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The ONLY thing you need to know about The Vietnam “War”

“The Vietnam War” began airing on PBS this week. But, besides the fact it was not legally a “war,” THIS —...

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s “Vietnam War”: Some Predictions

This Essay is an Experiment How Ken Burns and Lynn Novick became the semi-official film documentarians of United States history is an interesting question.  Part...

The Vietnam War: A Tragic Mistake?

I’ve watched the first three episodes of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick series on the Vietnam War, which take us from the French colonial period...

PBS’ ‘Vietnam War’ Tells Some Truths

Exclusive: The PBS 10-part Vietnam War series offers valuable insights into the horrific conflict but still treads lightly on U.S....

Vietnam Full Disclosure

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Hué Back When: Vietnam’s Pivotal Battle Reconsidered

Photo by Raymond Depardon | CC BY 2.0 For Mark Bowden, author of Hué 1968, the pivotal battle of the War in Vietnam did not...

Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong: Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories”...

This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at...

Veteran Group Reacts To First Episode Of Burns/Novick Vietnam Series

WASHINGTON - Veterans For Peace (VFP)  members in every U.S. time zone and beyond tuned in to watch the first episode of Ken Burns...

Ken Burns and the Vietnam War: Ten Items To Watch For

In two weeks (Sept. 17), a new TV documentary series on the Vietnam War by Ken Burns (famous for past series on the U.S....

Ken Burns & Lynn Novick Do Vietnam: a Tale of Two Critics

Still from “The Vietnam War.” In the run-up to the Burns/Novick documentary on the Vietnam War to air on PBS beginning the 17th of September,...

'Phony Vietnam con artist!': Trump lashes out at senator behind ‘Russian payouts' accusations

Published time: 7 Aug, 2017 17:52 In a series of tweets, US President Donald Trump accused...

Why I Did Not Go to Vietnam

Wars are folly.  Rudimentarily, we know why wars happen.  We know they spring from inhumane impulses and ignorance.  We know the corrupting nature of...

My Vietnam War, 50 Years Later

Each of us carried in his heart a separate war which in many ways was totally different . . . we also shared a...

GIs Who Invaded Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Are Criminal Under International Law and US Army’s...

Memorial Day will someday mean a double mourning, a mourning for the violent deaths suffered by millions of American military and a much more...

The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam...

“One simply cannot engage in barbarous action without becoming a barbarian… one cannot defend human values by calculated and unprovoked violence without doing mortal...
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Video: ’16 years, same tactics’: America’s longest war since Vietnam fails to bring end...

Eight people have been killed and 28 more injured as a reported suicide bomb blast targeting a NATO convoy hit the Afghan capital, Kabul,...

Vietnam Revisited During Trump’s Bonkers Brinkmanship

I returned to Vietnam in April, having not been there since the war, nearly 50 years ago. I’d sailed there as a seaman in...

Vietnam: Thiệu’s Stratocracy, 1968-1975

Ever the idealist, Lê Xuân Nhuận refused to participate in Nguyễn Cao Kỳ’s plot to seize power from his running mate Nguyễn Văn Thiệu....

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer

The Vietnamese perspective is rarely found in English language books about the Vietnam War, especially regarding the CIA’s “liaison” relationship with South Vietnamese police...
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Video: Silence is Not an Option: Rev. Barber on Dr. King’s Historic “Beyond Vietnam”...

http://democracynow.org - Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's groundbreaking speech against the Vietnam War at New York City's ... Via Youtube

The Unwinnable Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was a historical turning point for the U.S., a moment when political leaders plunged the military into...
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Video: ‘Lose scenario’? Do U.S. invade to take over, or destroy? Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq,...

My father straight off told me, “The VietNam war is about drugs,” and that there were secret societies involved. I didn't understand, and since...
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Video: ‘This is how we got into Vietnam’: US commander says more troops may...

More US troops may be needed in Syria to speed up the campaign against Islamic State, the top commander for the Middle East has...

Multicultural, Progressive, Totalitarian Vietnam

I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were...

Vietnam is well, but that angers Western Imperialism

Some fifteen years ago, when I lived in Hanoi, I used to come very often to the rooftop bar at the Meritus Hotel for...

Will Vietnam Embrace China After Trump Elected?

Common wisdom says that after Donald Trump got elected in the United States, Vietnam should be in panic. True, there could be some ‘objective’ reasons...

Crossing the Acheron: Back to Vietnam

Photo by manhhai | CC BY 2.0 In classical mythology, the Acheron is one of the rivers of the Underworld. It marks the boundary between...
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Video: Tom Hayden (1939-2016) on Vietnam War: We Must Challenge the Pentagon on the...

http://democracynow.org - Legendary civil rights and antiwar activist Tom Hayden died Sunday in Santa Monica, California, after a lengthy illness. He was 76 ... Via...

The Vietnam War and Our Latest war on Yemen Have One Thing in Common:...

The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that...

Vietnam and the Things We Must Never Forget

It’s all around us and is destined to remain all around us: the perpetual star-spangled, noisy tribute to lives lost defending the Empire aka...

The Great Game: Is Britain playing both sides in China-Vietnam standoff?

Just a day after the UK pledged to bolster its support for Vietnam, the British...

Britain & Vietnam cozy up on defense amid deepening South China Sea dispute

Britain and Vietnam are building fresh ties after their respective defense ministers quietly met to...

Gangs smuggling Vietnamese kids from Calais to UK for work on cannabis farms –...

Vietnamese children are being hidden in the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp as cover before being smuggled...

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership President Obama's Vietnam?

President Obama, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and business leaders discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington,...

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President

From the Archive: With still no end in sight for the Afghan War, President Obama can’t say he wasn’t warned....

Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam

Exclusive: President Obama is keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting an unwinnable war for fear of the political consequences if...
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Video: “Just Take Me to Jail”: Remembering Muhammad Ali’s Refusal to Fight in Vietnam

http://democracynow.org - Thousands are expected to gather in Louisville Friday for the funeral of Muhammad Ali, one of the world's most iconic figures of...

When Phoenix Came to Thanh Phong: Bob Kerrey and War Crimes as Policy in...

On May 16, 2016, former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey was named chairman of Fulbright University, a US-backed college with ties to the State Department in...

"Just Take Me to Jail": Remembering Muhammad Ali's Refusal to Fight in Vietnam

Thousands are expected to gather in Louisville Friday for the funeral of Muhammad Ali, one of the world's most iconic figures of...

Obama in Hanoi: Vietnam Arms Embargo To Be Fully Lifted

Obama in Hanoi: Vietnam Arms Embargo To Be Fully Lifted Peter Van Buren, May 24, 2016 What other nation on earth...

Trajectory of US Policy in Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast

As President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam and the lifting of the arms embargo to that country represents his "pivot to Asia,"...

Obama in Vietnam: Diplomacy Or Deep State Duplicity?

Obama in Vietnam: Diplomacy Or Deep State Duplicity? Daniel McAdams, May 23, 2016 Ron Paul’s Liberty Report: President Obama’s visit to Vietnam...
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Video: In 2006 Interview, Fr. Dan Berrigan Recalls Confronting Defense Secretary McNamara over Vietnam...

http://democracynow.org - We revisit a 2006 Democracy Now! interview with legendary antiwar priest, activist and poet Father Daniel Berrigan, who has died at ... Via...

Vietnam War at 50: Have We Learned Nothing?

Last week Defense Secretary Ashton Carter laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in commemoration of the "50th anniversary" of that war. The...

US Military tries out Vietnam War planes against ISIS

Half-century old warplanes have been tested on Islamic State targets, as the military determines whether they...

CIA Assassinations in Vietnam

The Phoenix Program in Vietnam in many ways provides a blue print for our own times. Assassinations and torture are the essence of the...

Yemen as Vietnam or Afghanistan

From the Archive: With U.S. weapons, Saudi Arabia is waging a brutal air war on impoverished Yemen, turning a long-simmering civil war into a proxy...

Vietnam accelerates military build-up, plans for war

By John Braddock In its biggest military re-armament program since the end of the Vietnam War, the country’s leadership is accelerating a decade-long drive to modernise...

Yemen: Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam

The war on Yemen has left thousands dead and created hundreds of thousands exiles. Pictured: Yemen capital Sanaa. (Photo: Richard Messenger / Flickr Commons) Cross-posted...

It’s the Vietnam War Show!

Hmmm…so, then, what exactly are “unilateral operations” anyway? I bet we’d all like to know. Evidently, that’s what the U.S. military SOCOM operators will...
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Video: Terror in Little Saigon: New Doc Ties US-Allied Kill Squad to Unsolved Murders...

Democracynow.org - During the 1980s, five Vietnamese-American reporters were murdered in the United States. Despite lengthy FBI probes, none of the ... Via Youtube

Waging Endless War From Vietnam to Syria

As October ended, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced that the U.S. would be sending “less than 50” boots-on-the-ground Special Operations forces into northern Syria...

Public Law 86-90 – The Vietnam War Shows the Strength of Donbas’ Rights!

George H Eliason (RINF) - Could US Senator John McCain find North Vietnam on a map during or before the period he spent 5 years...

Exposing Nixon’s Vietnam Lies

By James DiEugenio Richard Nixon spent years rebuilding his tattered reputation after he resigned from office in disgrace on Aug. 9, 1974. The rehabilitation project...
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Video: SDS Leader Tom Hayden on Vietnam: We Must Challenge the Pentagon on the...

http://democracynow.org - As the nation celebrates Memorial Day, we look back at the Vietnam War. Fifty years ago, on March 7, 1965, 3500 U.S....

Some 3,000 Vietnamese children enslaved by gangs in UK: Report

Some 3,000 Vietnamese children are enslaved by criminal gangs in the UK to work in brutal conditions in the European country, a report says. “By...

The Vietnam War: After 40 Years

Today, 40 years after the American war in Vietnam ended in ignominious defeat, the traces of that terrible conflict are disappearing. Traveling through Vietnam during...

Vietnam Remembers ‘Barbarous Crimes’

As crowds gathered in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung reminded...

40 years after Vietnam, the military industrial complex continues its rampage of war crimes

It was 40 years ago today that the last troops from America's criminal war against the people of Vietnam scurried ignominiously onto a helicopter...

Burying Vietnam, Launching Perpetual War

The 1960s–that extraordinary decade–is celebrating its 50th birthday one year at a time. Happy birthday, 1965! How, though, do you commemorate the Vietnam War,...

‘The War is Not Over’: Many Vietnam Veterans Still Afflicted by PTSD

Research finds that combat stress affects 11 percent of Vietnam veterans Nadia Prupis Four decades after the Vietnam War, roughly 283,000 veterans are still plagued by...

“Iraq” Is Still Arabic for “Vietnam”

Ira Chernus When George W. Bush and the neocons launched their war in Iraq, critics coined the slogan, "'Iraq' is Arabic for 'Vietnam.'" The point...

Daniel Ellsberg: United States Nearly Used Nukes During Vietnam War

Marjorie Cohn We came dangerously close to nuclear war when the United States was fighting in Vietnam, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told a reunion...

Back to Vietnam

I am one among millions of people around the globe who protested the American war in Viet Nam. I am also one of perhaps...

Another Vietnam? American support for War in Afghanistan hits historic new low

American support for the war in Afghanistan is shrinking to unprecedented levels, even sliding below the lowest points seen for the Iraq and Vietnam...

Vietnam banker sentenced to death for fraud

Al JazeeraNovember 18, 2013 A Vietnamese former banker and his business associate have been sentenced to death for their part in the embezzlement of $25...

JFK Conspiracy Fact #8: Part Two of Discussion on JFK, LBJ and Vietnam

In Part One, I engaged writer Jack Durish in a debate over the causes and effects of Vietnam. In Part Two, another writer, Arthur Frank, challenges my assertions. (Note: I have neither edited nor proofed other writers’ comments; they appear here unvarnished, with typos and faulty grammar.)

Arthur Frank, Novelist:
“Timothy: It is not the dead that should concern you. There were 2 categories, black plastic bags, blown to bits in the theater of operations, and aluminum boxes, died later in field hospitals. One went out in a flash, the other went out over tie in great pain. They knew they were dying, it was only a matter of time.

"The ones that you should cry about are the wounded, dismembered, disoriented , permanently scarred to smaller or larger degrees. I got out of it pretty much unscathed, but not a lot of others. A friend of mine who is still screwed up all these years later used to fly medivac helicopters, He doesn't remember much because he used to fly stoned. I asked him how he flew a chopper , which is all hands and feet, constant motion, when he was stoned. He said it was simple. If he wasn't stoned, he was too scared shitless to fly, when he was stoned, basic instincts operated the chopper, he had little to do with it.

"If you really want to know. ask someone who was on the ground over there. If they like you , they might tell you, all these years later. Or maybe not.
It wasn't Bell, it was Sikorsky who made the Huey.If you had a Bell, oit was on;ly good for reconnaoisance and if you were in one, you wwerre probably dead, They were easily shot down and fell out of the sky like a stone.

"It wasn't Ling Temco Voight, it was Ling Temco Vine, which was basically a holding company . They bought out all kinds of smaller manufacturing firms, many of whom made civlian and military supplies. I used to work for LTV in Labor Relations after I got out of yhere service. They went bely up.It was a long time ago, and now we buy all kinds of stuff from people that we used to shoot at. Look in Home Depot.Go figure.
Everybody gives JFK a pass on Viet Nam. It was Jack who sent all kinds of advisors to the Arvn, shipped them all kinds of militray supplies and started drafting Americans into the Army and Navy . Ity was LBJ wjho escalated it further, and It was RMN who gave it an all time , make it or break it push. It failed and he pulled pout in response to political pressure. I was back home by then.

"I was there for every belessed minute of it.It is a brutal business, and if you can't follow the Marine addage, "kill them all and let God sort it out." then you shouldnt be there at all.”

Fleming:
“Lots of misinformation in your posts, Arthur. If you're civil, we can discuss. Cronkite interviewed JFK on Sept. 2, 1963, the evening of the first half-hour news broadcast in history. When asked about Vietnam, JFK said, "It's their war (meaning the South Vietnamese); they're the ones who have to win it." Shortly afterwards, he issued National Security Action Memo 263, calling for complete withdrawal of all advisors and military assistance by 1965. LBJ reversed this the very week he took office.

"The owner of Ling-Temco-VOUGHT was one David Harold Byrd. He is a prominent character in my book. Byrd was a wealthy Dallas businessman who hated JFK. His oil cronies were H.L. Hunt, Murchison, and Richardson. Byrd just happened to own the Texas School Book Depository building, and he was the founder of the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol. That's right, incredibly enough, Byrd provided the first and last places of employment for Lee Harvey Oswald. This is no coincidence. Byrd, Hunt and Murchison were LBJ's guardian angels and benefactors. As were Brown & Root and Halliburton. When LBJ ramped Vietnam, his cronies got huge defense contracts. (Bell Helicopter of Dallas/Fort Worth made a fortune off the Huey too.) Rewards for services rendered getting him to the White House.

"It is not the dead that should concern you." Really? You're saying it was better to die than live the rest of your life wounded? Okay. You seem to have a great deal of bitterness about the whole thing, and you resent those who did not go there and yet write about it like they were experts. Be that as it may, I knew plenty of people who were on the ground over there; some came back, some not. The ones who came back are grateful to be alive. I wrote about survivors of the Battle for Hill 875 near Dak To in the Central Highlands, November 1967. You should read it, then maybe I'll have some cred with you. "The Barefoot Hero" appears in the anthology Writers On The Wrong Side Of The Road.

"To recap: JFK wanted out of Vietnam entirely by 1965; LBJ: massive escalation by 1965. JFK murdered in LBJ's home state, and in city ruled by LBJ's cronies who made a fortune off the war. If you can't connect the dots, Arthur, well..."

Frank:
“The whole Viet Nam thing is totally fubar. It goes back to the 1800;s with the French colony of French Indo China, which included territories of Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.

After WW 2 m the Big One, the French had trouble with their colonies, as did everybody else more or less. The US didn't have colonies, so we didn't have the trouble.There were uprisings and the French put troops in there to contain it. They ran a poor campaign and Eisenhower started to send them help. Ike liked the French for some unknown reason. He treateed De Gaulle like the Pope. Eisenhower escalated the troop support. You didn't see much in the papers.The French pulled out altogether, Kennedy escalated the troops to fill the vacuum. Foriegn campaigns benefit officers, especially 1 st Looies and Captains, it is the patthway to Field Grade- Light Col and Bird, maywe even Brigagier Foriegn wars kill grunts, elevate the officers.

In fact , if JFK wanted the troops out , he could have puklled them - He was the President, Even if the Pentagon got pissed at him, it would not have hurt him. He was the Golden Boy. He could do no wrong.The idea that he wanted them out is just bushwah.
Regarding the dead, any soldier will tell you that you kind of distance yourself emotioanlly from others in hot zones.because you feel like crap if your buddy buys the farm. Feeling like crap is a good way to get killed yourself. You are also tickled silly that you are glad it was somebody else amnd not you, which also makes you feel like crap, but not enough to get you killed too.. If anybody tells you different, they are either lying to you or they were a clerk, not a grunt.

