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tv   Vietnam Anti- War Movement  CSPAN  June 1, 2016 1:02am-2:08am EDT

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"midnight in mexico", a reporters journey through decent into darkness. watch washington journal live from laredo, texas, beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on wednesday. join the discussion. now a conversation on the vietnam anti-war movement. we'll hear from former activist tom hayden and marilyn young and david maraniss. this was part of a conference at the lbj presidential library in austin, texas, on the legacy of the vietnam war. ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors by the texas army rotc color guard and for the pledge of allegiance led by united states marine corp sergeant daniel hamilton.
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♪ [ star spangled banner ] ♪
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god,in divisible, with liberty and justice for all. in liberty and justice for all.
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>> announcer: ladies and gentlemen, please welcome miss elizabeth christian, president of the lyndon banes johnson. >> good afternoon. on behalf of the board of trustees, i welcome you to the second day of the vietnam war summit. controversy and debate is critical to the success of this summit. last night former secretary of state henne kissinger said on this stage, in a statement that is bound to generate serious discussion, that he does not blame u.s. policy for the quagmire and stalemate of the vietnam war. instead, he believes that the massive split in public opinion
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about the war was what ultimately caused the conflict to end the way that it did. today we're going to explore the roots of that split, hearing from people who were uniquely involved in both widening the gap and in reporting it in the media. in our second session this afternoon, two legendary journalists will discuss the influence the media had in shaping our perceptions of the vietnam war that played out in newspapers, magazines, on the radio and evening news broadcasts. this unparallels coverage brought the war's brutal reality and the rising casualty numbers into our living room every night. our third session this afternoon will feature two renowned photographers who will share their pulitzer prize winning work documenting the war and it will talk about how americans literally saw vietnam. but now for the first panel. we'll take a look at the divisions the war created
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throughout our country as the anti-war movement grew and support for the war eroded. it is my pleasure to introduce the participants and moderator for our first panel, the war at home. tom hayden served 18 years in the california legislature and is the author of 20 books and many articles. he has spent more than 50 years in social movements, beginning with the freedom rights of 1960. he was the founder of sds, students for a democratic society. he was a community organizer in newark and was a controversial and vocal and high-profile leader of the anti-war movement. mr. hayden has elect urd and taught at hard, ucla labor studies and skips and occidental and pitzer colleges. david maraniss is a journalist and associate editor at the washington post. he is author of six best-selling and award winning books
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including they marched into sunlight about the vietnam war battle of ong tong and an anti-war protest at the university of wis wiconsin. he won the pulitzer prize and has been nominated on three other occasions. marilyn young is a professor of history at new york university where she teaches courses on the hi history of u.s. foreign policy and the culture of post war u.s. as well as those on the history of modern china and the history and culture of vietnam. she is the author of numerous books, including the vietnam wars, 1945 through 1990 which she won the berkshire prize. and finally mr. schenkkan will be moderating this afternoon's discussion. he's the author of 14 original full length plays and the movie the quiet american. he has won the pulitzer prize,
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the toby award, and the writer's guild award and nominated for two emmy awards. mr. shankan adupted his own -- adapted his own play about lyndon johnson and it will debut on the hbo network next month. thank you very much for joining us here today. [ applause ] . i want to start off by thanking the lbj library and director mark upgrove for creating this extraordinary event which is so much in line with lbj's vision for the library. and a conversation which i hope will be repeated all over this
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country. i was so moved by yesterday's panels, i know that everybody will have had their individual experience, but my take-away, the thing that stuck with me was a statement by miss galloway, her trenchant injunction to us all, hate the war, love the warrior. hate the war, love the warrior. [ applause ] with that in mind, it is absolutely appropriate, before we begin, to acknowledge those veterans who are in our audience today. whether they served in vietnam or any subsequent conflict, to you men and women, we thank you for your service to our country. [ applause ] and i also want to add to those individuals in the audience, who participated in the anti-war
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peace movement, who by exercising their conscious -- constitutional rights, we thank you for your service to the country. [ applause ] >> hate the war, love the warrior. i'm so pleased at the panelists we have here. people who represent a wide range of experience and politics but who have all thought very deeply and passionately about these issues. the title of our panel is how the war divided a nation and shaped an american culture. well fortunately we have 50 minutes so we'll just whip that out. [ laughter ] and then get on to iraq and settle the national debt. [ laughter ] when i think about vietnam, it seems that it created for everyone an almost unendurable moral conflict. presidents, privates, citizens, all. we are not here today to refight
