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It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it.

-- Robert E. Lee

Home To War by Gerald Nicosia

A Review of "Home To War," written by Gerald Nicosia--- Nicosia went to the most radical antiwar activists (his term) and presents their side of the story exclusively--just check the lengthy list of acknowledgements. Nicosia's thesis--and the only story he presents is that VN vets pretty much ran wild, murdering, raping and torturing indiscriminately and the military tolerated it, encouraged it in their “imperialistic war.--He presents NO evidence to the contrary, none at all. He does Vietnam Vets a service though in that he absolutely tells us where the negative image of VN vets-brutal atrocity committers, scruffy, unemployed, crazy, alcoholic and drug addicted-comes from--these people--the ones who supposedly support the vets. THEY and they alone are the ones most responsible for this image. As he exhaustively details(its a long, mostly tedious book) Nicosia’s heroes spent their whole effort in the 60s and early 70s trashing VN vets’ war efforts- he portrays VN combat vets in the worst possible light, all the while claiming sympathy for them. GN buys EVERY negative stereotype. According to him, real VN vets are unemployed, sick, crazy, hairy men, drunk and drug addicted, dressed in cammo wearing chestfuls of medals, crying about the war, confessing to the most gruesome atrocities, angry revolutionaries. What is most amazing and indicative of the low opinion Nicosia has of actual VN combat vets is that he thinks the people he fawningly adulates are actual leaders of the whole veterans movements—many of the people here are violent antisocial (Scott Camil,) Communist inspired (Barry Romo and many others,) fakers (Al Hubbard) and alcoholic, drug adicted losers (James Hopkins) Heres what he says about Hopkins-(pp404-406) “big burly, patriotic to a fault , a loving father, inspired complete devotion in his current wife Suzanne, a gorgeous blonde, as bright and articulate as he” Hopkins is an alcoholic loser, a drug addict and a wife beater who faked his combat records, told wild stories about wounds and battles although actually he was an undistinguished supply clerk who saw no combat and received no medals or wounds. (this is ALL in the book!) Hopkins drunkenly drives his jeep thru the door of a VA hospital. VVAW and GN immediately sees this person a s a hero and victim of the war, despite all the evidence to the contrary—one of GNs own best sources (Meshad, an antiwar counselor) himself describes Hopkins as “completely bogus…trying to act out some John Wayne fantasy” Hopkins ODs or commits suicide by mixing pills and alcohol. Well, what VN vet would think of this person as a hero? Nicosia does—“a veterans hero” (p406) which shows you how far out of touch with real veterans he is. He even implies that Hopkins was “ murdered by the government to keep him from leading a nationwide rebellion against the VA.” Nicosia does this throughout the book—fawns on and hero worships the most unsavory characters, ascribes them great character and morals as long as they validate his point of view. Example: ( Camil the assassin)“ He had done his best to kill as many Vienamese as he could-men women and children…It wasn’t till he got back and read the Pentagon Papers that he realised that what he had done was wrong… that he had been “tricked” Camil, a VVAW leader, later proposes a plan to assassinate major government and commercial leaders who disagreed with him (p 221) about the war. Nicosia puts this man forth as a leader of Veterans—as if they were complete idiots (his contempt for them riddles this book.) VVAW was never large (a few thousand at most vs 5 mil VN vets) but did have dramatic effect due largely to the direction of of the more sophisticated “handlers” of this movement, many of them non veterans (as GN describes,) and many of them Communists or sympathisers (the RU and RCP) Altho GN does acknowledge this, he acts like it was inconsequential. What he never gets is that we were FIGHTING communism and 99% of VN vets, patriotic Americans, have little sympathy for them or their aims, and would not join a movement against “anti-imperialism.” Nicosia details how the Communists (RCP & RU) took over the VVAW, controlling the thought, purpose and goals of the organisation, yet he accepts these people’s and their media’s, viewpoint UNQUESTIONINGLY!—VN vets were awful and killed babies, nuff said. Another person he fawns on is Sarah Haley, a psychiatric social worker and antiwar activist who wasn’t making enough money teaching, she takes a job with the VA (for more money) She is , according to her and GN, MUCH better than VA psychiatrists. In her FIRST WEEK there she runs across a patient that confesses to having been in My Lai. All the other shrinks think he’s delusional but SHE knows better, of course. He sees something in Haley that leads him to confide in her, credulity, no doubt. What he probably saw was a real egotist, convinced that only she knew how to deal with people, able to pick out combat vets by their “steely narrow eyed untouchable Clint Eastwood gaze and bristly attitudes,” never thinking to check their stories for veracity. There is NEVER a mention of cure ratio . Haley collects and supports the most antisocial of these losers, indulging the worst of these “bad actors” in their vicious antisocial games “ganging up on the most incompetent employees. One doctor became their favorite target, they would leave him poison pen letters, steal medicine from his bag, once even hit him…. Haley admired the gutsyness of these confrontational vets, she felt they would get better service out of the VA if they learned to play by the rules in a more crafty manner.”(P184) This is credible? A real professional? Not hardly! Nicosia’s book is full of examples like these. The whole “veterans movement” as he details it is full of the most egotistical loose cannons, convinced of their own righteousness, crying down all dissent. Save your money and buy Stolen Valor by Burkett James G Worth


Added:  Wednesday, September 05, 2001
Reviewer:  James Worth
Score:
hits: 6909
Language: eng

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