The bottom line in Viet Nam is that NOBODY was determined to win it and get ouit. If they were serious, they would have pattern bombed the border for a 10 mile stretch, pulled concertina wire, set up guard posts along the border, identified the enemy, and when they caught them, hung them and let them swing in the breeze as an example to others.. The military doesn't think that way anymore, not since Black Jack Pershing , Douglas Mac Arthur and George Patton...kill the enemy, preserve the peace.Simple.

Basically, that is the way it is, once you scrub out all the politically correct crap. War sucks. You do your best to win it, because if you lose you are screwed. You bury the dead, you do what you can for the injured and you pray that some field grade asshole who is sitting fat and happy far behind the lines doesn't get you back into the crap you just got out of.

Winston Churchill said that ‘Total extasy is having been shot at and missed.’ The man had a point.”

Fleming:
Arthur: "Completely missed my point, or evaded it. The truth of Vietnam is ugly, I grant you. And it may be painful, and it may hard to face. But it is the truth nonetheless. Defense contractors, the CIA, and every other scourge of the 20th century were making barrels of cash. From p. 184 of Barry & The Boys: The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History: ‘Do you want to know why the Vietnam War lasted so long? Because too many people were making too much money.’ If JFK had lived, America would have been out of Vietnam in his second term. Oh, what's the use...that's the problem with America. Too many people believing whatever they damn well please, regardless of the facts. Bye Arthur, and bye to your peculiar version of history."

“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to be to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”
--Major General Smedley Butler, USMC

www.leftlooking.blogspot.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ASIN/098882907X


http://m.stltoday.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/book-blog/penned-in-st-louis-by-jane-henderson-tim-fleming/article_

JFK Conspiracy Fact #9: JFK, LBJ and Vietnam

Recently I got caught up in a history discussion with some other writers on a LinkedIn forum. The topic of “What was America’s worst war” was introduced by Dennis Byrne, Chicago Sun Times columnist and author of Madness: The War of 1812.

The material is lengthy, so I will present it in two parts. Part 2 will appear tomorrow in my post etitled JFK Conspiracy Fact #8. I present the discussion unedited and unproofed (typos and all), because it is an illuminating conversation. Misinformation about the “why” of Kennedy’s death is rampant, even among the supposedly historically literate. I will identify the writers as they appear.

Dennis Byrne:

“I suggest that America's worst war was the War of 1812.

Not Iraq? Not Vietnam?”

Timothy Fleming Author of The President’s Mortician: A Story of How and Why JFK’s Murder was Executed and Covered Up:
“Vietnam...pointless and cruel. War profiteers got rich, of course, but no one else benefitted.”

Jack Durish Author/Historical Fiction, Spy Thrillers, Action/Adventure, Short Stories:
“Every war seems pointless and cruel and war profiteers always get rich, but no one else benefited? How about the other communist inspired insurgencies that failed in Southeast Asia because we attempted to hold the line in Vietnam? Thailand. Indonesia. Et al. And we would have succeeded in Vietnam - indeed we succeeded and then walked away - because we were so poorly led politically.”

Fleming:

“So it is America's right and privilege to determine by what system others will decide their fate? 58,000 dead Americans to accomplish what? Prevent SE Asians from determining their own fate? We lost the war. The North overran Saigon in April 1975. Did you miss that chapter? And you seem to ascribe innocent motivations to USA intentions. Naïve.”

Durish:
“No, Timothy, I do not advocate that the US has any special privileges or rights to determine anything for others. Indeed, it's a fool's errand to attempt it (as seen so clearly in Iraq). Especially when we espouse a system (democracy) that we do not ourselves want (well at least those among us who think).

The fact is that the South Vietnamese had made their choice to avoid communism and made that choice clear. The partition of Vietnam was based on that decision. However, the communists were hell bent on expanding their plans for world domination throughout Southeast Asia (and later everywhere else) and invaded South Vietnam. Yes, there were South Vietnamese who joined their cause, but it was never a popular movement in that country.

Now tell me: Where should we have fought that war?”

Fleming:
“Where? Nowhere. It was never our war. It was theirs. We made it our war for profit. It was Bell Helicopter's war. It was Halliburton's war. It was Brown & Root's war. It was Ling- Temco-Vought's war. It was Dow's war. It was General Dynamics war. It was not fought to beat back the communists; it was fought for profit.”

Durish:
“Timothy: What proof do you have of your assertions? Yes, those companies profited from the war. Profits in and of themselves are not evil. (Well, to communists they were evil) However, those profits were merely an outcome of the conflict unless you can provide specific proof that those organizations actually caused the US entry into the war. Where's the proof?

Harry Truman became famous for investigating and uncovering "war profiteering". These were people who "took illegal advantage" of the opportunity. They paid bribes and gave favors to those who insured that they obtained government contracts at excessive profits. However, even in that case, he never found that the proof that they inspired Hitler to invade Europe or the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. Likewise, there is no proof that any American organization colluded with Joseph Stalin to strive for world domination or encouraged North Vietnam to invade their southern neighbors.”

Fleming:
“There's not enough room here to provide the evidence. Please read my latest work, "The President's Mortician." http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ASIN/098882907X
Sorry for the link and shameless plug, but I have neither the time nor the space here to give you a good answer. Have no doubt, though, that I DO have rock-solid evidence that Vietnam was fought to line the pockets of the wealthiest, most powerful defense contractors...the kind of corporations that can make kings, write the laws, control the information, and subvert democracy for their own means.”

Durish:
“Timothy: Out of respect, I will put your book on my TBR pile. Unfortunately, it is a huge and terrifying thing. Although, I must admit that I've read evidence purporting to prove the same case (maybe different from yours, maybe the same) and all ranks up there with other conspiracy theories alongside such venerable examples as the "Grassy Knoll" conspiracy or the fact that George Bush had explosives planted in the WTC Towers and had it detonated in time with holographic projections of airlines crashing into them. Alternatively, I have read credible history regarding the events we've been speaking of.and found perfectly reasonable explanations for our involvement in Vietnam.

Furthermore, I have studied the history of Korea and Cuba (of which I've written novels) and see the same diplomatic bumbling as evidenced in all US attempts to steer foreign relations. My research has led me to wish on occasion that some secret cabal would take over our relations with other nations. They couldn't do worse than the State Department and would be entitled to some reasonable profits for their efforts.”

Fleming:
"Fair enough, Jack. It is a terrifying thing, but I want to know my real history...not the crap we've been fed to assuage or deepest suspicions. As Thoreau said, "More than love, than riches, than fame. give me the truth!"

Nice talking to you...and please send the link for your Cuba novel."

General Vo Nguyen Giap: Death of a Vietnamese Hero

Vietnam's General Vo Nguyen Giap was popularly known as the “Red Napolean”. A pioneer of modern guerrilla warfare, his role in the Vietnamese armed...

Seven killed in Vietnam typhoon

Central Vietnam's Danang cit on October 15, 2013.At least seven people have lost their lives and four others remain unaccounted for after Typhoon Nari...

General Vo Nguyen Giap: Defeated French Imperialism, Drove the U.S. out of Vietnam

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“We Used Chemical Weapons in Vietnam”: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick Explain How Telling...

Joint Interview by The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Shukan Kinyobi, Tokyo, August 11, 2013 The Japanese weekly Shukan Kinyobi and The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan...

Police Remove Vietnam War Veterans at Memorial Wall

John McCormackThe Weekly StandardOctober 5, 2013 Via William Jacobson, NBC's affiliate in Washington, D.C. reports that...

Vietnamese Americans, Exposed to Agent Orange, Suffer in Silence

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Prominent Critics of Vietnam War Targeted by NSA: Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Art...

President Lyndon B. Johnson meeting with members of his civil rights cabinet on 18 January including, from left to right, Martin Luther King Jr.,...

NSA Spied on MLK, US Senators and other Vietnam War Critics, Documents Show

(AFP/Getty)NSA documents that were declassified this week show that the agency—which has come under increased scrutiny for its dragnet surveillance practices—heavily surveilled and tapped...

‘Vietnam, Cambodia floods kill 36’

Twenty-five people have been killed as Typhoon Usagi lashed Southern China.(file photo)Heavy monsoon rains have hit parts of Vietnam and Cambodia, claiming at least...

What Happened to John Kerry? From Anti-War Vietnam to Bellicose Rhetoric on Syria

As he has demonstrated by his bellicose rhetoric on Syria, John Kerry has made complete his 180-degree transition from an anti-war Vietnam veteran who...

False Flag Operation against Syria? Lessons from the Vietnam War and the Gulf of...

The Obama administration wants war with Syria. It has been planned for quite some time. It does not matter what kind of deal was...

America still refusse to compensate Vietnamese for the lingering effects of Agent Orange use

The Vietnam War ended nearly 40 years ago, but the casualties continue as birth defects plague the country. Copyright: Blacklisted News

America still refusse to compensate Vietnamese for the lingering effects of Agent Orange use

The Vietnam War ended nearly 40 years ago, but the casualties continue as birth defects plague the country. Copyright: Blacklisted News

Obama's Campaign to Glorify the War on Vietnam

Wars exist because lies are told about past wars. When President Obama escalated the war on Afghanistan, he revived virtually every known lie about the...

Obama’s Campaign to Glorify the War on Vietnam

Wars exist because lies are told about past wars. When President Obama escalated the war on Afghanistan, he revived virtually every known lie about the war on...

Vietnam jungle men found after 40 yrs

Ho Van Thanh, 82, who had been living in a forest for 40 years, lies in a bed at a health center in Quang...

Seeking Compensation for Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims, 52 years on

 Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with...

Russia mass arrests 1,200 Vietnamese

Russian police officers have arrested what they describe as 1,200 illegal Vietnamese migrants in a massive police operation in the Russian capital of Moscow. Å“Today...

Col. “Bud” Day, MOH Recipient and Vietnam War Hero, Dies at 88

Medal of Honor recipient Col. George “Bud” Day (shown), who was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for over five years, sharing a...

Vietnam’s president visits White House

  By ...

Big Mac Won't Satisfy Vietnamese Desire for Human Rights

July 24, 2013  | ...

What John Kerry Really Did in Vietnam

With John Kerry currently in full Henry Kissinger regalia, parading around the Middle East bullying the Palestinians and their allies in the region and...

Veterans on Trial for Peaceable Assembly at Vietnam Veterans Memorial

On July 8, 2013, 17 U.S. military veterans and their allies will stand trial after being arrested as they read the names of the fallen...

Nick Turse and the Real Vietnam War

Nick Turse and the Real Vietnam War

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Posted on Feb 15, 2013
Moyers & Company

Nick Turse.

Nick Turse‘s new book, “Kill Anything That Moves,” is a ghastly revelation of previously unreported war crimes committed in Vietnam in the wake of the My Lai Massacre. He tells Bill Moyers how 15 years ago a staffer at the National Archives outside Washington, D.C., pointed him toward the “horror trove” of accounts that led to the book.

“I really stumbled upon this project,” Turse said. “I was a graduate student when I began it. I was working on a project on post-traumatic stress disorder among U.S. Vietnam veterans. And I would go down to the National Archives just outside of D.C. I was looking for hard data to match up with, you know, self-report material, what veterans told us about their service. And on one of these trips, I was down there for about two weeks. And about every research avenue that I had pursued was a dead end. And I finally went to an archivist that I worked with there.

“And I said to him, ‘I can’t go back to my boss empty-handed. I need something, at least a lead.’ And he, you know, said a few words to me that really changed my life. He said, ‘Do you think that witnessing war crimes could cause post-traumatic stress?’ And I said, ‘You know, that’s an excellent hypothesis. What do you have on war crimes?’

“Within an hour, I was going through a collection of boxes, thousands and thousands of pages of documents. To call it, you know, an information treasure trove is the wrong phrase. It was a horror trove. These were reports of massacres, murders, mutilation, torture. And these were investigations that were carried out by the U.S. military during the war. A collection of documents called the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group Collection. And this was a task force that was set up in the Pentagon. And it was designed to track war crimes cases in the wake of the exposure of the My Lai Massacre.”

Read a transcript of their conversation here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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Vietnam and America’s “Wandering Ghosts”

Nick Turse talks to Bill about the ghosts of people and issues not properly put to rest in the years following the Vietnam war. In Vietnam, says Turse, a person who dies outside his or her home dies "a bad death," and it's the responsibility of the de...

The Vietnam War Memorial in Vietnam Would Be 20 to 50 Times Larger Than...

 When I was on active duty in the Air Force, I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  I was moved to tears as I encountered the names of more than 58,000 of my fellow Americans etched in stone.  What a waste, I thought, but at least they died for their country, and at least we didn’t forget their sacrifice.

To be honest, I don’t recall thinking about the Vietnamese dead.  The memorial, famously designed by Maya Lin, captures an American tragedy, not a Vietnamese one.  But imagine, for a moment, if we could bridge the empathy gap that separates us from the Vietnamese and our war with them and against them.  How might their suffering compare to ours?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Christian Carollo

America first sent ground combat units to Vietnam in March of 1965.  If we count the Linebacker II air offensive against North Vietnam in December of 1972 (the infamous Christmas bombing) as the end of major combat operations, the U.S. military waged war in Vietnam for roughly 93 months.  Now, let’s consider the number of Vietnamese killed, to include soldiers and civilians, regardless of their political allegiance or lack thereof.  No one knows for sure how many Vietnamese died over this period; the “low” estimate is roughly one million Vietnamese, while the “high” estimate is in the vicinity of three million.  Even using the low estimate, that’s more than ten thousand dead per month, for 93 months.

How can we bring meaning to such mind-numbing statistics?  To imagine the impact of this war on the Vietnamese people, Americans have to think not of one tragic wall containing 58,000 names, but of twenty (or perhaps even fifty) tragic walls, adding up to millions of names, a high percentage of them being noncombatants, innocent men, women and children.

Difficult as that is to imagine, we must also recognize that the impact of the American war in Vietnam was not limited to killing.  The U.S. military bombed and blasted and napalmed and defoliated the landscape as well.  So along with twenty or more Maya Lin-type memorials to list all of the Vietnamese war dead, we’d have to imagine scores of “Super Fund” sites in Vietnam, land poisoned by Agent Orange and similar powerful chemicals, tortured terrain that is still occasionally deadly to the Vietnamese who live there.

How did so many Vietnamese come to die?  How did Vietnam itself become a blasted and poisoned landscape?  And how did the United States come largely to forget its complicity in the killing and blasting?  The reasons are not easy to contemplate, but Nick Turse’s harrowing new study, Kill Anything that Moves, forces us to confront what he terms “the real American war in Vietnam.”

In A Rumor of War (1977), a classic memoir of the Vietnam War, U.S. Marine Lieutenant Philip Caputo recounts how the U.S. strategy of “search and destroy” and the obsession with enemy body count led to “orgiastic violence” in which the goal, in his words, was

“to kill Communists and to kill as many of them as possible.  Stack ’em like cordwood.  Victory was a high body-count … war a matter of arithmetic.  The pressure [from the top] on unit commanders to produce enemy corpses was intense, and they in turn communicated it to their troops.  This led to such practices as counting civilians as Viet Cong.  ‘If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it’s VC,’ was a rule of thumb in the bush.  It is not surprising, therefore, that some men acquired a contempt for human life and a predilection for taking it.”

The horrific reality that Caputo wrote of more than 35 years ago is now fully fleshed out in Turse’s new study.  The obsession with body count—starting with General William Westmoreland, the commanding general in Vietnam—led to, in Turse’s words, “the indiscriminate killing of South Vietnamese noncombatants—the endless slaughter that wiped out civilians day after day, month after month, year after year.”  The enormity of the crime was “neither accidental nor unforeseeable,” but rather “the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military,” Turse concludes.

The evidence he amasses – of “murder, torture, rape, abuse, forced displacement, home burnings, specious arrests, imprisonment without due process”—is irrefutable.  Indeed, much of the evidence he relies upon was gathered secretly by the U.S. military at the time, only to be suppressed, consigned to archives, and forgotten.  It’s hardly surprising that senior U.S. military officials sought to suppress evidence of atrocities on a mass-scale, since they themselves were both complicit and culpable.

A line that has always stayed with me from Caputo’s memoir came from one of his NCOs, a Sergeant Colby, who in 1965 told then-Lieutenant Caputo that, “Before you leave here, sir, you’re going to learn that one of the most brutal things in the world is your average nineteen-year-old American boy.”  Turse’s study plumbs the depths of such brutality, to include a racist subculture (dehumanizing the Vietnamese as “gooks” and “slopes”) within the U.S. military that facilitated it.  Draft an American teenager, teach him to kill, send him to an utterly foreign land in which he can’t distinguish friend from foe, give him power over life and death against a dehumanized enemy, and reward him for generating a high body count in which “If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it’s VC,” and you have an ineluctable recipe for murderous violence.

