Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Year of the Vietnam War Movie

In Vietnam, 1978 was the Year of the Horse; in Hollywood it was the year of the major Vietnam War movie. While the Vietnamese were guided by ancient Chinese astrology, movie moguls simply posed the question, Will it work at the box office? There had been earlier films on the war, but all forgettable other than John Wayne’s super patriotic, pro-war production Green Berets (1968).

Hollywood’s year of the big war movie saw not one but four major productions, three of which remain memorable. At the Academy Awards, two of the three took 9 Oscars between them. Among other honors, Coming Home won the coveted Best Actor, Best Actress categories, while The Deer Hunter took home the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. The United States may have lost the Vietnam War, but Hollywood won at the box office for telling the story.

After WWII, war flics flooded American movie palaces. After all, we had won, and there were heroic tales to tell. Vietnam was a very different saga; it became our long national nightmare.  In ’73 we threw in the towel and pulled out, and two years later in ’75 the Republic of South Vietnam was swept away in a decisive North Vietnamese victory. The idea of a film about our disastrous experience in Southeast Asia was taboo among major movie studios. As one exec put it, “No American would want to see a picture about Vietnam.”

As public memory of the conflict was to be relegated to the dustbin of history, likewise the men who fought the war came home to an indifferent reception at best, while at worst a scornful one for ‘losing’ a war. America largely turned its back on the returning veterans who had sacrificed and survived as the disposable point men of the benighted war policy of three US presidents.

Even when popular support for the Vietnam War was at high tide, the government did not show much consideration for the men who finished their tours and came home. The Veterans Administration (VA), the agency charged with helping ex-military personnel, was underfunded, an immense social problem as tens of thousands continuously mustered out with severe injuries to body or mind, not to mention serious drug problems.

I witnessed the budgetary neglect firsthand.  When in ’69 brother Jeff Sharlet turned to the VA for medical help for a problem which had first arisen when he served as a ‘military advisor’ in Nam in ’64, the enormous VA hospital in Miami practiced good medicine, but was shorthanded. Jeff’s problem was soon diagnosed as a terminal condition, and he spent his last months in the facility’s eight-man wards.*

By day there were caring doctors and nurses around, but at night when they assumed the medicated patients were asleep, the place was nearly deserted with one overworked nurse on duty for an entire floor of dozens of men. Fortunately our mother worked floors below in the hospital’s accounting division and could occasionally help the nurses with Jeff. One evening after work she fortuitously arrived just in time as Jeff had a crisis while the night nurse was busy with a serious case at the other end of the floor.

No welcome homes, no parades, no thanks for their service, and the government agency responsible for their welfare hobbled by a shortage of funds – no wonder it was an army of bitter young men who returned from the killing fields of Southeast Asia to a society that just wanted to forget the whole thing. It was in this unpromising environment that several movie companies took the chancy step of ‘remembering’ the war and beginning in earnest the long process of telling its story.

The first Vietnam War film to hit the theaters in early ’78 was Jane Fonda’s Coming Home, a compelling drama seen through the eyes of a military wife. The film is set on the California coast, spring ’68. Fonda’s husband, Bruce Dern, is a Marine infantry officer serving in Nam. With nothing to do during his tour, Fonda volunteers at the local VA hospital where she encounters Jon Voight, a young Marine back from the war, a paraplegic who becomes fiercely antiwar.

Fonda and Voight have an affair. Dern returns suffering from as yet undiscovered Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), learns of the infidelity, flies into a rage, but then in deep despair commits suicide in a stunning closing scene. In the striking blue and red Marine dress uniform, he goes down to the beach, disrobes, carefully folds his uniform in a pile – and walks into the sea. The film did well in the reviews, was feted at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and, by the industry’s critical criterion, scored with a gross 10x the cost of production.

