Posts Tagged ‘Kennedy’

t_1963_summer
JFK Cover-Up: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

Joe Giambrone

In November of 2003, Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission investigation, directly disparaging it by way of the Warren Commission investigation.  Senator Cleland said:

[T]he Warren Commission blew it. I’m not going to be part of that. I’m not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I’m not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I’m not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that (Boehlert).

The most obvious fact, to indicate that the true story of John F. Kennedy’s slaying is not as the government has presented, is the cover-up itself.  Elaborate cover-ups spanning 50 years cannot orchestrate themselves, and there must be compelling reasons for hiding the truth from the American people, or else it would simply be declassified and revealed.  If the killing of the president was committed by a lone nut single shooter named Lee Harvey Oswald, because of his great love of Marxism, there would be no compelling reason to keep his files secret five decades after the fact.  Quite the opposite, Mr. Oswald’s clear guilt and personal history would have been useful propaganda material in the ideological battle between the Western world and the Soviet bloc.  The ongoing and arguably illegal suppression of assassination evidence by the US government should be taken as a clear indicator of some level of official complicity in the original assassination.

Despite the US government and major media pressing the official story for fifty years, still relatively few Americans believe it.  By 2004, “74 percent” of Americans thought there was a “cover-up of the facts about the assassination of JFK” (Blanton).  Today, polls show a majority firmly behind the conspiratorial view, with an April 2013 Associated Press finding that, “59 percent of Americans think multiple people were involved in a conspiracy.”

Of course the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined the killing was “probably” a conspiracy, with a pathetic guess their final determination.  Their committee was “unable to determine” the identities of other shooters or the “extent of the conspiracy” (Porter).  This is more evidence of cover-up, especially so given the sheer number of documents to be released after 1979, and, even more damaging, those that remain secret to this day.  We know of at least 1,100 multi-page records related to the JFK hit that remain classified.

Among those still classified records are details of the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination (Morley, “Top 7…” ).  Characters kept shielded from public scrutiny include Bill Harvey who headed an assassination team for CIA code named “ZR-RIFLE.”  CIA operative David A. Phillips was allegedly seen with Oswald in Dallas in September of 1963, two months before the slaying of a president.  At least 332 hidden pages concern E. Howard Hunt, a CIA thug and Nixon “plumber” (plugged leaks) involved in Watergate.  Hunt would confess on his deathbed to being part of the JFK hit, as published in Rolling Stone, although specifics of his story may be inaccurate (Maier).  In his confession E. Howard Hunt did name Cord Meyer, Bill Harvey, David Morales, David A. Phillips, Frank Sturgis and then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (Hedegaard).

E_Howard_Hunt_Confesses_to_CIA_Plot_Agai_128813961_thumbnailE. Howard Hunt’s Confession

The second JFK investigation, the 1979 HSCA, in no way got to the truth of the matter, and nowhere is this more clearly shown than in its failure to interview Jerrol Custer when it addressed whether the Kennedy X-rays were forgeries or not (HSCA, “Section IV”).  Custer was the x-ray technician who took the pictures, and yet he was not brought in to clarify that the images were authentic.  Custer testified in 1997 to the Assassinations Records Review Board: “[W]hen I looked into the skull – I remember seeing an apparatus in there… It was non-human.  It had – I’m not sure if it was metallic or plastic…”  His commanding officer, Dr. Ebersole returned late that night with additional skull fragments from Dallas.  “High-ranking people had talked to [Ebersole].  And he suggested to me that everything I see from now on, I should forget” (ARRB, “Deposition…” p146).

JFK_autopsy-damage-indicated

Three days after Kennedy’s killing, and just one day after Lee Harvey Oswald was also gunned down — while in police custody and having never confessed to anything — the assistant Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas Katzenbach, wrote a memo to a white house aide that included this point: “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial” (Katzenbach).

Clearly, at this early juncture there was no way for Nicholas Katzenbach to know these things as facts.  In explaining his memo, Katzenbach told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that his emphasis was on full disclosure and not on pressing the lone assassin theory (HSCA, p.653).  Katzenbach’s premature memo also noted some conspiracy theories that the Soviets were behind the Kennedy killing or that the extreme right wing was behind it in order to blame it on leftists. “Unfortunately, the facts on Oswald seem about too pat, too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.)” (Katzenbach).

