Posts Tagged ‘Viet Nam’

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Original:

How I Came to Understand the CIA

I’ve been researching the CIA for over 30 years and I’ve interviewed over 100 CIA officers. So naturally, people often wonder how I prepare myself. In one of the interviews that’s included in my new book, James Tracy asked me how I know where to look for information that’s pertinent to a given story.

I told James that’s it’s complicated, that my experience is different from most other CIA researchers and writers. I didn’t follow the usual career course. I didn’t go to the Columbia School of Journalism. I’m a college dropout who climbed trees for a living for ten years. But I did want to be a writer, and my philosophy of life is based on the study of language and literary criticism. I take a very broad approach. When I went to college, I studied Greek and Roman literature, read the Norton anthologies of English and American literature, and took courses in classical myth and the Bible.

Very early in my studies I was introduced literary critics like Robert Graves, poet and author of The White Goddess, and Sir James Fraser who wrote The Golden Bough. Fraser brought a socio-anthropological way of looking at the world of literature. That led me to Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Eric Newman, Northrop Frye and a few other people who approached literature from a variety of different perspectives – psychological, political, anthropological, sociological, historical, philosophical. All those things were of interest to me. So when I look at a subject, I look at it comprehensively from all those different points of view, plus my blue collar, working class perspective.

Literary criticism teaches the power of symbolic transformation, of processing experience into ideas, into meaning. To be a Madison Avenue adman, one must understand how to use symbols and myths to sell commodities. Admen use logos and slogans, and so do political propagandists. Left or right; doesn’t matter. The left is as adept at branding as the right. To be a speech writer or public relations consultant one must, above all, understand the archetypal power of the myth of the hero. That way you can transform Joe the Plumber, or even a mass murdering politician, into a national hero.

When I decided to research and write about the CIA’s Phoenix program, that was how I thought about it. I went directly to William Colby, who’d been Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I didn’t know enough to be intimidated, it was just the smart thing to do. Colby was the person most associated with Phoenix, the controversial CIA “assassination” program that resulted in the death of tens of thousands of civilians during the Vietnam War. No one had written a book about it, so I wrote Colby a letter and sent him my first book, The Hotel Tacloban, which is about my father’s experiences in combat and as a POW in World War Two.

Tacloban was key to unlocking the CIA’s door, for two reasons. First, it demonstrated that I understood what it means to be a soldier, which was essential in terms of winning the trust of CIA officers, most of whom think of themselves as soldiers. The CIA is set up like a military organization with a sacred chain of command. Somebody tells you what to do and you salute and do it.  Colby himself had parachuted behind enemy lines in France during World War Two.

On a deeper level, Tacloban showed that I could bridge the “man” gap that divided my frag-happy, draft-dodging generation from Colby’s “saved the world for freedom and democracy” generation. I felt that “father-son” dynamic with Colby and several of the senior spooks he referred me to. Some of them even acknowledged that I was attempting to reconcile with them in a way their own sons never had.

So I told Colby I wanted to write a book that would de-mystify the Phoenix program, and he was all for that. Colby liked my approach – to look at it from all these different points of view – so he got behind me and introduced me to a lot of senior CIA people. And that gave me access from the inside. After that it was easy. I have good interview skills. I was able to persuade a lot of these CIA people to talk about Phoenix. I approached it from an organizational point of view, which is essential when writing about bureaucracies like the CIA or the DEA. You have to understand them as a bureaucracy, that they have an historical arc. They begin somewhere, they have a Congressional mandate, they have a purpose, and organizational and management structures. And in that regard I really lucked out. One of the first people I interviewed was the CIA officer, Nelson Brickham, who organized the Phoenix program in 1967 in Saigon. Brickham graduated magna cum laude from Yale and was something of an organizational genius. He explained to me how he organized Phoenix. He also explained the different divisions and branches of the CIA so I’d be able to understand it. All of that went into my book The Phoenix Program.

So I lucked out. Through Colby I had access to the CIA people who created the Phoenix program and its various components. I was able to find out what was on their minds and why they did what they did. That never would have happened if I had gone to the Columbia School of Journalism, or if I’d been working for mainstream media editors for many years. I’d have had a much narrower way of going about the thing. But the CIA officers I spoke with loved the broad view that I was bringing to the subject. They liked me asking them about their philosophy. It enabled me to understand the subject comprehensively. I related to them on a very personal level, and when the book came, they reeled. Colby was furious.

