ANNOUNCEMENT/////////This begins a little Legacy Project from the war in Vietnam (and Cambodia.) It will digitize and upload one man's experiences and observations, especially those recorded in the very controversial (and independent) column, SAIGON NOTES, and the earlier series, ETCETERA that appeared in the Saigon Post. These comprise over 150 articles under the byline 'DANIEL CAMERON.' Later I may add some of the "well-behaved" reportage done for NEWSDAY, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES and finally for CBS after its entire staff fled in the famous panic during the 'Story of the Decade,' i.e. the Fall of Saigon (including the in-house story that remains in the CBS Memory Hole to this day.)
In general the period covered ranges from late 1969, when President Nixon began to 'Vietnamize' the Democrats' war, gradually phasing out US forces, to the fateful Spring of 1975, when most Americans were gone, Nixon had been Watergated out of office, and Congress refused emergency aid to the South Vietnamese as Hanoi's Communist Army rolled South, less than two years after the famous Paris Ceasefire and Peace Accords of Nixon's Henry Kissinger and Hanoi's Le Duc Tho.
The digitizing project will start today with the very first SAIGON NOTES (September 28, 1970) reproduced at http://www.gringoman.com / These re-printings will be somewhat redacted for clarity. The originals are full of typos. (Unfortunately, the Chinese typesetter sweating in his underwear in a wartime basement did not have even a GED in English.)
Note to ideologues of any stripe: In Saigon everyone read these columns and not a few were offended, especially members of the crack Saigon press corps, like NEWSWEAK. If you are not offended right away, just be patient. Of course I wouldn't write exactly like this today, being slightly more civilized. I certainly wouldn't be so mean to a poor Gloria Emerson, late of the NY Times. But the historical record compels me, in the main, to stick to the original, even when it offends even me. (Typo-cluttered originals are microfilmed somewhere or other by someone or other.)
1970. NOTICE: 'Saigon Notes' by Daniel Cameron makes its debut in The Saigon Post starting Monday, September 28. The columns will be a regular feature on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The views expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Saigon Post.
ENTER SIR ROBERT
Great Britain's distinguished Southeast Asia man, Sir Robert Thompson, advisor to President Nixon and author of NO EXIT FROM VIETNAM, returned to Saigon recently.
Discreet, as ever.
EXIT JAMES STERBA
James Sterba of the NY Times is probably one of the finest young reporters in Vietnam, Now that he's going home very soon, we hear that he's spending much more time at the pinochle table than in briefing rooms. Sterba completed a very good article recently about the G.I. use of marijuana and drugs in Vietnam. But persons who read both claim that he may have been surpassed by 'STEEL POT IN A MARIJUANA CONVOY' which appeared in the little old Saigon Post, September 18 and 19. Sorry 'bout that, Jim. But nobody will hear about it Stateside, or in JUSPAO's Vietnam Round-up. No sweat.
DIAMOND DADDY DILEMNA
Now that a Stateside diamond salesman is going to take over The Overseas Weekly,the outfit's local staff may have to do some uncomfortable soul=searching. Indications are that Diamond Daddy plans to castrate the hard-hitting publication, turning it into a respectable eunuch which he feels will make friends with military commanders and money with G.I.s The current staff may have to go along with Diamond Daddy or face unemployment. In such a dilemna, what would you all do, buckeroos?
CLYDE AND CHARLEY
According to senior North Vietnamese defectors, the word coming down from COSVN headquarters to all echelons and branches is: economize, economize, economize. The Allied sweeps into Cambodia and the closing of the Sihanoukville port to Red supplies have painfully damaged Red logistics. The problem is compounded by China's unwillingness to let Russian supplies enter North Vietnam through China, which may quadruple the Kremlin's transportation costs. It's reported that in An Xuyen and Dinh Tuong Provinces of South Vietnam, Red forces are being directed to use their AK-47's only under specific orders. The non-automatic weapon is now the common weapon, using less ammo.
FOR MISS GLORIA EMERSON
"The concept of trying to help others is an alien one to most Vietnamese, who distrust such attempts."
This New Yorker insight is from a September 14 NY Times article by Miss Emerson. The article was about social welfare or charity projects in Vietnam. Miss Emerson's smug, reckless generalization about Vietnamese character was either deliberate slander or sheer obtuseness. We prefer to think she is intelligent (aren't NY Timers by definition intelligent?) so we'll suggest slander. We don't demand unusual perception and insight from US correspondents, but we hope for basic education. Gloria, dear, maybe you were just confusing "trying to help others" with the concept of organized charity? Maybe you know that organized charity is a peculaiarity mainly of the Anglo-American world? You've been around a little, haven't you? Most of the world, dear, sees the practice of philanthropic NY socialites in a slightly different way than you may see them. Your description may get by with New york provincials, but what about others?