Wednesday, April 9, 2014



Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.    (#1 July 24, 2011; #2 June 9, 2012; #3 Sept. 25, 2012; #4 April 13, 2013).

We must not forget this atrocious war, the destruction and suffering it caused for no good purpose.   US military and civilian leaders have been trying to turn it into part of US patriotic history.  Let us instead seek the truth about the war.

My blog:  War Department and Peace Department
See: Agent Orange, Air War, Chemical War, Imperialism, Kissinger, Land Mines, Literature About the War, Militarism, Nixon, Pentagon, Protest,  Recruiting, Suicides, US Westward Empire, VFP, War Crimes, Whistleblowing, and more.

Nos. 1-4 at end

Contents #5
Pres. Obama’s 2012 Vietnam War Memorial Day Speech
Bhatt, US Blames the Victim: Giap Sacrificed His Troops
William Blum:  JFK, RFK
Laurel Krause, Kent State Truth Commission
Tully et al., Educating, Teaching About the War
Kerschner, Poems
Turse, Kill Anything (see Newsletter #4)
AP Photographs of the War
Special Number of Peace and Change Oct. 2013
Leonard Cohen, Story of Isaac
VFP Vietnam Tour 2013: Reparations
VFP Agent Orange Group To Vietnam 2013
Dr. Shay, PTSD
Laos: Victims Speak, Voices from the Plain of Jars

Contact President Obama


May 28, 2012

Remarks by the President at the Commemoration Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War Memorial
National Mall
Washington, D.C.
. . . .Fifty years later, we come to this wall -- to this sacred place -- to remember.  We can step towards its granite wall and reach out, touch a name.  Today is Memorial Day, when we recall all those who gave everything in the darkness of war so we could stand here in the glory of spring.  And today begins the 50th commemoration of our war in Vietnam.  We honor each of those names etched in stone -- 58,282 American patriots.  We salute all who served with them.  And we stand with the families who love them still.  
For years you've come here, to be with them once more.  And in the simple things you’ve left behind -- your offerings, your mementos, your gifts -- we get a glimpse of the lives they led.  The blanket that covered him as a baby.  The baseball bat he swung as a boy.  A wedding ring.  The photo of the grandchild he never met.  The boots he wore, still caked in mud.  The medals she earned, still shining.  And, of course, some of the things left here have special meaning, known only to the veterans -- a can of beer; a packet of M&Ms; a container of Spam; an old field ration -- still good, still awful.  (Laughter.)          
It's here we feel the depth of your sacrifice.  And here we see a piece of our larger American story.  Our Founders -- in their genius -- gave us a task.  They set out to make a more perfect union.  And so it falls to every generation to carry on that work.  To keep moving forward.  To overcome a sometimes painful past.  To keep striving for our ideals. 
And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam -- most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there.  You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor.  (Applause.)  You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised.  You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated.  It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened.  And that's why here today we resolve that it will not happen again.  (Applause.)    
And so a central part of this 50th anniversary will be to tell your story as it should have been told all along.  It’s another chance to set the record straight.  That's one more way we keep perfecting our Union -- setting the record straight.  And it starts today.  Because history will honor your service, and your names will join a story of service that stretches back two centuries.    
[See my analysis in Vietnam War Newsletter #3, which includes comparison with Chris Burden’s The Other Vietnam War Memorial.  Here is my concluding paragraph.  Even more significantly, Burden’s great monument to memory and empathy reminds us not only of US Vietnam War crimes but of the similar crimes in the several dozen US invasions of other countries since WWII.   Instead of the glorification of chauvinism, killing, soldiers, military glory, and jingoistic nationalism, Burden, by offering an alternative, inclusive vision of species unity, calls into question the past 70 years of fear-and-hatred-mongering and its product, permanent war.   It does not offer consolation and closure, as does Maya Lin’s Wall, at least to some.  Rather, it calls for sympathy and justice for innocent “enemies,” for the abolition of jingoistic monuments, for resistance to present and future US wars of aggression, and once seen it will not let you sleep.   –Dick]


Nursing a Grudge Over Giap:

