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The Vietnam War

It has been 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War. Now, it’s time to reflect on it in a higher level. I wrote
about the Vietnam War (which lasted from 1945 to 1975) on many occasions, but this time feels different. I
want this work to be my official statement on the Vietnam War as a human being. Vietnamese people have
been the victims of colonialism, racism, economic exploitation, and imperialism by a corrupt Western power
structure. This power structure is not just found in America or in the UK. It is an international power structure,
which has been used to suppress the human rights of people, especially people of color (and it gets the
natural resources of nations via vulturistic capitalism). The voices of the oppressed have the right to be
heard and we have the right to find the truth. I was not born when the Vietnam War transpired, but my
parents lived during that time period of the Vietnam War. Even today, the Vietnam War has affected the
psyche of American society. The Vietnam War was not only an evil, unjust imperialist war. It caused the
deaths of millions of Vietnamese people and the deaths of thousands of American people. The Vietnam War
had over 2.5 million Americans who served there.

Vietnamese and American human beings suffered torture, abuse, and murder during the Vietnam War. There
is no justification for that whatsoever. No human being should experience unjust abuse and mistreatment
period. Today in 2015, we experience a bloody, evil war on terror too (which dealt with the Bush Doctrine
and the Obama Doctrine during our time). In order to learn about the Vietnam War, we have to look at the
history of Vietnam long before 1945. We have to go way back. The United States of America and the French
lost the Vietnam War.

Vietnam was an independent nation for a long time. For centuries, Vietnam defeated the Chinese (who
invaded Vietnam constantly for centuries). During the 19th century, the French wanted to conquer Vietnam.
They did it by the late 19th century. As early as the early 1600’s, French missionaries and businessmen went
into Vietnam. They converted many of the inhabitants of Vietnam into Catholicism and formed commercial
ties with the country. History tells us that many imperialists exploit religion as a way for them to control
societies. There is nothing wrong with people expressing spirituality, but religion has been readily
manipulated as a way for some to control individuals in an unjust fashion. The French wanted more than just
the social control of Vietnam. They wanted to control Vietnam’s economic and natural resources. Many
European imperial nations like Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal (among
other nations) wanted to colonize the planet basically. French imperialism is just as evil as any form of
imperialism. The British Empire consolidated their position in India and China. The French wanted to move
into the Indochina region and steal Vietnamese resources. The French also worked with Vietnamese traitors
(to their own people) in trying to conquer Indochina.

The Vietnamese Royal Court was ruled by the unpopular Emperor Tu Duc (1847-1883). Tu Duc followed
appeasement. Tu Duc was from the ruling Nguyen family. Tu Duc’s regime faced the growing revolt of the
peasantry. The Emperor viewed the peasants as a greater threat to him than the French off the coast. So, Tu
Duc made the big mistake of signing away the country of Vietnam piece by piece to the French. This process
began in 1863 when the French captured six Vietnamese provinces around Saigon. By 1874, Tu Duc
established more territorial concessions and finally in 1882, the French fleet captured Hanoi. Now, France
controlled all of Vietnam. Soon, the French immediately abolished Vietnam as a political entity. They or the
French forces used a divide and conquer strategy of dividing Vietnam into 3 administrative provinces. The
names of these provinces are Tonkin in the north, Annam in the center, and Cochinchina in the south. Tonkin
and Annam were called “protectorates” where Vietnamese royal power still was intact allegedly. Cochinchina
was ruled directly as a colony, but in actuality, the French ran everything. The French chose the emperor
along with advisors. The colonial bureaucracy was dominated by the French. So, the Vietnamese human
beings were under French tyranny and racist oppression. The Vietnamese people fought back. The French
allowed the economy of Vietnam to benefit the French and their Vietnamese bourgeoisie collaborators.

Paul Doumer was the chief architect of French imperial policies. Doumer was appointed governor general of
Indochina and arrived in 1897. Doumer was clear that he wanted Indochina to benefit France economically.
He admitted that he wanted Indochina to “…serve France in Asia on the day that it was no longer a poverty-
stricken colony…Its strong organization, its financial and economic structures…are being used for the benefit
of French prestige." Doumer was instrumental in forming monopolies for the production and marketing of
alcohol, salt, and opium. Paul Doumer was the Governor-General of French Indochina from 1897 to 1902. He
was assassinated by Paul Gorguloff (or a Russian émigré) in Paris, France on May 6, 1932. French
businessmen were wealthy when their monopolies interlocked with the powerful Bank of Indochina. Rice
farming was a huge crop in Vietnam. People in Vietnam lived in farming heavily, but the French stole the
best land for themselves. Thousands of acres of land was taken from the Vietnamese and given to the French
at cheap prices. Many French people owned 3,000 to 7,000 acres of land. Part of the revolutionary movement
of the Vietnamese people dealt with owning land beyond just a nationalistic urge. Most Vietnamese people
still owned something despite French robbery of their lands. The French grew their theft of land by 1900.
Over half of the peasants of Tonkin and Annam were landless during the 1930’s. Cochinchina had about 75
percent of their population being landless and the rest owned next to nothing.

Tenant farmers and sharecroppers had to pay from 50 to 70 percent of their crops to landlords and in
addition to provide free gifts and services. French economic exploitation of Vietnam continued. Rubber
plantations were the locations where many Vietnamese workers were tricked into working at. The conditions
for the workers were slave-like. There was malnutrition, malaria, etc. in various Michelin company plantations.
The French didn’t just use economic exploitation against Vietnam. They used a paternalistic and racist
mentality against the Vietnamese people. The French back then thought that they were bringing “civilization”
and “liberty” to Indochina when the French were bringing tyranny and oppression. Even before the French
conquest, 80 percent of the Vietnamese people were literate and wrote Chinese ideographs for written
Vietnamese. The French banned the Chinese characters and introduced either French or quoc ngu, the Latin
alphabet for the Vietnamese language. It proved to be a disaster. On the eve of the Second World War, less
than one fifth of school age Vietnamese boys were attending school. Vietnamese people, under French
colonialism, were denied of basic human rights. Dissent, which was organized against the French, was
repressed. The French police confiscated books and newspapers that they deemed “subversive.” Many of the
wealthy Vietnamese people, who set their children to school in France, returned home to Vietnam under
repression still.

