Skip to main content

tv   Vietnam War and Historical Context of 1967 Peace Movement  CSPAN  November 12, 2017 8:40pm-10:01pm EST

8:40 pm
remained there overnight. more than 600 protesters, including author norman baylor, where arrested. next, the vietnam peace commemoration committee hosts a conference on the historical context of the 1967 peace movement. we hear from many activists who were dissipated in the washington protest 50 years ago. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. you're the kid read. no one knows so you get to walk in with a balloonilank slate. at max, you go to class 16 hours a week, if you take four classes for four hours a week, you're in class 16 hours. college is a class management exercise. i can get prepared to be in class for 16 hours a week, because i can reread the same
8:41 pm
thing 22 different times. in high school when you have to be in class eight hours a day and you want to be in a sport and you get home at 8:00 and you terry: the democrats would have been elected. kent state would not have happened. ellsberg would i have faced 105 years in jail. a whole lot of other history would be different if this war had been stopped, not to mention the thousands and millions of lives that were killed after 1967. it is a shame 14,000 u.s. ondiers died in 1967, when 58,000.-- went on to this war could have been over
8:42 pm
and history could have been seriously changed. we remember 1967 for that. panels one and two talk about the context and digitization of the antiwar movement that could have made a lot of this dihi different had that happen. the next number is 50. here we are 50 years later, and art has the summer of love on its culture. this is a change. npr on july 1 said if you are member this, you weren't there. [laughter] much i assume means too drinking, drugs, and maybe sex. now that we are 70 years old, i have a different appreciation for memory. [laughter] but there is an effort right now, and even the pbs series and others tries to get us to rethink the war or put the war behind us, but the war is not over at all. the united states still has
8:43 pm
responsibility for agent orange and defoliation in southeast asia, responsibility for unexploded devices in indochina, still has reparations responsibilities to the people and government of vietnam, and still does not take care of veterans the way they should be. even though it is 50 years later, let's not forget that this war is not behind us. the lessons and what this war has done are still vital, and that's what panel three is about. finally, 11. we are here to write this 11th episode of the pbs series. the pbs series was so interested in revealing the lies of the government and the military it forgot its own lying when it went on tv. it was not a civil war. it was not a war where both parties participated the same way. the military strategy of the united states and tactics was much different than the vietnamese. the atrocities the u.s.
8:44 pm
committee were much greater than anything the vietnamese did. we are here to record and produce how strong the antiwar movement and why it is important for us to remember that, in addition to debunking what the pentagon and pbs and the national archives. means, this was the worst part for me was episode 10, which is why episode 11 is so important. bill zimmerman, who was the only antiwar spokesperson who did what he did in that series, was not asked what he would think now that the war is over. everybody else, the u.s. government, military, politicians, journalists, vietnamese, military people, ask rans, etc., ex-vete were asked what they thought when the war was over, and we were not asked. the first thing is, we are so glad the killing is over. we are so glad the people of indochina do not have to suffer.
8:45 pm
we are so glad that dying is over. second, it is not over because of the reparations and responsibilities. the thing we would have said, the most clear and emphatically unsaid by anybody else is, the government lied, the journalists alive, the military lied. we did not lie because we were right to demand an end to that war from the very beginning, that is what we are saying still to the wars of the u.s. policy and military today. we did not lie to you. we told you the truth about the war. [applause] that is why people's peace movements are so vital, and hopefully will be inspired by what we are doing today in episode 11, which we ask you to produce with us. when i get in the pulpit, i get a little heated. [laughter] i understand our ellsberg video is not ready to be shown right now. what we have -- and i am so glad to see over here -- is peter you are a -- peter yarrow.
