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Editorial

SIMPLE: Did Garrie Hutchinson show propaganda films of Australia’s enemies or not?

garyhutchinson The Sunday Age’s grouchy international affairs reporter Tom Hyland has desperately attempted to cobble together what’s left of the reputation of disgraced and deposed former state government veterans’ heritage officer and former draft dodger, Garrie Hutchinson.

Hutchinson was forced to resign this week from his post after disquiet from Aussie diggers over the government employing a former propagandist for Australia’s enemies to promote the heritage of veterans.

HIS LITTLE MATE

VEXNEWS has learned that Hyland and Hutchinson are mates, mixing in the same social circles and having a number of good friends in common in lefty journalist circles. This was not disclosed in Hyland’s story today in the Sunday Age. The closest we got to an admission about this was the disclosure that Hutchinson “once” worked at The Age.

In his account he launches a scorching and snide attack on veteran Sasha Uzonov, a freelance journalist and military affairs expert published by Fairfax and News Limited.

A Vietnam Veteran who reacted to the smear article this morning told VEXNEWS “It’s funny how brave these blokes are – who wouldn’t fight a totalitarian regime – when it comes to shooting the messenger who wants to tell the truth about their hypocrisy.”

“Call me crazy, but draft dodgers shouldn’t be able to cash in on the sacrifice of those braver than them. Most of us think they’re scum, that’s the inconvenient truth. Only now do we feel able to talk about these things because your generation isn’t as easily sucked in by the far left’s lies and the emotion of that era. The wheel is finally turning on all this stuff.”

MUDDYING THE MURKY WATERS OF HYLAND’S CONFESSION OF BETRAYAL

The most curious aspect of Hyland’s coverage is his attempt to muddy the waters about one crucial fact. Hutchinson – while dodging the draft – showed “National Liberation Front” (Viet Cong) films in England.

It is this fact that disgusts many Vietnam veterans and that made Hutchinson’s appointment politically unviable.

Hyland asserts there’s a “cyber-jungle” of misunderstandings about this issue. There is in fact no confusion about whether Garrie Hutchinson at all. He insists that the author of a highly regarded book on the Vietnam quoted in Uzonov’s coverage, Andrew Landeryou’s blog and subsequent VEXNEWS and Herald Sun reporting didn’t interview the draft dodger Hutchinson.

He didn’t need to. The military historian Ham was directly referring to Hutchinson’s book “Not Going to Vietnam” and quoting directly from it. All the attempts to downplay it and create confusion about it don’t survive much scrutiny.

Oddly enough, even the Sunday Age editorial on the issue makes it very clear:

In Not Going to Vietnam, he wrote: “I remember Tet as a defeat (for the Vietcong), one of the most depressing events of 1968. I didn’t think the NLF (National Liberation Front) could win, and this was an important factor in my leaving Australia.”

Hutchinson went to England, where he spent weeks showing “NLF propaganda films”.

Let’s consider Hyland’s account in detail.

Truth still a casualty long after Vietnam

Tom Hyland August 17, 2008

Tousands (sic) of anti-Vietnam protesters engulf Melbourne Town Hall in June 1971

SOME wars, it seems, never end, even those fought long ago and far away.

Tomorrow is Vietnam Veterans Day, held on the anniversary of a battle fought in 1966 by 100 Australian soldiers at a place called Long Tan, South Vietnam. Eighteen Australians died. At least 245 enemy soldiers were killed.

The Australians won the battle, but lost the war. South Vietnam, the country they were sent to defend, no longer exists.

VEXNEWS: A victory partly contributed to by the ferocity of those who opposed American and Australian intervention there to oppose the murderous communist regime that took over Vietnam, killing over a million people directly and countless more indirectly.

Australia’s Vietnam War officially ended in 1972, but another war is still being fought. It’s a fight over remembrance, over ownership of tradition, over who served and who didn’t, over the limits of dissent, and who was right and who was wrong in a war that divided the nation.

VEXNEWS: What’s perfectly amazing is the arrogance of those like Tom Hyland and Garrie Hutchinson who think it’s perfectly compatible to be fanatically opposed to the Vietnam War, even to the point of promoting the enemy that was killing Australians, and then cash in from writing about the events. There is no fight over “ownership of tradition”. The tradition of sacrifice for the nation is owned by those willing to do the sacrificing. Those who avoided service – for whatever reason – simply do have less of a claim on Aussie military tradition than those who did. The fact that needs to be stated – by this author who even avoided the Scouts let alone the Armed Forces – shows just how disingenuous Hyland’s piece gets.

