What the Vietnam War was like w/Doug Rawlings | The Chris Hedges Report

Doug Rawlings found poetry in 1970 after returning from his tour of duty in the Vietnam War. Over fifty years later, he returned to Vietnam for the first time. In conversation with Chris Hedges, Rawlings looks back on his experience of the war with unflinching honesty on the many crimes of the US military, and shares some of the poems he’s written to process these experiences.

Doug Rawlings is a veteran of the Vietnam War who has published several volumes of poetry, including In the Shadow of the Annamese Mountains (2020). He is a cofounder of Veterans for Peace.

Studio Production: David Hebden, Adam Coley, Cameron Granadino
Post-Production: Adam Coley

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Author: phillyfinest369


32 thoughts on “What the Vietnam War was like w/Doug Rawlings | The Chris Hedges Report

  1. I have negative respect for anyone who joins the military. To knowingly and willingly kill for money? You're the scum of existence.
    (Slight exemption for those who were drafted, and those who enlisted in somewhat meaningful wars (WW2).)

  2. The way the foreign (Mexican) recruits were treated after honorable discharge is shockingly immoral, which seems to be the common thread of the US political/military bureaucracy.

  3. Sent to Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. I was 20 years old and spent 13 months on the DMZ with the Marines. Most of us hated being
    there. Morale was low. Back in the rear areas, fights between Black and White soldiers became commonplace. When my time was up, I was mustered out
    in a matter of days. "Thank you for your service" and a folder stuffed with papers ended my time with the Marines. Been back to Vietnam
    30 times trying to help people out. It helped but the bad memories are still with me.

  4. I rode a bus once with the photographer who took that picture… His wife had past away recently, I skipped an appointment and rode that bus to his stop where I talked with him for awhile.. the entire conversation was about his wife.
    He showed us what war was.. but his life was love.

  5. All this concern about being raped etc, is for people who don't know what life is about. The real problem in life it the end, and that's far more hard as to be raped. Then you face death, because your body is deteriorating almost every day. You become weaker and weaker and skinny, and awful, you watch yourself in the mirror turning into a total disaster and you don't do anything anymore. Also you don't see anyone because children have left and friends are dead already. Then you stay alone, your wife has Alzheimer and is incontinent. Every day you clean her bed because she peed at night. She was once beautiful, and all you see is just a joke and there is nothing left… Give me a brake.

  6. 29:14

    Blames "The people of Mexico" and not US imperialism for the fact that the impoverished, and benighted natives, who are in closest proximity to The Great Beast in Washington D.C., are literally 'under the thumb' (and constant threat of military invasion by) the USA. Again, we see the self-serving, and self-absorbed nature of these "Winter Peace-activists" who come back in their old age to profit from the war (again) while casting themselves as "victims' and playing into the hands (whether deliberate or note is irrelevant) of current US foreign/imperialist policy, in which Mexico has become the new "enemy du Jour" (or at least one among many, and quickly rising to the top of the list of places most likely to be "liberated" by the same sort of people who will undoubtedly write exculpatory humble-brag books of "pomes" all about themselves and the horrible things they did, and how it was all, in the end "transformative' in some way, and how the 'natives' were actually good ("peaceful") people after all.


  7. He wrote a book. About killing Vietnamese. Unless he's donating the proceeds to Vietnamese victims of US imperialism, he's just profiting (again) from their suffering and his actions contributing to that.

  8. Not a Vietnam veteran. I did serve in germany. It sucked. The locals hated us.we were kids and we knew nothing. We were always threatened to be send to Vietnam ,if we got out of line.
    I learn to hate. I learned to hate the military. I now hate my country for all the evils over the years we abused other countries.

  9. In all these types of interviews Hedges could speak for hours and hours about his own war experiences, but he never encroaches on the interviewee's time. Brilliant and revelatory as always.

  10. Here to comment on Mr. Hedges' latest substack ("Palestinians Speak the Language of Violence Israel Taught Them") where only paid subscribers can comment…I once really appreciated this man's contributions, his moral countenance, even had the opportunity to meet him once, and to attend a church where he sermonized. But I think his accumulated war traumas have brought him now to a place of sickness, as he appears to be losing his bearing, turning to the dark side…Here is some accounting for this appraisal:
    Where Hedges once spoke truth to power and mainstream media, he now joins the ranks of current leftist/progressive MSM coverage of the Middle East in reducing the Arab population of the region to a passive lumpen mass stirred to violence by their evil Zionist overlords. A classic and simplistic anti-Semitic trope if ever there was one.
    Hedges chooses to omit for some reason that Islam is the only world religion that was spread almost entirely by military conquest, from its inception. This is a fact that actual Muslims are quite happy to boast about. Thus, warfare has a very different meaning for them than it does for Christians or Sikhs or Jews or Buddhists. To suggest that violence and warfare-at-any-costs is somehow alien to that culture is either a demonstration of historical ignorance or typical leftist propaganda. Since Hedges knows his history, well…what to make of this?
    It is truly concerning that Israel has developed into a harsh, colonizing nation, under the guise of a Middle East democracy, and the nation is undoubtedly responsible for egregious and sectarian violence in the name of controlling their domain. But it is also true that, given the chance, the Arab League would gladly decimate this nation and massacre its population en mass. And then they would celebrate with a month of dancing in the streets and conceive of new Holy Days marking the occasion. Hedges selectively chooses to inform his essay with a slate of historical anecdotes and quotations while belying this little ditty, this actual here-and-now present and undeniable premise of what would amount to Holocaust II.
    I have a dream:
    I think it's high time that anyone who is mature, caring, thoughtful and smart takes the self-initiative to "check-in" and introspectively review their own internal black/white parodies.
    We should leave the over-simplified propaganda-informed outlooks to those with intellectual deficits. Sadly, Chris has somehow joined their ranks, it seems. To top it off, he aligns with the artist known as Mr. Fish, known for his blasphemous anti-Christian illustrations. The man has clearly lost his way.

  11. Never apologize for saving people from the existential threat of Communism. To all the military veterans from USA and Allies having participated in Korean War and Vietnam War, thank you for your service for trying to contain the spread of the deadly and toxic Communism which, like a infectious plague, was and still is a stain on humanity!

  12. Rawlings says the government use bodies and then discards them – and many vets are seen homeless, hugging their flag, their security blanket in bleak reality, and yet idealizing their abuser.
    This is pattern of the narcissist and the codependent.

  13. Little butterfly….. that's just weird and f'd up….Con Buom is Vietnamese for Butterfly….the reduplicative word "Boum Boum" is used as a euphemism for sex.

  14. The Vietnam war was a picnic for the Americans, compared to what the war was like for the Vietnamese. American terrorists fly around the globe causing havoc and destruction then fly back to an pristine homeland.

  15. Hey, Chris, what do you think about Peter DOW
    Becoming campaign manager of cornel West. And now he's left the green party and running as an independent. Doesn't seem like hes serious . Do you still endorse him? You really need to address this issue.

  16. Thank you so much for this interview.
    Doug and I are close in age – I'm 75 and from the UK.
    The Vietnam war was part of my twenties.
    Martin Luther King was my mentor in life.
    Violence is never a solution.
    Over time I have grown to understand the real purpose of the Vietnam war and every other proxy/regime change war and the machinations of the military industrial complex – it's a slow process of gaining understanding of the world you live in and who is trying to rule.

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