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Apr-25-2007 17:54printcomments

American Military Ego Will Lead to Problems As We Replace Iraq and Afghanistan's Army's AK-47 with the M-16

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine and veteran journalist who recently covered the war in Afghanistan for and Oregon FOX-12.

Afghan soldier with AK-47
Afghanistan Army soldier with his AK-47
All photos by: Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Replacing the Iraq and Afghanistan military's Russian AK-47 assault rifle with the American M-16 is a bad idea. There are many reasons, and many people in the combat theatre believe the decision is going to lead to an excessive number of needless deaths.

I fear a sad outcome like in Vietnam. American ego wins again, it seems we try to live off it these days.

I am going to protect my sources on this story. Some are the soldiers and marines that I spent time around while covering the war in Afghanistan last winter. They are very, very concerned about the weapon replacement program. That is fair, because when you examine the basic facts, the program makes no sense at all.

I hope the comment crowd takes this one on, because there will be much to add to the background of the M-16 that led us to this point, and I have only been there for some of it.

First, we have to take a look at history. I can speak clearly about Afghanistan, but what I share about Iraq is information I have gleaned from other sources because I haven't been there, as of yet anyway.

For many years, in the latter half of the 20th Century, Afghanistan was a fairly quiet country that existed under Communist/Soviet rule. The Islamic culture of Afghanistan was repressed during these Soviet years and by the late 1970's, after the cultural revolution of the west had run much of its course, it was Afghanistan's turn. The people there tell me that they were fed up with a Communist system that had little respect for the beliefs of Islam.

After massing huge amounts of small arms, artillery, tanks, jet fighters, helicopters and other aircraft from the Soviets, the Afghan government started losing interest in their Soviet relationship.

This was under the rule of Hafizullah Amin, the second President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

According to Wikipedia, Amin tried to broaden his internal base of support and to bring the financial interest of Pakistan and the United States into Afghan security. During the 104 days of President Amin's rule, except for one failed military rebellion, no major uprising took place.

Then, on December 27th, 1979, his political opponents of a rival faction killed him, and Babrak Karmal became Afghanistan's President. It was passed off as a coup by a "rival faction" but people throughout Afghanistan believe it was nothing but a Soviet plot.

Female officer from the Afghan National Army learning to fire the AK-47 assault rifle

Seeing their interests and world prestige threatened, the Soviets struck Afghanistan in 1979.

The Soviets then merged with the existing Afghan Army of the time of the invasion to fight the "insurgents" who are known as the Mujahadeen. The Mujahadeen were backed by U.S. money, they were, literally, the rebels.

It took ten years for the Mujahadeen to break the back of the Soviets who pulled out in late 1989, defeated. Interestingly, I learned that many Soviets who did not die in combat died of diseases that they acquired primarily from the lack of hygiene in Soviet cooking. Cooks rarely washed their hands, soldiers all got hepatitis and many died from it.

That lack of hygiene is really at the base of my entire point. The Russians do not live like Americans by and large, and they do not design their military equipment along the same lines.

Many Russians have lived a harsh life, but when it comes to invaders like Napoleon and Hitler, the Russians know how to win. That is because throughout much recent history, they have always worked at a more practical level in war. Remove the American corporate structure with dozens of hands in each pie and you start to imagine why the Russian gear is so different.

It may not look as good, it may not have as much of a finished appearance, but Soviet tools were made to work well and to last.

I spent time in Afghanistan among Mongolian soldiers who all carry the AK-47 as their standard issue weapon. Of my three friends' rifles, they were stamped, "1964", "1965" and "1966." There is no order to the numbers, but those rifles still in use today had been front line military issue for over forty years when I first saw them. Can there be a bigger statement about a tool's effectiveness?

Mongolian soldiers in Afghanistan carry the AK-47

The Russians have to make things that work. They do not have the luxury of bringing their contractor friends in to cut deals at the Kremlin like American financiers do in Washington.

For example, all Russian MiG jet fighters take off and land from dirt airfields. That could be extremely important in a WWIII scenario, which is what the planes were really built for when you think about it. They made simple changes from western planes and came up with one jet fighter after another that totally rivaled anything the boys at McDonnell Douglas or Lockheed-Martin could crank out.

With the exception of the Harrier, which is an attack jet that lifts straight up like a helicopter, Americans not have a single jet fighter or attack plane that can take operate from dirt runways.

And the Harrier was designed by the British.

Another interesting note is that some Russian weapons have been designed over the years with a slightly larger caliber than their western counterparts.

The result? They can fire their ammo or ours. We can only fire ours.

One more analogy is the American Astronaut and the Russian Cosmonaut the who were having a conversation. The American who graduated from the best schools shows his Russian friend his new "gas charged space pen" that writes upside down. He tells the Russian "that it costs millions to develop."

The Russian looks at him and simply says, "We use pencils."

Afghan and Iraqi troops have carried the Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle and its variant designs for years. They know how to use them for the most part and they understand them.

Like the jets, and the pen and pencil analogy, the same point holds true. The AK is an extremely reliable weapon, it has fewer parts than the M-16, and our allies in these countries already know how to use them, clean them and take care of them. How well? Not well at all. In fact, weapon care and maintenance in the Afghan National Army is the butt of jokes with the U.S. military.

Afghan soldier and his AK-47

The AK-47 is simple to operate in comparison to the American Mattel/Colt M-16.

Some Afghans keep their weapons impeccably clean, I don't mean to imply that they don't, but these guys are running less than a 20% literacy rate in their army. It isn't their fault as much as it is fault of the Soviets and Taliban; the Afghans did not ask for their nation to be bitterly embroiled in war for the last thirty years, but there is no changing it. They barely understand how to take care of what they already have.

So, while all types of issues already exist in training and in equipping the soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq, our leaders in their infinite wisdom, have now decided to take away their relatively simple, accurate and reliable AK-47's and replace them with the weapon the Americans implemented during the Vietnam War, Mattel Magic, the M-16.

I get angry about the things we find ourselves arguing about in this country. I am also, admittedly, highly confused about the direction of the conflicts overseas, but this article is not about that. It is about common sense, or as the case may be, a profound lack of it. I am not writing this as a condemnation or stamp of approval toward policy. It is about foreign soldiers having an effective tool taken away and replaced by one that has cost many soldiers who used it their lives.

While we pay $3.20 for a gallon of regular gasoline.

Who benefits from this? It certainly is not the foreign soldiers or the American taxpayer.

Whatever happened to the common sense thought, "if it works, don't fix it"?

For those who say we aren't recreating the problems of Vietnam:

The feeling in the combat zone is that the M-16 decision is being driven by a simple phenomenon: American ego. It is a flagrant act of highly accomplished corporate America with its relationship to the current U.S. administration. It might also be an attempt at redemption.

When the M-16 was introduced to the war effort in Vietnam, it largely failed. What fired well in the Southern California desert did not endure the tropics of Vietnam.

An AK-47 can be immersed in water and it will still fire.

American s with the M4 patrol a bombed out building in Kabul, Afghanistan

An M-16 has extremely precision parts and I have been told by more than one reliable source, that it is very easy to lose one of those parts when you are trying to make the weapon fire in combat. Why would you repair or clean the rifle in combat in the first place? Because they jam too much. They misfire, they jam the shells.

This killed many Americans in Vietnam, and one particular friend of mine who I know will be among the first to read this article, even though he is somewhere on the other side of the world today, was among the marines that had to pick up dead comrades during the Vietnam War because their M-16's jammed.

To say the least, it never sat well with him. I don't think he and his friends felt very supported by the people back home and we hear this often about the Vietnam War.

Hippies and anti-war protesters take the brunt of the credit for affecting the war's lack of popularity, change of course and eventual end. Many were completely unsupportive of the combat soldier's plight and some harassed men returning home from combat. But, with the exception of Jane Fonda, I have never heard a story about a war protester getting an American killed in combat.

Conversely, corporate America was able to do it decades ago.

"We were going in to pick up dead marines from 1/9 and when we got there, every one of them had their M-16's in various states of disassembly, trying to make them fire."

My friend tears up when he tells this story. It was near Hill 881 during the time of the siege at Khe Sahn. As I write this article, I am studying a newspaper story from the Westminster, California Independent Review from October, 1967, titled "Marine Complains Rifle is 'Not Worth a Damn'."

My friend's dad gave a damn, and he called his Congressman as well as the area newspapers, resulting in my friend's quotes about the M-16 being widely read at the time. I understand they didn't sit well with the powers to be.

"There are 20 people in our platoon. Out of all of them only five weapons worked and mine wasn't one of them."

When the M-16 was introduced in 1967, replacing the heavier M-14, it didn't even include an option for unjamming a round. If the weapon is not sparkling clean, which is a hard state to reach in a Vietnam combat zone I am told, the odds that it will jam were very high.

In 1967, Wallace Greene, the Marine Commandant, and the commander of the 3rd Division, Lt. General Lewis M. Walt, labeled the controversial weapon "the finest ever issued to U.S. troops, particularly for our troops in Vietnam."

Yet my friend, who the article is about, was not satisfied. "Assurances have no value whatsoever if the weapon doesn't fire when you need it."

He says the official excuse at the time, placed squarely on the combat man's back, was a lack of proper cleanliness and maintenance.

Anyone who has been around the Marine Corps knows that the infantry in particular, takes their job very seriously.

"I'm also not convinced that these men, well trained as they are and full well knowing that their life depends on the operation of the weapon, would be negligent with their maintenance."

My friend was 18-years old when he wrote those words, the same age I was when I joined the Marines and was issued the follow up weapon, called the M-16 A1. This was the same rifle carried in Vietnam. It has the addition of a "Forward Assist" that was sometimes helpful in unjamming rounds.

