Podcast (VN-E03): Paul Cox, Vietnam grunt to underground GI paper publisher

March 19, 2019

Vietnam Series Podcast, Episode 3:

“I felt really bad about myself that I’d been so stupid and incurious that I had let myself go off into this war without ever having thought about it. And that I was very lucky to be alive, but there’s a little bit of survivor guilt, and there was a lot of guilt that I didn’t have the courage to stand up on the day that we killed those people,” explains Paul Cox, on his journey from Marine grunt in Vietnam to underground GI newspaper publisher.

Vietnam Full Disclosure

This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — “Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam.” This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured.

“We kept doing those things and putting people in trucks and helicopters and running them out of their homes. Burning down their houses and killing their livestock and poisoning their wells and you know.”

“When I got to the first hut, there was an old woman lying on her back that had been gut shot and was dying. The second hut, there was a pile of children and women and a couple old folks that had been shot. And I was in shock.”

“I could have done nothing about having stopped them from being killed, but I could’ve said something. I could’ve looked the captain in the eye and say, “What the fuck are you doing?” I could’ve. It would’ve been dangerous, and I didn’t have the courage to do anything about it, you know? But I decided I’m not gonna be quiet anymore. You know? And I haven’t been quiet since.”

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So I hadn’t thought about the war, and I was immature. Almost immediately I got my draft notice. You know, it was fine. I wanted to go to war. Shipped me off to Vietnam. I had been there ten months. We were gonna walk through this village to a bridge about five clicks away, and the captain says this is a free fire zone. That was the word he passed back. And there was some shooting. And when I got to the first hut, there was an old woman lying on her back that had been gut shot and was dying.

The second hut, there was a pile of children and women and a couple old folks that had been shot. And I was in shock. I was like, “This is bullshit,” you know? I felt really bad about myself that I’d been so stupid and incurious that I had let myself go off into this war without ever having thought about it. I decided I’m not gonna be quiet anymore. And I haven’t been quiet since.

This is a Courage to Resist podcast. This Courage to Resist podcast is produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure Effort of Veterans For Peace. Today we welcome Paul Cox.

Out of high school, I went to the University of Oklahoma for two years. Majored in music. Realized that I had no talent and dropped out of school. I hadn’t really thought much about the Vietnam war. I mean, it was going on, but in Oklahoma, it was not a big deal. You didn’t get the kinds of antiwar activities that were going on on the coasts or some of the big college towns. University of Oklahoma is a pretty parochial place.

So I hadn’t thought about the war, and I was immature. Almost immediately I got my draft notice, and I thought, “Well that’s okay.” You know, I had no plans after I quit school. I was really footloose, and I had … I can’t remember whether it was sixty or ninety days before I had to report so I went down and joined the Marine Corps. So I volunteered under the threat of draft.

I thought, “Well, if I’m gonna go to the Vietnam War, I want to be with the best,” and I figured that since the Marine Corps uniform was so cool, they must be the best. So on the basis of a fashion preference, you know, I went and joined the Marines. And the recruiter didn’t lie to me exactly, but he said, “You know, the Marine Corps has to make up their mind about what they need, but I gotta tell you. They need a lot of warm bodies in Vietnam right now, and if you sign up for two years, which I can get you in for two years, but if you sign up for two years they’re just gonna give you a gun and ship your sorry ass off to Vietnam. But you’re are smart kid. You’ve got two years of college under your belt. You sign up for four, maybe the Marine Corps will figure they’ve got you for a while and maybe they’ll invest some education in you,” such as helicopter mechanics or electronics.

Well, I fell for that hook, line, and sinker, and I signed up for four years. Actually, 10% of our boot camp platoon of 80 men were draftees. And they were drafting men into the military, into the Marines at that point. And so these guys thought they had died and gone to hell. But when they handed out our MOSs, they made every single one of us a grunt. That is an infantry. Except those draftees, and they made them all clerks. They said, “Well, you don’t want to be in our Marine Corps. We’re not gonna send you out into the bush and get real marines killed,” and these guys all became clerks, and they were going like, “Yeah, baby.”

It was like … Well, that was a little odd. You know. I didn’t … It was fine. I wanted to go to war. You know, I was okay about it. I wasn’t a deep thinker, obviously. I wouldn’t have joined the Marine Corps on the basis of a fashion preference. Anyway, they taught me how to shoot and how to march and that sort of thing. I already knew how to march because I’d been in the marching band. But marine style marching. And how to take orders. And ship me off to Vietnam.