"...Our resistance will be long and painful, but whatever the sacrifices, however long the struggle, we
shall fight to the end, until Vietnam is fully independent and reunified..."
-Ho Chi Minh's statement on December 19, 1946
The Beginning of Ho Chi Minh

Then, there came Ho Chi Minh. Modern Vietnamese nationalism existed in the first decade of the 1900’s via a
dissident section of the mandarin class. Some mandarins served the puppet emperors of the French. Yet,
some of them questioned their role in colonial Vietnam. Some wanted to use the Chinese and the Japanese
as a means for them to defeat the French. Others wanted to use the French to cause Vietnam to be a
modern society. Members of both factions were still arrested and oppressed by the French. Ho Chi Minh
grew up in a nationalist household with a father. His father was a disaffected mandarin. Ho’s father hated the
French and the mandarin system. Ho Chi Minh participated in demonstrations against the French in 1908
when he was just 15 years old.

When the French repressed the demonstrations harshly, Ho Chi Minh was furthered inspired and radicalized
in his life. The French police monitored him. He left Vietnam in 1911 in fear of arrest. He went to France via a
French ocean liner (where worked there on a job). Ho Chi Minh would never return to Vietnam until 30 years
later. In 1917, he moved to Paris. During this period, was the First World War I. There was the Russian
Revolution occurring, which ended the Russian Czarist regime. He lived with a very large Vietnamese
community in France with 100,000 people. They had political debates. Ho Chi Minh was known as Nguyen
Ai Quoc or Nguyen “the patriot” ironically enough. Ho worked with activists in the French Socialist Party.
He became a leading Vietnamese activist quickly in France. Ho Chi Minh wanted desperately for European
policies to respect the self-determination of the Vietnamese people during the 1919 Versailles peace
conference. That conference was established as a way for European power to resolve the First World War. Ho
Chi Minh came there to petition for the human rights of Vietnam. He was inspired by U.S. President
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points program that called for the rights of nations to have self-determination. Ho
stopped short of calling for independence for Vietnam back then. Yet, he wanted more democratic rights for
Vietnamese people along with the release of all political prisoners. Ho Chi Minh was turned away when he
tried to meet with the American delegation. Wilson wanted self-determination mostly for European countries
not for oppressed, colonial peoples. Yet, Ho Chi Minh gained prestige for his courageous stand for his
Vietnamese people at Versailles.

He was the Indochinese delegate to the French Socialist Party conference in Tours. The party was about to
split between a majority who wanted to ally with the Communist International or Cominterm in Moscow and
a minority who did not. Ho Chi Minh read a copy of Lenin’s “Thesis on the National and Colonial
Questions.” It inspired him to further advocate self-determination of the Vietnamese people. Lenin said that
oppressed nations have the right to express self-determination.

"At first, patriotism, not yet Communism, led me to have confidence in Lenin, in the Third International. Step
by step, along the struggle, by studying Marxism-Leninism parallel with participation in practical activities, I
gradually came upon the fact that only socialism and communism can liberate oppressed nations," he told
an interviewer in 1960. Ho joined the new French Communist Party and after several more years of political
activity in France he left for Moscow in 1924. In Moscow, the Comintern was degenerating politically. Stalin
wanted the creation of socialism in one country at a time (or a nationalist state led development instead of
working class internationalism). Even Lenin in his 1920 Cominterm thesis warned revolutionaries to not
merge bourgeois democracy in the colonial nations, so the independence of the proletarian movement can
exist more thoroughly. Stalin opposed the opposite policy in China. Ho Chi Minh would be a Stalinist for the
rest of his life. In Vietnam, many revolutionary groups were formed to fight against the French colonial
regime during the 1920’s. These people included peasants, workers, and intellectuals. There were the 1928
strikes, which started in Saigon. It included petroleum workers, brewery workers, rubber workers, railroad
workers, etc. The French suppressed the strike.

Ho Chi Minh went to the February 1930 Communist meeting. Communist groups agreed to unite in Vietnam
in the ICP or the Indochinese Communist Party. They wanted to overthrew the French imperialists, have
Vietnam to establish independence, confiscate the stolen wealth held by the French, have equality of the
sexes, have universal education, and create an eight hour day including an abolition of unjust taxes. The
French imprisoned thousands of ICP members. The French made token concessions like opening up the
election process. The French Popular Front government led by the Socialist Leon Blum came to power in July
1936. Later in 1939, a right wing government existed in France. Vietnam saw more repression against the
nationalists and the communists. The ICP went underground. Some members like Von Nguyen Giap fled to
China too. He led the Vietnamese troops from 1946 to 1980. Almost all of his immediate family died in
prison. Ho Chi Minh’s second wife was executed by the French.

Vietnam and World War II

The Second World War came when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939. Japan soon controlled Vietnam
from the French. Ho Chi Minh returned to Vietnam in 1941 to fight the French and the Japanese imperialists.
Vietminh was created to fight against the Japanese fascists and the French imperialists. They wanted a
revolutionary government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Guerrilla fighting occurred for three years.
The Japanese and the French worked together to try to destroy the Vietminh, but they couldn’t do it. The
Vietnamese people died in heavy numbers because of the famine of the early 1940’s.Yet, Vietnminh forces
continued to fight on. The OSS worked with the Vietminh in locating and helping downed Allied pilots in
Vietnam. Many of the OSS expressed great sympathy for the Vietnamese struggle for independence and a
deep hatred for French colonialism. The August Revolution of August 13, 1945 caused the Vietnamese
people to independently create their own independence via insurrection. Emperor Bao Dai wanted to be a
citizen not a King. On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam. Vietnam
was a provisional government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Hanoi, Hue, and Saigon became free.
Ho Chi Minh proclaimed independence in front of a crowd of 200,000 people in Hanoi including members of
the American O.S.S. Vietnam was the first colony to declare independence after WWII.
Vietnam vs. the French imperialists

The opening line of Ho Chi Minh's speech paraphrased the American Declaration of Independence –"All men
are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: among these are Life,
Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." During that day, Ho wanted desperately to seek American aid to
support Vietnam’s independence even invoking the American Revolution. He didn’t want France to rule
Vietnam again. Yet, the first Vietnam War will exist between the Vietnamese and France from 1945 to 1954.
France and Great Britain didn’t want Vietnam to be independent obviously. Chinese nationalist troops were
in Vietnam in late August 1945. More than 200,000 Chinese troops were in Tonkin by mid-September. Ho’s
government was in Hanoi. The British General Douglas Gracey went into Saigon on September 22, 1945. The
British wanted the French to have an empire in Indochina while controlling their own Empire (under the
guise of “anti-communism”). The British came into Vietnam; they rearmed the French, and fought the
Vietminh. French residents assaulted and killed Vietnamese people on the streets of Saigon. The Vietminh
counterattacked on September 24, 1945.
This image shows French General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc in the left, Ho Chi Minh in the center, and
French Commissioner Jean Sainteny (in the right) having a toast in Hanoi. This was when these people
signed an agreement on March 15, 1946. This agreement allowed the French army to occupy Vietnam
including the cities of Saigon and Hanoi. Obviously, the French broke their agreement and Ho Chi Minh
had every right to organize his Vietnamese people to defeat the French imperialists.

