ZIEGLER: This is The Inquisition on RighTalk.com with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. We have a fascinating guest today, Mr. Bill Laurie.

Mr. Laurie has written several incredible columns and is on a web site called FVA.org. Welcome to the show, Mr. Laurie.

LAURIE: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

ZIEGLER: It's a pleasure to have you here. Our pre-show discussion, hopefully, is as interesting as the show itself.

Scott, how are you doing today?

SWETT: I'm doing good.

Bill, let's start off by talking a bit about your own service in Vietnam. What was it like for you and what did you see there?

LAURIE: Okay. I was there just about three years. I went late '71, with the Army, expecting to see what Walter Cronkite and the others told me I would see. I had been hypnotized by that deluge of myth. I was disabused of that nonsense after about a month.

And because of my convictions and because of my beliefs that the people of Southeast Asia - not just Vietnam, but Laos and Cambodia, would be much better off if Hanoi's legions were stopped, I went back as a civilian kind of doing the same thing with the defense attache office from '73 to '75.

I saw all the bad things - not all of them - that people talked about here. Yeah, there was a problem with corruption. But I also saw just some just incredibly fantastic South Vietnamese leaders. They were fine people; they were good people. They had a dream and a vision for their country, free of the communist idiocy out of Hanoi.

That was a personal motivation. I simply - even though I certainly wasn't, you know, an intellectual decision maker, I threw my lot with these people. That's where I picked up -

And I was astounded at the same time not only by the ignorance of the American people, but by the superficiality of the U.S. news media. I was disgusted with those people, absolutely disgusted.

SWETT: Well, we'll certainly work our way through to that.

You're co-author of a booklet called, "Whitewash Blackwash: Myths of the Vietnam War" with R.J. Del Vecchio. You just touched on one of those myths, which is that the South Vietnamese failed to participate fully or adequately in their own defense. Would you care to elaborate on that just a bit.

LAURIE: sure. And they did have problems. There's no question. Anything that's true and important on history should be on the table. But I was astounded to find because of the ignorance that had been pounded into my brain here that there were some absolutely outstanding - I don't mean okay or good. I mean outstanding South Vietnamese units, and incredibly honest, incorruptible South Vietnamese military and political leaders.

The fact that they didn't fight is simply not true. There was all together about 275,000 ARVN's killed in action. Now, that's five times more - about six times more actually - than our combat fatalities, but that's from a country with an average population of 18 million.

So for us, for the United States, with a population average at that time to have sustained a proportionate amount of casualties, we would have lost over three million people. We only lost 400,000 in World War II.


LAURIE: So - and all these 275,000 were not shots in the back. They had some just outstanding units that were there. Really, really, really good guys, tough guys, didn't quit. They had lousy units, just as you'll find in any military, just as you'll find in any sports league, you know. You've got your cellar dwellers and you've got your top of the line.


LAURIE: The bottom line is adequately equipped and supported, I think they were good enough.

SWETT: Now, they largely stopped the first massive attempt to invade South Vietnam as we were winding down. That's a story that doesn't get told much because it doesn't fit the myth.

LAURIE: Yes, correct.

SWETT: What was the nature of that invasion?

LAURIE: Well, first off, people here are so ignorant about history, and they're ignorant about understanding history. They don't even know how to understand history. Keep in mind that the TET Offensive in '68 was, by all accounts, conducted by about 84,000 VC NVA.

Let's fast forward to '72. The '72 offensive was conducted by upwards of 200,000 primarily NVA, and these guys were armed to the gills with very, very modern non-guerrilla type weaponry.

ZIEGLER: It was a full-blown armored offensive.

LAURIE: Say it again.

ZIEGLER: It was a full-blown armored offensive.

LAURIE: Yeah, it was the same - it was a Blitzkrieg.


LAURIE: It was Hitler, World War II, Poland all over again. They had SA7's, infrared anti-aircraft missiles, radar-guided stuff, wire-guided, AT7 tank and bunker busters, and the 130 and 122 guns, courtesy of the Soviet Union.

ZIEGLER: Some of the finest artillery in the world.

LAURIE: At that time, yeah.

ZIEGLER: Absolutely.

LAURIE: It was better than anything we had and better than anything we gave the South Vietnamese. It was not primitive weaponry. This stuff was better.

ZIEGLER: Yeah, until we added the new M198 in the early 1980s, that was the finest artillery in the world.

