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tv   Washington Journal 1968 - Vietnam War  CSPAN  March 27, 2018 8:01pm-9:35pm EDT

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we begin with the vietnam war. covering the major military, political and diplomatic developments in the war that year. our guests are veteran and former navy secretary, jim webb and author david maraniss. we begin with a video on the state of the war in 1967 produced by the photographic center. this is "american history tv." >> these marines have just returned from a tough battle in the north. they're now in a defensive perimeter. the weapons are cleaned and cared for. a matter of importance in the life of a professional fighting man. this is neither a clean or easy life for our men but they learn to accept the physical hardships of battle as their fathers did before them. ♪
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in a famous hymn, marines recount battles fought in every time and place. here in vietnam, except for the snow, they prove it. from the soft canals and streams. then, push forward into the jungle and the mountains where elephants and lions and giant trees cut off the sun. >> it is not just a matter of long walks in the tropical heat. each step must be cautious because there are palestines and traps. watch your step. a false one and your ankles are hit by trip that only digs deeper as you fight to pull away. and sitting and waiting for the threat and you will never know which piece of grass has sharp bamboo spikes. marine engineers must sweep the
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roads and trails in search of killer mines. the troops must provide a screen of security behind which americans can assist the vietnamese and the revolutionary rebuilding of their nation. it is necessary to constantly patrol the villages and country side to deny reentry to the vietcong. marines initiate hundreds of small patrols and ambushes throughout the egyptair each week. one of the most difficult jobs in this war without a front is to distinguish friend from foe. each person must be searched and identified. whether vc are turned up by scrutiny or captured in combat, they are treated with fairness under the rules of the geneva convention. ♪ marines have found that such
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treatment of an often cruel enemy frequently results in the proffering of information that reveals the whereabouts of an enemy force. in possession of such knowledge, marines react quickly and plans are rapidly formulated and a strike force moves out swiftly. ♪ as they move in on the enemy position, they are met by intensive small arms fire that results in some casualties, but the attack is carried to the enemy strong hold. and again, that film from 1967 and narration of jack webb as we begin our conversation looking back 50 years ago, 1968, a year in turmoil.
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a special series on the c-span networks. we welcome jim webb. author of "i heard my country calling." thank you for being with us. and david maranis of the "washington post," and how many books now? >> 12. >> and win of them, they marched into sunlight. in 1968, who was winning the vietnam war? >> no one was winning. everyone was losing. >> why? >> for a lot of different reasons. the united states government without telling the public this had already decided they didn't know how to win the war and didn't want to win the war. the public still -- more than 50% of the people in the country still supported the war. it was completely unknown what was going to happen next. so i would say that everyone was losing at that point. >> you were at the naval academy
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in the 1960s, what was that like as you and your colleagues prepare to serve in combat? >> i got to the naval academy in 1964 when the gulf of tonkin graduated in 1968 after the tet offensive and people seemed to understand clearly there were objectives over there. i think the best place to start on the question you just asked david is what is it -- is it that we were attempting to achieve, and how you could measure that now? there's a phrase, we saw how the war ended, but what was it looking like in 1968? there were valid strategic reasons to go into vietnam. if you look at the east asian region as a whole coming out of world war ii, it was torn apart by war and japan had receded back into its
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boundaries, and the colonial powers had left and governmental systems and economic systems in turmoil. we had the korean war and there was legitimate, international communist movement. we can smile about that now. but it was legitimate and -- trained in moscow for years. there was an exchange between him and stalin in 1964. the question was how do you fight the war, number two, and what was going on back here with dissent movements in terms of articulating what our objectives were. when i was in vietnam, on any given day, as a marine, on any given day we were fighting three different wars. a conventional war against north vietnamese and vietcong naval forces, an insurgency war and a terrorist war, which this country didn't understand at that time. that's the reason that john kennedy decided to put american troops into vietnam in 1961,
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that the communist assassination squads were killing 11 government officials a day. how do you take all of that and say who was winning and who was losing in the middle of that sort of turmoil is hard to say. >> let me take senator webb's point about the objective. if you look at the documentary, it shifted from the time of truman through john f. kennedy. was it a shifting objective by 1968? >> by 1967, late 1967, the policy had shifted, yes. and the defense secretary had basically -- this had not come out yet, the pentagon papers had not come out yet, but they basically decided that they were not going to win the war and that the best they can do is a stalemate. that's what they were dealing with at the time. the war has to be dealt with in
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three weighti woul ways. one is the military, which jim was part of. one is the policy which is different and the third is society. and what was happening in united states at that time. >> that's outline in your back, you have the anti-war demonstrations including madison, wisconsin and dow chemical and the bombings with n napon, and the horrific deaths of so many people in vietnam. tie the three together. >> it wasn't just napon, it was agent orange. and the protest at the university of wisconsin in october, 1967 was the first student protest that turned into a violent confrontation on a campus. and it was against our chemical company recruiting on the campus at a time when students were opposed to the war. there's an interesting connection that you can only make in retrospect, which is as
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much as these students were protesting the war for a combinati combination of idealism and self-interests, that they didn't want to fight in the war. they were proposing two chemicals which had a profound negative effect on the soldiers and all of the people of vietnam. napalm was destroying villages and working as a weapon in that war and eight arms had the affect on the people and soldiers. many of whom i've dealt with over the years, who fought in 1967, and are dying of bladder cancer in their 60s because of the effects of agent orange. >> did you see that? >> yeah. i was in areas where it was used. at the same time, let's again take a look at the framework under which this war was being fought. i think it was the most complicated war that the united states has ever had to fight.
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it's not necessarily, a negative thing to say at this point, but maybe a stalemate given the strategic circumstances and the power of the anti-war movement here was an acceptable goat at a certain point. just like north korea versus south korea and east germany versus west germany. that's the way that a lot of people including myself looked at what we were attempting to do. can you preserve a portion of a country and develop a democracy and then over time have something different come out of it. south korea versus north korea is a great example. another thing that should be remembered. at the extreme left there were people who had revolutionary goals in this country that didn't connect with vietnam at first. the great example of that is the students for democratic society, the sds, which was the van guard
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of a lot of these more violent protests. they were formed in 1962 with the port huron statement at the university of michigan. they thought race would be the issue with which they could galvanize america into revolutionary change. the war came along. the war affected everyone potentially, every family potentially, and it folded into these other issues that they were debating. you know, the north vietnamese, i spent a lot of time in vietnam during the war and isn't the war. i've written ten books. several of them about vietnam. this was a memoir partly about vietnam. i met with the leaders of the north and the people who fought. one of the key characters in stanley carnile's book, he was
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the colonel who was on the palace grounds at the end of 1975 and later said that the rear-front of the economy in stafford was here to galvanize the anti-war movement, and that folded into a lack of clarity on the political and strategic objectives. and the other thing that needs to be said because it is not talked about enough. is the policy of the communist government since 1958. it's a classic policy of communism to have assassination as a key element of a strategy. they would go after people who were a part of in any way in the leadership of south vietnam. 11 government officials a day by 1960, when john kennedy decided we needed to do something. we didn't know how to do that. we had incidents that were
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regretful and disgusting. generally they were the result of emotional overload and people blowing it. they were aberrations from what our policy is legally or morally. that's not true on the other side. when you look at the way which was talked about and used as an example in a number of these recent documentaries, 2,000 south vietnamese were killed, assassinated he in hue when they had temporary control. we don't hear them talking that. >> let me remind the audience. there's a number of ways to engage in the conversations. if you're a vietnam veteran, we would love to hear from you. 202-748-8000.