So the New York Times killed the book in its cradle. As Guillermo Jiminez noted in one of our interviews, the book didn’t take off until Open Road Media republished it 25 years later as part of their Forbidden Bookshelf series. Guillermo asked me why my book was chosen for the series, why there was new-found interest in Phoenix, and what the CIA is up to, generally, nowadays.

As I explained, when the book came out in 1990, it got a terrible review in The New York Times. Morley Safer, who’d been a reporter in Vietnam, wrote the review. Safer and the Times killed the book because in it I said Phoenix never would have succeeded if the reporters in Vietnam hadn’t covered for the CIA.

Several senior CIA officers told me the same thing, that some correspondent “was always in my office. He’d bring a bottle of scotch and I’d tell him what was going on.” The celebrity reporters knew what was going on, but they didn’t report about it in exchange for having access.

I said that in the book specifically about The New York Times. I said, “When it comes to the CIA and the press, one hand washes the other. To have access to informed officials, reporters frequently suppress or distort stories. In return, CIA officials leak stories to reporters to whom they owe favors.” I told how, at its most incestuous, reporters and government officials are related. I cited the example of Charles LeMoyne, a Navy officer who ran the CIA’s counter-terror teams for a year in the Delta, and his New York Times correspondent brother James. I said that if Ed Lansdale hadn’t had Joseph Alsop to print his black propaganda in the US, there probably would have been no Vietnam War.

So I not only got the CIA mad at me, I also got the Vietnam press corps angry at me too. Between those two things, the book did not get off to an auspicious start. The Times gave Safer half a page to write his review, which was bizarre. The usual response is just to ignore a book like The Phoenix Program. But The Times Book Review section serves a larger function; it teaches the media elite and “intelligentsia” what to think and how to say it. So Safer said my book was incoherent, because it unraveled the bureaucratic networks that conceal the contradictions between stated CIA policy and operational reality. It exposed Colby as a liar. Safer was upset that I didn’t portray his buddy, Bill Colby, as a symbol of the ruling elite, as a modern-day Odysseus.

Safer vented his professional hatred for me when he wrote the half page review in The New York Times that killed my book in its cradle. [1] And, at the time, I wasn’t surprised that the Times employed Safer to assassinate my book. But I was totally unaware of the personal basis for his animosity.

At the time of the review (October 1990), I thought Safer hated me primarily for accusing the press corps of covering up CIA war crimes. I thought he did it for pecuniary reasons too; Safer’s grandiose and self-congratulatory book on Vietnam had come out a few months before mine. I wrote the Times editor about that conflict, but of course never heard back. And I didn’t have another book published for 14 years.

It wasn’t until 25 years later that I found out that Safer owed William Colby a favor. Safer revealed his incestuous relationship with Colby for the first time at the American Experience conference in 2010. [2]

“I got a call to come and see [Colby] in his office,” Safer explained. “And I walked in – and I had met him; we had no strong relationship at all – but – and [Colby] said, ‘Look, can you disappear for three days?’

(Laughter.) And I said, ‘I guess.’ (Laughter.) And he said, ‘Well, be at the airport – be at (inaudible) at the airport tomorrow morning at 5:30.’”

Bernard Kalb, the moderator, asked Safer if Colby wanted him to bring along a camera crew.

“No, no,” Safer replied. “And I showed up and [Colby] said, ‘Okay, here are the rules. You can see that I’m going on a tour of all the stations. You can’t take notes and you can’t report anything you hear.’ And I spent three days first of all, down in the Delta and they were really, really revealing. There was only one meeting that he would ask me to leave the barracks. And it was fascinating because the stuff that these guys were reporting through whatever filters to you had been so doctored by the time it got to you – I mean, to this day, I still feel constrained in terms of talking about.”

So, Colby introduced Safer to all the top CIA officers in Vietnam. He introduced him to the guys who ran the interrogation/torture centers and the counterterrorism teams. Safer got to see how the CIA crime syndicate was organized and operated. And like Don Corleone dispensing favors in The Godfather, Colby knew that one day Safer would be obligated to return it. Colby, of course, hated me more than Safer did.

That is how the CIA, as the organized crime branch of the US government, functions like the Mafia through its old boy network of complicit media hacks.

