The Ravens

About a week ago I finished reading The Ravens, a book about a secret war my dad was involved in while in Vietnam (technically, the Ravens flew in Laos). It was strange to read about the program, especially when he was mentioned a few times and there was a picture that I’m pretty sure showed him even though the faces/bodies weren’t listed. There’s so much I don’t know about my father’s life

and I’m not sure that I’d know the answers to the questions that I have now since I didn’t get them while he was still alive. I remember riding in the truck with him and trying to ask him about what it was like to fly fighters, what it was like to be involved in Vietnam, but I don’t remember the answers. I remember being unsatisfied, but whether that was with his answers or with myself for not asking what I wanted to know, I don’t know.

(In other news, I’m experimenting with different weblogs to find one that fits me like a glove. or a condom. either one. any suggestions?)

And the book was written in a praising, somewhat hand-off manner–granted, it was published by the Edgar Allen Poe Society, nee the Ravens–but still seemed to hold a lot of truth in it. At least it tasted like truth. Perhaps only because it fits with what I want to believe about both the Vietnam war, that “we” the people, the military, etc. wanted to help a nation(s, including Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand) that was being invaded/manipulated by outside forces, but that the US political apparatus eventually got in the way. Or was in the way from the beginning.

(About a weblog, not a glove or condom)

The way the French and the U.S. supported then abandoned Laos is a horrible story, but not that surprising considering the myriad ways the US has betrayed the Native Americans, breaking treaty after treaty. It’s surprising because I want to believe that this sort of immoral (amoral?) behavior is in the past and that the country is better, that we are better now. But with what’s happening in Iraq, what is better? People want to call back the troops, but that’s simply abandoning those in-country we’ve promised aid to, who are depending on us, and a withdrawal will fix our problem, sure, in that we won’t have any more soldiers die, but we’re the ones who created the problem in the first place.

(Okay, maybe a condom)

What seems so moving about the Ravens’ story is that they were so enwrapped in the fight to save Laos and, specifically, to help the Hmong who were defending their homelands. Eventually the US pulled out and the Ravens were forced from the country as well, but the Hmong had to stay, having nowhere else to go, and fought a war against an enemy with superior numbers and superior arms and the entire might of China bolstering them up. The North Vietnamese outlined a plan for Hmong genocide, but we had saved ourselves.

Anyway, it’s a good book if you like history (military) and/or want a perspective on a war similar to that in the Middle East.

I wish my dad wasn’t dead.

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