After more than two decades of describing the Vietnam War as a “living hell,” and an “endless, indescribable horror beyond all words,” America’s Vietnam veterans finally admitted yesterday that the war was, in fact, “not that bad.”

“Contrary to what we have said all these years,” National Viet-nam Vet-erans Asso--c-ia-tion president Charles Murphy said, “Vietnam simply was not that bad. In fact, it was quite enjoyable. We really are a big bunch of babies.”

Following the NVVA announcement, veterans across America acknowledged the war’s positives.

“The jungle battles with the Vietcong were the best part,” said Walter Kinchen, 45, who served three tours from 1969 to 1971. “A lot of times, you’d look the enemy in the eye, and instead of killing each other, you’d exchange phone numbers and become friends. They’d show us their hidden forts, and we’d invite them back to our bases to check out imported American amenities like name-brand cigarettes and booze.”

Kinchen said he also picked up a serious heroin addiction in Vietnam, a habit he still enjoys to this day.

“There’s no natural high that can match it,” he said. “Not even love.”

David Peters, a Houston businessman, was stationed near the village of Nhat Than from 1971-3. “I’m just glad the war wasn’t like it was in Apocalypse Now or Platoon,” Peters said. “That would’ve been really bad. Operation Dumbo Drop and a little bit of Good Morning Vietnam is a little more true to our experiences.”

Added Peters: “The thing is, everybody talks about the piles of dead bodies rotting in the fields. But no one ever talks about the cotton candy and carnivals.”

In his announcement, Veterans Association president Murphy also admitted that, contrary to what veterans have claimed until now, the Vietnam experience is not something beyond the average civilian’s comprehension.

“For so long, we’ve told people, ‘If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand it,’” Murphy said. “Well that’s simply not true. If you weren’t there, you could easily open up a book and get a very good sense of what it was like. There are plenty of books out there with detailed descriptions and vivid color pictures. You certainly didn’t need to actually be there to get a feel for it.”

Kevin Stallings, a Boston-area accountant who was stationed near Le Thuy from 1972-3, remembers many good times.

“A lot of times, in between fighting, we’d go down to this great seafood restaurant in Da Nang and just hang out and drink for hours,” Stallings said. “Then we’d usually find some beautiful local girls and take them back to a motel and have sex with them. And often they would become our beloved wives.”

Stallings has three beautiful children in Southeast Asia thanks to his exciting war-time sexual exploits.

Veteran John Randolph, who as a member of the 56th Delta Division was badly injured by enemy fire during a raid on Haiphong, said that although he has had numerous recurring nightmares over the past 20 years, they have been largely unrelated to the war.

“There’s this really bad one where I’m back in college, and I’m taking a huge calculus final, but I don’t know any of the stuff because I forgot to go to class all semester,” Randolph said. “God, it seemed so real, it was frightening.”