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old battles, no matter how tempting that might be. and while i don't expect to be turning any swords no plow shares up here, what i think we all hope is that for a moment we will get beneath the rhetoric and really talk and engage in a mus callar way with -- muscular way with our history and in doing so come to a complete and honest understanding of ourselves and our of nation. i truly believe that healing -- real healing only begins with such conversations. our discussion will fall into two parts. the first is about the anti-war peace movement and the second on the larger effect on the american culture. i'm going to start with marilyn here. i'm going to ask you to give us a little bit of context, because it seems to me, and i'm not a historian, let me say that right from the top, there is a fairly muscular history in america of
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civil disobedience in regard to foreign wars. i think of henry thorough in jail protesting the war or the draft riots in new york city during the civil war. so give us context about the anti-war peace movement which i'll refer to as the movement and save us time. >> if you don't mind, people, i don't know how many of you were hear last night but i want to correct something that henry kissinger said because i think it is important. he said there had been no carpet bombing in cambodia that the united states bombed along a narrow five-mile strip and had succeeded in its goal and reduced american casualties. because i looked it up and i knew it was wrong but i wanted to get it exact. the united states dropped 2,756,941 tons of ordinance on cambodia and 230516 sorties on
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113716 sites. so just to -- for the sake of historical accuracy. now some in the audience may feel that was perfectly justifiable because it wasn't a five-mile bombing strip. you asked about civil disobedience and indeed many of the tactics employed by the civil rights movement and by the anti-war movement begins with the labor movement, really. i think civil disobedience certainly in terms of the mexico-american war and several other conflicts, but the tactics developed in -- by the labor movement, when you took over a factory and just sat in it, as part of a protest, strikes, a moratorium, the knowledge of that didn't disappear but it all went underground in the '50s, when mccarthy -- or mccarthy-ism
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dominated american politics that protest was very difficult. all protesters were labelled communists and many were jailed. protest in the korean war, one of the most unpopular wars the united states has fought, was barely visible. it was in polls -- not out on the streets. so what i think happened is that the civil rights movement ignited really a mass movement in this country. north and south. and what started to happen is that a growing number of americans realized that the country they thought they lived in, peaceful, just, honorable, didn't exist in terms of african-american population. and maybe never had. it was a kind of uneasy recognition of the way in which the patriotic meta narrative that we all learned in school was inaccurate at the very
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least. the civil rights movement and what it brought to the front in terms of understanding and rewriting the history of the united states, the tactics, the bravy and the courage, all of that fed into very directly in terms of personnel, for one thing, tom, i know and myself, into the anti-war movement. and by 1963, beginning in 1963 and then building steadily as the war itself built, the anti-war movement sort of took over. >> i'm so pleased that you brought us to the civil rights movement and, tom, everyone knows tom, of course, as one of the leading voices of the anti-war movement. they might not be aware of his service in terms of civil rights. he was a freedom rider. one of those extraordinary individuals who put their bodies on the line in challenging jim
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crow and was beaten for it. and i wonder, if you could for a few minutes talk about this more precise connection between the civil rights movement and the anti-war peace movement. >> thanks. thank you for your welcome. i was a student editor at the university of michigan and used to visit austin to meet with people like ronnie dugger and rob bur lich and hi first wife -- my first wife sandra cason. they were involved in the anti-war movement after they were involved in the civil rights movement. i was con scripted to be a freedom writer at a bus terminal in albany, georgia and i was told that i should be beaten up and not fight back. and my wife was told to stay
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away at a distance so she could take skrupulous notes for -- scrupulous notes for the ywca which employed her. >> the ywca. >> correct. and it was a time that it was distance in my sight. we were more devastated by the cuban missile crisis that had occurred when we were very young, and traumatized so many people. but it was the civil rights movement that was the young people from black communities in the south who first opposed the war, who first opposed the draft. they were being drafted in the largest numbers and sent directly to the battlefield in a disproportionate number as well. and this is 1960, '61, '62, mind you. it is not '68. and i think people like cashous
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clay and malcolm x, it was one big black resistance. and muhammad ali was one of the ones that re fused the conscription on religious grounds. but it was mainly a black movement that was rising among young people at the time. and i became a freedom writer and a civil rights activist and living in atlanta and vietnam was still some distance in my mind. although, we quickly knew that 17,000 advisers were there. we immediately knew that the draft was coming. i went down to see my draft board and went to new york to an induction terminal and i'll never forget, it was like 100
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naked 17-year-olds in the same place. kind of shivering. and i was assigned one -- 1-y. what do you mean? and they said if the communists took the beach, you are going to be called up. so i was -- >> wait, when beach? >> the san diego beach, of course. >> i would be called up in case the war came home. >> it is so interesting. this ironic juxtaposition of the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement in vietnam, particularly here because president johnson was a huge supporter for civil rights and yet would find himself in opposition to a whole movement that had grown out of civil rights and the movement will shortly take a sharp turn away. and we'll touch on that later.