      ♫ There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down **

Coming Home’s back story was equally interesting. Jane Fonda had been a big-time antiwar activist in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, lending her passion, talent, and wealth to the cause. With the exception of one serious lapse of judgment while touring North Vietnam, she was a positive force in the GI movement against the war. In the course of her activism, Fonda created the Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC) which also doubled as her film production company. On the hustings she met Ron Kovic, the ex-Marine paraplegic whose antiwar autobiography, Born on the Fourth of July (1976), was a best seller; he gave her an idea that became the genesis of the script for Coming Home, IPC’s eventual first feature film.***

Fonda speaking against the war, Miami, August 1972

Six years later the film was ready to shoot. Unable to get Pacino, Nicholson, or Stallone to play her Marine officer husband, Fonda called on her old pal from They Shoot Horses Don’t They (1969), Bruce Dern who played the role to perfection, garnering a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the process. Fonda’s antiwar colleague, Jon Voight, won the role of the paraplegic which brought him the Oscar for Best Actor. Fonda herself won the Oscar for Best Actress. Later, when the VA conducted a survey of veterans asking which film best represented them, Coming Home was one of two selected.

Later in ’78, the more controversial The Deer Hunter, which shared the Academy Awards honors with Fonda’s film, appeared to much acclaim and box office success. A very long and beautifully shot film, it featured Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage as three young steel workers in western Pennsylvania in ’67. Great buddies, they’ve all been drafted and are about to go off to war, so they go off hunting and pub-crawling together.

From left:  DeNiro, Savage, & Walken

But first, Savage gets married in a magnificent nearly hour-long scene of a Russian Orthodox wedding, the faith of the three pals. Then they’re off to Vietnam as infantrymen, engaged in heavy combat during which they’re captured by the Viet Cong (VC), the southern guerrilla force. In the film’s signature scene and most controversial moment, the three GIs are made to play Russian roulette, the deadly game of holding a pistol to one’s head and pulling the trigger. Only one bullet is loaded in the six-shot chamber, so it’s the ultimate game of chance as to whether the lone bullet will have your name on it.

They survive the game, manage to overcome their captors, and escape. In the process, Savage is severely injured and Walken is traumatized. Only DeNiro is rescued unscathed. Their war over, Savage returns home partially paralyzed, Walken goes off his head and commits suicide, and only DeNiro survives intact, but now bitter and disillusioned with the war. For his sterling performance as Nick, Walken took the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Controversy swirled around the Russian roulette scene. There was no evidence that any such thing ever occurred in the course of the fighting. With the war just three years in the past, there was strong feeling among some critics that the director, Michael Cimino, had introduced a false note. There was also criticism of the depiction of the enemy because the script had them wantonly killing South Vietnamese civilians in the midst of battle, ironically the very kind of atrocity we subsequently learned some US troops engaged in, the My Lai Massacre being the worst, but by no means the sole incident.

Whether the director and producers included those scenes merely as dramatic cinematic devices or to demonize the VC (the way war films made during WWII used to depict the ‘Japs’), out of concern as to how the movie-going public would receive a war film so soon after the unpopular conflict was over, we may never know. Apropos America’s war against Japan, however, the war scenes in Deer Hunter were shot in Thailand, and movie trivia fans no doubt found it ironic that the VC prison camp where DeNiro and buddies were mistreated was on the River Kwai, made famous by The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), the memorable WWII film.

Parsing the intentions of movie makers can be a fool’s errand. Whatever the reasons for the depiction of the VC, Cimino won the Oscar for Best Director and The Deer Hunter took the gold for Best Picture. It doesn’t get much better than that in Hollywood studio land.

The year 1978 saw two other serious films about the war, but I’ll talk briefly about only one of them, the one I used in an undergraduate course I taught on the Vietnam War. Several years after Saigon fell in April ’75 bringing the conflict to an end, I introduced a new course on the war as a kind of memorial to my brother Jeff who died in that cavernous Miami VA hospital in June ’69. In addition to several paperbacks I used Jeff’s GI antiwar paper, Vietnam GI, as course readings, and, when it became available, I had the students view Go Tell the Spartans, a lesser known gem of a war film.

Spartans, as I’ll call it for short, starred Burt Lancaster as a senior military advisor in South Vietnam in 1964, the period of the low-intensity shadow war in which Jeff had served. In fact, the film was set near the road from Danang on the South China Sea into Cambodia, not too far to the southwest of Jeff’s base at Phu Bai just below the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone.