I got to Vietnam in February of 1969. So the Tet Offense has already happened in ’68. This was at the very height of the … Actually, I think February of ’69 is the very height of American involvement there then. 546,000 men in Vietnam or something like that. I was put in a unit, and we were set up right along the southern edge of the DMZ up in the high jungles. We were up in the jungles, and it was above the Ho Chi Minh trail for the most part.

But they did have [a combat] unit up there. As best as I could tell, it was six to ten people. And we would ambush them, and they would ambush us, or they would mortar us, and their job was to tie us down as best as I can figure, and they tied down a whole battalion with a few people. They were starving, it seems to me. One time, we left a position we’d been in for three or four days, and we went down into the across the river and back up the other side, and when we got back up the side, we could see them going through all our trash. So they called in an air strike on that.

I think they were hungry. They were also looking for information … It would make sense for them to go through our stuff and see what they could find, but I mean a lot of it was food. And from what I’ve read and talked to former North Vietnamese soldiers, it was rough up there for them. Really rough along the Ho Chi Minh trail. It wasn’t much … people did not eat well.

So I spent ten months up there doing that. It was rough. I had friends killed. I killed a man. We went without food six days twice for six days each. When we couldn’t get helicopters in to give us resupply, we were helpless. We didn’t know how to live off the land. You know. I was with Fox Company Second Battalion Fourth Marines. F24, Fox Two Four.

So in something like July of ’69, Nixon announced that he was gonna start withdrawal of American troops. That was the beginning of the Vietnamezation Program of the jungles. And we were in the rear … You know, they started saying, “Polish your boots, get a haircut,” all of those sorts of things that just fall away and that kind of what we call chickenshit. They started leaning on us with this stuff. And they were getting ready to ship the 4th Marines back to Okinawa where they were gonna be on garrison duty, and I just decided I didn’t want to do garrison duty.

And while that ten months had been difficult, especially from where I’m sitting now, it didn’t cause any moral sort of dissonance in me. We were protecting our allies in the south from the invaders from the north. So I volunteered to stay, but I’d been there ten months. Or nine and a half months, and I could’ve gone back to Okinawa, but I volunteered to stay.

I got transferred down to near the Da Nang which is the second largest city in south Vietnam, and still in the I Corps area. It was 60-70 miles south of there. And I got transferred to 1st Battalion 26th Marines. As I was checking into the battalion headquarters, the clerk that was checking me in noticed that I had two years of college, and he said, “You know, I’m going home next week. You want my job?” And I go, “Yeah, sure.”

And so I spent the last ten weeks of my tour in the rear with the beer and the gear. You know, I was shuffling paper. It was a completely, utterly mindless boring job, but I was still getting combat pay, and it was still tax free, and I wasn’t getting shot at, and I had a roof over my head, and a cot to sleep on, and life was way easier.

At the end of my tour I thought, “Well, this is not a bad gig.” So I extended my tour for six months. I came home on leave, and I got a 30 day leave at the end of the year, and it took me a week to get home, and a week to get back to Vietnam, and in that 45 days, 26 marines had been withdrawn from Vietnam, and I found my records with yet another outfit. 1st Battalion 5th Marines. They didn’t make me a clerk. They put me back out in the bush, and that was a different gig. That last six months was difficult.

Unlike when we were up in the jungles, there were no civilians up there. It was all just jungle. It was us and the bad guys. But in 5th Marines, we were out in the rice patties fighting North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers in civilian places. The whole time I was there, the battalion had been transferred, temporarily transferred out of the regular infantry, and we were kind of the strike force for the general. That is, we were quick reaction force.

So we were in the rear in hill 34, and we would get up early in the morning and we would eat chow in a mess hall, but then we’d get on choppers, and we’d fly out some place and often be back by noon or 2:00 or 3:00. Sometimes we would sweep across an area looking for … after an airstrike or an artillery strike, looking for casualties and doing damage assessment.

But a lot of the times, we were sent to some village and round up everybody in the village and put ’em on trucks or helicopters and force them out of an area and put them in strategic hamlets which was somewhere 15-20 miles away from there. The strategic hamlet program in Vietnam, there were 32,000 of these things created during the war, and the idea was to drain the sea.