Contrast the brutal honesty of Sergeant Colby with the patent dishonesty of an American political scene that to this day fosters a very different interpretation of the Vietnam War.  For many Americans, the true victims of the war are not the millions of Vietnamese who died, or the millions who continue to suffer to this day.  No—the true victims are the American veterans who were allegedly spat upon by unwashed anti-war protesters, or a U.S. military that was allegedly betrayed by back-stabbers at the home front, denying the troops the victory they had so justly earned.  In this narrative, even the infamous slaughter at My Lai becomes the exception that proves the rule, the rule being that with few exceptions the American military fought honorably and cleanly.

For these Americans, the war remains a combination of the Rambo myth mixed with the “noble cause” rhetoric of Ronald Reagan—history as Hollywood fairy tale—a concerted rewriting of the historical record and a rewiring of American culture consistent with feel-good militarism and confectionary war.

To confront the truth, we must abandon the confection.  The truth is that, rather than confronting our nation’s inner heart of darkness during and after Vietnam, the military and our government collectively whitewashed the past.

America’s true “Vietnam Syndrome” was not an allergy to using military power after Vietnam but an allergy to facing the destruction our nation caused there.  And that allergy has only exacerbated our national predilection for military adventurism, warrior glorification, and endless war.

It’s time our nation found the courage to face those twenty (or fifty) walls of Vietnamese dead.  It’s time we faced them with the same sorrow and same regret we reserve for our own wall of dead.  Only after we do so can our nation stop glorifying war.  Only after we do so can our nation fully heal.

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), now teaches at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. His books and articles focus primarily on military history and include Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism (Potomac Press, 2005). He may be reached at [email protected].

The Vietnam War Memorial in Vietnam Would Be 20 to 50 Times Larger Than...

When I was on active duty in the Air Force, I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  I was moved to tears as I encountered the names of more than 58,000 of my fellow Americans etched in stone.  What a waste, I thought, but at least they died for their country, and at least we didn’t forget their sacrifice.

To be honest, I don’t recall thinking about the Vietnamese dead.  The memorial, famously designed by Maya Lin, captures an American tragedy, not a Vietnamese one.  But imagine, for a moment, if we could bridge the empathy gap that separates us from the Vietnamese and our war with them and against them.  How might their suffering compare to ours?

America first sent ground combat units to Vietnam in March of 1965.  If we count the Linebacker II air offensive against North Vietnam in December of 1972 (the infamous Christmas bombing) as the end of major combat operations, the U.S. military waged war in Vietnam for roughly 93 months.  Now, let’s consider the number of Vietnamese killed, to include soldiers and civilians, regardless of their political allegiance or lack thereof.  No one knows for sure how many Vietnamese died over this period; the “low” estimate is roughly one million Vietnamese, while the “high” estimate is in the vicinity of three million.  Even using the low estimate, that’s more than ten thousand dead per month, for 93 months.

How can we bring meaning to such mind-numbing statistics?  To imagine the impact of this war on the Vietnamese people, Americans have to think not of one tragic wall containing 58,000 names, but of twenty (or perhaps even fifty) tragic walls, adding up to millions of names, a high percentage of them being noncombatants, innocent men, women and children.

Difficult as that is to imagine, we must also recognize that the impact of the American war in Vietnam was not limited to killing.  The U.S. military bombed and blasted and napalmed and defoliated the landscape as well.  So along with twenty or more Maya Lin-type memorials to list all of the Vietnamese war dead, we’d have to imagine scores of “Super Fund” sites in Vietnam, land poisoned by Agent Orange and similar powerful chemicals, tortured terrain that is still occasionally deadly to the Vietnamese who live there.

How did so many Vietnamese come to die?  How did Vietnam itself become a blasted and poisoned landscape?  And how did the United States come largely to forget its complicity in the killing and blasting?  The reasons are not easy to contemplate, but Nick Turse’s harrowing new study, Kill Anything that Moves, forces us to confront what he terms “the real American war in Vietnam.”

In A Rumor of War (1977), a classic memoir of the Vietnam War, U.S. Marine Lieutenant Philip Caputo recounts how the U.S. strategy of “search and destroy” and the obsession with enemy body count led to “orgiastic violence” in which the goal, in his words, was

“to kill Communists and to kill as many of them as possible.  Stack ’em like cordwood.  Victory was a high body-count … war a matter of arithmetic.  The pressure [from the top] on unit commanders to produce enemy corpses was intense, and they in turn communicated it to their troops.  This led to such practices as counting civilians as Viet Cong.  ‘If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it’s VC,’ was a rule of thumb in the bush.  It is not surprising, therefore, that some men acquired a contempt for human life and a predilection for taking it.”

The horrific reality that Caputo wrote of more than 35 years ago is now fully fleshed out in Turse’s new study.  The obsession with body count—starting with General William Westmoreland, the commanding general in Vietnam—led to, in Turse’s words, “the indiscriminate killing of South Vietnamese noncombatants—the endless slaughter that wiped out civilians day after day, month after month, year after year.”  The enormity of the crime was “neither accidental nor unforeseeable,” but rather “the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military,” Turse concludes.

The evidence he amasses – of “murder, torture, rape, abuse, forced displacement, home burnings, specious arrests, imprisonment without due process”—is irrefutable.  Indeed, much of the evidence he relies upon was gathered secretly by the U.S. military at the time, only to be suppressed, consigned to archives, and forgotten.  It’s hardly surprising that senior U.S. military officials sought to suppress evidence of atrocities on a mass-scale, since they themselves were both complicit and culpable.

A line that has always stayed with me from Caputo’s memoir came from one of his NCOs, a Sergeant Colby, who in 1965 told then-Lieutenant Caputo that, “Before you leave here, sir, you’re going to learn that one of the most brutal things in the world is your average nineteen-year-old American boy.”  Turse’s study plumbs the depths of such brutality, to include a racist subculture (dehumanizing the Vietnamese as “gooks” and “slopes”) within the U.S. military that facilitated it.  Draft an American teenager, teach him to kill, send him to an utterly foreign land in which he can’t distinguish friend from foe, give him power over life and death against a dehumanized enemy, and reward him for generating a high body count in which “If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it’s VC,” and you have an ineluctable recipe for murderous violence.

Contrast the brutal honesty of Sergeant Colby with the patent dishonesty of an American political scene that to this day fosters a very different interpretation of the Vietnam War.  For many Americans, the true victims of the war are not the millions of Vietnamese who died, or the millions who continue to suffer to this day.  No—the true victims are the American veterans who were allegedly spat upon by unwashed anti-war protesters, or a U.S. military that was allegedly betrayed by back-stabbers at the home front, denying the troops the victory they had so justly earned.  In this narrative, even the infamous slaughter at My Lai becomes the exception that proves the rule, the rule being that with few exceptions the American military fought honorably and cleanly.

For these Americans, the war remains a combination of the Rambo myth mixed with the “noble cause” rhetoric of Ronald Reagan—history as Hollywood fairy tale—a concerted rewriting of the historical record and a rewiring of American culture consistent with feel-good militarism and confectionary war.

To confront the truth, we must abandon the confection.  The truth is that, rather than confronting our nation’s inner heart of darkness during and after Vietnam, the military and our government collectively whitewashed the past.

America’s true “Vietnam Syndrome” was not an allergy to using military power after Vietnam but an allergy to facing the destruction our nation caused there.  And that allergy has only exacerbated our national predilection for military adventurism, warrior glorification, and endless war.

It’s time our nation found the courage to face those twenty (or fifty) walls of Vietnamese dead.  It’s time we faced them with the same sorrow and same regret we reserve for our own wall of dead.  Only after we do so can our nation stop glorifying war.  Only after we do so can our nation fully heal.

Ordinary Evil: Vietnam’s History Reveals the Banality of Systemic Violence

MY LAI, Vietnam — My Lai is known to Americans as the site of a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American troops. On the morning of March 16, 1968, American forces entered the village and gathered up all living things: elderly men and women, infants in mothers’ arms, pigs, chickens, and water buffalo. Then, the Americans proceeded to kill them all, slowly, carefully, methodically. It took four hours (this was no sudden outburst of passion), until all 504 people and all the animals were massacred. Fifty-six of the people killed were under seven years old; some of the infants were bayoneted to death. Women were raped before being shot.

After the killing orgy, two of the American soldiers (one a religious Mormon) sat down to lunch nearby. Unfortunately, their meal was interrupted by the moans of a few villagers shot and left for dead, but not yet fully dead. The two soldiers, disturbed by the interruption, finished off the few villagers still alive, and then went placidly back to their meal.

Today, there is a memorial here at the site of the massacre. Part of the memorial is an indoor museum. The highlight of the museum is a somber plaque containing the names and ages of each one of the 504 people killed. There is a large outdoor monument and several smaller sculptures on the grounds. There is also a large outdoor mosaic in a pattern that reminds one of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” (which was commissioned as a memorial to the victims of an earlier massacre). Here at My Lai, one can walk around the remains of the village and see the Thun Yen ditch in which 170 of the victims died. And one can see the remaining brick foundations of the few burned village houses that had brick foundations. It was raining today in My Lai. Neither the village nor the museum is very large, and it does not take long to see it all.

My friend, Lady Borton, who lives in Vietnam, tried to discourage me from visiting My Lai. Back in 1968, Lady had been living in Quang Ngai Province, where My Lai is located, working for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the co-recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize. AFSC had a center in Quang Ngai, providing medical aid for civilian war victims. Lady had taken some of the first American journalists to My Lai after the massacre was first revealed in the West by Seymour Hersh. Lady said to me, “The point I made then, which was ignored then, is that this behavior by American GIs happened all the time. I had friends who survived and were killed in subsequent massacres in the same area. There were many massacres…. I hold a contrarian view about [these] tourist sites because they lift up one incident (or one individual) as if this were an aberration, when, at least to my observation, the truth is quite the opposite.”

Lady (that’s her name, not her title) is quite correct; the My Lai massacre was not an aberration. It was an exemplar of what American troops did in Vietnam. The issue that Lady raises is an important one, and it is part of a wider debate that has been going on for decades.

In 1962, Hannah Arendt covered the trial of Adolph Eichmann for The New Yorker magazine, and her articles were subsequently published as a book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Arendt’s book caused a firestorm of controversy. Her argument, reflected in the subtitle of the book, was that Eichmann was not a monster, not an aberration; he was an ordinary man, a bureaucrat, who did his job efficiently and well. In the 50 years since the Eichmann trial, Arendt’s central argument has become a commonplace — so much so that it is difficult for contemporary observers to appreciate how controversial Arendt’s thesis was at the time. Today, Daniel Goldhagen’s book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, makes much the same point. Hitler did not kill six million Jews on his own, and atrocities were not limited to a few monsters in the Schutzstaffel (SS). The Holocaust was carried out with the cooperation and assistance of millions of ordinary people. Evil is banal, not extraordinary.

Lady argues that My Lai was just an ordinary example of a far wider phenomenon. Arendt argues that Eichmann was just an ordinary example of a far wider phenomenon. They are both correct.

This argument resonates for me because, growing up, I heard it from my own family, Viennese Jewish refugees who fled Vienna after the Anschluβ, the Nazi takeover of Austria in March 1938. For example, I keenly remember the controversy that erupted in 1972 over the elevation of the Austrian Kurt Waldheim to be Secretary General of the United Nations. During World War II, Waldheim had been an intelligence officer in the Nazi Wehrmacht. His defense of his actions was that Austria had been Hitler’s firstvictim. Don’t blame Austrians for Nazi atrocities, Waldheim said; we Austrians were victims of the Nazis. My grandmother was outraged. She told me how, when Hitler marched into Vienna, jubilant throngs of Austrians packed the streets to welcome him. Mothers held infants aloft to be blessed by Hitler. Austrians were not unwilling victims, my grandmother told me; the Austrians embraced Hitler eagerly and enthusiastically.

My grandmother’s personal experience agreed with Goldhagen’s scholarly research; the Holocaust was not caused only by Hitler and a few henchmen. Despite the controversy Arendt stirred up in 1962, she was absolutely correct: what was really scary about Eichmann was precisely his banality.

So, too, with My Lai. One leading scholarly account of the massacre describes Charlie Company, which carried out the atrocity, as “very average” for American forces (Four Hours in My Lai, by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, pp. 50-51). Of Lt. William Calley, the only American convicted of the crime, Bilton and Sim say that he was “a bland young man burdened with as much ordinariness as any single individual could bear … conventional and commonplace” (Id., p. 49). Another scholarly account of the massacre says: “There was simply nothing unusual about Charley Company” (My Lai: A Brief History with Documents, by James S. Olson and Randy Roberts, p. 10).

That is to say, I believe that Lady is correct. My Lai was not an aberration; it was very, very ordinary. But still I traveled many hours out of my way to visit. Why?

I believe that, while what happened on March 16, 1968 here at My Lai was in no way unusual, exemplars like this help us to remember important matters. In 1975, I visited the memorial that now stands at Dachau with my father. It was a very moving visit, not because this was the only place where the Holocaust was carried out, but because it was — in its typicality — an exemplar. Seeing the barracks, seeing the crematoria, reminded me that this was one of the very, very many places where the Holocaust was carried out.

In 1981, I was one of the first Westerners in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge were driven from power. The killing field at Rolous Village that I visited, with its acres of skeletal remains and the stench of rotting corpses, was not unique; but it was an important exemplar of a much broader phenomenon. As an exemplar it was worth visiting, because it helped me to understand and remember the wider phenomenon.

So too with My Lai. Lady is correct; My Lai was not unusual. But I am glad I came here, because it helps me understand and remember the wider phenomenon.

Jerry Elmer is the author of Felon for Peace: The Memoir of a Vietnam-Era Draft Resister. The book has been published in Vietnam as Tôi ph?m vì hòa bìng, by Th? Gi?i Publishing House in Hanoi, which is bringing out a third edition of the book in January on the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement.

Ordinary Evil: Vietnam’s History Reveals the Banality of Systemic Violence

My Lai is known to Americans as the site of a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American troops. On the morning of March 16, 1968, American forces entered the village and gathered up all living things: elderly men and women infants in mothers’ arms, pigs, chickens, and water buffalo. Then, the Americans proceeded to kill them all, slowly, carefully, methodically. It took four hours (this was no sudden outburst of passion), until all 504 people and all the animals were massacred. Fifty-six of the people killed were under seven years old; some of the infants were bayoneted to death. Women were raped before being shot.

After the killing orgy, two of the American soldiers (one a religious Mormon) sat down to lunch nearby. Unfortunately, their meal was interrupted by the moans of a few villagers shot and left for dead, but not yet fully dead. The two soldiers, disturbed by the interruption, finished off the few villagers still alive, and then went placidly back to their meal.

Today, there is a memorial here at the site of the massacre. Part of the memorial is an indoor museum. The highlight of the museum is a somber plaque containing the names and ages of each one of the 504 people killed. There is a large outdoor monument and several smaller sculptures on the grounds. There is also a large outdoor mosaic in a pattern that reminds one of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” (which was commissioned as a memorial to the victims of an earlier massacre). Here at My Lai, one can walk around the remains of the village and see the Thun Yen ditch in which 170 of the victims died. And one can see the remaining brick foundations of the few burned village houses that had brick foundations. It was raining today in My Lai. Neither the village nor the museum is very large, and it does not take long to see it all.

My friend, Lady Borton, who lives in Vietnam, tried to discourage me from visiting My Lai. Back in 1968, Lady had been living in Quang Ngai Province, where My Lai is located, working for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the co-recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize. AFSC had a center in Quang Ngai, providing medical aid for civilian war victims. Lady had taken some of the first American journalists to My Lai after the massacre was first revealed in the West by Seymour Hersh. Lady said to me, “The point I made then, which was ignored then, is that this behavior by American GIs happened all the time. I had friends who survived and were killed in subsequent massacres in the same area. There were many massacres…. I hold a contrarian view about [these] tourist sites because they lift up one incident (or one individual) as if this were an aberration, when, at least to my observation, the truth is quite the opposite.”

Lady (that’s her name, not her title) is quite correct; the My Lai massacre was not an aberration. It was an exemplar of what American troops did in Vietnam. The issue that Lady raises is an important one, and it is part of a wider debate that has been going on for decades.

In 1962, Hannah Arendt covered the trial of Adolph Eichmann for The New Yorker magazine, and her articles were subsequently published as a book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Arendt’s book caused a firestorm of controversy. Her argument, reflected in the subtitle of the book, was that Eichmann was not a monster, not an aberration; he was an ordinary man, a bureaucrat, who did his job efficiently and well. In the 50 years since the Eichmann trial, Arendt’s central argument has become a commonplace — so much so that it is difficult for contemporary observers to appreciate how controversial Arendt’s thesis was at the time. Today, Daniel Goldhagen’s book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, makes much the same point. Hitler did not kill six million Jews on his own, and atrocities were not limited to a few monsters in the Schutzstaffel (SS). The Holocaust was carried out with the cooperation and assistance of millions of ordinary people. Evil is banal, not extraordinary.

Lady argues that My Lai was just an ordinary example of a far wider phenomenon. Arendt argues that Eichmann was just an ordinary example of a far wider phenomenon. They are both correct.