Lancaster, who plays Major Barker, was in command of a small mixed force at a fortified camp deep in the bush with outlying outposts. An old soldier who had served in WWII and Korea, the major knew the situation was hopeless. Between the thoroughly corrupt regional South Vietnamese army commander who was selling munitions to the enemy on the side and his post’s indefensible position, Lancaster understood it was just a matter of time before the VC launched an unstoppable attack. The attack came at the major’s weakest point, a lightly manned outpost near an old  military cemetery from France’s Indochina war (1945-54) which had ended ingloriously at Dien Bien Phu.

Learning his men at the outpost were about to be overrun, Lancaster requested reinforcements, but was denied and ordered to evacuate the US troops by chopper, leaving the South Vietnamese soldiers to their fate. The major managed to get all his men out but one who refused to abandon the allies. Lancaster stayed behind with the lone GI. As the doomed defenders faced the VC onslaught, the camera drew the viewer’s eye for the final time to the sign over the entrance to the French cemetery, "Etrangers, dites aux Spartiates que nous demeurons ici par obeisance a leurs lois” (Strangers, go tell the Spartans that we remain here in obedience to their orders), the reference being to the 300 Spartan warriors who died fighting against the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.

Burt Lancaster as Major Barker in Spartans

The film’s message – if the United States had heeded the futile experience of the French against the Viet Minh, we would not have been there. But of course, France had performed abysmally in WWII and then had been defeated first by the Vietnamese and later the Algerians, so what did they know. So went the thinking among our military technocracy with the hubris of a superpower unblinking in face of Santayana’s aphorism, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The back story to Spartans was as slender as its budget. Fortunately, Lancaster, the only recognizable actor, was working below fee because he found the script brilliant. In fact, when the film’s budget was exhausted and the script remained unfinished, Lancaster ponied up $150,000 to complete the movie. Although it received excellent reviews, Spartans had only a limited release and never found an audience. Another reason for its lack of box office success was that Grease, the highest grossing film of ’78, starring John Travolta, was released the very next day.

All three Vietnam War films were considered antiwar, although obviously Coming Home most explicitly warranted that description. Though The Deer Hunter in its Pennsylvania scenes (most of the film) superbly depicted working class life in a small blue-collar town, some think it overly praised as a film, especially as a war film. In retrospect, Go Tell the Spartans is arguably the best and most enduring film of the group, succinctly displaying the strategic and tactical futility of America’s war in Vietnam – not to mention the moral vacuity of the entire undertaking.

*For a brief account of conditions in other VA hospitals, see J Fonda, My Life So Far (2006), 349.

** For What It’s Worth by Stephen Stills, 1966.
***For a study of Fonda’s antiwar activism, see M Hershberger, Jane Fonda’s War (2005).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mission to Paris

Joe Carey took some edgy photos in his time. He was then a combat photographer with the 25th Infantry at Cu Chi when the Vietnam War was at full bore. His assignment was to supply the divisional weekly paper, Tropic Lightning News, as well as the monthly magazine with pictures, suitable pictures, for the troops. To get his shots, Joe would accompany combat patrols to the Ho Bo Woods, the Iron Triangle, and the old Michelin Plantation, putting himself in harm’s way. He got some terrific close-up photos of the war, but they weren’t all ‘suitable’. The general would’ve blown his top if he’d seen the interrogation by torture shot in his publications. Joe stashed those photos away, his private portfolio of the war.

Joe got through his 12-month tour and came back to the States in April ‘68. He hooked up again with Jeff Sharlet in Chicago where Joe’s wife Suzan was teaching. The two ex-Vietnam GIs had previously met at Indiana University before Joe was drafted. Jeff had done his war earlier and was finishing up his degree work before moving on to grad school at University of Chicago. A year later, he decided grad school could wait, there was a senseless war raging that had to be opposed.

By the end of ’67, Jeff was ready to launch the first GI-led antiwar paper for GIs, at least the many he was aware of who had growing doubts about the wisdom of the US mission in Vietnam. The first issue of Vietnam GI (VGI) bore the date January 1968. It would soon find an enthusiastic readership among GIs in Nam and those in stateside camps, men who survived their tours there or were waiting to deploy.