The latest nasty little skirmish in that other war involves Garrie Hutchinson, a state public servant whose work centred on military commemoration and heritage, honouring the dead and educating young people about distant wars fought long ago.

VEXNEWS: A laughably generous description that glosses over Hutchinson’s own admission that he exhibited propaganda films for the murderous communist regime that took over Vietnam that killed Australian troops.

The controversy shows that, for some, the battle lines are still entrenched, with wounds unhealed and grievances unresolved.

In this battle, pragmatic state politics intersected with the sometimes fractious and anguished politics of veterans’ groups. Conflicting memories have collided and old fights have been re-fought in a shadowy cyber-jungle of half-truths and misunderstanding.

At issue was whether Mr Hutchinson’s record — he opposed Australia’s role in Vietnam, resisted compulsory military service and, according to critics, supported Australia’s enemies — disqualified him from any official commemorative role.

VEXNEWS: But it’s not “according to critics”, it’s according to Garrie Hutchinson who clearly admitted promoting the Viet Cong cause in his book “Not Going To Vietnam”.

The opening round was fired by freelance journalist Sasha Uzunov, a man on a curious crusade.

On August 5, Uzunov sent to newsrooms and websites a “news story” headlined: “Vietnam veterans furious as govt employs draft dodger”.

Uzunov said he had been contacted by “angry” veterans after they learned Mr Hutchinson, “a notorious Vietnam war draft dodger and Vietcong supporter”, was working in the veterans unit of the Department of Planning and Community Development.

The item cited a paragraph in military historian Paul Ham’s book Vietnam – The Australian War, published last November, that said Mr Hutchinson regretted the defeat of Vietcong guerillas in the 1968 Tet Offensive, and that he avoided conscription by travelling to Britain, where he helped display propaganda films produced by the National Liberation Front (the Vietcong).

Uzunov’s item quoted an unidentified veteran saying Mr Hutchinson, who has written widely on pilgrimages to battlefields and war graves, was “making money from war tourism”. The item did not reveal that the reference in Ham’s book was a partial quote taken from a memoir published by Mr Hutchinson in 1999.

On the same day, a version of Uzunov’s story appeared on Melbourne blogger Andrew Landeryou’s site, illustrated by a white feather, a symbol of cowardice. The Landeryou piece included extracts from an interview Mr Hutchinson gave to the ABC’s Geraldine Doogue in 2006, in which he described himself as a “draft resister”.

Variations of the Uzunov/Landeryou stories then appeared in an online forum used by veterans, where Mr Hutchinson was called a traitor and a coward. These accounts made their way to official veterans’ groups, including the RSL.

VEXNEWS: Without wanting to be unnecessarily rude, he actually was a traitor. By his own account, he campaigned for Australia’s enemies at time of war.

Last Monday, six days after Uzunov sent his email, the Herald Sun reported that Mr Hutchinson’s government job — his official title was senior project officer, veterans’ heritage — had outraged veterans.

A State Government spokeswoman was quoted as saying Mr Hutchinson’s work in commemoration and military heritage was “exemplary”, that he had the Government’s “full support”, and that his views on Vietnam were well known.

VEXNEWS: They can be such fair weather friends in the Premier’s media unit. They soon dropped him like a hot spud.

The following day, the Herald Sun reported the “stand-off” over Mr Hutchinson had “intensified”. It asserted Mr Hutchinson had “fled Australia to avoid national service”, and that veterans were threatening to confront Premier John Brumby about the issue on Vietnam Veterans Day.

By now, the Government’s “full support” was wavering.

On Tuesday, Assistant Veterans Affairs Minister Tony Robinson met RSL state president David McLachlan, who warned that relations between the Government and veterans would be undermined if Mr Hutchinson remained in his job.

On Wednesday, in an attempt to avoid damage to the veterans’ unit, Mr Hutchinson asked to be moved to another position, a decision the Herald Sun reported under the headline “Draft dodger ducks out”.

Retired Major-General McLachlan, the RSL president, said the issue was not that Mr Hutchinson had opposed conscription and involvement in Vietnam.

“What we can not accept is the fact that when we had Australians in harm’s way, he went and moved in a positive way to support the enemy we were fighting. That’s the issue. We felt, and we still feel, that was an inappropriate act.”

He said Mr Hutchinson, in interviews with Ham and Doogue, “still continued to proffer that what he was doing was appropriate”.

VEXNEWS: Thus commences an utterly bizarre attempt to muddy the waters on Hutchinson’s self-admitted propagandising for the mass-murdering communist Vietnamese regime.

