A radical look at the Vietnam War

I am of the generation that resisted the unjust American war in Vietnam, and am quite proud of the little that we did. I agree with the author quoted below that the Vietnam War, which killed two or three MILLION Asians in  order to prop up the Western world-wide colonial empire, was a crime, rather than a mistake. The heroism of the Vietnamese (and others) in fighting imperialism for over 30 years should never be forgotten.

I felt sorry for my friends, classmates and neighbors who got drafted to fight over there against their wishes – some of those who finished their two-year stint in Vietnam or elsewhere during that era were eager to join and help lead our anti-war chapter of Students for a Democratic Society at my college (Dartmouth).

If the military had in fact been able to draft me, I am not sure whether I would have fled to Canada, or else gone in and simply have been a most unwilling, uncooperative soldier (like so many others), or else been involved in a big protest of some sort, or else have either ended up in the stockade for my pains (along with many others). Maybe all of the above?

Here is part of an essay by Bruce Dixon in today’s Black Agenda Report‘:

Convinced that Uncle Ho — as the Vietnamese called him — and his party would win the 1956 elections, the US created a brutal puppet government in the southern half of Vietnam to cancel the election and “request” US military aid against so-called invaders from so-called North Vietnam. In the final decade of the long Vietnamese war more than half a million US troops were deployed, more bombs were dropped than in all of World War 2, and millions of civilians mostly Vietnamese perished. It’s the final decade of the 30 year bloodbath that most now think of as the American war in Vietnam, Vietnam the mistake, Vietnam the tragic misunderstanding.

Only it wasn’t a mistake, and certainly not a misunderstanding. The Vietnamese and other colonial subjects had been insisting on their independence for decades. Ho Chi Minh showed up at Versailles back in 1919 when the terms of the treaty ending World War 1 were being drafted. Ho demanded independence for the African and Asian colonies of France, Britain and other European powers. The Vietnamese knew from the very beginning what they wanted to do with their lives and resources in their country. The so-called misunderstanding was that the US political and military establishment, and 5 US presidents over 30 years imagined they could torture, bomb, invade and slaughter their way to some other outcome.

Ultimately they could not. 58 thousand Americans and 3 million Asians perished. 3 million dead is not a mere mistake. It’s a gigantic crime, after the world wars, one of the 20th century’s greatest. Crimes ought at least to be acknowledged and owned up to, if not punished. Pretty sure Ken Burns is not at all about that. At best Burns seems to be about a species of healing and reconciliation that limits itself to Americans agreeing with and forgiving their trespasses against each other, and dutiful acknowledgements of the valor of fighters on both sides.

The series has not yet concluded, so we’ll have to wait and see whether Ken Burns ignores or buys into the discredited lie propagated by our country’s war propaganda industry that unaccounted for Americans prisoners were somehow left behind and missing at the end of the Vietnam war. They were not. But the little black flag and ceremonies for the imagined “missing” in Vietnam are standard now four decades after the war’s end.

I didn’t go to Vietnam. Vietnam came to me, or tried to. I was lucky enough to live in a big city, Chicago, and to connect with the antiwar movement, which included black soldiers and marines returning from Vietnam. Some of them frankly confessed to taking part in all sorts of atrocities and war crimes and we took them from high school to high school in the fall and early winter of 1967 to repeat those confessions, and to tell other young black people like us it was an unjust war we had a duty to resist.

I thought I was risking prison when I sold Black Panther newspapers at the armed forces induction center on Van Buren Street and refusing to be drafted like Muhammad Ali. But by then so many young people were resisting the war that Uncle Sam’s draftee army became useless. In that era there were not enough cells to lock us all up, and many white Americans were declaring themselves ready for revolution, or something like it. US policymakers learned that part of their lesson well. They ended the draft and most white antiwar protesters went home.