LAURIE: Yeah. And they're really good at it. Of course, a good part of their artillery officers trained where? In the Soviet Union.


LAURIE: So there's two myths there that, you know, that these indigenous guerillas just fabricated booby traps out of pot metal and tunnels and then won the war. No, it was very, very, very modern weaponry.

But in any event, in '72, yeah, the South Vietnamese reopened. They got hit pretty bad and they fell back here and there. But the fact of the matter is that as Douglas Pike said - and there's probably no one in this country who ever knew more about Vietnam than Douglas Pike - the main reason that the South Vietnamese were able to prevail and block that offensive was because they outfought - they outfought the North Vietnamese, keeping in mind there was only about 60,000 U.S. personnel in country at that time, very few of which were combat troops.

SWETT: Could that -

LAURIE: The other thing I'd like to say is people say well, the South Vietnamese always needed air power or they couldn't have won. First off, what do you think our troops get? Don't they get tac air support? Absolutely. But the bombing compensated for the massive artillery and armor deficiencies of the South Vietnamese courtesy of American decision makers.

ZIEGLER: But that's how the United States has - that's been our doctrine since the early 1940s, is to replace artillery with tack air, and so that's natural doctrine that we would have inculcated into the South Vietnamese military.

LAURIE: But everybody knew. In fact, everybody knew that the 130 gun was devastating. I've talked to a number of very intelligent and quite honest, thank you, South Vietnamese general officers, and they said they'd rather have the 130 gun than B-52's.

SWETT: That's quite a statement. So then in '74 and '75 after we had completely withdrawn, the North Vietnamese do a couple of probing attacks. We don't respond. They gauge that our political will to fight is gone, and they come across the border with - what was it, 400,000 troops?

LAURIE: Approximately. And you can, again, throw in a qualitative coefficient there with even more modern weaponry: tanks, artillery. I mean, these guys could have taken half of Western Europe if they wanted to. This was a Blitzkrieg of the highest order.

SWETT: People forget that we still had a treaty obligation with the South Vietnamese at that point, that the terms of the Paris Peace Accords were that if such an offensive was launched, that we could and would come to the aid of the South Vietnamese. Do you think air support would have been sufficient to stop that assault or to turn the tide?

LAURIE: Yeah, I think so, although I don't know if we actually had an - Our only obligation was to replace one on one was my understanding, although Nixon, in a private note, which of course, is non-binding, to Thieu said he would respond in force if Hanoi violated -

SWETT: Of course, Nixon was gone by the time it actually happened.

LAURIE: Exactly. Well, they violated it from day one, and of course, you've go this tremendous war fatigue here in this country, so no one was going to do anything.

ZIEGLER: That war fatigue was brought on by the very media tat you mentioned in your introduction.

LAURIE: Yeah. And not only because they said things that were wrong and incorrect and stupid, but they were so superficial and shallow. And even one of the news media types has used the exact phrase, and it's very pertinent. The American public was bored with the war. It's the same thing. I'd turn on TV for the last eight year, I'd seen the same thing.

TV does not show history. It shows events, but it doesn't explain them in context. So yeah, you know, the U.S. public was profoundly misled and ill informed because of news media and because the U.S. government never stood up and articulated its cause.

ZIEGLER: What do you think the impact would have been in the 1970s had there been a 24-hour news network that had to fill that gaping maw of information that a 24-hour news network requires? Would a more objective picture of Vietnam have been relayed to America?

LAURIE: I'd like to think so. Of course, you don't know who's on 24 hours. If it's the Air America people, you know, you're going to get the same psychobabble. But if you did have honest, intelligent people - and there were even people that supported our objectives that were still ignorant. I don't know what it was, but people just didn't want to really do any investigative reporting or in-depth reporting, with the exception of people like, say, Robert Chaplin, who nobody knows about. He was one of the finest reporters out of Southeast Asia, and this guy knows Southeast Asia.

But who gets the ink, or who gets the air time is the Cronkites. It's the Rathers. It's all these other funny little people who think they know a lot.

If the American people had known and if - and this is important. If Hanoi knew that the American people knew, it would have been a different ball game. Whether or not it would have been satisfactory to being about a better ending is, you know, is a counter historical proposition that can never be answered, but it sure looks good on paper.