This argument resonates for me because, growing up, I heard it from my own family, Viennese Jewish refugees who fled Vienna after the Anschluβ, the Nazi takeover of Austria in March 1938. For example, I keenly remember the controversy that erupted in 1972 over the elevation of the Austrian Kurt Waldheim to be Secretary General of the United Nations. During World War II, Waldheim had been an intelligence officer in the Nazi Wehrmacht. His defense of his actions was that Austria had been Hitler’s first victim. Don’t blame Austrians for Nazi atrocities, Waldheim said; we Austrians were victims of the Nazis. My grandmother was outraged. She told me how, when Hitler marched into Vienna, jubilant throngs of Austrians packed the streets to welcome him. Mothers held infants aloft to be blessed by Hitler. Austrians were not unwilling victims, my grandmother told me; the Austrians embraced Hitler eagerly and enthusiastically.

My grandmother’s personal experience agreed with Goldhagen’s scholarly research; the Holocaust was not caused only by Hitler and a few henchmen. Despite the controversy Arendt stirred up in 1962, she was absolutely correct: what was really scary about Eichmann was precisely his banality.

So, too, with My Lai. One leading scholarly account of the massacre describes Charlie Company, which carried out the atrocity, as “very average” for American forces (Four Hours in My Lai, by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, pp. 50-51). Of Lt. William Calley, the only American convicted of the crime, Bilton and Sim say that he was “a bland young man burdened with as much ordinariness as any single individual could bear … conventional and commonplace” (Id., p. 49). Another scholarly account of the massacre says: “There was simply nothing unusual about Charley Company” (My Lai: A Brief History with Documents, by James S. Olson and Randy Roberts, p. 10).

That is to say, I believe that Lady is correct. My Lai was not an aberration; it was very, very ordinary. But still I traveled many hours out of my way to visit. Why?

I believe that, while what happened on March 16, 1968 here at My Lai was in no way unusual, exemplars like this help us to remember important matters. In 1975, I visited the memorial that now stands at Dachau with my father. It was a very moving visit, not because this was the only place where the Holocaust was carried out, but because it was — in its typicality — an exemplar. Seeing the barracks, seeing the crematoria, reminded me that this was one of the very, very many places where the Holocaust was carried out.

In 1981, I was one of the first Westerners in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge were driven from power. The killing field at Rolous Village that I visited, with its acres of skeletal remains and the stench of rotting corpses, was not unique; but it was an important exemplar of a much broader phenomenon. As an exemplar it was worth visiting, because it helped me to understand and remember the wider phenomenon.

So too with My Lai. Lady is correct; My Lai was not unusual. But I am glad I came here, because it helps me understand and remember the wider phenomenon.

MLK: Why I Am Opposed to The War in Vietnam

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Martin Luther King Jr.: "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" 

Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967:

 

[The sermon which I am preaching this morning in a sense is not the usual kind of sermon, but it is a sermon and an important subject, nevertheless, because the issue that I will be discussing today is one of the most controversial issues confronting our nation. I'm using as a subject from which to preach, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam."

 

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice.]

 

The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war.

 

[In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free."]

 

 Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

 

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom [and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we're always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for in all our history] there has never been such a monumental dissent during a war, by the American people.

 

Polls reveal that almost fifteen million Americans explicitly oppose the war in Vietnam. Additional millions cannot bring themselves around to support it. [And even those millions who do support the war [are] half-hearted, confused, and doubt-ridden]. This reveals that millions have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism, to the high grounds of firm dissent, based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Now, of course, one of the difficulties in speaking out today grows the fact that there are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty. It's a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.

 

[Yes, we must stand, and we must speak. [tape skip]...have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam.] Many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. [At the heart of their concerns, this query has often loomed large and loud]: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. And so this morning, I speak to you on this issue, because I am determined to take the Gospel seriously. [And I come this morning to my pulpit to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation.

 

This sermon is not addressed to Hanoi, or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Nor is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in a successful resolution of the problem. This morning, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans, who bear the greatest responsibility, and entered a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

 

Now, since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision.] There is...a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed that there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the Poverty Program. [There were experiments, hopes, and new beginnings.] Then came the build-up in Vietnam. And I watched the program broken as if it was some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic, destructive suction tube. And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only fifty-three dollars for each person classified as poor, and much of that fifty-three dollars goes for salaries to people that are not poor. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such.

 

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons, and their brothers, and their husbands to fight and die in extraordinarily high proportion relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with a cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same school room. So we watch them in brutal solidarity, burning the huts of a poor village. But we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago or Atlanta. [Now, I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

 

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years--especially the last three summers.] As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. [I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action;] for they ask and write me, "So what about Vietnam?" They ask if our nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems [to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home,] and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.

 

[For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent. Been a lot of applauding over the last few years. They applauded our total movement; they've applauded me.] America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery. And I stood before thousands of Negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said, we can't do it this way. They applauded us in the sit-in movement--we non-violently decided to sit in at lunch counters. The applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. [They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama.] Oh, the press was so noble in its applause, and so noble in its praise when I was saying, Be non-violent toward Bull Connor; [when I was saying, Be non-violent toward [Selma, Alabama segregationist sheriff] Jim Clark.] There's something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, Be non-violent toward Jim Clark, but will curse and damn you when you say, "Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There's something wrong with that press!

 

[As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough,] another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was not just something taking place, but it was a commission--a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of Man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances. But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men, for communists and capitalists, for their children and ours, for black and white, for revolutionary and conservative. Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved His enemies so fully that he died for them? What, then, can I say to the Vietcong, or to Castro, or to Mao, as a faithful minister to Jesus Christ? Can I threaten them with death, or must I not share with them my life? [Finally, I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be the son of the Living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood. And because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come today to speak for them. And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak not now of the soldiers of each side, not of the military government of Saigon, but simply of the people who have been under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that] there will be no meaningful solution until some attempt is made to know these people and hear their broken cries.

 

[Now, let me tell you the truth about it. They must see Americans as strange liberators. Do you realize that the Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation. And incidentally, this was before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. And this is a little-known fact, and these people declared themselves independent in 1945. They quoted our Declaration of Independence in their document of freedom, and yet our government refused to recognize them. President Truman said they were not ready for independence. So we fell victim as a nation at that time of the same deadly arrogance that has poisoned the international situation for all of these years. France then set out to reconquer its former colony. And they fought eight long, hard, brutal years trying to re-conquer Vietnam. You know who helped France? It was the United States of America. It came to the point that we were meeting more than eighty percent of the war costs. And even when France started despairing of its reckless action, we did not. And in 1954, a conference was called at Geneva, and an agreement was reached, because France had been defeated at Dien Bien Phu. But even after that, and after the Geneva Accord, we did not stop. We must face the sad fact that our government sought, in a real sense, to sabotage the Geneva Accord. Well, after the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come through the Geneva agreement. But instead the United States came and started supporting a man named Diem who turned out to be one of the most ruthless dictators in the history of the world. He set out to silence all opposition. People were brutally murdered because they raised their voices against the brutal policies of Diem. And the peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States influence and by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown, they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.] And who are we supporting in Vietnam today? It's a man by the name of general Ky [Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky] who fought with the French against his own people, and who said on one occasion that the greatest hero of his life is Hitler. This is who we are supporting in Vietnam today. Oh, our government and the press generally won't tell us these things, but God told me to tell you this morning. The truth must be told.

[The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support] and all the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. [They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps, where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go, primarily women, and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the towns and see thousands of thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals.] They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. [They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.] We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. [We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the United Buddhist Church.] This is a role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolutions impossible but refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. I'm convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.

 

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. [On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway.] True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. It will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

 

[Oh, my friends, if there is any one thing that we must see today is that 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. They are saying, unconsciously, as we say in one of our freedom songs, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around!"] It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. [This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated.] Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. [With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo, we shall boldly challenge unjust mores, and thereby speed up the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."]

 

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind. [And when I speak of love I'm not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of John: "Let us love one another, for God is love. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us."]

 

Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. [We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism. The home that all too many Americans left was solidly structured idealistically; its pillars were solidly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage.] All men are made in the image of God. All men are bothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State--they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America's strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment. It has left hearts aching with guilt and minds distorted with irrationality.

 

It is time for all people of conscience to call upon America to come back home. Come home, America. [Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.]" I call on Washington today. I call on every man and woman of good will all over America today. I call on the young men of America who must make a choice today to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. [The book may close]. And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant! [And if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I'll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I'm God."]

 

Now it isn't easy to stand up for truth and for justice. Sometimes it means being frustrated. When you tell the truth and take a stand, [sometimes it means that you will walk the streets with a burdened heart.] Sometimes it means losing a job...means being abused and scorned. It may mean having a seven, eight year old child asking a daddy, "Why do you have to go to jail so much?" And I've long since learned that to be a follower to the Jesus Christ means taking up the cross. And my bible tells me that Good Friday comes before Easter. Before the crown we wear, there is the cross that we must bear. Let us bear it--bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. [I'm not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order.] I haven't lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. [I can still sing "We Shall Overcome" because Carlyle was right: "No lie can live forever." We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: "Truth pressed to earth will rise again." We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne." Yet, that scaffold sways the future.] We shall overcome because the bible is right: "You shall reap what you sow." [With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.] With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!" With this faith, we'll sing it as we're getting ready to sing it now. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. And I don't know about you, I ain't gonna study war [no more].

 



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Gang Rapes and Beatings, Brothels Filled with Teenage Prostitutes — The Depths of American...

A powerful excerpt from Nick Turse's new book, 'Kill Anything That Moves' exposes the horrors committed by the U.S.

January 19, 2013  |  

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The following is an excerpt from Nick Turse's new book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (Metropolitan Books, 2013).

In 1971, Major Gordon Livingston, a West Point graduate who served as regimental surgeon with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, testified before members of Congress about the ease with which Americans killed Vietnamese. “Above 90 percent of the Americans with whom I had contact in Vietnam,” said Dr. Livingston, treated the Vietnamese as subhuman and with “nearly universal contempt.” To illustrate his point, Livingston told his listeners about a helicopter pilot who swooped down on two Vietnamese women riding bicycles and killed them with the helicopter skids. The pilot was temporarily grounded as the incident was being investigated, and Livingston spoke to him in his medical capacity. He found that the man felt no remorse about the killings and only regretted not receiving his pay during the investigation. According to Livingston, a board of inquiry eventually cleared the pilot of any wrongdoing and allowed him to resume flying.

Among those whom Livingston counted in the 90 percent who regarded the Vietnamese as subhuman was his commander, General George S. Patton III. Son of the famed World War II general of the same name, the younger Patton was known for his bloodthirsty attitude and the macabre souvenirs that he kept, including a Vietnamese skull that sat on his desk. He even carried it around at his end-of- tour farewell party. Of course, Patton was just one of many Americans who collected and displayed Vietnamese body parts. Given how contemptuously living Vietnamese were often treated by U.S. forces, it is not surprising that Vietnamese corpses were also often handled with little respect.

Some soldiers hacked the heads off Vietnamese to keep, trade, or exchange for prizes offered by commanders. Many more cut off the ears of their victims, in the hopes that disfiguring the dead would frighten the enemy. Some of these trophies were presented to superiors as gifts or as proof to confirm a body count; others were retained by the “grunts” and worn on necklaces or otherwise displayed. While ears were the most common souvenirs of this type, scalps, penises, noses, breasts, teeth, and fingers were also favored.

“There was people in all the platoons with ears on cords,” Jimmie Busby, a member of the 75th Rangers during 1970–71, told an army criminal investigator. Some would wear them, while others would sell the grisly trophies to air force personnel. “It was more or less an everyday occurrence that you might see someone with one.” Another member of the same unit, Tony Foster, told a CID agent: “I noticed numerous military personnel wearing or carrying various parts of the human anatomy. In detail I saw approximately 3–4 forefingers being carried in matchboxes; approximately 15–20 ears on rawhide-type cords being worn around different individuals’ necks; and one penis which had been pickled and was being carried wrapped in gauze.”

Many soldiers mistreated corpses in other ways—dressing them up, clowning around with them, or mutilating them, often taking photos of their handiwork and filling scrapbooks with the results. The correspondent Michael Herr recalled:

There were hundreds of these albums in Vietnam, thousands, and they all seemed to contain the same pictures . . . the severed head shot, the head often resting on the chest of the dead man or being held up by a smiling Marine, or a lot of heads, arranged in a row, with a burning cigarette in each of the mouths, the eyes open . . . the VC suspect being dragged over the dust by a half-track or being hung by his heels in some jungle clearing; the very young dead . . . a picture of a Marine holding an ear or maybe two ears or, in the case of a guy I knew near Pleiku, a whole necklace made of ears . . . the dead Viet Cong girl with her pajamas stripped off and her legs raised stiffly in the air. . . . Half the combat troops in Vietnam had these things in their packs, snapshots were the least of what they took after a fight, at least the pictures didn’t rot.

Norman Ryman, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was one of these souvenir-collecting soldiers. After U.S. authorities discovered three human ears—along with an atrocity album—in a package he sent back to the United States, he explained that he was responsible for only two of the body parts. The other, he said, had been purchased from a soldier in the 101st Airborne Division, who “had a large jar of ears that he was selling.”

How Did the Gates of Hell Open in Vietnam?

For half a century we have been arguing about “the Vietnam War.” Is it possible that we didn’t know what we were talking about? After all that has been written (some 30,000 books and counting), it scarcely seems possible, but such, it turns out, has literally been the case.

Now, in Kill Anything that MovesNick Turse has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam. The findings disclose an almost unspeakable truth.  Meticulously piecing together newly released classified information, court-martial records, Pentagon reports, and firsthand interviews in Vietnam and the United States, as well as contemporaneous press accounts and secondary literature, Turse discovers that episodes of devastation, murder, massacre, rape, and torture once considered isolated atrocities were in fact the norm, adding up to a continuous stream of atrocity, unfolding, year after year, throughout that country.

It has been Turse’s great achievement to see that, thanks to the special character of the war, its prime reality -- an accurate overall picture of what physically was occurring on the ground -- had never been assembled; that with imagination and years of dogged work this could be done; and that even a half-century after the beginning of the war it still should be done. Turse acknowledges that, even now, not enough is known to present this picture in statistical terms. To be sure, he offers plenty of numbers -- for instance the mind-boggling estimates that during the war there were some two million civilians killed and some five million wounded, that the United States flew 3.4 million aircraft sorties, and that it expended 30 billion pounds of munitions, releasing the equivalent in explosive force of 640 Hiroshima bombs.

Yet it would not have been enough to simply accumulate anecdotal evidence of abuses. Therefore, while providing an abundance of firsthand accounts, he has supplemented this approach. Like a fabric, a social reality -- a town, a university, a revolution, a war -- has a pattern and a texture.  No fact is an island. Each one is rich in implications, which, so to speak, reach out toward the wider area of the surrounding facts. When some of these other facts are confirmed, they begin to reveal the pattern and texture in question.

Turse repeatedly invites us to ask what sort of larger picture each story implies. For example, he writes:

“If one man and his tiny team could claim more KIAs [killed in action] than an entire battalion without raising red flags among superiors; if a brigade commander could up the body count by picking off civilians from his helicopter with impunity; if a top general could institutionalize atrocities through the profligate use of heavy firepower in areas packed with civilians -- then what could be expected down the line, especially among heavily armed young infantrymen operating in the field for weeks, angry, tired, and scared, often unable to locate the enemy and yet relentlessly pressed for kills?”

Like a tightening net, the web of stories and reports drawn from myriad sources coalesces into a convincing, inescapable portrait of this war -- a portrait that, as an American, you do not wish to see; that, having seen, you wish you could forget, but that you should not forget; and that the facts force you to see and remember and take into account when you ask yourself what the United States has done and been in the last half century, and what it still is doing and still is.

Scorched Earth in I Corps

My angle of vision on these matters is a highly particular one. In early August 1967, I arrived in I Corps, the northernmost district of American military operations in what was then South Vietnam.  I was there to report for the New Yorker on the “air war.” The phrase was a misnomer.  The Vietnamese foe, of course, had no assets in the air in the South, and so there was no “war” of that description.

There was only the unilateral bombardment of the land and people by the fantastic array of aircraft assembled by the United States in Vietnam.  These ranged from the B-52, which laid down a pattern of destruction a mile long and several football fields wide; to fighter bombers capable of dropping, along with much else, 500-pound bombs and canisters of napalm; to the reconfigured DC-3 equipped with a cannon capable of firing 100 rounds per second; to the ubiquitous fleets of helicopters, large and small, that crowded the skies. All this was abetted by continuous artillery fire into “free-fire” zones and naval bombardment from ships just off the coast.

By the time I arrived, the destruction of the villages in the region and the removal of their people to squalid refugee camps was approaching completion. (However, they often returned to their blasted villages, now subject to indiscriminate artillery fire.) Only a few pockets of villages survived. I witnessed the destruction of many of these in Quang Ngai and Quang Tinh provinces from the back seat of small Cessnas called Forward Air Control planes.

As we floated overhead day after day, I would watch long lines of houses burst into flames one after another as troops moved through the area of operation.  In the meantime, the Forward Air Controllers were calling in air strikes as requested by radio from troops on the ground. In past operations, the villagers had been herded out of the area into the camps.  But this time, no evacuation had been ordered, and the population was being subjected to the full fury of a ground and air assault. A rural society was being torn to pieces before my eyes.

