Friday, September 15, 2017


September 16, 2017.
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; #5, April 9, 2014; #6, Feb. 18, 2015; #7, March 24, 2015; #8, March 20, 2017).  Thanks to Marc.


PREVIEW THIS SATURDAY TOMORROW SEPT. 16 AT FPL, 2:00 PM.  Free screening of one episode, followed by a panel moderated by Kyle Kellams; panelists:  Veterans History Project director Col. Karen Lloyd, former NYT journalist and UA professor Roy Reed, John Brown U professor Preston Jones, and VNW veteran Jim Hale.  From Lara Hightower, “Filmmaker Tells Story of War” (NADG Sept. 14, 2017).

For an overview of the Burns/Novick series see Michael Storey, “10-Part Burns Documentary Recalls Vietnam War” NADG (Sept. 14, 2017).

Killing civilians google search
This inattention to civilian deaths in America's wars isn't unique to Iraq. There's little evidence that the American public gives much thought to ...
Recent news reports describe a massive increase in civilian casualties at the hands of the US military or US allies. In Mosul, Iraq, hundreds of ...
 US westward imperialism

Contents: Vietnam War Newsletter #9, September 15, 2017.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landing of U.S. ground troops in Da Nang, Vietnam.  Many consider this to be the beginning of the American War in Vietnam. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the war the Pentagon is undertaking a ten-year, $65-million campaign to rewrite and whitewash the history of the war in Southeast Asia.
In response, Veterans for Peace has announced the Vietnam War Full Disclosure project to offer a more truthful history of the war.   <More>
For more information, email Doug Rawlings or visit the Full Disclosure Campaign website.

The Vietnamese Experience
   Memoir by Linda Baer
   Photographic Record

Official Account vs. Critiques and Alternatives for Truth and
   Peace, Anti-War Peace Movement
   Pentagon Exhibit
   Tom Hayden, Hell No!
   Rep. Barbara Lee’s Resolution

Public Opposition
    Book: Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks

Citizen Resisters, Conscientious Objectors
    Dancis, Resister, reviewed by Murray Polner

GI Opposition to the War
    Seidman, “Vietnam and the Soldiers’ Revolt”

The War Continues
    “Bob Kerrey, Fulbright University, and Neoliberal Erasure of
        History” by Paul Street

History, Appraisal, and Experience of the US War   
    Full Disclosure
    Appy, American Reckoning rev. by Staughton Lynd (also see
       Newsletter #8). 
    Willson, My Lai
    Rawlings, What Does It Mean?
    Ehrhart, “A Personal History”
    Marciano, “Lessons from the Vietnam War”
    Weiner, Book on Nixon, the War, and Watergate
     Bingham, Book Witness to the Revolution, Oral History 1969-70.

The Vietnamese Experience

Dick, thanks for this newsletter [#8}. The latest book that I have read about Viet Nam is Red Blood, Yellow Skin by Linda L.T. Baer. She was born in North Viet Nam, migrated to South, then later married an American soldier and moved to the US. She experienced more tragedy in her first 10 years of life than most people do in a lifetime. Hers is one story of what a lot of Vietnamese experienced during those years.  Cliff M

“Another Vietnam, 1965-1975: Unseen Images of the War from the Winning Side.”  ASIA & THE PACIFIC, 24 April 2017.

Alex Q. Arbuckle | Mashable – TRANSCEND Media Service.
1972: Activists meet in the Nam Can forest, wearing masks to hide their identities from one another in case of capture and interrogation. From here in the mangrove swamps of the Mekong Delta, forwarding images to the North was difficult. “Sometimes the photos were lost or confiscated on the way,” said the photographer.
Image: Vo Anh Khanh/Another Vietnam/National Geographic Books
For much of the world, the visual history of the Vietnam War has been defined by a handful of iconic photographs: Eddie Adams’ image of a Viet Cong fighter being executed, Nick Ut’s picture of nine-year-old Kim Phúc fleeing a napalm strike, Malcolm Browne’s photo of Thích Quang Duc self-immolating in a Saigon intersection.
Many famous images of the war were taken by Western photographers and news agencies, working alongside American or South Vietnamese troops.
But the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had hundreds of photographers of their own, who documented every facet of the war under the most dangerous conditions.
Almost all were self-taught, and worked for the Vietnam News Agency, the National Liberation Front, the North Vietnamese Army or various newspapers. Many sent in their film anonymously or under a nom de guerre, viewing themselves as a humble part of a larger struggle.
July 1967: New recruits undergo physical examinations in Haiphong. The North’s volunteer system was transformed into a mandatory system in 1973, when all able-bodied males were drafted. From a corps of around 35,000 men in 1950, the NVA grew to over half a million men by the mid-’70s, a force the U.S. military conceded was one of the finest in the world.
Image: Bao Hanh/Another Vietnam/National Geographic Books