In fact, Mr Hutchinson was never interviewed by Ham (VEXNEWS: He quoted Hutchinson’s book), and the transcript of the Doogue interview shows he made no statement in support of the Vietcong. He did talk about a visit to Long Tan, where he met a retired Vietcong officer who was “very respectful” of his former Australian enemies.

VEXNEWS: Doogue’s interview has been quoted by Landeryou’s blog saying that he wasn’t a draft dodger, but a draft resister.

General McLachlan told The Sunday Age he had not read Mr Hutchinson’s books (VEXNEWS: Scandalous!), including his Pilgrimage: A Traveller’s Guide to Australia’s Battlefields, published in 2006, in which Mr Hutchinson wrote that “Australia came out of the (Vietnam) conflict with its military reputation enhanced”.

Nor was he aware that Mr Hutchinson wrote that, in opposing the war, it was still possible to support the men and women involved, and that: “I still regret that we did not make that point strongly enough.”

(VEXNEWS: Amazing isn’t it that Hyland just happened to have handy a book-marked and talking-pointed copy of the book by his bed-side table. Or perhaps more likely supposedly mute public servant Garrie Hutchinson might be attempting to protect his military historian writing brand from his past catching up with him.)

In any case, this did not amount to an apology, General McLachlan said.

“You’ve got to look at it in the eyes of someone who served in Vietnam. I served in Vietnam, I lost three of my dearest friends in Vietnam who were killed and I can never get over the fact that some people were working against us.”

He said Mr Hutchinson’s job included taking student winners of the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac awards on tours to Vietnam: “What would he be telling those children?” The government website shows Mr Hutchinson has never escorted students to Vietnam.

VEXNEWS: What he presumably wasn’t telling the school-kids was that Aussie veterans were spat out and treated dreadfully on their return from Vietnam, causing incredible pain after a horribly difficult conflict. The Left won the argument just as clearly as the communists won Vietnam. They succeeded in turning the idealistic and noble cause of defending freedom in Vietnam into imperialist villainy.

Mr Hutchinson, who in the past has written for The Age, declined to be quoted for this article, citing his continuing work as a public servant.

VEXNEWS: Hutchinson clearly actively contributed to this story, providing private briefings to his mate Hyland. His “public service” is clearly akin to the former Iraqi Information Minister who would provide laughably obvious propaganda for Saddam Hussein’s regime)

In the past 15 years, after making what he has described as a life-changing visit to Gallipoli, he has written five books on military history and pilgrimage.

VEXNEWS: Hutchinson says he regrets the fact that his campaigns against those fighting in Vietnam didn’t acknowledge the courage and effectiveness of the young Aussies involved. This regret hasn’t manifested itself in handing over the proceeds in terms of royalties that he’s milking out of writing about wars he didn’t fight in.

Last month, he played a key role in organising the installation of the Cobbers statue at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, on the anniversary of the 1916 Battle of Fromelles, in which 5533 Australians were killed, wounded or captured. It was, wrote historian Ross McMullin, the worst 24 hours in Australian history.

VEXNEWS: A joint Federal-State government initiative, the Victorian government put up the money. Hutchinson was just a humble public servant a few pars before. When it suits though, he’s played a “key role” in what was a funding decision actually well above his pay-grade.

Mr McMullin, a friend of Mr Hutchinson, told The Sunday Age: “For many years Garrie Hutchinson has been genuine, active and effective in spreading awareness about Australia’s military heritage through his writing, photography and pilgrimages.

VEXNEWS: Which is not be discouraged really. But his attitude is well worth discouraging. It’s like the old bloke is stuck in a groove called 1968. Nothing he did was wrong. Campaigning for the cause of a vicious, blood-thirsty totalitarian communist regime? Just youthful indiscretion. Fleeing to England? Just travelling there, happened to pick up some Viet Cong propaganda films and a Soviet financed film projector. Draft dodging? We prefer “resisting”, sounds braver. The spin is intense enough to induce vomiting.

“No one was more influential than him in bringing the splendid sculpture Cobbers to the Shrine to commemorate the under-recognised Battle of Fromelles.

VEXNEWS: Possibly the Victorian and Australian taxpayers who paid for it might put up their hand for some credit too.

“In view of this outstanding contribution, it is lamentable that his frank and insightful 1999 memoir of what it was like to be a young person participating in the anti-war movement four decades ago should become the basis of an attempt to make him persona non grata in military heritage matters today.”