Vietnamese general’s obit recalls imperial grievances

General Vo Nguyen Giap
The New York Times blamed the Vietnam War's death toll on General Vo Nguyen Giap's "willingness to sustain staggering losses against superior American firepower."
During the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon persuaded South Vietnam through back channels to withdraw from peace negotiations just as a breakthrough was imminent. Under a Nixon presidency, “they would get a much better deal,” he secretly promised through a campaign adviser (BBC, 3/22/13).
With the peace process stymied, Nixon narrowly defeated Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He then expanded the conflict throughout the region via secret, illegal carpet bombings over Laos and Cambodia, overseen by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Nixon presided over four more years of war and the deaths of over 20,000 US soldiers—more than a third of all US fatalities registered during the conflict. In 1973, Kissinger ultimately signed a peace accord that was achievable in 1968.
Within the Western establishment, Kissinger and Nixon have been largely absolved of their disregard for the disastrous human consequences of their machinations. Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, and has since been sought out for his wisdom by successive US administrations—most recently Obama’s, with regard to Syria (Huffington Post, 9/11/13).
The New York Times (1/2/07) wrote reverently that Kissinger “remains a towering figure in international relations,” with “firsthand experience in the anguishing decisions about withdrawal from Vietnam.” The Times (4/24/94) also eulogized Nixon in an obituary as “a man of high intelligence and innovative concepts whose talents, especially in international affairs, were widely respected by both friend and foe.”
North Vietnam’s eminent military commander Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, who was instrumental in driving both France and the United States out of Vietnam, unsurprisingly received less-than-sympathetic treatment from the New York Times (10/5/13) when the centenarian passed away on October 4, 2013.
The paper of record’s obituary, written by Joseph Gregory, conveyed numerous condemnations by Giap’s critics, who “said that his victories had been rooted in a profligate disregard for the lives of his soldiers.” Gregory included US Gen. William Westmoreland among those critics, politely omitting Westmoreland’s famously racist remark that “life is cheap in the Orient.” The piece even quoted a paratroop colonel from France—the colonial power that controlled and plundered Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from the late 19th century until 1954—who concurred: “To Giap, a man’s life was nothing.”
Gregory did admit that “the indiscriminate bombing and massed firepower of the Americans caused heavy civilian casualties and alienated many Vietnamese,” but he emphasized the suffering not of the Vietnamese, but of US leadership:
To historians, [Giap’s] willingness to sustain staggering losses against superior American firepower was a large reason the war dragged on as long as it did, costing more than 2.5 million lives—58,000 of them American—sapping the United States Treasury and Washington’s political will to fight, and bitterly dividing the country in an argument about America’s role in the world that still echoes today.
In Gregory’s analysis, Vietnamese “willingness” to withstand US brutality on their own soil is the noteworthy factor for the prolongation of the conflict—not US leaders’ unremitting war of attrition, whose aim was to kill as many “enemies” as possible, however ill-defined the category.
Perhaps Times editors recognized that the piece had gone too far in reflexively channeling US elites’ delusions of victimhood in Vietnam. Five days later, to the paper’s credit, it allowed its op-ed space to directly refute Gregory’s deceitful narrative. Nick Turse (10/10/13), author of a recent book on the Vietnam War, wrote the corrective, “For America, Life Was Cheap in Vietnam.” He explained how concrete US military policies, like measuring success by body counts, dehumanized the Vietnamese and “couldn’t have been more callous or contemptuous toward human life.”
“Without a true account of our past military misdeeds,” Turse concluded, “Americans have been unprepared to fully understand what has happened in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.”
If the Times is to learn from its coverage of General Giap’s death, its future obituary for Kissinger will not simply include fawning tributes to his statecraft, but also chilling evidence of a mentality far more callous than that which is attributed to Giap—such as Kissinger’s matter-of-fact relay of Nixon’s genocidal bombing order on Cambodia in 1970 (New York Times, 5/27/04): Use “anything that flies on anything that moves.”
Keane Bhatt is a Washington, D.C.-based activist for social justice and community development. His blog for NACLA, Manufacturing Contempt, takes a critical look at corporate media’s portrayal of the Hemisphere.