After that version and before Desert Storm, the M-16 A2 was issued to the U.S. military. This was essentially the same as the M-16 A1, but it was designed to limit the weapon to "three round bursts" when it is set to automatic.

To those who are not familiar with the M-16, it is a semi-automatic rifle that does have the option of automatic fire, similar to a machine gun. The government decided in the 1980's that it would be more effective if it could only fire three bullets at a time, and most soldiers agree that it helps by preserving ammunition. It's just not quite as cool.

The version most soldiers in combat carry today is called the "M4." This weapon is similar to an M-16 A2, but it has a shorter barrel, a collapsible stock, and a scope.

While I can't speak for all of them, American soldiers and marines that I was around in Afghanistan tend to like their M4's and that is a good sign for our forces, a sign that we have gotten the bugs out and finally developed something soldiers can readily use. Any rifle can jam, but with the highly disciplined American marines and soldiers, the M4's perform surprisingly well.

But American soldiers and marines and sailors and airmen are educated people who can be trained to remember details far better than an army of soldiers who are mostly illiterate, as the case is in Afghanistan.

These brave Afghan men and in some cases, women, are fighting for their lives and for their countries. With the resilient AK-47 Kalashnikov they are somewhat effective, and they have a lot of them. So many in fact, that the Afghan government sometimes destroys them in large numbers in Kabul.

But then maybe they are just preparing for the new American weapons? I was never able to get a straight answer on that, and I asked.

American Ego Transcends

For the Iraqis and Afghans, it will likely be a matter of prestige to carry the weapon our soldiers carry. Everyone I cross paths with in this life is intrigued by what the other guy has, especially when it comes from the U.S.A. The same goes for the Humvees that we have handed over to the native forces in recent months. Back to the literacy factor, I hope I am never in the way of an approaching convoy of Humvees operated by the Afghan National Army, at least until they can read road signs.

For practical purposes, our nation is making a vital mistake by implementing the M-16 in the Afghan and Iraqi Armies, and it will be difficult to go back. The worst part is that when the "good guys" are trying to use a demanding weapon that under the conditions will be challenging at best, they will still be fighting an enemy that carries the robust and forgiving AK-47.

If the AK wasn't better, then I doubt Americans and other Coalition forces would desire to use them in battle, but they do. I went on a combat mission with an American Lieutenant who carried a Soviet RPK, a variant of the AK-47, as his only weapon.

I know he was able to use it for hours in a prolonged firefight with an anti-Coalition force in Afghanistan during one long night, and that they killed many of the enemies who had actually cut the wire on the perimeter of their remote firebase before the battle got underway.

So maybe I'm wrong, I hope so, but when we are strained in every respect, why do we have to give American technology to a third world fighting force that can barely take care of the simple, abundant rifles that they have? It just doesn't make sense.

Salam Alikem, peace be with you.

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Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Godsofchaos January 7, 2008 10:52 am (Pacific time)

"ANY weapon is better than an M-16."Ron Even worse than the matchlock?

Ron January 4, 2008 10:10 am (Pacific time)

The M-16 is just a money-maker for some college twerp. Anyone who believes its a good guns is blind. Its cheap, fragile and worthless. It should have been dumped years ago. ANY weapon is better than an M-16. Never would I carry one in war.

jake November 27, 2007 11:44 am (Pacific time)

m-16s are better for u.s. militry because we keep it clean, the ak is better for them although its accuracy sucks over 100 ft.

GodsofChaos November 5, 2007 4:23 pm (Pacific time)

Is a follow up in the near future? I would like to know if this story has a happy ending.

GodsofChaos October 2, 2007 9:17 am (Pacific time)

The poor M-16.Even though it has been in improved over the years it can't escape its Nam era days.What was failed to be address in this article was the advantages of the M-4. -Its more accurate than the AK-47(even in Nam Charlie had to grab us by the belt because our M-16 own in long range engagements) -M-4 fires a better round even though AK-47 round is bigger it wobblies since the Russians took what was originally a German small caliber assault rifle called a MP-44 and made it to fire bigger rounds. As a result of this makes AK-47 rounds literately lob out of the barrel of the AK.This takes away from accuracy and ballistic,since doesn't have the tight spiral of the M-4, damage. -M-4 is lighter and therefore is not as much of a burden to hold it in a aim down the sight postion , any one who has fired guns aiming down the sight in a standing position for a long period of time knows what I am talking about. -The M-4 has less recoil then the AK-47 and therefore takes less skill to use accurately. This is the reason I like My M-9 over firing a .38 snub nose pistol. -AK-47 only has two advantages over the M-4. 1)It is better close range like 10 meters I.E. point blank range since almost any gun can hit something at 10 meters away so its horrible accuracy and ballistics don't cause it trouble and at point blank range you could kill with a musket loading rifle using a musket ball so ballistics don't really come into play at such close ranges besides who has the bigger caliber and rate of fire. Which AK-47 beats the M-4 in both respects,The M-4 would win rate of fire if it is in full Auto and not burst. 2)AK-47 is most reliable gun in the world but that is because it is one of the simplest guns in the world. Note:so was the Flintlock Musket.So simplicity is not always better. So as long as we train them how to clean their weapons they will actually be better off than they where before.

Albert Marnell May 15, 2007 8:47 pm (Pacific time)

Drucker, I usually agree with Tim King's points of view but not always. You obviously know nothing about him because the last thing he is, is stupid or to use your term a "moron". Just wish that you had Tim's writing skills and ability to work with people plus about a thousand other things.

Tim King May 14, 2007 2:40 pm (Pacific time)

Drucker, I see you are another one of those brave Internet insult tossers, whatever. There is truth to what you say, why don't you ask the Iraqi's what else they want? I addressed in this article the fact that they are all into American things, you make a point that was already addressed with this: "For the Iraqis and Afghans, it will likely be a matter of prestige to carry the weapon our soldiers carry. Everyone I cross paths with in this life is intrigued by what the other guy has, especially when it comes from the U.S.A."

We don't publish purely degrading comments. This is, it is a business. If you come back with more rude, needless insults instead of saying something intelligent, I will ban your IP from the site. Think about it, make sense!

Drucker May 14, 2007 2:34 pm (Pacific time)

The Iraqi's have been begging for M-16's for the last 4 years. Tim King is a moron.

General Westmoron May 3, 2007 9:52 pm (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, I do not debate with cowards. People are starting to catch on and put you on ignore. You don't exist.

Rosenberg May 3, 2007 4:13 pm (Pacific time)

Yeah when these high IQ types cannot debate the issues they tell you to head down the food chain. I sure am impressed Moron. So what's your favorite flavor?

General Westmoron May 3, 2007 11:26 am (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, You are at hinderance to all that is true and good. I am really sorry that some other young man did not survive in your place in that other B.S. conflict. A conflict not to fight communism but to protect the western investments in Saigon...buildings included. You are a criminal and a danger to the flow of free and truthful information. You are doing nothing but monopolizing airtime. No one cares about you or the endless names you use. Enjoy you fantasies and lack of respect for other people which I am just giving back to you. You are not like most others. You are evil and should get the hell out of this country. You wear a veil of Freedom but stand for anything but. You disrespect your fellow countrymen and everything this country used to stand for two hundred years ago. You should hear what Henry Kissinger said about soldiers. Go find out. That should keep you busy for another few hours. You are a dirty traitor.

Rosenberg May 3, 2007 7:26 am (Pacific time)

Westmoron why not go make some signs and march somewhere and declare war on America. Put some action behind youe words. I'm sure plenty of people like you will be happy to embrace your lunacy...

General Westmoron May 2, 2007 8:36 pm (Pacific time)

I watched television almost every night. I do remember the death rolls on the evening news but there was very little coverage especially of suffering civilians. The reason we do not see the detailed horror everynight when it is much more available is that we would have been out of Iraq in two days. They do not show the over hundred thousand dead children and injured children. Shame on America. Shame on the people of America that have allowed and created this for over 4 years. If one of your children breaks a finger you are upset. Can you imagine your child without legs, blind, suffering, screaming until they die. You are the lowest form of people in the world. You are no better than the fourth world. You are not the civilized world. Murderers! Pigs!

Rosenberg May 2, 2007 9:43 am (Pacific time)

If atrocities were "committed on a day to day basis" in Vietnam, the news media would have reported them then. There were news journalists and photographers all over Vietnam. Remember the Vietnam war was the 1st war to be televised? The 1st war that you watched from your living rooms? How soon we forget!

Rosenberg May 2, 2007 9:37 am (Pacific time)

To: Senator John Kerry (D-MA) Upon your return from Vietnam, you betrayed your fellow veterans by accusing them of engaging in horrendous war crimes. Through your post-war activities, and during Senate testimony viewed by the entire nation, you created and nurtured the myth that American soldiers in Vietnam were involved in such crimes on a daily basis, and that such activity was sanctioned by our commanding officers. Specifically, you stated that we: "had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, [and] razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." You continue today to make claims of atrocities for which you have no documentation, no support, and no evidence. You met with North Vietnamese officials in Paris and worked with them in the furtherance of their political and military objectives against the United States. As you now seek to become Commander in Chief of our armed forces, we believe it is incumbent upon you to better explain to the American public your conduct in this matter. Specifically, we ask you to: Acknowledge to the American public that you did not personally witness any such atrocities or, in the alternative, cite such examples and then provide an explanation of what actions you took relative to these alleged war crimes. Explain to the American public the nature and extent of war crimes in which you participated. Explain to the American public your justification for contacting and working in conjunction with a foreign government then at war with the United States. Provide an acknowledgment and apology to the American veterans for your all encompassing accusations, and more specifically to our POWs for any extensions of their internment caused by your actions. Personally respond factually to the challenges made against your service in Vietnam by some 275 men who served with you. Senator Kerry, the vast majority of the men who served with you, and the entire chain of command, have refuted your representations of your conduct in Vietnam. To date, you have repeatedly refused to respond to these statements, electing instead to have professional political operatives flood the media with efforts to discredit these former comrades. We want to hear from you. We the undersigned consider your response on these five points to be critical to this nation's decision to entrust our military forces to you. If you betrayed us once, we need to be assured that you will not do it again. It is time for you to set the record straight.

