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Jim Webb's Mi Lai Moment

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Boom_70, May 19, 2008.

  1. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Interesting story in Parade - an excerpt from new book by James Webb. Could not help but think he is getting story out in his words to clear the deck for future promotions. Hard to accept his explanation of why he did not do everything possible to save the little boy.


    Sometimes such moral dilemmas became deeply personal. “Clearing” village bunkers was a normal process when we were facing enemy contact. Every Vietnamese family had a bunker next to its porch. When firefights broke out, families went into their bunkers. But it was a common tactic for enemy soldiers to hide there as well, often allowing them to open fire on us from behind. So a routine developed, which the Marines and the villagers understood. Marine teams would move from bunker to bunker, telling villagers to come out. After that, a Marine would throw a grenade into the bunker, then one of them would enter it, making sure it was clear.

    During one sweep, the Marine who jumped into the bunker following the blast found that three people had not come out. A younger man, probably a local Viet Cong, had been killed. Hardened by combat, we shrugged him off. But the other two stopped my heart even in the mind-numbing repetition of tragedy that defines war.

    A gray-haired man in white pajamas, probably a grandfather, was dead, having wrapped himself around a small boy to protect him from the blast. It was clear that his final thoughts were of the boy. His shocked, opaque eyes and his still-curled body were the very definition of love and human sacrifice. The boy was still alive, although
  2. digger

    digger New Member

    I'm not sure why you think he didn't do "everything possible''. Do you think he should have lied to get the medavac? What if he did, and then they took fire and one or more of them were killed? What would have happened to Webb then?

    He was in a tough position, and did what he could, and did what he thought was right. Heaven forbid you, or I, should ever be in that position.
  3. spinning27

    spinning27 New Member

    We get it already, Boom. Every Democrat who fought in Vietnam is a war criminal. Every Republican is a hero.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    No that is not what I am suggesting. Webb has written a lot himself and a lot has been written about him . I've read most of it as I've always admired him. This is a story i've not heard so the timing seems a little fishy.

    Does not matter if he is a Republican or Democrat.
  5. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I guess I don't know enough about the "timing" you're referring to, Boom. What's going on with Webb?
  6. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    Might I humbly suggest another explanation.

    Many Vietnam vets have watched the public greet the Gulf War vets as returning heroes. Awash with patriotism, many of the public have included the Vietnam vets into their pantheon of acceptable heroes.

    Vietnam vets are getting older. The string is getting shorter. There are a lot of things that have to be said, that have been left unspoken. Now it seems as if the climate has changed.

    PTSD is now acceptable.

    Talking, revealing, appears to be one way the guilt can be acknowledged and expiated.

    Or maybe it's just politics.
  7. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Webb is certainly a possible VP candidate and possibly in 2012 a presidential candidate.

    Given that Webb has in past so freely spoke of his war experiences that its odd he never mentioned this one before.
  8. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    This part especially makes quite a bit of sense, even if it's not from a guilt perspective. There's already a reluctance among ANY veteran to really talk about what they saw in combat (when I came back from Desert Storm, my grandfather told me about truly hideous things he saw during the reoccupation of the Philipppines). The post-Vietnam treatment many of these men received would make almost anyone incredibly reluctant to say anything.

    And one final note...in the famed phrase "the fog of war," it's easy to understand how, many years later, someone might look at their actions or inactions and wonder why they allowed things to happen like they did.
  9. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Thanks for the explanation, Boom. And please look at my response above. I'm not saying there's absolutely no questionable reasoning behind his timing, but I would recommend we try to give veterans the benefit of the doubt. I try to do the same, regardless of their political stripe. Course I have a soft spot and tons of forgiveness for any fellow veteran.
  10. spinning27

    spinning27 New Member

    By the time you guys are through with him, I'm sure you'll convince people he was secretly working for the Viet Cong.
  11. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    C'mon, man. That's not at all helpful.
  12. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    As a citizen I feel it's my public duty to properly vet candidates for public office.

    Alley if this was the first time that Webb wrote about his Viet Nam experience I would not think twice about it but he has been taking about his war experiences since he got back . Why now for this story - just have to wonder.
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