8:46 pm
peter, paul and mary sang at the demonstration in 1967. we are so glad you're back to play your music for us. we would like to hear you sing. [applause] peter: thank you. >> [indiscernible] peter: no this is good. they will hear me. i think this is fine. last night i was with most of you. i am going to sing you a song that springs from the feeling i had. of course, being with you last night was -- there were so many
8:47 pm
feelings. then afterwards at the restaurant, there was the awareness because people were telling stories of the extraordinary experiences that we shared at that time, those of you who were there. i was so keenly aware of the fact that the spirit with which we pursued our efforts at the were so filled with the authority of our belief and the rightness of our position and relief and our eventual success, that we would prevail. now byare beleaguered that there is some
8:48 pm
amongst us as we see what is happening around us and apply what we shared then to now, there is grave doubt that perhaps the forces that oppose the point of view or the forces of the point of view that we our and developing us, but our greatest challenge i developing -- enveloping us, but our greatest challenge i think is to reconnect with that authority we that we who realize have been in this for a long time are needed now more than
8:49 pm
ever. , and a sense it is a pity i feel i am needed this much. but the reality is our convictions, our sense of history empowers us to be important at this moment. this gathering has more people then the group of people that started the civil rights movement. , and we are not to feel that for some reason because we are a small group compared to what we would have been so many years ago that we are not empowered. we are. that isto you is a song an instruction to myself, and i share with you.
8:50 pm
you have asked me why the days fly by so quickly and why each one feels no different than the last and you say that you are fearful for the future suspicious ofrown the past dreams wender if the shared together have abandoned us or we abandoned them
8:51 pm
about and try to find new meaning so that you can feel that closeness once again carry-on my sweet survivor carry on my lovely friend -- lonely friend don't give up your dream don't you let it end carry-on my sweet survivor though you know that something's gone for everything that matters, carry-on
8:52 pm
when you felt each person mattered or all all had to care was lost you see believers turn to cynics-- turn and you wonder, was the struggle worth the cost? then you see someone too young to know the difference and you see the isolation in their eyes and inside you know you've got
8:53 pm
to leave them something were the hope for something better -- or the hope for something better slowly dies so carry-on my sweet survivor lonely friend dream give up your don't you let it end survivormy sweet you've carried it so long onit may come again, carry i know that it shall come again it shall surely come again so we will carry-on
8:54 pm
carry ony-on -- we'll carry on we carry on carry on ♪ [applause] terry: i think i can speak for all of us, every time we hear you you bring back such melancholy moments and feelings. it is such a pleasure, and so many thanks we offer you. god bless you, take care. [applause] since we are still having a technical problem, it was the atnd working so well
8:55 pm
8:30, what we will do is email you the link so you can see it back home and he will still be a part. that is about a 20 minute interview produced by chris jones and steve ladd. we are going to make sure they see it. thanks for taping it. that is really good. we might try at lunchtime to see if we can work it out. i just want to remind people there are books and literature on the second floor, room 216. that little map in there should help you get up the stairs. i am going to welcome to come up lois vietri,l, ,andy carter, robert levering and myra macpherson.
8:56 pm
she has copies of her book to give away. take it away. myra: can you hear me? ok. can you hear me now?
8:57 pm
should i shout? dear. terry: you're going to have to speak from the podium. myra: is this working? ok. i have been warned that i have like half a minute to introduce these people because of the timeframe. i was also given a minute and a half to talk about the book i wrote called "all governments lie, the life and times of rebel journalist ira stone." thank you.
8:58 pm
the most important thing is that when terry was talking about 1967, all of you who read it know he was indefatigable. he was a historian and new what was going on, and he knew it was all wrong. in 1964, just two weeks after cansaid the gulf of time test the gulf of -- the gulf of tonkin and used that as an excuse, he said it was a lie. where is the debris? were we not provoking it? we know that was exactly right. my great anger at the mainstream media is that they look at him would --ffy lefty who they wouldn't recognized his ability. we could've not had that war.
8:59 pm
it was the same thing terry was talking about. i have one quick ellsberg story. ellsberg saw in 1971 izzy sitting in the lunch alone in the senate cafeteria. in comesllsberg -- ellsberg was this huge briefcase. he was telling these stories that he set down because he was his hero. he said, we have been working on this and we are just so discouraged. said, do you want to peddle this?
