Zeitzeuge

Heute vor 40 Jahren fanden in den USA die letzten groß angelegten Friedensmärsche gegen den Vietnamkrieg statt, das sogenannte Moratorium. Dabei kam es u.a. vor dem Weißen Haus zu einer Massendemonstration, die beinahe ein weltweites Desaster ausgelöst hätte. Durch Courage in den Reihen der Sicherheitskräfte konnte dies verhindert werden. Neulich hatte ich das Vergnügen, einen Zeitzeugen kennenzulernen und veröffentliche dessen Erinnerungen mit seiner ausdrücklicher Genehmigung, auch der zur Nennung aller Namen.

I was a Sp4 in the 1/17th Airborne Cavalry of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC in 1969… I was in the Army from 1967 to 1970.
During the weekend of the Moratorium, the 82nd Airborne Division was put on alert to go to Washington, DC, to ‘police’ the protest. Leaves and passes were canceled and the Division was ‘briefed’. We were told that the Moratorium was a cover for a violent government takeover by communists that was to be suppressed by any means necessary. We were told we were to go to the Moratorium with loaded weapons and if we felt it necessary to open fire, we would not be held responsible.

To the soldiers, after years of lies about the Viet Nam War, this meant a bloodbath against the protesters was the intended result of the action. At first, one soldier refused to accept a weapon, then more, and after a few hours, it was apparent that the soldiers, many of them Viet Nam Veterans, would not go and obey orders.

Personally, I refused the order at the door to the armory room and was told to go up to my platoon bay and wait. I did so, expecting to be alone in the bay and ultimately be either jailed for life or be killed for refusing orders. At the time, I had decided I would die for my country, if necessary, so I would as easily die when refusing an illegal order. As I sat there, more and more soldiers came up, without weapons, and we sat and played cards, not talking about it, all of us afraid but apparently resolute. I had decided I would rather go to prison than obey an order I consider against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which I had taken a vow to uphold. I was ordered to go down to see the Captain, and upon entering the office, I was confronted by a room lined with angry NCOs [Unteroffiziere] and Officers, with my Commanding Officer sitting at a desk.

He asked me if I had refused to take a weapon. I responded by reciting the Constitution that says that people have the right to assemble for regress of grievances, word for word, surprisingly doing it from memory, an astounding act I didn’t know I could do. My CO then told me I had to obey orders and THEN protest those orders. I responded by saying that ultimately it was every individuals responsibility to decide what they will do, regardless of other people’s orders, that I would not go to Washington and kill Americans exercising their rights regardless of orders.

We argued awhile, my demeanor exactly as expected by a soldier talking to his commanding officer, but making clear to him that my decision, regardless of what is done to me as a result, was not going to change under any intimidation. Finally he ordered me up to my bay, saying as I left that he was sorry that the Viet Nam war was not a ‘declared war’ so he could take me out and shoot me. At that point, I was willing to die for the People of the USA if it was decided to kill me, even if carried out by my own Army. I also decided I would be a pacifist from then on, a decision I have upheld since that day. War, regardless of reason, is obviously social insanity committed by an insane institution.

More soldiers were called down and returned. I have no idea what was said to them, because nobody talked about it. There was no ‘conspiracy’, no ‘subversion’, no agenda… it was completely spontaneous and unplanned, before, during, and after. I expected the news to carry the story, but apparently nobody spoke to the press about it. I am not, nor have ever been, a believer or member of any communist or any other ‘ism’. I consider them all equally stupid.

After hours of waiting, play cards and not talking about anything but cards, our NCO came up all smiles and we were given our leaves and passes back, and it was as if the incident never happened. Years later, I heard that the USSR had warned Nixon that if he dropped a nuke on Hanoi, the USSR would consider it a ‘first strike’ and retaliate massively. The Generals told Nixon it was a bluff, so Nixon ordered a nuclear bomb dropped anyway. Apparently the 82nd had to then tell Nixon that the soldiers would not come to Washington, where he was planning to announce the strike from the Oval office, -to be seen as ‘Presidential’-. Knowing that such an announcement might well cause the protesters to come through the fence of the White House like a Tsunami, Nixon recalled the B-52 and the bomb was not dropped. Under the Freedom of Information Act, I heard that the USSR considered the incident as important to them as the Cuban Missile Crisis was to Kennedy and was planning to retaliate just as they had warned. I believe that the world exists now because of the soldiers of the 82nd refusing, en mass, an illegal order by the President of the United States.

– (William Alan Fangohr aka Roan Carratu aka Worldmind,
mit der Nummer RA16961035 im Juni 1967 in die Armee aufgenommen und ehrenvoll entlassen im Juni 1970)

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