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but i want to bring david into the conversation if i may. one of the things that is often talked about is the generation gap. that is this idea that there was an older generation, the greatest generation, and their children or grandchildren who then became the counter cultural revolution, that there was some substantial difference in character or class or attitude or something. and david's book, which if you haven't read, i can't recommend enough. they march into sunlight. it talked about this in a beautiful and compassionate way and i wonder if you would say a few words about the book and what you did with it. because it speaks to what we're trying to get at it here. >> i come at it a few years later than tom. the book takes place in 1967. but it is when everything is still up in the air. it is before the tet offensive
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and before walter kronkite saying it is a stalemate and before people know where the t anti-war movement is going to end up. so there is the energy of not knowing at that point what is going to happen next. the generation gap in 1967 was not what it would become in '68, '69, '70. when i arrived at the university of wisconsin campus in the fall of 1967, the largest membership group on campus was the young republicans. there was a panty raid that got more coverage than the war. >> memories. >> so, but i was one of millions of kids from the post-war baby boom generation just coming of age then. and it seemed like every week was a year that there was so much transformation and change through every week of that
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period starting for me in the fall of '67. and so the event that -- the two events that my book hinges on, one is a protest at the university of wisconsin against dow chemical, the makers of agent orange and nape allm and when general westmoreland was asking for president johnson for more troops, if we had enough troops like we went out and found the enemy and held them in place and killed them, we would win the war. these two events are going on at the same time in the book. but both of these involve a beginning of what would become the generation gap. because of what my generation saw as either deception or falsification, or a belief that they were in during the younger years of america's greatness
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which seemed to fly in the face of what we were facing at that point. but in '67, it was just -- really in some sense, although the civil rights movement had been going on for a long time, the mass movement, you had -- you had many people like tom, maybe 300 or 400 at the university of wisconsin who knew what was going on in vietnam and was studying it and could talk about it in a intelligent and deeper way and thousands of kids just starting to learn about it at that point. >> and the irony here, the protest against dow and the charges laid against those students as being unpatriotic and of course as we now know, agent orange has gone on to be one of the worst killers of those brave men and women who served in vietnam. >> one of the connections and ironies you might say of the two very different -- it seems like they are completely different
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worlds. the anti-war and what was going on in vietnam. but they are about the same thing. but one of the -- the connections, which is both tragic and meaningful, is that here were the students protesting against agent orange and napalm, holding a sit-in at the commerce building and so many of the soldiers that survived the battle that i wrote about, over the last ten years have been dying of bladder cancers, one after another, all attributed to the year they spent in vietnam in an area that was just overloaded with agent orange. >> you know, i'm interested in taking a moment here to talk about why there was such passionate resistance to the war. and to examine what i'm going to call four well springs of this. we're not going to get too deep in the weeds here but it is
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important. it is important to get the history right. and all too often i feel that we -- we kind of skate past things. we sort of jump over. so i want to touch on four issues here and ask our panelists to respond to them. the first one, and all of these fall under the heading of why are we here. and you saw this lovely video, this beautiful video that put together the tape of president johnson explaining, yet again, why we are here. and so the first of that is that we made a promise. promises were made. and yet it seems to me the united states made a lot of promises to a number of different people at different times and there is a certainly selectivity about what we honored and what we didn't. and i would like to talk about that and focus it very narrowly on the united states early relationship with ho chi minh at
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the end of world war ii. we did have a relationship. so if i could toss that out to the panel. maybe, marilyn, you would like to speak to that. >> could i say one thing about the generational gap. one of the protests was a full page add in the new york times ant part of prominent ministers, foster and kneeberg and others, there was 63. so there was a whole grown-up peace movement. and maybe one has to distinguish between the peace movement and the anti-war movement. they are connected but it might be interesting differences as well. as far as the united states and ho chi minh, ho chi minh had set up in the mountainous region of northern vietnam. for broadcasting to the american
