Constitutional Emergency

Vietnam vets betrayed again - Pentagon bureaucrat wants to abridge 50th-anniversary ceremonies

I am so sorry. I added the update here and it was suppose to be added to this article.
Police: Iraq War Disabled War Veteran's SUV vandalized in West York, Possib....
The contact info for helping him is in comment section. Again, I'm so sorry.

Twana


The Washington Times

By Jim Robbins



The 50th-anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War should be a time of reflection and redemption, when a grateful country pays a long-standing debt to veterans who nobly fought in the conflict but camehome to scorn and spit. But if a Pentagon bureaucrat has his way, the Viet vets will be denied their rightful honors once again.


In 2008, Congress authorized the secretary of defense to "conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War" to "thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War," "pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front," highlight technological advances during the war and "recognize the contributions and sacrifices" of U.S. allies. The Defense Department also was charged with coordinating, supporting and facilitating "other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War." The proposed budget for the commemorations was $100 million, which was less than the amount spent on the World War II and Korean War commemoration efforts. For example, the 1984 commemoration of the Normandy landings alone cost $38 million.


The commission charged with executing this mission sought a commemoration that would be in keeping with the spirit of the intent of Congress. The idea was to have a series of commemorations that would begin in 2009, 50 years after the July 8, 1959, Viet Cong attack at Bien Hoa killed Army Maj. Dale R. Buis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand, the first two names on the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The commemorations were slated to continue until 2025 and the 50th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.


According to a source familiar with the workings of the commission, it proposed a series of events to take place at various locations around the country to maximize opportunities for aging Vietnam vets to attend them. The events were designed to combine symbolism with substance and were chosen carefully, with input from an interagency group of historians. One planned event was to take place in the fall of 2011 to commemorate the 1965 battle in the la Drang Valley, dramatized in the film "We Were Soldiers." The event was to be held in Auburn, Ala., home of retired Army Lt. Gen. Harold G. "Hal" Moore, who commanded the troops in the fight. Gen. Moore is emblematic of the veteran population in more ways than one; he is in poor health, and members of the commission fear he may not be available to attend the event. 


According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 300 Vietnam vets are dying every day, and as our source asked, "Why are we waiting to get this started?"


Enter Michael L. Rhodes, director of administration and management at the Pentagon. His office has been given oversight over the anniversary commission, which he has downgraded to a "planning staff." Mr. Rhodes has made meaningful work by the commission next to impossible and has sought drastically to scale back the planned commemorations. According to an August action memo prepared by Mr. Rhodes for Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and obtained by The Washington Times, he urged Mr. Gates to reject the proposed commemoration program and adopt instead a "targeted" $30 million program. The memo describes the new approach as "a dignified and meaningful DoD Program of national recognition [that] need not be tied to the full timeframe of U.S. military involvement" and that will "provide nation-wide participation, while utilizing the resources involved in the most effective manner."


Mr. Rhodes' plan cuts the time frame of the commemoration down to 2015-18 and inexplicably features a kickoff in his former home of Honolulu, which is not exactly a resource-effective location. Hawaii is inaccessible for most veterans and is in a time zone where most Americans could not watch the event live on television.


In May, the commission met with representatives of 60 veterans organizations to solicit their views.
They had hoped to create an advisory board with representatives of officer and enlisted ranks from each of the services. Our source said Mr. Rhodes would allow only one veteran, at most. The commission had planned to meet in October with representatives of 200 museums, libraries and educational institutions to help coordinate efforts and fulfill the mandate from Congress to work with other entities. The week before the meeting was to be held, Mr. Rhodes ordered it canceled and further ordered that no other outreach efforts be undertaken. Our source also said Mr. Rhodes ordered that information on the website be cut back so as not to set "unrealistic expectations."


  The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War is too important to be left to someone with Mr. Rhodes' limited vision. This effort requires high-level attention to fulfill the bipartisan mandate from Congress. It needs an executive agent, preferably a Vietnam vet, who is enthusiastic about the mission and will not turn it into a shabby token commemoration. The Obama administration has a bad enough reputation among veterans without signing off on this ill-advised plan. Whether the White House was involved in this affair or not, it surely will take the blame. Failing action from the executive branch, Congress should intervene to make sure the anniversary commemoration is undertaken in a way that fulfills its intent. The Vietnam generation deserves better than stripped-down, pro-forma honors. Its veterans were spit on once - they must not be treated that way again.


James S. Robbins is senior editorial writer for foreign affairs at The Washington Times and author of "This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive" (Encounter Books, 2010).


© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.