Counterpunch, WEEKEND EDITION, FEBRUARY 7-9, 2014
Kennedy Had No Intention of Withdrawing From Vietnam

JFK, RFK and Some Myths About American Foreign Policy by WILLIAM BLUM

On April 30, 1964, five months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was interviewed by John B. Martin in one of a series of oral history sessions with RFK. Part of the interview appears in the book “JFK Conservative” by Ira Stoll, published three months ago. (pages 192-3)
RFK: The president … had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.
MARTIN: What was the overwhelming reason?
RFK: Just the loss of all of Southeast Asia if you lost Vietnam. I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.
MARTIN: What if it did?
RFK: Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world. Also it would affect what happened in India, of course, which in turn has an effect on the Middle East. Just as it would have, everybody felt, a very adverse effect. It would have an effect on Indonesia, hundred million population. All of those countries would be affected by the fall of Vietnam to the Communists.
MARTIN: There was never any consideration given to pulling out?
RFK: No.

MORE:  Blum offers illuminating commentary.   --Dick

Laurel Krause | Kent State Truth Tribunal Addresses the United Nations Human Rights Committee 
Laurel Krause, Open Mike Blog, Reader Supported News, Mrch 24, 2014 
Krause writes: "My sister Allison Krause was one of four students shot to death by American military personnel in the parking lot of her university campus at Kent State, Ohio on May 4, 1970 as she protested the Vietnam War." 

Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War
Edited by John Day Tully, Matthew Masur, and Brad Austin

The Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History
John Day Tully, Matthew Masur, and Brad Austin, Series Editors

“This collection makes good on what it sets out to do: help high school and college teachers think about understanding and teaching the Vietnam War in new and innovative ways. There is a clear need for this kind of hands-on volume.”
Mark Philip Bradley, author of Vietnam at War

Just as the Vietnam War presented the United States with a series of challenges, it presents a unique challenge to teachers at all levels. The war had a deep and lasting impact on American culture, politics, and foreign policy. Still fraught with controversy, this crucial chapter of the American experience is as rich in teachable moments as it is riddled with potential pitfalls—especially for students a generation or more removed from the events themselves.

Addressing this challenge, Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War offers a wealth of resources for teachers at the secondary and university levels. An introductory section features essays by eminent Vietnam War scholars George Herring and Marilyn Young, who reflect on teaching developments since their first pioneering classes on the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. A methods section includes essays that address specific methods and materials and discuss the use of music and film, the White House tapes, oral histories, the Internet, and other multimedia to infuse fresh and innovative dimensions to teaching the war. A topical section offers essays that highlight creative and effective ways to teach important topics, drawing on recently available primary sources and exploring the war’s most critical aspects—the Cold War, decolonization, Vietnamese perspectives, the French in Vietnam, the role of the Hmong, and the Tet Offensive. Every essay in the volume offers classroom-tested pedagogical strategies and detailed practical advice.
Taken as a whole, Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War will help teachers at all levels navigate through cultural touchstones, myths, political debates, and the myriad trouble spots enmeshed within the national memory of one of the most significant eras in American history.

John Day Tully is an associate professor of history at Central Connecticut State University and was the founding director of the Harvey Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching at the Ohio State University. Matthew Masur is an associate professor of history at Saint Anselm College, where he is codirector of the Father Peter Guerin Center for Teaching Excellence. He is a member of the Teaching Committee of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and writes on American-Vietnamese relations. Brad Austin is a professor of history at Salem State University. He has served as chair of the American Historical Association’s Teaching Prize Committee and has worked with hundreds of secondary teachers as the academic coordinator of many Teaching


Book Description

 April 17, 2013
Intense, somber, human, political poems. I began writing poetry as a child but didn't take it seriously until I started trying to understand all that I had gone through while a soldier in Vietnam. I was in the Infantry and while I was in war I did what I needed to do in order to survive. It wasn't until several years after returning to the U.S. that I began to gain some perspective. I developed great anger and sorrow over what I had been forced to do by a society that is for the most part willfully ignorant of the realities of the world. Although I can claim personal historical and political ignorance prior to going to war, I judge myself as lacking moral and ethical strength for not opposing what my society was doing in that war. Since then, I have through reflection, study, discussion, association with other military veterans and peacemakers, and the love of my family started to come to grips with both my personal and my nation's history. In the Christian tradition there is a call for repentance based on a Greek word μετνοια which I understand has a core meaning to 'turn around and take another look'. My poetry tends to be “in your face” and offends some people. This is a result of my passionate wish for people to turn around and take another look at what is going on all around us. I hope this second look can help others with their own healing and with the healing of our common human community.