9:00 pm
he said, no, this is a great bird dog who turned down the scoop of the century because he said you need a larger audience. let's go for "the new york times." so he gave up that one moment. anyway, it was a lovely story. now i am going to introduce really -- sheting with lewis will speak on u.s. government and aspect of the work. she taught courses on the vietnam war and led study abroad programs in vietnam, today she leads a women's empowerment program organization that provides scholarships to escape or girls and assist women in the delta. they are giving a panoramic view
9:01 pm
of the antiwar movement. mandy carter is over here. this is a southern social justice activist with a history of social, racial and lgbtq justice organizing since 1967. her resistance led to many arrests. a draft resisters spent six years as a antiwar organizers ar. he is working on a book on the nonviolent movement. last but not least, they will address how antiwar protests contributed to vietnam's unification and independence. this was a member of vietnam's national assembly and was did not ambassador to belgium and luxembourg. she is now president of ho chi
9:02 pm
minh city peace and development organization working to further relations between the united states and vietnam. thank you and here they are. [applause] >> such a pleasure to be introduced by myra. piece ofwas a central my teaching resources at university of maryland where i taught for many years. long time coming. it is a pleasure to be here.
9:03 pm
john, i've so much to thank you for. about 1967 and create a broad brush of strokes to understand how the war was escalating along with everything else -- the peace movement, the vietnam, the escalating lies of our u.s. foreign-policy makers, especially the president but on thechanging scene american homefront. i want to start by saying that america was not the only foreign power in vietnam. the allies of the united states in south vietnam included
9:04 pm
-- inl countries that southeast asia that provided a total of about 400,000 troops in that year alone. north includedhe the soviet union, china, north korea and cuba. the soviet union after 1967 would become north vietnam's most prominent ally. china because of his record with the soviet union would and its role more or less in vietnam with the north vietnamese in 1967. the chinese were pursuing their own cold war with the soviet
9:05 pm
union and took sides against the north vietnamese. andria provided airpower troops. -- north korea provided airpower and troops. the united states was not a force at all. the biggest regional dissent came from the nato countries of europe, especially. canada would be the only net of country that would supply weapons and assistance to the south vietnamese and the during the totality of the war. we talked earlier. 67, the warmest omitted.
9:06 pm
not only for the united states but for the north vietnamese. said, the american warership knew that the militarily. won public relations campaign to convince the american public and its allies at the war was not stalemated and the united states was in a and whatto win the war johnson did was unprecedented in u.s. political and military history.
9:07 pm
this will make major speeches before the congress and other elite public opinion groups. this will convince key decision-makers and opinion makers that the united states could prevail in vietnam with more military support. as bringing so far out some of his cabinet members, particularly dean to appear before the congress and convince the congress that the cold war in asia with only escalate -- would only escalate if the u.s. got out of vietnam. in 1956, johnson's approval rating was at 70%.
9:08 pm
by the time westmoreland makes his first trip, his approval rating plummeted to 40%. all the more reason to accelerate and escalate the public relations war to promote his policies in vietnam. states, they did acknowledge that the war was stalemated in 1967. thinking, they would -- with thatsive thinking, they would plan an offensive. this became the most shocking battle of the vietnam war. 1967 was the era of big battles in vietnam.
9:09 pm
for the united states, this was search and destroy missions. the united states was trying to protect not only saigon but to secure the central highlands of vietnam because that was seen as key to winning the war against and theh vietnamese insurgency. 1967 to ratchet up body count and show that america was winning the war was intense. many atrocities in 1967 were covered up and still are being covered up today by the pentagon. there is not even a footnote in the national archives. the tiger force atrocities that occurred in the central highlands may have resulted in many more casualties. we have no idea of how many casualties.
9:10 pm
an elite troop known as the tiger force that was part of the 101st airborne was part of the search and destroy missions throughout the central highlands and in seven months, the my lai massacre was four and a half hours. over seven months, the tiger force not only killed elderly, children, pregnant woman, but also were responsible for torching so many villages in that area. the casualties are unknown, but there are accounts from witnesses that include both u.s. soldiers as well as vietnamese civilians that dozens of mass graves were dug by the locals that survived and by end of the seven-month period, another 327 atrocities occurred. this massacre may have resulted in a thousand innocent deaths in 1967.
