Episode 84: The Second Indochina War, Part 12



This episode is a day late, sorry to keep you waiting!  Episode 84 continues our ongoing narrative of the Second Indochina War, better known as the Vietnam War in the United States, and the American War in Vietnam.  Here the battles of early 1967 are covered, and then we look at the growing protest movement against the war, from late 1965 to 1967.



This episode is dedicated to Christian M., who made a donation to the podcast.  Christian, sorry I didn’t report your donation last time; it arrived in the time frame between when I finished recording the episode, and when I uploaded it.  Therefore, here are my belated thanks.  What’s more, because you made a donation last year, you have received the coveted water buffalo icon next to your name, on the podcast Hall of Fame page!  Thank you for your support, may this year be a good year for you, and may many others follow your example!  And now let’s get started for today.

Episode 84: The Second Indochina War, Part 12

or, The Crossover Point Approaches, but for Which Side?

Greetings, dear listeners!  And if you have listened to the podcast before, welcome back!  For most of the northern hemisphere, February is a short and chilly month, so here is a podcast about a part of the world that is always hot, to get your mind off the cold.

This is the twelfth episode in our ongoing series on the second war in Indochina in the twentieth century, which lasted from the late 1950s until 1975.  Most history texts call it the Second Indochina War, but Americans know it as the Vietnam War, while the Vietnamese in turn call it the American War.  And a few times I have half-seriously called this the Unofficial Vietnam War Podcast, partly because there are other podcasts about the Vietnam War, which may have a better claim to being the official Vietnam War Podcast than this one, and partly because I plan to talk about recent history in the rest of Southeast Asia when we get done with the war in Vietnam.

In the previous episode we made it to the end of 1966, concerning the part of the war in Vietnam.  In the past I gave a recap for those who missed the previous episodes, but I won’t do it this time.  We have too much material behind us now, so if you missed what we covered on the Second Indochina War so far, here are the episodes you should listen to.

For the war in Vietnam, Episodes 71, 72, 73, 80, 81, 82 and 83.

And for the war next door in Laos, Episodes 74, 75, 78, and 79.

Now let’s get started with today’s content.



When 1967 began, there were nearly 400,000 American troops in South Vietnam — along with some 850,000 from South Vietnam, South Korea and other allies — and America’s civilian and military leaders were starting to think big.  After two years of troop buildups, the commander of the American troops, General William Westmoreland, announced that the “crossover point” he had been predicting, the point when there would be enough American troops to break the Viet Cong guerrillas and the North Vietnamese troops, would come sometime in 1967.  But while the Americans usually won their battles – the enemy continually suffered more casualties than they did – they could not follow up on their victories, and the communists soon re-occupied the land on which the battles took place.  Let us take a timeout from the narrative and look at what made the war unwinnable for the Americans.

1.  The kind of warfare in Vietnam was quite outside the American experience.  The closest thing to it the Americans had been in was fought in the Philippines seventy years earlier – we covered that war in Episodes 30 and 31 – and most Americans completely forgot about it afterwards, including whatever lessons they might have learned from it.  To repeat what I have said before, the war was not a conventional conflict, with shifting front lines and armies on the move.  Progress here was not measured in territory gained but in the number of casualties inflicted.  In a conventional war, it is possible to escape it by moving to a spot where fighting is not taking place, but in a war without frontiers, the Americans lived under constant danger, no matter where they were – even in Saigon they could be a target.  That is why I haven’t shared any maps lately on the course of this war –a map won’t accurately show the situation until the 1970s, when the war becomes a conventional one.

2.  The enemy was not an obvious villain.  The Viet Cong did not always wear their black pajama uniforms; their ranks included women and even children.  My favorite story of child soldiers in the conflict comes from the testimony of the evangelist Mike Warnke, who was a hospital corpsman stationed with the Marines in Vietnam for three and a half years.  Here is how he tells it:

<Play Mike Warnke quote>

In a nutshell, any civilian could be an enemy, and before long many Americans wondered if they were fighting on the right side.  Americans also found it hard to hate the enemy completely because Ho Chi Minh was not a Stalin or a Hitler; to them he looked more like an Oriental Santa Claus.  Here in Kentucky, he reminded folks of Colonel Sanders; I have seen pictures on the Internet that put photos of Ho Chi Minh and Colonel Sanders together, asking if they were separated at birth.