O.S.S. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Dewey was killed that night outside of Saigon– the first American to die in
Vietnam. In his last message to O.S.S. command, he issued his warning that "we ought to clear out of
Southeast Asia." Gracey fought and negotiated with the Vietminh. The Americans soon armed and equipped
the French under Marshall Leclerc. Gracey used a coup to try to bring the French to power. The U.S.
government approved by Gracey’s evil. Still, the French didn’t control all of the Vietnam. The Vietminh
fought back, but they initially welcomed the British landing. The Vietnamese Trotskyist Committee league
disagreed with this. The Vietminh wanted to negotiate with the imperialists in a “moderate” course. They
were opposed to the national struggle being transformed into a class struggle against the Vietnamese
landlords and capitalists. Later in a few months, the Vietminh murdered the leadership of the Trotskyist
movement. This left the Vietminh control of the nationalist movement. Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh made
the error of having an agreement with the French in March of 1946. Ho justified this by saying that he rather
has a deal with the French than with the Chinese. Once again, the French double crossed the Vietnamese
people. The French made Boa Dai the emperor of a new nation based in Cochinchina.

The French refused to recognize the DRV or the Democratic Republic of Vietnam or a tiny mini state in
Tonkin. By October 1946, French and Vietminh military forces fought. The French Prime Minister George
Bidault ordered the shelling of Haiphong (which was supported by French deputy prime Minister and head
of the French Communist Party Maurice Thorenz), which killed 6,000 Vietnamese people. So, this was the
beginning of the first Vietnam War and it began with the support of the French Communist Party. The U.S.
aided the French from 1947. America funded most of the French war effort by 1954 in the realm of 80
percent or 2 billion dollars. Ho Chi Minh abandoned Hanoi. Ho realized that he stood alone against
imperialist brutes. He said that: “…We apparently stand quite alone; we shall have to depend on ourselves."
The French had early success.
Then, the Vietminh came back and defeated the French. The Vietminh had support among the peasants. The
French could never break the spirits of the peasantry. Even 40,000 Legionnaires (over half fought for the
Nazis in WWII) could not defeat the Vietnamese people. Mao’s government aided the Vietnamese forces. By
1950, Russia and China finally recognized Ho Chi Minh’s government. The French lost a lot of people. About
90,000 French soldiers died, were wounded, or were captured by 1953. The French said that light was at the
end of the tunnel, but there wasn’t. You shall reap what you shall sow. The French were finally defeated at
Dien Bein Phu in 1954. The French had a siege and they were defeated by the Veitminh. The French
surrendered on May 7, 1954.

The 1954 Geneva Accords

Later, a conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The Geneva Accords were a temporary interlude
between the two wars. The Geneva meeting involved the U.S, Britain, France, Russia, Vietnam, and China. The
Geneva Accords were signed by the Vietminh delegation and the French. They agreed to divide Vietnam into
2 parts into troop re-groupment zones along the 17th parallel with a demilitarized zone separating them.
The divide was temporary. There would be elections in 2 years to decide who will run Vietnam. Laos and
Cambodia would become independent countries. America never signed the accords. America just said that it
would abide by them, which they didn’t. During this time, Eisenhower was President and the fanatical anti-
communist Secretary of State John Foster Dulles didn’t want a nationalist movement to rule Vietnam (that
wasn’t controlled by America back then). Dulles didn’t want the Vietminh to have full victory. Any election
would allow Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh to win a majority of the Vietnamese people. The Chinese put
pressure on the Vietminh to make some concessions involving the Geneva Accords. The U.S. wanted to
prevent Ho Chi Minh to be elected leader of all of Vietnam. So, they wanted to stop elections and create a
puppet anti-communist state in South Vietnam (which was in violation of the Geneva Accords). The U.S.
formed a mini state in South Vietnam.

*During the 1950’s (and after the hostilities), the famous, large migration took place. North Vietnamese
(who were mostly Catholics, intellectuals, business people, land owners, anti-communist democrats, and
members of the middle class) moved south of the Accords mandated ceasefire line during the Operation
Passage to Freedom. The ICC reported that at least 892,876 North Vietnamese were processed through
official refugee stations, while journalists recounted that as many as 2 million more might have fled without
the presence of Viet Minh soldiers who frequently beat and occasionally killed those that refused to turn
back. The CIA attempted to further influence Catholic Vietnamese with slogans such as 'the Virgin Mary is
moving South.' At the same time, 52,000 people from the South went North, mostly Viet Minh members
and their families.

Later, that regime in South Vietnam used police state tactics, arbitrary arrests, and so many violations of
human rights that coups occurred. The South Vietnamese regime was so unpopular that American troops
came to intervene to keep it from collapsing. The U.S. got Emperor Bao Dai to appoint Ngo Dinh Diem as
President of the new Republic of South Vietnam. Diem was a Roman Catholic who had powerful influences
from Cardinal Spellman and then Senator John F. Kennedy. Also, then Senator John F. Kennedy in the 1950’s
criticized Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles for contemplating the usage of atomic weapons at Dien Bein
Phu to bail out the French in 1954. JFK visited Saigon in 1954 to meet with Edmund Gullion. Edmund Gullion
told JFK that anti-colonial movements in the world couldn’t be stopped by Western imperialism. The Diem
family was wealthy. Some compare the Diems to Duvaliers of Haiti and the Somoza family of Nicaragua
including the Maroces of the Philippines. Nhu or Diem’s brother was the head of the secret police. His other
brother was the Catholic Bishop of Hue. Diem was educated in America, but he wanted to have an
authoritarian rule of South Vietnam.