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air force the location of japanese troops. so there was this relationship very early, it starts in the mid-40s. >> so we were working together. >> and the fact that hopy min was given a -- hopy min was given a name, it was agent -- or agent nine or something. and there was a downed pilot in that area and ho chi minh and some of the other members of the vietnam men, which was the umbrella resistance to the japanese and then later the resistance to the french, it was certainly led by communists like ho chi minh but also noncommunists who were against the japanese and against the french. so it was a broad-based organization. and they let this back -- a couple of hundred miles to where
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there was an american air bass in china. and there he met general sche schennality. and he asked for a picture of himself. he loved to give out pictures of himself and he asked also for some colt pistols which were very popular because westerns were very popular in vietnam. so he wrote to ho, spelled h-o-o. and he gave them to the noncommunity groups who were in vietnam at the time. at some point the united states parachuted in something called the dear team, which i believe robert met them in their later years. >> through an odd set of circumstances, i traveled through vietnam with members of the dear team. but for another day, but yes. >> and they trained ho and jop
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and the begins of a military movement that would act against the japanese and then against the french. when the war ended in '45, ho chi minh and the viehet men and the troops trained but under the leadership moved to hanoi and declared vietnamese independence. present was arc meddies patty and they asked for help in translating the declaration of independence. he had some difficulty with some words and he wanted to get it right. >> which he included in his -- >> in the vietnamese declaration of in dependence. >> yes. >> and he also wrote to truman, several letters. saying, we want your help. we need help in developing economically. we have been under french
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colonialism since the 1870s, a very regimen form of colonialism and we need help in economics and education. help us. and we will open to you trade, investment, whatever. truman never answered the letters. later people claimed he never got them. most historians believe he did get them and just didn't answer them. and so ho was shut off from american aid at that point. but the relationship begins in the mid-40s. >> and the french of course come back. the decisions are made by the allied powers that the french will have their colonies back and thus begins the french-indo china war. >> and if i could add a memento to that. there is a soldier that i wrote about named clark welch when was a company commander and survived the battle and he carried a
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tommy gun that he had gotten from a vietnam cong soldier in a battle and that was one of the dear team tommy guns and showing that odd connection over the decades. >> at the end of the french indo china war an agreement is made reluctant to ho -- he accepts a temporary partition of vietnam with the clear understanding, it is written, that there will be an election, a free election in ten years to determine this. he's criticized -- >> the election was to be in two years. >> two years. >> ho wanted it in two months. his compromise was two years. >> he was criticized at the time nor -- >> compromise. >> for compromising. but you have to understand the chinese had several divisions that had entered northern vietnam and their enemy with
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china that goes back thousands of years, and ho famously said i would rather smell french -- for the next years than -- >> he had a way with words. >> and indeed, there was no election. the promised election was not held. and america -- the french indo chinese results, the french are driven out in less than 60 years and america enters. so set that aside for a second. yes, tom. >> i thought this panel was about the anti-war movement. we only have a few minutes. and i think it is worth rehashing history that we already know about the 1940s. >> not everybody. >> but to go back to the point of the panel, with all due
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respect, the anti-war movement partly started in france, among people who were against the vietnam war and against the algerian war. but when it started here, to go to david's point, the leadership quite quickly became veterans of the war. the leadership of the american anti-war movement was veterans. they were disabled veterans in hospitals or they were people who had actually killed communists and been wounded and came back to be attacked by their countrymen here, as in the case of john kerry being swift-boated. there were others who were very instrumental, like john mccain. and john mccain and kerry, for all of their differences, were able to get the administration
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to diplomatically recognize vietnam and end what could have been another cold war disaster. and i came into this only because i met a veteran in venice, california, named ron kovich, that later became a story seller and central figure in a movie. >> he was born on the fourth of july. >> he was fully disabled. and i was teaching a class at a catholic college in los angeles and i invited him to come and speak. and he had the students just wrapped. he had that hippie look, the classic veterans look. and one thing he said was unforgettable. could only have been said by a