VEXNEWS: So this is a veiled concession – finally – that Hutchinson did admit to promoting the enemy’s cause when in England. Can’t imagine why that might tend to make him “persona non grata in military heritage matters”. In a world-view where every government is the moral equivalent of the other, I suppose Hutchinson could be entitled to be whatever he wants. Pol Pot a human rights advocate. Pauline Hanson an expert on racial tolerance. Tom Hyland lecturing others on fair and balanced journalism.

Did Mr Hutchinson flee Australia to avoid the draft? He left in 1969, but returned in 1970 and used the courts to resist registering for national service until 1972 when conscription was ended.

VEXNEWS: His own book concedes he left Australia to avoid the draft and to show enemy propaganda films.

Like General McLachlan, Vietnam Veterans Association state president Bob Elworthy says the issue is not whether Mr Hutchinson opposed conscription, but whether he supported the enemy.

“It took courage to be a conscientious objector, but we’re not just talking about objection,” he said. “What we’re talking about is talking up the enemy.”

Mr Elworthy said he wanted the Hutchinson issue to “go away, because it’s caused a lot of angst to people. I only speak on behalf of my members. I’ve got my own personal opinions,” he said.

He denied the controversy had exposed enduring divisions between those who served in Vietnam and those who didn’t, “unless the issue raises itself, like it did in the case of Garrie Hutchinson”.

So how did the issue raise itself? Mr Elworthy said: “It came to the attention of people through a fellow called Sasha Uzunov.”

VEXNEWS: How dare this young ingrate not respect the Flower Power’s great victory in the late 1960s.

Last Thursday, after Mr Hutchinson stepped aside from his position, Uzunov issued an email describing himself as a “fearless freelance photo-journalist” and boasting he had broken a story “that others seem to be too afraid to raise”.

VEXNEWS: The Age mentioned it eventually. After it was the biggest state political story of the day, reported on television news and Hutchinson had resigned in disgrace.

Uzunov, a former soldier who served in East Timor, describes himself as a military affairs expert. He complains he is not taken seriously by mainstream journalists who are jealous of his claimed expertise. His self-published stories include emails in which he demands that men who were of military age in the 1960s justify why they didn’t serve in the army.

VEXNEWS: To be fair, those cashing in on military cred were asked the same question Bill Clinton was asked when he was running to be President. Why didn’t you serve? It’s a perfectly legitimate question despite Hyland’s spin. Eddie McGuire doesn’t have to have played footy for Collingwood to be a sports commentator, that’s true. But if he’d played three hundred games, there’s no doubt he’d be held in higher regard, even if the journalism was exactly the same.

He says if you believe in the Anzac legend, you must serve in uniform.

VEXNEWS: Hyland appears to have just made that up. It’s obviously an absurd claim.

His email targets include Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, writer Les Carlyon and journalist Ray Martin. Some do not reply.

But in 2004, according to Uzunov, Martin did: “I found your fax offensive, but I’ll answer it. Being a patriot, eulogising the Anzac legend, etc, doesn’t require anyone to volunteer to fight a senseless, immoral war.”

VEXNEWS: Ray Martin has a view that defending the Vietnamese freedom from communist takeover was “senseless” and “immoral”. There’s no question that it was difficult. And that the mission failed. A communist police state governs Vietnam to this day. Its legacy is millions dead. Its legacy includes driving millions of refugees out of the country, people who took their chances with the sharks and pirates and treacherous seas rather than deal with certain death and misery in that imprisoned nation. They are the ones left out of this debate about Vietnam. Ask those who fled Vietnam whether defending their freedom and their country was “senseless” and “immoral” and whether Australia is somehow the moral equivalent of the Stalinist regime that rules Vietnam.

Perhaps you need to work at The Age like Tom Hyland to reach the level of sophistication required to forgive those who betray their country, to create doubt about someone’s guilt when they’ve already admitted the crime, to diminish the cause of freedom to the same level as a tawdry and blood-soaked police state and to devise clever arguments about why we should do nothing when the grim reaper of genocide or totalitarianism cuts a swathe through innocent people’s lives.

Tom Hyland would do well to remember the old saying, popular in his time, the next time he feels the need to blunder in and defend the Garrie Hutchinson. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. I’d never heard of Garrie Hutchinson before this but I want to comment on the nasty neo-fascist tone of this campaign against him.

    Nuremburg showed that very few people will disobey orders, even when they are immoral and criminal. It takes more courage to resist immoral orders than to follow them, and those that are able to do so deserve to be honoured, as much (or more) than those that fall in line.

