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Winter Soldier

Testimony given in Detroit, Michigan, on January 31, 1971, February 1 and 2, 1971

Sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.

Part II

QUESTION. How can an American soldier get lost in Vietnam?

HUNTER. How do you get lost in Vietnam? Wow. You know, something sister. I'll call you sister because we're all like brothers and sisters. You might think it's a hard thing but, you know, first of all you're leaving what little bit you love back here.

QUESTION. No, I mean getting lost physically.

HUNTER. It's relatively easy. You have what is known over there as the Communist government, you know. I retract it. It's not a government. You have agents from the Communistic government there. You have them in all your R & R centers. Matter of fact, you even have them in Hawaii. Now you want me to tell you something? It might be shocking and I didn't think to put it in testimony, but there are pamphlets that are handed out in Bangkok; there are pamphlets that are handed out in downtown Saigon. Any brother, any dude, no matter who he is, when you're sick and tired of fighting, you know where to go. They will pay your ticket, give you a passport, get you to either Switzerland or to anyplace you want to go to get out of there.

SHIMABUKURO. I'd like to say that that happens also before you leave Oakland or Fort Lewis.

DUFFY. I'd like to add that anybody can get lost in Vietnam very easily because the American people keeping moving on the logic that we're right and they're wrong. Well, we better start turning our heads around and start realizing that they're the ones who are right and we're the ones who are wrong. We're moving on this war from an imperialistic point. We're over there to rip them off. So we don't give a damn about how we relate to them. Listen, the Vietnamese people are moving on an internal revolution. That means a revolution about love, not about hate, not about imperialism, not about ripping people off. Now, if you're moving off love and a brother who's been fighting against you comes over to you and says, "Wow, I know that this is really a bad scene. Can you stash me someplace?" They'll say, "Fine, you know, we have no problem with that." They've got a beautiful little intricate system in Saigon. The brothers can run around the streets all day long, and as soon as the first MP steps out on the street, the grapevines got the word out all over, and those brothers are inside those houses and those Vietnamese don't ever let anybody in there to take them out. It's so easy. They're moving off love.

HANEY. I would like to mention the fact that, the peoples of the world are going to win. I have that much faith because we are fighting for life. The people we are fighting against, they're for wealth and money. You could debate that all day long, but I only see the winner. That's who I see.

SHIMABUKURO. I would like to draw a parallel here. As I mentioned before, the military is just part of an extension of--the government's policies, and their policy is a policy of repressing the struggles for liberation; not only in Vietnam, but in the Mideast and in the Dominican Republic. The United States Armed Forces are used to put down people's liberation struggles all over the world and that is just a reflection of their policy from the government. Therefore, that must mean that here in the United States they try to put down the people's struggle for liberation, such as the Black Panther Party and other parties. This can be easily shown in the murders of the minority people who are trying, as I say, to liberate themselves; not to gain power, but just to liberate themselves.

They are being murdered. Some of these trials you've all heard of are just outrageous. So it goes to show that this government not only has its policy overseas used by the military, but they have that power here in the United States used by the law enforcement officers and the National Guard. They're also used to keep the people from gaining any kind of life here in the States. There is even repression against the white working class. When there is a strike, the first people to come in is the National Guard to break this up. As in New York during the mail strike, the first people to be called in were the National Guard. And this goes to show where the government's head is at. Every time something comes up that they don't like, the military steps in and takes care of it for them. Either that or the law enforcement officers. It goes to show it's just an extension of what the government's policy is. Not just the Vietnamese, but to all people trying to liberate themselves. But they will liberate themselves. It will happen. Maybe they want to ask you some questions.

QUESTION. What is R & R?

SHIMABUKURO. It's Rest and Recuperation. It ranges anywhere from four to seven days in an out-of-country resort.

QUESTION. Can you give us any kind of picture of what is happening to the children of Vietnamese mothers, fathered by GIs? What happens to those people? Are they accepted by the Vietnamese out of love or what?

HUNTER. You're asking about babies that are born between an American and an Asian. Well, it's obvious what happens in Japan when there's an Asian woman and a white serviceman. Most of these, if the babies are born as females, end up as prostitutes or entertainers. Same thing happens in Vietnam. They are not accepted. They are not accepted because the United States has created such hassles. Racism is carried wherever they go; therefore, they carry it to Japan, to Vietnam, and Korea. When these babies grow up, they have a high percentage of suicide attempts because they cannot be accepted by society. Not because they are mixed, but because of the situation that was created by the Americans. If the Americans were loved over there, then the kids would be loved over there. But the Americans are hated there; therefore, mixed babies are hated over there which is the same as in Vietnam.