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vet. i lost my body, but thank god i saved my mind. so we have to understand the role of veterans as well as clergy, as well as students, as well as the chicano moratorium. >> so it was not a monolithic movement, it was comprised of many different groups, not just a student-led group by any mens. >> but it had one thing in common which i think -- since we couldn't vote, of course, that should not be forgotten, we could be drafted but we couldn't vote on the politicians drafting us. there was few channels of protest. there was the nonviolent movement teaching on college campuses and so on. but it was kind of like the
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reconstruction after the civil war, in which the civil war ended because slaves walked away and became allied with the union army. in this case, students walked away, veterans walked away, intellectuals walked away, draftees walked away, until one marine historian late in the war about '69 when it turned terrible and ugly and awful, said in a report that the -- the war was going to end because the army was on the verge of collapse. but it wasn't simply the army, it was the campuses were all closed. after nixon invaded cambodia, there were more student strikes than any time in history. >> 1.5 million students
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participated. >> the numbers -- there is a numbers debate. i think that future conferences need to study this because it is a mystery about why this anti-war happened. i think it was a moral insult and there were concrete grievances of course like being drafted or being ordered around by a commander, or whatever it was. but the political order disintegrated. you had peace candidates for senate and republicans and democrats. everything was a withdrawal because that was the only option and the country kind of recognized that things were coming to an end. >> i think there was this real sense, if i may jump in because i want to hear from david again, and i want to bring this around, the rhetoric of the government, about the war simply was at complete odds with the facts on the ground or the facts as people understood them. you wrote about this in your
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book, david and there is some really kind of extraordinary examples if you wouldn't mind sharing one or two of them. >> this is the credibility gap that the soldiers endured. where the soldiers in the battle that i write about walked into an ambush, 140 soldiers, 1200 vietcong waiting tfor them in te trees and in bunkers set up. and because of the timing of this battle, right when westmoreland wanted more troops and believed that making the argument that it could win the war because of that, the government -- the military lied about what happened in the battle. they declared it a victory. they made up a body count. and i found that military historian who came to the site of the battle two days later and interviewed the soldiers because
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two famous people were killed in the battle. one was an all american football player donald holinger and the other was lieutenant colonel terry allen, the son of a famous world war ii veteran, terry allen and two of his daughters are in the audience here today and suffering all of these decades because of that war. but in any case, the story came and they interviewed the survivors and said how many vietcong did you see? one would say ten, 11, another would say 12 or 10 and they added them up and said it was 140. and then general westmoreland came to the evac hospital a few days later, and met with some of the survivors, and said to one, sergeant barrow, what happened? and sergeant barrow said we were
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ambushed. and he said, no you weren't ambushed. they couldn't acknowledge it was a an ambush. and that lie bothered the soldiers more than anything else. it denied them of their integrity. and they knew what happened in the battle and the government lied about it. so whatever the politics of the soldiers were, which range from anti-war to supporting the war, they were all angry at the government for fabricating the reality of what happened to them that day. >> it is easy to understand how the anti-war resistance dealt with situations like this and experiences like this over and over again. particularly for our veterans community. there is no question that the anti-war peace movement accomplished great things. it did bring the war to an end. and there are two presidents who stepped down as a direct consequence of it. and yet, as in all things, there
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are opportunities missed, there are regrets. i was so moved, tom, by a statement of yours that you've published online and that i believe you've asked the lbj library to post on their website. and it is both -- you say something in there that startled me. courage is one that someone associated but there is an aspect of humility that is quite moving and i would like to quote you and ask you if you wond mind to expand a little bit on this. you said, and i'm reading from your post, i personally regret my own part in many decisions, that the peace movement made. i find that such a powerful and moving statement. and i wonder if you would explain what that refers to or what that means for you?