Rosenberg May 2, 2007 8:06 am (Pacific time)

I am quite proud of my family name and ethnic heritage, and for someone to suggest anti-Semite statements or feelings from me is beyond absurd, actually quite laughable. Marnell, at least you didn't write about the Federal Reserve...congrats! As far as people changing their name when they immigrated here, sure they did, and for a number of reasons. For example a whole bunch of Irish did also, but this has nothing to do with Kerry. He is of horrible character, and the vast majority of combat veterans (including current ones) feel the same. The race card and the anti-Semite card is always played by those who cannot debate with substantive facts, would you not agree HR?

Hank Rurk May 1, 2007 3:43 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Waste of time, space, words and commonsense to carry this one any further. Thanks for kind patience of others, and appreciate your forebearance. Right of free speech also demands responsibility, often impossible when walled-in via prejudice and psychological patterns provoved by violent experience.

Albert Marnell May 1, 2007 12:52 pm (Pacific time)

Rose, Many people change or had their names changed automatically when they came to Ellis Island. You are just confirming that you want to judge people by their bloodlines. Some people changed their names to prevent discrimination or that they wanted to sound more of what they perceived to be typically American. You again show how far out there you are. I do not believe that you are Jewish because you use the handle Rosenberg. Your comments have been consistently anti-Semitic. I would be surprised if your backround is not from the British Isles or Germany and your name isn't Smith, O'Brien or Hasselbach.

Rosenberg May 1, 2007 12:39 pm (Pacific time)

That quote looks right HR. So what? Kerry-Kohn is a traitor! He still is, but more arrogant now. Ask his secret service guards from 2004! His statements about some kind of systemic war crimes being committed by my "BROTHERS" was a bald-faced lie! This liar, who schemed to leave Vietnam after just 4 months. You think he was bonded with his men? He literally had no knowledge nor experience about what was happening in Vietnam, but he spoke his lies and so when he is challennged, you don't like it? He continues to show ongoing contempt for our military now with his constant de-meaning statements. HR, maybe you have another problem with me shining the light on his pathetic character, I think I now know, and will do some research. Bottom line HR, show me where that quote is not supported by news can't! America really dodged a bullet 11/2004. Now if we can hang on till we get rid of that idiot Bush, maybe we can get a real conservative sworn in office in 2009. Duncan Hunter would be my pick. His son, a captain in the Marines, is about to do his 3rd tour in Iraq... During this time of war, we must have a conservative in office.

Hank Ruark May 1, 2007 11:46 am (Pacific time)

To all: Know a bit about Bsn-area since broke-in there at United Press...and knew many familles changing names for pristine reasons rather than as you insist on describing it. Re illumination of any candidate,"conservative" or other, surely possible to do so in proper form, proper channels...which this was NOT, openly used for obvious cheap-shot/vilify approach, thus demeaning open/honest discussion set up by Tim. SO how explain yr repeated racial/religious/ethnic name-emphasis other than as described here ? IF not intentional, why even raise the issue so openly ?

Hank Ruark May 1, 2007 11:33 am (Pacific time)

To all: Name-reference as used by Rosy is symptomatic of a certain kind of approach to others, not needing spell-out here. Mine own from Ireland was long ago O'Ruark; any number of older-American families have changed name. BUT reference here was not so innocent nor unintended, for my will simply leave its impact open to all, for their own denomination, right along with that telling reference to "congress" shown in quote where allathis began. Any thinking person can see from quote how easy to avoid entire issue thus opened, while still spending strong time and information to teach others about point of Tim's fine piece.

Hank Ruark May 1, 2007 10:57 am (Pacific time)

"If you consider that the North Vietnamese in interviews after we left Vietnam said that the protestors (especially people like John Kerry-Kohn, Fonda, the congress, etc.) emboldened them to continue fighting , even after TET/1968 when they suffered a major defeat (accounting for over 90% of the casualties!), obviously this contributed to more American casualties. In addition our POW's when returned home after the war had told how the North Vietnamese played back tape-recordings of the traitorous lies by Kerry-Kohn and those of his ilk, and that it emboldened them to continue torturing our people, certainly contributing to more deaths."

Rosenberg May 1, 2007 8:41 am (Pacific time)

HR obviously there are many misguided people out there when it comes to John Kerry-Kohn. Since his family name is Kohn, then why did they change it to Kerry? Is it because they were trying to hide something about their family's past? Maybe something to do with 1917 Russia and the tens of millions (10's of millions!!) killed there. Were they simply trying to pass as Irish catholic by living in an area with a highly concentrated Irish Catholic population? There are a lot of people who have done and still do the same thing as the Kerry-Kohn family did just in the Boston area. So why does pointing that out upset you HR? What's the big deal? Someone who is a U.S. Senator, and still a possible presidential candidate and you have a problem with shining light on him? Did you get all upset when they did that exposure to conservative candidates?

Hank Ruark May 1, 2007 5:43 am (Pacific time)

Rosy: You achieved irreversible symptomatic status for me when you injected name "Kohn" into dialog re Kerry with no possible reason other than to cast aspersion. Izzy Stone,famous editor- journalist, nailed U.S.Sect'y of State for same maneuver, with obviously same purpose. Nothing in dialog demanded that action; your use reflects attitude, understandings and beliefs directly opposed to what you carefully build-up otherwise. Finale here; ID-or move on and out...

Rosenberg May 1, 2007 12:29 am (Pacific time)

HR maybe you can give us some insight? I realize this a bit off topic, but I'm imitating Wahoo (gee who can that be?), we're trying to decide what the worlds best invention was? We are considering the "wheel", the "heart transplant technology" and my nomination, the "thermos". The latter keeps things cool in the hot summer, and hot during the cold winter, how do it know?

wahoo news update; April 30, 2007 7:08 pm (Pacific time)

end of first overtime, slight progress to the port side though countered and held in check in the true meaning of resourcefulness, as Rosenberg tossed in a warm puck from a secret bucket,(a clever slight of hand not seen by the officials, and to his credit sort of, not an altogether "illegal" move), gaining time as it bounced consistantly to the far right of the arena with seemingly a mind of it's own thruout OT,(embedded intel-chip?,magnetic implanted vulcanized Chinese NHL knock-offs? who can know these things?),and coupled with suspicious gratitude motivation,(almost unreasonably sensitive by prior analytic comparison), in complimenting the editorial staff,(I may be wrong!),have pinned the readership on the edge of their seats as the horn sounded, ending at he first overtime period, marked by said resourcfulness but lacking in tactical gains for either of several schools of thought. more later, wahoo news! out.

Rosenberg April 30, 2007 6:16 pm (Pacific time)

HR thank you so much for sharing your thought's and analysis; it mean a lot to me, and in a way makes me feel somewhat gifted in my ability to extrapolate.

Hank Ruark April 30, 2007 2:19 pm (Pacific time)

Rosy et al: YOU injected the political "bad"-inage, Rosy...while Tim opened discussion and stuck to theme. Re "leftist" leaning or willingness to engage, yrs indicates poor levels of judgment on both. Invitation still open if you now seek further elucidation... Here's Tim, in decent-answer mode, stating the truthful situation precisely: "We just have much to think about as it compares to today's situation. While I have plenty to say and could in all fairness sometimes be called a leftist or the dead opposite, I do not see how that person draws a leftist conclusion from this article, it is not about politics, it is about soldiers and potentially bad military decisions."

Tim King April 30, 2007 12:59 pm (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, I care about all of you more than I can even express, Osotan can attest to that. I missed that conflict by a few years but served with many who were there. I am very, very proud of the contribution and the honor. It is a far bigger subject than the bad things. We just have much to think about as it compares to today's situation. While I have plenty to say and could in all fairness sometimes be called a leftist or the dead opposite, I do not see how that person draws a leftist conclusion from this article, it is not about politics, it is about soldiers and potentially bad military decisions.

Tim King April 30, 2007 12:54 pm (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, that would be great. I am normally fairly quiet about that because as a subject it is potentially unfair to the good people in that region of the country, so if some good information comes of it that would be fantastic, regardless of what it concludes.

Rosenberg April 30, 2007 12:52 pm (Pacific time)

Tim regarding the approximate 230 "fragging" incidents that happened in Vietnam during the time we were over there, maybe if you put it in context, it may not seem all that terribe, but not acceptable no matter what. If you divide the 230 by the approximate ten years we were there you get 23 per year for this homicide rate. That would work out to around 4 to 5 per 100,000. Washington D.C.'s rate is over 50 per 100,000 and here in Oregon it's around 6 per 100,000. So no doubt one was less likely to be a victim of a homicide in a combat zone with people walking around with automatic weapons (and for some, a bunch of drug-crazed armed lunatics) than literally any urban area's in the states, and even in the entire state of Oregon, which has a pretty low homicide rate. Vietnam veterans were all in all, the best!