SWETT: One of the things that's always disturbed me about the Vietnam era anti-war movement was their profound sense of self-congratulation when they had pulled us out and stopped the killing. They have never acknowledged the absolute disaster and blood bath that the communists inflicted on Southeast Asia.

First of all, Could you tell us a little bit about the scope of that and how it happened, and then, you know, how it is that they manage to hide that from the public.

LAURIE: It's good that you mentioned Southeast Asia because too many people say this is the Vietnam war. No, it was an Indochina theater peninsular war. This was outlined by Hanoi way back in 1930 when they were told by Moscow that the Vietnamese Party was not going to be the Vietnamese communist party. It is going to be the Indochinese communist party, and it will have Laotian and Cambodian members.

SWETT: And of course, one of the ways that the American assistance in Hanoi helped their cause was by insisting that we must not get involved in Laos and Cambodia whereas the other guys could.

LAURIE: Yeah, and did freely.

SWETT: Yeah.

LAURIE: But going back to the anti-war thing, you know, there was no stereotype anti-war people. There were deluded fools who were acting out psycho theater in their minds, the extreme radicals, and then on the other hand you had very nice and sincere and kind people, but as Charles Kettering once said, you can be very sincere and still be very stupid. So all of this mind pollution grew from the mutated soil of an ignorance and ill-informed American public and a rather mute and uninspiring U.S. government.

Some anti-war - and they weren't anti-war; they were in effect pro-war. They were supporting Hanoi's war. And the radicals said they wanted victory; they didn't want peace. They wanted Hanoi victory.

SWETT: The leaders said that, yeah.

LAURIE: Yeah, yeah. You can check with David Horowitz on that, and Tom Hayden signed his missives to Hanoi representatives with the salutation, "Victory," exclamation point.

So some of the anti-war people have realized they were wrong. They don't attract any media attention, but -

Actually, I don't think most people really even care that were in the anti-war movement. It was an adolescent phase and now they're systems designers or now they're teachers, and oh well, yeah, what the heck. And a lot of people don't realize - and I have all the respect for people who are sincere, even if they're wrong and naive, but they really were operating under a positive motivation. But still, you know, you've got to be knowledgeable. You have to be informed.

I'm tired of this freedom of speech business. It's like - freedom of speech is worthless and its dangerous unless you have the responsibility to know of what you speak and to be honest about what you speak. And without that, freedom of speech is license to do anything.

You know, I can run around and pin my next-door neighbor as being a cocaine dealer. That's freedom of speech, isn't it? I have to be right and I have to know what I'm doing.

SWETT: Well the flip side, of course, is the responsibility of people to discern from among a mass of conflicting information, you know, where the truth lies by analyzing it.


SWETT: I think it's a two-way street.

LAURIE: Yes, exactly, but the sad thing is, and it remains so to this day, the average person - let's assume a 35-year-old guy who sells his software company, makes five billion dollars, and decides that he is going to - or she - is going to find out all about this Vietnam stuff and starts out right today. It's going to take them years. You cannot do it because the information is not widely available and it's not easily available. You can't find this stuff.

SWETT: One of the reasons for that, of course, is the leftists who created the propaganda campaign, mostly based on fictitious U.S. war crimes, moved into academia, and they're the ones who wrote the textbooks. So how do you work around that?

LAURIE: Well, some of them - I don't know if they were anti-war, but you're right about the textbooks. Some of the college textbooks on Vietnam are profoundly ludicrous, and this is not a matter of opinion.

On one textbook, which shall remain unnamed for right now, I've gone through it page by page, and I've found some approximately 200 grossly erroneous statements. And that's excluding grossly impermissible omissions of significant information. This is a college textbook. It is demonstrably infantile and demonstrably erroneous, and it is to historical integrity as Enron's accountants were to fiscal or financial integrity. It is ludicrous.

ZIEGLER: Isn't it a three-legged stool of information as well, though, in that the popular culture, i.e., Hollywood, created many films, television shows, and the general impression in films and shows totally unrelated to Vietnam -

LAURIE: Absolutely.

ZIEGLER: - that the Vietnam war was wrong, corrupt, evil -


ZIEGLER: - American -


ZIEGLER: - atrocity hating -


ZIEGLER: - you know, committing frauds?

LAURIE: You could have seen any number of TV programs: Police Woman, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-0 -

ZIEGLER: Hawaii Five-0, right.

LAURIE: - Streets of San Francisco. And they all had at one time or another, a deranged Vietnam veteran.