Ngo Dinh Diem

The dictator Diem held a rigged referendum on his rule in 1955 after which he announced that he had won
98.2 percent of the vote. Diem wanted to control Saigon. So, the CIA sent a team led by Colonel Edward
Lansdale to help Diem launch a war for the control of Saigon. Lansdale defeated armed religious groups, etc.
Lansdale used covert acts in North Vietnam. He also helped create the flight of almost one million Catholic
refugees to South Vietnam. Many of these refugees were the political base along with landowners, former
French collaborators and the local bourgeoisie, for Diem’s anti-communist government.

Diem created a wave of terrorism against the supporters of the Vietminh. By the late 1950’s, thousands of
Vietminh members were jailed, killed, or wiped their presence. Diem’s government’s own figures–which most
likely underestimated the numbers–reported that they had placed up to 20,000 Vietminh supporters in
detention camps and had jailed 48,250 people between 1954 and 1960. In one district of 180,000 people,
7,000 were imprisoned and another 13,000 simply disappeared. So, Diem used a counterrevolution in
Vietnam and used the power of the state to return the rich landlords to power. U.S. military and economic
aid poured into the country. This formed a new corrupt business class and garrison state loyal to Diem.
Opposition grew against Diem in the late 1950’s. Diem supported the Law 10/59, which allowed the Saigon
government to jail any person under the allegation of “communist activity." By 1960, Diem’s regime was so
corrupt that it was isolated. The masses of the population expressed huge opposition to Diem. Former
Vietminh cadre began to rebuild their decimated ranks in the countryside and resume the armed struggle.
The streets were filled with people who opposed Diem too. They were led by Buddhist monks. The Buddhists
suffered at the hands of Diem’s strident Catholic regime. In Northern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and his Workers
Party (the newly renamed Vietminh) consolidated their regime during the late 1950’s. They implemented the
Geneva Accords when Diem disregarded it. The Vietminh fighters and political organizers (including their
families) wanted Ho Chi Minh to do something about Diem’s repressive regime. Vietminh forces were in
North and South Vietnam. On 1959, Ho Chi Minh finally became committed to liberate the South from
Diem’s dictatorship and his U.S. supporters.

The NLF or the National Liberation Front was created in 1960. The NLF wanted the Diem regime to be gone.
The NLF included Communists and non-Communist opponents of Diem. The NLF wanted a program of
democratic reform and eventual reunification of the country. They used the rural population as a basis for
support. They used armed struggle. U.S. forces called the NLF "the Viet Cong." By 1960, the NLF had 5,000
armed guerrillas. By the end of 1961, it grew to 15,000. The CIA reported that in 1962, the NLF was in control
of most of the South Vietnamese countryside. President John F. Kennedy was inaugurated President in 1961.
JFK was once a Diem’s supporter, but President Kennedy knew that Diem was increasingly corrupt. Diem was
facing disaster. Diem still refused to stop the repression in South Vietnam. Kennedy wanted to use pressure
on Diem to broaden his government base. President Kennedy at first increased the number of military and
civilian advisers in Vietnam. He supported counterinsurgency techniques. There was testing of herbicidal
warfare in Vietnam via Operation Ranch Hand. The U.S. used the counterinsurgency project of using military
incursions to clear the guerrillas.
The March 1962 pilot project called “Operation Sunshine” caused the NLF to take over the areas where the
population was resettled. The battle of AP Bac was fought on January 2, 1963. It was a major battle in the
Vietnam War. The battle took place in South Vietnam. The South Vietnam army and their U.S. advisors
attacked the Apc Bac hamlet. Before, there was U.S. intelligence showing a large force of NLF (or Vietcong)
soldiers in the Ap Tan Thoi in Dinh Toung Province. The South Vietnamese Civil Guards spearheaded the
attack. They came to Ap Tan Thoi from the south. The Viet Cong’s 261st Battalion pinned the forces down.
There were about 2,500 troops of South Vietnam’s 7th Infantry Division (being equipped with automatic
weapons, armored amphibious personal carriers, and bombers including helicopters) fighting a group of 300
NLF members. The South Vietnamese lost 80 people and 100 people were wounded in action. The VC shot
down 5 American helicopters and damaged eight as American advisers also fought in the battle. 3 Americans
died in the battle with 8 Americans wounded. 18 NLF or VC members died. The Vietcong won the battle.

This is the image of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc protesting the Diem regime by burning himself on fire.
This image was shown all over the world.

Diem’s government was spiraling downward. Diem continued in his barbaric suppression of the human
rights of the Buddhists. One Buddhist monk named Thich Quang Duc protested the Vietnam War by
committing suicide (via burning himself alive in the streets of Saigon in broad daylight) on June 11, 1963.
This act is called self-immolation. News media people coverage the footage worldwide. Madame Nhu or the
wife of Ngo Dinh Nhu (Diem's brother) made a very disrespectful remark that the Buddhist's suicide protests
were "barbecues" and that "Let them burn, and we shall clap our hands."
Many American military officials soon wanted to get rid of Diem. There are debates on whether JFK
supported the coup on Diem or that he allowed it to occur. Regardless, Diem died in a coup. Diem tried to
save himself by having himself and his brother Nhu to approach the North Vietnamese government about a
political rapprochement. This was the end. The CIA supported the coup of Diem via his own military on
November 2, 1963. This coup was supported by U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge.

Diem’s brother was assassinated too. 2 weeks later, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on
November 22, 1963. To this day, people debate what JFK would have done involving Vietnam if he wasn’t
assassinated. We do know that JFK probably wouldn’t have escalated the war to the extreme as LBJ did. JFK
expanded the advisors from 800 to 16,700, but in private President John F. Kennedy did said that he wanted
to end the Vietnam War by 1965 (especially after the 1964 election). He explicitly condemned the usage of
United States ground troops in Vietnam (General MacArthur cautioned Kennedy against using military
ground forces in Southeast Asia). President John F. Kennedy was moving in a less hawkish direction since his
acclaimed speech about world peace at American University on June 10, 1963. It is a fact that President
Kennedy was in constant ideological conflict with the U.S. military elites and folks in the intelligence
community (we know that factions of the U.S. military/intelligence community abhorred Kennedy’s actions
towards the Soviet Union and Cuba too). JFK regularly repelled some of the military brass who wanted a
more militarized response in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and in Vietnam.

