Referring to Nick Gier’s commentary about Cambodia’s “Killing Fields” (May 4, 2017), I add my own story.
I was in Vietnam in 1966. As I landed in Bangkok for R&R, I was holding the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. The headline quoted President Johnson that the United States was not operating in Laos. While walking into the terminal, I started chatting with two fighter pilots in flight suits, who had just landed. I asked where they had been. Laos.
This was when the Administration and General Westmorland, the one who lied repeatedly about success in Vietnam, were conducting secret incursions into Laos and Cambodia. Apparently it was not a well-kept secret, but they still felt the need to play the public. Those lies came back to haunt them as protests against the war were gearing up.
I was green enough at that age to be shocked that my president would so boldly lie to me. The pilots met me for beers several times. They were quite casual and unruffled about the whole affair. I haven’t been green for a long God**** time.