ZIEGLER: That's right.

LAURIE: And you're right. It was the perfect storm of ignorance. Everything reinforced the false perceptions. Sir Robert Thompson called it a gang bang on truth, and that's about what it was.

SWETT: Well, and then, of course, it feeds on itself because you have this perception in the media, so when the media goes out to interview a Vietnam veteran, as Jug Burkett found out when he was - risked getting involved in this, they ignore the people who are upright citizens and have jobs, and they go looking for somebody on the street corner who says he's a Vietnam vet, and they never check.

LAURIE: That's right. That's right. It happens all the time. There's something worse underneath all this, and it makes you wonder if people are so much into national sadomasochism that they want to hear all these fantasmagoric stories. It's fun; it's entertainment. It's very mystifying and quite repugnant, actually.

ZIEGLER: But don't you think that there was a repudiation of that popular myth by the massive pro-U.S. military outpouring of support that occurred to the Desert Storm veteran?

LAURIE: That is something that I agree a hundred percent, and I think what it is is underneath it all, and they're too ashamed to admit it for the most part, is that boy, we've really stuck a knife in the back of the Vietnam veterans and acted like infantile morons in the process, and we'd better make up for that.

Now, granted, some of the people who are 20, 25 years old didn't go through the turbulent '60s and everything, but they were aware of that. They knew that we had really dumped all over our troops, and this is a way of atonement, I think.

SWETT: So there was a sense that that could not happen again, that that sort of thing had certainly gone too far.


ZIEGLER: This is RighTalk.com, The Inquisition. Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler with Mr. Bill Laurie. The topic is "Whitewash Blackwash: Myths of the Vietnam War."

We'll have a quick break and be right back and continue the discussion. RighTalk.com.

[Commercial break]

ZIEGLER: This is The Inquisition, Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, back live on the air with Mr. Bill Laurie. "Whitewash Blackwash: Myths of the Vietnam War."

One of the lessons learned from the Vietnam war and the U.S. military was to change how the military dealt with the media and to do a massive amount of change internally in how the military conducted not only its military operations but its information campaign. We saw the fruition of that in Desert Storm in 1989.

LAURIE: Uh-huh.

ZIEGLER: And you had the two primary leaders, Colin Powell and General Schwarzkopf, who had been both U.S. troop leaders and military advisors to the South Vietnamese army, and that experience brought them a tremendous amount of impetus to help change the U.S. military as they rose in rank.


ZIEGLER: And many peer officers who wanted to do that as well. Could you elaborate on that, please.

LAURIE: Yeah. I think, again, I think the military failed less in - and we don't have time to argue it point by point, but I'm more than prepared to do that. But I think the military not only failed less in Vietnam but was - and James Fallose (phonetic), who's not considered right wing at all, but he basically said that the only institution to completely remake itself after Vietnam and to an extent seldom done by any institution was the U.S. military.

They knew that there had - you know, some of the complaints, the anti-war types and everything else, there was a strain of validity to them. There was rampant careerism. Not rampant, but there was a virus of careerism. There were some - too many shoddy officers. That could be one percent or 90 percent. One is too many.

But the Army knew it had to get back to duty, honor, country ethics, and they did that. They also realized -

In fact, I think it was Major General Hoare, who was one of the big guns in Desert Storm, he had been in Vietnam, and he realized that, you know, when we had gone into Vietnam, we just went over there thinking, well, we know everything and the South Vietnamese don't know anything, and he realized that was wrong. So he made a dedicated effort to sit down and talk with our allies. "What do you think about this? What do you think about that?" That's definitely improvement. So all in all, the guys who rebuilt the military - and it's not just Schwarzkopf and Powell.

ZIEGLER: No, not by any means.

LAURIE: There were scores of them. These guys should be honored as heroes, because again, they could have gone into the private sector and pulled down $150,000 a year, and some of them even said they wondered about it, but no I wasn't going to let the bastards, if you will, destroy my Army.

SWETT: one of the lessons that they appear to have learned is that the United States public won't endlessly support what they see as a war of attrition and that it's far better to go in hard and quick with overwhelming force. Of course, both Desert Storm efforts characterized by that. What say you on that?

LAURIE: I agree, and not only a matter of the American public. It's a matter of overall military casualties on our side and the other side. Let's minimize the death here and let's win this thing with minimum dead people. You go in and hit hard and hit big and hit fast and hit mercilessly and end - get the damned thing over with.

