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This week and next in in New World Notes, radio programs #88 and #89 (Tuesday, November 10 & 17):
Sir! No Sir!
adapted to radio by K.D.
In a nutshell:
David Zeiger's fine video documentary makes great radio. Rebellion by America's soldiers & sailors (God bless 'em!) ended the Vietnam War. Recent reflections by anti-Vietnam-war vets & other activists--some famous, some obscure--mix with period (~1970) newscasts & other recordings. The famous ones include Army physician Dr. Howard Levy, Army "Green Beret" Sgt. Donald Duncan, and actor & activist Jane Fonda. I've adapted the 50-minute BBC-4 version of the documentary to radio. The longer, American version is available for sale on DVD.
NB: For the complete screenplay (U.S.-version), illustrated with hundreds of screen-capture photos, click here.
Quoth the raven:
GREG PAYTON, U.S. ARMY: Guys were coming from all over the country, so you getting people coming in with different information about the black power struggle at that time, and black unity, and feeling real good about yourself. You had to really question what you were doing in Vietnam.
I remember one day this first-sergeant was talking about gooks [Vietnamese people]. To show you how naive I was, I didn't know that gook was a racial slur. I didn't really understand that. And one day he was talking about gooks and I remember, a light went off in my head, and I said, "Wow! A gook is the same thing as a nigger!"
SUSAN SCHNALL, U.S. NAVY NURSE: I was a member of the Medical Committee for Human Rights. And then I remember also hearing about the B-52 bombers that were dropping leaflets on Vietnam, urging the Vietnamese to defect.
And I thought, well, if they can do it overseas, then we can hire a small private plane, load it up with leaflets, and drop the leaflets on military bases in the San Francisco Bay area. Thousands and thousands of leaflets.
At one point I know we were a little concerned about getting shot down, but nothing happened. Evidently they landed pretty accurately. That's what they testified at the court-martial.
And on my way driving in to the [anti-war] demonstration, I decided I was going to wear my naval uniform. . . .David Cline
DAVID CLINE, U.S. ARMY: The third time I was wounded was on December 20, 1967, and we got overrun by North Vietnamese regulars. . . .
After the fighting ended, and the sun came up, they carried me over to this guy who had shot me. And he was sitting up against the tree stump, and he was dead. He had three bullet holes up his chest, and he had his AK [-47 rifle] laying across his lap. And the sergeant said, "Here's this gook you killed. You did a good job."
And I seen this guy, and he was about my age, and I started thinking, you know, "Why is he dead and I'm alive?" It was just a matter of pure luck. Then I started thinking, I wonder if he had a girlfriend, and how his mother is going to find out. And things like that.
And when you just went through an experience of that nature, and you find out that it's all lies, and that they're just lying to the American people, and your silence means that you're part of keeping that lie going, I couldn't stop. I mean, I couldn't be silent. I felt I had a responsibility to my friends, and to the country in general, and to the Vietnamese.
The last guy who I shot -- and I don't consider he was the first guy I shot, but it was the first guy I shot where I was shooting it out barrel to barrel with him, and looked him in the face afterwards -- and I felt a certain amount of responsibility to him. To make his death not be in vain meant that I had to try to advocate for the justice that he was fighting for. Because I believe he was fighting for his country. So I became involved in the [anti-war] Movement.
Coming soon -- Tuesday debut date on WWUH shown:
- November 24 -- Joyce Malcolm on the Meaning of the 2nd Amendment
Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):
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Unadvertised Special!Rita Martinson sings that great song with which Part 2 ends, Soldier, We Love You. YouTube video -- complete, uncut, un-voiced-over, and in living color: (Click here).