Sept. 15, 1970: A victim of American bombing, ethnic Cambodian guerrilla Danh Son Huol is carried to an improvised operating room in a mangrove swamp on the Ca Mau Peninsula. This scene was an actual medical situation, not a publicity setup. The photographer, however, considered the image unexceptional and never printed it.
Image: Vo Anh Khanh/Another Vietnam/National Geographic Books

Official Story of the War vs. Alternative Peace Accounts

Dec 22, 2016 - Pentagon's new exhibit commemorates Vietnam War ... other Pentagon officials for the official ribbon cutting of the display, which spans a swath ...
Dec 20, 2016 - Vietnam veteran and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel returned ... Pentagon's Newest Exhibit Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War ... and other Pentagon officials for theofficial ribbon cutting of the display, ...

Jul 26, 2016 - Paying Respects, Pentagon Revives Vietnam, and War Over Truth OCT. ... what they called incorrect accounts of war crimes, government cover-ups and ... Pentagon officials said they hoped that a new version of the timeline, ...
Apr 27, 2015 - Our collective failure to properly mark the real start of the Vietnam war ... Vietnam War as the official, authorized 50th anniversary ceremonies begin in earnest. ... The Pentagon is expected to spend up to millions for anniversary-related ... and Their Early Vietnam Battles, Prochnau's excellentaccount of the ...

Anti-War Peace Movement
Tom Hayden, Hell No!
Hell No review: celebration of Vietnam protests can inform resistance to Trump.
A new book by Tom Hayden, the peace movement leader who died in October, is a posthumous call for recognition that has much to say to those who march today
Rev. by Clara Bingham
Sunday 12 February 2017 07.00 ESTLast modified on Friday 14 July 2017 13.41 EDT
Tom Hayden’s death, in late October at the age of 76, could not have been more untimely. The 60s protest leader missed by just three months the dawn of a new US mass movement, the likes of which we have not seen since Hayden led the charge against the Johnson and Nixon administrations’ relentless escalation of the Vietnam war.
If it’s any consolation, his sage voice lives on in a posthumously published book, Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement. Indeed, for the same reasons that Hayden’s death was untimely, his book could not be more timely. Millions are taking to cities, airports and town halls across the US and around the world, protesting against the Trump administration and its policies.  MORE
The Vietnam War Peace Movement:  See #8
Tom Hayden, Hell No (2017, published shortly before he died)
John Marciano, The American War in Vietnam (2016).

Rep. Lee Recognizes Vietnam Peace Movement in House Resolution.       
Rep. Barbara Lee and several notable activists lead the Vietnam Power of Protest commemorative march in Washington D.C. May 2015.
Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced a House Resolution (H.Res.695) recognizing the Vietnam anti-war movement as, "one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in recent generations and was critical to bringing an end to the war." Rep. John Conyers became a co-sponsor as an effort begins to seek endorsements from other congressional representatives.

The Lee resolution is a direct result of last year's May 1-2 commemoration of the movement at a conference in Washington DC.

The peace resolution will draw the ire of Republicans and reluctance of some Democrats. The Vietnam peace movement is the only Sixties movement that has been marginalized instead of memorialized. Yet it was a life-changing experience for many during the war, including thousands of soldiers and veterans, and the US government has tried to stamp out what they call "the Vietnam Syndrome."

The Lee Resolution is an organizing tool for anyone wanting to respond to the Pentagon's recent false narrative of history on its website. If grass-roots organizers visit, engage and petition their congressional offices, there is a strong chance for reinvigorating the continuing debate over Vietnam.

Apr 21, 2016 - Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced a House Resolution (H.Res.695) recognizing theVietnam anti-war movement as, “one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in recent generations and was critical to bringing an end to the war.”
Jan 5, 2017 - The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement .... by exposing the deliberate and long-standing practice of the White House and the Pentagon to ... Many players—members of Congress, including Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, and ... Earlier struggles for workers' rights in the 1930s were recognized, ...