Of course, the terrain and the situation in Kuwait and Iraq lends itself to that because there wasn't the cover of concealment, there wasn't the Ho Chi Minh Trail and all this other sort of stuff.

But the fact remains they said, hey, let's just do it and get the bloody thing over with. Not only for the American people and their inability to sustain interest in a protracted war, but also for our own troops and everybody else. Let's just get it done.

SWETT: In the Vietnam era about one-third of the troops - actually a little less than that - were conscripts. Now of course we have an all-volunteer army. To what extent did the fact that you had a significant number of people in Vietnam against their will fuel the ability of the anti-war movement to dominate the media and make their case?

LAURIE: Well, if you look at the number of people, Vietnam veterans in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, you'd have to conclude - there were only about 7,000, I think, out of the 2.6 million that served in Vietnam - that that was probably irrelevant.

Now, I knew a bunch of draftees, and they weren't anti-war and they just - a different age, I guess, where hey, it's my time to wear green clothes. That's the way a lot of us were brought up.

I think a bigger factor was, again - and everything, absolutely everything, stems from the pseudo strategy concocted by McNamara. Everything else is a toxic by product of that. To not apply maximum appropriate force - I don't mean blowing up all of South Vietnam, but going and cutting and holding the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was quite doable. Even the North Vietnamese admit that now.

ZIEGLER: Removing the ability to use Haiphong Harbor as a point to resupply with that modern weaponry you described earlier.

LAURIE: Haiphong Harbor was mined in one day with no casualties.


LAURIE: That had been recommended from the early '60s, and Johnson and McNamara wouldn't permit it. When Nixon gave the order, it was done in one day.

SWETT: Well, of course, we were up against a regional power backed by two superpowers.

LAURIE: Uh-huh.

SWETT: Do you think they were overly cautious because of those considerations?

LAURIE: Yeah, they was definitely a fear factor because they didn't want the Chinese and the Russians to come in.

But the fact remains, we had already - you have to define what you mean by, you know, "going north." If you were to have given indication of seizing and occupying and defeating North Vietnam and turning it into a non-communist state, odds are the Chinese might have intervened. But the Laotian panhandle, which was what you needed, was fair game. We'd already been in the Laotian panhandle and cleared the Bolaven's Plateau in 1962 with the Special Forces White Star teams.

And then after '66, of course, China was in the cultural revolution, and the Soviets had already pretty much exhibited behavior that said, Well, if we can get what we want in Southeast Asia easily, okay, but if you guys are going to stand firm, well okay too.

And they had already sold out the North Vietnamese in the Geneva agreements in '54. So it was a cost-benefit thing for the Soviets and Chinese. If they smelled American weakness, the cost-benefit ratio is pretty damned favorable. What the hell? Why not? Let's go do it. If the United States had stood firm and clearly articulated its case to the world and the United States audience, it could have been different.

But I don't think, you know, operations in Laos or Cambodia never precipitated anything other than a Soviet and Chinese Communist verbal response, which is what you'd expect.

But you know, there's not a good argument that there was a high risk of direct Chinese involvement, or Russian, as long as we didn't try to overthrow the North Vietnamese communist government.

SWETT: Well, we're facing a similar test of national will now. I'm looking at a very nice quote from you regarding analogies between Vietnam and Iraq that says, "They apply myth to a new situation they still do not understand. It's not a matter of comparing apples to oranges. It's a matter of comparing unicorns to dragons."


SWETT: What did you mean by that exactly?

LAURIE: Both perceptions of Iraq and Vietnam are incorrect, so in effect, you've got a mythological entity that never existed, and now, having never existed, you can invent characteristics that apply to either one of those to your heart's delight, and basically, you know, fabricate a story that appeals to your motivations.

And people don't understand - in this country they still don't understand Vietnam. And I don't mean - I mean comprehend it. Understand is a flaky word. You can empathize and understand. I mean comprehend. This country doesn't have a clue about what took place in Southeast Asia. I doubt whether, beyond expressing dismay over the continuing bloodshed, I doubt whether most American people can give a one-half hour presentation on what's going on with what success and why.

SWETT: I'm sure that's true on any topic that you could choose.

But what about a counter educational effort? What would the elements of that look like?