3. Heat, disease, leeches, and fiendish Viet Cong traps; in the jungle these put almost as many men out of action as the actual firefights did.  And I have heard one report of an American soldier getting eaten by a tiger.  Yes, a tiger!  You don’t learn anything in school about what to do in THAT kind of situation!  An enemy soldier might spare you if he is in the mood, but nature takes no prisoners.

4. The ineffectiveness of bombing.  We saw that for most of the time between 1965 and 1968, American B-52s flew daily bombing missions over North Vietnam.  They would do it again in 1972. Ultimately, like Laos, North Vietnam would get pounded with more bomb tonnage than was dropped everywhere during World War II.  Bombers were only allowed to go after targets in six categories:  power facilities, war support facilities, transportation lines, military complexes, fuel storage, and air defense installations.  Because of those limitations, casualties were limited; civilians were protected by putting them in underground tunnels or by moving them out to the countryside.  The Ho Chi Minh Trail was also bombed, as we saw in the episodes on the Laotian war, but the Viet Cong carried so little gear that their entire force could keep fighting even if only 15 tons of supplies got to them daily.  Whatever could not be manufactured locally was generously given by both Russia and China.  Targets that could have done real harm if hit, like the heavily populated residential neighborhoods of Hanoi, were carefully avoided; US President Lyndon Johnson thought if he hit North Vietnam too hard, it would trigger Chinese or Russian intervention, and that would be the beginning of World War III.  The US never attempted an offensive strategy–like an invasion of North Vietnam to topple Ho Chi Minh’s government–for the same reason.  From the American point of view, the war in Vietnam was always a defensive war.

5. Speaking of aircraft, the North Vietnamese had a surprisingly effective air force.  I say "surprisingly" because the first North Vietnamese squadron was only assembled in 1964, the same year as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, and a year later they won their first battle, one that pitted eight North Vietnamese planes against seventy-nine American ones.  In that encounter, the North Vietnamese pilots were flying hand-me-down Soviet MIGs that were out of date, but still they managed to shoot down two American planes.  Over the course of the war, the North Vietnamese lost 131 planes, while the Americans lost more than 2,000; seventeen North Vietnamese pilots had enough kills to become aces, compared with only three American aces.  This isn’t just beginner’s luck; away from Vietnam, only the American, Soviet and Israeli air forces have done better!  In fact, the Americans were so embarrassed at the North Vietnamese performance that they did not talk about it until long after the war.

6. The role of the US press.  In previous wars the activities of reporters in war zones were heavily restricted, and the main source of war news for Americans at home were newsreels carrying carefully edited, or should I say censored, stories.  For Vietnam many of those restrictions were dropped, and for the first time, stories about the war were brought into Americans’ homes on TV, in living color.  At first the media, like the average American, supported the war effort, but soon many editors were having second thoughts.  In 1967 LIFE Magazine brought the reality of the war home to readers by printing the names and high school photos of the 250 young Americans killed in a single week.  The television news programs also showed a point of view that was not pro-American, by interviewing North Vietnamese/Viet Cong leaders and by showing pictures of wounded Americans and atrocities committed against civilians, like the notorious My Lai massacre.  None of that had happened before; in World War II, for instance, American news networks did not interview Prime Minister Tojo to let him defend the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  The actual effect of all this on American morale has been debated ever since, and you will be hearing more about it in future episodes of this podcast.

7.  General Westmoreland and his superiors in Washington underestimated the breaking point of the communists, and overestimated it on their side.  The Vietnamese had fought wars against China and Champa that had lasted for centuries, and the Communist Party provided the discipline and coercion needed to withstand the more recent wars with France and the United States.  On the other hand, this was the first time the Americans fought a war that lasted longer than a decade, and they did not have the willpower to fight an unpopular war for generations.  They began to realize this when recruiters for the armed forces no longer got enough volunteers to meet the demands for more troops, and started calling up reservists to fill the ranks.  By October 1966, draft calls were bringing in 49,300 soldiers a month, the highest number of draftees since the Korean War.  The typical soldier who was drafted to serve in Vietnam could expect to be there for a year, and his main goal was to stay alive until his assignment was over; many counted out the number of days they had left.  In a boxing match, when you have one fighter who is determined to win, while the other simply wants to keep standing until the match is over, who do you think will win the prize?