The broad results of American actions in I Corps were thus visible and measurable from the air. No scorched earth policy had been announced but scorched earth had been the result.  Still, a huge piece was missing from the puzzle.  I was not able to witness most of the significant operations on the ground firsthand. I sought to interview some soldiers but they would not talk, though one did hint at dark deeds.  “You wouldn’t believe it so I’m not going to tell you,” he said to me. “No one’s ever going to find out about some things, and after this war is over, and we’ve all gone home, no one is ever going to know.”

In other words, like so many reporters in Vietnam, I saw mainly one aspect of one corner of the war.  What I had seen was ghastly, but it was not enough to serve as a basis for generalizations about the conduct of the war as a whole. Just a few years later, in 1969, thanks to the determined efforts of a courageous soldier, Ron Ridenhour, and the persistence of a reporter, Seymour Hersh, one piece of the hidden truth about ground operations in I Corp came to light.

It was the My Lai massacre, in which more than 500 civilians were murdered in cold blood by Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, of the Americal Division. In subsequent years, news of other atrocities in the area filtered into the press, often many years after the fact. For example, in 2003 the Toledo Blade disclosed a campaign of torture and murder over a period of months, including the summary execution of two blind men by a “reconnaissance” squad called Tiger Force.  Still, no comprehensive picture of the generality of ground operations in the area emerged.

It has not been until the publication of Turse’s book that the everyday reality of which these atrocities were a part has been brought so fully to light. Almost immediately after the American troops arrived in I Corps, a pattern of savagery was established. My Lai, it turns out, was exceptional only in the numbers killed.

Turse offers a massacre at a village called Trieu Ai in October 1967 as a paradigm.  A marine company suffered the loss of a man to a booby trap near the village, which had in fact had been mostly burned down by other American forces a few days earlier.  Some villagers had, however, returned for their belongings. Now, the Marine company, enraged by its loss but unable to find the enemy, entered the village firing their M-16s, setting fire to any intact houses, and tossing grenades into bomb shelters.

A Marine marched a woman into a field and shot her.  Another reported that there were children in the shelters that were being blown up.  His superior replied, “Tough shit, they grow up to be VC [Vietcong].”  Five or ten people rushed out of a shelter when a grenade was thrown into it.  They were cut down in a hail of fire. Turse comments:

“In the story of Trieu Ai one can see virtually the entire war writ small.  Here was the repeated aerial bombing and artillery fire… Here was the deliberate burning of peasant homes and the relocation of villagers to refugee camps... Angry troops primed to lash out, often following losses within the unit; civilians trapped in their paths; and officers in the field issuing ambiguous or illegal orders to young men conditioned to obey -- that was the basic recipe for many of the mass killings carried out by army soldiers and marines over the years.”

The savagery often extended to the utmost depravity: gratuitous torture, killing for target practice, slaughter of children and babies, gang rape.  Consider the following all-too-typical actions of Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th infantry beginning in October 1967:

“The company stumbled upon an unarmed young boy.  'Someone caught him up on a hill, and they brought him down and the lieutenant asked who wanted to kill him...' medic Jamie Henry later told army investigators. A radioman and another medic volunteered for the job.  The radioman... ’kicked the boy in the stomach and the medic took him around behind a rock and I heard one magazine go off complete on automatic...’

“A few days after this incident, members of that same unit brutalized an elderly man to the point of collapse and then threw him off a cliff without even knowing whether he was dead or alive...

“A couple of days after that, they used an unarmed man for target practice...

“And less than two weeks later, members of Company B reportedly killed five unarmed women...

“Unit members rattled off a litany of other brutal acts committed by the company... [including] a living woman who had an ear cut off while her baby was thrown to the ground and stomped on...”

Pumping Up the Body Count

Turse’s findings completed the picture of the war in I Corps for me.  Whatever the policy might have been in theory, the reality, on the ground as in the air, was the scorched earth I had witnessed from the Forward Air Control planes. Whatever the United States thought it was doing in I Corps, it was actually waging systematic war against the people of the region.

And so it was, as Turse voluminously documents, throughout the country.  Details differed from area to area but the broad picture was the same as the one in I Corps. A case in point is the war in the Mekong Delta, home to some five to six million people in an area of less than 15,000 square miles laced with rivers and canals. In February 1968, General Julian Ewell, soon to be known by Vietnamese and Americans alike as “the Butcher of the Delta,” was placed in charge of the 9th Infantry Division.

In December 1968, he launched Operation Speedy Express. His specialty, amounting to obsession, was increasing “the body count,” ordained by the high command as the key measure of progress in defeating the enemy. Theoretically, only slain soldiers were to be included in that count but -- as anyone, soldier or reporter, who spent a half-hour in the field quickly learned -- virtually all slain Vietnamese, most of them clearly civilians, were included in the total.  The higher an officer’s body count, the more likely his promotion. Privates who turned in high counts were rewarded with mini-vacations. Ewell set out to increase the ratio of supposed enemy soldiers killed to American soldiers killed.  Pressure to do so was ratcheted up at all levels in the 9th Division. One of his chiefs of staff “went berserk,” in the words of a later chief of staff.

The means were simple: immensely increase the already staggering firepower being used and loosen the already highly permissive “rules of engagement” by, for example, ordering more night raids.  In a typical night episode, Cobra gunships strafed a herd of water buffalo and seven children tending them. All died, and the children were reported as enemy soldiers killed in action.

The kill ratios duly rose from an already suspiciously high 24 “Vietcong” for every dead American to a completely surreal 134 Vietcong per American.  The unreality, however, did not simply lie in the inflated kill numbers but in the identities of the corpses.  Overwhelmingly, they were not enemy soldiers but civilians.  A “Concerned Sergeant” who protested the operation in an anonymous letter to the high command at the time described the results as he witnessed them:

“A battalion would kill maybe 15 to 20 a day.  With 4 battalions in the Brigade that would be maybe 40 to 50 a day or 1200 a month 1500, easy. (One battalion claimed almost 1000 body counts one month!)  If I am only 10% right, and believe me its lots more, then I am trying to tell you about 120-150 murders, or a My Lay [My Lai] each month for over a year.”

This range of estimates was confirmed in later analyses. Operations in I Corp perhaps depended more on infantry attacks supported by air strikes, while Speedy Express depended more on helicopter raids and demands for high body counts, but the results were the same: indiscriminate warfare, unrestrained by calculation or humanity, on the population of South Vietnam.

Turse reminds us that off the battlefield, too, casual violence -- such as the use of military trucks to run over Vietnamese on the roads, seemingly for entertainment -- was widespread.  The commonest terms for Vietnamese were the racist epithets “gooks,” “dinks,” and “slopes.”  And the U.S. military machine was supplemented by an equally brutal American-South Vietnamese prison system in which torture was standard procedure and extrajudicial executions common.

How did it happen? How did a country that believes itself to be guided by principles of decency permit such savagery to break out and then allow it to continue for more than a decade?

Why, when the first Marines arrived in I Corps in early 1965, did so many of them almost immediately cast aside the rules of war as well as all ordinary scruples and sink to the lowest levels of barbarism?  What chains of cause and effect linked “the best and the brightest” of America’s top universities and corporations who were running the war with the murder of those buffalo boys in the Mekong Delta?

How did the gates of hell open? This is a different question from the often-asked one of how the United States got into the war. I cannot pretend to begin to do it justice here. The moral and cognitive seasickness that has attended the Vietnam War from the beginning afflicts us still. Yet Kill Anything that Moves permits us, finally, to at least formulate the question in light of the actual facts of the case.

Reflections would certainly seem in order for a country that, since Vietnam, has done its best to unlearn even such lessons as were learned from that debacle in preparation for other misbegotten wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, however, are a few thoughts, offered in a spirit of thinking aloud.

The Fictitious War and the Real One

Roughly since the massacre at My Lai was revealed, people have debated whether the atrocities of the war were the product of decisions by troops on the ground or of high policy, of orders issued from above -- whether they were “aberrations” or “operations.” The first school obviously lends itself to bad-apple-in-a-healthy-barrel thinking, blaming individual units for unacceptable behavior while exonerating the higher ups; the second tends to exonerate the troops while pinning the blame on their superiors.

Turse’s book shows that the barrel was rotten through and through.  It discredits the “aberration” school once and for all. Yet it does not exactly offer support for the orders-from-the-top school either. Perhaps the problem always was that these alternatives framed the situation inaccurately.  The relationship between policy and practice in Vietnam was, it turns out, far more peculiar than the two choices suggest.

It’s often said that truth is the first casualty of war. In Vietnam, however, it was not just that the United States was doing one thing while saying another (for example, destroying villages while claiming to protect them), true as that was.  Rather, from its inception the war’s structure was shaped by an attempt to superimpose a false official narrative on a reality of a wholly different character.

In the official war, the people of South Vietnam were resisting the attempts of the North Vietnamese to conquer them in the name of world communism.  The United States was simply assisting them in their patriotic resistance.  In reality, most people in South Vietnam, insofar as they were politically minded, were nationalists who sought to push out foreign conquerors: first, the French, then the Japanese, and next the Americans, along with their client state, the South Vietnamese government which was never able to develop any independent strength in a land supposedly its own.  This fictitious official narrative was not added on later to disguise unpalatable facts; it was baked into the enterprise from the outset.

Accordingly, the collision of policy and reality first took place on the ground in Trieu Ai village and its like. The American forces, including their local commanders, were confronted with a reality that the policymakers had not faced and would not face for many long years. Expecting to be welcomed as saviors, the troops found themselves in a sea of nearly universal hostility.

No manual was handed out in Washington to deal with the unexpected situation. It was left to the soldiers to decide what to do. Throughout the country, they started to improvise. To this extent, policy was indeed being made in the field. Yet it was not within the troops’ power to reverse basic policy; they could not, for instance, have withdrawn themselves from the whole misconceived exercise.  They could only respond to the unexpected circumstances in which they found themselves.

The result would combine an incomprehensible and impossible mission dictated from above (to win the “hearts and minds” of a population already overwhelmingly hostile, while pulverizing their society) and locally conceived illegal but sometimes vague orders that left plenty of room for spontaneous, rage-driven improvisation on the ground. In this gap between the fiction of high policy and the actuality of the real war was born the futile, abhorrent assault on the people of Vietnam.

The improvisatory character of all this, as Turse emphasizes, can be seen in the fact that while the abuses of civilians were pervasive they were not consistent. As he summarizes what a villager in one brutalized area told him decades later, “Sometimes U.S. troops handed out candies.  Sometimes they shot at people.  Sometimes they passed through a village hardly touching a thing.  Sometimes they burned all the homes. ‘We didn’t understand the reasons why the acted in the way they did.’”

Alongside the imaginary official war, then, there grew up the real war on the ground, the one that Turse has, for the first time, adequately described.  It is no defense of what happened to point out that, for the troops, it was not so much their orders from on high as their circumstances -- what Robert J. Lifton has called “atrocity-producing situations” -- that generated their degraded behavior. Neither does such an account provide escape from accountability for the war’s architects without whose blind and misguided policies these infernal situations never would have arisen.

In one further bitter irony, this real war came at a certain point to be partially codified at ever higher levels of command into policies that did translate into orders from the top. In effect, the generals gradually -- if absurdly, in light of the supposed goals of the war -- sanctioned and promoted the de facto war on the population.  Enter General Ewell and his body counts.

In other words, the improvising moved up the chain of command until the soldiers were following orders when they killed civilians, though, as in the case of Ewell, those orders rarely took exactly that form.  Nonetheless, the generals sometimes went quite far in formulating these new rules, even when they flagrantly contradicted official policies.

To give one example supplied by Turse, in 1965, General William Westmoreland, who was made commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam in 1964, implicitly declared war on the peasantry of South Vietnam. He said:

“Until now the war has been characterized by a substantial majority of the population remaining neutral.  In the past year we have seen an escalation to a higher intensity in the war.  This will bring about a moment of decision for the peasant farmer.  He will have to choose if he stays alive.”

Like his underlings, Westmoreland, was improvising. This new policy of, in effect, terrorizing the peasantry into submission was utterly inconsistent with the Washington narrative of winning hearts and minds, but it was fully consistent with everything his forces were actually doing and about to do in I Corps and throughout the country.

A Skyscraper of Lies

One more level of the conflict needs to be mentioned in this context.  Documents show that, as early as the mid-1960s, the key mistaken assumptions of the war -- that the Vietnamese foe was a tentacle of world communism, that the war was a front in the Cold War rather than an episode in the long decolonization movement of the twentieth century, that the South Vietnamese were eager for rescue by the United States -- were widely suspected to be mistaken in official Washington.  But one other assumption was not found to be mistaken: that whichever administration “lost” Vietnam would likely lose the next election.

Rightly or wrongly, presidents lived in terror of losing the war and so being politically destroyed by a movement of the kind Senator Joe McCarthy launched after the American “loss” of China in 1949.  Later, McGeorge Bundy, Lyndon Johnson’s national security advisor, would describe his understanding of the president’s frame of mind at the time this way:

"LBJ isn't deeply concerned about who governs Laos, or who governs South Vietnam -- he's deeply concerned with what the average American voter is going to think about how he did in the ball game of the Cold War. The great Cold War championship gets played in the largest stadium in the United States and he, Lyndon Johnson, is the quarterback, and if he loses, how does he do in the next election? So don't lose. Now that's too simple, but it's where he is. He's living with his own political survival every time he looks at these questions.”

In this context, domestic political considerations trumped the substantive reasoning that, once the futility and horror of the enterprise had been revealed, might have led to an end to the war. More and more it was understood to be a murderous farce, but politics dictated that it must continue. As long as this remained the case, no news from Vietnam could lead to a reversal of the war policies.

This was the top floor of the skyscraper of lies that was the Vietnam War. Domestic politics was the largest and most fact-proof of the atrocity-producing situations.  Do we imagine that this has changed?

This is a joint TomDispatch/Nation article and appears in print in the Nation magazine.

Russia stuck between Guinea-Bissau and Vietnam in the ranking of economic freedom

(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)

(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)

Russia has moved up 5 points in the rating for economic freedom but remained pretty low in the overall list. It sits in 139th place out of 185 countries, and is classified as “mostly unfree”.

Russia got 51.1 points out of 100 in a scale that measures the level of economic freedom in selected countries, sandwiched between Guinea-Bissau and Vietnam. Asian countries topped the ranking, with Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia taking the top 3 positions in the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom compiled by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation think tank.

The grade is assigned according to the state of such economic and social indicators as a rule of law, the amount of the government in the economy, regulatory efficiency and the level of market openness. Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic and Azerbaijan open the section for “mostly unfree” countries, leaving Russia behind with their rankings between 59.7 – 59.9 points.

Another ranking by the World Bank indicating the ease of doing business across 185 countries put Russia 6 places higher in 2012 than the year before – at the number 112 economy. Earlier in the year President Vladimir Putin voiced the ambitious goal to move the country up to 20th place by 2020.However, poor law enforcement, corruption and red tape remain the key stumbling blocks on Russia’s way to a more economically efficient country.

Political realities in Russia also make its economic profile look more dubious, Ms. Bogenrief, from ACM Partners, told Business RT. “It’s no secret the world is, if not outwardly than certainly on the periphery, concerned about Vladimir Putin’s recent re-ascension to the Russian presidency.To many, in 2012, it appeared that the “old Russia” was back, an assumption that demands attention on investment pricing curves.”

On a more positive note,“the World Bank report shows that there has been some improvement in cutting red tape and the recent Transparency International Corruption Perception report also shows a small improvement in Russia’s position,” added Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Sberbank CIB. “Entry into the WTO in August is also a very positive step in this direction. So, a hopeful trend but a lot more needs to be done to attract the greater volume of investors required,” the expert concluded.

According to the Heritage Foundation rating, economic freedom in advanced countries is fading away, which is now a key issue, according to one of the ranking authors Terry Miller, a director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at the Heritage Foundation.

“Particularly concerning are the rise of populist "democratic" movements that use the coercive power of government to redistribute income and control economic activity,” Miller wrote in his comment in the Wall Street Journal.

Among 5 countries classified as “free,” where New Zealand and Switzerland follow the leaders only Singapore managed to improve its performance since the previous ranking. All the rest lost between 0.1 and 0.7 points.

No matter how surprising it may seem, but countries in struggling Europe made the best progress in the ranking, with post – Soviet republics leading the way. Georgia produced the best results, with Estonia and Poland breathing down its neck.

The world economic powerhouse – the US – was just 10th on the list, with Ireland partnering the country as the only advanced economies to have lost economic freedom 5 years in a row. The lack of the US leadership was one of the key reasons for a slowdown in economic liberalization across the globe, as stagnation in the number 1 economy ate into the trade flows.

The study covered the period between the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012.

Will America Ever Grapple with the Atrocities It Committed in Vietnam?

There has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century -- misery for local nationals.