Mao had said that the guerilla is like a fish in the sea, and the people are the sea. So we were draining the ocean. So we would declare free fire zones and drive everybody, all the civilians, out of these areas that were contested, put them in strategic hamlets which were essentially concentration camps.

Usually the gates would be open during the day, but at night people were expected to come back to their huts that we had built for them, and the ARVNs, the south Vietnamese soldiers, would protect them. The ones that I saw were generally like these tin roof huts row after row of ’em with barbed wire around it, gun towers in the corners. They looked like a prison camp. And they weren’t quite because people could come and go during the day, but at night they were locked up in there. And the idea was that if the guerillas didn’t have the support of the population, then we could find ’em and kill ’em.

So we were operating a bit southeast of Da Nang that had been heavily contested, were quite in support of the Viet Cong, the National Liberation Front. And it was a very, very different war. We weren’t protecting these people. We were oppressing them. We were stepping on their necks. We were treating them very badly.

We would go into a village … We did this a few times, go into a village, drive everybody to a strategic hamlet. They would often come back to their ancestral homes. You know, their ancestors are buried somewhere within a quarter mile of their house, that’s where their livestock was, their house. Their only means of sustenance was their rice paddies and gardens. We put ’em in these strategic hamlets and gave them rice that was grown in California and Louisiana which isn’t even the kind of rice they eat.

It was a very rough time on the peasantry. It started to eat on me. Whereas my time up in the jungles was war, it didn’t create dissonance. It didn’t make me feel bad. But I increasingly, these experiences started to build up, and I said, “This is messed up. This is messed up,” but it really came to a head for me not that long after I’d gotten that unit when we did an unusual thing. We went out on a four day patrol.

We were about two kilometers east of a village in a place called Ganoi Island. There’d been some heavy battles in this area in the ’67-68 period, and this was in ’70. Early 1970. So we stopped down a patrol base in the elephant grass in the middle of some rice paddy … Abandoned rice paddy, and we sat there for four days, and the captain would send out what he called security patrols every day. They’d be a loop to the north, a loop to the east, and a loop to the south, a loop to the west. Just go out and back.

And then the next day he was lazy, and rather than making a different patrol, he would just reverse those directions. Right? Which is not the way you’re supposed to do things. You don’t go down the same trail twice. But we went down the same trail for four days running. On the third day … I was a squad leader, and I took my patrol out on the northern loop, and we’d gotten out to the top of our loop, and we took a couple of sniper rounds. And they were really designed to draw us towards them.

I had been there long enough to know you don’t go chasing after something that clearly not dangerous, you know. Or if you do, you do it with maneuvers and you work your way around and try to flank ’em and that sort of thing. So I reported it, and then we went back to our patrol base. The next day another squad from my platoon went out, and the squad leader had only been in country like three months, and there were a lot of green troops in this unit. This unit had taken a lot of casualties over the last year from booby traps. Most of the people there were replacement troops and not very experienced. Almost all of them, really.

This other squad went out, and they got to the same spot and the same thing happened, and they said, “Well let’s go get him,” you know. So they headed off that direction. They quickly found a booby trap which was the main way those Viet Cong guerrillas would fight us. They couldn’t take us on, and they didn’t have a lot of ammo, but they would set up booby traps, and they were good at it.

So they found a booby trap. They spotted it. They were apparently looking at it, and it went off, and it killed two men and wounded two more. Somebody messed with it, you know. See what happens. So that was kind of a bit of a disaster for the cost of a couple of rounds and a grenade, they had four casualties. And never did see a Vietnamese. That squad was really really upset, and they were mad at the Vietnamese. They should’ve been mad at themselves. ‘Cause you don’t mess with booby traps. You spot ’em, you back away, you get an engineer up there to blow it in place.

So the next morning, we pulled up stakes, and we were gonna walk through this village to a bridge about five clicks away, five kilometers, away and catch trucks back to the rear. So our patrol was over. That was the only thing that happened in those four days was that booby trap accident.

The captain did an unusual thing. He told the lieutenant to put that squad who had lost those four guys a day before on point. Which you don’t do. You say, “Lieutenant, your people take point.” Lieutenant picks what squad takes point. The squad leader picks what person is on the point man. That’s the way you do it.

