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Talking Points II

Published on: September 17, 2017

Filed Under: Burns/Novick, Featured

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Talking Points-Part II 

This new edition of Talking Points is intended as an addition, not a substitute for the original Talking Points. The original was drawn up before the series was seen; Talking Points II after a viewing.

 

Episode 1: “Déjà Vu” (1858-1961)

  1. What was the colonial experience like for the Vietnamese people?
  2. What role did the opium trade play in French colonization in Southeast Asia?
  3. How did the Vietnamese resist and why did their initial efforts fall short? Why and how did Ho achieve in creating a viable anti-colonial movement?
  4. Why did the Americans think they could succeed when the French had failed?
  5. Why do Burns/Novick make it appear that Diem was running circles around the US when he was so dependent onus support and aid? Why is there no mention of his time in the US and his intimate relation with the Vietnam Lobby?
  6. Why did the victory of the Viet Minh over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 inspire people throughout the Third World (including Franz Fanon, Malcolm X, among many others)?
  7. Why do Burns/Novick downplay the US role in the cancellation of the 1956 elections (which ho was conceded to win even by the US leaders)? As it was a fundamental part of the 1954 Geneva Accords, why do they miss its significance in leading to inevitable future conflict? Why might Ho Chi Minh and his followers be suspicious of future negotiations?

 

 

Episode 2:” Riding the Tiger” (1961-1963)

  1. Why is the opposition almost always referred to as the Viet Cong when they called themselves the National Liberation Front (of South Vietnam) or NLF? Yes, that’s how US soldiers referred to them and it is the term familiar to most Americans, but it is a derogatory term and should be tagged as such.
  2. How do we assess the Cold War framing of issues that were really about decolonization and nationalism? Was this an ideological framing to justify US global intervention? For instance, why does the building of the Berlin Wall imply to Kennedy that he should make a stand in Vietnam? The war is framed as part of an international Communist conspiracy? Given the long history of tension between Vietnam and China, the Soviet move toward peaceful coexistence, and the already apparent Sino-Soviet split; why is the thinking of American leaders so stuck in dogma; or did they know better and were content to opportunistically manipulate and scare the American people?
  3. The word “idealism” is tossed around freely. What is the difference between idealism, fantasy, brainwashing, macho, and ideological dogma? Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” has been traditionally framed as idealism, but wasn’t it as much plain old American nationalism? Were any Communists idealistic?
  4. When JFK says he can’t possibly withdraw from Vietnam before the next election; what does this say about Kennedy’s ‘good faith’ and the weight of war vs. ambition in his calculus?
  5. What does the use of napalm (already used in WWII and Korea) and the introduction of new means of chemical warfare mean about how war is carried out? Is this an escalation in war’s savagery leading to even greater destructive impact on civilian life?
  6. Why the reliance on militarism when it is obvious that the war cannot be won without the support of the population? Only a disregard for the lives and culture of the Vietnamese would allow for a strategy of herding people into strategic hamlets away from their sacred land. How would Americans respond to such a move?
  7. The Kennedy Administration is clearly implicated in the coup against Diem in 1963, which results in his assassination. How does this reflect on American idealism?

 

 

Episode 3: “The River Styx” (January 1964-December 1965)

  1. Tonkin is covered pretty well including that a Congressional resolution had already been drawn up prior to Tonkin. Why did LBJ feel it necessary to stage a pretext for escalation? What were the implications for American democracy, as well as the Constitutional limits on the use of executive power?
  2. Much attention is paid to LBJ’s qualms about the war. Yet he consistently escalates US involvement and is fiercely critical of those who oppose him. Is he schizoid or does the dominance of an imperial imperative drive him forward despite his doubts? Does the logic of war lead to continuing escalation to protect prior investments and to avoid “humiliation” even as the rest of the world urges restraint on the US?
  3. 200 coordinated attacks by the NLF in 1964 are mentioned; how were these attacks kept secret despite repression and US intelligence?
  4. What does the commitment of US ground troops without even consulting the South Vietnamese mean about the US commitment to Vietnamese nationalism?
  5. Immediately American soldiers have difficulty distinguishing Vietnamese friend from enemy; “who the hell is who?” Does this betray a fundamental problem in US involvement?
  6. Are there precedents for military intervention bringing about democracy? Are democratic claims a cover for imperial motivations?
  7. What does it mean to be gallant in war that shouldn’t have been fought?
  8. Is surgical bombing a euphemism to avoid the inevitability of [another euphemism] collateral damage; that is widespread civilian casualties?

