The Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archive
"collects and preserves the documentary record of the Vietnam War, and supports and encourages research and education regarding all aspects of the American Vietnam Experience." It includes vast sections of digitized material, including audio
, as well as all manner of documents. [more inside]
Waiting for your lottery number.
James, Oklahoma, 1969, No. 365.
I arrived at the dorm and went to my friend’s room where 12 of us were watching the lottery. I remember we had cases of beers to help us through. We knew this day could forever change our lives. When I came into the room I could feel the tension and see that the lottery had already started. It wasn't a big show on TV; it was just a series of numbers scrolling across the bottom of the screen while “I Love Lucy” played above. [more inside]
Many years ago, I found a quarter inch audio reel in a rotting cardboard box, covered in dust, while helping my dear friend and mentor, Lighting Cameraman John B. Peters, clean up his garage. He told me it had been recorded in Vietnam during his coverage of that war. On the box, still legible, was handwritten: “Firefight, no name village, near Chu Lai, September 10, 1966, Nagra 3, 3,75 I.P.S.”
John recalled that he was out with a patrol that day, and when the Vietcong ambushed them, they all had to duck for cover, but his soundman kept the audio recorder rolling throughout the duration of the fierce firefight that followed
In the Year of the Pig
is a documentary on the Vietnam war, produced and originally released in 1968 as the war raged. It begins with some background on the end of the French colonial period, then moves on to the American involvement. It features gripping historical footage from the war itself and from leading political players of the time. At the time of its release, a New York Times review
said "There are no frills and few ifs, ands or buts about the stinging, graphic and often frighteningly penetrating movie". It is highly recommended for anyone seeking to understand more of the history of the war. Viewable in its entirety here
The Things They Leave Behind.
"When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
"First Kill is a war documentary
that explores the dark side of man and the psychology of soldiers at war. Vietnam veterans are interviewed about their experiences and what war does to the human mind and soul."
Once Upon a Time in War is a photographic retrospect of the Great War, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and the War on Terror.
Colonel William B. Nolde
, 43, Bronze Star and Legion of Merit medal recipient, was killed by an artillery shell near An Lộc on January 27, 1973 - 11 hours before the truce that ended the Vietnam War
A Look Back at the Vietnam War on the 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. (The following photo collection contains some graphic violence and depictions of dead bodies.)
is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice
, and the restaurant
, but Alice's Restaurant
is not the name of the restaurant
; that's just the name of the song
, and that's why I call the song
Restaurant. [more inside]
Soldier-Artists in Vietnam
. Flack jackets, pistols, iodine pills, insect lotion, sketch pads wrapped in plastic bags
... Jim Pollock
was a member of the Vietnam Combat Artist Program
and this is his story (click through the links within the links to learn more).
The Wars of John McCain.
"John McCain believes the Vietnam War was winnable. Now he argues that an Obama administration would accept defeat in Iraq, with grave costs to American honor and national security. Is McCain’s quest for victory a reflection of an antiquated pre-Vietnam mind-set? Or of a commitment to principles we abandon at our peril? Is there any war McCain thinks can’t be won?"
The gyrojet pistol
) - a handgun firing 13mm rocket ammunition
, was an attempt to revolutionise gun design in the 1960s. Around a thousand were produced, and some may have seen use in Vietnam
versions were also produced. Design problems meant that it never seriously competed conventional firearms, but there is a modern attempt to revive the concept
. I’ve come to bear witness to American folly, to rest my eyes on the flying machines that flattened the forests of Southeast Asia, poisoned its people, and changed my life.
A personal essay about the long-reaching effects of Agent Orange. [more inside]
40 years ago
tomorrow, more than 500 villagers were raped, tortured, and slaughtered
(disturbing images) by American soldiers in a hamlet nicknamed Pinkville. Four Hours in My Lai
tells the story. Part 1
. [more inside]
What Cats Know About War.
A reporter adopts cats to reconnect with life amid unremitting death. [Via linkfilter.] [more inside]
The enormously talented photographer courtneyutt traveled to Vietnam with her father, who served in 1970-1971. courtneyutt turned his Vietnam photo album into a rephotography project, revisiting pagodas
, etc. etc. Ain't never been there, but I can tell you, Vietnam has really changed.