DUFFY. Also, we've brought this wonderful culture of ours over there. I can remember going into villages where Americans were rarely seen, and it would be very commonplace for the women to be openly breast-feeding their children, in the open. You know, communal swimming pool, bathing pool. These people don't have any hang-ups about relating to one another. When we first go into a village, they don't have any hang-ups about relating to us until we instill our cultural hang-ups into them. Then they start running into the hootches with the babies, covering themselves up when we come around, because they know that we're not moving on the same type of logic they are. They're moving on that love logic, and we're moving on a hate logic. Now, in a town that's built around a military installation, those people have already been perverted and any type of a mixed relationship that produces a child of cross-breed, those people are going to treat that child with American logic.

QUESTION. What about Vietnamese women who actually welcome GIs? Wouldn't they also welcome any children they have?

DUFFY. Well, the mothers of the child, naturally, love their children, but to answer that I would have to say that the Vietnamese do not hate. They hate what is known as the GI, if you know what the GI is. They hate what is known as the American imperialist. This is the GI. You know, you portray a certain feeling when you're in uniform. You're superior. They are extremely inferior. Are you following what I'm saying? And for a brother, and brother--when I speak of brothers now I'm not speaking of blacks, I'm speaking of all my brothers and sisters--when a brother comes back to Vietnam, he says "Well, I'm coming back." He's loved! Because like, it's like he's thrown away this imperialistic ego trip that he was on, you know. Like this whole thing about his money bag, you know, and being superior because I'm an American and all this--he's given it up; and he's shown the Vietnamese people that they're just as equal to him as he is to them. And then naturally they're loved.

QUESTION. Well, wouldn't they transfer this same feeling to any child of a U.S. civilian?

DUFFY. I'll tell you why they can't. It's because the American government is still in Vietnam right now. And as long as they're in Vietnam, they will not, because they will always instill their culture and their nasty habits on the Vietnamese.

HUNTER. And bringing the troops home isn't going to change that totally either because as we de-escalate and withdraw troops, we increase our airpower to preserve the Bank of America in Saigon and the Chase Manhattan Bank. That means that the American influence is still in Vietnam and still able to pervert those people's minds and force the American culture on them. As long as we continue to force this culture on them, they're going to continue to relate to those children as we relate to them here. Not as they would normally relate to them if we weren't messing with their own way of life.

QUESTION. In some American communities cross-bred children are welcome.

HUNTER. Sure, and that's why you say some.

DUFFY. Where is this? In America?

HUNTER. I don't know too many enlightened communities.

DUFFY. I wish someone would enlighten me where. There may be enlightened individuals in a community, but most communities as a whole aren't too enlightened. He might be accepted by the people who know him personally, but the baby, you know, who is half-whatever, he may be accepted by the people who know him personally, but the same enlightened community, but if he leaves his personal frame of friends, or people he relates to, and goes to the other side of this enlightened community, it's not so enlightened over there.

QUESTION. Could you give some more information about how black GIs are organizing at Fort Jackson at Fort Bragg and about how black GIs in Germany, as well as in Saigon are organizing against racism? Would you care to comment on the changes in attitudes that black GIs are undergoing from the time they go in to the time they leave?

MODERATOR. I'd say that they become 90% more militant. If they're 90% militant when they go in, they're 100% militant when they come out. I'd say this: Hoover has an awful damn lot to worry about because it's not just the black brothers that come out militant. It's the Puerto Rican brothers, our Spanish-speaking brothers, our Indian brothers who were militant way the _____ before they got over there, and a lot more of our white brothers. Don't ever make the mistake and believe that you can come out, form a black racism and combat white racism with black racism; you can't do it. A lot of people have related to me by saying, "Well, it's easier to hate all whites because it's so blasted frustrating to find out which whites are your enemies and which whites are your friends. So why not hate them all?" Well, that's an easy thing to do, but you're not going to combat racism that way. The only way to combat it is, it might sound funny, but it's to love your brothers and sisters.

QUESTION. Just a point before you get away from it--the racist term, "cross-breed." Most people of the world don't even have that in their language, you know. A human being is a human being. So the whole concept that we were discussing here was a racist concept. Cross-breed, you know. I think what you were running down was a result of the attitudes of the people toward their child. Basically this is an American concept, cross-breed, which is racism. I just wonder how that got into the conversation. That concept never got challenged. Two human beings, regardless of who they are, male and female, if they're effective and fertile, they can produce a child. So many societies have no word for it, but a child. But in our society, going back to the Indians, the blacks and so forth, they got all hung-up on this cross-breeding and it's still with us. As you pointed out, it spread to other parts of the world. But I just wanted to point that out as an example of the kind of racism in our terminology.