Public Opposition to the War

Book Review: Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks

July 24, 2014 / Jane Slaughterenlarge 

Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory, by Penny Lewis. Cornell University Press, 2013.
Lazy journalists and pundits repeated the story over and over, and made it stand in for every sentiment, every action of a working-class person about the Vietnam War: In May 1970, construction workers chanting “love it or leave it” attacked antiwar protesters on Wall Street. (Seldom mentioned is the fact that hundreds of Wall Street types joined in, too.)
In the two weeks that followed, workers marched daily at lunchtime, climaxing with an “Honor America, Honor the Flag” rally organized by the Building Trades Council. Liberal Mayor John Lindsay was a prime target. The New York Times reported that many demonstrators said they were fed up with the peace movement.
We can thank Penny Lewis, who teaches labor studies in New York, for showing us that this well-cultivated image of the hardhat hawk is only one part of the story of working-class opinion and activity about Vietnam.
In Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory, she asks, “Who opposed the war? Who took part in actions either directly or indirectly against the war? Who caused the greatest disruption to the US capacity to fight in Vietnam?” and makes the case that “working people were at the forefront.”   MORE

GI Opposition to the War
“Vietnam and the Soldiers’ Revolt:  The Politics of a Forgotten History” by Derek Seidman.   Monthly Review.  Home  2016  Volume 68, Issue 02 (June)  Vietnam and the Soldiers’ Revolt
Dear Reader, we make this and other articles available for free online to serve those unable to afford or access the print edition of Monthly Review. If you read the magazine online and can afford a print subscription, we hope you will consider purchasing one. Please visit the MR store for subscription options. Thank you very much. —Eds.

Derek Seidman is an assistant professor of history at D’Youville College in Buffalo. He is writing a book about the history of GI protest during the Vietnam War.
This article is part of an MR series on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. war in Vietnam.
It has been nearly fifty years since the height of the Vietnam War—or, as it is known in Vietnam, the American War—and yet its memory continues to loom large over U.S. politics, culture, and foreign policy. The battle to define the war’s lessons and legacies has been a proxy for larger clashes over domestic politics, national identity, and U.S. global power. One of its most debated areas has been the mass antiwar movement that achieved its greatest heights in the United States but also operated globally. Within this, and for the antiwar left especially, a major point of interest has been the history of soldier protest during the war. This interest grew with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when both dissident soldiers and antiwar civilians looked back to the legacy of Vietnam-era GI resistance as a usable history to help oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. David Cortright’s classic 1975 account of troop resistance, Soldiers in Revolt, was republished in 2005, and that same year, the documentary film Sir! No Sir! helped to popularize the hidden history of active-duty soldier protest.  MORE

Citizen Resisters, Conscientious Objectors

Review of Bruce Dancis’s “Resister: A Story of Protest and Prison During the Vietnam War”
May 18, 2014.
Murray Polner a, regular book reviewer for HNN, wrote “No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran” and co-authored, with Jim O’Grady, “Disarmed and Dangerous,” a biography of Daniel and Philip Berrigan.”
“On December 14, 1966, at the age of eighteen, I stood before a crowd of three hundred people at Cornell University, read a statement denouncing the war and the draft, and tore my draft card unto four pieces.” Bruce Dancis, a college freshman, then dramatically walked to a mailbox and sent the mutilated card to his draft board. He was the first Cornell student to do so. “I made a stand against the war and the draft. I became part of a tiny minority of young men ---an estimated three thousand—who went to federal prison instead.”
Resister, Bruce Dancis’s absorbing portrayal of the tumultuous sixties from his vantage point as leader of Cornell’s Student for a Democratic Society, describes what it was like to challenge the world’s most powerful nation in the midst of a war that saw millions of Asians and 58,000 U.S. troops die, a failed war for which no-one at the highest level of our government has ever been held accountable.

The War Continues
Bob Kerrey, Fulbright University and the Neoliberal Erasure of History By Paul Street  September 26, 2016
Truth is stranger than dystopian fiction. Last May, for  example, United States President Barack Obama announced the opening of the U.S.-sponsored Fulbright University of Vietnam (FUV), the first private university in a small nation the U.S. tried to “bomb back to the Stone Age” half a century ago. Intended to be “a U.S.-style university not under control of the Communist Party of Vietnam,” FUV hopes to begin teaching students about how to be good global-era capitalists and world capitalist citizens in the fall of 2017. It’s a collaboration between the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the U.S. State Department. The U.S. government has so far invested roughly $20 million in the project.
Bronze Star Butcher   MORE  (Bob Kerrey, CIA, massacres, Obama, Harvard, Fulbright University of Vietnam, US exceptionalism and supremacism, official amnesia, moral blindness)    
Paul Street is an author and activist in Iowa City. This essay originally appeared in Counterpunch.

Two articles  from Monthly Review  (December 2016) under the heading of “Vietnam War Revisited,” accompanied by this note:  “This and the following article are part of a continuing MR series on the legacy of the U.S. War in Vietnam.”
W. D. Ehrhart.  “Vietnam and the Sixties: A Personal History.”  Monthly Review (December 2016).
John Marciano, “Lessons from the Vietnam War.”  Monthly Review (December 2016).  Adapted from the author’s The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?  Monthly Review P, 2016.

