We Were Soldiers Once – And Young:
Ia Drang the Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam
by Harold G. Moore Lt. Gen. (Ret).,
and Joseph L. Galloway: Random House, 1992.
|We Were Soldiers. |
Directed by Randall Wallace.
Screenplay by Randall Wallace.
Icon Entertainment, 2002.
From the film, the lesson in leadership that resonated with me, being an expression of the capitalist work ethic that I learned from Ayn Rand, is that the person who is responsible is the first one off the helicopter and the last one off the battlefield.
The movie did not carry forward the author's intent. It did make an ideological point. Fifty years later, the national mood has come about. We are sorry for the way we treated our veterans. We now forget why we reviled them for serving.
Back then, we begged them not to go. My uncle who fought under Patton was not alone among the veterans of his generation who counseled their sons not to go. The war was wrong. Like all falsehoods, it failed on many fronts. A free republic does not need conscripts. Viet Nam was not essential to our national security. The government of the southern portion was not democratic. We had no clear mandate. Ultimately, we were not liberators but only the third wave of foreign occupiers after the Chinese and French. Today, Viet Nam is America's tennis shoe factory. We should have offered them that from the beginning. It just took a horrible lesson for all involved to get there.
When I was called for a pre-induction physical in January 1970, I told my cohort to resist. The draft board separated me. They were in and out in minutes. It took 11 hours for me - 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM. I resisted at every station. I refused to cooperate. Finally - as a result of previous heart surgery that never kept me from gym class - I was given a 1-Y. "What does that mean?" I asked. "If we are invaded, you will be drafted." I replied without thinking: "If we are invaded, I will volunteer."