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>> well, we all suffered ptsd. we were all veterans in a sense of a common tragedy. we were all led by high officials that deceived us and divided us. there is no comparison in my mind between the suffering that our troops had inflicted on them by these policies and the relatively minor casualties that the anti-war suffered that were eight suicides, 28 people were shot by our own troops. but there is no comparison there. the commonality is that you can't go through a life, you can't go through a war without regretting something. and i was just reacting to the
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fact that there are some -- i find in my many years in the legislature meeting with veterans, that they -- some of them were very hard-lined. they wanted me expelled from the legislature, of course. and i couldn't agree with that suggestion. but typically after a couple of hours of discussion, the stereotypes kind of went back. and i found myself almost telling war stories. >> you mean about the anti-war movement? >> well, veterans of something -- we're all veterans of something. and i've talked to chicago police about what they did to me and what i allegedly did to them. speaking of chicago 1968, the important point here is that at the height of those riots and the police coming in and the
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soldiers from vietnam were being sent in what were called daily dozers with wire on the front of the jeeps to attack us with machine guns in the streets because they had been told by the fbi that abby hoffman was going to spread lsd into the waters of lake michigan and the black community in south chicago would rise up as gorillas and take over the city during the convention. but the important story is that the night before it reached its climax, troops were called up from ft. hood to come to chicago and to suppress us. and there was a big meeting at ft. hood. hundred, 200, 300 soldiers. and they refused orders to go to chicago. and they were told, you will be
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disciplined and treated harshly if you don't go to chicago. so they spent all night talking to their commanding officers about not going to chicago and they worked out a compromise, the commanders agreed that there would be no live ammunition as long as they made the appearance of going to chicago. and again, the interaction between the veterans and the activists couldn't have been more -- >> well the irony and the complexity is very rich. >> let me start by admitting your -- what -- you feel guilty or badly about and your former opponent has to listen very carefully and has to explain their side of it because there is two sides to everything. >> this is the conversation that i hope continues nationally that
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we're starting here today. >> and then you could forgive and heal. >> yes. we're running out of time here and -- and this has gone very quickly. i would like to take just a little bit of what we have left to discuss the effect of the anti-war peace movement on american culture and i would like to start with race, since we're all acknowledging the importance of civil rights and how that influenced this movement. how did the vietnam war impact race and race relations in the united states? i would really like to open this up. david, do you want so start us off? >> well, it is a very -- there is a lot of contradictory things going on there. on the one hand, one could argue that the military is the best integrated institution in
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american life. and from after world war ii, we did start to desegregate and through vietnam and into the present. the military has been an important factor in the rise of an african-american rise in america because of its african-american soldiers came back from vietnam just as they had from world war ii feeling that they had fought for a country that was -- the whole cold war concept was america is the beacon of liberty and freedom in the world and yet these were second-class citizens in their own country. so that brought the movement after world war ii of blacks and certainly after vietnam it intensified even more, even as the black power movement was o
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going through all the '60s. coming home a lot of these african-american veterans felt more intensely disenfranchised from their country. >> from the moment of what i think of the tipping point in mississippi where stoegly car michel who has been arrested yet again that morning and released just in time to make the nighttime rally on the mare tij march, he's beside himself with frustration and rage, outrage, and he will eventually lead the crowd in chants of black power. it's sort of this tipping moment in the movement. but he leads up to this, he talks about a sign, a handwritten sign he saw held by a young black man on the road that day which said "no viet-kong of called me nigger." and this really cuts to the heart of this painful problem that african-american soldiers and indeed minorities of all
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races felt being sent abroad to fight on behalf of freedom liberty and rueturning to a country in which they had only just recently in some cases gotten the right to vote. >> well, king's speech in '67 at riverside -- >> yes. talk about that. >> it's an extraordinary speech in which he brings together the movement sof civil liberties and civil rights and anti-war. and he says -- it's a long and juror marry speech it's online. i urge you all to read it. it's probably one of the great speeches of the last century at least. and he said at one point this is a time and there were what were called ghetto riots. or you could call them uprisings. but certainly rebellions in many, many cities across the country. and king said that he could not raise his voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first raised my voice against the