DUFFY. I was also speaking as a white man educated in white schools and if you got your head together you'd also know that before you can build a "revolution" you've got to build a revolutionary vocabulary and a new revolutionary way of thinking. If you try to move off the same old foundation you're just building on mud, that's all, you just sink right down to the bottom.

SHIMABUKURO. It's the same way right back here in the United States. I'm going to put it to you bluntly, Okay? The female, according to the way that the males have been brought up, is inferior. Like, they are inferior, period, you know; and yet we still go to bed with them because we have certain needs that have to be satisfied. And she's a female in Vietnam, whether she's subhuman or not, she's got the body, she's got the right build, she's got the proper things to do it, you know. But to show you one thing, where our heads are, we back Women's Liberation 100%. But it just doesn't end there at all. The women in America are perhaps the strongest, and I do mean the strongest, human beings in the world. They can stop the war in Vietnam if they want to. You know something? I bet you all of my paychecks for my college that if every woman refused to cook meals and refused to shack up with their husbands, and their girl friends refused to shack up with their boy friends, I bet you, I bet you, whew.

AUDIENCE. Right on.

QUESTION. There seems to be a discrepancy in what you said before. You said that if a GI, for instance, throws away his uniform and goes AWOL, he will be accepted by the Vietnamese people and harbored. And then you said that they won't accept a child of mixed parents because the troops are still in Vietnam. So it hardly explains why they would accept him if the troops are still there.

DUFFY. I'd like to try and answer that. It's going to be kind of mixed up, but I think I can answer it. You see, when a man gets there, let's say he is a man and he gets there, he can relate to these people because he is supposed to have brains. He can tell them how he feels, exactly what's going on inside of his head; and he is there. Now let's take, for instance, the baby from mixed parents. The reason I believe there is animosity toward this baby is because the mother has fallen in love with one of these GIs. The GIs are representative of this imperialist regime; therefore, this baby is her baby and the baby's mother had the nerve to got to bed with one of these people who's killing their people. So they direct this hatred, not only to the mother, but to the baby.

If the father is there, the hate wouldn't be there, because they would know that the father had thrown away his values of money, etc. But if the father is not there, it is taken for granted that he is a typical GI; and so they hate the mother for going to bed with this typical GI, for what the GIs do to the Vietnamese people. They direct this hatred toward the mother and, therefore, the baby also.

HUNTER. You want to know something else. Something just hit me. We were out on a recon mission and we shot a 260-pound North Vietnamese, right? Do you know the average weight of a Vietnamese? It runs around 90 pounds to maybe 105; they may get to 110. You have some exceptions to that, but 260 pounds, no; and 6'4", no; and as black as I am, no. You sure don't, and that's where their heads are. You missed it? Well, what I'm getting at is you're dealing with an awful lot of hatred, especially from these kids that are being fathered by the Americans in Vietnam. I've seen kids that are being fathered by the Americans in Vietnam. I've seen kids that have been born through Americans. They come right out and spit in your face, and they refuse to do anything that you ask them to do. Sure, they'll go to bed with you, I mean as far as the females are concerned, but they'll get your money and a lot of times you know where your money is going? Your MPCs (Military Payment Certificates) and everything. It's going right back to the North Vietnamese; it's going right back to the VC, and that's where their heads are. They hate you. I mean, they really darn right despise you.

QUESTION. Who was this man?

HUNTER. That was a North Vietnamese. He couldn't have been any more than twenty years old. We had captured him. First of all, they thought that he was a deserter. Looking at the face and the features, he was not all black, of the Negroid family. But he displayed the blackness of the skin and the nose discrepancy, the cheek bones and the large bones; and he was not Cambodian either. What I am saying, in other words, he was an offspring of a black man who was there and a Vietnamese. The Americans were in Vietnam during World War II. You might not realize that, but we were there in '54.

QUESTION. Sexual inferiority and superiority dates back to slavery. The female has the right to enjoy sex and to derive gratification. This imposes a responsibility upon the male. So going to bed with the Vietnamese or going to bed with the prostitute releases the man of that responsibility. As a GI of World War II, I had a group of men, about 40, under me. One night a weapons carrier pulled up with two women on it who worked in the PX and not one single fellow went out to have an affair with those women. We couldn't figure out why. We finally concluded that those two women, who worked in the PX, were far too close to those men, those GIs, and all those big strong he-men were really afraid to lay it on the line. I think that this is part of what we see in the black-white relationships in the United States between the white man and the black woman. He does not have to satisfy her, you know. He does not have to do it. It is not required. He does not have to satisfy the Asian woman, you know. So really what it stems from, I believe, part of the thing that we are hung up on is the inferiority feeling on the part of American males; sexually inferior with the females. I think that explains it much more than his feeling really so superior; I think he really is, I think we are, pretty sick.