Jeff realized he needed photos of the war, not just to break up the text, but to put a face on the conflict. Fortuitously, Joe Carey came along and got back in touch. Co-opted into the editorial collective, Joe provided VGI with many of his ‘unsuitable’ photos from the field, including one of a so-called Viet Cong (VC) suspect – more likely just a poor peasant caught in the middle between the American steamroller and the guerrillas formally known as the People’s Liberation Army. The man was pinned to the ground, an officer questioning him with a knife in hand:

Photo credit:  Joseph Carey

Joe also passed on to Jeff one of the most shocking photos of the war, an atrocity photographed by a combat GI who bore witness and wordlessly handed his roll of film to Joe when he arrived on the scene. Jeff realized the photo was a dynamite visual against the war, young American soldiers posing like great white hunters on safari with their grisly trophies. He offered it to the national media, but none of them would touch it since editors knew how vindictive the Johnson White House Press could be to journalists who seriously embarrassed the administration. A European news service eventually put it out on the wire, and the photo also reportedly appeared in a major Soviet newspaper.

Meanwhile, with no takers stateside, Jeff ran the photo in the May issue of VGI along with his own caption. About that time, the Army’s Military Intelligence unit out of Fort Sheridan IL had gotten wind the photo was going to appear, and agents came to Chicago looking for the negative; but Jeff had taken the precaution of hiding it off-premises before he ran the photo. Eventually the picture was reprinted in the civilian underground press, including the Berkeley Barb and the San Francisco Express Times, and the Army could no longer ignore the extremely adverse publicity it was generating.

They went in search of the offending GIs in the shot; they were located and court-martialed at Fort Sill OK, one of the more out of the way US military bases, the idea being to keep the proceedings low profile. Although it was not his photo, Joe Carey’s connection was detected, and he was summoned to testify at the trial (Nb. Although a GI finished his tour and returned to civilian life, there remained a period of inactive reserve during which he was subject to being called back – so Joe was still on the books).

In the end, the outcome of the court-martial was no more than a slap on the wrist, very characteristic of military justice in the middle of a war. The ringleader, a staff sergeant, was reduced in rank one grade while the younger privates were deemed to be following a superior’s orders and let off. For such comic opera justice, Joe had driven all the way from San Francisco to dusty Lawton OK.

From Vietnam GI, May '68

Enter Dave Dellinger at this point in the tale. A long time pacifist, by ’68 he was the titular head of the ‘Mobe’, short for the broad movement against the war, and editor-in-chief of Liberation, a small but powerful magazine committed to the antiwar cause. Dellinger was well connected; he knew all the major activists in the States and in Europe. SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, had migrated to Europe with a few chapters in cities with concentrations of American civilians. There were also myriad indigenous European anti-Vietnam War groups, especially in France, The Netherlands, West Germany, and Sweden. In addition, there were sizeable communities of US military deserters being harbored in Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Paris. In brief, the war was a very big issue abroad as well as on the homefront.

One particular European group is of interest here – Paris American Committee to Stop War (PACS), made up of expatriate Americans including Alexander Calder, the sculptor; Susan George, a political activist who had opposed France’s war in Algeria; Ian Morris, a novelist; and Mary Jo van Ingen, later to become a professor of English, among others. PACS had been organized in ’66 and had ties with other groups on the Continent opposed to the war. Maria Jolas, long the grande dame of the American expat community in Paris and a person of consequence in the literary world at large, served as executive secretary of PACS. Except for World War II, Madame Jolas, a tall, striking woman then in her mid-‘70s, had made her life in Paris since the ‘20s when she and her husband Eugene, who had died in 1952, became an important part of  the modernist movement in literature and the arts in general.

In the late ‘20s, Maria, an heiress from a very old American family, and Eugene created the journal transition as a vehicle for literary modernism. They published most of the distinguished or soon to be distinguished writers of the day including T.S. Eliot, Andre Gide, Ezra Pound, Kay Boyle, the young Hemingway, and not least, James Joyce, who was then in self-imposed exile in Paris. The influential journal continued until just before the outbreak of the war when it completed publication of Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, published serially over the years in its pages. The Jolas’s had become the author’s close personal friends and devoted literary supporters up to his death in early ’41. They then looked after his family and his literary estate. By the late ‘60s, Maria Jolas was one of the last survivors of Joyce’s Paris circle.