So even as he relayed the (premature) determination of FBI agents that Oswald was responsible and that he acted alone, Katzenbach expressed a reservation that it seemed “too obvious” that Oswald was so blatantly linked to the Soviet bloc.

We see an official policy to stick to the lone assassin theory, and specifically not to blame the JFK hit on the Soviets or Cuba, from President Johnson as well.  A phone call on November 29th, one week after the slaying, from the President to Senator Richard Russell, made clear his concern.  Johnson said,  “[W]e’ve got to take this out of the arena where they’re testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour…”  The direct threat of nuclear war supposedly took precedence rather than full disclosure, at least from the mouth of President Johnson.  This rationale for covering up some facts was already established and on the record, inside the white house, one week after President Kennedy’s murder.

(more…)

Oswald, the Super Evil Genius Magician

Posted: November 22, 2015 in -
Tags:

newsleeharveyoswald-tl

So, 52 years ago Lee Oswald went to work at the school book depository, noticed that the President of the United States would be driving by the building and fired nearly impossible shots at his head for some reason. Although shots were also coming from the front, but that’s just crazy talk. Bullets can’t come from another direction than the government claims. You are insane.

Then Oswald had himself murdered by a Mafioso two days later. Surrounded by thirty cops.

Then Oswald covered up everything for fifty-two years. Lied to Congress repeatedly. Keeps thousands of CIA records sealed.

AoU_Iron_Man_01.png

Agent Oswald is some kind of Avenger. We could probably use more people with his skill set.

 

JFK Cover-Up: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

P.S.

Salon has published a crucial excerpt from The Devil’s Chessboard:

Inside the plot to kill JFK: The secret story of the CIA and what really happened in Dallas

The big question has always been if Lyndon Johnson was in on the plot. He was riding two cars behind Kennedy in the motorcade and, therefore, this was always presented as evidence that he was unaware. His life was at risk too, so the story goes.

Sometimes people gamble.

Johnson was instrumental in covering up the killing, appointing the sham Warren Commission, and escalating the Vietnam War.

 

Barry-MexCity63-HiRez

George W. Bush’s CIA Director, Porter Goss, sitting next to the biggest cocaine smuggler in history: Barry Seal…

goss-seal4

Hopsicker also mentions the 9/11 cover up. Goss was the co-chair of the Senate/House Joint Inquiry, alongside Bob Graham. Goss is the one who hasn’t been calling for a new investigation all these years.

Barry Seal wasn’t starring in a Jason Bourne movie

oswald4

Michael Parenti has inspired me for a couple decades…

The JFK Assassination: The Impossible “Assassin”. Defending the Gangster State

 

kennedy-airplane-web

Boston Review:

Exit Strategy: In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam

In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam.

“(3) On October 11, the White House issued NSAM 263, which states:

The President approved the military recommendations contained in section I B (1-3) of the report, but directed that no formal announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.”

Notably, Noam Chomsky is exposed in this article as pushing the official story, for decades now, minimizing the meaning of this Viet Nam withdrawal. Chomsky has openly spun the facts for questionable motives for a long, long time.   His verbal contortions on the 9/11 attacks parallel his approach to the Kennedy assassination.

See more:

JFK Cover-Up: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

“It is an article of faith that there are no conspiracies in American life.” -Gore Vidal, Bush Junta Complicit in 9/11

 

From The Newsvandal

Every day, people are charged with criminal conspiracy in courtrooms around the country. In those cases, a “conspiracy” merely describes a criminal act involving two or more individuals.

Also every day, the establishment media reports on various criminal conspiracies—including racketeering, insider trading, political corruption, sex scandals and murder plots.

Murder plots are their favorite, particularly when a husband or wife or crazed lover hires an assassin to knock off a troublesome or inconvenient spouse for personal gain. The details and facts of those conspiracies attract a great deal of attention from journalists and news personalities who pore over police blotters, always looking for a good hook to a shocking story with “legs” and, therefore, a long life with lots of details and great ratings.

Yet, over the last fifty years, the simple, descriptive word “conspiracy” has taken on a double life. On one hand, a feverish “true crime” obsession has spread around the news business, turning newsmagazine shows into banal police procedurals, and transforming entire cable broadcasts into tabloid mimics fixated upon mysteries, cover-ups and conspiracies.

The media literally spent years on the case of Chandra Levy and never stopped asking “Who killed JonBenét Ramsey?”

They’ve obsessed on Amanda Knox’s convoluted story and eagerly entertained various theories about the death of Princess Diana.