In fact, President Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles, Deputy Director Charles Cabell and Director of
Plans Richard Bissell. That action was unprecedented for that time period. JFK was very skeptical of the
actions of the CIA since the Bay of Pigs disaster especially. JFK's NSAM 263 Memorandum was signed on
October 11, 1963. It supported plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963. Even
Robert McNamara's "Fog of War" documentary says that according to McNamara, President John F. Kennedy
was strongly considering pulling out of Vietnam after the 1964 election. Kennedy hoped that the Vietnam
conflict would be resolved by 1965. As President John F. Kennedy told Senator Mike Mansfield (who
recommended to JFK that America withdraw from Vietnam after JFK sent him there in 1962 to assess the
situation) was told by JFK the following words in the Oval Officer during the spring of 1963 that: “…I can’t do
it until 1965 after I’m reelected.” O’Donnell quotes the President also what he told him after Mansfield left
the office in the following words: “….In 1965, I’ll become one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. I’ll
be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don’t care. If I tried to pull out completely now from
Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m reelected. So,
we had better make damned sure that I am reelected.” (O’Donnell and Powers with McCarthy, “Johnny, We
Hardly Knew Ye, pp. 16, 472).

Also, JFK negotiated an end to the Laotian crisis in 1961 without sending massive ground troops too.
John F. Kennedy had secret correspondences with like James W. Douglas (via his book entitled, "JFK and
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in seeking détente the Unspeakable), Jim DiEugenio, etc. have outlined
with the Soviets. President Kennedy signed the this information.
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963. He promoted a
neutral government in Laos. President John F. Diem’s overthrow caused more chaos in Vietnam and
Kennedy refused to invade Cuba and he secretly had it set the stage for the U.S. invasion of Vietnam
discussions in trying to establish an accommodation overtly (in a high level) by 1965. Now, this doesn't
also with Cuba in 1963 (which has been proven by mean that JFK loved Communism. He abhorred it and
recently revealed documents) after Kennedy refused he didn't want Vietnam to be a Communist state (as
to invade Cuba doing the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK he has publicly stated), but he refused to use
made a secret deal with the Soviets (during the thousands of grounds troops to invade Vietnam. We
Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962) to get rid of missiles can only speculate what Kennedy would have done.
from Turkey while Russian ships left Cuban shores. Lyndon Baines Johnson became the new President in
President John F. Kennedy had said he was willing to late 1963. LBJ was more aggressive involving Vietnam
accept an invitation from President Sukarno to visit policy than President John F. Kennedy. After
Indonesia in the spring of 1964. JFK was also working Kennedy's assassination, President Johnson passed
with Kwame Khrumah of Ghana. JFK supported NSAM 273 on November 26, 1963. It reversed
nationalist movements globally, which other Kennedy's decision to withdraw 1,000 troops, and
Presidents have not. This is not just Oliver Stone reaffirmed the policy of assistance to the South
mentioning these words. Great scholars and authors Vietnamese.
The Vietnam War expands

Diem’s new successor was General Duong Van Minh or “Big Minh.” Many people in South Vietnam greeted
Minh. Some Americans soon didn’t like General Minh, because he expressed a rapprochement with the
Buddhist forces that organized the massive demonstrations against the Diem regime. Minh was talking
about possibly opening talks with the NLF which could have ended the war sooner. Minh called his
government non-communist instead of anti-communist. This raised the hopes that that he wanted to
promote the policy of “neutrality” in foreign policy world affairs. This clearly angered Americans who wanted
an anti-Communist hardliner for a leader. Then, the Americans organized another military coup. They used
the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam (or the main body that the U.S. military aid and advisers who
were organized through in Vietnam). The coup occurred in January of 1964. It has been called the “Pentagon
Coup.” Here is a source (which is from the book entitled, “The Vietnam War: Vietnamese and American
Perspectives” on pg. 238. It was written by many authors. It was edited by Jayne Werner and Luu Doan
Huynh) on this time of the Vietnam War:

“…At the end of 1963, an in early 1964, the NLF called on Duong Van Minh, who had replaced Diem as
President, to start negotiations with the NLF to organize free elections. President Ho Chi Minh also sent a
message to President Johnson proposing peace talks. French President Charles de Gaulle was willing to act
as an intermediary to help bring about compromise and peace. UN Secretary-General U Thant also proposed
that Washington support a coalition government in South Vietnam. The new President of South Vietnam,
General Duong Van Minh, also expressed a desire for talks, free elections, a neural policy, and a coalition
government in South Vietnam. The Buddhist and student movements in South Vietnam strongly protested
against the war and demanded a solution involving neutralization of South Vietnam. Having suffered greatly
from the prolonged war, almost all Vietnamese, and all the opposing parties in Vietnam, including the two
opposing sides in the South, earnestly desired peace talks, coalition, and neutrality. The world and the UN
Secretary-General supported the wishes of the Vietnamese people, but the United States stood alone in
ignoring these desires, preferring instead to continue and intensify the war with the unyielding desire to
make South Vietnam an anti-Communist state. President Johnson rejected all peace talks and all neutralist
tendencies. He instructed Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge to crush any talk of neutrality, the moment it
surfaced. Duong Van Minh was then replaced by Nguyen Khanh who truculently called for “a march to the
North.” With the massive commitment of troops to the war effort, the United States launched a local war in
southern Vietnam as the second rung of the “flexible response” strategy while conducting a destructive air
war against North Vietnam…”
Soon, General Nguyen Khanh was bought to power. Khanh was firmly in opposition to the NLF. He accepted
U.S. military strategies and political strategies from the U.S. embassy. He immediately faced a new wave of
anti-war activity from the Buddhists and radical students of South Vietnam. Khanh was shocked by this and
he began to talk about a negotiated end to the war. The CIA found out that Khanh contacted the NLF in
December of 1964. Khanh had more contact with the NLF during January and February of 1965. Certainly,
the Western imperialists wanted him to go. So, the Americans (who were led by the new U.S. Ambassador
Maxwell Taylor. Taylor was a retired general who returned to government services under Kennedy) sent huge
pressure on Khanh. Khanh left Vietnam and was in exile in France.