    The chief point about the Vietnam war is that it was immoral and criminal from start to finish. The US and its allies had no more business occupying that country than the French or the Japs did, or than the Nazis occupying France had.

    If Mr. Hutchinson was a draft resister and war resister, he deserves honour for that, and for showing understanding and humanity that a number of other people do not seem to have, even with the benefit of hindsight.

    If more people had Mr. Hutchinson’s courage these rotten wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc) wouldn’t happen. What would happen if they gave a war and nobody came?

    I cannot understand (and am frankly sceptical) about the alleged hostility of Vietnam Vets to people like Mr Hutchinson. The antiwar movement was trying to save the lives of Australians (and Vietnamese) by stopping the war and our participation in it. They eventually succeeded and Vets (and young Australians liable to the draft) should be grateful that the draft was abolished and the troops withdrawn – none to soon.

    As for showing NLF films – so what? Presumably this was for the purpose of the education of Westerners about the nature of the conflict, the popular support that the NLF enjoyed and the illegitimacy of the Imperialist occupation of the country. I would imagine it would have had zero impact on the fighting on the ground – it would have been aimed at a Western audience and designed to get the West to end its participation in the war.

    As you may guess I detest fascist and militarist ideology. This makes the whole rigmarole of RSL, Anzac Day and War Memorials somewhat problematic for me. If it remembers the fallen (on all sides) and renews our determination not to have any more war, then it is worthwhile. But if it is a trojan horse for militarism (as sometimes appears) then maybe it would be better if the whole thing was shutdown.

    You don’t have to be in uniform to be affected by war and you’re not better than other people because you wore a uniform and they did not.

    Posted by war hater | August 17, 2008, 10:34
  2. From: Keith Tennent

    To: ESO List

    Cc: Veterans List ; Media List ; Federal Parliamentary List ; thyland@theage.com.au ; arule@theage.com.au ; The Melbourne Age ; premier@dpc.vic.gov.au

    Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:34 AM

    Subject: MELBOURNE AGE SUPPORTS QUISLING HUTCHINSON

    Tom Hyland….Melbourne Age journalist supports Hutchinson

    COMMENT

    Staff writer of the Melbourne Age Tom Hyland has proven how bereft he is of principle and fundamental morality. He is also wrong. He has inaccurately reported the Hutchinson affair.

    Hyland and the Sunday Melbourne Age have published a front page spread supporting Hutchinson.

    Isn’t it funny how suddenly, after all these years of the Veteran community trying to get the media to support the real entitlement and health care issues we have faced, Hyland, who we have never heard of, now comes out with a front page spread to support his quisling mate.

    The truth is it was Sasha Uzunov who wrote the breaking Hutchinson article. After he wrote the article he sought the opinion of a Vietnam Veteran who published the information far and wide. The reason Hutchinson was removed from a position where he represented and spoke for War Veterans is simple. After the widespread publication of accurate and provable information on Hutchinson many people in the Veteran and political worlds, including the Federal Parliamentary world, and including the Leader of Victoria’s Upper House, ACTED.

    Together we all demanded the removal of this quisling. The politicians in the Labor Party immediately understood the ramifications of keeping this draft dodger and enemy supporter on the payroll and the Victorian Government moved him sideways.There is no doubt pressure was applied from Canberra. We’ll keep an eye on his new activities.

    The Melbourne Herald Sun, just as one example, looked at this story early last week, waited to see how it panned out and then moved in for the kill, understanding Hutchinson is near his use by date and can be sacrificed on the altar of fiscal journalism, he could be sacrificed to sell papers.

    We stand by all we have said and done, and the Melbourne Age and Hyland can join Hutchinson in jumping up and down and protesting all they like. The truth is the truth and we will not allow anybody to make money from the blood of dead War Veterans, particularly somebody who gave succour to our enemies.

    Hutchinson is lucky Whitlam won the 1972 election. If the Liberals had won he could well have found himself in Court defending treason charges.

    The Veterans of the World Wars would never ever support the behaviour of people like Hutchinson and DIDN’T, and nor do the Veterans of the Vietnam War.

    In the end we all must give an account of our lives, and now it’s Hutchinson’s turn.

    It is true to say the Veteran community is fractious at times, as Hyland says, but he misunderstands us. When the chips are down, when serious issues of morality and principle are at stake, we speak united. Hutchinson and others have seen what the Veteran community is made of.

    We find it strange that Hyland, who it seems proffers some sort of support for the Veteran community, should choose the day BEFORE Vietnam Veteran Day, to divide the Vietnam Veteran community. There is no doubt his mate Hutchinson would have been aware of these intentions.