Luckily, with the Internet revolution, people aren’t bound by The Times and network news hacks like Safer anymore. They can listen to Russia Today or tune in to Counterpunch and get another side of the story. So Mark Crispin Miller at Open Road chose The Phoenix Program to be the first book they published. And it’s been reborn. Thanks to the advent of the e-book, we’ve reached an audience of concerned and knowledgeable people in a way that wasn’t possible 25 years ago.

It’s also because of these Internet developments that John Brennan, the current director of CIA, thought of reorganizing the CIA into “centers” that have their origin in the Phoenix program. Phoenix is the template for the war on terror and the homeland security boondoggle.

All these things are connected. It’s a vastly different world than it was in 1947 when the CIA was created, or in 1967 when the CIA created the Phoenix program, or in 1990 when my book came out. The nature of the American empire has changed, and what the empire needs from the CIA has changed. The CIA is allocated about $30 billion a year, so the organizational changes are massive undertakings.

If you want to understand the CIA, you have to understand how it’s organized and how it relates to the press and every other thing that’s going on. And that’s what I try to explain in my new book.

Notes.

[1] Behind the scenes, the CIA was doing it’s best to prevent Valentine from completing his research. Valentine found out the CIA was keeping a file on him and, through the ACLU, sued the CIA in federal court. Here’s the link to the documents that were released to Valentine in 1993.

And here’s a link to an article John Prados wrote about the borderline legality of the CIA’s secret attempts to obstruct Valentine.

[2] US Department of State, Media Roundtable Discussion, The American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975, 29 September 2010.

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I also discuss Star Wars as American war propaganda in my short book on allegory and metaphor (free).

NY Times:

‘Star Wars’ and the Fantasy of American Violence

The bloody track of American history, from slavery to genocide to empire, is plain for all to see. But reckoning with the violence itself was the appeal: I thought I could confront our dark side, just like Luke Skywalker, and come away enlightened.

 

The most frustrating reality of all, American youth who join the military despite knowing they are agents of immoral empire. They do it anyway, like mercenaries, content with swallowing any and all bullshit myths, even those from popular movies.

And that’s why this blog is here.

 

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by David Swanson

By now there’s not nearly as much disagreement regarding what happened to John and Robert Kennedy as major communications corporations would have you believe. While every researcher and author highlights different details, there isn’t any serious disagreement among, say, Jim Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable, Howard Hunt’sdeathbed confession, and David Talbot’s new The Devil’s Chessboard.

Jon Schwarz says The Devil’s Chessboard confirms that “your darkest suspicions about how the world operates are likely an underestimate. Yes, there is an amorphous group of unelected corporate lawyers, bankers, and intelligence and military officials who form an American ‘deep state,’ setting real limits on the rare politicians who ever try to get out of line.”

For those of us who were already convinced of that up to our eyeballs, Talbot’s book is still one of the best I’ve seen on the Dulles brothers and one of the best I’ve seen on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Where it differs from Douglass’ book, I think, is not so much in the evidence it relates or the conclusions it draws, but in providing an additional motivation for the crime.

JFK and the Unspeakable depicts Kennedy as getting in the way of the violence that Allen Dulles and gang wished to engage in abroad. He wouldn’t fight Cuba or the Soviet Union or Vietnam or East Germany or independence movements in Africa. He wanted disarmament and peace. He was talking cooperatively with Khrushchev, as Eisenhower had tried prior to the U2-shootdown sabotage. The CIA was overthrowing governments in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Vietnam, and around the world. Kennedy was getting in the way.

The Devil’s Chessboard depicts Kennedy, in addition, as himself being the sort of leader the CIA was in the habit of overthrowing in those foreign capitals. Kennedy had made enemies of bankers and industrialists. He was working to shrink oil profits by closing tax loopholes, including the “oil depletion allowance.” He was permitting the political left in Italy to participate in power, outraging the extreme right in Italy, the U.S., and the CIA. He aggressively went after steel corporations and prevented their price hikes. This was the sort of behavior that could get you overthrown if you lived in one of those countries with a U.S. embassy in it.

Yes, Kennedy wanted to eliminate or drastically weaken and rename the CIA. Yes he threw Dulles and some of his gang out the door. Yes he refused to launch World War III over Cuba or Berlin or anything else. Yes he had the generals and warmongers against him, but he also had Wall Street against him.