So they took off, that squad was on point, my squad was coming in second. We were all in a company long column. We were stretched out a quarter mile long. The lieutenant and captain were behind us, and then the rest of the company was behind them. When the point squad got to the village, they passed the word back and asked a question, “Are there any friendlies in this area?” And the captain says, “No, this is a free fire zone.” That was the word he passed back. And there was some shooting, and when I got to the first hut, there was an old woman lying on her back that had been gut shot and was dying. The second hut, there was a pile of children and women and a couple of old folks that had been shot, and the third hut the same thing.

But the trail went through the corner of this village. Didn’t go right through the center of it. Then everybody walked past the same scene. Everybody. And I was in shock. I was like, “This is bullshit,” you know. The captain stopped us on the other side, and he asked for volunteers to go back in and search the rest of the village. Which is not the way you do things. You say, “lieutenant, send a squad back in,” or, “Take your platoon back in.” And none of the officers went back in. So some staff sergeant volunteered to go back in. Eight or ten men volunteered to go back in with them, and they went back and searched the village, and there was a little more shooting. None of me or my people. We were all like, “What’s going on here?”

Then as we left, the captain called in an airstrike on the village behind us. Now, you’re supposed to use tactical air support when you’re under pressure, right? You’re being attacked, and you use that to break the attack off. But no, he used it to cover his tracks. And that turned it for me. That is not the way things are happening. I’m convinced that captain knew exactly what he was doing. I think that he knew exactly what he was doing putting that really angry platoon, squad, in point. And he certainly knew what he was doing calling in an airstrike on our rear. After we’d already left the site.

That really tore it for me. Is it why he did it? I don’t know. I’d like to ask him. I’ve actually tried to find the guy. I can’t find hide nor hair of him. I’m sure when he got back to the states and reflected on what he had done, it was not a good thing for him. But he’d done it. And he used these angry troops to get it done.

You know, I said, “That’s just bullshit,” and I still had two and a half, three months to do left in my tour, and I says … I really came to the conclusion, I says, “I don’t really have any options to quit,” even though I probably did of some sort, “but I’m gonna do what I can not to make sure we don’t kill anybody else. As long as we don’t get killed either.”

Also didn’t raise a stink because those other guys, if I … You know, it could’ve been very dangerous. I mean, we’re all armed, and any fire fight it’s not a good idea to have to also watch your back. You know. So, anyway, I got out of there alive. And there were other … we kept doing those things and putting people in trucks and helicopters and running them out of their homes. Burning down their houses and killing their livestock and poisoning their wells and you know. I mean, trying to force them out of their villages.

I still had two years left to do when I got out of Vietnam, right? I’d been in the Marine Corps for two years. I’d made sergeant in two years. I still had two years left, and I did not want to do it. When I got home on leave, there was a young man there who was … I think he was a year behind me in high school. Well, he had gotten a low number in the draft lottery which had shifted to a lottery by that point. And he was outfitting a van to go to Canada. Said, “I’m not going.” I said, “That’s a good idea,” and I told him a lot of this stuff, and he says, “Well you want to come along?” And I thought about it and I says, “you know, the worst is over. If I throw it all away and go to Canada now, I won’t get my GI bill, I’ll get a bad paper.” And so I decided to stay in the Marines and just do my two years.

So I got to Camp Lejeune which is on the east coast in September of ’70 or so. Something like that. There were a bunch of us. There were Vietnam veterans, and there were also people in the Marines at that point that I’d got to meet very quickly that had not been to Vietnam, did not want to go, weren’t gonna go.

So we sort of formed a little group, and we decided we were gonna print a newspaper. I started reading about the Vietnam war. I started reading Noam Chomsky. Anything I could get my hands on. So we decided to print the truth, and we figured that if we printed an underground newspaper, which there were many available, and we sort of started learning about these things, that the Marine Corps would fall. Still a bit naïve, I think. I’m proud enough of it, you know. I thought you know, it was a way for me to deal … I felt really bad about myself that I’d been so stupid and incurious that I had let myself go off into this war without ever having thought about it. And that I was very lucky to be alive, but there’s a little bit of survivor guilt, and there was a lot of guilt that I didn’t have the courage to stand up on the day that we killed those people.

I could have done nothing about having stopped them from being killed, but I could’ve said something. I could’ve looked the captain in the eye and say, “What the fuck are you doing?” I could’ve. It would’ve been dangerous, and I didn’t have the courage to do anything about it, you know? But I decided I’m not gonna be quiet anymore. You know? And I haven’t been quiet since.