Noam Chomsky has it exactly right when he declares that Vietnam was not a mistake or tragic error. It was an example that said to the world – THIS is what you get when you defy the wishes of the US ruling elite. You get bombs, you get rivers of blood and you get your country’s economic potential set back half a century. Seen that way, Vietnam wasn’t some tragedy the US blundered into by mistake. It was an example. And a crime.

Good news – a mass protest against the current insane trends in US education

Read this link from Long Island Newsday for the details.

While I can’t really find anything objectionable in the way the Common Core Standards are written for math in grades 5-8, the way they are currently being implemented in all the districts I know of is extremely objectionable. In DCPS, for example, my former colleagues tell me that they are bound to follow a very strict  city-wide time line for each lesson, with the content of every lesson spelled out, and no alterations permitted. Plus there are numerous interim tests, each one more poorly-constructed than the last, which waste unbelievable amounts of classroom time.

The good parts of CC (at least in math) are that teachers and students are supposed to delve much more deeply into a smaller number of objectives or standards, being creative all along the line.

That deep delving and creativeness is completely negated by the strict way in which those standards are implemented and, uh, standardized.

That being said, it’s great to see a mass protest against our currently insane billionaire-led fads in education.

Again, here is the link:


Published in: on August 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm  Comments (3)  
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Rhee’s BAACK, pushing her DEFORMS of American Education!

Don’t Let Rhee, Scott Walker, and Their Buddies Get

Away With It!

Help protest in DC on Monday May 9, 2011!

Rhee and two of her evil, far-right governor buddies are going to be speaking here in Washington on Monday at an anti-public-education astro-turf organization funded by billionaires and other grifters  who want to further empower the ultra-rich in America and to steal from the middle class, the working class, and the very poor.

Yes, Michelle Rhee; union-busting and anti-democracy Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker; and rught-wing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett; will all be in DC on Monday to speak to a pro-voucher, anti-public-education group called “American Federation for Children” that is funded by the same folks who paid for the ‘Tea Party’. We should not let these anti-democratic misleaders continue to operate with impunity. If we let their organizing continue without a raised voice of protest from us, then the press can continue to claim that the entire American public loves their brand of Education Deform. Which ain’t true!

For more information about what’s wrong with an innocent-sounding group named ‘American Federation for Children’, be sure to click here. And here. Also read this report, which I saved as a Google Document because the original website seemed to be acting weird.

The AFC is NOT a bunch of do-gooders. They really do want to end public funding for education, and what they are doing right now (working with other evil folks like Michelle Rhee) is just a means to get there.

Apparently, a bunch of parents, teachers, and other folks from Pennsylvania who are really unhappy with Corbett’s take on education are making a special effort to come to DC. So the least we residents of DC, MD and VA can do is to give our allies a good welcome and help to stop Billionaire-style Education Deform in its tracks.

From what I read, “Meet at the Washington Marriott (1221 22nd St. NW between M and N) on Monday (May 9th [2001]), time to be announced.” If you follow that link, you will find a way to contact one of the organizers (NOT me!).

Sounds like a good idea to me!

Let’s have teachers, parents, students  (those who belong to any of those categories right now or in the past) show up and speak out! Make and bring banners! Think of clever ways of getting your views across!

Plan with your friends, colleagues, relatives, fellow union members, or fellow-students how to show the world that these crooks and charlatans do not have the interest of the vast majority of American students (or parents, or teachers) at heart!

PS: You know that working people really DO need unions. They sure as @#$% ain’t perfect, but at least with a union structure that is independent of big business and the government, then we workers actually do have a way to organize ourselves together for our own interests, to speak out freely, and to communicate with our peers on our own terms. Otherwise, what do we have? Can a single working person afford to buy enough radio and TV and print ads to make a difference? (Heck no! That’s why only billionaires, corporations, and yes, Unions, can afford to do so.)

Can a single blogger make much of a difference? (perhaps a little, but a single writer is only as good as the folks he or she gets to actually get out on the streets and into the workplaces and courts and offices and demand change!)

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