    If you would like to contact Tom Hyland and The Age please use this email addresses

    thyland@theage.com.au

    arule@theage.com.au

    newsdesk@theage.com.au

    Please read on.

    Keith Tennent.

    **************

    Posted by Keith | August 17, 2008, 11:01
  3. Showing enemy propaganda films is an absolute disgrace for any decent person.

    I am opposed to the Iraq war and I would rather shoot myself in the foot (like Tom Hyland0 than show an Al-Qaeda video to my mates.

    It’s just wrong.

    Posted by Culture Wars | August 17, 2008, 11:01
  4. Fairfax once again shows it places loyalty to your comrades above all else (particularly, the truth) – in this case, loyalty to their former cadre, Hutchinson.
    What more can we expect from a once-great empire living in the charred embers of its former glory.
    Keep hammering them, Andy!

    Posted by Jack O'Lantern | August 17, 2008, 11:45
  5. Their reaction proves your point.

    How dare you question The Age’s former staff ?

    They think they know better than all of us when in fact they know nothing of decent values. Aiding the enemy is probably a crime, will Hutchinson be charged ?

    Posted by Gold | August 17, 2008, 11:55
  6. The chattering class lose out again. Ha ha

    Posted by disgusted | August 17, 2008, 12:39
  7. War hater and his comments show how wrong people’s perception of the Vietnam War still is.

    The Vietnam War finished in 1968. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese were defeated.

    Period.

    What happened then was all the media’s fault. They did not report truthfully.

    They had an agenda – consequently the west was mislead into believing that the war was not winable.

    They withdrew their support.

    We abandoned the South Vietnamese.

    The media is still unwilling to report the truth.

    Hutchinson should count his blessings that he wasn’t shot for treason.

    Posted by Cav | August 17, 2008, 19:04
  8. Cav, it is you my friend who has a false perception of the Vietnam war. Saying it ended in 1968 with the defeat of the Vietnamese is like saying WW11 finished in 1940 and Hitler was the winner.

    Most people date the end of the Vietnam war to 1975, with the complete expulsion of all Imperialist forces, the liberation of Saigon and the re-unification of the whole country under Nationalist leadership, just as most people think WW11 really ended in 1945 with the conquest of Germany and the suicide of Hitler, not 1940 with a little jig from Hitler in Paris.

    Also, if the war finished in 1968, how come 25,000 American troops were killed in Vietnam during the Nixon presidency? Were they all playing Russian roulette or injecting heroin, perhaps?

    The idea that the media lost the war is a myth that was exposed by Herman and Chomsky in their book “Manufacturing Consent”. In reality, as Johnson said, the war was lost because ‘the establishment bastards have bailed out’, meaning that corporate American didn’t think any kind of ‘victory’ or devastation of the country that could be achieved would be worth the cost to the United States in blood, treasure, internal disorder, political capital etc.

    Debate in the corporate media opened up a little on the tactical question of whether the war was worth the cost (to the US) only after these doubts were first raised among the American elite themselves.

    Someone mentioned al-Qaeda videos up above. If you want to understand the conflict better, then viewing and discussing NLF or al-Qaeda films and videos might be helpful. I am completely at a loss to understand why this should be regarded as ‘treason’ and some sort of reason why people should be ‘shot’.

    People are reacting as if Hutchinson sent weapons and ammo to the NLF or hired mercenaries to go to South Vietnam and fight and kill diggers. If he was fighting against the war then he should be embraced as a hero and comrade who saved young Aussies from the draft and got the troops home out of harm’s way sooner rather than later.

    In no sense is Hutchinson a Quisling. The only way he could be a quisling would be if the NLF invaded Victoria and set up a puppet state with Hutchinson as ‘Premier’. You could find quislings if you looked, but they would be in Saigon, not Australia or Britain, and they would be Vietnamese, not Australians.

    Vets and antiwar protestors should enjoy solidarity and a united front against the real bad guys: the war criminals such as Menzies, Johnson, Nixon etc who are the ones responsible for this disaster.

    Posted by war hater | August 17, 2008, 21:15
  9. I’ll say it again war hater “my friend”, the enemy was defeated in 1968.

    Remember what the war was about – the North invaded the South, we went to help the South Vietnamese.

    Because of the dishonest reporting of the war by journalists, and the editors back in Washington and New York – the public were persuaded that the victory in 1968 was a loss.

    How could this be?

    The casualties from 68 – 72 (when the peace treaty was signed)were a direct result of that lie.