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greatest purr vaior of violence in the world today, and that was the united states and the speech i thought -- i think it had a tremendous impact on both parts of both movements. i want to say something else and i don't know if my co-panelists will agree or how many of you will agree. but the anti-war movement and the '60s as such are always named as the moment of the greatest division in american history since the civil war. which by the way was the last war fought on american soil. but it seems to me that division and debate is essential in a democracy. and you get unity and unification in fascist countries, not in democratic wunzs. division is about disagreement. it's about arguing. it's about what tom was saying about listening. i don't know about healing. some things maybe can't ever heal. that's a possibility. but you can open the wound and
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examine it. in fact, if you don't the wound and clean it, it will never heal. just skin grows over and it's poisonous forever. so i just want to say a word in favor of reasonable divisions about policy and the course that america should take in the world. >> democracy is a messy business. >> one hopes. >> yeah, one hopes. exactly. exactly. >> well said. >> that speech of dr. king -- [ applause ] >> i'd like to -- dr. king's -- that is a turning point in the movement. it's a turning point in the johnson administration and his relationship to dr. king, sadly, because the president views king's very clarion call for resistance as -- >> it's an amazing moment in
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your play. >> -- disloyal. it's again another tragic moment in a history full of tragic moments. and opportunities lost. how did the vietnam war and the conflict around it afflict tect united states in terms of class or our awareness of class or class divisions? you know, we talk about -- you know, one modest example, we talk about the draft and the unfairness of the draft which targeted, initially anyway, minorities. but it also targeted white students, too, or white individuals who were poor. it would predominantly focus. so there was a real class focus there that doesn't get talked about. so i would like to just -- because i think there was significant movement in this regard in terms of our awareness of what we think of ourselves as a very egalitarian society, but
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how true is that? and -- >> well, i don't think the draft is the modest part of it at all. i think it's a very important part of it. >> yeah. >> and i think that, you know, the contradictions, the hypocrisy was there in the draft in terms of who could get out and why and not fight. and i think that throughout the course of american wars you've seen class played out in different ways, largely the working mras class fighting the wars that the upper middle class or the government, policy makers, are coming from a different class with some exceptions. john kerry speaking tonight being one, bob kerrey tomorrow. and senator robb another. but to a large degree i think that tension has always been there. and i think that it's both in many way it's a negative. and the largest being that so
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much of the nation at any point is not affected by the policy and the war and can go on with its life without really dealing with it. because it's just the working class fighting. >> i think -- >> sorry, go ahead tom. >> i was -- my dad was a marine, and i was raised on a marine base in san diego. my assignment at age 5 was to walk the coast and look for japanese zeros that were going to attack. so i was part of the civil defense. >> and you did a good job. >> actually, fairly well. but i was only 5. >> i did it on the roof in brooklyn with german planes. >> let history show there were no zero attacks on the west coast during tom's watch. >> close. my favorite book as i grew older was "from here to eternity" by
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jones. and that was the story of the grunt. my dad was a grunt. he wasn't sent into combat. my uncle was a grunt. he was sent into combat and was killed by his own friendly fire, was killed by his own machine gun. but the story of the grunt is the story of the vvaw, the story of the class differences within our own military, between poor, working class, all the way up to the officer corps. in the larger society, you had absolutely the same differences. i don't think i need to spell them out. but i just wanted to draw the attention to the role of the grunt. at least that's what we called them in 1944. >> i think it is significant that dr. king will eventually move, after the speech seminole
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speech at river side, within a space of a few years to broadening his mandate to poor people's march. >> right. >> exactly. >> no longer race based but class conscious. >> exactly. >> i very honestly have always thought and that's when he dies, yes. that's interesting. >> right. >> i want to talk just for a minute about another significant consequence of the war on american culture, and that's the relationship between citizens and their government. you know, i think we have a very different relationship now or certainly before -- pre-vietnam and post-vietnam. if we could just talk a little bit about that. >> well, i mean, citizens learn that they have to check up on the government. they rely on journalists. when journalists are great, they are truly great. and if you read them closely, then you can find out what's going on. and when you find out what's going on, you find out -- you
