About the Soulful Veteran
expressing deep, usually sad emotions, emotional, with feeling, deep, moving, meaningful
someone who has been a soldier, sailor, etc. in a war; ex-soldier, battle-scarred, hardened
Young men go to war and come back damaged. War also damages non-combatants such as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers, friends and neighbors.
Few are spared mental and/or physical anguish and the suffering caused by war.
I was in boot camp near the end of my first summer of pain in the US Marines when we first heard of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.
President Lyndon Johnson used this incident as an excuse to escalate the war in Vietnam that President Kennedy had been ending before he was assassinated.
Did any Americans die in the Tonkin Incident? No
According to the Vietnamese government, more than a million NVA and Viet Cong troops died in the Vietnam War. More than 58 thousand US troops were killed and 153,452 wounded.
Other countries fought alongside the US in this war and also had KIA and WIA troops.
The US estimates that 65,000 North Vietnamese Civilians died between 1960-1975. The Vietnamese communist government disagrees and claims that the number was two million dead in all of Vietnam.
I believe the Communist numbers are closer to the truth. Consider that during one December 1971 bombing campaign of North Vietnam when Nixon was president, US bombers dropped 40 million pounds of explosives on North Vietnam.
What really started the war?
In 1961, there was a series of covert operations supported by the CIA that conducted coastal raids against North Vietnam. After the coastal attacks began, Hanoi lodged a complaint with the International Control Commission (ICC), which had been established in 1954 to oversee the terms of the Geneva Accords in an effort to avoid wars.
After the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution granting President Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country that was considered in danger of “communist aggression”.
In fact, the Tonkin Gulf Incident never happened.
In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified. It concluded that there might not have been any North Vietnamese naval vessels involved in the incident of August 4 that was used as the excuse to start the war.
The report stated, “In truth, Hanoi’s navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2.”
No attack happened on August 4.
In 1964, I had no political opinions. The Vietnam War changed that.
As a child, my mother and father never voted and politics was not a subject in the house. My father had a deep distrust of government and believed it was a waste of time to vote since politicians lied to gain votes then would do whatever they wanted to feed their egos and lust for power.
Serving in Vietnam and coming home with a bad case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and anger) changed my perception of politics.
Who is Lloyd Lofthouse today? Well, he lives in the belly of a Chinese-American family, and earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine.
While working days as an English teacher at a high school in California, he enjoyed a second job as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub.
Later, Lloyd earned an MFA in writing.
He now lives near San Francisco with his wife, with a second home in Shanghai, China. Lloyd has traveled to China often since his first trip in 1999.
He has also spent a decade researching China, and his first two novels are of China. Lloyd also writes iLook China, a Blog.
Lloyd’s first novel, My Splendid Concubine earned honorable mentions in fiction from the 2008 London Book Festival, 2009 San Francisco Book festival and the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival.
His second novel, Our Hart, won honorable mentions in fiction at the 2009 Nashville Book Festival, the 2009 London Book Festival the 2009 DIY Book Festival, and the 2009 Los Angeles Book Festival, and was a Finalist of the National Best Books 2010 Awards in Historical Fiction.
His short story, A Night at the Well of Purity (based on an event that took place while serving in Vietnam), was named a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.
Updated January 8, 2011