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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
The Intrepid Four Speak For Themselves
Four American sailors jumped ship Oct. 23 when their carrier 'The Intrepid' was in Yosuka, Japan. The men sought the aid of a Japanese peace organization which assisted them in making a filmed interview. The four then flew to the Soviet Union which aided them in finding asylum in the traditionally neutral Sweden where they intend to actively work for peace. The following are statements made by the four.
We four -- Craig Anderson, John Barella, Richard Bailey and Michael Lindner -- are against all aggressive wars in general and are against the American aggression In Vietnam in particular. We oppose the continuing increase of military might of the USA in Vietnam and other countries of Southeast Asia.
We consider it a crime for a technologically developed country to he engaged in the murder of civilians and to be destroying a small developing, agricultural country.
We believe that the Vietnamese people themselves should determine their own fate
We are In favor of the total withdrawal of all forces of the USA from Southeast Asia.
The following circumstances preceded our decision to leave military service. The four of us met on hoard the American Carrier the 'Intrepid' in September of i967, which at that time was located in the Gulf of Tonkin
Michael Lindner, Dick Bailey and John Barella were working on the catapult of the carrier.
Michael met Craig Anderson during work, whom he afterwards introduced to his two friends.
Each of us had own ideas with respect to the war, and our negative relationship to it immediately became the theme of our discussions.
After a stay of an entire month on fighting position in the Gulf Of Tonkin, the 'Intrepid' landed in Japan for a week's rest. The four of us received leave on the 23rd of October; and changing our military uniforms for civilian dress we boarded a train heading for Tokyo
We were quite aware of the consequences which might result from our action.
On the 24th of Oct. we appealed to some Japanese who in turn informed the Japanese peace movement of our situation. After we met with representatives of this movement and discussed with them how we could most safely express our views publicly. After this we decided that we would do this in the form of a filmed press conference. We then discussed questions concerning means of leaving Japan safely.
(signed) Craig Anderson. John N. Barella, Richard D. Bailey, Michael A. Lindner-17th of November, 1967"
The following is from an interview with a correspondent of a foreign newspaper--translated by THE ALLY)
Question: Could you speak about yourself, how you came to your decision?
Barella: I am rather young. At the time of my entrance into the navy I knew very little about the Vietnamese War, mostly because at that time in America it was a so-called question' and not so many people were protesting it.
Up until the time I was drafted I led the life of an ordinary young American, When my time for being drafted came I decided to enter the navy. At that time the military escalation of the U.S. in Vietnam had not yet begun, and it was because of this that the Vietnamese war did not bother me very much.
I served for one year in the navy within the bounds of the U.S... On the 11th of May our carrier left its base in the state of Virginia and headed for the region of Vietnam. Within a month and a half we were in the region of the Tonkin Gulf. So it is. possible to say that I took part directly in the activities of the American fleet in this maim for about six months.
Question: Tell us. What was the final push that caused you to openly oppose the Vietnamese War.
Barella: In the depths of my soul I had considered the Vietnamese War to be Immoral and unjust even before this decision, but while serving on the carrier I became even more convinced of this. I saw how every day hundreds of airplanes laden with many tons of bombs, flew from the deck, and knew that they were directed towards the murder of people. I was convinced that the U.S. had no right to be in that region.
Question: If you had remained on the carrier you would have been able to return home rather soon 'with honor'. This would have been an easier path. Why did you take the decision which you took?
Barella: I acted as a person in my position should act, who realizes that the war of the U.S. in Vietnam is immoral and unjust. Yes, it is true that I had already served three quarters of my duty and could have returned home around the first of January.
Question: Had you seen any pictures, movies which showed the results of the American bombardment in Vietnam?
Barella: Yes, I had seen Illustrations from American papers and also several photographs which were made from air reconnaissance over the bombed regions. This was really a terrible business. I know that the war in Vietnam will continue for a long time. Insisting on their independence, the Vietnamese people will resist the attack of the U.S. I believe that the time has come to halt this war and allow the people to live in peace.