It would have - first of all, it would have to be true and it would have to be ethical and it would have to be honest and it would have to be driven by a passion and conviction because again, if you don't have the passion and conviction of your ethics, you don't belong in a place like that. It should simply explain what's going on. It should show without hiding anything, covering anything up, it should show the positive things that are being done, the progress that's being made. If you look on some of the Centcom web sites and some of this other stuff, on blogs and emails from people that are in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's very evident. There's a degree of progress that's being established that's simply not reported upon or understood by the American public.

SWETT: On the other hand, because of the new technologies and email and so forth, there is far more information, accurate, real-time information coming back from the field than there could possibly have been 30 years ago. What difference do you think that's going to make? Certainly it undermines the mainstream media's picture.

LAURIE: Yeah, but unfortunately the key thing here, I think, there's a - I forgot who said it, but if there's 12 clowns in a circus ring and you go out there and start reciting Shakespeare, you're simply going to be the 13th clown. People don't know what to make of this, and this is a country of convenience. Explain it to me in 15 minutes. I don't - you know, I'm going snowmobiling. I'm going this. I'm going to do that. I support our troops but I don't have time to sit down and read two or three books or anything else.

It is ultimately the United States government's job - and I don't care if they say, "Well, we're putting this out and putting that out." Well, they're not putting it out enough or fast enough. It's the same thing as advertising, and I don't mean to be mercenary about this. One of the key characteristics of advertising is selling features and benefits. What are the features and what are the benefits. What are the features and what are the benefits? Who benefits and how? That's only discussed in terms of generic platitudes. And the other thing is your advertising has to have adequate frequency and reach. You can't advertise one time in a 50-mile radius of wherever you are and expect to sell anything. Make no mistake about it, the left is trying to sell its ideas too.

ZIEGLER: But it's also true that when you present an image and people who buy ink by the barrelful, to steal a Mark Twain phrase, they present a counter image on a daily basis.

LAURIE: Uh-huh.

ZIEGLER: How can you be cost effective in presenting the truth?

LAURIE: Well -

ZIEGLER: Isn't there a - at some point doesn't someone in the administration have to say, "That's a lie; that's a distortion," and call them on it?

LAURIE: Yes, they do, and the administration should do that. And remember, failing to respond is tantamount to an admission of guilt.


LAURIE: Or perceived as such. And for the administration not to be more vigorous and forceful - I don't mean Spiro Agnew name-calling stuff or any excessively vitriolic argumentation, but simply forcefully standing up and presenting the argument as best you can. And again, if you don't have that conviction, you don't belong in the war. You don't belong running a company that picks up garbage. You've got to have conviction and passion.

SWETT: Well, this is an information war, and one of the things that I notice the absence of is when spokespeople stand up and they're presented with these loaded, poisonous questions. They don't call the premises. They don't say, "Well, your question implies that the United States military is comprised of war criminals, and that's not true." They just kind of, you know, answer in a rote fashion.

LAURIE: Yes, exactly. I couldn't agree with you more.

SWETT: How do you - well, I guess that's a question of personnel. You have to find people that are willing to take a more direct approach.

LAURIE: Well, I'm not even sure you can nowadays. There seems to be a virus of passive accommodation in this country regarding everything. I mean, we've got gangs in and out of our school systems. We've got this and that. When are people going to stand up and say, "This is enough; I've had it; we are going to do something"? It just never gets done. "Oh well, whatever." The whatever virus is going to kill us.

ZIEGLER: the fastest hour in radio continues. We have a quick break coming up. Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler on The Inquisition with Mr. Bill Laurie. You can find articles referencing that on FVA.org.

We'll be back after a quick break.

[Commercial break]

ZIEGLER: This is The Inquisition back from a quick break with Mr. Bill Laurie, Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler.

Scott, you had a question that you wanted to present about the campaign.

SWETT: Yes. Mr. Laurie, we talked earlier about how the Vietnam veterans had suffered for 30 plus years from a real raw deal about how they were perceived. There was quite an explosion of pent-up resentment that expressed itself in opposition to John Kerry. You were part of that, of course. What sorts of things did you see and what were your thoughts on that?

LAURIE: It's just as you said, Scott. You listen to this stuff for 30 years - actually, I think there was a tacit assumption amongst many veterans that, you know, one of these days these people are going to stop and they won't have to bother. It hasn't stopped. It's getting - if anything, it's getting worse. And now they're even making up more things about Vietnam that never occurred. They're inventing stuff now.