Nothing warlike here -- she says, "my father was mostly interested in buildings! which makes sense, because after he returned from vietnam he became an architect." (See previous rephotography projects on mefi here
. Nothing as personal as courtneyutt's.)
images from the Vietnam war. Some photographers never made it out: Dana Stone
, Henri Huet
, Sean Flynn
Tim Page is still alive and his photos tell the story of 'Fire in the Jungle"
Several of these almost forgotten legends hung out at Franki's House
at one time or another.
Page, Stone and Flyn were all friends of Michael Herr who wrote about them and the war in Dispatches
which was widely acclaimed and acknowledged by Hunter S. Thompson as puts the rest of us in the shade
...By refusing to recognize or admit that the Vietnam War was from its inception primarily a civil war, and not part of a larger, centrally-directed international conspiracy, policymakers assumed that North Vietnam was, like the United States, waging a limited war, and therefore that it would be prepared to settle for something less than total victory (especially if confronted by military stalemate on the ground in the South and the threat of aerial bombardment of the North). In so making this assumption, policymakers not only ignored two millennia of Vietnamese history, but also excused themselves from confronting the harsh truth that civil wars are, for their indigenous participants, total wars, and that no foreign participant in someone else's civil war can possibly have as great a stake in the conflict's outcome--and attendant willingness to sacrifice--as do the indigenous parties involved.The Wrong War - Why We Lost in Vietnam
See also Who Lost Vietnam ?
See also Vietnam in Retrospect: Could We Have Won?
Nhat Hanh back in Vietnam
for the second time since his exile in 1973. He will lead three requiem masses
"to offer prayers and healing energy to those who suffered unjustly as victims of war."
...The United States, whose costliest political and military adventures since 1950 have ended in failure, now must face the fact that the technology for confronting its power is rapidly becoming widespread and cheap. It is within the reach of not merely states but of relatively small groups of people. Destructive power is now virtually 'democratized.' If the challenges of producing a realistic concept of the world that confronts the mounting dangers and limits of military technology seriously are not resolved soon, recognizing that a decisive equality of military power is today in the process of being re-imposed, there is nothing more than wars and mankind’s eventual destruction to look forward to.The Great Equalizer - Lessons From Iraq and Lebanon
By Gabriel Kolko, author of Century of War: Politics, Conflicts, and Society Since 1914
, The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World
and Another Century of War?
"We wired the Ho Chi Minh Trail
like a drugstore pinball machine and plugged into it every night." From 1965 to 1975, telemetry from thousands of microphones hidden in remote Vietnam jungles were fed to a massive data processing center in Thailand, where an IBM System/360 [wiki]
mapped real-time Vietcong movements to display terminals. The details
of Project Igloo White remained compartmentalized and highly classified until only several years ago.
U.S. Marines "overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood
", according to Rep. Murtha (D - Pa.)
, whose previous comments regarding the "unwinnable
" nature of the Iraq conflict drew retaliation
and accusations of treason
from the GOP and associates. From reports verified by the military, troops "shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl", despite initial reports
that officially claimed a firefight had killed Iraqi civilians. Some have suggested this incident echoes the My Lai
massacre of the Vietnam War
"I've been silent long enough...
My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results." Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's former top operations officer, becomes the latest military insider to raise his voice against the "zealots" who led the US into war in Iraq. He writes in Time
magazine: "Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again... After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war." During the Vietnam war, such discontent among soldiers sparked a massive campaign of disobedience and peace activism (as well as, more darkly, fragging
) within the ranks, as recounted in a new documentary called Sir! No Sir!
Can it happen again? Ask the Soldiers for the Truth
Korat bar girls
. R and R from the Indochina war.
Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.
The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars
, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money
? Also see here
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War
Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers. An interview
with Martin Van Creveld. See also Nowhere To Run
- from the London Review of Books, a review of Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon
by Mary Hershberger.
So, what is the story behind Jane Fonda? You will find few people so reviled among macho warrior types. Back in the Depressingly Christian Private School (DCPS) that I went to, to hear some of the things she had been accused of you'd have thought she was the Whore of Babylon herself.