9:11 pm
the pentagon squashed this and had to squash it because of the larger public relations campaign. who knows? had this been addressed, had this been known, had the tiger force atrocities been known, perhaps my lai also may not have happened. i want to talk quickly about the air, ground, and chemical wars in 1967. rolling thunder continued, it was a gradual escalation of bombing north vietnam in an effort to break the will of the hanoi government. it was a colossal failure. we were so fool hearty to think we would convince the southern insurgency, the nls, they could not win. nor did we halt the flow of materials to south vietnam as evidenced by the sheer magnitude, the sheer forces that were part of the tet offensive
9:12 pm
in january of 1968 that hit five out of the six major cities in the south, 100 districts, and many hamlets. this was the era of free fire zones in 1967, which was another reason why the casualties mounted.
9:13 pm
remember in the book, when talking about the ratcheting up of the body counts, particularly during these large search and destroy missions, he mentioned there were probably 50% inflation, at least 50% inflation of the body counts because so many of the civilians were counted in that number of enemy killed, again to squash any further investigation into these civilian atrocities. this was the peaking -- 1967 -- of the chemical war in vietnam, operation ranch hand was the signature program. agent orange would only be a minor part. there was growing domestic dissent in the united states in 1967. the media began paying greater
9:14 pm
attention to the critics of the war in vietnam. this starts beginning in 1966, when the late senator william fulbright began his hearings as the chair of the senate
9:15 pm
relations committee that examined the core arguments of johnson's war in vietnam. cbs televised those hearings and i can remember those hearings like it was yesterday because my younger brother missed captain kangaroo, they even preempted captain kangaroo back then. congress as a whole was also beginning to question the costs of the war. lbj asked for an increase in war spending and with congressional approval, imposed a 6% surcharge on those personal as well as corporate income taxes. as you know in american politics, if it hits the wallet, that is when certain people start paying attention. as john mentioned, the magnificent speech by martin luther king at the riverside church and other leaders that were speaking out throughout the united states.
9:16 pm
the press kept using words like quagmire and stalemate. the antiwar movement started to become more established as people like fulbright and king came to the moral leadership of that movement. in closing, let me add, it was 1967 -- it was the time that many of my generation woke up to the injustices of the war. for me, 67 changed my life and i am doing what i am doing because of how 1967 affected me. it still does. thank you. [applause] >> hello.
9:17 pm
i just want to warn the rest of the panel that it has to be between 10 and 15 minutes. i'm not doing this because i want to but because they want to keep it moving. robert, do you want to come up? you do not have to keep it supershort, 10 or 15 minutes. >> thank you. hard to believe 50 years. what i would like to point out is historical context about dr. king's april 4 speech at riverside. there is a whole generation of us, when thinking of the civil
9:18 pm
rights movement, that was the big thing at the time. i remember an august 28, 1963 i had not a clue of what the implications of that would be. for a generation of us, because king gave his famous beyond vietnam, breaking the silence speech in 1967, that was the moment that was fortuitous in terms of who was opposed to the war in vietnam, those working in the civil rights movement, but then a generation of us where that became the context of how we got engaged, not just in vietnam but this whole notion of militarism and how you can use nonviolent direct action. in december of 1967, which was the official stop the draft week in oakland, california at the oakland army induction center. there was a massive civil disobedience action organized.
9:19 pm
i was 19. like a lot of people, i walked along that building before deciding should i sit in today, thinking about if i get arrested, what would that mean? so on and so forth. by the 15th time i walked around that building, i said it is time to do this. i remember saying where do you need me? someone said here's a spot, sit right here. i sat down and did not realize it was in front of the paddy wagon. when we all got to jail, we were on the tradition of jail, no
9:20 pm
bail. i get up there and they said madeleine carter, that is my legal name, they said -- whoever told me to sit there knew why that was important to do. here is what i was so struck by. at that time, i think there were 70 of us women at the prison. 99% of the women in that jail were black. i remember what they did to try to distinguish the political prisoners from the regular prisoners -- we had blue denim
9:21 pm
dresses and they had a different color blue, thinking that might be easy enough. not because they do not have enough clothes, being the only black women in there, one of the sisters came up and said what are you doing in here? protesting the war in vietnam. my husband, my brother, my son, these two words, vietnam or jail. think about the reality of that for anyone opposed to that war. they are doing it to this day. at that moment, that divide between the political prisoners and the regular prisoners, that wall came down. there is another thing i want to say about the pace of that war -- there is a great book that talks about the african-american experience. one of the comments martin luther king made when he gave this speech in 1967, despite whatever the reality of that case was, he asked a simple question. how can you ask black men to go 8000 miles away to kill other people of color in the name of democracy, but they do not have it when they left and they do not have it when they came back? what is all that about? when asked about women who served there. women who served did not want anyone to know. women gave their lives as well. i asked that we think about what was happening around other people's lives.