And they even jumped headfirst into the feeding frenzy around the murder of J.R. Ewing!

On the other hand, when faced with the crime of the 20th Century—the murder of President Kennedy—those selfsame establishment mediacrats have relentlessly and effectively mutated the term “conspiracy” into a dismissive, all-purpose epithet: the “conspiracy theory.”

Instead of handling JFK’s murder like a criminal case, they’ve treated it like an urban legend. Rather than examining eyewitness accounts or reporting on the facts and notable names associated with the murder, they’ve become a pool of official stenographers. They simply ignore conspiracy facts and make offhanded remarks about conspiracy theories.

Take note that it is always the plural: “theories.” It colors every critique or suspicion of the official story with the taint of alien autopsies, Bigfoot sightings and faked moon landings.

Even worse, they’ve established a blockade around experts and researchers and best-selling authors who have—over the last fifty years—uncovered reams of new information and documents relating to the case.

No, the establishment media prefers to consult with news personalities and pulp-trade historians who opine about the “myth” and “legend” and psychological “meaning” of JFK’s life and death.

This is an interesting, self-serving distraction. It avoids tough questions, replacing them with predictable intonations on the tragic fall of Camelot, with epic paeans to JFK’s charisma and Jackie’s panache, and with somber reflections on a nation’s shock and awe.

And it is all punctuated with the perennial question of “What if?”

“What if Jack had lived?”

Alas, it is no replacement for the far more relevant question of “How did Jack die?”

Ironically, the establishment media incessantly theorizes about “what ifs” and groans about conspiracy theories while the people they accuse in absentia of being “theorists” dutifully, often heroically, gather and share conspiracy facts.

Tune into CBS or NBC or ABC or anywhere around the dial, and you do not see James DiEugenio or David Talbot or James Douglass. Instead you get Chris Matthews and Rob Lowe and, most disappointingly of all, Ken Burns. They speak like people who haven’t read. They embrace a theory they haven’t questioned. And they explain away “the people” who believe in conspiracy theories with callow psychobabble.

In spite of all their talk, they literally say nothing.

There is no mention of the House Select Committee on Assassination’s determination that JFK was likely killed by a conspiracy or the invaluable book by Committee investigator Gaeton Fonzi. There is no mention of the information uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board or that it was established because Oliver Stone did what many “journalists” and “mainline historians” refused to do. And, perhaps most significantly, completely absent is Jim Garrison’s prosecutorial dismantling of the Warren Commission.

It is as if none of it happened.

Just imagine if the blood, hair and brain tissue splattered and still preserved on Jackie’s pink dress elicited the same scrutiny and attention as did that tiresome little semen stain left on Monica’s blue dress. Perhaps then the New York Times would ask why, if Oswald shot JFK from the rear with a non-exploding bullet, the woman sitting to the left of him was so thoroughly sprayed by the fatal shot.

Alas, after leading with “Let them see what they’ve done”—Mrs. Kennedy’s famous response to the suggestion that she clean up prior to LBJ’s hasty inauguration—the Times’ story blathers on about fashion, archival ethics and, of course, “the rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald.” The reporter never mentions, if only to dispute it, that it has been shown repeatedly that neither the rifle nor the bullet could have created those “iconic” stains in the first place.

America heard often about Bill Clinton’s crooked member. But it is strictly verboten to mention the Mannlicher-Carcano’s notoriously skewed gun-sight.

Instead, the murder is treated like a moment frozen in time and consecrated by some preternatural force beyond the power of mortal men. On Face the Nation, a recalcitrant and almost fanatical Bob Schieffer pronounces that Kennedy was killed by a “madman.” On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Rob Lowe compares criticism of the Warren Commission with Charlie Sheen’s belief that the moon is hollow. And the New York Times’ Executive Editor Jill Abramson takes over the Sunday Book Review to declare JFK’s life and death to be “elusive” without mentioning a single book detailing the facts that are, of course, elusive to those who choose to ignore them.

In this case, the use of the word “elusive” is a stark example of psychological projection. As David Talbot points out, it is exactly what the establishment media have been over the last fifty years.

They’re elusive about their bungled reporting on a sloppy criminal conspiracy of epic proportions. It is a failure that has metastasized over the five decades since, with those entrenched behind the privileged walls of network news, major newspapers and sanitized pulp-history continually doubling-down on a discredited theory that has them perpetually out of step with the majority of Americans who, not coincidentally, also distrust them.