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others can call 202-748-8001. you can follow us on twitter. we have a pole on who is winning in 1968. and we would love to have you participate. david maraniss. >> i would like to respectfully disagree with some of that. i think you could take sds and the revolutionary guard of the united states as one thing, but that doesn't represent the anti-war movement, which was vastly more diverse than that and much more oriented towards other things than just trying to have a revolution in the united states. >> i would agree with you on that. >> okay. i think that was a little bit of a stretch to take it to that place. there are very valid reasons to oppose this war which have nothing to do with that. secondly, on the vietnamese side, i agree that the anti-war movement was naive thinking that it was just a civil war is and involved the south, the north vietnamese, and china and the north weren't helping to control
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it, which they were. it doesn't make the war valid because of that and doesn't make the united states response valid as we will see in 1968. >> the tet offensive referring to the lunar new year, what was that? what was the objective by the military? >> there was a debate within the north vietnamese military on whether to do it or not. the most famous vietnamese general opposed it but there was stronger side that prevailed. this is the lunar new year, january 31, 1968. and what they decided was that he would have a massive attack everywhere they could to try to discombobulate the americans and the south vietnamese and to have a publicity effect on everyone. it is a debate on whether it would be worth it or not. they knew there would be a lot of casualties, which did happen. in a sense, the vietcong lost in terms of the military aspects of it but won in terms of publicity.
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>> i want to show something and get your reaction. this is the south vietnamese army explaining what happened in 1968, the testimot offensive it about a minute and a half. >> at the end of january, 1968, saigon was alive. for the people of vietnam, tet is a joyous and sacred time of the year. this is to be the first spring of the second republic of vietnam. this seemed to promise the people a safe holiday. free from the ever-present anxiety of war. at the temple the people gathered to pay respect to their ancestors. on the eve of the new year, thousands of saigon families prayed before the altars of their ann ze their ancestors. this year, however, the traditional fire crackers began
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the fireworks of war. vietcong took advantage of the noisy celebration launching an attack. areas of the city became a blazing inferno. columns of smoke rose skyward as block after block in the capital city burned with the fires of vietcong treachery. >> that film from the south vietnamese army and the tet offensive taking place late january, 1968. two months later president lyndon johnson announced he would not seek another term, but the speech was primarily on vietnam and the tet offensive. here's what lbj said, march 31, 1968. >> their attack during the tet holidays failed to achieve its
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principle objective. it did not collapse the e being elected government of south vietnam or shatter its army as the communist hoped. it did not produce a general uprising among the people of the cities as they predicted. the communist were unable to maintain control of any of the more than 30 cities that they attacked. and they took very heavy casualties. but they did compel the south vietnamese and their allis to move certain forces from the country side into the cities. they caused wide spread disruption and suffering. their attacks and the battles that followed made refugees of the communists may renew their attack any day. they are, it appears, trying to make 1968 the year of decision in south vietnam.
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the year that brings if not final victory or defeat, at least a turning point in the struggle. again, march 31, 1968. jim webb, you were wrapping up your tenure at the naval academy, and you heard this speech? >> i'm sure i did. i know what he said. >> so what was happening in the time frame. >> here is what i think we need to do. i know it is a show about 1968. it is difficult to talk about the vietnam war and freeze-frame it into one year or even a few months out of one year. >> certainly. >> and, by the way, my wife was born in vietnam in the tet offensive in 1968, and remembers it well, and they became refugees after the fall of saigon. one thing you will see is every presidential year, they were
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able to mobilize some sort of an offensive that would get attention over here. that's one thing that happened in tet '68. this is kind of interesting. you showed a clip of a south vietnamese explanation and so many other documents we're seeing, you get straight propaganda footage out of hanoi about what their soldiers are doing, and you get direct interviews with the american marines and soldiers reminiscing in a personal way, sitting next to even other. people can be led to one conclusion or another. winning militarily, the 20th anniversary of the fall of saigon, 1995, hanoi announced officially that they had lost 1.4 million soldiers dead. 1.4 million soldiers dead. we lost 58,000. the south vietnamese lost 245,000. but clearly on the battlefield our people did their job
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in terms of articulating the message it was very difficult. one, because it was an evolving message. it was very unclear as to what goals were going to continue as the situation changed over there. but, you know, i can remember reading during tet '68, "the washington post." one of the great war correspondents during the vietnam war, a marine who was wounded in korea, spent three years over. there cue reyou could read the page of the "washington post," see factual reporting on hue, and you get to the editorial pages, and the political people and i've been a political person over there and it was okay, this is not working. it's time to do something else. very difficult for the country to process what a win what a loss was, until much later. even as david was saying, the
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tet offensive was a military failure, that's not what was being reported at the time by a lot of the journalists over there. >> one final point before going to your calls and comments. you have the tet offensive in late january of 1968 -- >> and february. more americans killed in one week during the tet offensive than any time in the war. over 500. >> then you had president's johnson's speech? >> before that, march 12th the new hampshire primary, where mccarthy does not win but gets 42% of the vote against lbj, scares him. four days later, robert f. kennedy enters the race. you have two anti-war candidates running against johnson. he's about to lose the wisconsin primary. and the next day he decides not to run on march 31st. >> on february 27, 1968, walter
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cronkite says this for it seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of vietnam is to end in a stalemate. how significant was that? >> there were three networks then. walter cronkite was the voice of america or considered such. so that comment was vitally important. you know, lbj used to say that a post-editorial writer supporting the war was worth two divisions and probably walter cronkite was an entire army. >> our conversation with david maraniss, an author, and "the the wag po "washington post." and we also have jim webb, former senator. >> thank you. half of our classroom, 21 boys, 12 of us are vietnam veterans.
