The Whole World Was Watching
an oral history of 1968
The Vietnam War

Jesus, we rained more bombs, more terror on that country than in the history, than has ever been visited upon any place in the history of the world. We were fighting a war that couldn't be won. The answer is not to try to win, the answer's to try to get the hell out. -Dan Prentis

...what we were trying to do was the right thing. I think anybody that, that says that we were somehow morally wrong hasn't read very much about communism, hasn't taken a look very much at what happened to that country after the communists won. -Theodore Gatchel was frightening sometimes, we got hit, and it was frightening to be in combat, but at the same time it was incredibly eye-opening. We would go out on missions sometimes and nothing would happen, and you would sit and realize what a beautiful place it was you would sit up on a mountain at night and look out and just, it's a stunning country, and you would think, why is this happening?" -Bob Kerr the night particularly, usually they would come up near our camp and sort of fire, fire into it, or fire over our heads and you'd hear bullets whizzing by and, you know, it's sort of a real eye opener to think that somebody you didn't even know was trying to kill... -Ed Wood

...I think that that was the first time on our television screens that we actually saw war being played out live at six, and I think that the impact on the American psyche was absolutely clear-cut and also the fact that we were not clearly winning the War. The Americans always have a belief that winning is everything. -E.Gordon Gee

I think that many veterans got a chance when they came back from `Nam... to feel how it felt to be black because we were all treated that way you know, that kind of hostility and indifference. And so it was a time of people who hadn't really been discriminated against or treated that way, like pariahs, got a chance to be treated that way. -Cleveland Kurtz

I remember walking into [the draft examination room]...and it a slaughter house, and they had us take off our clothes, and we all sat there and bent over... and I got this distinct image of cattle being led off to the slaughter, which is what was happening. Here was the US government getting all us young kids, and you know, eventually at the end of the line, was somebody, and you either killed them or they killed you. -Tony Ramos

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