The truly interesting thing about this article isn't the discussion of the reality of Fonda's anti-war protesting measured against the myth, but as an illustration of the kind of pass-it-along info, whose truth is a matter of almost-scriptural faith, that serves as the conventional wisdom concerning the Left in the ill-educated backwaters that compose so much of our nation. This kind of thing is the political equivilent of the story of the midget who hanged himself on the set of The Wizard of Oz
Additional reading: the Snopes page on Jane Fonda
Channel 4's 100 Greatest War Films
as voted for by their (generally more clued-up than average) viewership has plenty for you to disagree with, but much to recommend. Filmsite.org has a history of war films
(as does Berkeley
) for the completists among you. There are more war films from and about Vietnam
than you can shake a bayonet at (see also the 1999 NYT article, Apocalypse Then: Vietnam Marketing War Films
to learn a little about the Vietnamese government's 1960s and 70s archive of war film). The [British] national archives have archived film from pre-WWI to the Cold War
For young deserters, refuge is hard to find
It seemed like a drastic but simple solution: a step over the border into a country that had offered sanctuary before to Americans fleeing their homeland.
Instead, the growing band of US soldiers who have sought political refuge in Canada after defying orders to serve in Iraq have found themselves in a political limbo.
The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties... If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong. None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism. An interview with Andrew Bacevich
, international relations professor and former Army colonel, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
--and here is a review
. Recently by Bacevich: We Aren't Fighting to Win Anymore - U.S. troops in Iraq are only trying to buy time
Ann Coulter and the facts on Vietnam Its nice seeing Ann Coulter squirm
. While being interviewed by the CBC's Bob McKeown, Coulter displayed her lack of historical knowledge on Canada's involvement (or lack of) in Vietnam. What's even more telling is her inability or refusal to back down even when she is dead wrong.
Here is the video
The Curious Case of George's Medals.
Does this picture
contain a medal that GW Bush did not earn? All day at the Democratic Underground they've been congratulation themselves for finding the smoking gun. Is it really that easy? Acutally looking at a picture? Must the president *now* release his records to prove that he wasn't wearing a medal that isn't documented in any of his records?
"We were wrong, terribly wrong.
We owe it to future generations to explain why."
In The Fog of War
, a revelatory new documentary about his life and times, a disquieted Robert McNamara
implores us to understand why he did the things he did as an Air Force lieutenant colonel who helped plan
the firebombing of Japanese cities
in World War II
, and, later, as a secretary of defense and pivotal decision-maker during Vietnam
, which some Americans came to call "McNamara's War."
One of the movie's most powerful passages covers McNamara's little-known service in World War II, when he was attached to Gen. Curtis LeMay
's 21st Bomber Command stationed on the Pacific island of Guam. LeMay
's B-29s showered 67 Japanese cities with incendiary bombs in 1945, softening up the country for the two atomic blasts
to come. McNamara was a senior planning officer. Story by "Killing Fields"' Sydney Schanberg
in the American Prospect
Created by the CIA in Saigon in 1967, Phoenix
was a program aimed at "neutralizing"--through assassination, kidnapping, and systematic torture--the civilian infrastructure that supported the Viet Cong insurgency in South Vietnam. The CIA destroyed its copies of the documents related to this program, but the creator of Phoenix gave his personal copies to author Douglas Valentine. He, in turn, has given them to The Memory Hole
. They have never previously been published, online or in print. Via Politech
It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it. Platoon
. Full Metal Jacket
. The opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan
. It's surprising that anyone volunteers for the armed forces after a steady diet of Hollywood depictions of the horrors of war. In "Jarhead"
Gulf War sniper Anthony Swafford contends that these"...Vietnam War films are all pro-war, regardless of what... Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended. Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man.
" Does the terrible beauty of Apocalypse Now
actually help military recruitment?
US Soldiers' dogtags
are sold on the streets of Vietnam. An American backpacker bought as many as she could find and is now trying to find their owners. Interesting story.
Daschle Accuses Bush of Politicizing Iraq Debate
"You tell those who fought in Vietnam and World War II they are not interested in the security of the American people" because they are Democrats, Daschle said. "That is outrageous. Outrageous." The full text of Daschle's comments
. Do we finally have an opposition party?
PeaceTrees Vietnam. Reversing the Legacy of War.
"A group of American volunteers, including Vietnam War veterans, helped Vietnamese victims of the war move Thursday into a newly built 'peace village'
on the site of a former U.S. Marine base. The 100 families who will live in the village lost relatives or limbs in explosions of bombs, shells or other ordnance left over from the war. PeaceTrees Vietnam, the Washington State-based nonprofit group which sponsored the $385,000 project, says it spent months digging out 339 pieces of ordnance both American and North Vietnamese to make the 100-acre site safe."
Beautiful project and story....but one can't help wonder how many years will pass before we reverse the legacies of today's (and tomorrow's) wars.