9:22 pm
for someone to say i served, some lost their lives, i do not want anyone to know, i want everyone to think about that. i want to think about randy keeler. this whole notion of the power of one. randy was a draft resistor and went off to jail. he talked about giving a speech one day, and gave the speech, and had no idea the impact he would have on daniel ellsberg. i wonder each one of us going through our daily lives have a sense of what we can -- that was just one of those stories. it is now 2017. we are all still here. it took me 20 years to go see that wall. 20. i have to get back to another program, a lot of my friends are
9:23 pm
on that wall. i want to say as a moment of gratitude, it makes a difference how we make a difference. and being sincere about that possibility, and not having to lose lives because some governments have not figured out how to get along and make a difference. thank you. [applause] >> one thing terry said that is true -- had we been asked in episode 10 what we thought, we would have said we were right. the other thing we would have said in the ken burns film is that we do not have any regrets. if you watch that episode, you would have seen the soldiers had regrets because almost all of them said what they were doing was wrong. because we know that what we did
9:24 pm
was right, we do not have those regrets. i know for myself, i have never had any regrets spending the time i did fighting against the war. probably screwed up my vocational opportunities and so on like a lot of the rest of you, but i've no regrets about it. i believe the peace movement helped to end the war. like a lot of other activists, i was not sure about it. i wondered whether we really had that much of an impact or we were just a sideshow or even prolonged the war. earlier this year, i got involved with christopher jones and mandy and some other people in a film about draft resisters. i do not know we will be able to show a segment of it today. that got me interested in looking back at that era because after the war was over i went on to another episodes of my life. i started looking back and what i discovered was my fears about whether or not we were effective or a sideshow were completely
9:25 pm
misplaced. we did indeed have an impact. i got that from doing a lot of research. i have read dozens of books about the era and there are three books in particular that looked at that. one i know a lot of people know about by tom wells called the war within. another called "johnson, nixon, and the doves," and another called "american ordeal." those three -- you will see we did have a huge impact. after the war was over, the one career that seemed possible for me was journalism. i do not need to have a resume. a resume with a dozen arrests was not too good of a resume.
9:26 pm
i got into journalism and i spent 40 years as a journalist and wrote a bunch of books, mostly about business and the workplace. what i decided is this is a story that i would like to get beyond academia. i want to do what tom hayden inspired me with his book about the power of the vietnam peace movement. i think this is an important thing that more and more people learn about the effectiveness that we had and the power of nonviolence. specifically about what i have learned about this october 21 event i wanted to share. first, what an amazing cast of
9:27 pm
characters were involved in the october 21 event. for one thing, i would say it was one of the last times the antiwar movement was fairly unified. there were about 40 different cosponsors, there was the old left, the cp, the socialist workers party. there were veterans. there is one picture of the march across the bridge where the abraham lincoln brigade, their banner is right there. i read a book about the vietnam veterans against the war. they adjust been formed and about two dozen of them participated. they became very important later in the war, especially when nixon was trying to smear everyone as being a dirty hippie.
9:28 pm
the radical pacifists were there in force. the wrl, the ffc, the liberal peace groups represented by dr. spock, clergy and laity concerns, which sponsored dr. king's speech in new york the previous may, women's strike for peace, business executives for peace. fds, which came around at the end. most everybody that showed up was not directly affiliated with any of the groups. there was a huge cross-section of people -- students were the largest group. lots of teachers and workers, business people, social workers. there was a huge -- you do not get a hundred thousand people unless you have a huge cross-section. individual people, i had not read norman mailer's armies of the night. i did not realize that noam chomsky was one of those that was arrested. i read a book -- i have read a bunch of memoirs and some of the memoirs i have read are by people here today.