 

Episode 4: “Resolve” (January 1966-June 1967)

  1. What is one to make of the US military’s “crossover point”–the point at which more of the enemy is killed than can be recruited? Is this not a recipe for mass killing independent of any strategic goal?   How does the reliance on ”body count”, the intense use of artillery and ever more bombing play into this notion?
  2. How did the ‘enemy’ inspire mass participation in its war effort from young people and women? Was this merely the result of terror?
  3. How does the treatment of Vietnamese POWs compare to the treatment of American POWs?
  4. Is the radicalism of Martin Luther King’s opposition to the war noted? “These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.” And “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.” (April 4, 1967: “Beyond Vietnam”)
  5. While there is no evidence that the antiwar movement is part of a Soviet or Chinese plot, why does surveillance and infiltration of these groups continue and grow in this period? General Westmoreland and LBJ see dissent as treasonous; what does this mean about freedom of speech and freedom of association?
  6. Westmoreland is presented as the embodiment of the ideal soldier. What made him so; what might represent an alternative ideal?

 

Episode 5: “This Is What We Do” (January 1966-June 1967)

  1. What are the implications of adapting to the atrocities of war? Does this normalize war crimes? Did some soldiers not “adapt’ by reporting what they considered to be war crimes? See Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves which uncovers the secret files of the previously unknown Vietnam War Crimes Working Group that contained over 300 corroborated allegations of war crimes against Vietnamese civilians along with allegations of hundreds more. These allegations were made by US soldiers, not Vietnamese.
  2. How does the litany of racist terms widely used in Vietnam—often imported from other American wars—square with Burns and Novick’s claim of American benign intentions? Are they creating a false equivalence between these racist terms and calling Americans “imperialist bandits”?
  3. In what ways were elections in Vietnam used to project a democratic façade in place of a more authentic process?

 

  1. If human are truly an aggressive species, are there effective ways to keep this aggression from getting out of control? Or is ‘civilization’ merely a thin veneer easily shed?

 

Episode 6: “Things Fall Apart” (January 1968-July 1968)

  1. Even though the Tet offensive did not succeed militarily, why did it have such a powerful impact on Americans? Why did Giap and Ho oppose the Tet offensive?
  2. In what ways does the statement about Ben Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it” encapsulate the war as a whole?
  3. Why did the American war generate so much international opposition? What effect did this opposition have?
  4. What divisions in American society did the war reveal or create?

 

Episode 7: “The Veneer of Civilization” (June 1968-May 1969)

  1. In what ways did the Democratic Convention demonstrations help or hurt the anti-war cause? Why do they not interview even one protestor, given their professed interest in multiple truths.
  2. What was Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war? Why did the American public find this acceptable? How might Hubert Humphrey (a liberal anti-Communist) have acted as President? Would he have also sought “peace with honor” or been reluctant to appear soft (like Truman and JFK) on Communism or to suffer defeat?
  3. More about the Phoenix Program: Burns/Novick largely blame the South Vietnamese for its deeply problematic nature, as if the Americans hadn’t provided its technology and data base. Why was there no accountability? In 1965, The CIA launched its Counter Terror program, an attempt to use “techniques of terror – assassination, abuses, kidnappings and intimidation – against the Viet Cong leadership. According to the historian Alfred W. McCoy:

The program expanded in 1967, when the CIA established a centralized pacification bureaucracy, the Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS), that drew all the scattered counterinsurgency operations into a covert assassination campaign later named the “Phoenix program.” With limitless funding and unrestrained powers, Phoenix represented an application of the most advanced U.S. information technologies to the task of destroying the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI) in the villages.[1]

In July 1968, South Vietnamese President Thieu formally established the Phoenix program, or Phung Hoang in Vietnamese, named after a mythical Asian bird. A centralized data bank was developed that identified alleged communist leaders for interrogation or elimination. CIA program director William Colby later testified to a congressional committee, “The idea of identifying the local apparatus (communist leaders) was designed to – well, you go out and get them to surrender, or you capture or you shoot them.”[2]. It was run by the CIA under the aegis of the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Public Safety at a cost of between $7 million and $15 million a year, with additional funds raised through illicit off-the-books means, including drug profits.[3]