KILL ANYTHING THAT MOVES SHOULD RECEIVE the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.  Michael True, Letter to the Editor, The Progressive (August 2013).

FW: [vvawnet] AP TO PUBLISH PHOTO HISTORY OF VIETNAM WAR   Tue Aug 6, 2013 6:44 pm (PDT) . Posted by:

From: Vietnam Veterans Against the War <>

This release can also be found on the AP’s website at

The Real War,’ a photographic history by the AP

To cover the Vietnam War, the Associated Press gathered an
extraordinary group of superb photojournalists in its Saigon
bureau, creating one of the great photographic legacies of
the 20th century.
Collected in “Vietnam: The Real War”
(Abrams; Oct. 1, 2013; 304 pages; 300 photographs; US
$40.00/CAN $45.00) are images that tell the story of the war
that left a deep and lasting impression on American life.

From Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the burning monk to Nick Ut’s
picture of a 9-year-old running from a napalm attack to
Eddie Adams’ photograph of the execution of a Viet Cong
prisoner, this book contains the pictures that both recorded
and made history, taken by unbelievably courageous
photojournalists. In a moving essay, writer Pete Hamill, who
reported from Vietnam in 1965, celebrates their achievement.

“Vietnam:  The Real War” features more than 50 photojournalists,
including Eddie Adams, Horst Faas, Henri Huet, Nick Ut and
Dang Van Phuoc, and highlights the work of such
distinguished war correspondents as Peter Arnett, Malcolm
Browne and Seymour Topping. A chronological text that is
woven throughout places their work in historical context.

the world begins to look back from the vantage point of half
a century, this is the book that will serve as a
photographic record of the drama and tragedy of the Vietnam

exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Manhattan will
coincide with the book’s publication. It will open Oct. 24
and run through Nov. 26. More than 60 photographs will be on

the years of the war in Vietnam, the AP photographers saw
more combat than any general,” Hamill writes in his
introduction. “This book shows how good they were. As a
young reporter, I had learned much from photographers about
how to see, not merely look. From Vietnam, photographers
taught the world how to see the war. Say the word ‘Vietnam
today to most people of a certain age; the image that rises
is usually a photograph. An AP photograph.” 

AP and Abrams

Associated Press is the essential global news network,
delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the
world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846,
AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and
information. On any given day, more than half the world’s
population sees news from AP. The Associated Press won an
unprecedented six Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of
Vietnam. The AP correspondents and photographers who covered
the war form a legendary cadre in American journalism.
Nearly 300 photographs were selected from the tens of
thousands filed by the AP during the conflict to make this
book. On the Web:

by Harry N. Abrams in 1949, ABRAMS is the preeminent
publisher of high quality art and illustrated books. Now a
subsidiary of La Martinière Groupe, ABRAMS is the publisher
of bestsellers such as the wildly popular The Diary of a
Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, the award-winning cookbooks
of Alton Brown, and the stunning photography of Yann
Arthus-Bertrand’s Earth from Above. ABRAMS publishes books
in the areas of art, photography, cooking, interior design,
craft, fashion, sports, pop culture, as well as children’s
books and general interest. The company’s imprints include
Abrams; Abrams Appleseed; Abrams ComicArts; Abrams Image;
Abrams Books for Young Readers; Amulet Books; Stewart,
Tabori & Chang; and STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books.

American History grants.