So we put out an underground newspaper. We called it Rage. It was not an example of high journalism. A lot of it was reprints from other stuff, and the stuff that we wrote ourselves was not very good. I’d been a music major. I had some college. Nobody else … Some of the guys working on it hadn’t even finished high school. We were not journalists. You know? It doesn’t matter. But a better name for the paper would’ve been Rant. But Rage is good. We put out I think eight issues before I got out, and then there were people who put out about four more after I left before it finally folded.

There was an organization called The United States Serviceman’s Fund. I think that was largely put together by Jane Fonda and Howard Levine. I think, if I’m not sure. At the time, I had no idea where this money came from. I didn’t care. But if you sent them a paper, they’d send you $100.

We found in … We had a couple of vets who had been active in the military. They were in the Army. When they got out of the Army, we had contacted some people, and they decided … They came and visited us, and they decided to open up a book store. So United We Stand book store we opened up, and we managed to get some books together, and everything from Malcolm X to Ho Chi Minh’s collected writing to Howard Zinn to Noam Chomsky … and they opened up a storefront, and we published the paper out of that.

And they got a grant to buy a house because they figured if they didn’t buy a house they would get evicted, leased a storefront in Jacksonville. We had to go to Chapel Hill and get it printed at night ’cause there was a printer there that would, under the table, would do it for $300 print us 3,000 for $300. I’m still in the Marines. I’ve gotta polish my shoes and my brass, and I’m standing at attention, and I’m running … We’d go bivouacs and play like we were at war, and it was the dumbest, stupidest time, but I had this other thing going on, you know.

We’d load up my Volkswagen and usually one other car. And at 3:00AM, we’d go through the barracks and just droppin’ ’em off on people’s racks, right? And there was supposed to be fire watches. You’re supposed to have somebody awake all night long in these big squad bases, and sometimes it’d be somebody there, sometimes not, sometimes they didn’t care. Other times they’d say, “What’s this?” And you’d say, “Well here, read this.” You know, “What’re you doing here?” Read this.

And by the time that we got to the other end of the room, we’d hear this, “Hey, far out, man.” But sooner or later, somebody would turn us in, and you’d see … Way down there, there’s just rows of these big barracks, right. You’d see way down there the MP’s would show up at someplace we’d just been, right? We’d, “Okay, time to go.” So we’d leave and come back a week later and do the same thing in some of the rest of the barracks.

Took them a long time to find us. To find me, anyway. Once a friend of mine and I, we went down on the strip, you know the bars and jewelry stores and stuff in Jacksonville, and we’re passin’ ’em out on the streets, and the MPs arrested us. Which they’re not allowed to do. So they took us onto base, and the provost marshal, the major, by then we were barracks lawyers. We says, “Sir, we’re off duty on our own time. We have the right of free speech.” And arresting us and bringing us down here was not legal, and you might as well just let us go. “Well alright.” And I says, we want our papers back. And he says, “Well, I can’t give ’em back to you on base.” And I says fine, they can drop us off and hand us the papers. So we managed … but by then they knew who I was, and so then that became … that shifted somewhat, and they tried to write me up for AWOL when I wasn’t AWOL and they tried a bunch of times to get me in trouble.

So anyway, I finally go out, and I got my honorable discharge, and that day changed my life and made me realize I gotta grow up. You know, I have to become … This is real and this is serious, and I can’t just take orders from my government and expect that be the right thing. You’ve really gotta think it through for yourself.

I mean, a lot smarter people than me figured that out a lot easier than that, but it took that for it to get through to my consciousness. And it also … it was traumatizing. I mean, the whole war was on some level. If I had left Vietnam at those ten months I would been up in the jungles, I would’ve had a much different view of the war. It didn’t bring any issues up for me about my government or what I was doing. I mean, I may have come to an anti-war stance later by reading and talking to people who were smarter than me or had thought it through more carefully, but it came to me in a really … at a gut level that this is wrong. You know. And this is way wrong. And there is no way a wonderful … the number one country in the world should be behaving like this.

You know, and then there’s all the other issues that suddenly after that became really clear, I mean the amount of armaments that we dropped on that country and that we called in airstrikes for no reasons. And the vast amounts of armaments we had. One of the tactics that never made sense from the beginning was called H & I fire, harassment and interdiction.