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it was over 8,000 americans, nurses, soldiers, marines would volunteer for vietnam every year of the war. you cannot get none of the presidents to move on the backlog of claims of over 400,000 people waiting two and three years. infantry people like myself cannot get our claims moved at va hospitals. year after year they can't make our claims. >> thanks for the call. that's one of the legacies of those who served in vietnam today. you dealt with that in the senate. dealt with that as a first vietnam veteran to serve as full committee council in the congress in 1977. i've been working veterans issues all my adult life. i would like to say to the gentleman who called i appreciate your stepping forward and serving.
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there's been a great misunderstanding in this country about how proud the people who served in vietnam are of having to serve. we did a survey, a harris survey when i was on committee council in 1980. $6 million survey about attitudes towards vietnam veterans, 91% of the people who served were glad that they served. 74% said they enjoyed their time in the military. 2 out of 3 said even knowing the end result of the war, they would go back again. in terms of the va, when i got to the senate in '07, the va backlog was 600,000 claims. when i left it was 900,000 claims. part of that was the increasing difficulty of the system with the attorneys involved in a way that they had not been before in the litigation. a lot of it was just plain leadership inside the va. we worked hard on that.
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one of the other lessons from vietnam is that the gi bill for the people who served in vietnam was miniscule compared to the world war ii gi bill which enabled the futures of 8 million of our 16 million world war ii soldiers. i wroete and passed when i was n the senate the post-9/11 gi bill, the best gi bill in the history of the country. >> david? >> i would like to say that that -- everyone that happens with the va is a reminder that wars don't end when the battles end. they go on for the rest of the lives of the soldiers who fought in them. >> joe is next. also a vietnam veteran from silver spring, maryland. good morning. >> caller: good morning. how you are doing today? i -- the question about winning the war, to me, the people who won the war are the people who
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supplied the bombs and bullets in vietnam and any war thereafter. regarding of the incident of the gulf of tonkin. i read and i double checked it, that prior to the gulf of tonkin, the united states had advisers running sororities with the vietnamese against the vietnamese at that time. so the incident regarding tonkin was supposed to be pushed back ta those sort to those sorties being run. i work at the va, and i see disabilities claims. these claims are undiagnosed illness, chronic fatigue. these are not bombs and bullets, but this is the kind of stuff that war, this war is here that we're in now and the vietnam war brought to us and we don't get the message that we have to keep our young men and women safe and not put them in this harm's way.
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thank you very much. >> david, this goes back to your earlier point about agent orang orange. >> yes, very much so. there are a lot of different aspects to that and definitely there was -- i mean everywhere has a material aspect to it of people benefiting from the war. and, you know, you can make the argument that the war is fought because of that. i disagree with that. i think it's just a byproduct of it. wars are fought because of policy, whether it's right or wrong, and not for the economics of it. >> we are beginning a nine-part series on c-span and c-span3's american history tv, as we look at 1968 and the vietnam war -- >> can i make a quick comment about what the gentleman said on who wins -- >> sure. >> with respect to agent orange. i counselled three out of the
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four hearings that they had. dioxin is a component inside agent orange. it has taken a long time to get that to a place where we can resolve is for the veterans affected. the minister/mentor who created modern singapore was one of the most brilliant minds in the last 100 years in east asia, and he repeatedly would say the united states effort in vietnam created a win for the region because it slowed down these sorts of revolutionary movements and it allowed these other countries to invigorate new governmental systems and economic systems. and i think when we put into the formula of the attempt that we made to preserve a democracy there that there were very
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strong positive long-term results out of that. >> there are also more than 1 million vietnamese deaths and 58,000 american deaths. >> was the u.s. winning the vietnam war in 1968? that's our question on twitter. right now,unscientific, 38% said yes, 62% said no. here at the table, david maranis of the "washington post," and david webb, former senator and author of ten books himself. we go to michael joining us from virginia. another vietnam veteran, good morning. >> caller: hello to washington and the world listening to this station. i have direct knowledge about why the vietnam war went on. it was -- goes back to the turn of the century when the french went there and the economists
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went there to take charge of an indochina, it was called, and they used it as a steppingstone for their economy and plantations of opium. >> david maraniss, is that correct? >> i would say if you go there, jim has gone there every year and i've been there for my book. you will see that in the perspective of the vietnamese today, the americans are the least -- the country they hate the least out of the french, chinese and americans. the french kcolonized them. and that is different than fighting a war. so i think the french aspect was economic and the plantations was a vital part. >> general william westmoreland. how does history show his role?
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>> let me say something that was said here. i think it's an important part of how we process the war. i hope more people in the country will talk to the vietnamese-american community and you will learn about a lot of the stakes that were at play during this war that we never talk about. yes, the french colonized them. when you talk to the vietnamese, and i speak vietnamese, i can get away from the translators, the japanese were the worst occupiers of vietnam. they killed and starved about 1 million vietnamese by taking rice out and sending it to japan. they have a long colonial history. the question in this post world war ii era is how does vietnam move forward away from a colonial system? and there were a number of anti-french political groups and a great percentage got killed
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before we got there and they were taken over and solidified the communist system. a lot of the vietnamese who were on our side, we forget about them, 245,000 of them died on our side. a million sent to reeducation camps after the war. some of my good friends, 13 1/2 years in re-education camps after the war, came here, rebuilt a life in a system that if it had been in place over there, you would see a vigorous culture and explosion of an economy. i have been patient working with the vietnamese government today to open up the doors and recreate the bonds between the overseas vietnamese and the communist government. but there was a lot at stake for them in terms of how that future would play out.
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>> wouldn't it be better to say that the united states was on their side rather than they were on our side? >> i think both is true. i think both is true. i think there were common interests strategically for us and governmentally and politically for them. and they've been great americans. >> let me go to my earlier point about general westmoreland. how does history view his involvement in this? >> i don't want to sum that up. that's just out of the area that -- where i spent my time. i will say this for the united states marines who were in vietnam, we sent 400,000 marines to vietnam. 103,000 were killed or wounded. more total casualties than any other war. i will tell you that everybody -- every war has its down sides, but in terms of serving their country and doing their job, they're the finest
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people ivan around. >> from my perspective he was a disaster a the key point of my book in october of 1967, we westmoreland was the one pushing the hardest saying this war could be won in battles of attrition. find the enemy and kill them. >> lyndon johnson saying give me numbers that will reinforce that, correct? >> johnson was buying into that even though internally he had no clue how they would win the war. >> your reaction to walter cronkite. he said for it seems now more certain than ever for the bloody experience of vietnam is to end in a stall maemate. this is february of 1968. you're about to graduate from the naval academy and serve our country. how significant was this on the homefront? >> actually, a factual correction, walter cronkite made
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a different broadcast that i don't think was widely published, but a different tape, saying something when he was finishing up his team in vietnam, saying something much more positive than that. in terms of a stalemate, here is what i was believing and i still believe when i went into vietnam. first of all, i was -- i was -- i had just taken four years of education in the naval academy to learn to serve my country. the war was not going to go away and they needed leadership. i used to tell people on the political side of this, five years from now, six years from now, come back and i'll tell you what i really think. one of the things i saw -- we keep mocking vietnamization, these people were not good. when they announced vietn vietnamizati vietnamization, we worked with
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these units. they were good. the belief i had was that the young soldiers being trained, had learned different ways of military leadership were strong and over time, perhaps maybe in the formula of north and south korea, how long have we waited -- some day korea will unite. i worked in europe as an assistant secretary of defense. no one believed that germany was going to unite as quickly as they did. you could have seen that same potential in vietnam. >> but vietnam has united. it's not the state it was in the 1990s. it's a different place today. would agree wiyou agree with th? >> there's no way to wind back the clock. i started working with the vietnamese inside vietnam. and the vietnamese community here for many years.