Besides conscription, the recruiters also lowered their standards.  This was the idea of the Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara, who thought it would be better than abolishing student deferments or calling up reservists.  He optimistically called this “Project 100,000" because he felt this would generate a ton of fresh soldiers without causing a backlash like the one coming from drafting able-bodied young men.  He also figured that superior American technology would allow poor-quality troops to perform about as well as the recruits who met the old standards.

Now the recruiters gave more attention to the men who had been unfit, mentally or medically, to serve previously.  Recruiting efforts targeted small Southern communities, where support for the war was still strong, and urban ghettoes, offering college educations to those who enlisted.  Because of this emphasis, 41 percent of the soldiers recruited were black, at a time when African-Americans made up 12 percent of the US population.  In the past, the military did not take applicants who scored less than 80 on an IQ test, but under Project 100,000, they brought in at least one recruit with an IQ of 62.  Critics of Project 100,000 unkindly called the recruits that came from it The Moron Corps, McNamara’s Folly, and McNamara’s Misfits.

We don’t have exact figures on how many casualties the substandard troops suffered, except to say that they died at higher rates than other Americans serving in Vietnam.  Those who survived the war didn’t have a better standard of living either; after doing their term of service, they had lower incomes and higher rates of divorce than their non-veteran counterparts.  Project 100,000 lasted from October 1966 to December 1971; by the time it ended, it had recruited not 100,000, but 354,000 troops for the war effort.  Therefore it was one of the reasons why the draft was abolished in the early 1970s.  The Vietnam War was the last time in US history when recruiters would accept anyone who could walk and breathe, and members of the US armed forces have all been volunteers since then.

8.  Anti-war protests at home.  We will cover this more later in the episode.  It has been said that the Americans won every battle in Vietnam, but they lost the war in America.

End of timeout.



1967 began with Operation Bolo on January 2.  This was a major air battle, where 28 US Air Force F-4 Phantom jets, pretending to be going on a typical air raid, lured 16 North Vietnamese MiG-21 interceptors into a dogfight over Hanoi that lasted for just twelve minutes, and shot down seven of the MiGs.  The American pilots were led by Colonel Robin Olds, a World War II ace, and they did not lose a single plane.  Four days later, the Air Force launched another ruse, this time mimicking an F-4 reconnaissance flight, and they shot down two more MiG-21s.  As a result, the North Vietnamese only had seven MiG-21s left for service, and this severely limited North Vietnamese air activity for several months.  However, the American pilots were prohibited by Washington from attacking MiG air bases in North Vietnam, presumably because they might kill or injure citizens of the Soviet Union.  You can count this as another victory the Americans did not follow up on.

Do you remember what I said about the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong sneaking back into areas they had been driven away from?  One of those places was between Saigon, Tay Ninh, and the Michelin rubber plantation, an area called the Iron Triangle by Americans.  Because the Saigon River runs through here, and because the Iron Triangle was so close to the capital, it was essential to keep enemy troops out of here.  This was the site of Operation Attleboro in late 1966, and the return of the Viet Cong after the battle required another  search and destroy mission, Operation Cedar Falls, in early 1967.  Lasting from January 8 to 26, this was the largest ground operation in the war so far; it combined 16,000 American and 14,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, to clear the Viet Cong out of the Iron Triangle.  However, the Viet Cong avoided a one-on-one fight either by fleeing across the border into Cambodia, or by hiding in an extensive network of tunnels.  Thus, there was no large scale combat, just small unit actions.  Americans discovered the tunnels and large stockpiles of Viet Cong supplies – enough rice to feed a Viet Cong division for one year – and introduced specially trained volunteers called “tunnel rats” to explore the tunnels.  The tunnel rats found the Viet Cong district headquarters at Cu Chi, where they discovered half a million military documents:  documents on strategy, maps of US bases, records of guerrilla  movements from Cambodia into Vietnam, and lists of South Vietnamese sympathizers.