January 8, 2013  |  

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Hudyma Natallia

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Pham To looked great for 78 years old.  (At least, that’s about how old he thought he was.)  His hair was thin, gray, and receding at the temples, but his eyes were lively and his physique robust -- all the more remarkable given what he had lived through.  I listened intently, as I had so many times before to so many similar stories, but it was still beyond my ability to comprehend.  It’s probably beyond yours, too.

Pham To told me that the planes began their bombing runs in 1965 and that periodic artillery shelling started about the same time.  Nobody will ever know just how many civilians were killed in the years after that.  “The number is uncountable,” he said one spring day a few years ago in a village in the mountains of rural central Vietnam.  “So many people died.”

And it only got worse.  Chemical defoliants came next, ravaging the land.  Helicopter machine gunners began firing on locals.  By 1969, bombing and shelling were day-and-night occurrences.  Many villagers fled.  Some headed further into the mountains, trading the terror of imminent death for a daily struggle of hardscrabble privation; others were forced into squalid refugee resettlement areas.  Those who remained in the village suffered more when the troops came through.  Homes were burned as a matter of course.  People were kicked and beaten.  Men were shot when they ran in fear.  Women were raped.  One morning, a massacre by American soldiers wiped out 21 fellow villagers.  This was the Vietnam War for Pham To, as for so many rural Vietnamese. 

One, Two… Many Vietnams?

At the beginning of the Iraq War, and for years after, reporters, pundits, veterans, politicians, and ordinary Americans asked whether the American debacle in Southeast Asia was being repeated.  Would it be “ another Vietnam”?  Would it become a “ quagmire”? 

The same held true for Afghanistan.  Years after 9/11, as that war, too, foundered, questions about whether it was “ Obama’s Vietnam” appeared ever more frequently.  In fact, by October 2009, a majority of Americans had come to believe it was “ turning into another Vietnam.”

In those years, “Vietnam” even proved a surprisingly two-sided analogy -- after, at least, generals began reading and citing revisionist texts about that war.  These claimed, despite all appearances, that the U.S. military had actually won in Vietnam (before the politicians, media, and antiwar movement gave the gains away).  The same winning formula, they insisted, could be used to triumph again.  And so, a failed solution from that failed war, counterinsurgency, or COIN, was trotted out as the military panacea for impending disaster. 

Debated comparisons between the two ongoing wars and the one that somehow never went away, came to litter newspapers, journals, magazines, and the Internet -- until David Petraeus, a top COINdinista general who had written his doctoral dissertation on the “lessons” of the Vietnam War, was called in to settle the matter by putting those lessons to work winning the other two.  In the end, of course, U.S. troops were booted out of Iraq, while the war in Afghanistan continues to this day as a dismally devolving stalemate, now wracked by “ green-on-blue” or “insider” attacks on U.S. forces, while the general himself returned to Washington as CIA director to run covert wars in Pakistan and Yemen before retiring in disgrace following a sex scandal. 

Still, for all the ink about the “ Vietnam analogy,” virtually none of the reporters, pundits, historians, generals, politicians, or other members of the chattering classes ever so much as mentioned the Vietnam War as Pham To knew it.  In that way, they managed to miss the one unfailing parallel between America’s wars in all three places: civilian suffering. 

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War on weed: Veterans’ access to medical marijuana blocked by Republicans

Veterans hoping to use medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder have had their hopes extinguished...

The Other Side of War: Fury and Repression in St. Louis

Photo by Paul Sableman | CC BY 2.0 History often follows something of a dialectical pattern – power begets resistance, war generates blowback, and so...

Half-truths and Falsehoods in PBS Series Inside Putin’s Russia

The US government-supported Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently ran a five part series dubbed Inside Putin’s Russia.  With a different theme each night, it...

PBS’ Anti-Russia Propaganda Series

PBS has joined the anti-Russia propaganda stampede with a five-part documentary series that recycles the false and deceptive claims that...

Body Count Comeback

AP story on CBS‘s site (8/10/16) on how many ISIS fighters have been “taken off the battlefield.” One of the hoariest methods of modern...

UK to send warship to South China Sea amid maritime dispute – defense sec

Published time: 27 Jul, 2017 13:09 The Royal Navy will deploy a warship to the...

Transgender troops welcome in British military after Trump ban, say generals

Published time: 27 Jul, 2017 10:59 In the wake of President Donald Trump’s shock ban...

Not the Right Thing, But the Right-Wing Thing: On John McCain, Death, and Dishonor

In July 2008, just over a month after surgery for brain cancer and still in the middle of chemotherapy treatments, Senator Ted Kennedy returned...

Pitching the ‘Forever War’ in Afghanistan

Exclusive: Rather than rethink U.S. policy in the Mideast, particularly the entangling alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia, Official Washington...

Obama Economic Recovery Was America’s Weakest

Eric Zuesse The following graph of “Non-farm Payroll Jobs in United States" shows America’s economic recoveries from recession, in numbers of jobs, and indicates very...

State Dept. bans American travel to North Korea

Published time: 21 Jul, 2017 16:56 Edited time: 22 Jul, 2017 11:51 The Trump administration will...

The Right’s Long War on Media

Exclusive: A danger from the mainstream media’s Russia-gate obsession is that it reinforces a longstanding right-wing meme about a “liberal...

Empire of Destruction: Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh

You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and...

Republicans are Right: Going to College Hurts

Going to college is a good thing, right? That’s at least what I was told as a kid, and what led me to get...

Belle Plaine Allows Satanic Monument in City Park

A small Minnesota town is getting a lot of attention for a Satanic monument coming to their veterans park. The monument going...

‘Think Through the Implications of Our Actions’: An Open Letter to Rep. Barbara Lee...

More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a...

The U.S. State of War: July 2017

Photo by DVIDSHUB | CC BY 2.0 This is the state of war in the United States in July 2017. The US bombing campaign in Iraq...

The Silk Roads

I, Prester John, am the lord of lords, and I surpass all the kings of the entire world in wealth, virtue and power…Milk and...

Walls For the Dead

Photo by mitchell haindfield | CC BY 2.0 Walls (here we mean monolithic structures that are not part of buildings) seem to hold a special...

Mythical Powers of a Memorial Wall

America, like other countries, surrounds itself with myths about the founding and reasons for wars, all the better to control...

‘I’ll Eat Your Liver’: Duterte Vows to Punish Islamist Terrorists for Beheading Sailors

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has a harsh warning for Islamist militants as the conflict rages in the southern island of Mindanao. His...

US military rewrites Hollywood blockbusters to save reputation, research reveals

While the US government’s influence in Hollywood is no secret, new documents reveal the staggering extent...

1,000s of children rescued from slavery in England – report

Thousands of children in England have been rescued after being exploited for slave labor, suffering...

Grim Lessons from a Faraway War

Exclusive: At a key juncture of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Hue shocked Americans with scenes of brutal urban...

Patriotism in the Trump Era

In one of his first official acts upon taking office, President Trump designated the day of his inauguration a "National Day of Patriotic Devotion."...

Understanding Moral Injury in Hooper’s War

Here’s an excerpt from my new book, Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, on sale now at Amazon. This excerpt is told from...

Be Armed, Be Your Own Doctor, and Learn Revisionist History

Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing That Works – Andrew W Saul PH.D.  Remember the Liberty!: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas – Phillip F. Nelson Straight Talk...

A Political or Apolitical 4th of July?

With a long holiday weekend lined up for the 4th of July most people are probably worried about having enough food for the barbeque,...

Census 2016: Milestone Passed as Australia Becomes more Asian, less European

Australians born of Australian parents will soon be a minority.  The census shows Australia reached a "tipping point" in 2016 where only...

Can pick up egg: Two veterans get DARPA-developed prosthetic arms after 40yrs (VIDEOS)

Two retired army veterans who lost their arms more than 40 years ago have received revolutionary...

After Hersh Investigation, Media Connive in Propaganda War on Syria

Nazareth. If you wish to understand the degree to which a supposedly free western media are constructing a world of half-truths and deceptions to manipulate...

William J. Astore on The Ecology of War in Afghanistan

There are many ways of looking at war: as a continuation of politics by violent means, as a biological imperative, as the extreme end...

Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies...

Photo by -JvL- | CC BY 2.0 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese women, children...

After Bombing Syria Based on a Lie

Washington's Blog June 28, 2017 A report yesterday by the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter who broke some of the biggest stories of the Vietnam and Iraq wars...

Russia-gate Is No Watergate or Iran-Contra

Special Report: Many comparisons have been made between Russia-gate and the earlier scandals of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but the similarities...

Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View

Veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the man who exposed the Mai Lai massacre during the Vietnam War and the US military’s abuses of Iraqi...

Hersh’s New Syrian Revelations Buried From View

Veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the man who exposed the Mai Lai massacre during the Vietnam War and the US military’s abuses of Iraqi...

US sees global popularity plummet under Trump administration

Published time: 27 Jun, 2017 12:10 Donald Trump’s popularity as POTUS has been in question since...

Trump ignored intel, launched Tomahawks in Syria based on media – Pulitzer winner Seymour...

Published time: 25 Jun, 2017 09:36 Edited time: 25 Jun, 2017 09:47 US President Donald Trump...

The Politics of Terror Mirrors the Politics of Heroin 

“The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq…..It’s doubling the bet across the region . This could get very complicated. Everything...

Peter Van Buren on Moral Injury and Hooper’s War

As research for Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan I encountered people suffering in ways they had a hard time describing but...

UN Calls for Saudi-Yemen Ceasefire to Stop Cholera and Famine

On June 15, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire in the conflict between the Saudi-UAE coalition and the Houthi-Saleh forces...

Trump’s Twitter Bombs

Donald Trump missed his opportunity to become a General Patton-style military commander and glorious war hero back in the Vietnam era. He surely would’ve...

Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to...

Brief Analogies

President Obama is to real change as President Bush was to true peace Republican senators are to family values as Family values have been to domestic violence Fire...

How I know that the Sauds did the 9/11 attacks

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org As a historian, I recognize that everything we know about history is from sources, and depends upon the reliability...

Oscar López Rivera Speaks Out on Newfound Freedom, Becoming Politicized and Decolonizing Puerto Rico

We are joined in studio by longtime Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who was imprisoned for about 35 years -- much of...

It Is Time for Donald Trump to Leave the White House

The other day, Michelle Goldberg, writing in Slate, made this excellent point: In response to the argument that ridding the country of President* Donald...

Opioid Crisis Now Leading Cause of Death for Americans Under 50

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. To put the death toll into perspective, opioid...

The Six Day War and Israeli Lies: What I Saw at the CIA

On too many occasions in U.S. history, the use of force has been justified with either corrupt intelligence or just plain lies.  Such was...

Honoring Soldiers of the Exceptional Nation

Apparently I have missed Memorial Day by being on the road in Guanajuato. I gather I should have thanked Our Boys for their service...

Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause?

“We are there and we are committed” was the regular retort of Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the war in Vietnam. Whatever you may...

Avoiding War with China

In recent years, many American leaders have grown cavalier about nuclear war, especially with Russia, but there is also risk...

Sgt. Pepper 50 Years Later

“Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me at barricades unless it is with flowers…. What’s the point of bombing Wall Street?...

WaPo’s Laziest Columnist Calls Protesters ‘Fascists,’ Equates Them to Manchester Bomber

For the Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen (5/29/17), students who protested eugenics–the pseudo-science used by the Nazis to justify the Holocaust–are the real fascists. Washington Post...

US to switch from free military grants to loans for Ukraine & others

The US will scrap many of its sizeable foreign military grants and replace them with loans, the White House’s top finance official has said....

The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, died Friday at a hospital in Virginia at the age of 89. Though the...

I Edit my Life

by Michael Lee Johnson / May 28th, 2017 I edit my lifeclothesline pins and clipshang to dry,dirty laundry,I turn poetic hedonisticin my early 70’sreviewing the...

Want to Get “Back to the Land?” You’re Not Alone

Over the past century, generations of young people have turned their backs on city life to embrace small-scale farming and back-to-the-land ideals. The exact...

ICE arrests nearly 200 illegal immigrants during 5-day operation in California

Federal immigration officers have arrested nearly 200 illegal immigrants during a five-day operation which targeted criminals...

Warning: We’re Overdue

If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree upon, it’s war. Both of them never saw a war they didn’t like unless the...

The Dirty Secret of the Korean War

The Korean War has been called “America’s forgotten war”. The heavily weaponized US Army was fought to a draw by Soviet-equipped North Korean and...

Believing the Russian ‘Hacking’ Claim

Government lies are common when seducing a population to support a war, but the Russian “hacking” claims are unusual in...

Zbigniew Brzezinski, US Cold War national security advisor, dies at 89

Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the most influential US political thinkers at the height of the Cold...

Veterans On the March: Memorial Day in D.C.

Veterans On the March!Stop Endless War • Build for Peace! “War is a racket: A few profit, the many pay!”~ Major General Smedley Butler, USMC May...

What We Can Learn from War Memorials

In Dryden, New York, a proposed solar farm recently caused a stir. Thousands of solar panels — enough to power 7,500 homes — are scheduled...

Asian crescent

The grass where we sat Amidst the trees Mist and dew Left From the whispering Breeze. Swollen feet Flaming hands Pockets bulging Stolen meat Rotten flesh From bleeding lands. What I felt What I saw When I knelt Humbled...

William Astore on America’s ‘Beautiful’ Weapons

President Trump is hawking weapons in the Middle East. After concluding a deal with the Saudis for $110 billion in weaponry, he sought out...

America’s Retarded Awareness

Alternative ideas don’t come easily to Americans. It seems that Americans imported colonial hierarchal practices from Europe to cultivate them to their own advantage....

The Nixonization of Donald Trump

The comparisons are multiplying. There was Trump’s appeal to the “silent majority” during the presidential election, his later adoption of the “mad man” theory...

William J. Astore on Icons of American Militarism

At this moment, it’s hard to think of a better symbol of American militarism than a giant bomb with a U.S. flag on it....

The American Imperium Is Going Down

For the World War II generation there was clarity. The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been...

Abortions for ‘free travel’? Alaska House censures rep over ‘glad to be pregnant’ comments

The Alaska House has formally rebuked a Republican representative who accused women of getting abortions so...

In Search of an Empire without an Emperor: Dynamics Behind the Comey Firing

In a very short amount of time, it’s become something of cliche to talk of Trump’s firing of Comey as the equivalent of Nixon’s...

John McCain, Human Rights and Our National Mental Illness

There’s that lay definition of mental illness where you come to believe you’re the only sane person left in the room. I think that’s...

The Silent Slaughter of the US Air War

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media voiced moral outrage when Russian warplanes killed civilians in Aleppo but has gone silent as...

Picking up the Cold War Pieces: Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan

Somalia partitioned under Italy, Britain, France In 2016, Somalia was declared the most fragile state in the world – worse off than Syria. Famine struck...

How the United States Ultimately Talks with Its “Enemies”

Enemies of the United States come and go, but the longer they espouse revolutionary ideals and thus defy the United States, the longer they...

Why Do N. Koreans Hate the US?

“WHY DO THEY hate us?” It’s a question that has bewildered Americans again and again in the wake of 9/11, in reference to the Arab and...

William J. Astore: Memories of War

Memories of war are powerful and fragmentary. At a national level, we do best at remembering our own war dead while scarcely recognizing the...

Oliver Stone Honored with Press Freedom Award

Director Oliver Stone – in recognition of his brave work in documentary films – has been selected as the winner...

Afghanistan Video Game: You Win with ‘Hearts and Minds’ Points (Seriously)

I suppose it had to come to this, perhaps the intersection of absurdity and unreality expressed through a video game...

Don’t Fall for the Latest NSA Falsehood

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every...

Bigoted Americans Far More Supportive of War Against Syria

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org —— On April 23rd, the U.S. mega-corporate and government-funded National Public Radio network, NPR, interviewed voters about their views on...

Demoted and Promoted Again

Nhuận’s dismay with Thiệu climaxed during the national elections of 1971, when Thiệu resorted to the same dirty tricks Kỳ tried to use in...

Nhuan Helps Presidential Candidate Nguyễn Văn Thiệu

“In 1967,” Nhuan said, “the Central Vietnam Southern Lowland Region comprised five provinces: Bình-Định, Phú-Yên, Khánh-Hòa, Ninh-Thuận, Bình-Thuận, and one independent city, Cam-Ranh. That...

Mad-Dog Mattis Going Rabid

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On Monday, April 25th, the AP headlined, "US general in Afghanistan suggests Russia arming the Taliban” and reported that...

Into the Central Intelligence Organization

By 1961, the insurgency was growing and the in-coming Kennedy Administration put the blame on the repressive policies of Ngô regime. The Kennedys were...

Internal Exile

In modernizing the GVN’s police forces, MSUG sent qualified uniformed police officers to study at Michigan State for a year. Theoretically, these individuals became...

Tell Us Why We’re At War, President Trump

People speak of Afghanistan as “our generation’s” Vietnam, a quagmire, a war that goes on simply because it has been going on. The Afghan war...

From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial

World Environment Day (WED) occurs on 5 June every year. Promoted by the United Nations, its aim is to encourage global awareness and action for...

Trump says ‘Korea used to be a part of China’…. Twitter goes ballistic &...

