Season still open on Vietnam vets.
In total contrast to Time's Person of the Year, veterans of the Vietnam War are still Hollywood's all-purpose villains. Instead of praise, they are vilified in Tinsel Town. TNT's Word of Honor, which aired in December, came up with a preposterous plot where a 1st Cavalry Division infantry squad in February 1972 massacres the French medical staff of a Red Cross hospital near Hue.
The producers managed to dredge up every negative stereotype about Vietnam, including My Lai, drugs, rape, suicide, violent rage, long hair, mutiny and mayhem. One of their own described the men in his unit as "neanderthals washed up as the dregs of society for the Army." The unit's CO was called a "disgrace and dishonor to the Army" by a current day officer.
Their defense for committing this "crime against humanity" was temporary insanity: The men did not believe in the war and had "lost their minds for their country" for one day, according to Hollywood's skewed script.
In a like-minded manner, newspapers have emphasized a 1967 atrocity. Headlines screamed: "Rogue GIs Unleashed Wave of Terror in Central Highlands," "Elite U.S. Unit Killed Hundreds of Vietnamese Civilians," "Slaughter in Vietnam Reported" and "Vietnam War Atrocities Weren't Punished." A New York Times story appeared Dec. 28.
On the upside, B.G. "Jug" Burkett, author of the 1998 book Stolen Valor, was recognized for countering such disparaging stories. He received the Army's Distinguished Civilian Service Award from former President George H.W. Bush at the Bush Library in College Station, Texas. "The people who served in Vietnam are the finest troops we ever produced," Burkett said.