To make the Iron Triangle useless to the enemy, if and when they came back, once the fighting was over, the entire civilian population in this area was relocated to so-called New Life Villages, their old homes were destroyed, and defoliants like Agent Orange were used to wipe out eleven square miles of jungle.  For the casualty count, 72 Americans and 11 South Vietnamese were killed, while for the enemy, 720 were reported dead, and 218 were captured.  Thus, at a casual glance, Operation Cedar Falls was another American-South Vietnamese victory.  But when you look at the “big picture,” the operation wasn’t as big a success as the senior officers claimed.  First, the Americans did not get the big battle with the enemy they wanted.  Second, as you have learned to expect by now, the Viet Cong would return, and rebuild their sanctuary.  In 1968 they would use the Iron Triangle as a staging ground for attacks on Saigon, during the Tet Offensive.  Third, the Americans came under criticism for destroying the Thanh Dien Forest Preserve, and for their harsh treatment of the local civilians.  Instead of winning over the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people, the Americans had driven a bunch of them into the ranks of the Viet Cong.

Podcast footnote:  On January 10, while Operation Cedar Falls was taking place, the United Nations Secretary General, U Thant, said he doubted that Vietnam was essential to the security of the West. Apparently President Johnson was not listening, for he gave his annual State of the Union address to Congress on the same day, and there he again declared, quote, "We will stand firm in Vietnam."  Unquote.  End footnote.

The next attempt to clear out the Iron Triangle came less than four weeks after Operation Cedar Falls.  This was Operation Junction City, and though it used the same number of American and South Vietnamese troops, 30,000, there was much more air support, so this is considered the largest airborne operation of the Vietnam War, and one of the largest US operations in the war.

The declared goal of Operation Junction City was to locate and capture the headquarters of North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam, which the communists called the Central Office of South Vietnam, or COSVN.  Americans expected the headquarters to be in a fixed location, and some imagined it as a "mini-Pentagon," complete with typists, filing cabinets, and staff workers organized in layers of bureaucracy.  Sounds like one of our “cubicle farms” in today’s offices, doesn’t it?  They never found the headquarters, though; its personnel escaped to Cambodia at the beginning of the operation.  After the war, Viet Cong records revealed the headquarters was a small group of people, constantly on the move, often sheltering in makeshift facilities; at one point, American pilots who didn’t know they were there dropped bombs that missed them by a hundred meters or so.

Operation Junction City also lasted much longer than Operation Cedar Falls, from February 22 to May 14, 1967.  It began with the dropping of 845 paratroops, to secure the pieces of land selected as landing zones for the troops brought in by helicopter; this was the only large paratroop assault during the entire war.  Most of the time after that, though, the Allied forces moved without encountering much resistance.  The Viet Cong attacked Americans at the village of Prek Klok twice, on February 28 and March 10; air strikes and artillery drove them away each time.  Then on the night of March 19, the Viet Cong 9th Division attacked Fire Support Base 20, the base of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, a mechanized force.  There had been a battle on this spot in November 1965, the first battle involving American armored vehicles, and it was called the battle of Ap Bau Bang, so this clash became known as the second battle of Ap Bau Bang.  This time the Viet Cong infantry swarmed over the American armored vehicles, and were dispersed by the vehicles shooting on one another, which meant that some of the vehicles were put out of action.  With the help of artillery and air strikes, as well as flares and aerial searchlights to spot their enemies, the Viet Cong were repelled again.  The Americans claimed 227 enemies killed and three captured, while losing 3 and suffering 63 wounded.  Two more attacks on the Americans were staged on March 21 and April 1, and again the Viet Cong 9th Division suffered heavy losses.  After that, the rest of the operation consisted of long and exhaustive searches in the bush and villages, which captured large amounts of enemy materiel and rice, but there were no more large encounters with communists.  For the whole operation, 282 Americans were killed, and 2,728 Viet Cong were counted dead.  In the long run, Junction City was no more effective than the other operations in Tay Ninh province, because the enemy’s Central Office had gotten away.