The power in South Vietnam was sent to the military triumvirate of Generals Nguyen Cao Ky, Nguyen Chanh
Thi, and Nguyen Van Thieu. These 3 men ruled South Vietnam for years. The leading person was Ky. Ky was
an evil person. Ky would be the Prime Minister while Thieu became the chief of state. Ky had power until
1967 when elections excluded anyone holding “pro-communist” or “neutralist’ views. This caused Thieu to be
the Prime Minister. Thieu won only 35 percent of the vote. Ky worked with the CIA back in the early 1960’s in
their covert operations against North Vietnam. Ky was wrong to tell reporters that his only real hero was
Hitler. Ky and Thieu were both trained by the French and had fought against their own people in the First
Vietnam War. So, both men were traitors to the Vietnamese people. On March 1, 1965, they pledged to
never negotiate with the NLF or the North Vietnamese. They said that they would follow the lead of
Washington on all military, political, and diplomatic affairs. Military coups harmed Saigon in 1964 and in
1965. By mid-1964, the U.S. strategies developed by the establishment were not working to combat the NLF.

The Vietcong worked with the nationalists, who controlled 40-50 percent of the countryside. The U.S.
sponsored counter insurgency tactics only turned the peasantry against the South Vietnamese regime.
Another disaster was the Strategic Hamlet program. This U.S. & South Vietnamese program was about the
peasants being uprooted from their traditional villages and burial ground by force. They were sent into
concentrated walled camps. The villages became concentration camps which were used to separate the
peasant population from the guerrillas. NLF fighters kept on fighting. The Army of Vietnam troops (or the
ARVN-Diem’s forces) deserted in droves. They didn’t want to defend the regime. Even the Marine
pacification expert Lieutenant Colonel William R. Corson admitted that the role of the U.S. puppet regime in
South Vietnam was "to loot, collect back taxes, reinstall landlords, and conduct reprisals against the people."
As historian James Gibson summed up the situation:

"Strategic hamlets had failed….The South Vietnamese regime was incapable of winning the peasantry
because of its class base among landlords. Indeed, there was no longer a ‘regime’ in the sense of a relatively
stable political alliance and functioning bureaucracy. Instead, civil government and military operations had
virtually ceased. The National Liberation Front had made great progress and was close to declaring
provisional revolutionary governments in large areas."

The NLF grew, because there was massive class inequality in South Vietnam, absence of basic democratic
rights in South Vietnam, and a strong desire to the reunification of Vietnam. The puppet U.S. backed South
Vietnam regime failed to do these things. The Vietnam War evolved from a proxy war being funded by
America to a full-fledged American war. The NLF gained ground and U.S. intelligence said that the Saigon
government was on the verge of collapse.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident

The escalation of the Vietnam War came with the 1964 election and the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Lyndon
Johnson, in the 1964 Presidential election, ironically spoke about how he didn't want to be involved in a
massive American military invasion of Vietnam. Lyndon Baines Johnson was battling against the Republican
Senator Barry Goldwater (who was one man who, according to some scholars, modernized the
conservative/liberatarian movement), who threatened to use nuclear weapons if necessary against NLF
forces. LBJ said during the campaign that: “…We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand
miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” Yet, the Johnson
administration behind the scenes was planning to send hundreds of thousands of U.S. ground forces in
Vietnam after the 1964 election. Many of the policies were concealed from the public back then. The
credibility gap was about the gap that formed between what the Johnson administration said in public about
their policies and what they actually did in Vietnam for real. Gareth Porter’s article entitled, “How LBJ was
Deceived on Gulf of Tonkin” documents how the pro-Vietnam War hawks manipulated President Johnson to
advance a massive bombing campaign in retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The article mentioned
that Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara misled LBJ by withholding certain information. That
information was that the U.S. commander in the Gulf later had serious doubts of the initial report and
wanted a full investigation by daylight (after the U.S. Commander at first reported the attack).

The Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 was the incident that caused the Vietnam War to go into a more massive
military direction. The incident involved a real attack on U.S. forces first on August 2, 1964 (The U.S. used
provocative actions in the waters) and then a phantom or nonexistent attack on the USS Maddox on August
4, 1964 (as documented by an updated NSA publication declassified in 2005). There was U.S. Naval ship USS
Maddox was conduct DESOTO Operations in Northern Vietnam. The second phantom, false incident still
caused the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to be passed. On August 7, 1964, the Senate voted 98 to 2 and the
House of Representatives voted 441 to 0 in favor. It was enacted on August 10, 1964. It was not repealed by
Congress until January of 1971. The resolution allowed Johnson "to take all necessary measures to repel any
armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” This resolution gave
Lyndon Johnson the legal authority to wage war in Vietnam. LBJ waited after the November 1964 election for
him to invade Vietnam in a higher level since American forces were already in Vietnam for years.

Lyndon Johnson at first resisted his advisers wanting him to start systematic bombing of North Vietnam. He
didn’t even oppose the South Vietnamese negotiating a neutralist agreement with the Communist. Then, on
January 1965, McNamara and Bundy wrote a joint letter to him that he would be responsibility for the defeat
of South Vietnam. Then, LBJ began the bombing of North Vietnam. LBJ was caught into the Vietnam War
and while LBJ should be responsibility for his role in the war, he wasn’t the only one involved in it.
McNamara, Bundy, and others deserve blame too. On March 8, 1965, there was the beginning of the massive
U.S. troops build. Marines landed in Da Nang. At the peak of the Vietnam War, over 500,000 American
troops were in Vietnam. The Vietnam War caused the strongest military on Earth to issue unprecedented
violence militarily in one of the poorest nations in the world. The United States government still led an
aggressive military foreign policy against Vietnam even when there were times when a negotiated
settlement could have been created. The U.S. government even rejected a coalition government and
neutrality in Saigon. The NLF was ready to accept a proposal.

Even Charles De Gaulle or the President of France back then was willing to establish such a plan all over
Southeast Asia during that time period. Yet, the West fought against a nationalist movement that defeated
French imperialists a decade before. Lyndon Johnson said in 1964 that “Surrender anywhere threatens
defeats everywhere.” He said these extreme words since he supported the Cold hysteria myth that if Vietnam
was ruled by non pro-Western forces then Communists will take over the whole world. During that time,
some people were so paranoid about Communism (which came from the Red Scare, McCarthyism, etc.), that
some felt that any negotiation to solve the Vietnam crisis was equivalent to total appeasement. America,
after WWII, was the leading capitalist country. Therefore, America wanted to preserve its Empire. On May 27,
1964, President Lyndon Johnson gave his honest views on the Vietnam War. He told National Security
Adviser McGeorge Bundy (via a recorded telephone conversation) the following words:

“…I’ll tell you them more that I stayed awake last night thinking of this thing, the more I think of it, I
don’t what in the hell it looks to me like we’re getting into another Korea. It just worries the hell out of
me. I don’t see what we can ever hope to get out of there with, once we’re committed. I believe that the
Chinese communists are coming into it. I don’t think we can fight them ten thousand miles from
home…I don’t think it’s worth fighting for and I don’t think we can get out. It’s just the biggest damned
mess I ever saw.”