Rosenberg April 30, 2007 12:42 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, re: your post on 4/27/07 @10:56 a.m. dealing with your thesis on so-called southern white racist's attacking South Vietnamese. I have been communicating with a number of people throughout the country and we may have an idea that might help you in getting some information if you want. Let me know...

Rosenberg April 30, 2007 12:36 pm (Pacific time)

Appears the subject matter has left the grossly uninformed in the dust, ergo, change subjects, a typical lefty tactic that always fails.

Resistancebilly April 30, 2007 7:57 am (Pacific time)

"American Military Ego Will Lead to Problems" The title says it all.

Hank Ruark April 30, 2007 7:22 am (Pacific time)

To all: NO Senseo yet, so forgive missed points !! Just re-read every word above, now stand firm on points-made and offer content-analysis for anyone ID-ing self to Editor. That's perhaps 8-hr. effort, but underway anyhow for future use in publication-coming.

Hank Ruark April 30, 2007 7:02 am (Pacific time)

To all: Clarity demands point-out of rapid departure from main point of Tim's straight-stuff, to the political-attack style noted often in such s...tuff. Other characteristics also noted; "content analysis" can prove up points I made, if time available to do so...

Hank Ruark April 30, 2007 6:56 am (Pacific time)

SLM et al: "Old stuff" in propagnda work is to get other-side so tangled in own-words and argument that real objective is hidden and preserved. Reagan-era saw start of long-term, well-funded effort for obfuscation as political weapon. Do you really believe it is now long-gone ? If so, I have small book from 1st grade for you... Best test remains "put up or shut up" direct; no takers for long time...

Kilgore Trout,departed; April 30, 2007 12:15 am (Pacific time)

doesn't Howard Zinn publish in his own name?,if alleged inference has merit..,it may have serious implications.

S. LaMarche; April 30, 2007 12:05 am (Pacific time)

Rosenberg; well?, the jury is still out as it should be in a democracy, but a serious breach has been brought to light and one is piqued to inquire, are you or are you not disengenuous?. our readership deserve integrity! Show your hand sir! I insist!, or dialogue suffers discredit, the puck's in your end of the rink!

Albert Marnell April 29, 2007 11:07 pm (Pacific time)

S.LaMarche, Bingo! You figured it out too. A low level vehicle of disruption takes time to spot. Don't be hard on yourself. Be proud!

S.LaMarche; April 29, 2007 7:21 pm (Pacific time)

Henry, you mean Rosenberg isn't Rosenberg?, I've been spilling my guts to a misnomre? Tell me it isn't so! Subterfuge?,Deception?, Conspirationally agended?, this all started with "Let Freedom Ring", said without malice, even though I like Kool Aid! What have I let myself in for?, my God!, I'm stunned beyond words! Is counsiling available? Mr. Royko spins!

Hank Ruark April 29, 2007 5:45 pm (Pacific time)

Rosy et al: Yrs makes my point re slicing off part of problem, thus seeming to present possibility of solution. Yrs avoids complexities by arbitrary decision to avoid essential component (Iraq) for simplification, irretrievably altering realities. ID-self to Editor, and we can continue. Otherwise, best wishes, my admiration re guns and yr. service, et al,and goodby.

Albert Marnell April 29, 2007 1:47 pm (Pacific time)

Until you understand the Federal Reserve System and that you are fighting for Global Bankers and their cohorts you will never understand why we are anywhere and who are the real beneficiaries. A Democracy is one of the worst forms of government. 49% of the people unsatisfied is not a good system. The founding fathers had and wanted a Constitutional Republic. The term democracy has been so drilled into our minds and most people really do not know what it means. The word democracy is not used once in the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution or the Bill of Rights. How it evolved as part of the national jargon is beyond me. In a democracy you have two fox and one sheep. In a Constitutional Republic the sheep has a gun.

Rosenberg April 29, 2007 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

So let's deal with the issue HR, but let's take Iraq out of the scenario for your benefit, though that is part of the above headline. Afghanistan and the M-16? What to do? Appears that even the Murtha's of the world don't have a problem with us being there HR. Note: As per Mr. Murtha's close financial background with some mid-easterner's, possibly his agenda needs more exploration? This is (Afghanistan)topical isn't it?

Hank Ruark April 29, 2007 12:23 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Need to make completely clear that Rosy's strong record and competence in any consideration of gun or ammo choice is admired by me...even though have to disagree strongly with his uncalled-for and out-of-place use of this channel for questionable political hari-kiri. We make deadly error when we mix one-with-other, for both desirable outcome re ammo/guns AND demo-dialog re decisive decision based on factual analysis for issues and perpetrators perverting them.

Hank Ruark April 29, 2007 12:08 pm (Pacific time)

Rosy et al: Yr immediate reference to "analysis" and, indeed, yr entire postings here simply indicate overt and simplistic preoccupation with the wrong part of the complex problem. It matters little what we now do about the choice-of-gun details while we disregard the overall cutting-issue: WHY are we there, HOW did we get so entrapped, and WHEN will we wise-up and withdraw ? No impassioned recital of "patriotic" or similar such response can honestly be made vs those questions, in light of the solidly documented history of this sad situation. Given that unquestionable reflection from authenticated history, yr discussion-here, no matter how it endeth, does no more than reflect yr own and others "professional" involvement in a brutal question, without illuminating in any way what very large majorities in American have now come to conclude. IF you wish to respond, suggest you ID-self to Editor, so we not kill off space for others on truly imponderable points UNilluminated so far. Happy to dialog with you et al on this at any time, but this channel deserves better from both of us !!...

Rosenberg April 29, 2007 9:09 am (Pacific time)

Thanks a lot Albert, you really cleared up some issues for me. Ditto for you HR, you two are peerless in your "kind" of doubt! So what do the two of you think about the M-16 issue. Should our government make the Afghani's and Iraqi's dependent on getting re-supplied by our government? Maybe attempt to dry up AK-47 ammo and parts? What to do? Knowing the military leadership, they will do the wrong thing, glad I'm living over there! But I know from a "humping perspective" in a hot steamy environment, less weight and more ammo is better. If you essentially are in a defensive environment, you can have plenty of heavier small arms deployed, and long range accuracy in most cases can be far better than inaccurate weapons. Experience will inform even lay people that the "placement" of the round, regardless of it's size, is the final arbitrator in combat success.

Albert Marnell April 28, 2007 9:20 pm (Pacific time)

I wish people would watch some of the incredible video documentaries that put so much in perspective. It takes a little more discipline to sit at a desk but you will get real information. The one I watched today was by Aaron Russo, "America Freedom to Fascism". It starts with the illegality of the I.R.S., goes into the private corporation called the Federal Reserve and ultimately the attempt by the bankers in the Federal Reserve to do what they have been doing which is to run what on the surface appears to be a government. He also has done an interview with Alex Jones on Aaron Russo's experience with the Global Bankers that really run our lives by controlling both major parties. That interview includes his conversation with Nick Rockefeller who essentially wanted to induct him into the global elite. A national I.D. card was scheduled to be in effect in one year. How many people will resist? It will be sold by mainstream propaganda to be in your best interests. After that the R.F.I.D. chip will be pushed or mandated. The consortium of bankers like the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England ultimately will take from most citizens all that it can financially, and strip people of their privacy and humanity. People should read or see the information on the Federal Reserve System on google. Most people are totally in the dark. Start with "America Freedom to Fascism" and you will want more. In the short run the weaponry in Afghanistan may be an issue. Ultimately this "War on Terror" is a fake because the enemy is not identifiable and there is no end. The agenda is to push for world domination so that multi-nationals not the government will be in control of strategic areas and resources. I say with 100% confidence that 9/11 was created by various domestic and foreign intelligence and al-Quada which essentially was created by President Carter with then security advisor Brzezinski is still considered an intelligence assest as is ISI. Research on your own, there is alot more to it. Michel Chossudovsky's lecture should also help you put all of this in a clearer perspective, but the research needs to be endless. It's work.

Tim King April 28, 2007 1:25 pm (Pacific time)

SS, thanks for your thoughts. I was a peacetime marine who has never fired an M-16 in combat. I appreciate the clarity, if I indeed misstated the point about the unjamming, I only know what they taught me in the Marine Corps.

Addressing these points; I also did not say that the M-16 and the AK-47, I am clearly aware for many years that the .223 round is not the same as a 7.62. What I said was that some Soviet weapons were designed that way, I am referring to artillery, and not being specific. That is because the information came to me from the "arty" boys and I think they know as they were in combat when I talked to them about it.

Because of the M-16's tragic history of costing American lives, (I will research this; but I understand there were far better weapons that the U.S. could have gone with at the time, but Colt and Mattel had more retired generals on their boards) and because I know that the M-16 remains to be a weapon that involves considerably higher maintenance than the AK-47, I can't see the point.

The biggest thing that disturbs me are the words of the Americans in the war in Afghanistan who think this is a very, very bad idea. I think that many governmental decisions are questionable, but this one strikes me as one of the worst I have ever heard. If in the end I was wrong, it would be a better day than today. Thanks for your thoughts SS, take care.

Curmudgeon April 28, 2007 1:18 pm (Pacific time)

SS, your reasoning about parts and ammo supply from the U.S. and NATO is correct up to a point. But I believe the Afghans would be fools to rely on that support for the long term. It could dry up overnight, and then they are left with . . . no ammo; no parts. It makes a lot of logistical sense to use the same weapons systems as your adversary, and which is so common the ammo is available virtually anywhere. And it makes very little sense to change from a known, reliable weapons system in the middle of a war. It will cost lives. If the M16 were far superior to the AK it might make sense. But that's not the case here.