Peace & Change

Cover image for Vol. 38 Issue 4

Special Issue: Peace and Reconciliation in Vietnam Guest Editor: Sophie Quinn-Judge

October 2013  Volume 38, Issue 4

Pages 383–506

Guest Editor's Introduction

Sophie Quinn-Judge
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/pech.12036
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Sophie Quinn-Judge
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Trần Hũu Quang
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Nguyễn Ngọc Giao
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/pech.12039
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Trần Thị Liên
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Ngô Vĩnh Long
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/pech.12041
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Leonard Cohen, “Story of Isaac” song:  sacrifice of sons by fathers in Vietnam War is unholy and worthy of retribution?


1.                             LEONARD COHEN : Story of Isaac - YouTube
Nov 1, 2008 - Uploaded by GLOBALRAPTUREdotcom
THE STORY OF ISSAC. ... Leonard Cohen : "NFBC Documentary", 1 of 5 ("Story of Isaac")by Frank ...

Dangerous Minds | Field Commander Cohen: Leonard Cohen on War
Jun 17, 2013 - Whenever listening to Leonard Cohen's “The Story of Isaac”—a song in which war is conceived of as the semi-ritual sacrifice of a younger ...

2.                             Story Of Isaac - Diamonds in the Lines : Leonard Cohen in his own ...
Story of Isaac (1968-1985) The song doesn't end with a plea for peace. It doesn't end with a plea for sanity between the generations. It ends saying, "I'll kill you if ...

3.                             How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns - The Leonard Cohen Files
From that passage Leonard Cohen has woven a song - Story of Isaac. A lyric that's true to the original and true to humanity. The original is seen in Cohen's song ...
4.                              [PDF]

The Strange Case of Leonard Cohen - The Leonard Cohen Files
Leonard Cohen has been a published and critically regarded poet for over fifty ......'Story of Isaac', one of the first songs in Cohen's new incarnation, revisits the.


Chapter 160 in Vietnam is pleased to invite Vietnamese and international friends to join 15 members of this year’s Veterans Tour of Vietnam 2013 for a special evening at the Hanoi Cinematheque to view the award-winning documentary 

This year’s VFP delegation has pledged $14,000 to be distributed at the end of the tour for programs and projects that assist disabled and disadvantaged families suffering from the legacies of war “ cluster munitions, landmines and other unexploded ordnance, and Agent Orange.”  We are asking friends in Hanoi to join us with your own donations, to increase the total amount raised and enable us to help more families.  

Your voluntary donation is welcome!  

Film notes:  Prof. Steven Emmanuel and five students from Virginia Wesleyan University produced Making Peace with Viet Nam in 2008.  The film documents the lingering wounds of a war that ended nearly four decades ago. The pace of the story is deliberately slow, so viewers have time to reflect on the suffering caused by war and perhaps to think a little more.  

Steven Emmanuel writes: The documentary explores some of the ways that people today are actively working to make peace with that past, to make peace with Vietnam. One of the ways they do this is to engage in various forms of humanitarian work in Vietnam. This work is carried out by non-governmental agencies, public and private foundations, as well as by veterans organizations, religious groups, and by concerned individuals. All work is undertaken in partnership with some Vietnamese agency to organize and implement projects. One of the largest humanitarian programs underway in the country is directed by Dr. Nugyen Viet Nhan, Head of the Department of Medical Genetics and Director of the Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children (OGCDC) at Hue Medical College. While in Vietnam this summer, we collected nearly 30 hours of footage, documenting all the different projects supported by the OGCDC, including interviews with some of its major American sponsors. 


Best Long Documentary, New Beijing International Film Festival (2009)
Audience Award, Red Rock Film Festival (2009)
Official Selection, NEWFILMMAKERS NYC (2010)

For further information contact:
Chuck Searcy, Vice President, VFP Chapter 160 
M  0903420769
Chuck Palazzo, Treasurer, VFP Chapter 160 
M  0907446410

Hanoi Cinematheque
Tel 3936 2648

VFP Chapter 160 Spring 2013 Tour Of Vietnam

Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:35 am (PDT) . Posted by:
Dear friends,

So far, at the half-way point, this year's tour has been AWESOME!
Please check our website for frequent updates and pictures.  Please pass on, far and wide.  Next year's tour is already filling up FAST.
Thanks and semper peace!

