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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[haw-info] Vietnam at 50 - A Historians Call To Action

Vietnam at 50 - A Historians Call To Action


            In 2008 Congress added a directive, and funding, to the 2008 National Defense Authorization bill commending the Department Of Defense to "authorize the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War…." (Emphasis added).  This action has allowed the Pentagon to utilize over $30 million to rewrite and sanitize the history of the Second Indochina War (the Vietnam War in the US, the American War in Vietnam).

            While the Department of Defense has already been rolling out their version of the Vietnam War for several years, there will be a major honor our veterans roll-out schedule for this Memorial Day, 25 May 2015. We are calling on all historians to actively participate in activities to supplement the Pentagon honor propaganda, and to make Americans aware of the true nature and consequences, in both the United States and in Vietnam, of the Vietnam War, and what the "official" history leaves out (i.e. mass killing and environmental destruction in Vietnam, the antiwar movement, GI resistance, etc.).

            The Department of Defense has established a website at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/about/ which includes numerous videos, "fact sheets," timelines, and various other resources.  At this point the Department of Defense list 7919 partners engaging in commemorations as envisioned in the original Congressional mandate. The information provided on the government website is very one-sided and paints a distorted picture of the United States involvement in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

            To counter the Department of Defense history and commemoration, Veterans For Peace (VFP) has established a separate website titled Vietnam Full Disclosure (http://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/ ) which provides numerous articles and information from academic and nonacademic sources intended to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the United States involvement in Indochina. Under "Education Resources" are numerous resources covering:  Documents and essays, Vietnamese sources, Gulf of Tonkin, Antiwar movement, Legacies of the war, Teaching materials, Visuals, Videos/DVDs, and Further reading (fiction and nonfiction).

The Vietnam Full Disclosure website also contains timelines and histories but without the glorification propagated by the DOD website. The history timelines include ancient history and the French colonial history as well as the buildup of the United States involvement in Vietnam and Indochina.

            A petition generated by Tom Hayden to Lieut. Gen. Claude M. "Mike" Kicklighter (http://tomhayden.com/home/vietnam-peace-commemoration-committee-petition.html) has been signed by hundreds of historians and other academics calling upon the Pentagon to correct many of the omissions and flawed lessons in the official DOD history.

            We, the Steering Committee of HAW, call upon all historians to help counter the glorified propaganda being perpetuated by the Department of Defense Vietnam Commemoration. With the planned roll-out of the Department of Defense official commemoration commencing on Memorial Day we call upon all historians to write op-ed articles, and/or letters to the editor's, to be published on Memorial Day reminding the American people of the true cost of this horrendous war in both human lives and destroyed environment, as well as the actual dollar cost for all countries involved. We cannot afford to allow history to be so distorted that one of the greatest mistakes in United States history is glorified and sold to the American people as patriotism.

            In addition to the resources available on the Vietnam Full Disclosure website, numerous articles and blogs have been posted outlining the many flaws in the government's official website. One such well-written article is Marjorie Cohn's "US Government Sanitizes Vietnam War History" which is available at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26842-us-government-sanitizes-vietnam-war-history# , and has been reproduced on numerous other websites including the Huffington Report and the History News Network.

            In addition to writing op-ed articles on Memorial Day, HAW also encourages college teach-ins, lectures, and other forums be utilized by all historians to remind the American people of the divisiveness and true cost of the United States decades long involvement and war in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia).

            The Steering Committee also recommends participation in the Vietnam: The Power of Protest rally in Washington, D.C. May 1st and 2nd.  For information and registration go to www.lessonsofvietnam.org .

Thursday, April 02, 2015

[haw-info] Registration is still open for both of the Vietnam War events in DC, April 29 - May 2

Both of the following conferences are in Washington, DC. The descriptions below include links for full information.

Registration is still open (and is free) for the conference entitled "The Vietnam War Then and Now: Assessing the Critical Lessons," Wednesday evening April 29 through Friday afternoon May 1 at the NYU-DC Global Academic Center, 1307 L St., NW. Speakers include Andrew Bacevich, Phyllis Bennis, Carolyn Eisenberg, David Cortright, Mai Elliott, David Elliott, David Hunt, Jeffrey Kimball, John Prados, Nick Turse, Marilyn Young, and many others. 

Registration also remains open (at a cost of $100 regular, $60 low-income, or $25 student) for the commemoration of the Vietnam Peace Movement, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest," Friday evening May 1 and Saturday May 2 at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1313 New York Avenue. Again, many of the speakers (including Phil Donahue, Daniel Ellsberg, Frances Fitzgerald, Todd Gitlin, Tom Hayden, Ron Kovic, Holly Near, Robert Scheer, and former Reps. Ron Dellums and Pat Schroeder) are well known to many readers of these mailings.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

[haw-info] HAW Notes 4/1/15: Links to recent articles of interest

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

"The Deal with Iran: Five Arguments to Watch Out For"

By Gary Sick, LobeLog, posted April 1

The author served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan


"Into the Abyss: Saudi Arabia's War in Yemen"

By Michael Horton, CounterPunch.org, posted April 1

Includes historical background on Saudi Arabia's relation to Yemen.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Aljazeera, posted March 31
The author is a professor of history and international relations emeritus at Boston University.

By Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch.com, posted March 31
The author's latest book, on the history of the rivalry between India and Pakistan, has just been published by Nation Books.

By Gary Leupp, CounterPunch.org, posted March 30
The author teaches history and religion at Tufts University.

The author brought the My Lai massacre to public attention in the US in 1969.

By Brian Glyn Williams, History News Network, posted March 29
The author teaches history at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted March 29
The author is a professor of history emeritus ast SUNY Albany.

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted March 11
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan.

Thanks to Mim Jackson and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

By the way, the last "HAW Notes" mailing contained an embarrassing typo, saying that the April 29 - May 2 Vietnam War events in Washington, DC would mark the "50th" anniversary of the war's end in 1975, not 40th. Sorry!