Hank Ruark April 28, 2007 10:57 am (Pacific time)

I see Rosy still rollin' right round the same pivots of party, political persiflage, and partial-intendo meant to deflate and damage while completely missing the point of true dialog: exchange of open viewpoint vs contrived situation meant to damage. If you have problem in getting definition outta that, sorry for seeming to avoid simplicity, but this is public channel !!

Rosenberg April 28, 2007 10:56 am (Pacific time)

The weapons that will be supplied to Afghanistan and Iraq will have nothing to do with what the best one is for those environments. Excellent post SS.

Rosenberg April 28, 2007 7:34 am (Pacific time)

Hello LaMarche. I don't really understand why McCain is running for president on the Republican ticket. Maybe he should start his own party, say with "bad bridge-driver" Ted Kennedy and call it the "Open-Border and more Anarchy Party", or something along those lines. I wonder what his views are on the M-16? How about Kerry's? Reid? Pelosi? Maybe get Waxman to start an investigation into the matter. I heard a rumor that Waxman has this thing for investigations. Maybe he can assist with other types of inquiries? Chuckie Schumer might be good to!

SS April 28, 2007 5:27 am (Pacific time)

Good article, Tim. I would say, however, I think it's a little unfair to cite reliablity issues in the first versions of the M-16 and imply the current version is no more reliable. I believe the M-16 is in its four or fifth iteration now. Also, some of your info about the gun seems a little uninformed (ex: the 'forward assist' does not "unjam" the weapon; it pushes the bolt up against a chambered round so that the firing pin can contact the primer). I have put over 500 rounds though an AR-15 (the semi-auto version of the M-16) in a day with no jams. I can't say what thousands of rounds would do because I've never gone that long between cleanings. But any weapon will jam eventually if enough carbon builds up in it. I have no experience with the AK-47, but my understanding is that it is a very rugged weapon, as you've described it. Not a precision weapon for accurate long-range shooting, but one that can take a licking and keep on ticking. It may be that it is the better weapon for the job in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the reasons you cited. Your argument about the need for a simple weapon that will still function if not properly maintained (or even if abused) is well taken. However, there may be reasons the US is transitioning the indigenous troops there to the M-16 that you have not considered. For one thing, contrary to what you say in your article, the AK-47 cannot shoot the same round as the M-16. The US military obviously doesn't stock ammo for the AK-47. For logistical reasons, it may be easier for the US to resupply our allies if they're using the same ammo as our troops. All NATO troops shoot the same ammo for that reason. Same goes for replacing parts in the weapons. I don't believe any AK-47 has seen continuous use for 40 years and not required some maintenance and replacement of parts. It may just be easier to keep the indigenous troops up and running if they use the same weapons our troops do. But it will be interesting to see how the Afghans and Iraqis fair with the M-16. I think you've asked some important questions, Tim, and only time will tell if the US military has made the right move.

S.LaMarche; April 27, 2007 6:19 pm (Pacific time)

looks like overtime folks! Stay tuned for more "incoming".,keep thos E-tools sharpened and never give a centimeter!,(approx 3/8"). Id say it's dead even so for, "but that was then and this is now" to quote a brother. Rock on S-N, this is dialogue! and Henry, what do you think about McCain? and Rosenberg, how about your thoughts on him? over.

Tim King April 27, 2007 2:46 pm (Pacific time)

Curmudgeon, that is a cool story, I can appreciate that sequence of events. Yours must be really cool being from '73.

To the Marine rifleman, Semper Fi brother, and thanks for your thoughts. It looks like not too many folks are supporting that M-16 decision. In a perfect world the transistion could work, but based on the information stated, it just doesn't make good economic sense. It is like thinking from another era when we knew less.

As the son of a responsible gun owner, I totally agree with your thinking on Cambodia's legacy; and it saddens me that more people didn't pay attention as he murdered more people than Hitler in the wake of the Vietnam War. That is my fear for Iraq and Afghanistan if we leave while in mid-stride. I am very on the record in believing that invading Iraq was a bad idea, but that is then and this is now. The M-16 could even be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Hank Ruark April 27, 2007 1:56 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Unmistakable key to allathis is this line from Tim: "History is many things; sometimes it is an accurate description of past events, but usually it is the story through the eyes of the victors." In this case cited by one surely still shaped by his own very-personal encounter, leaving but a shred or two of accountability in society now. That, too, is deep tragedy, continuing the terrible costs of conflicts that should never have been allowed to occur. Per his to Suds: "Peace to you, too, Rosy !"

JB April 27, 2007 1:44 pm (Pacific time)

Having been a Marine Rifleman for eight years I think it's a very bad idea to equip Iraqi and Afgan Soldiers the M-16. While the M-16 is a far superior weapon when it comes to long range percision shooting. The AK though is a real ass kicker, easy to maintain and you don't even have to clean the thing if you didn't want to or couldn't. I would imagine that there are millions of AK's and the ammo for them already over there and the people over there already know how to use them. Sounds like someone is going to make alot of money.

Curmudgeon April 27, 2007 1:39 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, I know this is slightly off the original subject, but I can't help but relate a personal story about a Fisher pen. Early(1973) in a long career that required a lot of writing I bought a space pen. When I retired in 2000 I was still using the SAME space pen. When I retired I was given a shadow box with some mementos from my career, and was asked if there was anything special I wanted mounted in the box. I had them include that pen that had served me for more than 27 years. When people see the display, I am frequently asked something like "Why is that pen in there?" It may not be a record, but I'll bet it's close. Now on the original subject, I have many years experience with the M16/AR15 rifles. It is an excellent rifle. But I think it is asinine to even consider substituting it for what may arguably be a better battle rifle. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the AK, and it is far more ubiquitous than the M16, making it a better choice in that part of the world. Actually, I'm surprised somebody hasn't suggested we disarm them completely. Some people seem to think that's all it takes to end war and being peace. Actually it might. Kind of like Pol Pot brought peace to Cambodia.

Tim King April 27, 2007 1:05 pm (Pacific time)

Neil, I wasn't trying to represent that story as fact; more to just make a point. I was lucky to meet Mel Fisher a couple of times out at B.C. when I worked in Vegas. All I know is they are good about giving news crews their own space pen, and it is a great tool to write with. Another point a friend of mine once made was based in the question; "why do Americans like V8 engines?" The usual answer is something like, "because they are smooth, powerful and prestigious." Why do Russians like V8's? "Because if one cylinder breaks, you still have seven more." Thanks for your thoughts. Rosenberg, thank you too, I am enjoying our discussion and I will add another point later today.

Albert Marnell April 27, 2007 12:55 pm (Pacific time)

Rothchild, Great

Neil Banman April 27, 2007 12:47 pm (Pacific time)

The space pen story is an urban myth. Both the Americans and Soviets used pencils until Fisher developed the Space pen on his own initiative with private money. The Americans and Soviets then switched, because of dangers associated with particulates in space and the flammability of graphite in a pure oxygen environment. See

Rosenbrg April 27, 2007 12:24 pm (Pacific time)

Tim: there are many government sources that diminish a lot of myths out there, so as far as quoting sources that are agenda driven, well, not what I was going for. I know that so many publications out there were, and are still agenda driven whereas facts have been conveniently omitted. Considering how long we were in Vietnam and how many millions served over there you're bound to find whatever you are looking for, accurate it is, is another story. All I can do is recount my personal experiences and from those people who I trust to be sincere and honest regarding their experiences. I have observed so many false allegations, that nothing really surprises me anymore. As far as drug usage in Vietnam, sure it happened in essentially the rear area's, but it's use was far greater for the civilian Vietnam veteran peer. That seems pretty clear cut. If you talk to veterans who tell you that they were in combat units in the field and that they were involved in doing drugs on a regular level, then I would be skeptical at the very least. Saying that did not happen, I don't know, but it was certainly not a systemic reality, just no evidence, and if you hear that there is evidence that it was happening in those field units countrywide, you would have quite a story. As far as some particular racial/ethnic group out targeting Vietnamese. Sounds like what some of my age-related peers were teaching my kids in college years ago. Tim a while back I posted the murder crime rate here in the states as per the U.S. Justice Department between the years 1975 thru 2005, and it's racial breakdown. I find that far more pertinent today than what may or may not have happened approximately 40 years ago in Vietnam, at least as far as current safety for our citizens goes. You know Tim, regarding agenda driven people/organizations, how about the democratic congress who set up the millions who were killed in Cambodia, Laos, Burma(Myanmar), and South Vietnam. When will they admit responsibility for helping to promulgate this genocide? Please note: That I was a professional, who along with my men stayed alive because of our observational skills. This was done on a micro level. Literally 99 % of all those who served there did so on a micro level, some on a more micro level than others, e.g., Kerry and his oh so brief 4 month stay in a tiny area, where North Vietnamese units never went. Whatever you are looking for Tim, I hope you find some resolution. P.S. I was in Vietnam during the race riots of 1965 and 1967 and there was some overflow of these racial problems in Vietnam. The military is not a democracy, so we controlled the situation. But I saw people of all races acting out in a criminal way. Again look at the data from the U.S. Justice Department.

Albert Marnell April 27, 2007 11:26 am (Pacific time)

Tim, I know that Rosenberg may have read what you wrote but did not hear one word. Great

Albert Marnell April 27, 2007 11:05 am (Pacific time)


Tim King April 27, 2007 10:56 am (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, you certainly are good at generating material to substantiate your points, I appreciate that; but in my opinion many of your sources are agenda driven. I'm sure you could easily toss that one back as well, as I learned long ago that it is nearly impossible to take opinions out of written works. My historical sources include authored books, but also news reports and magazine articles from the time, and most of my information comes from time spent interviewing the people involved, or sometimes their descendants. You cite books that reflect a conservative point of view, perhaps you should check out "Officer in Charge of The Dead" by Phillip Caputo, The "Time/Life Vietnam Series", or "The Rise and Fall of an American Army" by Shelby L. Stanton, "The other side of Eden- Life with John Steinbeck" by John Steinbeck IV and his widow, my friend Nancy Steinbeck. How about "Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War" by Michael Maclear and even "Scars and Stripes" by one of my personal heroes, Eugene "Red" McDaniel?