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i say the same thing inside vietnam as i do here. sometimes that got me trouble when i first started going back to vietnam. the mantra from the communists when they see the american veteran, shake hands, make peace, move into the future. i say will you shake the hand of the arvin? if you shake the hand of the arvin you put in re-education camp for 13 years, great. let's all move together in the future. are there physical remnants of the war as you travel back to the country? >> when i was first going back and, you know, '91, '92. '92 we drove the entire length of the country. i was back with a humanitarian mission -- >> which took how long? >> about a month. started in hanoi and drove highway 1, the national road all the way to cambodia. the agreement was let's treat veterans from both sides.
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let us help treat the amputees in the south vietnamese armies and bring it together. at that point there were a lot of what you would call remnants or reminders. some were deliberate. the communists are very smart. they would leave a remnant of a base so whenever you would drive -- american base. you drive by it, you would see the weeds grow up and you remember, those people left us, you know. but yeah. i went out to the battlefields. i think i was the first vietnam veteran to go to the arizona valley where we had fought and talked with the villagers and brought back stuff. >> was that surreal? especially early on when you went there? >> it was healthy, actually to talk to the people who had been under fire from both sides, to go out and see the places that i had spent a good bit of my life
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in. and then, you know, the -- the hanoi side, the communist side, built many, many cemeteries for their soldiers and victory monuments and those sorts of things. >> david maraniss, you were there in 2005, 2006. our colleague traveled with you. >> yes. >> it is available on our website at c-span.org. what do you see? >> we saw many remnants. we went to the site, the battlefield of the book which is near the creek of 44 miles northwest of saigon. and met a farmer there who had been -- who had fought with the vietcong in that battle. we went with the north vietnamese division commander and with clark welch, the commander of one of the
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companies of the first division's black lines who fought in that battle. when we met the farmer who had been there at that time and walked through his fields out to the exact site of the battle and met one of his sons who the year before had lost his arm when an american bomb exploded as he was working that field. so that's a remnant, to see this kid without the arm. we went to hanoi, and i am sure jim visited what they call the peace hospital up there. i don't think it's totally propaganda. when you see all of these descendants, young girls, 13, 14 years old, with mutated limbs, largely from the effects of some of the munitions. >> let me just say, in that context, i have done it dozens of times. without having to have a government handler come in and arranged, you know, the -- pre-brief the enemy on the other side so you can do the thing. i have stumbled, walk out in the arizona valley, a lot of these other areas, and bump into people who would start talking
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about what they did. i'll tell you one thing. there is an enormous respect for the american marines who fought out there. and from the other side. i have bumped into a veteran of a big battle we were in in may of 1969, who didn't know who -- where i was coming from or what -- why i was there. i was looking at an area where some of my marines had died. we just stumbled into a conversation. those are healthy as long as everybody is allowed to participate. >> i would agree with that. the most profound experience i had during that visit was watching clark welch, the american, tremendous leader of the -- of one of the companies, walk arm in arm with the commander of the vietcong first division as they went through the battlefield together. two men who didn't speak the same language who had tried to kill each other some 40 years ago and were respecting each
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other that whole time as they walked through the battlefield. >> 1968, a year in turmoil, the vietnam war. a nine-part series. you can follow it on our website at c-span.org and follow us on twitter @c-span history. to clyde from minnesota. another vietnam veteran. thank you for waiting. go ahead, please. >> caller: thank you very much for taking my call. i'll try to be brief, i want to make a few quick points. i am very proud of the fact that my father, while he was quite old when i was born, served in world war i. that's number one. number two, i enlisted in the navy in 1967. i was proud to also have performed and achieved conscious objection after enlisting in the navy. yet i got orders to vietnam and served in the rivers over there for one year. i could have refused orders but i didn't. we hauled the napalm and
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ammunition up and down the river at night usually and the gun boats were our escorts. i want to make this point. we need to be very, very careful who we elect as our leaders. the war was -- we pulled out finally in 1975, okay. nixon went to china when? who supplied the vietnamese with armament besides russia? china. these are my points. moral character, ethical character, very, very much matters. and the truth, and i mean the truth, we need to get back on track with these people we elect and the decisions they make that put so many people and families in harm's way. thank you very much for taking my points. thank you so much. >> clyde, thank you. there are a couple of things at play here. first of all, his service in vietnam and what he saw, and also the election of lyndon johnson in 1964 promising to let asian boys do that and not american soldiers. jim webb. >> first of all, i want to say how much i appreciate your call.
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i don't know if i am seeing you or not here with the camera in front of me. there are a couple important points that were made there. one is -- one of the things i learned during the vietnam period, not just during my service, was to respect anyone in this country who was operating within our legal system when it comes to whether you serve, whether you don't serve. and there were a lot of people who felt strongly on the other side about the war as david mentioned. no question about that. and the other is we need to respect the tradition of serving the country for those who do step forward. the vietnam war has been characterized as a draftees' war. if you look at data, i did a lot of work on this in the late '70s, to say who served, how long, how does this compare to
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other wars? two-thirds of the people who went into the military were volunteers. 73% of the people who died were volunteers. my family has a history of volunteering. when you asked me what was my political view in 1968. i was a marine. i wanted to lead people. that was my life. it was going to be my life. my son, during the iraq period, he and i both were very opposed to the strategy going into iraq. i wrote a piece in the "washington post" five months before the invasion saying this is going to empower iran and china. we should not be invading. my son dropped out of penn state, enlisted and fought in iraq. my father, like this gentleman, my father served. not career people like the mccain family, who i greatly admire and respect. but when the time comes, we
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serve. that needs to be on the table when we remember these things. >> let me get your reaction on another point. we did an interview with james jones, who was president lyndon johnson's ostensibly chief of staff. he said nixon undercut any efforts late in 1968 by president johnson to bring an end to the war. >> there is an excellent new biography of richard nixon by my friend john farrell, who found some notes at the nixon library of haldeman writing about the way that they were trying to undercut the efforts in the peace talks right before that election through some working with the south vietnamese at that time. i think it's pretty conclusive now that that was going on. >> and to the caller's point -- >> can i make a larger point about the truth? because he mentioned the truth there. i think that if you -- you can argue about policy, but one thing it's hard to argue about during that period of the
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vietnam war is that the united states government was lying. they were lying. so was the military. in my book at that point they were lying about body counts. why? because they thought they wanted to make the argument they can win the war, through battles of attrition, and if they killed enough north vietnamese and vietcong that they would win the war. so in this very battle which was a devastating loss for the black lines battalion, westmoreland himself personally lied about what happened in that battle and so did the general, the first division commander. >> this may be too simplistic, why did president johnson simply not pull the plug? why not simply say, we are leaving, peace with honor, we're going to leave vietnam and let the vietnamese deal with this issue? >> that has got a long history to it. i would say it has to do with politics in the united states, the democratic party and the way the republican party had dominated the whole notion of patriotism, and the cold war through that whole period.