Social media has been buzzing since Donald Trump said Korea “used to be a part of...

Is Trump Taking Us to War Everywhere?

No one ever expected Donald Trump to be a peace-loving president. On the campaign trail, he endorsed torture, said he’d bomb the families of...

Banned chemicals contaminate groundwater near US bases on Okinawa

Elevated levels of two banned pollutants used by the US military have been detected in groundwater running under Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on...

Trump, A Symptom Of What? A Radical Message From a Half-Century Ago

Combat operations at Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, November 1965. (Photo: US Army) You could hear the deep sadness in the preacher's voice as he named...

Iraq vet sues Army in class-action suit over PTSD-related discharges

A decorated veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the Iraq war has filed a class-action...

Meet the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’: 6 facts about bomb Trump dropped on Afghanistan

Published time: 13 Apr, 2017 21:09Edited time: 14 Apr, 2017 16:26 US forces in Afghanistan have dropped...

Wonder Why Trump Can Just Bomb Anybody?

If you read closely between the warped headlines of the establishment media, you will eventually find the truth about Trump’s decision to strike the...

Trump Finds His Groove with Warmaking

The U.S. establishment disdained Donald Trump because he didn’t know how to do the war-making thing, so he had to...

Re-Accommodation in the Friendly Skies

The passenger who was dragged from a United Airlines flight is 69-year-old grandfather Dr. David Dao. Footage of the Vietnamese-American being hauled off the overbooked...

Pipelines, Tomahawks, and The Syrian Gulf of Tonkin

Right off the bat, you may have realized that The Gulf of Tonkin is nowhere near Syria.  But if you’re familiar with The Gulf of Tonkin...

U.S. Strikes in Syria Are an Illegal Response to Atrocity

No one disputes that Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians is illegal, immoral, and unacceptable. But Assad’s illegality does not excuse...

These People Frighten Me

Most of the things worth remembering during the 2008 presidential debates were uttered by Ron Paul.  But Mike Gravel, the former U.S. senator from...

Why Tax Resistance Under Trump Needs Its Antiwar Edge

There have always been fights about taxes — stretching back to the crates of over-taxed tea tossed into the Boston Harbor and a thoughtful...

In Attacking Syria, Trump Breached the War Powers Resolution

In an image provided by the US Navy, the destroyer USS Porter launches a Tomahawk missile from the Mediterranean Sea on April 7, 2017....

‘I never rush to accept anything US says,’ Ken Livingstone tells RT after Syria...

Published time: 7 Apr, 2017 14:54 US claims about the alleged gas attack which saw US...

Angry, Desperate, Rejected

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his boldest and perhaps most defining speech. It alienated liberal allies in the North and the...

NYT’s BDS Debate Excludes BDS Proponents

The most important editorial space in the English-speaking world dedicates a lot of column inches to the topic of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment...

Kathy Kelly on the Angry, Desperate, Rejected

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his boldest and perhaps most defining speech. It alienated liberal allies in the North and the...

From Syria to Monsanto: A Moribund System of Deceit and Destruction

Today, as the dominant global power, the US rolls out its brand of unfettered capitalism across the world. US citizens constitute just five percent...

The US Military’s Ethos: Of Busy-work, Sweaty Suffering, White Wall Haircuts, Beribboned Uniforms, and...

Why does the U.S. military invest so much pride in working to the point of tedium, if not exhaustion? A friend of mine, an...

Caligula with Orange Hair

So maybe this is how the U.S. demilitarizes, or the American public at least returns to the consciousness of the late ’60s, when protests...
video

Video: Noam Chomsky on How Businesses Sought to Destroy the Democratic Movements of the...

http://democracynow.org - This week is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech at Riverside Church, where he said the United States is...

The Black Alliance for Peace: 50 Years Later, We Must Again Confront and Reject...

Photo by Timothy Krause | CC BY 2.0 50 years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King reconnected with the radical black tradition...

50 Years Later: We Must Again Confront and Reject U.S. Warmongering

50 years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King reconnected with the radical black tradition by adding his voice of opposition to...

’Time for empowering women… is now’: Melania Trump honors international activists

First Lady Melania Trump made a rare public appearance to present 13 women with the 2017...

Advocate of Saddam/Al Qaeda Conspiracy Will Save Us From Fake News

The New York Times promotes an unlikely champion of the cause of truth. The New York Times‘ Jim Rutenberg (3/26/17), alarmed by right-wing websites with...

The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees

Photo by Nicolas Raymond | CC BY 2.0 There is a political myth in Washington that the Senate and House intelligence committees, unlike other congressional...

Number of reported human trafficking victims in Britain surges by 80%

Britain has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of alleged human trafficking victims reported...

Arkansas, short of volunteer witnesses, seeks to rush through 8 executions in 10 days...

The state of Arkansas is struggling to find enough volunteers to witness eight inmate executions scheduled...

75yo man charged with deserting from US military 45 years ago

Published time: 23 Mar, 2017 00:57 A Florida man is in custody after the Air Force determined...

Behind a Corporate Monster: How Monsanto Pushes Agricultural Domination

A farmhand loads genetically modified corn seed into a planter on Bo Stone's farm in Rowland, North Carolina, April 20, 2016. (Photo: Jeremy M....

The UAW’s corporatist alliance with Trump

  ...

Irish Americans Called to Stand Against Trump and Racism

While Irish Prime Minster Enda Kenny traveled to the White House to take part in a traditional "shamrock ceremony" with his American counterpart on...

Leaks Can be for Good or Evil

Hacking and “leaking” have become major news items. Are the leaks good or bad?  The answer depends on the nature of the leak. Are...

The US Murdered Cambodia

Cambodians are responding with outrage to the U.S. government’s demand that the country repay a nearly 50-year-old loan to Cambodia’s brutal Lon Nol government,...

Republicans introduce bills authorizing new military force against ISIS

A new House bill was introduced that would create a new Authorization for Use of Military...

President Blowback: How the Invasion of Iraq Came Home

US Army soldiers move toward their next watch location in Baqubah, Iraq, June 19, 2007. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Christopher Hubenthal / US Air...

A Time To Break the Silence on Military Spending

Fifty years ago next month Martin Luther King, Jr. warned us in his first public antiwar speech Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break...

The Insane Dream

In 1961, senior Pentagon consultants drafted a 33-page blueprint for initiating — and winning — a nuclear war against the Soviet Union. It was...

Afghan War Update: Fail, Fail Again

According to General Joseph Votel, Commander of U.S. Central Command, several thousand more US troops will likely be sent to Afghanistan in an attempt...

Dreams of ‘Winning’ Nuclear War on Russia

Exclusive: Official Washington’s anti-Russian hysteria has distorted U.S. politics while also escalating risks of a nuclear war as U.S. war...

In Afghanistan, America's Biggest Foe Is Self-Deception

America’s war in Afghanistan is now in its 16th year, the longest foreign war in our history.  The phrase “no end in sight” barely...

Punisher skull and 'Blue Lives Matter' decals removed from police cruisers after backlash

Kentucky’s Catlettsburg Police Department has learned that emblazoning squad cars with large skulls based on a...

100 Years of Using War To Try To End All War

This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr....

Tears and Outrage at the Altar of American Greatness

Apart from being a police officer, firefighter, or soldier engaged in one of this nation’s endless wars, writing a column for a major American...

Ron Paul: End Unlimited Presidential War Power

Interviewed Tuesday by host Kennedy at Fox Business regarding efforts by United States House of Representatives members to limit...

On Killers and Bullshitters*

We’re living in a very weird and convoluted moment in the annals of truth and bullshit. For some reason Americans saddled themselves with a...

The US Military’s Limited Critique of Itself Ensures Future Disasters

President Trump has selected Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to be his new National Security Adviser. McMaster is a “warrior” and a true believer...

Daniel McAdams: Trump’s NSC Pick McMaster Is a Major Hawk

Earlier today, President Trump selected Gen. H.R. McMaster to be his National Security Advisor, replacing the short-lived Gen. Michael Flynn. Those breathing a sigh...

A Documentary You’ll Likely Never See

Exclusive: Ukraine on Fire, a new documentary about the Ukraine crisis, might change how people in the West perceive the...

‘This Is a Country That’s in a Tremendous Crisis’ – CounterSpin interview with Zaid...

Janine Jackson interviewed Zaid Jilani about Trump’s Yemen raid for the February 3, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Zaid Jilani:...

Is President Trump Headed for a War With China? All Options Are "on the...

President Xi Jinping of China during a summit in Washington, DC, on March 31, 2016. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times) Forget...

‘It Is Not at All Typical to Stifle Basic Scientific Information’ – CounterSpin interview...

Janine Jackson interviewed Andrew Rosenberg about the Trump administration’s hostility toward science for the February 3, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly...

NYT: Unlike Russian Wars, US Wars ‘Promote Freedom and Democracy’

The New York Times defends its country’s innocence. The New York Times, in its recent rebuff of comments President Donald Trump made about Russia, seems...

Curing the Heroin Epidemic

A heroin epidemic has been spreading across the United States, expanding enormously for the last several years. With it, the number of people dying...

A Deadly Legacy: CIA’s Covert Laos War

Exclusive: The CIA’s covert war in Laos – in the 1950-60’s – has remained a model for U.S. proxy wars...

Drug Dealer Whose Life Sentence Was Commuted by Obama Is Caught Trafficking Cocaine

A Texas felon who was pardoned by Obama is back behind bars after he was caught 'fleeing police with two pounds of...

The Women Beside Bob Marley: Remembering the I Threes

The I Threes. Photo by Eddie Mallin.  CC BY 2.0. Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley came into existence on February 6, 1945. Marley, like Marcus Mosiah...

So Now What? Good Question

Since the election last November, I’ve been searching for the right words to convey my concerns. It’s not primarily about who won and who...

Monsanto’s Communications Guru to Visit the UK: Instead of Promoting GM, Take Responsibility for...

Monsanto is preparing a fresh effort to promote genetically modified (GM) crops to the UK public, according to a piece in The Scottish Farmer. The...

No Ban! No Wall! No War?

As I watched the corporate news on demonstrations against Trump’s travel ban, I was struck by the fact that on-going wars in the Middle...

Trump’s Terrifying Problem

Every president inherits something difficult. Some problems are simply out of the incoming president’s hands. Obama inherited a financial crisis. Reagan inherited double digit inflation. Kennedy,...

Recalling ‘People’s Lawyer’ Leonard Weinglass

Marjorie Cohn Legendary people’s lawyer Leonard Weinglass defended the poor and disenfranchised who struggled for social justice in the great tradition of Clarence Darrow, Charles...

David Ignatius, the CIA’s Apologist-in-Chief

Photo by Toxic5 | DeviantArt There is universal agreement that President Donald Trump’s “advertisement for himself” in front of CIA’s memorial wall on Saturday was...

The British Government Has Colluded with Monsanto and Should Be Held Accountable in the...

“The British Government has colluded with Monsanto and should be held accountable in the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity...

Liars, Thieves, Killers

“Once there is a suspicion that a religion is a myth, its power has gone.”—Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity Like Odysseus, Douglas Valentine is...

‘Misremembering King Rewrites the Press’s Own Role in History’ – Transcript of CounterSpin's special...

The January 20, 2017, episode of CounterSpin was a special featuring archived interviews about corporate media and Martin Luther King. This is a lightly...

Dawn of the Resistance

As someone once said, a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth puts its boots on. In the 2016 presidential election,...

Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from TPP

With a stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump has unraveled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, withdrawing the...

We’re Still Here, 1/20/17, Consumed Most of All by Our Fears

One of my favorite quotes includes the lines “I awoke this morning to find that it was not judgment day – only morning. Morning:...

NYT Ignored Reality at 2001 Bush Inauguration; Now Ignorance Is History

It was much harder for TV than for newspapers to downplay the reality that George W. Bush was greeted in 2001 by massive protests. Discussing...

‘Full history’: Secret CIA documents now available online

The CIA has published online nearly 13 million pages of declassified records, including papers on the US role in overthrowing foreign governments and the...

CODEPINK Brings Colorful Audacious Resistance to the Inauguration of Donald Trump and the Women’s...

WASHINGTON - CODEPINK will be visible in our dissent of the inauguration of president-elect Donald J. Trump. We will Rise^Love^Resist for 3 days in...

Antiwar And Anti-Violence: The Revolutionary Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King’s 1967 sermons and speeches against the Vietnam war may not be as well-remembered as his famous “I...

WaPo, Organ of Extreme Center, Calls MLK ‘True Conservative’

The Washington Post‘s misidentification of Martin Luther King. Because words and history evidently have no meaning, the Washington Post  (1/16/17) decided to honor civil rights...

The Deep State Goes to War on Trump

IN JANUARY, 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this...

Dossier’s Russia Charges Should Be Treated Skeptically–but Taken Seriously

The idea that charges of Trump colluding with Russia came from an “intelligence report” is itself an invention. Some in media are treating the report...

The CIA Is a Criminal Org

If you want to learn about the CIA as a deep state within the surface state, read this book. The strength of this book...

How Obama Spread the Mideast Fires

Exclusive: Barack Obama is one of the “coolest” American presidents, but his “team of rivals” approach to governing – trying...

Trump picks VA official to reform troubled agency

President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement of the new Veterans Administration chief almost got lost during the eventful...

‘We’re Seeing the Result of a 40-Year Assault on the Liberal Mainstream’ – CounterSpin...

Janine Jackson interviewed Ellen Schrecker about the New McCarthyism for the January 6, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Ellen Schrecker:...

The Fidel I Knew: My 100 Hours With Castro

Fidel is dead, but he is immortal. Few people have known the glory of entering into the realm of legend and history during their...

Digital love: Virtual reality porn on global rise, still lagging in US

It seems every small step in technology is a giant leap for pornography. With virtual reality...

Archbishop was “Icon of Resistance” to Palestinians

Tributes pour in after the death of Greek Melkite archbishop Hilarion Capucci, 94, who fought for Palestinian rights A Greek Melkite archbishop, described as an...

Obama’s Deadly Afghan Acquiescence

From his first days, President Obama showed a lack of guts when confronted by powerful insiders. He backed down even...

Kerry’s Finest Hour: Obama Team Labels Israel an Outlaw Nation

Hallelujah! As President Obama is about to fade from the White House forever to make way for the Twitter King’s juggernaut of furniture wreckers, his...

Vlad the Bad

A senior CIA source tells me ‘with a high level of certainty that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was responsible for Pearl Harbor, the Korean War,...

Malcolm Gladwell Likes Leaks When They Bolster Government Power

Malcolm Gladwell (New Yorker, 12/19/16): “Ellsberg was an insider—and that fact puts him in stark contrast with the man who has come to be...

Lessons for Trump

In this world, it is often dangerous to be an enemy of the United States, said Henry Kissinger in 1968, but to be a...

Trump Has Appointed More Generals to His Cabinet Than Any President Since World War...

We turn now to look at Donald Trump and his military generals. Trump has nominated retired Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis as defense secretary....

Foreign Meddling in Our Vote? Remember How This Feels.

Even in an election year as shot through with conspiracy theories as this one, it would have been hard to imagine a bigger bombshell...

Curious Alliances: Truth as Casualty in the US Presidential Election

The curious foursome of Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed, along with the Dr. Strangelove twins (John McCain and Lindsay Graham) have called for cooperation...

Fidel’s Departure Shook Asia to the Core

On November 30th, I walked into the historic building housing the Cuban Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was getting cold and it was drizzling....

Power to the People

“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a...

Angela Merkel as bad for Europe as Clinton & Obama are for America

Anyone who says she admires Hillary Clinton, as Angela Merkel has said, plainly invites revulsion if not contempt. The lack of judgment broadcast by...

FDR Lied Us into WWII

“I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government — by the planners of the New World Order,” FDR...

Was 11/8 a New 9/11? The Election That Changed Everything and Could Prove History's...

For decades, Washington had a habit of using the Central Intelligence Agency to deep-six governments of the people, by the people, and for the...

Kissinger and Brzezinski to be honoured by Nobel Institute and Oslo University

by Jan Oberg These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first...

Veterans plan ‘human shield’ to protect DAPL protesters (VIDEO)

More than 2,000 US military veterans have formed Veterans Stand for Standing Rock and plan to...

The Feds Killed MLK

Very few Americans are aware of the truth behind the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Few books have been written about it,...

Porn and Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

‘Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”—Mark Twain With recent criticism of fake news...

US serviceman killed in Syria on Thanksgiving

An American soldier has died in northern Syria after being fatally wounded after an improvised explosive...

Hey Media, We Don’t Need Another Glossy Profile on That Nazi Dork

There’s been a recent wave of press for a certain unnamed Nazi Dork who threw a gathering in Washington, DC, for his Nazi friends...

Disrespecting the American Imperial Presidency

When the dust settled on the Nov. 8 election, we learned that a completely unpredictable, egomaniacal, narcissistic buffoon would inherit the White House and...

Disrespecting the American Imperial Presidency

When the dust settled on the November 8 election, we learned that a completely unpredictable, egomaniacal, narcissistic buffoon would inherit the White House and...