Before we move on, I would like to mention one of the American officers involved in Operation Junction City, because you have probably heard of him – Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Haig.  In the last clash, the battle of Ap Gu, Haig’s unit, the 1st Battalion of the 26th Infantry Regiment, was pinned down by a Viet Cong unit three times its size.  Haig boarded a helicopter and flew to investigate; his helicopter was shot down, and he led the battalion in two days of bloody hand-to-hand combat, before US artillery and air power saved the day.  For this, General Westmoreland awarded Haig the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest medal for valor.  Here is an excerpt from Haig’s official Army citation, explaining what he did to earn the medal.  Quote:

“When two of his companies were engaged by a large hostile force, Colonel Haig landed amid a hail of fire, personally took charge of the units, called for artillery and air fire support and succeeded in soundly defeating the insurgent force … the next day a barrage of 400 rounds was fired by the Viet Cong, but it was ineffective because of the warning and preparations by Colonel Haig.  As the barrage subsided, a force three times larger than his began a series of human wave assaults on the camp.  Heedless of the danger himself, Colonel Haig repeatedly braved intense hostile fire to survey the battlefield.  His personal courage and determination, and his skillful employment of every defense and support tactic possible, inspired his men to fight with previously unimagined power.  Although his force was outnumbered three to one, Colonel Haig succeeded in inflicting 592 casualties on the Viet Cong …

HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2318 (May 22, 1967)”

End Quote.

Afterwards, Haig rose through the ranks to become an advisor to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, vice chief of staff of the Army, the second-highest-ranking position in the Army, White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe, and President Ronald Reagan’s first Secretary of State.


Growing Opposition at Home

Back in the United States, the Vietnam War was starting to interfere with President Johnson’s other plans for America, what he called the “Great Society.”  Although as we noted, the “kill ratio” in the battles was way in the Americans’ favor, it was unacceptable for those who thought no American lives should be sacrificed for Vietnam.  And as long as North Vietnam was sending troops into South Vietnam at a higher rate than the US escalation, no number of American troops would be enough.  If the Americans could not win, the best alternative was a negotiated agreement to end the war, and Johnson offered peace talks, but as we have already seen, the North Vietnamese at this stage were not interested.  Because the Americans temporarily stopped bombing North Vietnam whenever Johnson was making peace overtures, the North Vietnamese felt they were being bombed to the conference table.  Leaders like Premier Pham Van Dong made it clear that they would only talk peace if the bombing was stopped permanently, and that whatever agreement is reached must give the Viet Cong a role in the government of South Vietnam.

We saw in previous episodes that a solid majority of Americans supported the war when the first American ground troops went to Vietnam in 1965.  That support eroded steadily, however, when news stories captured the horrors of the war, and reported on various atrocities like the destruction of villages and the use of defoliants.  And the news stories did not show the Americans winning the war, though they won individual battles.  For the American public, the “crossover point” came sometime in 1967; a survey published in October 1967 reported that 46 percent of the people it interviewed regarded the Vietnam War as a mistake, while 44 percent continued to back it.  Also in October, Life Magazine renounced its earlier support of President Johnson’s war policies.  Still, those who saw the war as an exercise in futility felt that a humiliating defeat, like what the French had suffered at Dienbienphu, must be avoided at all costs; the only options were to win or quit.  As one housewife at the time told a pollster, quote, “I want to get out, but I don’t want to give up.”  Unquote. 

We also saw previously that there was some domestic opposition to the war from the start.  As early as August 31, 1965, President Johnson signed a law that made draft card burning a crime, with penalties of a five year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine.  Nevertheless, people burned their draft cards at anti-war rallies.  Some young people also fled to Canada, to avoid getting drafted.

Podcast footnote: Early on in the antiwar movement, the most popular slogan was, "Girls say yes to boys who say no."  I was too young to be looking for a date at that time, so I don’t know if I would have gotten a date by saying “No.”  Oh well . . .  This slogan was dropped after the feminist movement appeared, because some women were offended at the idea of mixing sex and politics this way.  Among the slogans that took its place, the most famous was “Hell no, we won’t go!”  End footnote.

Here I will give a quick list of the main events in the antiwar movement, from 1965 to 1967.  This should give you an idea of how American opinion of the war changed as the 1960s went on:

October 16, 1965 – Anti-war rallies occurred in 40 American cities and in international cities, including London and Rome.

October 30, 1965 – 25,000 marched in Washington.  This was one of the few cases where the demonstrators were for the war, not against it.  They were led by five Medal of Honor recipients.

November 27, 1965 – In Washington, 35,000 anti-war protesters circled the White House, and then marched on to the Washington Monument for a rally.

March 26, 1966 – Anti-war protests were held in New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco.