ZIEGLER: CNN Tailwind report.

LAURIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I actually read an article in one magazine that said that the United States Army was going to drain the Plain of Reeds in the Mekong Delta. You can't drain the Plain of Reeds anymore than you can move Pike's Peak to Florida. And the Army never tried to do that anyhow.

SWETT: Of course, you have people coming back from the old days like Jane Fonda with her new book in which she insists that we bombed the dikes and drowned millions of innocent North Vietnamese peasants.

LAURIE: She's either completely ignorant or she's a total liar or she's both. And she has no business saying things like that. You know, if you're going to be in the public eye, you have a moral responsibility to be honest and comprehensive, and she's apparently unaware of that.

But anyhow, the -

ZIEGLER: Doesn't the government have a moral responsibility to stand for its own laws and then prosecute traitors?

LAURIE: Sure. Everybody else does. Everybody else does.

SWETT: At a minimum, that's a competitive disadvantage not to.

Well, what happened? I'm not aware that any of the anti-war folks were ever charged with treason, no matter how closely they collaborated with Hanoi.

LAURIE: No, they weren't. There was a couple of them that went to prison for disruption, throwing firecrackers and stuff like that at demonstrations and doing violent things. There were a couple of those.

But again, if you take your extreme ones like the Weather People, some of them went to prison but some of them got off Scot free. One of your - one murderer SDS type just got out of prison about a year ago. She killed - she and some other people killed a couple of cops robbing an armored car.

SWETT: She's an academic, isn't she?

LAURIE: I don't know what she's doing now. But you know, they got off the hook. The asymmetry of this whole thing is if you were in North Vietnam and you dared utter a peep against the war, you were going to prison. That is going to stop right now. And in this country, you can go out and not only be against the war. You can tell lies. And you were cheating in the intellectual marketplace by inventing things that weren't true, or weren't true enough to be the entire truth.

There's not one, not one, of those anti-war people that said more people will die violent deaths after communism takes over in Southeast Asia than during the war, but that's exactly what happened. Violent deaths. And that's excluding the infant mortality rate induced by malnutrition, which amongst the communist countries in Southeast Asia is still, as is the maternal mortality rate, is still about twice as high on the average than the four adjoining non-communist countries in Southeast Asia.

SWETT: And of course, Vietnam languishes in relative poverty compared to the other economies around it, which is -

LAURIE: All you'll see is that it's one of the fastest growing - you know, it's all you ever hear. Oh, it's one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Yeah, percentage basis, but given their economic base right now, they won't catch up to the non-communist Southeast Asian countries for another 40 or 50 years.

ZIEGLER: And there are millions of Americans who are daily using products and doing business with those five dragons of the Southeast Asian economy, who in an intellectual sense totally aware that the economy of Thailand, the economy of Singapore, the economy of Hong Kong are superior to the economy of Vietnam, and yet will not call the media on that very discrepancy.

LAURIE: No. It's the myth by consensus. And the rules are - and they're not - it's osmosis; it's in the air. You always say, "Oh, the fastest-growing economy." They don't tell you, again, it's going to take 40 years for them to ever catch up, and the human wreckage that the communists have left in Laos, in Cambodia, in South Vietnam -

One point needs to be made here. A lot of people just don't understand - maybe they saw "The Killing Fields" movie and then they're maybe remotely aware that the North Vietnamese invaded and got rid of the Khmer Rouge. The fact of the matter is that Hanoi set the Khmer Rouge up in business, and then when their little Frankenstein turned on them, then they attacked, but had there been no Hanoi communism, there would have been no Khmer Rouge.

ZIEGLER: And Mr. Waterson kind of avoided saying that during the movie, didn't he?

LAURIE: Well, they're stupid; they're ignorant. They - it's ironic because - let's call those people for the sake of convenience and conversation, we'll say they're liberal. They are against the death penalty until you run DNA. I am kind of, too. They've never done a historical DNA on Southeast Asia and they will not admit that they convicted the wrong side.

ZIEGLER: Well, you can go back to Korea and compare the economy of South Korea to North Korea.

LAURIE: Excellent.

ZIEGLER: And there's a staggering contradiction -

LAURIE: Excellent.

ZIEGLER: - in the success of economic systems.


ZIEGLER: People are eating bark off trees in North Korea -

LAURIE: Right now.

