Tuesday, 22 August 2017

An Attempt to Subvert the US Military, December 1966

A further document relating to the history of Aberdeen YCND (mid-1960s vintage) has come to light in the form of the leaflet transcribed here. Current world events suggest that, although the base at Edzell is no more, some at least of the leaflet's content may be only too relevant today. 


This weekend while we are fasting in protest against your Government’s policy in Vietnam, and while you are celebrating Christmas with your families, there is occurring a truce of two days duration in that war-torn country. After the truce is over the war will be resumed with ever greater ferocity. More civilians will be accidentally killed by American troops, more members of the N.L.F. have their flesh seared by Napalm and their crops poisoned by the chemicals which are in daily use in Vietnam.

All over the world people are crying out in protest against the crimes being perpetrated in Vietnam by the American Government, in the names of freedom and humanity. We have come here to add our voices to this protest. To appeal not to those of you who are so blind and so unassailable in your bigotry, so hate-filled that you would gladly kill us as well as slaughter the Vietnamese, but to those of you who have misgivings about the war. The war being waged in your name, the war that is CRUEL, ILLEGAL and IMMORAL.

There are many amongst you who see through the lies put out by your Government, who know that the people of South Vietnam are not heroically resisting Communist aggression but are fighting a foreign invader from 5,000 miles across the sea. Who would agree with former President Eisenhower when he said, “I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indo-Chinese affairs who didn’t agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possible 80% OF THE POPULATION WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR THE COMMUNIST HO CHI MINH” (White House Years, 1953-6, p.372). But who do not draw his conclusions, namely that they should not be allowed to take such a course as it would prejudice America’s access to supplies of certain minerals and raw materials in South East Asia. The Vietnamese are suffering not because they are being invaded by Communists, but because of the GREED of certain sections of American society, who are finding war “GOOD BUSINESS”. But war is not good business for the young Americans who through their daily contact with the horror that is Vietnam lose all regard and respect for human life. They are becoming hardened to cutting people down like cloth dummies as they flee, frantic, helpless. ALREADY VIETNAM IS A SCAR ON THE AMERICAN CONSCIENCE THAT CAN NEVER HEAL.

During the days we are here you will see us fasting. Many of you will manage to shrug your shoulders and call us commies but others will know this is not so, you will be unable to ignore us and disregard our leaflets.

We in Britain can only do two things. The first is to stop our Government supporting America in Vietnam. This is difficult because, as Dean Rusk puts it, “AMERICA SUPPORTS THE POUND AND BRITAIN SUPPORTS THE AMERICANS IN VIETNAM”. The second thing we can do, and what we have in fact come here to do is to ask you to DISENGAGE YOURSELF FROM THE AMERICAN MILITARY MACHINE of which you are a part, TO PUT ASIDE ALL CONSIDERATIONS OF JOB AND FAMILY – TO DESERT.

This is a difficult step to take, requiring courage, but as the great Pacifist thinker Tolstoy said, “Not billions of roubles, not millions of soldiers, no institutions or wars have so much power as the simple declaration of a free man that he considers something to be  right or wrong.” WE ASK YOU TO MAKE THIS DECLARATION.

The war continues, the war ESCALATES, WE GIVE YOU A WARNING. This conflict will lead to World War III unless stopped soon. In this you and your families will CERTAINLY DIE, and the attack which Edzell base will draw upon itself will kill by fire and fallout a large number of the population in Dundee and Aberdeen. By leaving the American forces you would be helping in some measure to avert this terrible prospect and also to bring about a lasting peace in VIETNAM.


[All supplied with Aberdeen addresses]





Further information:-
http://www.ivycom.com/edzell/site/ - for background on the base.

Captured American tank on display to tourists in Vietnam, summer 2017