So up on the DMZ, there were these series of interlocking fire bases. They called interlocking. That is if they’re on top of a hill and then some distance away there’d be another one, and the idea was that if this one was being attacked, they could drop artillery rounds close to the wire on this one because the heavy artillery can’t fire down the hill, right? Or it can’t even fire straight up and down, you know. I mean, you can do those little mortars and so forth, but if you want really serious artillery, you gotta have it from the next base.

So they had this series of interlocking firebases. There were three of ’em in particular. There was Argon and Kate’s an Russel. They were all over. There were many, many others, and I was on two of those, Kate’s and Russel, at various times. And they just kept the cannons going all night long. And what they would do is somebody would pick a trail, intersection of two trails out there somewhere, no idea what was there, but they’d just bomb the hell out of it. Just in case there might be somebody there.

Now, maybe that killed four or five people in the course of the war, maybe it didn’t, I don’t know, but what became clear to me ultimately was that mostly that was so they could keep the pipeline running. They wanted to … The people making the armaments in this country were making good money and they wanted to make sure we used up that armaments as fast as we could out the other side. You know? It was just a profit making … It was a tactic based on a profit motive.

Oh, that still goes on all the time. I mean, if you’ve got an army, you’ve gotta use it. If you’ve got a canon, you’ve gotta put it to work.

So I was eight years out of the Marines. I’d majored in GI bill for two of those years and learned carpentry and became a contractor and that sort of stuff and decided after eight years that those bastards owed me two more years of college, and also I realized I wasn’t making any money as a contractor. And I’d come to a crossroads where I either had to decide to become a better businessman or I had to do something else. So I decided to use that last two years of GI bill and go back to school and do something else which quickly became civil engineering.

It was a really healing experience for me to realize I can take these math classes and I can take these engineering classes, and I can actually do this. I can concentrate. I wasn’t able to concentrate very well before. I had so much internal friction. But forcing myself to get out of my head and into a math problem and succeed at it was really cool. Really cool. So I did that.

And towards my last year when I realized I’m done with this, I sort of went back to doing some activist stuff. And we … In 1985, Reagan was about to invade Central America, and I knew a lot of veterans. I was hanging out with veterans, and got active in that. And we formed an organization called Veterans Speakers Alliance in San Francisco, and what we decided we needed to do was educate the next generation of cannon fodder about what was going on, and the best way we could do that, we were almost all Vietnam veterans, was to talk about our own experiences.

So I’ve been talking about this since 1985, ’86. I mean, I ultimately had to set some limits. We would get sixty, seventy gigs in the spring every year for several years. And eventually most people got where they couldn’t do it anymore. Just to dredge up that bile. And for me, a couple of times we did like six classes a day where you’d do it six times. It was like that’s nuts. So I finally came to an understanding that I’m only gonna do it twice a day, and really only twice a week at most.

I developed a fairly set piece kind of thing which protected me emotionally but also kind of doesn’t affect the kids as much. It’s a slideshow, and I don’t talk about myself all that much. If the questions come up properly, I’ll talk about the day we blew away that village or those people in that village. But I actually don’t even talk about it if it doesn’t come up.

But I do talk about how the most industrialized country in the world with the most advanced military in the world in history was taking on this peasant country and doing severe damage to them. And they still beat us, you know? To their credit, they were fighting a very different war than we were, and it was their land. Just like it was our land in the 1770s and ’80s. That we were fighting for.

So we started out doing that, and eventually most of the people dropped away. There’s only two of us now still doing it. But that kind of got it started. Later we became a chapter of Veterans For Peace. Got involved in the veterans’ peace convoy where we took 50 trucks and buses down to Nicaragua, gave it to the peasants down there. Which was an interesting fight. Elliot Abrams stopped us at the border. Well, he was working for Reagan at the time. National security advisor or something like that. And they stopped us at the border. Wouldn’t let us leave the country with these buses. Saying, “Those are military tools,” you know.

And we finally got across anyway which is another story, but Trump just appointed him as the ambassador to Venezuela. He’s a war criminal. He’s a Class A war criminal, but he’s still around. So am I.

Paul, thank you for sharing your story with us today.

A Courage to Resist production in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. This year marks 50 years of GI resistance in and out of uniform. For many involved with this campaign to speak truth to power and keep alive the antiwar perspective on the US war in Vietnam. Visit VietnamFullDisclosure.org and CourageToResist.org for more information and to offer your support.