Of course “politicians who ever try to get out of line” are now, as then, but more effectively now, handled first by the media. If the media can stop them or some other maneuver can stop them (character assassination, blackmail, distraction, removal from power) then violence isn’t required.

The fact that Kennedy resembled a coup target, not just a protector of other targets, would be bad news for someone like Senator Bernie Sanders if he ever got past the media, the “super delegates,” and the sell-out organizations to seriously threaten to take the White House. A candidate who accepts the war machine to a great extent and resembles Kennedy not at all on questions of peace, but who takes on Wall Street with the passion it deserves, could place himself as much in the cross-hairs of the deep state as a Jeremy Corbyn who takes on both capital and killing.

Accounts of the escapades of Allen Dulles, and the dozen or more partners in crime whose names crop up beside his decade after decade, illustrate the power of a permanent plutocracy, but also the power of particular individuals to shape it. What if Allen Dulles and Winston Churchill and others like them hadn’t worked to start the Cold War even before World War II was over? What if Dulles hadn’t collaborated with Nazis and the U.S. military hadn’t recruited and imported so many of them into its ranks? What if Dulles hadn’t worked to hide information about the holocaust while it was underway? What if Dulles hadn’t betrayed Roosevelt and Russia to make a separate U.S. peace with Germany in Italy? What if Dulles hadn’t begun sabotaging democracy in Europe immediately and empowering former Nazis in Germany? What if Dulles hadn’t turned the CIA into a secret lawless army and death squad? What if Dulles hadn’t worked to end Iran’s democracy, or Guatemala’s? What if Dulles’ CIA hadn’t developed torture, rendition, human experimentation, and murder as routine policies? What if Eisenhower had been permitted to talk with Khrushchev? What if Dulles hadn’t tried to overthrow the President of France? What if Dulles had been “checked” or “balanced” ever so slightly by the media or Congress or the courts along the way?

These are tougher questions than “What if there had been no Lee Harvey Oswald?” The answer to that is, “There would have been another guy very similar to serve the same purpose, just as there had been in the earlier attempt on JFK in Chicago. But “What if there had been no Allen Dulles?” looms large enough to suggest the possible answer that we would all be better off, less militarized, less secretive, less xenophobic. And that suggests that the deep state is not uniform and not unstoppable. Talbot’s powerful history is a contribution to the effort to stop it.

I hope Talbot speaks about his book in Virginia, after which he might stop saying that Williamsburg and the CIA’s “farm” are in “Northern Virginia.” Hasn’t Northern Virginia got enough to be ashamed of without that?

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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

 

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Did Jerry Rubin sell out?  He seems more concerned with rejecting the past than in addressing the ongoing problems.

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We fight fascism here, and this is the front line.

“Citing a recent Gallup poll, journalist Robert Sheer reports that “a majority of Americans ages 18-29 believe sending U.S. troops to Vietnam was not a mistake… the young now approve of an irrational war in which 3.4 million Indochinese and 58,000 Americans died…” Holding steady across the age divide, “70% of those 50 or older… with contemporary knowledge…” retain their beliefs in the war’s essential wrongness. “

The real Vietnam war: Kill Anything That Moves, a new history by Nick Turse is reviewed over at Counterpunch. Using a large cache of firsthand accounts by US soldiers on the ground there, this is the wake up call generation dumbass needs to read.

That said, Michael Uhl’s review of the book is far from flattering, with a sense of the one-upsmanship and infighting of the left.  Uhl, a veteran of the war criticizes the young Turse for his limited knowledge and knee jerk myopia.  More from Vietnam era veterans found at In the Mind Field.

It’s often a thankless job fighting the neo-nazism of the current empire. These aren’t the articles, posts, videos, books and films that draw the big crowds. A video called “Beer Boobs” would probably reach millions virally on Youtube, but the descent of the nation into barbarism, mass murder and totalitarianism fails to attract much notice. They say you get the government you deserve. What does that say about the US public?

“…an old lifer Sergeant Major spoke, pointed to us and very specifically stated, ‘These whining, complaining Vietnam veterans will die off. I want to assure you, we have written the history of the Vietnam war your grandchildren will read.’”

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If you want to hear what a real hero sounds like, listen to helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson’s account of how he stopped the My Lai massacre by turning his helicpter’s guns on the infantrymen massacring women and children.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

See also:

Other posts tagged “Oliver Stone”