TVP #00402. SR #2512. Picture 523. Continuation of interview with Dellinger
Room Tone. Camera Rolling. Take Seven. Clapsticks. Okay, ready.
In 1966 I realized that I and a lot of other people were very active in the anti-Vietnam war movement, and rightly so. But there was an awful lot that we really didn't know about what was really going on over there.
And on the one hand Lyndon Johnson said over and over again, and it was commonplace and believed by all Americans that the United States was only bombing steel and concrete and was being very careful about civilians. On the other hand the uh Chinese had announced that uh Hanoi had been utterly destroyed.
And I decided to go to Vietnam to try to go there and find out what the real story was. First I went to Saigon
, because in cases of that kind I always want to go to both sides, if I can. I also wanted to see what was going on in Saigon
, although there had...of course there were Americans there.
So the first interesting thing about that was that my trip was, has to this day, has been uh emphasized in terms of going to Hanoi, as if, you know, I went to the enemy. Uh, which I believed in doing anyway because I believe in reconciliation and getting to know each other and so forth. But uh, the Saigon
part of it, going to our ally and being equally conscientious there is dropped out.
But the horrifying thing was that I found out that the United States Air Force was, by intention, bombing schools, hospitals, uh churches, temples, uh just an utterly devastating bombing. I also found out that they were using cluster bombs, that uh were anti-personnel weapons. Bombs that would not penetrate any kinds of barrier, but would only penetrate human flesh. And uhm, through the years, by the way, these things became more and more sophisticated in, in ways so that uh if they struck somebody's leg, they would travel up to the heart and the doctors would not be able to operate, and that kind of thing. They were really a brutal anti-personnel weapon.
So I came back and I talked about these things, and for approximately a year and one half, almost two years, the Pentagon denied that they manufactured such weapons or were using them. But uh, then after a certain period of time, actually I think it was closer to two years, they not only admitted that they were using 'em but there was public bidding for the opportunity to uh manage them.
I also then, in supplement to what I had observed, I got a hold of an Air Force manual - which uh was supposed to probably be classified, I'm not sure - but uh which uh pointed out that uh in a modern warfare you had to bomb the heart of the civilian population because that was the way to destroy morale.
While I was there, they also, one day they would drop candy or radios or, you know, various consumer items along with leaflets telling people to surrender, that they would uh you know come and join America in the good life. And then the next day they would come in the middle of the night with their flares and they would machine gun strafe, men, women and children, uh uh or do blockbuster saturation bombing.
And somehow or other it never seemed to occur to them that uh the goodies that they distributed one day, if they had any appeal at all, were destroyed, the effect of them was destroyed by the bombs that would come actually sometimes just a few hours later.