task at hand. As he mentioned in the article, others
in his unit did as well.
Unlike myself, as well as some others
in their past military life, he got it all right and went
on to a distinguished career. I know many other Vietnam and
Vietnam era veterans did as well. Some of us just fell far
short of our goals in this life.
He said, in the article, his motivation was
those individuals who did not make it home alive. That is
the reason I’ve
made it to The Wall three times. I had to pay my respects
to those who didn’t make it home.
LIARS & MALCONTENTS
I was quite disappointed to open my copy of The VVA Veteran
and find an article celebrating the fact that the liars and
malcontents of the 1960s and 1970s were now putting on a
show about the Iraq War.
I also noted the claim that there
was strict vetting of credentials for those appearing.
Well, good, at least they won’t
embarrass themselves again by taking “testimony” from
people who weren’t in the war zone or weren’t
in the rank and position they claimed as happened during
the first Winter Soldier.
I also note the smugness offered to readers when, having
found someone in the audience who wanted to protest the travesty,
their goons “frog-walked” him out. So much for
free speech and inclusion.
Please spare us any more stories
about the America-haters. We hear from them daily as it is.
The overwhelming majority of veterans served honorably and
proudly, then they came back and made respectable lives.
A SINGLE CANDLE
Thanks to Bill Crandell for his incisive comments in “Iraq:
Vietnam Without Water.” And thanks also to VVA for
providing a forum for veterans of conscience to express their
feelings against the war. Many of our brothers feel that
invading Iraq because of 9-11 would have been like invading
Brazil because of Pearl Harbor.
Let no one in our ranks doubt
the valor and dedication of our gallant troops. Yet, as William
F. Buckley, Jr., once said, “There is no way to get
around the grotesque historical fact, which is that soldiers
fight heroically no matter the character of the government
they serve.” Or
in the words of Albert Einstein: “Unthinking respect
for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” You
have lit a single candle for truth, Bill.
Edward J. Kesgen
Sylva, North Carolina
Bill Crandell is entitled to his opinions in “Iraq:
Vietnam Without Water,” but Iraq is vastly different
from Vietnam. The original Winter Soldier stuff, which had
an entirely dubious connection to any factual foundation,
contributed to negative stereotypes of veterans and to the
employment discrimination of the 1970s.
If Vietnam Veterans
of America continues its drift to the ideological left, it
will lose half of its membership and a lot of its moral authority.
A VETERANS ADVOCATE
After I read the article on Iraq Veterans Against the War,
I had to take a few days to regain my composure before I
Bill Crandell’s one-sided coverage stated
parallels with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971,
but failed to mention that Jane Fonda provided the majority
of funding and that much of the testimony was proven false.
Crandell wrote that the participants who gave testimony in
March 2008 were carefully screened, but he neglected to
include that validation of service and testimony was the
major purpose for the presence of Eagles UP, whom he tried
to paint as a insignificant group of pro-war, fair-weathered
old men and women.
In Crandell’s coverage of the IVAW
testimony, I didn’t
read about atrocities, I only saw necessary self-defense
protocol. Did I miss something?
We are fighting an enemy who
hides among the civilian population. I’m not saying
there aren’t those who abuse their
authority, but most soldiers value life and don’t use
deadly force indiscriminately. Regarding Crandell’s
dismissal of the “baby killers” label placed
on Vietnam veterans, it’s certainly hurtful when coming
from the mouths of ignorant civilians. But when it comes
from fellow veterans, it is a betrayal. You, as a veterans
advocate, should know that.
Congratulations on “Iraq: Vietnam Without Water” in
your last issue. I may not always agree with the subjects
and issues you present in your magazine, but I am confident
that of all the publications available to veterans, The VVA
Veteran presents the best and most stimulating coverage—better
that all the other veterans’ organizations.
Besides that, you’re looking better than ever.
THE VA: GOOD
I’d like to give a well-deserved thank-you to the VA.
All too often I’ve read that the VA is doing a lousy
job, nobody cares, they are understaffed, etc., etc. I’m
a Vietnam veteran, 1968-69, and have had several strokes
beginning in 1989. In 1989 I had two mini strokes and one
big one. All was well until October of 2007, when I had another
mini stroke. I then got hooked up with the VA in Lorain,
Ohio, and in my opinion the quality of treatment and caring
has been outstanding.
A month ago I had a stress test at the
Wade Park VA in Cleveland and they detected a heart abnormality.
They are working with my family doctor and between the two
of them I’m confident
I’m getting the best care possible. Also, my prescriptions
are much cheaper than they are through my insurance at work.
time I talk to another veteran, I tell him how good the VA
has been to me.
North Olmsted, Ohio
THE VA: BAD
I have been diagnosed with diabetes, and it has continually
worsened. I was put on pills, then insulin. I was put on
Novolin 70/30, gained 50 pounds, and refused to take it any
longer. They then put me on Novolin NPH. My sugars continued
to rise, and they continued to increase my dosage.
at the Iowa City VAMC wanted me to add Novolin R. But the
R component had put the 50 pounds on me. I was seen in
2004 by the Iowa City Endo department and asked to try
something else such as Lantis. The intern was willing to
try me on it, but when he went to the doctor over him,
the doctor denied the Lantis, saying it cost too much.
am service-connected for diabetes. I spent two tours in Vietnam
in the heaviest sprayed areas for Agent Orange. This is the
way the “communists” of this government
do their veterans. They continued to increase my Novolin
NPH, even though my sugars continue to rise.
I have an appointment
soon with Endo, and I am insisting on trying a different
kind of medication. The Government Affairs article in the
July/August issue came just at the right time. Believe me,
I am taking a copy of it with me, and I am refusing to leave
without a different type of insulin.
You are so right when
you say the VA is again being “penny
wise and pound foolish.” My diabetes has been uncontrolled
for over five years just because they wanted to save some
money. They don’t care what it does to my health.
I am a Vietnam-era veteran and have been a member of Chapter
380 in Marquette County, Mich., for several years. I never
really felt a part of VVA, not having been in country, though
a few of the members say I am.
A couple years ago I started an Honor Guard for military
funerals. After a year or so, we started an AVVA group and
all was going well until recently, when a few VVA members
started complaining. The complainers wanted to prevent AVVA
members from carrying any flag but the state or AVVA flag.
If they are not going to do anything with or for the chapter,
what right do they have to decide who carries our flags?
After being stabbed in the back and forced out of positions,
I quit Chapter 380.
I guess being an era vet really means nothing. You’re
right: I wasn’t in ’Nam. But I have to live with
that thought in my mind.