Talking to Vietnam
by Jim Jones * Charlie Company

Oh, Land with sea so fantastically blue,
Not so distant Mountains' green hue,

Sandy beaches bright and white,
Your valleys that hold both dark and light,

What do you hold within your charm?
Do you have futures that will do me harm?

We trek the ridges and the clefts of your mountain ranges
To look for those that would keep them from strangers.

We perspire sorely along your sylvan and sandy trails
To look for northern invaders who would cause travail.

Along the sides of mountains we sit and wait
To find those others who seek for you another fate.

The oven of your plains and the chill of your heights
Take us far away from our homeland's delights.

As we seek to protect those that seek sustenance
From your substantial bounty, now left to chance.

Among ourselves we have the thought
The same as those who before us have fought.

A dream so high that none should refuse.
An ideal so lofty that none could confuse.

We want to bring to those in your land
That which others would deny you by their hand.

Those in your fields cannot understand
What we bleed and die for in this land.

Those that live along your shore,
And those that roam the jungle's core,

Know of two worlds that oft collide,
So keep both plow and rifle by their side.

One world so static and eternal,
The other not so equally vernal.

I am sent from a foreign land to seek you out
To let you know what Democracy is all about.

But I am confused, it seems that you do not care
That I risk my life to bring you there.

Instead, you bow to your vicious brethren
Who claim to hold in store a different form of heaven.

During first term I fault your indifference
To the savagery surrounding your existence.

Then I find that some among you reject my gift
There are those that claim that I am causing the rift.

Are those that feign belief in your self interest
Truly the ones who will make the difference?

I cannot understand your belief in those who do you harm
While I bring you democratic government's simple charm.

Some of your southern brothers sway to the cause
Of the northerners' repulsive ways with vicious claws.

They attack at our backs as you we defend,
Only at dawn to become one of you again.

We see the convincing strength of communist persuasion,
A graphic message of beheaded teachers, crucified civilians.

Why cannot you see the clear distinctions
Of our simple righteous path to the right decisions?

We are sorry that some of you must die in the incident.
You must understand the greater good for the accident.

We did not know at the time, of our whole contingent
Of the absentee landlords accompanying us in regiment.

Of your native protectors who first governed the fight
Who craftily knew how to profit from your plight.

The winding jungle trails were simple when compared
To the convolutions your government's system impaired.

We fought, died, and bled to impose upon you democracy
That came with us in a thousand forms of hypocrisy.

You seemed separate from the other people of your land
Who wore the uniform, left or right, of the southern band.

You in the middle, except at night,
Knew more than us what was in the fight.

To you the immediate choice was much more clear,
"Reject the words of the Americans or lose your ear."

"Throw away the pencil or lose your hand,"
"Pay the tax in rice or lose more than your land."

To those in the fields these choices were not complicated
As our's about political freedom was too sophisticated.

What we saw as indifference was much more complicated.
More than our democratic theories were implicated.

Your hollow-eyed gaze and blank stares were shields
For protecting yourself, your family, and your fields

Not only from taxes of the Viet Cong
But from American rockets and bombs.

We came to help you reform the land
And so we did with those rockets and bombs

The flat paddies once so smoothed
Became misshaped and deeply grooved.

That it was in a different form cannot be denied
Was this the purpose for which so many died?

The undercurrents were not just in the south and north
But far to the west at America's distant shore.

America's young men were sent with a dream
To ensure right, with horror and terrible war
While many at home would very well deem
That it was good business just as before.

Army and Navy planes, tanks, submarines;
Trucks, guns, and United States Marines

All provided more wealthy income for those already rich,
While the student contingent pitched a bitch.

With money grubbing at its core
Self-serving air-heads marched against the war

Many marched in accidental righteousness
While many were cowards to the core.
Some brave ones went to jail for conscientiousness
While many had a better plan by far.

Running to Canada seemed the best
Of both worlds to beat the test.

MacNamara and his college friends
Helped cover up for their industrial ends

Making rifles along the car-selling lines
Only to lie or recall to avoid paying the fines.