History is many things; sometimes it is an accurate description of past events, but usually it is the story through the eyes of the victors.

Again, I believe that Vietnam was many things to many different people, but I don't think anyone is buying the part about the war not being drug infested, it is just too large of a fact. The Vietnamese weed made a big impact back in the states too. Today in Iraq the same thing is going on, though many will honestly tell you they have not seen it, yet the soldiers who were there are the ones I believe.

And you admit that over 230 American officers were indeed killed by their own troops? That is something many have accepted over the years but to hear it stated like that, sounds like corroboration of my point.

I believe that you and most others served with a high level of honor, roger what you said about the Airborne being all volunteer, I understand. But I think there is a bigger picture here in which each of our points was true at one time or another, and it concerns me when people try to minimize what happened at My Lai. Really, that is just the only story of that magnitude that ever got out.

The Category-4 AZVAB entrants were the biggest problem, and as I am told, white guys from the deep south. In fact, I have been studying that point for a few years, and I think that if you really boiled it down you would learn that southern racists were at the head of the list of people who abused the people in Vietnam. Certainly there were problems from all corners of the states, but the chilling tales of the redneck's lack of regard for people of a different skin color, are disturbing.

Having experienced the southern racist in the Marine Corps, I have little trouble believing it. For the record, I am talking about the uneducated men of the south, hopefully not the educated ones.

Semper Fi and Airborne All The Way- hooa!

Rosenberg April 27, 2007 10:39 am (Pacific time)

Myth: Most American soldiers were addicted to drugs, guilt-ridden about their role in the war, and deliberately used cruel and inhumane tactics. The facts are: 91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served (Westmoreland papers) 74% said they would serve again even knowing the outcome (Westmoreland papers) There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non veterans of the same age group (from a Veterans Administration study) (Westmoreland papers) Isolated atrocities committed by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage from antiwar critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any attention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 South Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and schoolteachers. (Nixon Library) Atrocities - every war has atrocities. War is brutal and not fair. Innocent people get killed. Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only 1/2 of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes. (Westmoreland papers) 97% were discharged under honorable conditions; the same percentage of honorable discharges as ten years prior to Vietnam (Westmoreland papers) 85% of Vietnam Veterans made a successful transition to civilian life.(McCaffrey Papers) Vietnam veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent. (McCaffrey Papers) Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than our non-vet age group. (McCaffrey Papers) 87% of the American people hold Vietnam Vets in high esteem.(McCaffrey Papers)

Rosenberg April 27, 2007 10:34 am (Pacific time)

Sources for below postings: A Bright Shining Lie, Sheehan, Neil, New York: Random House, 1988 After Tet, Ronald H. Spector, New York: Random House, 1993 A Soldier Reports, Westmorland, William C., New York: Doubleday, 1976 Code Name Bright Light, Veith, George J., New York: The Free Press, 1998 Inside The VC And The NVA, Lanning, Michael, New York: Random House, 1992 Son Thang: An American War Crime, Solis, Gary D., Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997 Stolen Valor, Burkett, B.G. and Whitley, Glenna, Dallas: Verity Press, 1998 The Rise And Fall Of An American Army, Stanton, Shelby L., Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985 The Vietnam War, Nalty, Bernard C., New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1996 Vietnam: A History, Karnow, Stanley, New York: Viking, 1983 Vietnam At War: The History 1946-1975, Davidson, Phillip, New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1988

Rosenberg April 27, 2007 10:30 am (Pacific time)

Myth: Fraggings Were Common In Vietnam The term "fragging" was coined for the intentional murder of a superior officer or non-commissioned officer since a fragmentation hand grenade, or "frag", was the weapon used in some of these incidents. Given the total number of these incidents (230) over the 10-plus years of American involement, from a percentage standpoint you were far less likely to be a homicide victim in Vietnam than on the streets of Berkeley, California. Given that everyone who was in-country from the spring of 1969 to 1972 was keenly aware that U.S. troops were being withdrawn from Vietnam, it is nothing short of a miracle that morale remained as good as it did (which wasn't very) during this period. It was precisely during this period that the overwhelming majority of homicides occurred. But it must be taken into account that the soldiers who were sent to Vietnam during this period, especially the draftees, had been bombarded for years by the anti-war movement and were more inclined to question authority, especially military authority. It was also no help to good order and discipline when judges started giving convicted criminals the choice of jail or the Army. You can be assured that even an understrength rifle platoon would have preferred to remain understrength than to be given sociopaths as replacements. This misguided policy on the part of state judiciary systems was part of the reason that discipline began to erode from about 1970 onwards. A good number of the intentional homicides committed during this period were perpetrated by these sociopaths. Finally, it must be understood that intentional homicides, especially of superior officers and non-commissioned officers, have occurred in every war in history. This includes Americans in WWII and Korea.

Rosenberg April 27, 2007 10:29 am (Pacific time)

Myth: Drug Use Was Rampant In Vietnam Much has been made of drug use among personnel in Vietnam. What is ironic is that the overwhelming percentage of American drug users were civilians, and a very high percentage of anti-war activists were drug users. The number of drug-related arrests by Military Police officers and CID agents during the war actually represents a much smaller percentage of drug use among the military than in the overall civilian population during the Vietnam War. Further, drug use in Vietnam was confined almost exclusively to personnel stationed at base camps and other relatively secure installations. Drug use in the field was rare and was discouraged even by personnel who used drugs in the rear. The reasoning was fairly straightforward: drug use in the field endangered lives. It was not a "victimless crime" in the field. Peer pressure was usually enough to discourage drug use when in the field. Those who were stupid enough to use drugs in the field were often beaten senseless by their non-drug-using comrades. Those that persisted were usually killed in action, sometimes by hostile fire, and occasionally, tragically, by friendly fire.

Rosenberg April 27, 2007 10:11 am (Pacific time)

Tim I mentioned that a childhood friend, who is an M.D., came across Kerry while in Vietnam and was "not worried about himself", but his adult children, who are, by the way, in exposed public vocations. I have never heard about the VFW being owned by Bush. I do not belong to any of these veterans groups, at this time, but I do donate funds when those funds are directed at helping disabled veterans or veterans in need. Many of these different veteran's organizations make very valuable contributions to society. To clear something up, if needed, I am a registered Independent and have never belonged to either the Republican or Democratic party. But since LBJ I have never voted for a democrat, except in some local elections, where I think there does not need to be a party affiliation. Furthermore there are a lot of myths about drug usage in Vietnam, much of this data is based on self-reporting. For example, when a preliminary investigation was done about prison inmates being Vietnam veterans who got into trouble because they say Vietnam caused their drug addiction/problems it was tabulated via the inmates self-reports, during this preliminary investigation it was found that many were bogus, they never served in Vietnam. It's my understanding that a formal study was going to be done about this matter, but I haven't heard what happened. It would be interesting to see what percentage of Vietnam veterans actually used drugs and then correlate that with their MOS's. Needless to say millions served in Vietnam over many years. I was there in the 1960's and moved on to other area's after that. I continued contact with associates who continued to serve in Vietnam until 1972, when my former unit returned to Ft. Bragg, N.C. . Many of us from that time period saw how standards were being lowered, and really went into freefall during the Clinton Administration because of his military cutback programs and further softening of standards . As it is Tim, we are all in the same boat, hopefully we can find a way to get over some of this acrimonious partisanship. It really hurts our national focus. There are a lot of websites out there that do address many of the Vietnam myths. Please note Tim, that those of us in the Airborne were all volunteers, even those who got drafted. So essentially I was around a pretty good group of people. Sure there were some bad people, and we got rid of them. War really sucks Tim. I'm sure that you have found that even when you (may) have talked to WWII "combat" veteran's, after all these years, it's still pretty tough for them. PTSD and the other names it goes by hits all of us combat veterans to varying degrees, I believe. What's unique about the Vietnam veteran, is how they were treated coming home in compared to other combat vets, ergo, that's why people like Kerry generate so much animosity. You know, you can talk to a lot of veterans who say they're combat veterans, you'd be surprised how many are really bogus! I have exposed many, and have had some real interesting times with the exposee's after the exposure. In fact there are some more of these bogus combat vet's in the Willamette Valley that will have an appropriate accountibility in the not too distant future. "Airborne, All the Way" and Semper fi Tim.

Hank Ruark April 27, 2007 9:28 am (Pacific time)

To all: Great thing about honest dialog is what it reveals about the dialog-ers to those listening with care and conscience. That makes this last exchange between our Rosy and our Tim so fact, so much so further comment superflous.

Tim King April 27, 2007 8:40 am (Pacific time)

I am remiss for not pointing out that any acts committed by Americans when compared to the documented acts committed by the Communists pale in comparison. I think that fact should be included each time My Lai is discussed, my apologies for the oversight. I think this is a good point to let the discussion move past Kerry. I respect your opinion Rosenberg, I know how the VFW saw it during the election, I also know they are completely paid off by the Bush administration.

I was a member of the American Legion until this war started. They they sent me a magazine with a man's hands manacled and shackled with a quote saying, "Why Not Torture?" That's the last day I ever belonged to the American Legion.