Death of the Liberal Class? Death to the Liberal Class!

Photo by Cliff | CC BY 2.0 For as long as I’ve been involved with progressive political movements, activists and organizers have been trying to reform the Democratic...

Sanders, Warren Not ‘Genuine Progressives’–Says Washington Post

If you want to be progressive, don’t be like this guy, says the Washington Post (11/14/16). The Washington Post editorial page (11/14/16) decided to lecture...

Why Trump’s Victory Wasn’t a Surprise

America’s liberal elitists, who look down on the discontented working class and put up a presidential candidate representing a failed...

Reflections on US Political Tragedies

Two very unpopular candidates made the 2016 presidential campaign an embarrassment for American democracy. Now, the outcome could become one...

Veterans in 2016: Backlogs, coverage gaps, and a Trump mandate

November 11 is designated Veterans Day in the US, a nation with almost 19 million military...

Action This Day!

“In victory, magnanimity!” said Winston Churchill. Donald Trump should be magnanimous and gracious toward those whom he defeated this week, but his first duty is...

‘What Open Borders Mean for Corporations Is Really About Restricting Workers’ Rights’ – CounterSpin...

Janine Jackson interviewed Michelle Chen about Samsung’s labor and environmental abuses for the November 4, 2016, CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Michelle Chen:...

As hot as presidential race: Who gets control of the Senate?

This November, Democrats have their first chance to take back the Senate since becoming the minority party in the 2010 midterms. However, Republicans stand...

Obama trade chief says TPP may still pass Congress after elections – report

Although TPP has lost traction on Capitol Hill, a US trade chief indicates the 12-nation trade...

Forget the Trump-Clinton Charade: It’s Time to Wake Up America!

Colin Todhunter (RINF) - Who will be the winners and the losers in the coming U.S. presidential election? Trump or Clinton, Clinton or Trump? The...

Tom Hayden, Courageous Warrior for Peace

Tom Hayden at his office in Culver City, California, July 19, 2004. Hayden, who burst out of the 1960s counterculture as a...

Why I’m Suing Vanderbilt University

PALM BEACH, Fla.—Maybe you missed this little item, but last month Obama shut down 130 colleges in a single day. That’s one-three-oh campuses in 38...

Canada’s Foreign Policy and Academia

Should social scientists seek the truth regardless of whose toes may be stepped on and cite, up front, possible conflicts of interest regarding matters...

The Doctrine of Armed Exceptionalism

War, what is it good for? In America, the answer is that, much of the time, you’ll probably never know what it’s good for –...

Military Veneration in America

This is a portion of an e-mail, edited only for small matters of punctuation and such to improve readability: “I’m 78 and not ever a...

The Redeemer Nation

Ephesians 1:7, 8(a) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he...

Legendary Antiwar Activist and SDS Organizer Tom Hayden Dies at 76

Tom Hayden has died at the age of 76. Hayden spent decades shaping movements against war and for social justice. He was...

Obama’s Pivot to Asia Hits a Roadblock in the Philippines

While the mainstream media continues its obsessive reporting on the mudslinging campaign for the White House, a dramatic development in China...

Yes, There Will Be Election Fraud, On A Grand Scale

*America’s election system is designed only to give the theater of democracy with none of the substance* (RINF) - It is a virtual certainty that the...

A Third Co-Presidential Term: The American Nightmare Is Just Beginning

(RINF) - In less than three weeks, get used to hearing about president-elect Hillary, she and husband Bill heading back to the White House...

The Power Elite’s War

“A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.” Journalist Chris Hedges As the ruling...

Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell

It has become crystal clear. For the record, here it is. She has big ambitions, which she does not spell out for fear of frightening part...

The Perpetual Killing Field

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Slaughter is all too human. Killing fields or mass burial grounds are in the archeological...

Lament for an Indispensable America

America’s "exceptionalism" is alive and well. It’s resurfaced wearing a wig in current presidential politics. Clinton speaks about America the "indispensable" nation....

Destroyer of Nations

In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 – an invasion which many Iraqis believe left their country in the worst...

The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment

Exclusive: To shield Hillary Clinton from criticism of her Wall Street speeches, the Democrats are engaging in a new McCarthyism...

Donald Trump’s Anti-War Pedigree

Recently, I saw a lovely work by one of my favourite artists, Alexander Calder, called ‘McGovern for President’. The art was created in support of...

Congress’s Take on the Heroin Epidemic

A heroin epidemic is on fire all across America. Heroin deaths shot up from 1,779 in 2001 to 10,574 in 2014 as Afghan opium...

Millennials equally dislike Trump, Clinton & Putin – but would vote socialist

A new study surveying American attitudes towards capitalism, socialism or communism found younger Americans preferred George...

How America Expunges Bad Memories

America is a place that expunges unpleasant memories that belie the happier vision of its “exceptionalism,” most notably the brutal ugliness of the Vietnam...

The National Security Case for a TPP Lame Duck Vote: Not!

“Stop Fast Track” rally in Washington, DC in April 2015 (courtesy Wikimedia Commons). Notwithstanding President Barack Obama’s best efforts to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)...

Victims of modern slavery ‘lost’ in system by British police

Police forces across the country are failing thousands of victims of modern slavery by failing...

The Life and Death of Hanoi Hannah

Exclusive: The death of Hanoi Hannah, the radio voice urging U.S. G.I.’s to turn against the Vietnam War, brought back...

Britain to accept hundreds of child refugees as France clears Calais camp

Hundreds of unaccompanied refugee children are expected to start arriving in Britain in the next...

How the NY Times Commits Its Crimes

…pretends to do investigative reporting. Before the United States permitted a terrifying way of interrogating prisoners, government lawyers and intelligence officials assured themselves of one...

US maternal mortality rate worse than Libya, Palestine – report

The maternal mortality rate in the United States is higher than that of Iran, Palestine, Libya,...
video

Video: Robert Scheer: US Pledge of $90 Million to Laos for Cluster Munitions Legacy...

If the word 'terrorism' has any meaning, it applies to the US bombings in Laos and Vietnam, says the Truthdig editor-in-chief Visit http://therealnews.com for...

Drop ‘Empire’ from British honors, Liverpool FC’s 1st black player says

The first black footballer to play for Liverpool says the word ‘Empire’ should be removed...

Bring Back the Cold War

Pundits have declared a “New Cold War.” If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between nuclear powers....

Would be C-in-C Trump insults military vets with PTSD quote

The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, told an audience of military veterans that those members who...

Bring Back the Cold War

Pundits have declared a “New Cold War.” If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between nuclear powers....

Bring Back the Cold War

Pundits have declared a “New Cold War.” If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between nuclear powers....

U.S. Diplomacy: A Dangerous Proposal

Samantha Power (courtesy of US Embassy Kyiv via Flickr) While the mainstream media focuses on losers and winners in the race between Hillary Clinton and...

Ancient Rome Still Defines US Politics of War and Poverty

The Death of Caesar, by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Our culture of exploitation and military conquest for the benefit of the wealthy few is...

First Strikes Are Still Part of US Nuke Policy

On September 27, Democrats in the House and the Senate introduced a bill that would prevent the president of the...

US Propaganda Goes into Overdrive

Over the weekend the Western press is blasting Russia and Syria for alleged war crimes in their assault on the terrorist controlled part of...

The US Military

Although the whole Vietnam War was a crime from start to finish, one particular event that occurred on March 16, 1968, has always been...

British MoD gagging soldiers dissatisfied with Iraq war crime probe handling – media

The British Defense Secretary has reportedly barred soldiers – targeted by an inquiry into alleged...

Cherry-Picking Trade Polls to Pave Way for a TPP Flip-Flop

Dean Baker (FAIR.org, 9/23/16) was rightly skeptical of a New York Times article (“Who Hates Free Trade Treaties? Surprisingly, Not Voters,” 9/21/16) reporting that...

NYT Promotes Protectionism in Guise of ‘Free Trade’

The New York Times‘ depiction of Barack Obama promoting the TPP. (photo: Al Drago/NYT) The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has little to do with free trade....

Why President Obama Has Difficulty Garnering Respect Internationally

As President Obama gave his valedictory speech to the United Nations General Assembly and has recently returned from a farewell tour...

The Most Primitive of Superstitions

Well, well, well! It appears I struck a nerve with the Star Spangled Scam article. I got mostly very appreciative emails, but there were...

Everything the US Has Done Since 9/11

Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss was curious how Todd Pierce, a military man from Minnesota, became a critic of what looks increasingly like America’s permanent...

UK spy agencies will be used to combat modern slavery

British intelligence agencies are set to join the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking...

The Real Enemy of Both Koreas

Warring hotspots all over the world are flaring up in 2016 in what amounts to preparation for World War III between the military forces...

Hillary’s Sicko Relationship

As a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton helped arrange for $1.65 billion in low-interest, federally guaranteed “Liberty Bonds” (supposedly earmarked for post-9/11 rebuilding in New...

Freedom Through Militarism

I have received quite a few emails in regards to my last article. People are asking me for more explanation on the concept of...

Oliver Stone’s New Movie Snowden Tackles the Myth

Snowden is a helluva movie, kicking an audience’s ass on a number of levels. I had a chance to see the film last night...

Our Post-September 11 Fifteen Years’ War

(Photo: DVIDSHUB / Flickr) On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda launched its four-plane air force against the United States. On board were its...

Facebook loses bid to block 14yo girl’s lawsuit over nude image posted on ‘shame...

Facebook has lost a legal bid to prevent a 14-year-old girl from suing the social...

US apologizes to Laos over cluster bombs, then sells them to pound Yemen

CIA’s nine-year secret war had made Laos the most heavily bombed country in human history. During his visit to that country on Sept 6,...

US apologizes to Laos over cluster bombs, then sells them to pound Yemen

CIA’s nine-year secret war had made Laos the most heavily bombed country in human history. During his visit to that country on Sept 6,...

US Cluster Bombs Kill Children for Decades in Laos, and Now Yemen

The preposterous ironies of President Obama’s unapologetic visit to Laos on September 6 have not yet generated the attention they deserve, but they provide...

OBAMA Sells Human Rights and Weapons to Former Asia Enemies

US President Barak Obama took to three former enemy targets in Asia this year. His mission in Vietnam was to sell “lethal weapons”. This comes...

Facebook will follow in Murdoch’s Footsteps

The row about Facebook censoring the iconic photograph of a naked Vietnamese girl, Kim Phúc, fleeing a US napalm attack has led to justified...

Containing the United States

by Edward S. Herman / September 9th, 2016 “Containing the United States” is, of course, a ridiculous and self-contradictory idea in the U.S. and Western...

Alt right or shift right? WikiLeaks trolls Clinton in 'Neocon hawk' poll

WikiLeaks has gone full troll with a Twitter poll sarcastically asking social media users to choose...

America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy’

When it comes to applying rules of international law and ethics, the U.S. government and its mainstream media operate with...

At WaPo, You Can Say Anything to Support TPP–or to Smear Sanders

Two of the Washington Post‘s least favorite things: Bernie Sanders and opposition to corporate trade deals. (image: Bernie Sanders/YouTube) In pushing trade agreements, it is...

Gawker Dirt

Just about this time of year, 42 years ago, Dunhill’s of London, the famed tobacconist, had a bold idea. The president of Dunhill’s, Richard...

The FBI’s Secret War

The idea that a tyrannical government is secretly plotting against US citizens is a popular and longstanding belief among much ...

‘Invisibilizing the Workers Who Actually Do the Work’ – Transcript of CounterSpin's special Labor...

Janine Jackson assembled some of CounterSpin‘s best segments on workers and media for a special September 2, 2016, episode for Labor Day. This is...

America: the Indispensable Nation…Not!

Hillary Clinton affirmed “American exceptionalism” in a speech to the American Legion in Cincinnati on August 31. If there’s one core belief that has guided...

The 10 Worst US Presidents

A few days ago, I posted my list of the top ten worst U.S. presidents on my Facebook page. People who are familiar with my...

Colin Kaepernick’s Bold Stand

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, traditionally played before most football games. Like...

China must 'abide by international law' in South China Sea dispute – Obama

As China looks to assert itself internationally, US President Barack Obama is urging Beijing to be...

Bob Kerrey, Fulbright University, and the Neoliberal Erasure of History

Truth is stranger than dystopian fiction. Last May, for example, United States President Barack Obama announced the opening of the U.S.-sponsored Fulbright University of...

Send in the B-52s

Sixty Years of B-52s (U.S. Air Force photo) Perhaps there should be a “new rule” on the American military scene: When the B-52s are called...

Tell Us Why We’re At War, Candidates

When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them...

"I Didn't Serve, I Was Used": How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home

New schemes are seeking to use veterans for corporate interests and dismantle the VA system in the name of privatized profits. (Photo:...

Time to Cut the Apron Strings

Well, here’s some more change you can believe in. Right, marijuana remains in the same league as heroin. Makes you wonder about the quality of...

Fivefold increase in reported slavery in Britain is sign of progress, says government

There has been a fivefold rise in the number of slavery victims in England and Wales since 2012, according to the Salvation Army. The charity...

‘Run Ernie Run’: 93-year-old WWII veteran completes epic US coast-to-coast run

While most people in their 90s are slowing down, Ernie Andrus embarked on a journey that...

The Hunger To Fix Syria, and the Indifference Towards Yemen

Earlier this week, a young Syrian boy made the news in the worst, most captivating fashion. It often takes one photo of...

10 Orwellian Moments

The Intercept recently began releasing batches of top secret internal newsletters from the most important division of the NSA, the Signals Intelligence Directorate, or...

Back to the Future

I was going through some old boxes last year, uncovering the detritus and memories of times past, when I came upon a...

Dr. Strangelove and Company at the Door of U.S. Power

If you happened to be an anti-war protester during the Vietnam War, then the following interchange between the late President Richard  Nixon and his...

China and the U.S. are Approaching Dangerous Seas

(Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet / Flickr) A combination of recent events, underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years, has turned the...

Evan McMullin: Raising the Neocon Flag

When one thinks of the neoconservatives what comes to mind is their warmongering, and they have indeed been the War Party’s brains...

Rethinking the Cold War

The Cold War began during the Truman administration and lasted through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations and was ended in...

Hillary, Trump, and War on Russia

Don’t look for a walk-over. The T14 Armata, Russia’s latest tank. You don’t want to fight this monster if you can think of a...

Team Refugee and the Normalization of Mass Displacement

Team Refugee (Photo: IOC / Olympic.org) It was after midnight when the small refugee Olympic team strode into the stadium in Rio, the very last...

California Summer

by Michael Lee Johnson / August 7th, 2016 Coastal warm breezeoff Santa Monica, Californiathe sun turns saltshaker upside downand it rains white smog, humid mist.No...

War With China Unthinkable? Think Again!

According to a recent study by the Pentagon-linked RAND Corporation, a US military conflict with China is unlikely by calculated...

Never a Dull Moment

Murray Rothbard was a true polymath. He wasn’t just the number one theoretician of the modern libertarian movement — author of the monumental Man,...

The Goldwater Girl and the Wall Street Girl

They are one and the same in Hillary. The Goldwater girl is the one who rooted for Goldwater’s racism and is also now the...

Needing an Exit from Afghan Quagmire

The failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan has been obvious for years, but neither President Bush nor President Obama wanted...

A Lawyer Who Turned the Tables: Graphic Biography Immortalizes Leonard Weinglass

(Image: Seth Tobocman) LEN: A Lawyer in History, Seth Tobocman, AK Press, 2016 Leonard Weinglass was a many-sided original: an authentically home-grown radical, a brilliant...

The Frackopoly Comes to Power

Anti-fracking activists display a sign during a march in New York City on September 24, 2014. (Photo: Joe Brusky) What risks does hydraulic...

Hiroshima: the Crime That Keeps on Paying, But Beware the Reckoning

Everett Historical | Shutterstock.com On his visit to Hiroshima last May, Obama did not, as some had vainly hoped he might, apologize for the August 6, 1945...

The Myth of Trump’s Alternative Worldview

Donald Trump may be a bigot and a bully, but it’s hard not to applaud when he pisses off the stuff shirts at the...

The Burrito Index

Our real-world experience tells us the official inflation rate doesn’t reflect the actual cost increases of everything from burritos to healthcare. In our household, we...

The War That Won’t Go Away

“There you go again,” was one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite refrains in the 1980s, and especially in a 1980 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter,...

‘Special forces shadow wars’ face legal threat from Corbyn

Special forces operations should be subject to proper democratic oversight through a new War Powers...

Lurching Toward World War III

Anti-Russian hysteria has reached extraordinary levels in Official Washington with heated allegations about Russia hacking Democratic Party emails, but this over-the-top “group think” threatens...

China on the Defensive?

Xi Jinping (courtesy of kremlin.ru) It has not been a good month for China. On July 12, an international court of arbitration at The Hague handed the...

Will Putin Get a Pulitzer?

Waving off the clerics who had come to administer last rites, Voltaire said: “All my life I have ever made but one prayer to...

Superpower Conflicts Are Driving Tensions in the South China Sea

(Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet / Flickr) The Philippines would seem to have won a major victory against China in a recent international court ruling in...