ZIEGLER: - and in South Korea they're rivaling Japan in their economic output.

LAURIE: Yes, yes. Interesting. There's a book that doesn't deal with the economic consequences of communism, but rather the human and political consequences. It's called "The Black Book of Communism." I'd venture to say that 999 Americans out of 1,000 have never heard of the book. And I even talked to a college professor who teaches Vietnam and said, "You should read this book." I told him it had 700 pages. He said, "Oh, I just wouldn't have time." Well, that's just great.

SWETT: That book charges international communism with the deaths of 100 million people in the last century, if I'm not mistaken.

LAURIE: 100 million, and the count is low because they estimates the death toll in Southeast Asia as three million, whereas if you really go back from 1945 to 1990, you'll see that the death toll is over seven million, so they're off by - it should be 104 million. And I did the research on that. It's not just stuff I made up or something somebody told me. It took me months to get that information.

SWETT: Back to Vietnam today, I think very few people realize that the propaganda offensive of Hanoi never stopped, and continues and takes the form of a charm offensive now, where you have people that want to, you know, put the past behind and -


SWETT: - have good relations, and everybody else is bad people.

LAURIE: Uh-huh.

SWETT: How does that work?

LAURIE: Oh, these guys are artful. They are artful dodgers. You've got to know your enemy and you can't underestimate your opponent.

Yes, it is a charm offensive. They started with Resolution 36 last year, and it's a multifaceted thing. They're going to - rather than even discuss things political, they're going to have artists and dancers and cultural troops, you know. And you see these artists and you see these cultural troops, and you go well, I don't see them clubbing Montagnards or Mung (phonetic) or Khmer Krom in the Delta or Wahow (phonetic) or Buddhist dissidents. You know, they're just dancing and painting. Aren't they nice. But of course, the image takes precedence over reality.

SWETT: And this was all about image burnishing as opposed to anything else.

LAURIE: Yep, yeah. Yeah. And people don't have the information. They just don't know it. And if you tell them that something's bad about Hanoi, they don't want to hear it. They think you're a poor loser.

SWETT: Okay. We're going to have to take a quick break. We'll be back for a final segment. This is The Inquisition on RighTalk Radio.

[Commercial break]

ZIEGLER: The fastest hour in radio draws to a close. This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, talking with Mr. Bill Laurie.

Mr. Laurie, it's been a fascinating hour, and I really appreciate having you on board here today.

LAURIE: Oh, thank you.

ZIEGLER: How can our listeners get more information? How do we educate people - teachers, professors, people who are teaching our students in history class, in social studies class - about Vietnam so that they understand that it's not just a few that see Vietnam differently than the mainstream media and Oliver Stone?

LAURIE: Okay, it's really tough. One reason is the situation was so complex that really the study of Vietnam is not a course but rather a curriculum. You have to understand the economics, the theology, politics, history, military science, so forth and so on.

But that being said, it can be done, but only at the cost of a dedicated personal effort because there's no one source that's going to deliver the goods on Southeast Asia. Again, it was not just Vietnam. It was Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and the Thai border, I might add, where a war smoldered for about 20 years from Hanoi.

But the only thing I can say is you're going to have to realize you're going to have to do it yourself and talk to some intelligent people, and you're going to realize that some of the people you talk to are very convincing and they ultimately don't know what they're talking about, and that includes, unfortunately, some college professors.

So I would start with that F - that's Fox Victor Alpha dot org, and that should be an eye opener for anybody who thinks Vietnam is a socialist paradise today.

SWETT: That's the Free Vietnam Alliance.

LAURIE: That's correct. Also there's another web site, Montagnard-Foundation.org. That will tell you how the Montagnards are being exterminated as a culture. Nobody seems to care.

But unfortunately, our total information system, the government, the news media, the entertainment, academia, do not deliver the truth about Vietnam, the realities of all of Southeast Asia. You have to dig it out yourself.

ZIEGLER: In addition to the web site you just mentioned, I'd mention Scott's WinterSoldier.com, and among those, maybe there's a start.

This has been the fastest hour in radio, The Inquisition, Scott Swett, Tim Ziegler. We'll be back in two weeks to continue our illumination in the light.

Thanks for your time. We really enjoyed it. Martha Zoeller's up next on RighTalk.com.

[End of transcript]

Last Updated Monday, November 05 2007 @ 07:54 AM MST|5,305 Hits