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>> well, just sort of to round this out, in terms of body counts, i mean, there are two things that can be said about body counts. first of all, it was a war of battle or another was exaggerated, they were losing an awful lot of people. so, you know, that just needs to be said. >> we'll go to frank joining us from palm bay, florida, a lot of vietnam vets on this sunday, we appreciate it. go ahead, frank. >> caller: hello, i've got a question for gjim webb, i was with the fifth marines the same time he was. and i know exactly where the
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village was where he got wounded at. and i wanted to know if he remembers the frustration that we used to feel by going to the same places day in and day out and taking the same wounded, and they knew kind of exactly when we were coming and going, same thing day in, day out. you got hit next to henderson hill, and we used to go there all the time, in and out, in and out. we felt such frustration because we weren't getting anywhere. >> can you stay on the line. we'll get a response. >> well, thank you, good to hear from somebody who was in the fifth marines, actually, yeah, the first time i was wounded was off after henderson hill, the second time was in the arizona valley. and one of the things that was frustrating as a rifle platoon
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and company commander was the lack of continuity of our intelligence. i was sitting with a very good friend of mine years ago, the reason i mentioned this the second time, who got his eye shot out nnt arizoin the arizon. he pulled out a map, and he said, right there. ri i said, are you kidding me, i was wounded the same place, only two months later. that's just the unevidentabilin. and to find, fix and destroy, as the fifth marines used to say, that was our job. and we did it well. and it was extremely frustrating, i agree with you, and the fifth marines took a lot of casualties out there. >> frank, did you want to follow up? >> caller: no. thanks for taking my call. really appreciate it.
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and i really enjoy jim's books. and hopefully can make a bigger impact on vietnam vets. >> semper fi. >> we mentioned john mccain, a prisoner of war in vietnam for 5 1/2 years. here's part of that interview. >> one of the great things about being a fighter pilot is you're sure that everybody else is going to get shot down, but not you. >> and when that happened, how many vietnamese were around you in the water in that lake? >> well, when i first went in -- it's a long story, but i was barely able to get back to the surface. but then a bunch of them jumped in and there's a picture, which i'm sure you'll show, of them pulling me out of the lake. you can see my arm is broken and up high. and then, of course, once they
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pulled me out they weren't very happy to see me. >> why not? >> because i just finished bombing the place. and so we got pretty rough, broke my shoulder, hurt my knee again. but, look, i don't blame them. i don't blame them. we're in a war. i didn't like it. but at the same time when you're in a war and you're captured by the enemy, you can't expect, you know, to have tea. and so they pulled me out of the -- long story short, pulled me out of the lake, put me -- beat me up a little -- or a lot, and then went to the now famous hanoi hilton prison, a short five-minute drive away and then
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it's a very long story about how they found out who my father was and they decided to give me treatment and two wonderful americans, they moved me into finally who thought that they'd moved me in to die. and they took care of me and nursed me back to health. and then after they saw me in better health they put me into solitary confinement. >> that full interview, by the way, is available on our website at c-span.org. 45 years ago this past week, senator mccain releasing this video on his twitter page, his release from captivity. you can see him walking to freedom. senator webb. >> john mccain's a great friend. i've known him since 1978. and i tease him all the time because when i go to hanoi, if you drive one little road to west lake, you'll see this plaque that memorializes where he went into the lake.
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he's the only american that has a memorial to him inside vietnam. >> except for morrison, the guy who tried to kill macnamara. >> that doesn't surprise me. john getting shot down, there are reasons he might get a plaque there. he did great service, and he's got a lot of grace in him. >> explain that story. >> i don't know too much about it. but i saw the plaque of that, of an american who was tried to kill macnamara and that he's considered a hero in parts of vietnam. >> back to your phone calls, fred is joining us from austin, texas, where and when did you serve, fred? >> caller: i served in 1970-71. i served as an airborne combat
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infantryman. i carried the m-60 machine gun in the bush, the jungle, the mountains and the rice patties. the one thing i'd like to point out, the combat men who were over there and suffered through all that, there was one thing that irked me, that was the politicians were making the rules of engagement so that basically toward the end of my tour, we could bearly defend ourselves. then we come back to the mission for a couple days, we see the civilians working in the mess halls were vietnamese and we carried kit carson scouts. these were captured prisoners that came along with us. they weren't the most trust worthy. we had our backs to the wall. and we had no way to protect ourselves. as the rules of engagement
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changed for political reasons. and it's the same thing. if you weren't there, then you put down on paper these rules. and it would put the combat infantrymen in a dire situation where they're risking they're lives. that was the one thing that irked me. i served. i'm glad i served. i'm proud to have served. all i want to do is say airborne all the way. >> fred, thank you. senator webb, did you sense that? >> well, first of all, i want to say thank you. i was in the first marine division and the mountains separated us from the americal on the other side of the mountain. we saw your air flares every night. appreciate what you did. very bad area in terms of combat. let me give one little shoutout here. there weren't many people from the professional sports world who went to vietnam. one was roger stewback, heisman
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trophy win who volunteered to go over, spent a year. another was rocky blieer, great blocking back for the pittsburgh steelers. and he was -- i think he accepted the draft. i can't remember. he might have volunteered. but he was in the americal. he was wounded. there was a series of fights in june of '69. he was wounded at the same time that all this stuff was going on for us. i've always had a tremendous regard for him. the rules of engagement were strict. they became more strict. the one thing i like to say about that, many times they were very frustrating. but on the other hand we are a nation of rules. i want to emphasize this again. one of the great failings on our side, and actually bernard fall pointed this out in my 1961 before we went in in his book "the two vietnams" is that we
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used artillery and supporting arms tactically. we set a perimeter and you'd have your on calls at night because the enemy would ingress and stage theirself and attack you. but it was kind of random in the villages where they would see this stuff come out of the sky. civilians were often hurt. communists used assassination as a tool of policy. the worst thing i saw, the people would say, the south vietnamese district chiefs are corrupt. they stay in a villa. our company commander, let's get him out here and have a meeting with the vim lllagers. we got 30 delegates, at the bottom of our perimeter, 30 people in a small room, they came in with three hitmen, threw three grenades, killed 19 people
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for having connected with the south vietnamese government. they need to own up. i say this to my friends in the government in vietnam. they need to own up that a lot of the stuff went on as a matter of policy. >> dan we'll get to you in a moment. we are focusing on america, 1968, america in turmoil, the first of a nine-part series, part of c-span3's american history tv. all of it available of the c-span.org. jim webb, u.s. senator, navy veteran -- >> marine corps veteran. >> naval academy graduate, marine corps veteran. >> and david maraniss. >> yes, it was march 16, 1968 when my lai happened.