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realize that the government does not always have your best interest at heart nor the best interest of many other americans, and you begin to question. the slogan used to be -- well, it was a very rude word i won't use it, but it was question authority was the polite way to put it. i think the questioning authority is essential. not just in a political system but to growing up. to being a full citizen. you question authority. doesn't mean you always have to combat it. sometimes you're in agreement. but you need to question. and that need to question, that came up -- i think it comes up in the civil rights movement initially and then it multiplies and multiplies and multiplies. you know, i don't know that i'd call it ptsd, but for ken years i woke up every morning in a state of rage at my government because i could see what it was doing and what it was making its military do. that wasn't an unimportant part
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of my teaching, my professional life, and my moral life. and i want to sayer, too, that the anti-war movement with many veterans, although many did not but with veterans, vietnam receipt vans against the war, formed a kind of community, a shared culture of music, music for sure, you listen to the same music, even though you weren't in colorado you smoked the same dope, and you went on the same marches. culminating in 1971 with the huge march against the war. >> vets. >> the vets leading it and preceding it. >> yes. >> vets. and then of the rest of the anti-war movement not very long thereafter. and john kerry's great speech to congress which i hope he quotes this evening and if he doesn't i have a copy. >> you know, there are -- we
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have just a few minutes left here. i'd like to bring this up to the current moment. there are social movements now, many of them began as student movements. i'm thinking specifically of occupy wall street or hash tag black lives matter. how do these movements today -- what debt do they owe to the anti-war peace movement or don't? in what ways do they echo one another? what might they learn from the experiences from the regrets that we have? just want to touch on that if we might. david? >> wellit's hard for me to say the younger people in these movements, what they know about history and the past. so i don't want -- >> true that. >> i mean, i think that a lot of it has to do with the
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disparities in incomestill evid time of the earlier movements, but i'm not sure that all the people in this movements today are connecting to that. i think they're more motivated by what they see in front of them. the one similarity i would say is that just as people in the anti-war movement of the '60s saw a disparity between what the government was saying and what the promise of america was versus the reality, so too are people in the black lives movement seeing that same disparity between this notion of a post-racial america versus what they're seeing in the reality of how young black men are being treated by the police in the united states. so i think there are parallels but i'm not sure that they see the sin knew of connection. >> marilyn, what do you think? >> i agree very much with what david said. one of the big differences is
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the difference the social media makes. that i think is on the negative side. we used to meet, endlessless endless endless meetings and you had to stay because if you didn't you knew that somebody crazy might lead something. so you stayed. so with social media, it's not visible. you don't really argue face to face. crowds can be gathered. you can have a flash protest which are useful. i'm not against them. but there's a -- there -- because they're flash they're also a flash in the pan. there's no staying power. with occupy, they couldn't figure out a clean set of demands that could actually be responded to. so it was sort of a kitchen sink collection of thing things that every -- i mean, some of the things i didn't agree with. some i did.
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but there were too many and there was no way to really follow up on them. so i think this will change. i think it's bound to change. what do you think? >> well, just as the early civil rights movement and the early feminist movement and the early anti-war movement shaped young hillary clinton, the occupy wall street movement has made it possible for bernie sanders. so you don't know the outside/inside effect, but bernie's campaign is absolutely a response to the collapse of the wall street dominated -- >> certainly hard to predict where this will go. >> right. >> but this has been an extraordinary conversation, and i want to thank our panelists, david and marilyn and tom, who i
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think have just done a tremendous job here. thank you. >> you're welcome. >> thank you. >> thank you for the conversation. [ applause ] >> i wish we had time for questions. >> not going to happen. democracy is messy. hate the war. love the warrior. peace out. thank you. [ applause ]
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the co-founder for the center for earth energy and democracy and the director of the naacp environmental and climate justice program take part in a discussion on climate change and globalization. the new republican hosts and we have live coverage tomorrow starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. voters in the uk vote on june 23rd whether to remain part of the european union. the heritage foundation hosted discussion on the global implications of the referendum. that's live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. stan rather and peter arnett now talk about their work on the front lines of the vietnam war. this panel part of a conference at the lbj presidential library in austin, texas, on conflict. from american history tv, this is an hour.


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