Vietnam

Interviewing the Viet Cong

Cracked goes to Vietnam.

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I can't vouch for its accuracy, but Cracked's interview with a former Viet Cong guerrilla is a pretty amazing read. (Actually, "interview" isn't quite the right word; it's more of an as-told-to article, with an American writer translating the soldier's comments into the Cracked house voice.) Here's an excerpt:

Your movies tend to portray the Viet Cong as deadly jungle warriors, blending into the foliage and melting out of the wild to launch continuous surprise assaults on various Rambos. That's all a big load of crap: Many of us (including me) came from border towns and grew up in the hills or the mountains. We had no more mastery over the jungle than a kid from Oregon has over Death Valley.

So the jungle was alien to many of us, and unlike most of the American soldiers, we were stuck spending our entire war there. My uncle and I didn't trust the tunnel systems many of the other VC used. They were prone to collapse, and if that happened over a barracks or a mess hall it was likely to kill more people than an air raid.

Here's another:

In 1974, with the U.S. out and South Vietnam operations winding down, my VC group was allowed to go home. I took the trails up to my village. As I approached, I started noticing odd things. Signs were gone, no kids came begging, no travelers walked the paths to and from the town. It all seemed too quiet. I remember running up to my village to find nothing. It was literally all gone.

I found only traces of burned buildings under the dirt. When I went to the hill outside my village I saw a new indentation in the land. It wasn't a crater from a bomb; it was a mass grave. And despite knowing what I was going to find, I dug it up.

To this day I have no idea if the North Vietnamese, the Americans, or someone else was responsible. But the way everything was just covered by a bulldozer indicated the North Vietnamese. Everyone but my youngest brother was gone (and he would die during the Chinese War five years later). I'm not special. Ask any older Vietnamese person: They've all lost many, many loved ones. And not always due to America or its allies. I never expected to survive 10 years at the front. And, to be honest, I still don't really feel like I survived.

Read the rest here.