M-16s in mortal combat were defective
But declaring them safe was more cost effective.

After all, the kill ratio was hugely positive
Only a few Marines were killed, why be negative?

The numbers were fine and made good reading
Why spoil it all with some blameful pleading?

The college boys knew the statistics were predictive
Their numbers game was just too addictive

That flesh and blood would not suffice
To make the numbers come out right

To rectify by cloaking in some new tactics
Brought in all the more "right" mathematics.

Yes, the numbers were supporting things just fine
It would even justify the MacNamara line

The military-industrial complex said, "Yes!"
Confident that our Marines would meet the test

Of holding the enemy at bay
A Siegfried line, they would say

As outposts were fortified and the jungles pared,
Just how many Marines died in Leatherneck Square?

They said we halted the invasion of those northern troops
But many more thousands poured through the loops.

Battle-hardened grunts informed by reconnaissance
Killed thousands of the incoming hordes
But it wasn't enough to make real sense
Even thousands more came in to become the rural lords.

So the grunts and radiomen and recon Marines
Patrolled the valleys and sat on the hills so green

Defending theirselves by every means
While the NVA spilled through the seams.

Those of the paddies and the mountains, still downtrodden,
Would fend for themselves, now all but forgotten

We pounded the enemy with air and artillery rounds
Shot them with rifles and blasted them on the ground

We killed them by the thousands in those vales
And we mercilessly blasted their hidden trails

But all along they just kept coming
And at home industry just kept humming.

The honorable fight, once philosophically imbued,
Had now turned into a vindictive blood feud.

"You kill my buddy and I'll kill yours,"
That's the most personal point of wars.

Brotherhood is forged and formed and that's most crucial
That's what it all boils down to when all else is futile.

Fifty-eight thousand of ours died in the war,
The enemy lost six-hundred thousand or more.

The numbers are good, there is no doubt
But is that what is was all about?

In honor of our effort the enemy has named
And included "Democratic" in their name.

Was this a Pyrrhic victory for them or us?
Whose answer to that question can we trust?

We enjoy huge quality of life benefits after the war
While the northern enemy begs the world for more.

They say that politically we did not prevail
But it's the enemy's system that's terribly failed.

We have become the most prosperous in our history
While the Vietnamese people's economy is still misery.

But which of the governments lied the most?
Certainly, if counted, it would be our former host.

But it is gone and the people have spoken.
They'd rather have a government of their own that's broken.

And what is left after the crisis and the battle?
It seems that honor is sacrificed for chattel.

At home taxes are too high, war caused inflation.
Let's blame the ones who defended this nation.

Cut their benefits, break our promises
Calling for fairness is just bothersome noises.

Returning from Canada those who were no fools
Teach us all, after all is said and done, who rules.

Those expatriate college boys who now invest
Are the ones who knew how to pass the homebound test.

Making money and keeping it from the government
Becomes their highest priority sentiment

After all, Big Government is to blame
Cutting veterans benefits will disappear the claim.

Jane Fonda and her husband gave a billion away
To fund programs for foreign children one day

But not one cent of that went to provide
For broken veterans living in wards inside.

Abraham Lincoln said that the government should provide
For him who bore the battle, or his widow and orphan still alive.

Abe is dead and so if there is a reminder of his vision
Quickly change to another channel on the television.

Put those veterans on the shelf
Let's all look out for our own self.

In the future if another war is elective
Let's make damn sure it's more cost effective

As long as the mills turn out the weapons
Let's make sure that victory happens.

But when the war is over, when profits are out to lunch
Let's make sure the damn veterans don't cost us too much.

Oh, Land with sea so fantastically blue,
Not so distant Mountains' green hue,

Sandy beaches bright and white,
Your valleys that hold both dark and light,

I now know what was held within your charm.
You did have futures that did me harm.

But my own country did so, too
I cannot blame it all on you.

To fight, is there ever really a worthy cause?
Or do I always have to look for a legal clause

Behind the motives of those who profit from it?
Or is there still an America I where I can still fit?