Monthly Archives: November 2009

The War

On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 11:15 PM, <> wrote:

Hi Dad,

here are my questions. if you think they’re not the right ones feel free to pose your own. thanks for your help.


You were not drafted into the military but joined the Navy in 1965 (? after the 1st Marine Division landed in Danang?). What motivated you to do so? Did those motives dovetail with the official explanations for US involvement in Southeast Asia?

I was sworn into the Navy, 09 FEB 68, in Jacksonville, FL.  I joined the Navy for one tour only.  I wanted to go to Viet Nam because I felt my ecclesiastical deferral wasn’t just.  At night, I’d watch young men dying in Viet Nam and it seemed so unreal, but I knew that it was real.  I felt others were going in my place and that I needed to do what I could to support them.  I wanted to do my part and come home.

I experienced the typical xenophobic paranoia that most people my age felt toward the ‘communists.’  My images of Viet Nam were based on the media and though I knew of the United States foolish decision not to support Ho Chi Min during the early 1940s, I passed it off as just another ‘Ugly American’ episode.  My motives were vague.  War was part of the human condition.  The domino theory made sense to me.  I understood the war in Viet Nam to be principally an issue over natural resources and that we were attempting to deny the Chinese communists access to needed resources.

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Sing A Battle Song Notes

Notes on Weather Underground Reading.

From Sing a Battle Song.

“You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows”

opening quote by Lin Piao: primary contradiction of the present is the struggle between “revolutionary peoples” of the 3rd World and “the imperialists headed by the United States”

is this still the case?

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The American War

Monday’s lecture will, of necessity, treat the Vietnam War– or, as Vietnamese people called it, the American War. Here are some clips for those interested. In gathering these together I ran into a number of more recent documentaries which actively attempt to rehabilitate the US intervention in Southeast Asia. I can’t think of a better symptom of the political climate of the present.

Trailer for Winter Soldier:

Trailer for Academy Award winning documentary Hearts and Minds:

Emile de Antonio discusses the making of his documentary In the Year of the Pig:

If you go to this link you can see Episode 5 of the PBS documentary Vietnam: A Television History which enraged the US right.