    The war didn’t end in 1975, after all who were the North fighting? Certainly not the Americans or Australians, they had all gone home, abandoning the South Vietnamese to their fate.

    Yep, we cut and run.

    Posted by Cav | August 17, 2008, 21:51
  10. Cav,

    you said it again but you didn’t provide any evidence for your unusual point of view that the enemy was defeated in 1968, in spite of the obvious fact that after this defeat he somehow managed to attain total victory a few years later in 1975.

    Presumably you are referring to the Tet offensive. This is widely understood as a battlefield victory for the US & allies, but a strategic defeat.

    In the famous battle of Khe Sanh, for example, the huge American base was brought under siege by the North Vietnamese army in an attempt to replicate their success against the French at Dien Bienh Phu, however the Vietnamese suffered the agony of defeat as their besieging forces crumbled under the massive weight of American firepower.

    Everywhere else in Vietnam, from the US embassy in Saigon to the old city of Hue, the Vietnamese, despite their early successes, were ultimately defeated, even slaughtered, which is what I think you are alluding to.

    I did a search but I couldn’t find the famous quote from the Vietnamese general that they lost every battle but still won the war.

    Tet was not the defeat of the enemy or the end of the the war – on the contrary quite clearly the beginning of the end for the US & co.

    You are beginning to sound a bit like a looney in a bunker somewhere: ” We were winning the war because of my brilliant strategy but only lost because I was stabbed in the back by Jews and traitors without the will to win!”

    In reality we were soundly beaten for objective reasons which are well understood. Basically, they were fighting for their own country and were not going anywhere, while we, after the massive expenditure of blood, finance & firepower, rightly started to wonder what the hell for. If we were wiser we would have quit years earlier or never got involved in the first place.

    That reassessment of the war is an inevitable and necessary process that you cannot reverse or deny.

    In the early 70′s morale in the US army was deteriorating so badly fear of mutiny or total collapse more than any other factor probably drove Nixon and Kissinger to pull out.

    http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/Vietnam/heinl.html

    That is a beaten army, which has lost the will to fight, for genuine and understandable reasons. Victory for the other side is certain at this point, even though they have suffered vastly greater losses than the US and its allies.

    If you are a veteran then I tell you again I have solidarity with you. The veterans who suffer the trauma of war and the war resisters who try to stop it are brothers and comrades against the real enemy – the corrupt politicians who lie and send people to kill and die in pointless wars for illegal and immoral purposes.

    Please tell me you have learnt something from this terrible war and you no longer support these liars and criminals.

    Posted by war hater | August 18, 2008, 1:39
  11. Cav,

    you said it again but you didn’t provide any evidence for your unusual point of view that the enemy was defeated in 1968, in spite of the obvious fact that after this defeat he somehow managed to attain total victory a few years later in 1975.

    Presumably you are referring to the Tet offensive. This is widely understood as a battlefield victory for the US & allies, but a strategic defeat.

    In the famous battle of Khe Sanh, for example, the huge American base was brought under siege by the North Vietnamese army in an attempt to replicate their success against the French at Dien Bienh Phu, however the Vietnamese suffered the agony of defeat as their besieging forces crumbled under the massive weight of American firepower.

    Everywhere else in Vietnam, from the US embassy in Saigon to the old city of Hue, the Vietnamese, despite their early successes, were ultimately defeated, even slaughtered, which is what I think you are alluding to.

    I did a search but I couldn’t find the famous quote from the Vietnamese gen eral that they lost every battle but still won the war.

    Tet was not the defeat of the enemy or the end of the the war – on the contrary quite clearly the beginning of the end for the US & co.

    You are beginning to sound a bit like a looney in a bunker somewhere: ” We were winning the war because of my brilliant strategy but only lost because I was stabbed in the back by Jews and traitors without the will to win!”

    In reality we were soundly beaten for objective reasons which are well understood. Basically, they were fighting for their own country and were not going anywhere, while we, after the massive expenditure of blood, finance & firepower, rightly started to wonder what the hell for. If we were wiser we would have quit years earlier or never got involved in the first place.

    That reassessment of the war is an inevitable and necessary process that you cannot reverse or deny.

    In the early 70′s morale in the US army was deteriorating so badly fear of mutiny or total collapse more than any other factor probably drove Nixon and Kissinger to pull out.

    http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/Vietnam/heinl.html

    That is a beaten army, which has lost the will to fight, for genuine and understandable reasons. Victory for the other side is certain at this point, even though they have suffered vastly greater losses than the US and its allies.