Chuck Palazzo
Agent Orange Action Group
Hoa Binh Chapter, Veterans For Peace
Reply to sender . Reply to group . Reply via Web Post . All Messages (1) . Top ^

New York Times

War Torn

A series of articles and multimedia about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home.

Dr. Jonathan Shay on Returning Veterans and Combat Trauma

Published: January 13, 2008
Dr. Jonathan Shay is a psychiatrist who specializes in treating the psychic wounds of war. He is also the author of two books, "Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character" and "Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming," which examine the experiences of combat veterans through the lens of classical texts.
Jason Threlfall
Dr. Jonathan Shay


Book Excerpt: 'Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming'

"Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles" (January 13, 2008)

Over 20 years ago, Dr. Shay, then a medical researcher studying the biochemistry of brain-cell death, suffered a stroke. During his recovery, he moved from research into clinical work, taking a temporary job substituting for a vacationing psychiatrist at a Department of Veteran Affairs clinic in Boston. When that doctor died, Dr. Shay stayed on, challenged and inspired by the terrible psychological injuries of the combat veterans.
During his stroke recovery, Dr. Shay also began, as he put it, to fill in the gaps in his education by reading the classics: "The Iliad," "The Odyssey," and "The Aeneid." And it was clear to him that his patients at the V.A. clinic were echoing many of the sentiments expressed by the warriors in those ancient texts: betrayal by those in power, guilt for surviving, deep alienation on their return from war.
“I realized that I was hearing the story of Achilles over and over again,” said Dr. Shay.
For this series, Deborah Sontag spoke with Dr. Shay, who recently won one of the MacArthur Foundation’s coveted “genius awards,’’ about his unique perspective on the psychological impact of war.
 What happens when someone who has adapted to war comes home?
What others view as a mental disorder — post-traumatic stress disorder, that is — Dr. Shay prefers to see as a psychological injury of war. Initially, when a service member returns from war, he or she often retains the behaviors that they adopted for their own survival while in a combat zone, he says.
“Most of it really boils down to the valid adaptations in the mind and body to the real situation of other people trying to kill you,’’ he said.
 On PTSD, sleep and a breakthrough in treatment.
Dr. Shay has written about the connection between criminal behavior and combat trauma. He refers to the problem as "staying in combat mode." In his writing, he points out that the first adventure of Odysseus after the Trojan War was to sack the city of Ismarus — essentially a pirate raid where the soldiers applied their hard-earned wartime skills to a civilian environment. If this kind of behavior is common, should the courts consider combat service when a veteran has been charged with criminal activity?
 On whether the effects of combat trauma should be considered in criminal cases.
Dr. Shay has become an advocate for preventing psychological war injuries as much as possible through a variety of methods. For example, he believes that soldiers should be deployed together, rather than trickling in and out of combat zones individually as was the practice during the Vietnam War. A sense of community and stability are key, he says, in preventing further damage.
 On seeing another generation suffer the psychological aftermath of war.

University of Wisconsin Press
Voices from the Plain of Jars
Life under an Air War (SECOND EDITION)
Edited by Fred Branfman with essays and drawings by Laotian villagers 

Foreword by Alfred W. McCoy
New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Alfred W. McCoy, R. Anderson Sutton, Thongchai Winichakul,
and Kenneth M. George, Series Editors

“A classic. . . . No American should be able to read [this book] without weeping at his country’s arrogance.”
—Anthony Lewis, New York Times

During the Vietnam War the United States government waged a massive, secret air war in neighboring Laos. Fred Branfman, an educational advisor living in Laos at the time, interviewed over 1,000 Laotian survivors. Shocked by what he heard and saw, he urged them to record their experiences in essays, poems, and pictures. Voices from the Plain of Jars was the result of that effort.

When first published in 1972, this book was instrumental in exposing the bombing. In this expanded edition, Branfman follows the story forward in time, describing the hardships that Laotians faced after the war when they returned to find their farm fields littered with cluster munitions
—explosives that continue to maim and kill today.