Former CIA analyst Samuel Adams in an interview with CBC News, talked about the program as basically an assassination program that also included torture. A former Phoenix Intelligence Officer, Barton Osborn, in an interview broadcast in 1975, talked about the torture practices used by the Americans and detailed a case in which a man was dragged out of the interrogation’s hooch with a dowel protruding from his ear. The dowel had been tapped through in the course of torture to hit the brain. These were activities performed by American Marines. They would also kill people by throwing them out of helicopters to threaten those they wanted to interrogate and who were forced to watch other men being thrown out into the air.[31]

Those who were apprehended were rarely NLF leaders. One Pentagon study of Phoenix operations in 1970-71 found that only 3% of those “killed, captured, or rallied [defected] were full or probationary party members above the district level.” In 1969 alone, according to official figures, 19,534 people were “neutralized.” That number included 8,515 captured, 6,187 killed, and 4,832 who defected (if indeed they were NLF cadre).[4]

The CIA instructed its protégés in sophisticated interrogation techniques designed to emphasize the prisoner’s helplessness and dependence on his captor, using lie detectors, Page-Russell electroshock machines, and other gadgets. These methods led to wide-scale torture.   Some Phoenix agents used their positions for revenge and extortion, threatening to kill people and count them as VC if they did not pay huge sums. Have these methods been normalized?

  1. How did the antiwar movement react to the nomination of Hubert Humphrey (LBJ’s vice-president)? What was the impact of demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 on public perception, on the election, and on the antiwar movement?
  2. The discussion of Nixon’s successful scuttling of the Paris Peace talks is important. Why is Kissinger’s role elided? And why is the role Bui Diem (prominent in the documentary as a South Vietnamese interviewee) also not mentioned?
  3. Why so little attention paid to Operation Menu and why is Kissinger’s role in its close supervision minimized? Kissinger’s secret air war in Cambodia and Laos, which clearly violated international law and set a dangerous precedent for future US actions (including George W. Bush’s justification of pre-emptive war?

 

Episode 8: “The History of the World” (April 1969-May 1970)

  1. How does Nixon’s “mad man” theory (that he’s capable of anything to stop Communism) constitute a viable foreign policy rather than an act of desperation?
  2. How did the various anti-establishment movements (civil rights, Black power, environment, feminism) mesh or clash with the antiwar movement in this period?
  3. Why are Hanoi’s demands for the replacement of the Thieu and full US withdrawal evidence that Hanoi is “immovable” when that was in fact their goal and in fact how the war finally resolved matters?
  4. How can we best address the issue of American POWs? An extensive response follows.

Even before the war in Vietnam ended, Nixon had begun an unprecedented effort to make heroes of American POWs and MIAs.  This was the initial effort to transform Americans from outside aggressors to victims of the war.  . There was no historical precedent for the release of POWs prior to the cessation of hostilities. As Jonathan Schell once noted, that getting POWs home and accounting for MIAs became the public rationale for carrying on a war which was sure to generate more of both.  The POW/MIA myth initiated by Nixon (and Ross Perot) was buttressed by all Presidents who succeeded Nixon.  But for those on the ultra-right, the fact that no POWs or live MIAs have ever been found since the war ended served as proof of he hypocrisy and duplicity of the federal government.  The lack of evidence for the claims of the POW/MIA movement has been demonstrated over and over again by numerous Congressional and other investigations.  To quote one retired Army colonel:

 

All U.S. POWs captured during the Vietnam War were released, either at Operation Homecoming (spring, 1973) or earlier.  The only men captured and not released are 113 who died in captivity; their identities and the circumstances of their deaths are known; some of their remains have been recovered/returned.

No U. S. prisoners of war have been abandoned by the U. S. government.

No U.S POWs remained in captivity after the conclusion of Operation Homecoming.

There is no conspiracy within the U. S. government to conceal the abandonment of prisoners of war (who were not abandoned in the first place).

No U.S. POWs from Indochina were taken to the Soviet Union, China, or any other third country.