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it wasn't revealed for a year. when you talk about rules of engagement, that's the worst that can happen when you don't follow rules of engagement, hundreds of old people, kids, just civilians were literally slaughtered by american troops. if it wasn't for another heroic american helicopter pilot who landed in between them and stopped it, it could have gone on for longer. and so, you know, of course there are -- there's war -- it's awful in all respects, but there have to be certain economic or moral rules of engagement or that can happen. >> the objective of my lai was what. >> the objective of my lai was to destroy the village. >> how many civilians died? >> several hundred, at least 500. >> earlier point of the caller, what was happening on the home front. more congressional oversight in 1968. how significant were the
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fullbright hearings in washington? >> every step was significant. you have to understand that in 1968 the war lasted for another seven years. but in terms of the turning point in terms of congressional approval over the next two or three years it changed the war considerably. >> to finish this thought. i don't know the exact number of people who were killed at my lai, whatever it was it was atrocious. we recognize that. this is the most important point i hope i can make today. we recognize that in our legal system, in our system of morality. we declare this as an aberration. we still condemn it. three weeks before my lai, communist cadre in way lined up about 2,000 vietnamese and killed them because they were connected to the south vietnamese government. it was a part of their policy.
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we can't seem to get that into the history. i can accept -- you can see the same thing -- >> we're responsible for ourselves, basically, is all. >> no. when we're talking about -- you know, when we're allowing one side to sort of cleanse their history, and giving, you know, film footage that basically was their propaganda footage that's mixed into our documentaries, and when we don't point this out it just seems like we were the evil source and that was all that was going on there. and i accept that there is a different system in vietnam that i would liked to have seen. i worked very hard with it. i brought companies in vietnam in the 1990s. we need to have an honest discussion about our history. >> jensen is next from bedford, new hampshire. go ahead, please. >> caller: oh, thank you very much for taking my call. first, senator webb, thank you for your service, both in the service and afterwards in
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congress. in the government. i was at west point from '68 to '72. and a classmate of mine, andy kriponevich wrote a book in retrospect. he had a couple theses. one was that in large part the general staff wanted to run the war on the same motto that the european front was fought in world war ii. and that there were some pilot projects where what we called the ink block approach of securing an area, providing 24-hour protection through the indigenous forces as well as our military, and then gradually expanding those so that people would see the benefits of peace and also of a change of
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government. but those projects, even though they had successes, because of level priorities. also, senator webb, i do believe that if you had run as a republican, i'd be traeaddressi you as president webb. and lastly, i felt during vietnam that people protested too much. in retrospect, i have different feelings about that. and i now feel that because people don't have skin in the game, don't have family at risk, that people don't protest enough. and that if we still had the draft and if people still -- if services -- if military service was more widespread, we'd have different policies today in terms of iraq, afghanistan and elsewhere. thank you very much. >> jensen, thank you from new hampshire. >> those are excellent points.
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one thing that i went through when my son was in iraq, you know, it's one thing to go and fight in a war. it's another thing to have your kid or your spouse over there. it's a totally different feeling. i used to say that if one-third of the congress had family members or close -- people they're close to at risk they would wake up every morning and wonder if your son is alive, you have a totally different feeling how the use of force is made in the country. there's absolutely nothing that this gentleman just said that i would disagree with other than that i'm not sure i would have won as a republican. >> i have a couple points there. >> certainly. >> i think that the draft fueled the fire of the anti-war movement because it lends the self-interest aspect to the idealism. and every young man of my age was debating what they would do if they were drafted if they
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opposed the war, and so were their girlfriends and their parents. so it created that atmosphere that led to it. the second point is that i agree completely with him that you can't protest enough. dissent is the life blood of american democracy. >> i want to put on the table, this is a photograph, an associated press photo from eddy adams, and it is called in the "washington post" a turning point in the war, what we're looking at, it is an iconic photograph from 1968, february of that year, a south vietnamese brigadier general shooting a vietkong enlisted soldier. >> capturing the moment of death like that is -- has a power beyond the reality of what was happening in terms of those two
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people. and i think that just like the nightly broadcasts in vietnam, which were showing much more than you ever saw in iraq in terms of the brutality of war affects people in a more visceral way. >> senator webb, would you agree, a grisly photo of a saigon execution 50 years ago that shocked the world and helped end the war. agree or disagree? >> i would say first of all the facts of that -- i knew eddy adams. he's passed away. he was a friend of mine. he did the photography on a number of journalistic stories i did for parade magazine, and he also was a marine in korea. the facts of that story was the individual who was shot had just killed family members of people, you know, exactly what we're talking about in terms of just killing people. and i'm not sure he was a general, i know he was a police chief. maybe he was a general. but eddy adams said to me, and i've written about this, that
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when he received an award for that photograph, i think, by the dutch press organization. and when they read this sort of comment about his picture he cried because that was -- that was not the intention of taking a photograph like that. he was a professional photographer. >> and the cut line describes him as the south vietnamese brigadier general and the chief of national police. >> he was the brigadier general in the national police. >> back to your phone calls, athens, ohio, chester. >> caller: yes, in reference to that photo, that police chief had killed several people in the village. he was a terrorist, what he was. he deserved to be shot. my point is -- >> chester, stay on the line for a moment. you knew eddy adams, did he have a sense this was about to happen?