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What we veterans and all Americans need in the White House is an American.
Why should we expect anything from the government now. We need an amendment to the Constitution that in order to be elected to a Federal Office, one would have to be a VETERAN.
Agreed! Even if one serves in a non-combatant role, such as the medical or nurse corps or as a JAG or even a chaplain, there is still that exposure and one would learn the feelings of the combat troops too, or at least most would. But to NOT ever serve is,as we saw with Clinton and now Obama, disastrous in a CIC!
Ms. Smith,
I feel it to be necessary to point out that many in the medical corps were in combat - combat medics. I am one of 3 from my area that served in Viet Nam as medics - I am the only one that is not on the wall, however, I received 2 Purple Hearts. More than once did I have to bandage a wounded buddy while firing my M-16. Please do not take this as a sarcastic response, I don't intend it to be - you being a vet, I know that you don't intend to discredit anyone.
As I meet my fellow Nam brothers, and they find out I was a medic, many of them grab and hug me. They hold us in the highest regard.
I thank you for your service - may God bless
Mike "Doc" Morgan
I wasn't meaning to exclude the medic and corpsmen at all; it's the officers in those fields who are less likely to serve in combat, for all I trained many a corpsman who went on to serve in country with the Marines, and the last instruction I always gave them was that if they insisted on one of the little blue ones with the white stars, they'd BETTER come back walking under it! Thank-you for your service, and I'm sorry for the loss of your friends, I lost quite a few in that mess too. I guess we all did. I served at USNH Quantico, smack in the middle of about 30,000 Marines, and I learned very quickly, you DON'T TOUCH DOC, period! They hold their "docs" next in line behind God, and the rest fall in after that! But even we officers who didn't serve in combat did learn some of the lessons and do value each and every one who did so. My point was merely that anyone who has NEVER served in ANY capacity really has NO business being the CIC!
Because it started in the mid-'50s, when we sent the first advisers after the fall of DIen Bien Phu, in accordance with SEATO, and other treaties with France, and the first Americans died there in '59.
I wasn't a combat vet but I saw how they were treated; and I saw how active duty military were treated even stateside by the people we were serving. A Navy Commander on his way home from his Pentagon job, with his 15 year old son in the car too, was shot dead in the middle of the I-495 beltway in slow rush hour traffic simply because he was in uniform; I was personally verbally assaulted and all that stopped it being physical was the fact that about 20 truck drivers in the truck stop I'd stopped at, all of whom were WWII and Korean vets, rose up as one and scared off the 4 heckling me for being in uniform at the time. And I know many others, or know of them. My uniform "said" clearly I was Nurse Corps, all those truckers recognized that. Yet I was even called a "baby killer" simply for wearing the uniform, among other less printable comments. There was no respect for people serving during that war in any capacity, whether drafted or volunteer, no recognition that we were, in fact serving the US Constitution, and people protected by it then, so it's hardly a surprise that they still want to "bury" us and ignore us.
BTW, weren't these the same cretins who wanted, government funded, abortions on demand?

Baby killers? How about this: An 8 year old dink wanders into camp crying her eyes out. A few compassionate souls try to help. In an instant you get to see your pals turned into shredded wheat because the kid was strapped with C-4, and there’s mamma-san in the bushes pushing the button. Where was that on the 10 o’clock news?
I agree with the need for an american in the white house and aqlso that our leaders need to be vet or have military experience.
Dave Reason USA Ret.
All those hippies burning the flag and spitting on our soldiers are now in Congress or some form of gov't. We still have some major housecleaning to do. They are the ones who should be spat on...esp. Boxer.
WELL, BOHICA! SORRY, GUYS. THEY ARE STICKING IT TO US AGAIN! I WONDER IF THIS RHODES DKHEAD IS ANY KIN TO DAVID CHU? THE MONEY WAS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR A PURPOSE. IT'S OBVIOUS THAT RHODES' ONLY CONCERN HERE IS TO MAKE POINTS WITH GATES BY TURNING THAT LEFT OVER MONEY BACK IN. WHAT A FEATHER IN HIS CAP! AND PROBABLY A RAISE TO BE PAID FOR WITH OUR MONEY. HE IS ALREADY MAKING MORE THAN HE IS WORTH. IF GATES LETS THIS CRAP HAPPEN, THEN I THINK THAT RHODES AND GATES ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES INVOLVED IN THE DECISION.
CM
I think the whole thing is a sham! they been giving us the shaft for all these years, it's the same BS that we've been getting from the beginning, dead Vets collect no benefits. $100 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what they would be paying out if they would be honest about actual payouts required by our disabilities. Congress is too busy paying off lawyers, big business and honest hookers just trying to earn a living.
We've got a good start in cleaning up the real sin-city (Washington) 2 years we get to finish the job).

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