    If you are a veteran then I tell you again I have solidarity with you. The veterans who suffer the trauma of war and the war resisters who try to stop it are brothers and comrades against the real enemy – the corrupt politicians who lie and send people to kill and die in pointless wars for illegal and immoral purposes.

    Please tell me you have learnt something from this terrible war and you no longer support these liars and criminals.

    Posted by war hater | August 18, 2008, 9:15
  12. My brother and I were in the army in the 60s, he was an infantryman-25+ years- and went to 2 of Bob Menzies’s wars, Confrontasi and Vietnam twice. I made maps so mineral companies could get rich. I was a private but in 1967-8 worked out that the war was wrong, unjust and evil, and unwinnable, by simply doing some historical research-a book by Marvin Gentlemann, which I still have, was the source of the information. If I could do that in 1967-8 in the army how come Cav still can’t do it 33 years after the war was lost. 500 diggers were killed because Menzies wanted to buy American support-if you want a horror show look at Menzies’s military history-which was a continuation of the preWWII policy of not taxing the taxpayer for defence but relying on Great Powers to do it for you. (Corelli Barnett has a few words on this.) The taxpayers of the Great Powers provide the heavy lifting and the Menzieite’s provided a bit of blood to oil the traction. Iraq was Howard’s go at the same thing. Afghanistan, hopefully, is a step away from sucking American toes. The Vietnam war ended in 1975, Cav, and despite all you can say to the contrary, we lost it. And guess whqat, the world didn’t collapse overnight. It wasn’t newspapers and tv, hippies or protest songs, it was a plain and simple defeat. General Giap’s tanks took Saigon, just as the VietMinh had done in 1945 before the British re-armed the Japanese to defeat them and hand Vietnam back to the French. In 1975 the helicopters scrambled to get everyone out and now Hanoi runs the place. Hanoi is not a puppet of the USA, unlike Saigon in the 60s, nor of Beijing or Moscow. I even worked that out in 1967-8. Ps I got into trouble in 1968 from the Army, but my boss told the SIB to piss off and made me-rightly too I think- serve my 6 years. He was a democratic man, the Major, unlike the ranters like Uzunov and Cav. And another point, most of the people I served with did not give a damn about the war. What did we call the Vietnamese of both sides in those days: ‘noggies’ I think was the word. Pps, my brother is a TPI, but he told me the other day he realised in the 70s that the war was wrong, and he served on for another 15 years.

    Posted by Kevin Brewer | August 18, 2008, 10:52
  13. You’re full of shit Brewer

    “And guess what, the world didn’t collapse ”

    Not for you I guess – but certainly for the many vietnamese murdered and brutally opressed by the communists. You and you fuckwit socialist friends couldn’t give a shit though, right?

    Just so long as you can pretend to be “moral” whilst sipping lattes and telling everyone how evil the US is.

    Posted by bondo | August 18, 2008, 12:04
  14. Bondo, Abusing me will not help you with your personal problems, pal. 3 million Vietnamese died in the war, not all were murdered by the communists, many were killed by other soldiers, by bombing etc. Isn’t one of the claims you revisionists make that you won the Tet war by killing 40000 VC and NVA, some were thrown out of helicopters by Americans. Most of those murdered would not have been had the Allies respected the victory the Vietminh in 1945, and again after Dien Bien phu in 1954. Blame me for that? My coffee drinking habits have got very little to do with the morality of war, any war, and I don’t feel any more moral for my understanding of what happened and why. Nor do I think the US is evil. I do think they conduct themselves as a Great Power with all the shortcomings in vision and reality that entails, just as the British did, the Spanish, Dutch, Germans, and the Russians when they were great powers. Read John Keegan, The Mask of Command, then think about GWB and Iraq. GWB bears some similarity to Bob Menzies, both were white feather cowards who went on to fight wars, both were absolute failures, GWB more so because he has unnecessarily reduced the respect we all have for the US, and it has resulted in the de-secularisation of Iraq. Where did he spend his Vietnam war, not at the front but probably in a bar in downtown somewhere USA. His experience of the war affected his presidency and his willingness to fight other wars. He wasn’t going to get killed. The Vietnam war has a long shadow cast into the present, and trying to avoid that shadow without facing the reality of our own actions in the past is not going help us fight the jihadis or any other enemy we confront.

    Posted by Kevin Brewer | August 18, 2008, 13:10
  15. Hey war hater, you make some valid points – I’d like to continue a gentleman’s discussion.

    Email me at cav@inbox.com

    Posted by Cav | August 19, 2008, 14:19