Perhaps it is forgivable that many reporters and editors didn’t ask questions when faced with the rapid-fire public executions of a sitting president and his accused killer. The Cold War was hot. The Cuban Missile Crisis was fresh in the minds of many. Everything seemed dangerous and tenuous. It’s even reasonable to sympathize with Chief Justice Earl Warren, who LBJ forced—practically against his will—into an untenable situation.

But that was then. And this is now.

Now there is no excuse for what journalist Jefferson Morley calls “JFK denialism,” or for the establishment’s growing track record of repeated “failures” just like it, with the lead-up to the Iraq War standing out in a crowded field of errors and supposed ignorance.

Perhaps the anniversary of JFK’s death is also the anniversary of a birth—of the establishment media’s ultimate cover-story for ignorance and complicity. By dismissing “conspiracy theories” it is instantly possible to elude conspiracy facts. Ultimately, the real conspiracy may be the criminal contempt our media elites have for open inquiry and how it allows others to get away with murder.

-JP Sottile

originally posted at Consortiumnews.com

t_1963_summer
JFK Cover-Up: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

Joe Giambrone

In November of 2003, Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission investigation, directly disparaging it by way of the Warren Commission investigation.  Senator Cleland said:

[T]he Warren Commission blew it. I’m not going to be part of that. I’m not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I’m not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I’m not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that (Boehlert).

The most obvious fact, to indicate that the true story of John F. Kennedy’s slaying is not as the government has presented, is the cover-up itself.  Elaborate cover-ups spanning 50 years cannot orchestrate themselves, and there must be compelling reasons for hiding the truth from the American people, or else it would simply be declassified and revealed.  If the killing of the president was committed by a lone nut single shooter named Lee Harvey Oswald, because of his great love of Marxism, there would be no compelling reason to keep his files secret five decades after the fact.  Quite the opposite, Mr. Oswald’s clear guilt and personal history would have been useful propaganda material in the ideological battle between the Western world and the Soviet bloc.  The ongoing and arguably illegal suppression of assassination evidence by the US government should be taken as a clear indicator of some level of official complicity in the original assassination.

Despite the US government and major media pressing the official story for fifty years, still relatively few Americans believe it.  By 2004, “74 percent” of Americans thought there was a “cover-up of the facts about the assassination of JFK” (Blanton).  Today, polls show a majority firmly behind the conspiratorial view, with an April 2013 Associated Press finding that, “59 percent of Americans think multiple people were involved in a conspiracy.”

Of course the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined the killing was “probably” a conspiracy, with a pathetic guess their final determination.  Their committee was “unable to determine” the identities of other shooters or the “extent of the conspiracy” (Porter).  This is more evidence of cover-up, especially so given the sheer number of documents to be released after 1979, and, even more damaging, those that remain secret to this day.  We know of at least 1,100 multi-page records related to the JFK hit that remain classified.

Among those still classified records are details of the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination (Morley, “Top 7…” ).  Characters kept shielded from public scrutiny include Bill Harvey who headed an assassination team for CIA code named “ZR-RIFLE.”  CIA operative David A. Phillips was allegedly seen with Oswald in Dallas in September of 1963, two months before the slaying of a president.  At least 332 hidden pages concern E. Howard Hunt, a CIA thug and Nixon “plumber” (plugged leaks) involved in Watergate.  Hunt would confess on his deathbed to being part of the JFK hit, as published in Rolling Stone, although specifics of his story may be inaccurate (Maier).  In his confession E. Howard Hunt did name Cord Meyer, Bill Harvey, David Morales, David A. Phillips, Frank Sturgis and then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (Hedegaard).

E_Howard_Hunt_Confesses_to_CIA_Plot_Agai_128813961_thumbnailE. Howard Hunt’s Confession

The second JFK investigation, the 1979 HSCA, in no way got to the truth of the matter, and nowhere is this more clearly shown than in its failure to interview Jerrol Custer when it addressed whether the Kennedy X-rays were forgeries or not (HSCA, “Section IV”).  Custer was the x-ray technician who took the pictures, and yet he was not brought in to clarify that the images were authentic.  Custer testified in 1997 to the Assassinations Records Review Board: “[W]hen I looked into the skull – I remember seeing an apparatus in there… It was non-human.  It had – I’m not sure if it was metallic or plastic…”  His commanding officer, Dr. Ebersole returned late that night with additional skull fragments from Dallas.  “High-ranking people had talked to [Ebersole].  And he suggested to me that everything I see from now on, I should forget” (ARRB, “Deposition…” p146).