History, Appraisal, and Experience of the US War
About Full Disclosure
Agony1 2
Commemorating the American war in Viet Nam
By Howard Machtinger
On May 25, 2012, in announcing a 13-year long commemoration of the war in Viet Nam funded by Congress at $65 million, President Obama proclaimed: “As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away… They pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.”[i]
Commemorations are acts of choosing what to remember about something presumably of significance. There are two parts to this:
1.    creating a memory which is inevitably a direction to remember some things rather than others; a memory with a purpose; ostensibly to honor and thereby define honor for some future purpose;
2.    defining some event as significant: making a major contribution to our world, a turning point.
So I will try to make an argument for the significance of the war and point at what I think ought to be remembered which will diverge from hyperbolic salutations of soldierly valor – though valor there was — to something more substantive. It will end up at cross purposes to Obama’s, I fear.
So let me develop an argument at three levels:
1.    the war’s impact on the U.S.;
2.    its impact on Vietnamese;
3.    its impact on the world.

American Exceptionalism, Working-Class Wars, and Working-Class Peace Movements by Staughton Lynd.  Monthly Review April 2015.
Christian Appy is the author of two splendid previous books about the Vietnam War: Working-Class War and Patriots.  Patriots was extraordinary in that it offered oral histories by soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The main argument of Appy's new book, American Reckoning, is that "the Vietnam War shattered the central tenet of American national identity," namely, faith in "American exceptionalism."  MORE
Staughton Lynd is an American conscientious objector and tax resister, Quaker, peace activist and civil rights activist, historian and professor, author and lawyer.  His book Doing History from the Bottom Up: On E.P. Thompson, Howard Zinn, and Rebuilding the Labor Movement from Below was published in December 2014 by Haymarket Books and a new edition of his Solidarity Unionism: Rebuilding the Labor Movement from Below, with an introduction by radical labor scholar and activist Immanuel Ness, will be published by PM Press in Spring 2015.  He can be reached at

S. Brian Willson, “Looking Back at My Lai,” Peace in Our Times,  Spring 2015.   My Lai 47 Years Later by S. Brian Willson.  PUBLISHED ON: MARCH 24, 2015

This photo [below] was taken March 16, 1968 at My Lai. I arrived in country a year later on March 8, 1969, but of course had no idea of My Lai or any of the other massacres and atrocities occurring. Soon after arrival, however, I would witness the aftermath of massacres from the air, from 300 feet or less, totally wiping out inhabited, totally undefended fishing and farming villages burning many of the villagers to a crisp with napalm. Sometimes I feel as if I am still in shock, unable to share any expression that is able to convey the utter diabolical nature of it all, of history from our very beginnings. And yet I knew and was exposed to so little, just a taste.  MORE
Photo Courtesy: Brian WillsonPhoto Courtesy: Brian Willson

“Don’t Thank Me for My Service” by Doug Rawlings
This article originally appeared at
U.S. troops search for an elusive enemy in a war that the American public ultimately came to reject.
U.S. troops search for an elusive enemy in a war that the American public ultimately came to reject.
ISSUE #205
Editor’s Note: Fifty years ago this spring, the U.S. military deployed combat units in South Vietnam for the first time. A massive escalation in the war followed — within three years the U.S. had more than 500,000 troops on the ground in Vietnam. When the war finally ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon to Communist forces, more than 4 million Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians and 58,000 Americans had died in the conflict.
For militarists here in the United States, the battle never really ended. They have sought ever since to reframe Vietnam as a “noble cause” betrayed by antiwar protesters who failed to appreciate the sacrifices of the troops and who then perpetuated the public’s aversion to prolonged military adventures in other countries for another generation before 9/11 opened the door on a new era of overseas wars. Now, the Pentagon is heading up a 13-year, $65 million campaign to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war that is slated to run from 2012 to 2025. The Vietnam War Commemoration Project will see its own massive escalation starting this year on Memorial Day, as the Pentagon looks to partner with 10,000 corporations and local groups “to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War.”
But what does all this unsolicited gratitude mean to a veteran who has dedicated himself to waging peace in the 45 years since he came home from war?   MORE

W. D. Ehrhart.  “Vietnam and the Sixties: A Personal History.”  Monthly Review (December 2016).

John Marciano, “Lessons from the Vietnam War.”  Monthly Review (December 2016).  Adapted from the author’s The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?  Monthly Review P, 2016.