Many of the Vietcong acted farmers by day and military troops at night (in a guerilla war type of
fashion). The Vietcong viewed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution as a declaration of war by Americans. The
North Vietnamese forces also created an elaborate, complex array of tunnels all over Vietnam where
food, weapons, supplies, etc. would spread across the maze of locations.
Military Escalation

One aspect of that Empire was in Vietnam. The U.S. has many military bases globally while the British Empire
decreased its power after 1945. On March 1965, Robert McNamara asked John McNaughton (or the assistant
secretary of defense) to summarize U.S. political strategy and war aims in Vietnam. McNaughton never
wanted a political settlement or a U.S. withdrawal at all. The war hawks like Maxwell Taylor, McNaughton, etc.
felt that a withdrawal would lead to chaos and defeat. Vietnam had no direct economic or strategic
importance to America. Vietnam never attacked America either. The war was brutal.

In November 1, 1964, the Vietcong use a surprise attack at the U.S. Bien Hoa Airbase in South Vietnam.
It was the first North Vietnamese attack against American personnel in the war. So, American military
forces evolved from acting as military advisors to more overt combat roles. 4 Americans are killed. The
Vietcong also attacked the U.S. Pleiku Airbase in February 7, 1965. 8 Americans are killed and 126
people were wounded. Weeks later, LBJ authorized the massive bombing campaign in North Vietnam in
a plan called Operation Rolling Thunder. It lasted from March 2, 1965 to November 2, 1968. The
operation wanted to prop up the Saigon regime. It also wanted to destroy North Vietnam’s transportation
system, industrial base, and air defenses. It wanted to halt the flow of men and resources into South
Vietnam too. This operation was conducted by the U.S. 2nd Air Division (later the Seventh Air Force),
the U.S. Navy, and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF). The VNAF are allies of American
forces. In the midst of this time, U.S. ground troops in a massive scale would come into Vietnam.

Operation Rolling Thunder involved over 100 American fighter bombers bombing targets in North Vietnam.
It was planned to last for 8 weeks, but it lasted for over 3 years. The first U.S. air strikes would occur in the Ho
Chi Minh trail, which was a strategy location where the NLF transported weapons and supplies from North to
South Vietnam. The bombings would cause millions of South Vietnamese refugees to exist as numerous
civilian villages were destroyed. Operation Rolling Thunder included Western & South Vietnamese aerial
bombings of North Vietnam. B-52 carpet bombed North Vietnamese people. There are pictures of
Vietnamese children running naked with their flesh scorched by napalm. The U.S. invaded and occupied
South Vietnam in 1965. The NLF controlled most of the countryside. North Vietnamese army and the NLF
fought side by side. The Ho Chi Minh trail was a huge, complex network of roads connected North and
South Vietnam among 12,000 miles. General Vo Nguyen Giap was one leader of the guerilla movement in
the South.

On March 8, 1965, 3,500 Marines land in South Vietnam. This was when battle ready ground troops were
starting to fight in the Asian mainland overtly. On March 30, 1965, the Vietcong exploded a car bomb near
the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Many people were killed.

The U.S. Army General William C. Westmoreland organized the U.S. military response. Westmoreland was a
graduate of West Point and he went to Harvard Business School. He was a former commander of the 101st
Airborne Division and superintendent of West Point. He came to Vietnam for the first time in June of 1964.
$2 billion was spent on the war. Huge American ports and road networks were formed by America too.
Westmoreland’s war strategy had huge weaknesses, because he wanted to decimate the North Vietnamese
population via a war of attrition. Yet, he failed to outline political solutions or massive social movements to
gain support of the South Vietnamese people.

On July 28, 1965 in Washington, D.C., President Lyndon Baines Johnson issued a press conference. It was
televised to the nation. Lyndon Johnson said that he asked Westmoreland about what is needed. He ordered
air mobilization and wanted to send 125,000 forces immediately to Vietnam including more. 150,000 come
to Vietnam by the fall of 1965. Heavy usage of helicopters were used in the war.

The bombing of North Vietnam and the search and destroy missions in the North only galvanized the
nationalist movement of Ho Chi Minh. The massive U.S. troop presence and bombing campaign caused
Vietnamese people to abhor the reactionary Saigon government. U.S. atrocities in Vietnam caused the
Vietnamese people to resist U.S. occupation even more. Operation Starlight was when the U.S. engaged the
NLF militarily using air, land, and sea power. 6,000 Marines killed 573 people and lost only 46 of their own.
The Vietnamese left mostly to fight another day.

This is an image of GIs trying to save the life of soldier during the battle of Ia Drang.

The early battle of Ia Drang in November 1965 allowed a fast hit and run battle. Both sides would claim
victory for different reasons. Americans said that the battle was a success of military power while the North
Vietnamese (like Colonel Nguyen Huu An) saw the battle as strengthening their military tactics. The massive
military buildup came from 1965 to 1967. By 1967, over 500,000 American troops were in Vietnam.
This picture shows a napalm strike, which erupts into a fireball near U.S. troops on patrol in South Vietnam in
1966 during the Vietnam War. President Lyndon B. Johnson wasn’t just responsible for this. We ought to show
the truth that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, and Averell
Harriman allowed the dropping of more than 338,000 tons of napalm (or jeillied gasoline) on Vietnam. This war
caused the death of more than two million Vietnamese human beings including civilians, women, and children.

South Vietnam was in chaos with a leadership vacuum for a time. The Saigon government was in trouble.
President Johnson used reactionary advisors which escalated the war. These men or advisers were Defense
Secretary William McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisers Walt Rostow and
McGeorge Bundy. These were the men who would eventually take the U.S. into total war in Vietnam, but in
the meantime they struggled with finding the "right man" to lead the Saigon government.