“Today, the significance of this book’s message has, if anything, increased. As Fred Branfman predicted with uncommon prescience, the massive U.S. bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War marked the advent of a new kind of warfare—automated, aerial, and secret—that is just now emerging as the dominant means of projecting U.S. power worldwide.”—Alfred W. McCoy, author of Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation 

Fred Branfman is a writer and activist on issues of peace and climate change who lives in Santa Barbara, California, and in Budapest.


1.                             40 Years After Secret U.S. War in Laos Ended, Millions of ...
Apr 4, 2013 – The legacy of the war continues to haunt Laos as some 80 million ...legacy of the Vietnam War lives on today in the form of unexploded cluster bombs. ....We're talking about 80 million unexploded U.S. bombs in Lao soil.

2.                             Laos: Coalition Opposes U.S. Taxpayers' Funding of Bomb Removal ...
Apr 12, 2013 – “No U.S. taxpayers' money should be used for the clean-up of bombsand unexploded ordnance in Laos from the Vietnam War-era, while ...

3.                             Vietnam War Continues in Laos: 75 Million Bombs ... - Huffington Post
Apr 30, 2010 – As part of its efforts during the Vietnam War, the United States began a nine-year bombing campaign in Laos in 1964 that ultimately dropped ...

4.                             Laos still suffers legacy of United States bombing (photos ... › Photo Essays on
Apr 8, 2013 – On the eve of a national tour--Legacies of War "Voices fromLaos" --that will .... During the Vietnam War, the United States bombed Laos for a ...

5.                             Secret War in Laos | Legacies of War
The bombings were part of the U.S. Secret War in Laos to support the Royal Lao ...cluster bombs were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War (210 million ...
You visited this page on 5/20/13.

6.                             Vietnam War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
9 Opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War: 1962–1973; 10 Exit of the .... The war spread to Laos and Cambodia, where Communists organized the ... launched fromU.S. Seventh Fleet carriers, to bomb Viet Minh commander Vo ...

7.                             Q&A: Bombs remain threat in Laos - Q&A - The Sacramento Bee
Apr 8, 2013 – Why did the United States bomb Laos? During the Vietnam War, Laoswas one of the most heavily bombed nations on Earth. We supported the ...

8.                             Laos Is Still Under Attack from Its Secret War | VICE United States
May 10, 2013 – ... American cluster bombs dropped during the secret war inLaos could ... war was happening at the same time as the Vietnam War—where ...

9.                             Vietnam War's Legacy Is Vivid as Clinton Visits Laos -
Jul 11, 2012 – Vietnam War's Legacy Is Vivid as Clinton Visits Laos. Brendan ... TheUnited States has not signed the Convention on Cluster Bombs.

10.                         Still-deadly legacy of secret US bombing of Laos lingers -
Mar 29, 2013 – It was exactly 40 years ago, on March 29, 1973, that Operation Barrel Roll—the secret US bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War—ended ...
Searches related to US bombing Laos in Vietnam War

From the White House:  Write or Call

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Contents of #1 July 24, 2011
   Anderson, The War that Never Ends
   Marlantes, Matterhorn, Novel
   Schecter and Hung, The Palace Files (Nixon prolongs the war)
   Stacewicz, Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Jane Fonda, Peacemaker
Cluster Bombs, Special Section (small sample of sources)
Civilians Killed (small sample)
Casualties in Wars

Contents of #2
Chemical War Crimes:   Agent Orange Action Group
Nick Turse, War Crimes, Kill Everything that Moves
Tirman, Civilians Killed
  My Lai
  Vietnam and Iraq
Legend of Returning Vets Spat Upon

Contents $3 Sept. 25, 2012
President Obama’s Memorial Day 2012 Call to Expunge the Vietnam Syndrome
Dick: US Empire, Pres. Obama’s Campaign to Rewrite VNW History, and Chris   Burden’s The Other Vietnam Memorial
Topmiller, Buddhist Resistance
Topmiller,  Ke Sanh Combat and Consequences
Topmiller, Mistreatment of Vets

Contents #4
French Defeat at Dien Bien Phu
Palazzo, VfP: Landmines
Turse, Kill Anything That Moves, Interview by Moyers and Co.
Turse, Rev. by Jonathan Schell
VfP, Several Reports
Catonsville 9, Berrigans

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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)