Those of us who were there remember vividly that Tom Hayden is a former Mr. Jane Fonda. While he takes great pains to expound on the many innocent casualties around Hanoi and Haiphong and extols the patriotic virtue of the North Vietnamese he encountered, not one word is mentioned about the atrocities executed by the Viet Cong and the NVA. Villages in the south were constantly harassed, brutalized, had their food stolen, were forced to hide the VC, and any suspicion that the villagers were sympathetic to popular forces or the Americans frequently resulted in limbs being amputated, family members kidnapped and held hostage, or murder.
As in any war the number of planes alleged as having been shot down often is exaggerated by one side or the other. I cannot attest to the number of planes shot down but I did return to Vietnam in 2002 and what I witnessed was not anything like what Mr. (Fonda) Hayden described of his communist brethren.
I witnessed amputee soldiers who fought for the South hobbling on the streets of Hoi An with a bamboo pole for support and begging food while the good communists were flying up and down these streets in U.S. military 6x6 vehicles. Passports were confiscated from U.S. citizens each night at the hotel front desk and returned each morning. Tours of the Mekong Delta, Dong Ha, Danang, Saigon, Hoi An and Phu Bai were presented by good communist escorts who distorted facts, and glorified the fighting spirit of the communist and the brutality of the U.S. fighting man.
I was in Vietnam from June 1967 until June 1968 up and down the I Corps area of responsibility from Khe Sahn to Chu Lai. I can tell you that a regiment of Marines and a regiment of the Army’s Air Cavalry could have marched straight to Hanoi with total victory had we had the freedom to do so. Unfortunately this war as all others since have been fought from Washington, D.C. not from the battlefield. Those calling the tactics have no military experience and little appreciation for the men and women who daily risk their lives in sacrifice for their country.
While reading Mr. (Fonda’s) Hayden’s description of his time in Hanoi consider the source. An anti-American, anti-military, communist sympathizer who loves distorting facts and being led blindly by the communists in Hanoi to staged, scripted locations to influence his hatred for America.