9:29 pm
cathy wilkerson, one of my classmates from college. bill zimmerman is right over here. he has a terrific book called "troublemaker." jerry, who burned a lot of draft files. frank joyce has a good book. it is a terrific book about their trip to vietnam. bruce with a book called "the resistor." he was the head of fds at cornell. it is a great adventure story -- he was arrested at some demonstration in brooklyn and at the trial, at the lunch break he went off and joined abbie hoffman to throw the dollar bills on the new york stock exchange. it just gives you a flavor. the second thing i want to say is about the event itself. the event -- lots of times we forget about the day before october 21. on the 20th was a very significant action at the department of justice.
9:30 pm
9:31 pm
that action, where a thousand draft cards were turned in really helped to cripple the draft system. that is because, like nonviolence, one of the concepts
9:32 pm
is moral jiu-jitsu. you put the opponent in the place of dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. the johnson administration did not know what to do. johnson was pissed off about it and he wanted both the department of justice and the selective service to nail these people. the department of justice decided what they were going to do was that they were going to do a show trial. which, as we know, turned out to backfire fantastically because there were so many people that signed the resist calls and so on. they lost legally. also the general, taking his cues from johnson and wanted to declare everyone delinquent and we created a situation where he
9:33 pm
violated all his own rules. that led to a bunch of supreme court cases that made a lot of draft resisters cases not successful. the selective service system, and this is something a lot of people do not know, i certainly did not know it. last night at dinner, there were four of us at the table, all of us were draft resisters. only one of us went to prison. that is because the draft system was overwhelmed. the justice department was overwhelmed -- there were 200,000 guys that were referred by the selective service to the justice department for prosecution. only 20,000 were indicted. of that, only 8000 were found guilty. of those, only 4000 went to prison. the point is there is a good book on that. "confronting the war machine." it describes the collapse of the draft system.
9:34 pm
i have one more minute. the october 21 march on the pentagon, that had great short-term affect that we did not realize. the book "johnson, nixon, and the doves" describes this. the tet offensive was so impactful because johnson had westmoreland come to the u.s. in the fall of 1967 in order to counter us. there are a couple of different
9:35 pm
people that were interviewed. the assistant secretary of defense and so on, who said that is why johnson brought them here. by overselling the war effort, that made it so when the tet offensive happened, the american public was completely shocked because here you have been telling us that we were winning, and we are obviously not winning. there is a lot more that i cannot do in 22 seconds. about the impact. what i want to finish with is that i think the main lesson i am learning, looking at the effectiveness that we had, is that resisters today should learn two things. patience and persistence. there is no march that is going
9:36 pm
to dump trump. there is no anything that is going to have an immediate effect and there is going to be everything done on the other
9:37 pm
side to its cure the power we are having. we are having that power. patience is very important and the other one is persistence. the real effectiveness is not any one thing. a lot of the fights we had amongst ourselves about whether we should do this or that was not as important as if we just -- we were everywhere. it made it -- for instance, johnson cannot go out anywhere except for military bases, or go in places where he was not announced in advance. just one of many examples. we made it hard for these people. mcnamara's family was affected
9:38 pm
by it. the march against death in 1969, one of the top nixon aides talked about it. he actually threw up. we had tremendous power. the reason was exactly what terry said before -- we were right. [applause] >> friends, good morning from vietnam. my first words will be to say thank you. thank you for what you did in those years back then. it is not being polite to say you did contribute to end the war and bring back peace and
9:39 pm
help us reunify the country and survive as an independent nation. thank you to the organizers for inviting me. i'm not the only vietnamese here, but i am the only one invited from saigon joined with you. i join you as a mother and an antiwar activist. i was an antiwar activist from saigon but based in paris in those 60's. i'm going to make four points because there is so much to share. within the 10 to 15 minutes allotted to each of us, i would like to make four points. the first point is to put your movement in the broader context of the international context of the 1960's from the standpoint of france and paris. in those years, you need to remember, it was the decade of
9:40 pm
self-determination for colonized people. it was the decade of the emergence of the awareness of the third world, the oppressed nations struggling for their
9:41 pm
liberation, emancipation, and their right to self determine their fate and their lives. to me, the emergence of the antiwar movement, apart from the domestic dimension, there is that international dimension. you are part of that global movement to push back against wrongful wars. this is what i want to say. there is a tendency, especially these days, to justify any war because it is supposed to be patriotic to support your government in any kind of war. it is unpatriotic not to support or join in the war effort of your government. you are the real patriots. [applause] >> when i think of my time in paris as a young student, joining the antiwar protests there, it was the very natural thing to do. i, coming from saigon, i was from a traditional family.