JFK_autopsy-damage-indicated

Three days after Kennedy’s killing, and just one day after Lee Harvey Oswald was also gunned down — while in police custody and having never confessed to anything — the assistant Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas Katzenbach, wrote a memo to a white house aide that included this point: “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial” (Katzenbach).

Clearly, at this early juncture there was no way for Nicholas Katzenbach to know these things as facts.  In explaining his memo, Katzenbach told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that his emphasis was on full disclosure and not on pressing the lone assassin theory (HSCA, p.653).  Katzenbach’s premature memo also noted some conspiracy theories that the Soviets were behind the Kennedy killing or that the extreme right wing was behind it in order to blame it on leftists. “Unfortunately, the facts on Oswald seem about too pat, too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.)” (Katzenbach).

So even as he relayed the (premature) determination of FBI agents that Oswald was responsible and that he acted alone, Katzenbach expressed a reservation that it seemed “too obvious” that Oswald was so blatantly linked to the Soviet bloc.

We see an official policy to stick to the lone assassin theory, and specifically not to blame the JFK hit on the Soviets or Cuba, from President Johnson as well.  A phone call on November 29th, one week after the slaying, from the President to Senator Richard Russell, made clear his concern.  Johnson said,  “[W]e’ve got to take this out of the arena where they’re testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour…”  The direct threat of nuclear war supposedly took precedence rather than full disclosure, at least from the mouth of President Johnson.  This rationale for covering up some facts was already established and on the record, inside the white house, one week after President Kennedy’s murder.

(more…)

1352910638324_Xfinity_OliverStone_1280x640_Overlay_640_320
Untold History of the United States

Oliver Stone, Obama, and the War in Vietnam

by MICHAEL D. YATES

Oliver Stone’s Showtime series, Untold History of the United States, is the most radical mainstream television I have ever watched. Eye-opening scenes, shocking speech by our presidents, splendid narration by Stone, all make for a compelling series. A 700-page book by Stone and historian Peter Kuznick accompanies the eight-part program; it provides greater detail and covers more ground than the Showtime installments, allowing viewers to gain an even better understanding of our “untold history.”

Full Episode (may be deleted at any time)

Episode 7, which is mainly about the War in Vietnam (or the Second Indochina War as it is also called), riveted me to the screen. Stone atones for whatever guilt he has felt about being a soldier in Vietnam by laying out the horrors of the war, the sheer murderous violence of it, in vivid detail. I came of political age in those years, and I got angry all over again watching the bombs and defoliants falling, the victims screaming, and the politicians and generals lying. It will be a joyous day when that master liar and war criminal Henry Kissinger dies and joins his cohorts in mass slaughter, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. His name should become a synonym for murderer.

my_lai_woman_gray

The carnage brought to Southeast Asia by the United States is mind-boggling, as Stone and Kuznick document:

  • nearly four million Vietnamese killed.
  • more bombs dropped on Vietnam than by all sides in all previous wars throughout history, and three times more dropped than by all sides in the Second World War.
  • 19,000,000 gallons of herbicide poisoned the land.
  • 9,000 of 15,000 hamlets destroyed in the South of Vietnam.
  • In the North, all six industrial cities devastated; 28 of 30 provincial towns and 96 of 116 district towns leveled by bombing.
  • The United States threatened to use nuclear weapons thirteen times. Nixon chided Kissinger for being too squeamish about this. Nixon said he, himself, just didn’t give a damn.
  • After the war, unexploded bombs and mines permeated the landscape and took an additional 42,000 lives. Millions of acres of land have still not been cleared of live ordnance.
  • Agent Orange and other defoliants have caused severe health problems for millions of Vietnamese.
  • Nearly all of Vietnam’s triple canopy forests were destroyed.
  • 3,000,000 tons of ordnance struck 100,000 sites during the “secret” war in Cambodia, causing widespread social dislocation, destruction of crops, and starvation. The U.S. bombing campaign in Cambodia was directly responsible for the rise of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot and the genocide that took place afterward (The United States actually sided with Pol Pot when Vietnamese troops finally ended his reign of terror). Stone and Kuznick quote a Khmer Rouge officer:

Every time after there had been bombing, they would take the people to see the craters, to see how big and deep the craters were, to see how the earth had been gouged out and scorched … The ordinary people sometimes literally shit in their pants when the big bombs and shells came. Their minds just froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told. It was because of their dissatisfaction with the bombing that they kept on cooperating with the Khmer Rouge, joining up with the Khmer Rouge, sending their children off to go with them … Sometimes the bombs fell and hit little children, and their fathers would be all for the Khmer Rouge.

