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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

War In The States

Chicago, Washington and more than 40 cities across she country blew up this past weekend. We wanted to write a complete article describing the scene throughout the country so that you guys (especially in Vies nam with that grim rag for reading, S&S) could get a real sense of what's been happening in the cities for the past few days. But since its now early Monday morning and the press deadline is in one hour, I have just put down some random thoughts I have now after roaming around the city during the week-end.

CHICAGO. APRIL 8 - This country is in real trouble. I say this because from my apartment on the North Side, I have watched the West Side burn for the last couple of days. Ever since King was shot, officials, newspapers, community "leaders", etc have been up tight end telling people to be cool and non-violent. Now that King is dead, all the politicians from Johnson on down (Daley included) have been on TV and radio constantly, praising and eulogizing King as a great man and a non-violent leader (most of these same officials never paid much attention to him or his demands for his people when he was alive). Also, radio and TV have been playing King's speeches on nonviolence all weak end...

I caught both Mayor Daley and Gen. Dunn, CG of the Illinois National Guard on the radio Saturday sometime; they both said that every thing was under control; however, they also said the situation had deteriorated to the point where 7500 Guards and 5500 cops couldn't handle it; therefore, the President was sending in 5000 Army troops from the 5th Mechanized at Carson and the 1st Armored at Hood. All together that's more manpower than the Marines had at Khe Sanh! Also heard a little about D.C. on Saturday; Troops were stationed behind the White House and a machine gun was set up on the steps of the Capitol Building....

Saturday morning I was on the fringes of the West Side looking around and rapping with guys on the National Guard perimeter. There were so many fires the Fire Dept. had to let buildings burn down because they didn't have enough men or equipment. The Guard had a machinegun set tip in a Woolworth's store that had already been pretty well looted....

Radio said battle hardened Army troops from Hood were bivouacked down in Jackson Park, on the South Side. I drove down there and talked with a few guys on guard. They seere from 8/16 Inf. One GI. who had been to the Nam. summed it up fairly well: "Once you'vee been there they figure you're the best they have, I guess that's why we're here. I counted every day in Nam until rotation; now I pull this. And I'm short too. No I don't like it; a few times in the two days I get the feeling I'm back in Nam''

Sunday night. I was talking to a GI from Hood on guard at a bivouack in a North Side park. which is next to a Southern white neighborhood: Daley probably thought the riots in black areas might act off the same thing in some of the white areas too. Two summers ago. I think, this North area had had a riot. Anyway. I was talking to this GI who said they had done nothing but sit in the park for two days; EMs weren't allowed to leave the park, but the officers. he said, were taking off all the time to see their girl friends and relatives who lived around Chicago. He was also telling me shout how on one of the days a buddy who was on guard had organized a bunch of neighborhood kids who were hanging around to throw rocks at a Sgt. for giving the guards a hard time about talking to civilians. Since the kids were civilian', the Sgt. couldn't do any thing about the rocks: so he split to another section of the park....

I heard one of those phone-in-and give-your-opinion shows on the radio Saturday. Some dumb bastard was shouting about how it was "too had'' Martin Luther King was killed, but "most of them are apes and"... he was cut off the air. Cats like that ought to be put away, or even better, sent to the Nam....

This scene really makes you wonder, America keeps looking for military answers. But if it hasn't worked in the Nam it sure as hell won't work here! What's going to happen? Are we going to call in airstrikes and artillery on our own people? Catch this, the 18th MP Bn. in the Nam and the Detroit cops are using the same model armored car.

This city is really a mess, fire-gutted buildings, looted stores. You get to he off the wall not to see where all this is heading. Every year it gets worse. We may end up drafting men to fight-not in the Nam, but in Atlanta. Chicago. New York and LA, Are we going to have black and white guvs who served together in the Nsm killing each other bark its the States?

Maybe the only answer is to make the corporations and civilian fat cats cough up some of their incomes to make America a decent place for everyone to live in. Hell, those of us who been to the Nam have seen how much money corporations and individuals are making on this war through juicy Government contracts, corruption and Government waste. But the point seems damn clear; America is going to be changed whether we like it or not. And if it isnt changed for the better, then we're headed for a racial civil war that will make what some of us have seen in the Nam look like a school picnic.

Vietnam GI, April 1968

 

 

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