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>> eddy adams was a great photographer. i think he saw an event and just started snapping and that photograph came out. the gentleman makes an excellent point. that's exactly one of the points i've been trying to make during this. >> chester, thanks. i didn't mean to cut you off. >> caller: my point is you're talking about the protests, and i think we should be allowed to protest. you have to be careful with the protest the because a lot of protesting going on back then, that foreign policy controlled what we did over there. by protesting all this, it handcuffed our troops. we couldn't go to cambodia. they stayed over there and used it as a buffer and then handcuffed us. i think you need to be careful when you talk about protesting. i don't think i'll ever forget those people, what they did, thank you. >> i don't think the protests handcuffed the policy, i think it was the policy that handcuffed the policy. >> let's go to bonnie who's joining us next from bellevue, washington.
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go ahead, please. >> caller: hello? >> go ahead, bonnie, you're next. >> caller: oh, okay. i'm a wife of a vietnam veteran, and of course the war affected us at home as equally as those, in a different way than those serving abroad. the question -- the point i wanted to make was that in 1968 not only were the protests going on, we haven't gotten from april, may, june of that year when we had my husband and i were 1964 graduates of high school, 1968 graduates of college. i don't believe that most people were volunteers. i think my husband was a volunteer, only because he was going to be drafted in three months. so he walked in and volunteered because he wanted to choose the time to go. he felt he had no choice.
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most of our class -- we had many who passed away, who were killed, ptsd, extreme cases of that from the class of '64 and the class of '68. '68, when my husband was in training, we had martin luther king killed, bobby kennedy killed. we had riots. it was a very tumultuous, unsettling, unhappy time. >> bonnie, thank you. i want to jump in and remind you we're going to focus next week on those political events. but thank you for adding that to the conversation. and jim webb, did you want to respond? >> yes. first of all, i want to thank you and your husband and your
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friends for what they did during that period, and for him having stepped forward and served. and it was difficult for a lot of people making those decisions. no doubt about that. i remember, you know, i know you're going to talk about it in your next segment, but now just in the months leading up before i graduated from the naval academy in 1968 martin luther king was killed on april the 7th. >> 4th. >> was it the 4th? and then robert kennedy was killed the night before we graduated on june the 5th, killed at 2:00 in the morning and then it was a tremendous amount of turmoil in the country. you made a point, thing ought to be put on the table that is as a family member of people who serve i grew up in the military. there was one point when i was young my dad was gone for 3 1/2 years. he was able to come back for visits, but he was stationed
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overseas. my mom was 24 years old with four kids and living in a town where there was no support. now we've got these great support structures for our military people. but the price that families pay and the sacrifices that they make we don't often put into the formula. so thank you very much. >> you had both studied this conflict, this war, probably more than anyone else. going back to 1968 was there a path to victory for the u.s.? >> i think we'll disagree about this. i think not. i think that no matter what we had done in the end it wasn't going to be enough. i think fighting on someone else's turf like that is an impossible task and that there was -- it depends how you define victory. if you define it as a stalemate like korea, then what happens that could have lasted. but i don't think the american public had the patience for it.
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>> i think that with the growth of the south vietnamese military leaders, there was -- and it depends on what your objective would have been by 1968 as opposed to 1963, let's say, when there were a total different set of circumstances. but i do believe if we had lived up to our obligations, that we would have been able to have had -- call it a stalemate, but, you know, we don't think -- the chinese think in hundreds of years, we think in terms of months and election cycles. but, you know, i think we discredit what the younger south vietnamese leaders brought to the table and we shouldn't forget the way this war ended in 1975 when we really pulled the plug on them and left them hanging. i got a lot of friends who were out there who ended up in education camps when they were down to two artillery rounds.
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i used to fire 600 a day when i was a company commander. >> having talked to my brother who served two tours of duty in vietnam, has it left a scar on that generation? >> oh, absolutely. it's left a scar on this country, for all of these decades, yes. >> and what about in vietnam? >> less so. vietnam is the youngest country in the world. so the vast majority of the people there consider the american war of aggression, as they call it, a speed bump in their history. >> well, because when the communists took over, they -- you know, there's only one thing that's really taught. and you have the vietnamese-americans over here, 2 million american-vietnamese -- or vietnamese-american, americans of vietnamese descent.
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that is a scar that has to be healed. if you're a veteran in vietnam, you're not a veteran, no veteran status. that's one thing i started working on in the '90s. >> you have no veteran status. like the confederate army after the civil war. states rights got so big then. you're not recognized as a veteran, getting no medical care, those sorts of things. and the cemeteries for the south vietnamese were allowed to fall apart, a big cemetery outside of saigon where they put the word traitor over the cemetery where thousands of south vietnamese soldiers who had been killed. and that needs to be healed. we did this in this country after the civil war. took a long time. but we did it. there's a confederate memorial
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in the arlington national cemetery, put in there in 1912. and i have friends from the hanoi government, here's how we make peace, i take them there. we bring people together. and that's the one thing -- >> they're still breaking up again, the confederate issue. >> oh, yeah, we could do a whole show on that. >> that's another topic for american history tv. we're talking with james webb and davidm maraniss. >> caller: good morning, gentlemen, i find the conversation a little scary. i'd like to focus my remarks to the senator who i do believe falls in the category of those who experienced things, but forget the lessons they're supposed to learn from them.
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seat naum w vietnam was a terrible war. we should have never been there. most of the people in the field were people that were drafted into the service and most of those people came back with wounds that haven't been healed, and probably can never be healed. my personal experience was i went over to vietnam, volunteering, okay. after my experience volunteering, i realized that i was doing the wrong thing, and most of the people around me was realizing the same thing. so i came back and i wasn't expecting a thank you for your service, and i hope you, senator, don't say that to me. i came over here realizing i made a mistake. i was wondering what i could do about it. so i started on a quest, basically, of trying to figure out what the truth is. what's really going on. i was a seeker, i guess. i found out now that most people in this country never sought nothing, they forgot something, the wound that you were just talking about has definitely healed and sometimes people's
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wounds that heal, they forget the pain. but the pain that we've had from those wounds have been torn open by the way we are conducting ourselves in this world today. and sir, we are supporting the hawkish attitudes that this program sort of infers is most dissettling. and i hope americans aren't buying into it. >> let me just give you some thoughts on that. first of all, in america, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. and have their own reactions to things that they went through. i've spent most of my life looking at this issue, the issue of service and what this war was all about. i've spent time in vietnam looking at it. i've worked on the veterans committee. i represented an individual who was wrongly convicted of homicide inside vietnam for six years, pro bono. and i think there's room for a
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lot of different opinions. but if you look at the -- sorry to say this to you, but i'm going to say it again, if you look at the polling data of the people who served in vietnam, 91% are glad they served their country. 9% are not. 74% said they enjoyed their time in the military, to some extent. and two out of three said they would do it again. so there are people who don't agree with that. and however you look at the views that i've been talking about today with respect to vietnam, i think you should take some time and look at the views that i've had on other different foreign policy situations in this country. i was the first, i think, major figure to say that the invasion of iraq was going to be a strategic blunder five months before the war, editorial for the "washington post," although my family does have a tradition of service and my son fought in
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iraq. so we're a big country. we're 300 million people. we have a lot of different viewpoints. and as david said, i think dissent and debate is a very healthy thing. so i appreciate what you said. >> i'm going to go back to the my lai massacre. here's an interview with some of the veterans involved in the operation that led to so many deaths. here's an excerpt. >> we spoke to five of the american soldiers who were at my lai on march 16, 1968. they were jamesbergfeld of new york. gary of california, gary krozlee of del rio, texas. simpson of mississippi and michael barnheart of florida. >> this is a free for all, shoot
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anything you want. >> said shoot everything, man, women, children, the whole bit, everything that could aid the cv, every living thing. that was the order. >> well, this is something a soldier has to do is to take orders and carry them out. >> they ran around yelling kill, kill, kill, to get it in your heads, get the feeling you can do it. >> that morning about 7:00 we boarded the choppers and we went into the village. when we got off the chopper we started shooting. >> there were infants, in fact, it makes you think that even if they were considered beasts, that you would think that maybe a water buffalo calf or a little piglet would fare better than a child. >> well, they figured the babies when they grew up will be beasts anyway, so wlie give them an opportunity to grow up? >> how did the guys look? >> they looked like they were having a good time. >> did you see anyone not? >> no, i think everybody -- just about everybody was busy.