Maria Jolas was a networker par excellence. Earlier in life she and Eugene successfully networked among the literati of Europe and America for the cause of modernism; in the Vietnam War era she was in touch with like-minded antiwar leaders throughout Europe and in the States. She threw her formidable organizing ability into protest against the war. Meanwhile, the American war in Vietnam had taken a turn for the worse in early ’68, and those opposed to it took heart.

Maria Jolas, Paris, late '60s
Photo credit:  Gisele Freund

The Tet Offensive, which opened suddenly with a stunning attack on the US Embassy compound in Saigon, was winding down after several months of intense fighting along the length of the country. By late spring ’68, the offensive had turned into a military defeat for the insurgents although it simultaneously became a political-psychological victory of considerable consequence for them. The enemy had dramatically shown that heretofore secure major cities were vulnerable to large-scale attack. In the wake of Tet, General Westmoreland was out, and President Johnson soon withdrew from the ’68 presidential race.

Any notion that there was a light at the end of the tunnel was extinguished; instead, the more realistic prospect of a long, grinding unwinnable war slogging on was featured on television screens and in major print media; and, for GIs in the war and in the pipeline, it was the big story in the relatively new GI antiwar press led by Jeff Sharlet’s Vietnam GI, Andy Stapp’s The Bond, and The Ally, ably edited by Clark Smith. Opposition to the war in the ranks was rising.

Earlier in late ’66, for Maria Jolas the war had suddenly become much more than a distant conflict. An Army truck driver, the first GI deserter to seek help from supporters of North Vietnam in France, was told of her work and, figuratively speaking, landed rather abruptly on her doorstep seeking assistance. Maria was initially taken aback. For one thing, PACS existed at the tolerance of the French government, which had as leverage the granting of residence permits to foreigners for only short, renewable periods. Generally, it was the policy of the government to turn over wayward GIs who fell into French hands to the US military authorities in West Germany.

On the other hand, nothing in Maria’s background or life experience had prepared her for Gregory Graham, a private first class (Pfc) from Waco TX, fleeing from his unit in Germany to avoid deployment to Vietnam. He was a redneck youth raised in an orphanage who had enlisted to get out of Texas; his explanation for deserting was something of a shock. Graham told Maria, “Ah doann mind barbecued bonzes, but ah hate fried drivers, that ain’t my scene. I split.”

Translated from Texas vernacular, he said he didn’t object to Buddhist monks in Vietnam dousing themselves with petrol and burning themselves alive as an antiwar protest, but he disliked the prospect of being personally fried – when a gasoline tanker, such as he would drive in Nam, went over a mine – and living in agony for three days before dying.*

An Austrian living in Paris, Max Watts, came to the rescue and helped Maria deal with her unexpected guest. Graham was hidden from the French and American authorities in a French psychiatric hospital on the Loire River where he was alternatively classified as a patient or a gardener depending on who was asking. Word got out among antiwar groups near US bases in West Germany as well as in Amsterdam and Antwerp where GIs deserting their units often first headed, that help was available in Paris.

In ’67 several more GIs found their way to Maria, who, with the assistance of Max and his comrade, Mary Jo (aka June) van Ingen, placed them beyond the reach of the French cops. This experience gave rise to RITA, Resistance Inside the Army, a formidable network for helping US deserters as an action against the war.**

By ’68 Maria Jolas was a seasoned anti-Vietnam War activist, a familiar figure at Left Bank antiwar rallies. That spring a French group, the English name of which was the National Committee of Vietnam (NCV), allied with PACS, planned an antiwar event in Paris, a rally in an appropriate venue with speakers. Aware that the GI antiwar movement writ large was growing, Maria contacted her American comrade Dave Dellinger seeking an ex-Vietnam GI to speak at the event.  Dellinger turned to brother Jeff, who by spring ’68 was editing VGI, already widely read below the radar by troops in Nam and stateside camps.

Jeff, however, was up to his neck in work on the paper – touring base camps for interviews with returned combat veterans, visiting GI coffee houses, and, not least, raising funds among East and West Coast liberals to pay the printing and mailing bills to keep VGI afloat. Instead, he recommended Joe Carey for the Paris mission, especially since Joe had most recently seen the war up close through the lens of his camera. Furthermore, Joe had brought home pictorial evidence of what was really going on over there. Jolas liked the idea. So did her French colleagues.