Question: How did the military explain to you the aims of the U.S. in Vietnam?
Barella: They told us that we had to fight to ‘stop Communism'. They told us that we are 'defending freedom'. But is this really defending freedom? This is the violation of the freedom of people, it is massive murder.
(Anderson enters the conversation) Anderson: I do not think that the majority of men actively are for the war; but rather, fearing the punishments, the majority of them prefer to remain quiet and 'to do their job'.
This personal indifference is one of the main reasons which caused us to decide upon our action. We would like to spur those who are beginning to understand the injustice of the Vietnamese War.
(Lindner speaks about himself) Lindner: I did not make this decision until I was sent to Vietnam. A year or so ago I was not too much concerned with what was going on. ‘Intrepid’ was in Vietnamese Waters. I saw with my own eyes the enormous quantity of bombs that were being hurled on the Vietnamese. The scene was staggering. I saw how the 'Sky Hawks' and 'Sky Rangers' were continually taking off laden with bombs. At times they did not return. All this caused me to think about the nature of the war. I understood that thousands of people were dying. These airplanes were wiping villages from the face of the earth, destroying cities, burning children
with napalm. This was really murder and impossible to justify.
Question: I gather from your declaration in Japan your your father is a military man?
Bailey: Yes, he Is in the military. He is a commander but is now in the reserves.
Question: I would think that, in as much as your father is a military man, it would be even more difficult for you than for your friends to take an anti-war decision?
Bailey: No. I would not say so. Although my father did influence me to join the navy. When I was younger I spent much time with him; and, it seemed to me that service in the navy was a rather fine occupation, respected by the people. But when I served for a while, I became convinced that service in the American navy is a dulling occupation which turns a man into a beast.
Question: Would you may that your anti-war decision was formulated already before the army or rather in the process of service inn the navy, participating in the war?
Bailey: I had not thought. about all of this until the middle of 1966 when I found myself on the shores of Vietnam. However, my work on the carrier was essentially very easy. The first time I was there I did not think very much about what I was doing.
And only this year, it you please, did I begin to understand that I was taking part in a dirty, unjust war, I would say that the real split occurred after May of this year when we were in the U.S. and saw the demonstrations, massive uprisings of protest against the Vietnamese War. I thought: apparently these people had some reason for protesting. Returning, I once again served on the carrier, on the 'catapult helping to launch planes. I began to understand that I was taking part in the criminal murder of people. In as much as I helped launch these planes loaded with bombs, I participated in the killing. These attitudes of mine were noticed and I was subjected to unofficial punishment and actually removed from the command directly engaged is the launching of airplanes. But I decided that I would leave the carrier altogether and would not in any way participate in the war, And when our carrier cast anchor at the naval base of Yosuka, Japan I decided that the time had come to act. I hoped that my act would have an effect on a great many people Particularly I hope that it will have an affect on the youth of the USA and other countries so that our generation must struggle against this war rather than obediently participate in it because of compulsion.
Question: As far as I know none of you belong to any political organization nor to any political movement?
Answer: Yes, that is entirely correct.
Question: Did you hear about the three American soldiers -- Samas, Johnson and Moore -- who refused to fight in Vietnam and were thrown into prison?
Answer. Yes, we heard of them. We also heard about other instances or protest of American servicemen against this dirty war; about Captain Levy, for example. These people rose up despite the threat of prison and repression. This, of course had an influence on our decision, They rose up and openly told the military machine and the government that they would not participate in the criminal war. We know that many people are of the same opinion but they lack the decisiveness to reveal it openly.
Question: What are your future plans?
Answer: We asked for help in traveling to other countries. We want to learn, work and give our energies to the struggle against the immoral and inhuman war of the USA in Vietnam; and, will continue until it is brought to an end.”
The Ally, no. 1