In a time like this, with the amazing set of circumstances, illegal or legal, that allowed Bush to actually take office as president, I find the comment about the man worrying over his safety with regard to the Demo-Kerry machine very interesting. That's like a teacher's aid refusing to enter the playground because the kindergartens are going to "get her." The reason democrats take it in the shorts are multiple; but the primary reason is that they are the people that truly seek peace. Democrats are the ones rooting for the babies, kids and women. It is hard to act like Attila when your whole goal in life is to just make people better off.

But the bottom line is this; any acts committed by our countrymen are inexcusable.

My Lai causes me to believe that when you consider the facts, and the biggest one is that after the U.S. decided to start allowing "Category-4" ASVAB entrants because they were getting low on men, (sound familiar? Bush repeated the same last year- Vietnam repeated?) that a large percentage of American grunt were anything but a group of men with high moral character, particularly as the end of the conflict loomed. In fact I think it has been clearly laid out time and time again that most who were conscripted did not carry the passion for the war and military that professional soldiers and officers like you did.

John Steinbeck IV wrote "Why Everyone is Stoned in Vietnam" for Washingtonian magazine and William Westmoreland said "no Americans are using marijuana in Vietnam."

I think everyone agrees that drugs were widely used in Vietnam. I think that you were a person that people pulled it together for. Troops respected you and they didn't let the cat out of the bag.

By the way, I am not sticking up for any movies.

Rosenberg April 27, 2007 8:27 am (Pacific time)

Tim I appreciate your comments. I really do not care what Kerry did or did not do while in Vietnam. What he did later was essentially an act of aiding and abetting the North Vietnamese. Certainly there were isolated cases of criminal acts during the war(note: I saw literally dozens of criminal acts by the North Vietnamese and VC in the Central Highlands, Cambodia and Laos that would make My Lai look like a tea party, and though I saw some of the dispatches on these enemy war crimes, they never got coverage in the states) , and some have chosen to augment those isolated U.S. events. The adverse effect Kerry had on our soldiers and veterans by his actions are unforgiveable. I'm well aware of the fact that for many people out there one cannot change their perspective(s) about Kerry, but a vast majority of veterans disapprove of Kerry. During the summer of 2004 I attended both the American Legion and VFW annual conventions. When Kerry came to speak a significant percentage of the members stood and turned their backs. I have never met Jim Rassman, but I'm sure if you ask him how he got into a Special Forces unit he will tell you that after Jump School at Ft. Benning he simply got assigned to one with very little training, if any , at Smoke Bomb Hill at Ft. Bragg, N.C. . Cooks, clerks, truck drivers, mechanics, etc. , were assigned to various Special Forces Units at that time. As far as him being a member of an elite unit within the Special Forces, absolutely not. Generally people who get in those units have trained for many years before they even can attempt to get in...Jim was a very young 2nd Lt.(or 1st Lt.) at the time he came across kerry. I also would imagine that people who were campaigning for Kerry, regardless of their relationship, would be good advocates for him. I have a childhood friend who was a Navy medic who came into contact on a medical level with kerry in Vietnam. He has been an M.D. here in the NW for over 30 years. The reason he did not come forward against Kerry in 2004 was not because he was worried about the Kerry/demo machine...he was worried what impact it might have on his adult children. If Kerry runs again, or is offered some type of appointment where he would need senate confirmation, you will see many people coming out, and their characters are unimpeachable. As far as the M16 and it's use for the Afghani's, I have put out a feeler to some contacts that may provide some more background as to why...though I think it is apparent if you think about it Tim. P.S. One last observation re: Troopers, soldiers and Marines who were infantrymen. There have been countless movies, tv shows, books , etc. that indicate many of these veterans were using illicit drugs while in the field. One would have to imagine that at least three things would be present for this to happen, that there would be a complete breakdown in leadership by 1) officers, 2)NCO's and 3) everyone was suicidal. I never saw it out in the field, but the rear people, like the commo people and other paper target shooters had a lot of time on their hands, so who knows? Suffice, the infantrymen who fought in Vietnam were brave people of high moral character. Many of those over there were also career soldiers who were WWII and Korean War veterans. People are comparing Iraq to Vietnam (demo congress, oh yeah!), but in Nam, thousands of jets/planes were shot down, thousands of helicopters were shot down and tens of thousands were killed. Coming home for many of these veterans was intensley painful, they were stereotyped then as they are still today. John Kerry-Kohn was part of the process that demonized us veterans, and he's still doing it today!

Hank Ruark April 27, 2007 6:11 am (Pacific time)

To all: Re Rosy, I forgot to add revolting and reminscent of others seeking personal resolution of psychological problems.

George Washington's Ghost April 26, 2007 9:58 pm (Pacific time)

The Pentagon works for Wall Street and Foreign Banks. They are the enemy out to destroy America.

S.LaMarche; April 26, 2007 6:36 pm (Pacific time)

halftime analysis.,Rosenberg stalled as tide slackens and suddenly halts, anticipated return in gale force; King rocks and gains momentum in his articulate,(yes R.C., Marines can be articulate!),well thought out reply; and LaMarche is rubbing his hands in anticipation of the next salvo, sharpening my e-tool in case the 16 misbehaves. In 68' the most dangerous part of the M-16 was the bayonet!, and a heroic unit I read about in an ofiicial Marine Corps publication,(yes R.C.,Marines do publish!),indicated the N.V.A. would strip those U.S. KIA's of all weapons except their M-16's, (I'm not makiing this up, nor do I have an agenda). and I want to know how many "patches" Sheryl Crow would suggest we use for swabbin' the tubes?. And the last "common sense" comment was succinct and centered on subject at hand. R.C., what about McCain?

Common Sense April 26, 2007 4:57 pm (Pacific time)


Albert Marnell April 26, 2007 4:51 pm (Pacific time)

I already figured the revisiting of the name Kohn which is close to Cohen and not Cohan was just classic anti-semitism. My name was changed before I was born from Marinello. Am I now in the mafia in some people's mind as well as a Nazi or Kraut? I am thankful about one thing where I live. It is so diverse, mostly people from Europe and many of the stores are in Polish and cater to East Europeans. We even have an East European Bank. The Baltic Countries are represented here too. Globalization is here and will be showing at a theater near you soon.

Julie April 26, 2007 3:50 pm (Pacific time)

All the guys who defend what they did in Vietnam, right or wrong, and are resentful toward John Kerry for speaking up and telling Congress the facts, would have preferred that he just kept his mouth shut. "Stop snitchin'" is a new term in hip hop. I guess that's the moral high ground they all aspire to. Right?

Hank Ruark April 26, 2007 3:47 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Ripe, red, and surely rosy all over...that bit about the name Kohn did it for me.

Tim King April 26, 2007 2:48 pm (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, Respectfully, I spent a day with a fellow named Jim Rassman who is the Green Beret that John Kerry plucked out of the Mekong that day in the Spring of '69. He is a seriously honorable man, an Oregonian, with a life pattern that reflects just that, and he told me point blank that John Kerry did exactly what the citation reads in that particular incident.

Because John Kerry is a combat veteran, whether he was in "long enough" to satiate some, and because he did help bring an end to a war that if nothing else, had lost all vital support from the populace, and because he sticks up for women and kids, I really like him.

I also spent part of a day with Andre Heinz Kerry, John's step-son, and while I didn't get to know him very well, I did conduct a long interview with him for KATU who I worked for at the time, and I walked around the Willamette campus with him for quite a while. My biggest thought is that he was a hell of a nice guy for being so damned rich.

I understand that many Vietnam vets disapprove of the testimony John Kerry gave to Congress but it just depends on what you read. The acts committed by the men from Charlie Company under the command of Ernest Medina and William Calley is shameful, sick behavior of barbaric, sick people.

I suppose that's why so few of them are alive today, and I don't mean that with total disrespect. Still, most have kissed the train because they can't live with what happened that day. Not a left wing media plot... My Lai as you know was shot by an Army photographer who took those pictures as hundreds upon hundreds of villager were slaughtered. Then he showed them to friends after the war and that is when they went public.

Hugh Thompson is the helicopter pilot that intervened and saved some of the only My Lai residents that survived that day. That soldier's heroism makes me weak in the stomach, it makes me well up, because he proves to us all that My Lai was not the act of every combatant in Vietnam.

Progressive America was horrified, I am horrified today, yet as I read the history books I see that people everywhere rallied on behalf of Lt. Calley, why? Where do people get off with their, "this is what happens in war" garbage? That is what fledgling rapists and murderers do when they are given a rifle and power and a lot of poor natives to be responsible around. It isn't what most men do in war.

Yet it happened, and some people fail to understand what must have motivated John Kerry to get up in front of Congress and give up that information.

Some people imply that John Kerry is wrong, there were not the number of blatant crimes taking place, and then the other Senator named Kerry turns out to be a SEAL officer who also killed a bunch of women and kids and wrote it up as a heroic act, with lots of "return fire".

So I don't know, in my book what he did is right but either way people need a context. If My Lai is to be a subject, I have a big file on it.

One final point for you Rosenberg, and others who care to weigh in, but at what point does a person in war get credit for that? I just spent two months in Afghanistan and I am impacted by it. It isn't a huge impact, and I was around comparatively little, but I get emotional over the images of blown up Humvees, I just spent too much time with guys that were constantly worried about getting blown up. So, what counts and what doesn't?