Jeff supplied funds to have a selection of Joe’s combat photo outtakes enlarged and mounted, Dellinger provided the plane ticket, and Joe Carey was off to Paris. He was met at the airport by Dr M. F. Kahn of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, a member of the sponsoring French antiwar group, who took him to his apartment where Tom Hayden of the SDS leadership waited to brief him.

  David Dellinger            Joseph Carey

By pre-arrangement, Joe was put up with a French journalist, and his Parisian hosts included Maria Jolas and Laurent Schwartz. During his stay in Paris, Maria entertained him several times at her apartment in Montparnasse, which had been the artistic center of Paris at the time Maria and Eugene launched transition, in the 6th arrondissement not far from Saint- Germain-des-Prés, which became the center of the existentialist movement following WWII. It was a comfortable place with many framed photos of Maria’s family and friends***, and, of course, much evidence in bookcases of her long involvement in the literature of the first half of the century.

Joe had been aware of Maria’s relationship to Joyce. An English lit major, he had read about her in the definitive Joyce biography, but had no idea she was an activist as well. A gracious hostess, he remembered Maria showing him her signed first editions of Joyce. On his last Sunday in Paris, she also invited the American writer Mary McCarthy over, they drank iced tea, and Maria told stories of her time with the Joyce family.

Laurent Schwartz served as Joe’s guide in Paris. Schwartz, one of the great mathematicians of the 20th c, had won a Fields Medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize; he was also a well-known French political activist who had opposed France’s wars in Vietnam, and Algeria and was now bringing his activist skills to bear against the American war in Vietnam. The previous year he had sat as a member of the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal at its sessions in Stockholm and Copenhagen.  Schwartz, along with Jean-Paul Sartre, had founded NCV, which was sponsoring a follow-up war crimes tribunal at which Joe Carey would make his presentation the evening of his arrival.

Laurent Schwartz

Joe had raced to Paris to be there in time for the event on an early July evening and was quite tired from the journey. He was able to grab a few hours of sleep at Dr Kahn’s before being whisked off to the venue for the Paris tribunal, a small art theater. His 30-odd Vietnam photos, including the headless atrocity shot, in 8x10’s and 11x14’s, were set up on the stage. The proceedings were in French, so Maria Jolas sat alongside him and translated his presentation. At the end of the evening, the French organizers asked if he would extend his stay since other antiwar events were coming up, and they hoped he’d be willing to participate. Additional funds were found to cover expenses, and Joe was of course delighted to spend several weeks in Paris.

As an ex-Vietnam GI who seen action and had had a special angle of vision on the war, Joe was in much demand in Paris left circles. On another occasion he was scheduled to appear at the Quaker Center with the playwright Arthur Miller and Wilfred Burchett, a well-known Australian journalist of the left. Joe also gave newspaper interviews, was feted at parties, and wined and dined by high ranking representatives of North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front, the political arm of the insurgency in South Vietnam. Paris was still in turmoil from the May student uprising on the Left Bank, and, with the Bastille Day celebration approaching, another round of student unrest was in the offing.

On that day, July 14th, Joe, as an experienced photographer, went out onto the streets of the Latin Quarter to shoot some film of the students battling the cops. However, he soon realized that from the police point of view, the line between observer and participant was non-existent; his film was exposed, his Nikon smashed, and he narrowly escaped arrest. He later heard that French students who’d been nabbed had been made to run a gauntlet of cops swinging rubber truncheons. In spite of the high drama of his Paris days, looking back on his sojourn decades later, Joe’s fondest memories remained those afternoons and dinners chez Madame Jolas.

After his successful mission to Paris, Joe Carey returned to the States, eventually becoming a chef, nationally known as Chef Joseph; a restaurateur; an author; and founder of the Memphis Culinary Academy.**** As for the notorious atrocity photo he had passed on to Jeff for Vietnam GI – since the end of the Vietnam War many years ago it has hung in the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.

In the War Remnants Museum

*Max Watts, “American RITA GIs in the Paris of May of 1968,” Le blog de Mai (May 1, 2008)
**, June van Ingen’s writings on RITA and its times
***Thanks to George Carrano, an American antiwar activist who visited the Jolas apartment in early ’68 and remembered the many interesting photos on walls and surfaces.