Experience

by doomdigit

This excerpt presents an interesting problem: those who lack experience will not automatically trust those with experience.  I do not know the solution, but the truth must never be watered down.  I can easily see myself acting like Bolenske, and yet when I read Lanning’s account I know…

……he was right.  The truth still stands.

“Christmas Eve morning found us on a long reconnaissance in force (RIF) toward the rubber plantations south of Cam Tam.  As we reached the edge of the rubber, the point reported movement ahead.  I quickly checked the plantation map provided by the ARVNs to confirm that this part of the plantation was inactive and considered a free fire zone.  Battalion added their assurance that no friendlies were authorized to be in the area.

I crept to the edge of the jungle to a point where I could see several individuals standing near a truck.  I saw no weapons, so I deployed a platoon to each flank.  When everyone was in position, we began to inch forward.

As we got closer, I could distinguish about twenty or so women, children, and old men.  A Kit Carson scout shouted for the group to remain still or we would shoot.  The figures froze.

When we had them gathered in close, we searched them, finding no weapons nor supplies of any kind.  An old woman who seemed to be their leader explained that they were rubber workers who had gotten on the wrong road.  The “workers” exhibited signs of nervousness, and several of the GIs, including me, expressed suspicions that they had brought supplies to the NVA before our arrival.

One man said, “We should have shot first and checked later.”

Another shouted, “Let’s do it now.”

My journal entry is somewhat incorrect in what happened next.  I counted the group and had Bolenske guard them with two of his M-60 gunners.  When I reported my head count to the battalion TOC and asked what I was to do with the detainees, a simple return message said, “Waste them.”

A good way to pick up an easy twenty body count as well as a method of ridding the area of enemy suppliers, the instructions had appeal.  I considered the order, turned to Bolenske, and said, “Waste them.”

Bolenske started toward his machine gunners and then turned back to me.  After a moments hesitation, he walked over and said, “If you want me to do it, I will, but it’s not right.  I’ll kill them if you tell me to, but I’ll report the circumstances when we get back to the rear.”

Then as an afterthought, he added, “There is no way we can get by with it.”

I said nothing.  Then I walked to the group of prisoners and considered killing them myself.  When I looked at them, I saw the scenes of the dead and maimed GIs.  I stood there, thinking not of right and wrong but of what Bill had said.  We could not get away with it.

I walked back to my RTOs and called Battalion, saying, “Reference your last transmission on disposition of detainees, give me initials of authorizing officer.”  After a short pause, a voice I recognized as the TOC duty officer answered, “We have negative knowledge, I say again, negative knowledge of any transmission.  If you have detainees, hold them until we can pick them up.”

Logic and relief replaced my emotional reaction.  I responded, “Roger, we will hold them here, but I’m claiming their goddamn truck as a war trophy and taking it home with me.”

Several hours later an interrogation team from Brigade arrived and took our prisoners–and my truck–away.  Of course, we saw neither again.  Sometime later I heard that the group had convinced their questioners of their innocence and had been returned to their village, likely as not to continue resupplying the enemy.

Just who had come on the radio telling us to “waste them,” I never found out.  The identity did not make any difference because all I had wanted was an excuse to do waht I thought was necessary.

Neither Bolenske nor anyone else ever mentioned my order to kill the prisoners.  I wondered for a time why I had given an order that was obviously unlawful–and even more why the platoon leader had not carried it out.  It was not until this book was in its initial draft that I discussed the incident with anyone else besides Linda.  Late one night while talking with my brother, I told him the story of that Christmas even in the jungle.  I explained to Jim that I was not proud of what had happened; however, I had no regrets because my job had been to make decisions, right or wrong.  When I added that I had been fortunate that Bolenske had not carried out my instructions and that I still wondered why he had not done so, Jim responded with a question.  He asked, “How long had the platoon leader been in the field?”

When I answered that he had been there only about three or four months, Jim said, “The difference was you had been out over eight months.  If he had been there as long as you, he would have killed them.  The more war you experience, the less human you see the enemy.  Killing replaces compassion directly proportional to what you have seen.”

Michael Lee Lanning, Vietnam, 1969-1970: A Company Commanders Journal (New York: Ballantine Books 1988), 145-147.

For whatever reasons, Liberals hate truth.  The more experiences I have with them, the less human they seem.  It is interesting to see how others around me have reached the same conclusion as I over a year ago.  I do not claim to be a prophet, though.  I remember reading works about Liberals a long time ago that I thought were extreme because they seemed to demonize, when the reality was simply that I lacked experience with a dangerous and cunning enemy.

4 Comments to “Experience”

  1. Research is indicating that libbies have a disconnect in their amygdala. Their brain is wired differently than a conservative brain.

    There isn’t a lot of play in what we do. No wiggle room. They won’t change, and we will not change. We cannot convince them by argument, and they own the legal system. All legal methods of political change have been outlawed or hijacked.

    This is why the only political changes one sees today are either CIA involved coups in Libya, Egypt or Ukraine or outright revolution as ISIS does.

  2. “Their brain is wired differently than a conservative brain.”

    Like that of a female, perhaps?

  3. I call anti-Whites “flesh bags”, “zombies” or “pod people” in ALL verbal communications. They are not human to me. It is absolutely permissible to abuse, harm and extract resources from them in any way possible. Fuck anti-Whites.

  4. Liberals are acceptors, conservatives used to be rejecters.

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