Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Eclectic crime fiction and informed, irreverent non-fiction from Asia and beyond

Tom Vater RSS Feed
 
 
 
 

(English) William Young is dead – Former CIA agent shoots himself in Chiang Mai

6 Responses to “(English) William Young is dead – Former CIA agent shoots himself in Chiang Mai”

  1. 1
    Rick Sandquist:

    An interesting analysis (especially about the confluence between evangelism and military aggression) but I do think your claim that by wars end 30% of the US service men were junkies is hyperbole. Clearly many people came back from Nam with a jones but to say a third of them were junkies is overstatement. That number has never been validated in any study of drug addiction I have read and does not conform to my observations of friends who came back from Vietnam.

    Vietnam was a traumatising event for many soldiers who got a tour courtesy of the US government but I don’t think that many came back as junkies.

  2. 2
    tom:

    Dear Rick,

    Many thanks for your comment.
    I did not say that all these soldiers returned to the US as junkies, though quite a few did, unfortunately.
    But there was a time in the war in Vietnam when up to 30% of servicemen used heroin. I am not in my office at the moment but will dig up the exact quotes and figures and post them here in a week or two.

  3. 3
    tom:

    Dear Rick,

    please take a look at the following document, most notably page 39….

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/64/12_Suppl/38.pdf

    and for slightly more conservative estimates here…

    http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/central/Brush/American-drug-use-vietnam.htm

    There are other studies and it may be worth your while getting hold of Alfred McCoy´s book “The Politics of Heroin: The CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.”

  4. 4
    MCY:

    I knew Bill Young well, worked with him and think his time on earth was at the best he could do. I spent two tours in Vietnam and then later came to Thailand and met up with Bill as his parents knew mine. We did some travelling and I enjoyed him and hope that God gives him consideration.

    I now reside in Thailand.

  5. 5
    Bill:

    I got to know Bill Young quite well in the early 1970s. At the time he lived with his mother and father in Chiangmai in a wonderful house and compound. Eventually I would buy his mother’s powder blue VW bug and enjoyed visiting Harold, his father, at the Zoo where he held court. I travelled with Bill extensively to visit the Red Lahu. His linguistic competencies were superb as was his knowledge of jungle, woods, animals, and survival. Prof Chet Gorman, a close friend, hired Bill to handle his logistics and crew as they hunted for archeological sites in the Northwest of Thailand. Chet reported that in the most remote areas he had ever entered he would be met in the morning with bacon, eggs, and pancakes with syrup! Bill Young was organized, thoughtful, and amazingly capable guy mentally and physically in those days. Most of all, he could talk and describe and analyze complex political and ethnic situations.
    But there was the dark side and you did not want to cross him. We eventually had a falling out over some unremarkable thing and I respectfully started avoiding him. But I would not be honest if I did not add that Bill Young was a philosophic chap at heart, quite sophisticated, charismatic, and reflective. That is how he came across to me. I saw many acts of generosity and advice given to Lahu and Shan visitors.
    Eventually, I would write up the arrest of a major Opium Smuggler that appeared in Paul Rock’s, Drugs and Politics and Bill helped with much of the research.

  6. 6
    Jack Kennedy:

    Ah yes, because Baptist missionary kids always die with “crucifixes in their hands.” Anyone even remotely familiary with religious dominations knows this story stinks to high Heaven.

Leave a Reply

Places