The U.S. government has been — since well before the end of the Vietnam War — exerting all possible efforts to recover or account for missing men.   That effort continues today and is unprecedented in the history of warfare.[1]

 

United States Total Deployed in Theater (not all combat) POWs MIAs Total Deaths
WW I 4,734,991 4,120    116.516
WW II 16,112,566 130,201 30,314 405,399
*124,079
Korea 1,789,000 7,140 8,025 36,516
Vietnam 3,403,000 7,14 800 58,209
*766 *1,719

 

* Estimates vary; the second figures that are * come from AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR (POWs) AND MISSING IN ACTION (MIAs); Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Preparedness (OPP&P); April, 2006  (http://www.gmasw.com/pow_list.htm)

 

What stands out here, despite the imprecision of some figures, is the relatively small number of MIAs compared to other wars (including Korea, a shorter war with fewer troops deployed and fewer killed).  On the other hand, the Vietnamese government claims 300,000 Vietnamese MIAs.

The POW/MIA myth lived on in the movies and on TV.  First came Chuck Norris‘s 1978 Good Guys Wear Black, which featured a cynical U.S. government writing off MIAs on a phony mission. 1983’s Uncommon Valor, starring Gene Hackman and Norris again in 1984 with Missing in Action had similar approaches.  The most successful movie, was, of course Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1985, which did the most to popularize the idea that American POWs had been left behind after the war and that the government had no real interest in their rescue. Rambo was a haunted Vietnam veteran commando Rambo was followed by Norris’s 1985 prequel Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, as well as other films such as P.O.W. The Escape (1986) and Dog Tags (1990).  The Vietnam war POW/MIA theme was also part of some television series. The long-running series Magnum, P.I. included multiple episodes in the1980s whose theme was the possibility of American POWs remaining in Vietnam. The 1997 The X-Files episode “Unrequited” also trafficked in the myth. POW/MIAs were also part of a key story line in the series JAG in the late 1990s where the father of a central character had been an MIA in Vietnam.

Outside of the media, numerous efforts were made to find MIAs or rescue POWS, all to no avail.  Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jack Bailey created Operation Rescue, which featured a former smuggling boat named Akuna III. Bailey never produced any prisoners and the boat spent years docked in Songkhla, Thailand, but the effort proved successful at bringing in money through the Virginia-based Eberle Associates direct mail marketing firm.

During the 1980s, former United States Army Special Forces member Bo Gritz undertook a series of highly publicized trips into Southeast Asia, purportedly to locate American POWs.  One such mission in 1982 was to free POWs reported to be in Laos; Gritz led 15 Laotians and 3 Americans, but they were ambushed shortly after crossing the border from Vietnam to Laos and the mission failed. Gritz later ran for President on the Populist Party (United States) ticket in 1992. A vocal advocate for the re-institution of racial segregation, Gritz ran in 1992 under the slogan: “God, Guns and Gritz,” and published an isolationist political manifesto entitled “The Bill of Gritz”, which called for the complete closing of the border with Mexico, abolishing the federal income tax, the dissolution of the Federal Reserve, opposition to “global government” and “The New World Order“, ending all foreign aid, and abolishing the federal income tax.

Also in the 1980s, Scott Barnes, claimed he had seen an American POW in Cambodia. He caused significant dissension among POW/MIA activists, especially once he claimed that he had seen more American POWs in Laos but had been ordered by the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate them. Barnes later became a controversial figure within Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign.

Finally there were a few POWs (including most famously, US Army Sgt. Bob Chenoweth) who made anti-war statements voluntarily and stuck by them after release.

 

[1] http://www.miafacts.org/

[2] See H. Bruce Franklin, M.I.A. or Mythmaking in AmericaNew York: Lawrence Hill and Co., 1992. Revised and expanded paperback edition, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1993 and

AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR (POWs) AND MISSING IN ACTION (MIAs); Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Preparedness (OPP&P); April 2006

(http://www.gmasw.com/pow_list.htm);

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_americas_wars.pdf

[3] http://www.historynet.com/the-story-of-the-powmia-flag.htm)