9:42 pm
all the south vietnamese in students all came from middle-class, wealthy and fortunate families. some supported the arvn but many supported -- what does that tell you? it tells you that to us, there is only one vietnam. i want to combat the idea that is being peddled again, now, that this was a civil war. [applause] >> you did have a civil war, you did not have a foreign power telling the southerners to fight on. it was called the civil war and from my modern understanding of american history, it was a real civil war.
9:43 pm
what i am saying is the war would not have happened if the u.s. had not intervened. there is a rewriting of the war, a whitewashing of the war going on now in the united states, trying to push up the idea of civil war as if the u.s. came only after it had all started and you were helping one side. the u.s. government was helping one side, the side of freedom and so on and so forth.
9:44 pm
let me tell you, when i joined the antiwar movement in paris, when i joined the nlf to go back home and do clandestine work in saigon, nobody was telling me communism or socialism. i joined because i wanted a just peace for my people so that at last they could be reunited after that artificial division and at last we could be independent, just as we fought the chinese to gain back our independence after 10 centuries of subjugation. for those of us who read the history of vietnam, you understand what was at stake and therefore, we together need to prevent, push back the rewriting of history, the whitewashing of the war policy.
9:45 pm
that is the political perspective. i would like to go into the moral perspective. your movement had a strong impact. some of you knew the heroes of my lai because they resisted and to say stop it and to save a few civilians. i believe that we never defined the enemy as being you, just by virtue of being americans. we distinguished those who were the warmongers, who pushed the war effort, the u.s. administration and so on and so forth. all the civil society groups that fought against the war, that supported our liberation efforts, we did not see them as
9:46 pm
enemies. that is why, when some of these war resisters, progressive journalists went to paris during the peace talks to meet, she was not meeting with the enemy. nobody should be saying to you that you were meeting the enemy. you were not at war with us, were you? who was at war with us -- the
9:47 pm
u.s. government of the time, the leadership of the military of the time, and not even the draftees. only the draftees who came over and did terrible things. it would be difficult for us, to be very honest, to look at them as brothers and sisters. it was not difficult for us to see members of the u.s. antiwar movement as our brothers and sisters in peace and for peace. i also see here and there that in recent years some academics are trying to rewrite the war in a way that -- this was hanoi's war, hanoi was pushing the war, it had nothing to do with the people of the south. let's go back to history. my own uncle, the resistance in the french against the south. there was resistance against french colonial rule everywhere. those in the south, some stayed on and some regrouped in hanoi.
9:48 pm
my aunt was left to raise five kids on her own. the resistance to the u.s. war effort involved the southerners right from the beginning. that is why you cannot call it a civil war. this description of the war being prolonged because of hanoi, because of the secretary-general at the time, is a total distortion of the historical truth. my third point will be to say my reading of what has been going on vis-a-vis vietnam and after vietnam is an expression of u.s. insularity or exceptionalism. this insularity comes from your geography, just the size of your
9:49 pm
country, which means you can live unto yourselves and remain ignorant or inattentive to the rest. your ears and hearts and minds not open to the rest of the world. that insularity and exceptionalism, i think, is an even more dangerous threat today. you see in the vietnam years, the war was on the screens of television sets at home. the war was brought home by the vision of those coffins. in 2004, when i was in the national assembly, i was a lawmaker, i visited the hill and i happened to be passing that corridor.
9:50 pm
i have to find out whether it was 2003 or 2004. i visited the u.s. several times. on that screen, it was saying that the senate was discussing prohibiting the view of coffins from iraq to be shown. i thought to myself, they learned one lesson from vietnam, but not the right one. they are trying to sanitize the war so that, to the difference of vietnam, where the war was there every day, every night for
9:51 pm
people to see and to make people think. now it was sanitized. very few visions of death of u.s. servicemen. today, this no boots on the ground, it is terrible what is happening today. with drones, with bombing only, very few military casualties on the ground, people can go back to their daily chores. not much to bother about. it is completely different with war. most of those wars are unwarranted. that is why i am glad to see a few young faces here today. the young have to care.
