Monday, June 11, 2007

Vietnam Veterans Against the War

When war-mongers want to pretend that Iraq was invaded for noble purposes, and that the occupation (or "war" as they call it) can be "won," they also try to rehabilitate the US's barbarism in Vietnam as having been a noble cause that could have been won if only, oh lord, if only, the peace movement and the treasonous media hadn't convinced everyone that up was down, white was black, and that victory was defeat.

Part of the job of rehabilitating Vietnam is to go after critics of the Vietnam War. A particularly important group to discredit is Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and their "Winter Soldier" hearings.

Here's a couple of links that attempt to trash them: link, link.

Two of the main points of attack on VVAW are that the witnesses of the "Winter Soldiers Hearings" who testified to having witnessed or participated in atrocities in Vietnam were either frauds, who had never even served in Vietnam, or they were actual veterans who were lying, as they refused to make formal, sworn statements to military authorities about these atrocities.

The war-monger position on atrocities in Vietnam is that they did occur, but they were aberrations, and that the VVAW are a bunch of grandstanding dupes and frauds who must hate America.

But I recall reading an excellent defence of the VVAW Winter SoldierTestimony. I'll see if I can find it:

Nothing yet. But here's a response to one of the anti-VVAW sites above, from the VVAW themselves:

All this website really has to offer are the personal opinions of historians Burkett and Lewy, who seem to have had no personal contact with VVAW members and are instead relying on information from the Nixon Whitehouse. For obvious political reasons, the Nixon administration did its best in 1971 to discredit Kerry and the VVAW. They came up with one VVAW leader (Al Hubbard) who had lied about his rank and exaggerated his military service. And that was it. They did not identify any other phony veterans, nor did they identify by name a single fraud who provided testimony in Detroit.

Who were all the liars and frauds in the VVAW? No one seems to know. And what exactly were they lying about in Detroit? One or two possibly exaggerated stories aside, the great majority of those who testified in Detroit described the exact same kind of abuses and atrocities that
show up in the court-martial record of the war, in memoirs written by Vietnam veterans, and in histories written by academics. I don't understand how this website can so blithely dismiss the Detroit testimony when the stories told in Detroit mirror the documented war crimes committed at places like My Lai, My Khe, and Son Thang, and the documented illegal behavior of units like Task Force Barker and the Tiger Force of the 1-327th Airborne Infantry.

Still looking:

But there's this:

The problem with this line of analysis is that the Winter Soldier Investigation was never discredited. A handful of individual stories may have been called into question, but the main thrust of the soldiers' testimonies--that American atrocities were widespread in Vietnam--is today beyond dispute. Indeed the emergence of new evidence during the last 30 years has only solidified the winter soldiers' overall case.

And this (a report by Duke University Press that you gotta pay for).

And, finally, this.

Referring to a 1971 investigation organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in which Vietnam veterans described atrocities that they had witnessed or participated in, right-wing film producer Carlton Sherwood (producer of the anti-Kerry film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal) falsely claimed that "everything that came from the Winter Soldiers hearing has been utterly discredited through volumes and volumes of books." In fact, research by Media Matters for America has uncovered no evidence that any witness testifying in the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation in Detroit has had his story discredited.

None of these are as comprehensive and detailed as the defences of the Winter Soldier Testimony that I remember reading a few years back. But together, they appear to have more credibility than the drivel spewed by the partisan "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth" morons who were given so much media space for their obvious fabrications during the election that bush II lost to John Kerry.

It's actually pretty pathetic and sickening that right-wing war-mongers continue to fart out this drivel. Winning an argument through lying isn't really winning the argument.


Unknown said...

Melvin Laird "during [1973-1975, when US combat forces had withdrawn], South Vietnam held its own courageously and respectably against a better-bankrolled enemy. Peace talks continued between the North and the South until the day in 1975 when Congress cut off U.S. funding. The Communists walked out of the talks and never returned. Without U.S. funding, South Vietnam was quickly overrun. We saved a mere $297 million a year and in the process doomed South Vietnam, which had been ably fighting the war without our troops since 1973"

I have talked to Canadian Vietnam vets who tell me the "Winter Soldiers Hearings" was the "Big Lie" of the era, and that Kerry and the people on the left were "Useful Idiots".

“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…” George Orwell from 1984

Useful idiot - "someone who is perceived to be manipulated by political movement, terrorist group, or hostile government, whether or not the group is Communist in nature." Wikipedia coined by Vladimir Lenin?

thwap said...

That's just great Wayne. You're right back in the poop again, aren't you.

You do realize, don't you, that your Canadian veterans are all liars, right?

They've been totally discredited.

I think the reason they dismiss the Winter Soldier hearings is because they committed atrocities themselves and are ashamed of it.

Do you know how easy it is type stuff? Very easy.

It's also easy to be wrong.

As you are in this.

You mention the boat people. Why don't you mention Mexicans fleeing Mexico? Why don't you mention Iraqis fleeing Iraq?

The boat people were mostly Christians who had thrown in their lot with the Catholic leadership most responsible for holding down the Buddhist majority.

You can even find writings about the wretched and tragic Loyalist refugees fleeing from New York Harbour after the victory of the rebels in the American Revolution.

I'm not going to bother getting into an extended debate about the Vietnam War with you. The war's over and the US lost.

US atrocities are well documented there. The corruption and cruelty of the various regimes imposed upon the Vietnamese people was also well known.

I know what a "useful idiot" is. It's also what people like Stephen Harper think about ordinary, working class Canadians who vote for pro-corporate "Conservative" parties.