  1. Vietnamization (or as the French previously called it ‘jaunissment’–yellowing) was Nixon/Kissinger’s strategy to quell domestic US protest by minimizing American casualties. Given that the reason that the US had seen fit to send ground trips in the first place ws because of the weakness and corruption of the South Vietnamese military, rather than just celebrating Nixon’s political acuity, shouldn’t we be greatly concerned about this act of racist cynicism?
  2. How seriously should we take the claim that US wars are fought to defend people’s democratic rights (often the same people criticize protest for undermining the war effort as Reagan does)? How is that justification relevant to the American war in Vietnam or current wars?
  3. The November 1969 Moratorium was among the largest peace mobilizations in American history (surpassed only by the mobilizations before the Second Gulf War in 2003). A few days later Nixon made a speech and his popularity soared. What does it say about our democratic process that such unprecedented demonstrations had so little direct effect? What might the antiwar movement learn from this?
  4. Why was no one in the higher command held responsible for the My Lai massacre and its cover-up? What was the role of GI in uncovering the truth (Hugh Thompson, Ron Ridenhour? Were My Lais inevitable given US conduct of the war?
  5. To what extent did the civilian antiwar movement and the GI resistance feed off each other and to what extent were they in conflict?
  6. Why did the some elements of the antiwar movement turn to violence?
  7. Jack Todd is one of 30,000 Americans who deserted to Canada but, we are told, 30,000 Canadians volunteered to go to Vietnam. (The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association estimates that about 20,000 Canadians enlisted, although other historians think that number may have been as high as 40,000.) By most other estimates, over 100,000 Americans are estimated to have gone to Canada during the war. Why this use of supposedly balanced statistics? See http://www.publicbooks.org/burns-and-novick-masters-of-false-balancing/
  8. Why did so many Americans (58%) support the shootings by the National Guard at Kent State and other universities, including Jackson State? Had Nixon succeeded in labeling student protestors as elitist and cowardly spoiled brats?

 

Episode 9: A Disrespectful Loyalty” (May 1970-March 1973)

  1. After Kent and Jackson State, demonstrations by construction workers in New York City cemented the view that working class Americans supported the war, Nixon’s ‘silent majority’. How did this view gained traction? Polls consistently showed working class Americans as more opposed to the war than those in the middle class. See Penny Lewis, Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory and “The Myth of the Hardhat Hawk”: at http://jacobinmag.com/2013/09/the-myth-of-the-hardhat-hawk/. Did conservative opposition to the antiwar movement and support for the troops fighting always mean support for the war itself?
  2. How were antiwar people stereotyped; how successful was Nixon and Agnew’s fear mongering? What has been the enduring impact of these stereotypes?
  3. Why did morale problems among US troops increase in this period?
  4. Why did so many Americans support Lt. Calley after his trial for premeditated murder? Did this represent America” right or wrong”, uncritical support of US troops or racism, or what?
  5. Why was there unprecedented opposition to the war inside the military? How did veterans try to come to terms with thinking the war was morally wrong?
  6. John Kerry famously asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ‘How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ What else did he say about the causes and execution of the war in his testimony?
  7. The Again hy is no participant in the May Day demonstartions interviewd? 1971 civil disobedience demonstrations in Washington are dismissed as mindless militancy. What is the role of militancy in building effective opposition? What is militancy and what different forms might it take? What alternatives to peaceful marches help build an effective movement and express depth of concern?
  8. How do the Pentagon Papers–which trace the history of American involvement since Truman–square with the notion that the war “was begun in good faith, by decent people”? How important are whistle blowers to maintaining democratic oversight?
  9. The direct connection to the Vietnam War is often left out of the Watergate narrative; Burns and Novick show how the ‘plumbers’—who committed the Watergate break-in–were established in the wake of the release of the Pentagon Papers. It should be added that the initial impeachment charges included Nixon’s authorization of the secret bombing of Cambodia.
  10. What were the long-term effects of the use of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese, on US soldiers, on the environment? Is it a proper weapon of war?
  11. What is the difference between American efforts to create a Third Force in Vietnam and its emergence from the bottom-up in this period?
  12. Why do the South Vietnamese, the NLF, and the DRV feel marginalized by US rapprochement with China and the Soviet Union? What does this imply about Vietnam’s place in the Communist world and in the world of big power politics?
  13. The antiwar movement is set up in opposition to the support for POWs. Yet in 1969, North Vietnam decided to release a few U.S. prisoners of war, and its leaders requested antiwar leader Dave Dellinger, among others, to travel to Hanoi to escort them back to the U.S. He and three others, including Rennie Davis, his co-defendant in the Conspiracy trial of the Chicago 8, flew to Hanoi in August and escorted the Americans back to freedom.Also in January 1970, the Committee of Liaison, chaired by Dave Dellinger and Cora Weiss, is established as an intermediary between American POWs held in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and their families.   Its goal was ”to facilitate communication between American servicemen held in North Vietnam and their families” and to “try to find out if your relative is a prisoner in North Vietnam.” By midsummer, a confirmed list of 335 POWs was established along with a flow of correspondence.
  14. Jane Fonda is demonized, in part because soldiers fantasized about her. Why is there no mention of her FTA tour where she was cheered by thousands of GIs? Were accusations that the US was in violation of the Nuremberg standards and the Geneva accords wild talk or accurate? Why is she more demonized than Lt. Calley?
  15. Are Burns and Novick unaware of Ambassador John Negroponte’s reputation as a “hardliner” in negotiations to end the war in Vietnam, once breaking with his boss Henry Kissinger for making too many concessions to North Vietnam? Why is Kisisnger rightly condemned while Negroponte is left off the hook?
  16. Why is the bombing of Bach Mai Hospital (by any standard a war crime) not included in the segment about the Christmas bombing of 1972? How did the bombing add to the world’s sense that the US was an international outlaw?
  17. Is there justice in Thieu’s notion that Nixon and Kissinger betrayed him?
  18. What does “peace with honor” mean; is it merely a purely emotional platitude?
  19. What reparations does the US owe Vietnam? How could Nixon have been held accountable for breaking his promise to Pham Van Dong to provide reparations?
  20. Why isn’t one of the unanswered questions: How long would it take and what would be required for the Vietnamese people to recover from this terrible war?