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>> what do you think a war crime? >> what do i consider a war crime? i consider it a war crime of being there, it's the idea of being there. >> again, david maraniss, you brought this up earlier, infants, women, children, teenagers, civilians. >> lieutenant william kelly, the commander responsible for this massacre, was brought to justice through that. but people tend to forget that there were -- that the u. thompson, the american soldier who intervened received hate mail from all over the country. kelly got a lot of support. it was a divisive argument after this point. the last point of the young man saying the war crime was being there, interesting. >> james webb, shoot anything that moves. you talk about saluting and following orders, but at what point do you say we can't do
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this? >> that should not have happened, clearly. as i say, we, as a society understand that legally and morally as opposed to some things that happened on the other side. in those kind of situations, also, something should be said. that is the leaders should be held accountable. i represented this individual -- an african-american at 18 years old, 11 days in vietnam, and the squad leader said shoot, and he shot, and the person who gave the order had civilian counsel from the states and got off. and my guy had military counsel, and he got convicted of murder. i represented him for six years. he killed himself halfway through it and three years later i cleared his name. the whole question then was he's 18 years old, he's, you know, category 3b enlistee. a man says shoot, he'd never been told when you're not supposed to obey an order.
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that's the only thing i would say abo that. uncalled for. >> in my opinion that goes to the top, goes up to the president of the united states. >> terry, you've got the last -- actually john, joining us from chicago. you get the last word. go ahead, john. >> caller: great conversation, guys. wish we had three more hours. grew up with the fella that got the medal of honor named harvey, want to say the names out loud so america hears them. i ran through boot camp with a fella named ameal owe dela garza. my wife's first cousin was on the hill top with the fella named kenny cays from southern illinois got the medal of honor. i got survivor's blessing, i was smart enough to talk three of my grammar school buddies into joining the marine corps. we were there in '70, come back all our fingers and toes, we got
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survivor's blessing. you guys talk about gratitude, it's been wonderful to see kind of both ends of the seesaw with both of you guys talking. dave, i go to pts meetings with the fella that served in the unit you write about in your book. what a wonderful conversation. talk about grace and gratitude, you guys, and jim, we need you back in politics. semper fi, fellas. >> semper fi. >> last comment? >> i like to think of all of the 61 men who were killed in this battle. and the reminder that wars don't end when the battles end. >> senator jim webb. >> i think this is a great conversation. this is what america's all about. >> and the legacy and the lessons today, what are they? >> of the vietnam war? when i think of the vietnam war,
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first of all, i can't help but think about the omission in our conversation is the south vietnamese who were with us and how they were treated after the war. and the greatest mission, i think, for really healing the process is for the -- to reach across and have the vietnamese be together. >> and that will eventually happen, i think. >> and the other side, martin luther king on april 4th, 1967, one year before he was assassinated at riverside church in new york said if america's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy will be vietnam. >> david maraniss, author of a dozen books, including "they marched into sunlight," and marine vettian and former u.s. senator james webb. author of two books.
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thank you both for being with us. >> thank you, thank you. >> c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, sarah cliff from fox.com and the washington examiner's kimberly leonard on the future of u.s. health care and the latest on the affordable care act. later taxpayers for common sense vice president steven ellis looks at the recently passed $1.3 trillion spending bill. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live wednesday morning at 7:00. join the discussion. >> while the senate's out of session for the easter passover recess, it's book tv in primetime, starting wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern authors and books in the environment. charlesman with his book wide ard and prophet. and then the origins of the climate change movement. "green tyranny."
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and manmade causes of earthquakes, her book "quake land," and the rise of sea levels in "the water will come," all that on book tv at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. here on c-span3, it's american history tv. more from our series, 1968, america in turmoil. we'll hear from former nixon white house special assistant and communications director pat buchanan who worked on richard nixon's campaign. and the director of presidential studies, barbara perry. american history tv in primetime, wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. for nearly 20 years in depth on book tv has featured the nation's best known non-fiction writers for live conversations about their books.
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well, this year as a special project we're featuring best-selling fiction writers for our monthly program in depth fiction edition. join us live sunday at noon eastern with walter moseley, down the river unto the sea, "devil in a blue dress," "gone fishen," and "fearless jones." our special series, in depth fiction edition with author walter mosley, sunday live at noon p.m. eastern. sunday night on q&a, high school students from around the country were in washington, d.c. for the annual united states senate youth program. we met with them at the historic may flower hotel where they shared their thoughts about
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government and politics. >> i'm really passionate about daca. it is unfair that 700,000 men, women and children's lives hang in the balance because our congress cannot find a solution. it is not a democratic issue, not a republican issue, it's a human rights movement. >> an issue that's important to me is climate change. the notion that we're the only country in the world gnat paris climate accord is a travesty. every other country in the world has recognized -- and currently we have not stayed on course. >> we are the richest nation in the world yet we have citizens who go bankrupt trying to cover basic health care costs, and i think that is an outrage, and that we should be ashamed. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> 50 years ago on march 16th, 1968 u.s. army soldiers killed between 300 and 500 unarmed ve
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vietnamese citizens in my lai. there was a published account of the my lai story. up next, interviews with my lai veterans, the 1970 academy award winning 22-minute documentary by independent director joseph strick recounts the massacre from some who were there. some viewers may find this disturbing. >> we spoke to five of the american soldiers who were at my lai on march 16, 19

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