  • 2,756,941 tons of ordnance dropped in Laos on 113,716 sites. Much of the Laotian landscape was blown to bits.

At a news conference in 1977, in response to a reporter’s question asking if the United States had a moral obligation to help rebuild Vietnam, President Jimmy Carter infamously replied:

The destruction was mutual. We went to Vietnam without any desire to capture territory or impose American will on other people. I don’t feel that we ought to apologize or castigate ourselves or to assume the status of culpability.

mylai_spc_capezza

Mutual? Carter’s statement reflects both the arrogance of power and a vulgar sense of imperial righteousness. There were 58,000 U.S. soldiers killed during the war, and 300,000-plus wounded, and plenty of mental and physical illness, suicides, broken families, and other kinds of distress. Stone nicely captures all of this with a statement made to a journalist by a mother whose son was at My Lai, “I gave them a good boy, and they sent me back a murderer.” But whatever happened here, it pales in comparison to what took place there. There was no mutuality whatsoever, and it is obscene to say there was. What the United States did in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos ranks with the worst atrocities of the twentieth century. If the peoples of Southeast Asia had done to us what we did to them, and the same share of our population was killed as in Vietnam, the Vietnam Memorial wall would have about 20,000,000 names on it.

Our political rulers have continued ever since 1975, when the North Vietnamese Army and the National Liberation Front militarily liberated their country, to not just erase the horrors of Vietnam from public memory but to paint the war as what President Reagan called “a noble cause.” Since he took office, President Obama, an admirer of Reagan, has gone further than any president to do this, attempting to perpetrate another U.S. atrocity, albeit in another form than war, by proclaiming the “Vietnam War Commemoration.” The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act empowered the Secretary of Defense to organize events to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the War in Vietnam. A thirteen-year commemoration is envisioned, from Memorial Day 2012 until November 11, 2025.

In his Proclamation urging us all to participate in what amounts to an orgy of self-congratulations and forgetfulness, President Obama said:

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 from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, 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.

This made me want to cry. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese suspected of being insurgents or sympathizers assassinated in the CIA’s Phoenix Program; the forcible removal of more than five million villagers from their homes into “Strategic Hamlets”; political prisoners jailed and tortured in “tiger cages”; the intentional bombing of North Vietnamese dikes and hospitals; the murder of some 500 women, babies, children, and old people (many were first raped and later butchered) by GIs at My Lai. What kind of valorous efforts were these? What kind of grand ideals did these embody?

The Secretary of Defense is to organize all of the Commemoration’s programs to satisfy these objectives:

  1. To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
  2. To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces.
  3. To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
  4. To highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
  5. To recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.

These are all awful, but the fourth one would make the Nazis proud.

my-lai-1

The current chairman of the Commemoration is former Nebraska Senator and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel. He is also under consideration to become the next Secretary of Defense. If he does, he’ll become the chief organizer of everything connected with it. Some progressives claim that Hagel will be a rare voice of reason and decency at the top of the U.S. killing machine. But how reasonable and decent can a man be who would agree to chair this trunkful of lies?

I hope that radicals will do what they can to counter this celebration of atrocities. Monthly Review magazine, with which I am affiliated, will be running a series of essays from our archives, as well as newly written contributions, on the war. The first of these was published in November, 2012, a wonderful review of Oliver Stone’s film, Platoon, by former Marine Leo Cawley, who was poisoned by Agent Orange and died too young from its effects. It’s a good antidote to the most recent attempt to rewrite the history of the war in Southeast Asia. The Vietnam War should never be forgotten. It was a stain on our country and on humanity itself. To glorify it is an ignominious crime. We should instead honor the Vietnamese people, who fought more valiantly and suffered more for their liberation from foreign rule than we ever did for our own.

MICHAEL D. YATES is Associate Editor of Monthly review magazine.He is the author of Cheap Motels and Hot Plates: an Economist’s Travelogue and Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy. He is the editor of Wisconsin Uprising: Labor Fights Back. Yates can be reached at mikedjyates @ msn . com

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