June 4, 1966 – A three-page anti-war advertisement appeared in The New York Times, signed by 6,400 teachers and professors.

November 7, 1966 – Defense Secretary McNamara is confronted by student protesters during a visit to Harvard University.

January 23, 1967 – Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright published The Arrogance of Power, a book that was critical of American war policy in Vietnam, and called for direct peace talks between the South Vietnamese government and the Viet Cong.  Both Fulbright and Johnson were Democrats from the southern United States, but after Fulbright learned everything he could about Vietnam, he and Johnson were no longer on speaking terms.  Instead, the President denounced Fulbright, Robert Kennedy, and a growing number of critics in Congress as "nervous Nellies" and "sunshine patriots."

February 8-10,1967 – American religious groups stage a nationwide "Fast for Peace."

April 14, 1967 – Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon visited Saigon and stated that anti-war protests back in the U.S. are quote, "prolonging the war."  Unquote.

April 15, 1967 – Nearly 200,000 people took part in anti-war demonstrations, in New York City and San Francisco.  Here the Rev. Martin Luther King declared that the war was undermining President Johnson’s Great Society social reform programs.  Quote:  "…the pursuit of this widened war has narrowed the promised dimensions of the domestic welfare programs, making the poor white and Negro bear the heaviest burdens both at the front and at home."  Unquote.

Podcast Footnote:  When it came to race relations, Dr. King got nearly everything he wanted with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.  Therefore he spent the last years of his life pursuing new goals, and that included opposing the Vietnam War, at a time when most Americans were for it.  The New York Times, The Washington Post, and even King’s organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, thought that speaking out against the war was a bad idea.  King also campaigned for economic equality, meaning better jobs, better housing and better pay for African-Americans, only to find that white Americans were not as receptive to this as they were to social and political equality, especially in the Northern states.  End footnote.

April 24, 1967 – General Westmoreland condemned anti-war demonstrators, saying they give the North Vietnamese soldier, quote,  "hope that he can win politically that which he cannot accomplish militarily." Unquote.  Privately, he warned President Johnson that "the war could go on indefinitely."

May 2, 1967 – The United States is condemned during a mock war crimes tribunal held in Stockholm, Sweden, organized by British philosopher Bertrand Russell.

August 18, 1967 – California Governor Ronald Reagan said the U.S. should get out of Vietnam, because it is difficult to win a war when "too many qualified targets have been put off limits to bombing."

November 29, 1967 – An emotional Robert McNamara announced his resignation as Defense Secretary during a press briefing, stating, quote, "Mr. President…I cannot find words to express what lies in my heart today…"  Unquote.  Behind closed doors, he had begun regularly expressing doubts over Johnson’s war strategy, angering the President.  McNamara became the latest of Johnson’s top aides who resigned over the war; among the others were Bill Moyers, McGeorge Bundy and George Ball.

December 4-7, 1967 – Four days of anti-war protests take place in New York City.  585 protesters are arrested, of which the most famous is Dr. Benjamin Spock, author of a best-selling book on baby care.



Oh my goodness, we are out of time already!  I was planning to finish by chronicling the events in 1967 that led up to 1968’s main battle, the Tet Offensive, but now that will have to wait for another episode.  And it probably won’t be the next episode; I am thinking of running a question-and-answer episode first, to answer the questions you kindly sent me last month.  Whatever the next topic will be, join me again for that, on or near March 1, 2020 if you are listening to the episodes as soon as I upload them.  As for the Tet Offensive, it now looks like I will need two episodes to cover that, but don’t worry, we will continue to make progress.

If you are enjoying the podcast and haven’t supported it yet, now is the time to do so.  This podcast depends on the support of the listeners; that is the main reason why I have been able to keep doing the research and recording that goes into it, for more than three and a half years.  The most visible way to support the podcast is to make a donation, either a one-time donation via Paypal, or a small monthly donation through Patreon.  To make a Paypal donation, go to the Blubrry.com page for any episode of this podcast, and click on the gold button on the page, the one that says “Donate.”  Those who donate this way will get their first names mentioned at the beginning of an episode, as was the case for Christian M. this time, and their first names will be added to the new Podcast Hall of Fame Page.  If you have already donated before 2020, make another donation, and you will get the water buffalo icon added next to your name, meaning you are a very special person.

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