Rosenberg April 26, 2007 2:28 pm (Pacific time)

Some people live and experience historical events, others simply read about it (generally from subjective sources, e.g., the NY Times, and college instructor's that are utterly clueless). Unfortunately many of those latter types come in with a political agenda and it's a waste of time attempting to steer those of that ilk in a more accurate direction. Note: Kerry's family name is actually "KOHN". Those who claim to be actual combat veteran's (less than 10% of those who served there were in actual combat units) and support Kerry's false and unsupported allegations that Vietnam veterans engaged in across the board war criminal acts are fools, but more likely are liars who never served in actual ground combat (like Kerry, he knows nothing of real combat, just like many of those non-combatants who post here, and they know who they are, unless of course they are truely delusional). In closing, it's my hope that Kerry runs again (even Algore), but never-the-less count on a very intense program exposing this traitor on a more comprehensive level in 2008. I can appreciate that those who voted for this arrogant monster don't like to feel that you have been hoodwinked, but you were, and the far left media did that to you. I would strongly suggest that you google "Vietnam Veterans against Kerry" and see what his peers say about him...get more information. Please note that those who are critical of one getting more information about the above issues, simply cannot stand any information that contradicts their assessments, so they blast away with meaningless diatribe that unfortunately can sway the weak-minded.

Albert Marnell April 26, 2007 2:01 pm (Pacific time)

Hank: Bingo!

Hank Ruark April 26, 2007 11:15 am (Pacific time)

To all: Just re-read Tim's, complete, as ongoing test of mine own reactions now published here. From 50-yr. editorial working experience, I stand solidly on what I just wrote...and so will anyone who surveils and cogitates even a little bit about this ongoing rash of Rosy-remembrances. If so hot-and-strong, why does he not publish privately for those who might be taken in thereby ? Most here a bit too smart for that kind of jive...

Hank Ruark April 26, 2007 11:05 am (Pacific time)

To all: Rosy-stories may read well re historical events and personal touch on guns...but on politics he's selling senseless distortion done purposely for malign political gain. That should dismay and repel those sharing stories in all good find someone malicious enough to distort what should be very sensitive memories from a most memorable experience, literally shaping any life for long-after, this is pernicious pitching for purposeful propaganda. IF he really wishes to propel others still further in his chosen direction, let him return to truth and factual statement, as demonstrated in more history than this channel can surveil.

Albert Marnell April 26, 2007 10:36 am (Pacific time)

A trivial analogy. There is not one piece of cooking equipment in my kitchen that can compare with the iron skillet that my grandmother had in the 1930's. They can market x,y or z. The reality is that old is sometimes more durable and I know that it does a better job than anything purchased since that time. The proof is that over almost 80 years old, it continued to be used and passed down because it is the best for many purposes.

Albert Marnell April 26, 2007 10:29 am (Pacific time)

Rosenberg, What does Roy Kohn have to do with Kerry when his behavior should be more linked to Bush? Furthermore all parties are beholden to the military, industrial, complex and I do not question what you read in history but the fact is that Congress will push weapons so that some congressmen can get a kickback just like Randy Cunningham, Rep. CA. (now in prison). Congress usually will acquiesce to the new- and-improved sales pitch of their colleagues; Dem. or Rep. They know they are part of a powerful control group and their Egos' allow them to defer to each other regardless of party because they mostly all play the same game. Before the internet went mainstream which is really barely 10 years, information was much more easily suppressed and not easily validated. Even if you were in Vietnam, it would not mean that you had access to privilaged information. Let's talk about the here and now and the realities of Afghanistan. Tim was there with no agenda except to get accurate information. Rather than site the past and play one-upsmanship, investigate the present and the reality of today. A plug for a newly discovered google video of Professor Michel Chossudovsky put a reality on the table which is in line with what I have been saying for years. He is just able to articulate it better and has done more research than I could imagine. It is also not unrelated to the topic discussed here. Profits, misinformation, corruption, jingoism and what is really truth vs. myth and propaganda.

Rosenberg April 26, 2007 10:05 am (Pacific time)

I completely agree with you Tim re: replacing the M16. As far as not wanting it to get political, I guess that's pretty hard to avoid. There is a clear historical record regarding what Kerry did after his brief 4 month stay in Vietnam. I do not take issue with what he did while there, that's for his peers to sort out, it's what he did later. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there re: Vietnam, but John Kerry-Kohn had certainly provided our enemy with an abundance of propaganda to harm us, and his eregious behavior(s) did cause casualties. I spent several tours in Vietnam (in the field, and before Kerry got there for his very short stay) and certainly would compare my experience with anyone, most definitely with Kerry. The country dodged a bullet when America voted by approximately 3 million voters not to put him in office and that's a lot of voters. Remember Clinton only got 43% of the vote in his first election. I am no fan of Bush, hopefully in 2008 America will have better choices available for the voter. Peace to you Suds.

Tim King April 26, 2007 9:42 am (Pacific time)

Thanks Albert, Osotan, Rosenberg and Leroy: I appreciate reading the additional historical thoughts about these rifles. For what it is worth, I was hoping this would not become a political topic, it seems more one centered around the story of the actual fighting man. The M-16 has many positive attributes, that is for sure, but replacing a more resilient weapon with one that is more maintenance intensive just strikes me as a bad idea when spending could be more effective.

Rosenberg April 26, 2007 9:18 am (Pacific time)

As per U.S. Army source: M14 Rifle 7.62 mm (NATO). In 1957, the United States Army adopted the semiautomatic M14 as its standard issue rifle. It was an accurate weapon, but it was heavy at 9.3 pounds and awkwardly long at 44.1 inches. Although an automatic version was available, the recoil and "climb" were such that the rifle proved almost uncontrollable when fired on automatic. The M14 proved to be inadequate for jungle warfare in Vietnam. General Westmoreland sent an urgent personal request to the Pentagon for the M16 rifle to be issued as standard equipment for all units in Vietnam. By 1967, the M16 had replaced the M14 rifle as the standard Infantry weapon in Vietnam. Armalite AR 15 (M16). The M16 replaced the M14 rifle in Vietnam as the standard weapon of the U.S. Army. It was used in the early 1960s by U.S. Special Forces as the AR15 and was given glowing reports. In November 1965, the 1st Cavalry Division turned back North Vietnamese regulars in a savage battle in the Ia Drang Valley. LTC Harold G. Moore lauded the new M16 rifle his troops had used. "Brave soldiers and the M16 brought this victory," he declared. Initially, the rifle was the target of criticism because it would unexpectedly stop firing. Modifications were made on the weapon, along with an effort to train the troops in its care and cleaning. The reliability of the M16 significantly improved. It proved particularly valuable in the close jungle firefights.

Leroy Suds April 26, 2007 9:15 am (Pacific time)

What is this, "Fonda and Kerry" line? Kerry? John Kerry? The guy that had his presidential election ripped off? The guy who served in Vietnam and had his honor railroaded by a bunch of GOP non-vets? Whoever this Rosenberg is, needs to get his facts straight. John Kerry served his nation with honor only to have W. Bush's team yank it away through whatever means necessary. Even though Kerry protested the war, he operated within his rights as an American. The war was out of hand at that point, the guys were fragging their own officers, it had to stop. Too bad the prez didn't go fight, he is too much of a girly man for that though. Too bad he is so totally void of honor while real men like Kerry have to live with the lies, they don't even know how to fight on Bush's terms, it couldn't have gone any other way.

Rosenberg April 26, 2007 8:32 am (Pacific time)

Tim King: Regarding not hearing of any protestor getting an American killed in Vietnam is certainly not correct, i.e. via an indirect way. If you consider that the North Vietnamese in interviews after we left Vietnam said that the protestors (especially people like John Kerry-Kohn, Fonda, the congress, etc.) emboldened them to continue fighting , even after TET/1968 when they suffered a major defeat (accounting for over 90% of the casualties!), obviously this contributed to more American casualties. In addition our POW's when returned home after the war had told how the North Vietnamese played back tape-recordings of the traitorous lies by Kerry-Kohn and those of his ilk, and that it emboldened them to continue torturing our people, certainly contributing to more deaths. As far as the problem with the M-16 jamming in Vietnam (I began using it there in 1966), that was so very true. After we had the buffer assembly altered, it did improve the weapon. For the troopers that were humping out in the bush, the less weight one had to carry the better. No doubt the AK47 is an excellent weapon, but the M16 still worked well for those who maintained it. Nothing is perfect, and change is a fluid and dynamic process in combat, especially when you're in the field. I would like to point out that re: my M16 observations, they are based on Airborne troopers usage, and statistically we had the highest enemy kill ratio in Vietnam, ergo, the M16 was working better for us than the Marine infantry. Why this is so, well, I assume there are many causal variables involved. I have not seen any formal study done on how many of our people died because of the M16's problems, just anecdotal story's.

Osotan; April 26, 2007 1:07 am (Pacific time)

very intersting, and I hadn't heard this was part of the arms deal. I agree with your on the ground assesment, it's a bad idea, the AK is unfortunately an extremly reliable and forgiving weapon. No experience with M-4 but any version from old design not trustworhty in my "03" opinion. I think the main bazzars in Afghanistan are about to be inundated with dropped once, never fired M-16's that have been exchanged for tons of 1906 Chinese shotguns in a Karzai-Colt consortium media event, "for the good of the Afghani people" of course.And thanks, my Dad is pleased and I am humbled. Semper Fi!

Albert Marnell April 25, 2007 8:38 pm (Pacific time)

I read this article carefully. One thing I know is that Tim is as truthful, direct and decent as possible. I do not question what he is stating and know that he digs for information. I hope that the powers that be listen to this. He is also right that in this case it should not matter what you believe this conflict to be about or who is behind it. In all serious situations, ego must be checked at the door along with the profit motive of people that are not on the front lines.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.