Recommended Reading From The American Empire Proje
Recommended Reading from The American Empire Project
"An eye-opening study of Richard Nixon's booze-soaked, paranoid White House years and the endless tragedies they wrought...."   — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Here is the first history of President Richard Nixon with all of his secret tapes and documents, many declassified in the past two years. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tim Weiner presents a devastating portrait of a tortured and tormented man. In gripping prose, the author shows how, in Nixon's mind, the conflict in Vietnam and the crimes of Watergate were one war, fought on two fronts.
One Man Against the World is a work of new insight into Richard Nixon-a man who saw enemies everywhere and, standing alone, took up arms against them. 
One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner

Witness to the Revolution:

The electrifying story of the turbulent year when the sixties ended and America teetered on the edge of revolution
From the publisher:
As the 1960s drew to a close, the United States was coming apart at the seams. From August 1969 to August 1970, the nation witnessed nine thousand protests and eighty-four acts of arson or bombings at schools across the country. It was the year of the My Lai massacre investigation, the Cambodia invasion, Woodstock, and the Moratorium to End the War. The American death toll in Vietnam was approaching fifty thousand, and the ascendant counterculture was challenging nearly every aspect of American society. Witness to the Revolution, Clara Bingham’s unique oral history of that tumultuous time, unveils anew that moment when America careened to the brink of a civil war at home, as it fought a long, futile war abroad.

Woven together from one hundred original interviews, Witness to the Revolution provides a firsthand narrative of that period of upheaval in the words of those closest to the action—the activists, organizers, radicals, and resisters who manned the barricades of what Students for a Democratic Society leader Tom Hayden called “the Great Refusal.”   MORE
For a partly critical review see Andy Piaseik in Z Magazine (June 2017), 43-4.  For example, he thinks Bingham spends too much space on the Weather Underground.   --Dick

Four Videos:  "The Draft" and "Dick Cavett's Vietnam";  “Last Days in Vietnam” and “Kent State: the Day the ‘60s Died”
Review: 'Last Days in Vietnam,' 'Kent State: The Day the '60s Died' on PBS

Robert Lloyd April 28, 2015
Los Angeles Times robert.lloyd​
Rory Kennedy's superb 'Last Days in Vietnam,' on KOCE, deals with Saigon's fall; Robert Lloyd reviews
'Kent State: The Day the '60s Died,' on KOCE, strives to convey urgency of the moment; a TV review
It has been 40 years, nearly to the day, since the last helicopter carrying the last Marines left Saigon. On April 30, 1975, the American presence in Vietnam came to an end; hours later South Vietnam, surrendering to the North, was itself no more. . . .
To mark this anniversary, PBS scheduled a clutch of shows that address the war from different angles. Monday night saw "The Draft" and "Dick Cavett's Vietnam," the first a kind of general survey of American conscription with an emphasis on Vietnam; the second was based, like "Dick Cavett's Watergate," around interview footage from Cavett's talk shows.
Neither show quite holds together: "The Draft" raises good questions about class and the military but too closely associates questions of patriotism with the willingness to carry a gun, and the Cavett program suffers at times from an oddly whimsical, almost amused tone that fights the seriousness of the often fascinating archival clips. "While I set out to do an entertaining talk show," the host says today, inserting a purposeful chuckle, "you could not keep Vietnam out of the conversation."
Tuesday's offerings — "Last Days in Vietnam" and "Kent State: The Day the '60s Died" — are far better. . . .
Forty years later, we're still working through it, a necessary enterprise and an impossible one.   Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

Contents: Vietnam War Newsletter #8, March 20, 2017
Telling the Truth About the War vs. Pentagon/Pres. Obama Official History;
Consequences of the War to US and Vietnamese Troops and Vietnamese People.

Remembering the War for Peace or for more wars:  Films
Vietnam and the Memory of War by Viet Thanh Nguyen.
Coming in September a 10-Part PBS film series by Lynn Novick and Ken Burns

Two films by Michael Grigsby on war’s destructive effects on US troops.
Naneek: A US Veteran returns after 40 years, and meets Vietnamese vets

Histories of the War
Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves (2013)
Christian Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our
      National Identify (

Jack Doxie, the 48th Anniversary of My Lai
Nadya Williams, Chuck Searcy:  Birth defects of Vietnam's children
Bill Fletcher, Agent Orange
Marjorie Cohn, From Nuclear Bombs to Agent Orange

The Warriors Who Started the War and Kept it Going
Kissinger: 2 articles 

Vietnam War Part of US History of Global Aggression
“Patriotic Genocide” by Mike Hastie, poet

The Vietnam War Peace Movement
Tom Hayden, Hell No (2017, published shortly before he died)
John Marciano, The American War in Vietnam (2016).




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

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