"and it's 1,2,3 what are we fightin' for? don't ask me i don't give a damn, next stop is Vietnam, and it's 5,6,7 open up the pearly gates. Well there ain't no time to wonder why...WHOOPEE we're all gunna die." (Country Joe McDonald - Woodstock, July 1969)
Between 1961 and 1975, ten percent of the population of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos died. Of the three million American soldiers who went to war there, 153,329 came home seriously wounded and 58,869 did not come home at all. The history of this war should be so deeply carved into my country's conscience that it would never take this course again - and yet, as I write now in 2005, it has.
In 1969, as I turned 30, the war lay at the halfway mark like a scarlet backdrop to all our lives. The resistance movement was steadily growing and each day brought roller coaster news. In the same month as the high of Woodstock came the low of the Manson murders in California. The Chicago conspiracy trial of Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and others for inciting anti-war protests began that September.