SHIMABUKURO. And I think that sexual inferiority stems from the fact that the white culture of America is the only people I know who refuse to deal with their own bodies. I mean, how can you love somebody else, if you don't love yourself? Right?

HUNTER. You know something? You know what Sin City is? How many people have heard of Sin City? Well, let me tell you something, Sin City is in An Khe. An Khe was built by the 1st Air Cav. It's about 50 hootches in a complete circle with hootches around in the very center also. It is the world's biggest whore house. It was built by the American government, by the United States Army. There are MPs standing at the gate, at the barbed wire fence which surrounds Sin City. You go to the orderly room and you go to the first sergeant, and he says, "What do you want?" You tell him you want to go to Sin City. He gives you a pass to go down to the United States government's one and only whore house in Vietnam.

DUFFY. And you want to hear something else too? When they built it, they had medics standing up there. They would go by periodically and give shots, right? To the girls to make sure that they were kept clean, right? Okay. But the American public got wind of it somehow, and it came down that, no, this is an immoral thing to do. So they stopped giving shots to the girls, but they still let GIs go in there. And do you know something? Out of Sin City comes back here to the United States not just Sin City (because Americans refuse to give shots to the prostitutes) but some of the worst cases of venereal disease that you will ever lay eyes on; cases that can never be cured. Do you know that the American government, and I bet you they never told you this, they have an island to send people where they have acquired a disease that is incurable. Do you know that island? It is an island surrounded by miles and miles of water; and you can't get off it unless you fly, because ships don't come in and out.

QUESTION. Where is it?

DUFFY. It's in the South Pacific.

QUESTION. How do you know about it?

DUFFY. Because I went up to one of my head medics, and he hipped me on it. He showed me on the map exactly where it was; and then I went up and I asked a couple of the doctors about it and they said, "That's right. If you acquire it and it's an incurable disease, there's no use in keeping you here in Vietnam."

QUESTION. What do they tell the families back home about what happened to their boys?

HUNTER. Any time somebody either falls into that predicament or he's burnt so badly, beyond recognition, or blown into so many pieces that they can't even find the teeth to recognize them, they usually list it as missing in action. Sometimes the family can move on that logic for more than a year. I mean you got people back here in the States that are just waiting for their son to come home because he's missing in action; but the U.S. government, the United States Army, knows that they buried him a long time ago. They stuck him on that island. You can be missing in action up to a year. In other words, you can't claim insurance until that year is over; then you are declared as dead. But what I really want to get into is that the biggest spreader of V.D., or venereal disease, or any other type of disease that is brought about by physical contact, is spread by the American male in Vietnam; and it is spread because of the stupidity of the American culture and the American government in Vietnam. If they were to give shots to the Vietnamese, if they would tell them how to take care of themselves--These people wash after every contact, they wash. But, you know what good old GI does. He makes his contact, right? He gets it. Sometimes he finds out about it, but he really doesn't care because he's so really going on his male superiority that he's go to find someplace else to put it; and he runs out and he finds someone else. So he's spread it around for the next GI to pick up, and it goes right on down the line. It's the stupidity of the American government in Vietnam.

QUESTION. Do you have any information on how many men have been sent to this island in the South Pacific?

DUFFY. No, I have no idea, and I don't think it would be made available to me right now. They won't make it available to the American public. Just as they have not made available, you know, that such a thing exists. So, it would be kind of hard.

QUESTION. In your opinion, do you think that the average white American GI returning from Vietnam will be less racist than when he went over?

SHIMABUKURO. Well, I believe a racist is a racist. He might be more vocal about it that somebody else. The ones who voice their opinion, you don't have to worry about because you know who they are. It's the racist that says nothing that you have to watch out for because you don't know what is coming down; but as long as there is a racist policy in the United States, it's not going to change in the service. He could go over and have the best experience with the Vietnamese people; but with the constant racism that exists in our society, he still could be racist. In my opinion, most GIs come back more racist or just as racist as when he left.

DUFFY. I have to agree with him 100%.

HUNTER. So do I because I think the average white man doesn't know what racism is. I mean to the average white person, people who run this line, it's: well, I'm not a racist because you can live in my neighborhood or you can work with me. But there's this real hidden, deep, inside racism which is called the lack of understanding and love. And when you're moving on understanding of the people and loving them, that's the only way you're going to really rid yourself of that internal racism that's been drummed into your subconscious ever since you started school in this country.

DUFFY. In a conversation between two people, let's say an Asian or a black, or in a conversation with a white person, if the words "you" and "us" are used referring to "you" as black and "us" as white, then he's racist. If it's not us, us as people, then he's racist. If he makes that distinction--there's "you" and there's "us," but I'm not racist, well he is racist. If he weren't racist, there would just be you and me as people, not you as black and me as white.

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