 

Episode 10: “The Weight of Memory” (March 1973-Onward)

  1. See Episode 8: Point 4 for a discussion of the POW issue.
  2. Is it acceptable to separate responding to the government call for duty from the moral issues involved in engaging in war? Is serving in the military a part of fulfilling one’s duty as a citizen, no questions asked?
  3. In a democracy who is responsible for bad leadership? How can that leadership be held accountable?
  4. Was it a rich man’s war or an imperial fantasy?
  5. What responsibilities did the US have to its allies in Vietnam?
  6. Burns and Novick only show civilians fleeing as the NLF and NVA, move into Saigon, but in fact they were cheered by many. Does this omission/distortion betray a fundamental problem with their overall narrative?
  7. Was it treason to support an NLF victory in Vietnam?
  8. Burns and Novick allow that the Khmer Rouge constituted a brutal regime, and refer to the Vietnamese war in Kampuchea as ‘Vietnam’s Vietnam’. Why do Burns and Novick downplay the fact that the Pol Pot regime was genocidal. Vietnam was isolated internationally for its intervention while the United States in collaboration with China supported the Pol Pot regime materially and in the UN.
  9. Why is PTSD made to seem as inevitable; did the immorality of the war result in ‘moral injury’ for many GIs?
  10. While the US has only lately collaborated in cleaning up some Agent Orange sites, why are not the long-term effects of Agent Orange explored more deeply? Why haven’t the chemical companies taken responsibility for its impact?

 

Final comment: “The Vietnam War echoes Jimmy Carter’s “mutual destruction” thesis that Vietnam and the United States were equally damaged by the conflict, and its final scenes leave little doubt that the injury to America was inflicted by its own people, not the Vietnamese. “ See http://www.publicbooks.org/burns-and-novick-masters-of-false-balancing/

 

 

[1] Alfred W. McCoy, “Imperial Hubris: Information Infrastructure and America’s Ascent to Global Power,” pp. 18-19, https://www.upf.edu/iuhjvv/_pdf/EmpiresxMcCoy_Paper-5x26x10.pdf.

[2].Colby recounts his testimony in Andrew Jon Rotter, Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Vietnam War Anthology (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), p. 153. See also, Kathy Kadane, “U.S. Had Role In Massacre Of 250,000, Ex-Diplomats Say,” The Seattle Times, May 20, 1990.

[3] See Douglas Valentine, The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam (New York: William & Morrow, 1991); and Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991).

[4] James P. Sterba, “The Controversial Operation Phoenix: How It Roots Out Vietcong Suspects,” New York Times, February 18, 1970.

 

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