9:52 pm
i am with you. back home, that is what i am doing. i am starting a culture of peace youth education program. this is the important thing we need to do. you have an uphill job because of what i just said. finally, do i regret having joined -- i am concluding. derive any regrets joining the antiwar movement in paris and going back home to join the nls? no. just as my predecessors said, there is no way we have any regrets. i think the u.s. peace movement was the right, legitimate, and moral thing to do. you and us need to stand firm in the conviction of having done the right thing, ethically,
9:53 pm
morally, and for the good of our respective countries and peoples. in solidarity, i am here with you and good luck and a lot of courage, patience and perseverance given the current context you are facing. thank you. [applause] >> that was powerful. i've been told we do not have time for q&a, which i was looking forward to. they're going to show a five-minute video. my book, which i wrote in the 1980's, i said this war asked
9:54 pm
everything of a few and nothing of most. we all know the cynics who hid behind the draft deferments in college. the man i refuse to call president had five deferments. there was this situation, and it was such a class war. i am so happy to see the coming together between veterans and the peace movement because you all participated in a way that most of america do not. i salute all of you. we are going to do this panel. i have to give you one moment --
9:55 pm
in 1982 when i was working on the book i went to prison from the white house with a group of protesters, all wonderful church people. we got in the paddy wagon and we got to the central cellblock, they open the door and one of the guys said, what to they do, raid a tupperware party? >> let's thank this panel. >> the american war in vietnam raged 50 years ago. by 1967, it was lbj's war but if consumed presidents from john f. kennedy to gerald r ford. this veterans day weekend, american history tv looks back at this divisive or with 48 archivallive coverage, footage and a first-person account from vietnam war veterans and antiwar protesters.
9:56 pm
, as is american history tv weekend, every weekend on c-span3. ofi'm the program director the miami book fair. the taste place in downtown miami. this year we have a little over 525 offers representing every java -- join boutique for the miami book fair, live from the miami college saturday and sunday on november 18 and 19th on c-span2. grace american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend featuring archival films and programs on the presidency. the civil war and more. here's a clip from a recent program. i, i museum technician.
9:57 pm
specifically with the vietnam veterans memorial collection in the museum resource center. the building is a central territorial facility for national capital region park. our collection specifically is housed entirely in this building. we are a collection of objects that are left at the memorial in d.c.. visitors come by the memorial every day. they leave objects by the memorial. every two weeks or so we do a ringp at the warrior and them at the museum resource center where we sort through them and catalog them and make them part of our collection. this was left in 2000. it was left by ellen. i will just read it.
9:58 pm
it says it has been over 31 years since reticular grammys but you remain in my heart, my truest love always. memorial, always know that i love you still, i am married and have three beautiful children. family wee for the were never given the chance to have and when the lord takes me home, i know i will meet you again and share many memories. ? purpose this purpose of the collection is to have people heal and get over the things that happened in the past and to remember specifically the men who died in vietnam. this collection, lends a helping people will,
9:59 pm
believe things that are folk art. they just make the process of making a graph and help them heal. we have a lot of ptsd groups and then make something and they leave it at the wall. thatve a lot of things give a little more information about a specific soldier's life. you can see all the names on the wall but the collection gives a little background history to those names. as long as summit has been something for a specific person. this is just a little bit more about that person's life. i think that is the purpose of the collection.
10:00 pm
>> you can watch this and other american history programs on our website where all of our video is archived. >> "remembering vietnam" is a national archives exhibit featuring the documents and artifacts organized into 12 episodes of the war that was raging in southeast asia 50 years ago. up next on american artifacts, an interview with the archivist of the united states followed by a tour with curator alice kamps. this is just under half an hour. >> as an archivist, what was the reason for the vietnam exhibit? >> the commemoration of the anniversary of the war it self and national archives, the keeper of the country, commemorates high points, low pointsn


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on