Sunday, May 2, 2010
Some Commonly Believed Myths about the Viet Nam War Do Not Stand Up to Closer Scrutiny
This article from 2005 from The University News from the University of Dallas examines many widely held beliefs about the men who fought in Viet Nam in the American military and finds the reality very different from what is commonly believed. Here are a few quotes from the article:
". . . the media's influence and false coverage had altered the memory of Vietnam for the worse."
. . . . . . . . . .
"Burkett looked into the apparently high suicide rate among Vietnam veterans and found it was not even remotely true."
""Vietnam veterans have one of the lowest suicide rates in America. The two years after the war there was a slightly elevated rate that was only modestly higher then our peers who never went into the military. It fell off dramatically after that," he said.
"Widespread Vietnam Veteran homelessness is another myth.
""Back, around the late 70's Teddy Kennedy had a $10 million government grant to have a building in Boston for all the homeless Vietnam veterans. Several of guys gave testimonies about how they ended up on the street after Vietnam, but I got the military records of those individuals and virtually none of them were Vietnam veterans," he said.
"Burkett said other investigations have shown that very few "homeless veterans" were in the military.
"Another myth he dispelled was the incarceration rate of Vietnam veterans. The prisons are not full of criminal veterans, Burkett said."
. . . . . . . . . . . .
"Another falsity surrounding the war is the exceptionally young age of enlistees and draftees.
""I often ask reporters, 'How many 18 years old draftees do you think died in Vietnam?' Most of the time they answer between 10,000 and 24,000. The answer was 101," he said.
"Only seven black 18-year-old draftees died in Vietnam."
Some other myths that are dealt with in the article include how wide spread drug abuse was in theater, that the rich kids got a pass, that black Americans were drafted in numbers disproportionate to their numbers in the general population and that there were many more dissertations in Viet Nam that during WW2. All of these wild ideas are compared to the facts in this article.