The Battle of Dong Xoai occurred form June 9-13, 1965. It was a Viet Cong victory. This battle and others
refute the long lie that American forces won every major battle in the Vietnam War. First, the Viet Cong
272nd Regiment led an offensive and attacked and captured the Civilian Irregular Defense Group and U.S.
Special Forces camp there. The ARVN (or South Vietnamese military) Joint General Staff ordered the ARVN
1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, to retake Đồng Xoài district. They arrived on the battlefield on June 10,
but were quickly overwhelmed by the Viet Cong 271st Regiment near Thuận Lợi. Later that day, Đồng Xoài
was recaptured by the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion, who had survived an ambush while marching towards
the district. On June 11, further South Vietnamese reinforcements arrived in the form of the ARVN 7th
Airborne Battalion. The South Vietnamese paratroopers, while searching for survivors of the 1st Battalion in
the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation, were defeated in a deadly ambush by the Viet Cong. On June 13 U.S. Army
General William Westmoreland decided to insert elements of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade into a major
battle for the first time, because he feared the Viet Cong could secure a major base area in Phước Long
Province. By that time, however, the Viet Cong had already withdrawn from the battlefield, so the U.S.
paratroopers were ordered to return to base without a fight.

By January 1966, there were about 180,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam. In May of 1966, there were U.S. 280,000
troops in Vietnam. By July of 1966, there were 300,000 troops and 325,000 troops in September of 1966. In
January of 1967, 389,000 U.S. troops were in Vietnam (and one third of them were volunteers). The Vietnam
War was a different war. During the daytime even, temperature can be 100 degrees or higher. Massive
misquotes existed. Many people were exposed to Agent Orange. Some soldiers have to cut 8 feet tall gas.
Poisonous insects and snake surround the territory. Numerous traps existed in the land too. The war was not
a game. It was real.

One of the symbols of the Vietnam War was this medical helicopter. Nearly one million patients were
airlifted in Medevac choppers during the Vietnam War. The average time from the battlefield to a hospital
was one hour. Tons of Vietnamese and American people were injured, mutilated, and killed as a product of
the Vietnam War.

The U.S. attrition strategy didn’t work for numerous reasons. There was the massive U.S. and Western troop
presence in Vietnam. There were massive bombing campaigns. These actions only increased the hostility in
Vietnam among the people. The failure of the attrition strategy showed up again by Operation Junction City.
This was done in the first three months of 1967. It was the largest American operation of the war to that
date. It involved 35,000 American and South Vietnamese troops sweeping along the Cambodian border
northwest of Saigon. They wanted to destroy the NLF bases of support. There was a huge mobilization of
troops, but the U.S. troops failed to engage the NLF in significant fights. The NLF just carefully avoided any
contact. The Americans left and the NLF moved in. This transpired throughout the war. Even the Joint Chiefs
of Staff and the CIA admitted that the Vietnam War will be long and costly. The U.S. won a large number of
battles. Both Battles of Prek Klok were victories of U.S. forces. Both battles occurred in February and March of
1967. These battles occurred in Operation Junction City. This was about an 82 day military operation. It was
the largest airborne operation since Operation Market Garden during World War II.

The U.S, during the operation used 30,000 men, 240 helicopters, more than 700 combat vehicles, like the
M48 tank and the M113 APC. The first Battle of Prek Kok happened on February 28, 1967. The 1st Battalion,
16th Infantry of the United States headed east and were attacked from the front by Viet Cong infantry with
gunfire, rockets and mortars. Soon after, they were attacked from all fronts as the communists tried to
surround them with a battalion-sized force. However, with superior firepower available, the Americans called
in air strikes and artillery, and by mid afternoon, had repelled the communist attacks. The Americans lost 25
killed while the communists lost 167. The second battle involved the U.S. military repelling another NLF
attack. There were dozens of battles during the Vietnam War. The PLAF and the PAVN lost many troops, but
there was no massive political solution enacted. The US never dominated the field outside of the immediate
battle successes. The Johnson administration in private knew that their strategy wasn’t working, but they
continued (because they had a fear of being labeled "cowards" or "traitors").
At the end of 1967, General Westmoreland said that the light was at end of the tunnel by 1968. That wasn't
the case at all. The war was in a stalemate. In December of 1967, 16,520 Americans have been killed in
Vietnam. About 186,000 North Vietnamese troops were killed in the same time as well. Public support for the
war dropped from 80% in 1965 to 46% in 1967. Many U.S. troops were brought into camps and brutalized.
Many U.S. troops used racist terms against the Vietnamese people, which was wrong. There is no need for
racism in any form. Even Westmoreland made the evil, racist comment that, “The Oriental doesn’t
value life in the same way as a Westerner....We value life and human dignity. They don’t care about
life and human dignity." Even Colonel George S. Patton III or son of the WWII general George Patton sent
Christmas cards in 1968 which showed photographs of Viet Cong soldiers dismembered and stacked in a
pile. Villages regularly aided NLF. Massacres transpire.
These are some of the Vietnamese people in March 16, 1968 just before they were murdered by evil soldiers
in the evil My Lai Massacre. Pictures of their dead bodies have been shown worldwide.

The My Lai massacre of March 1968 was when Charlie Company (led by Captain Ernest Medina and
Lieutenant William Calley), murdered over 350 unarmed women and children. These atrocities against
innocent Vietnamese civilians occurred all over Vietnam via Operation Phoenix and other programs. The
smuggling of heroin and opium along the Mekong River and around Bangkok including Saigon was very
widespread or rampant. Tons of accurate books documented the Drug Trade which existed during the
Vietnam War.

Also, many Americans G.I.s in Vietnam were the victims of torture and unjust abuse by NLF forces. John
McCain was a victim of torture during the Vietnam War including numerous American POWs. These actions
were wrong as well. Many U.S. soldiers resisted the war too. The NLF used nationalism and class relationships
in the nation to continue in their fight. To many people in the countryside, the NLF was a latest name of the
Viet Minh (who fought for independence of Vietnam and land reform since the 1940’s). Vietminh forces
came into the south to fight. The anti-war movement grew into the next level by 1967. Muhammad Ali and
so many courageous people opposed the Vietnam War.
The Tet Offensive and 1968

The Tet Offensive was a turning point in the Vietnam War. It showed the American public the volatile nature
of the Vietnam War. It proved to the world that the U.S. establishment was outright wrong about
proclaiming that the U.S. was having massive progress in the Vietnam War from a social and political
standpoint. In 1968, there are nearly 500,000 American troops in Vietnam (with massive bombings in
Northern Vietnam and massive search and destroy missions in the South). American forces won the Tet
offensive and numerous major battles in Vietnam, but the Vietnamese would never surrender. Tet shocked
Americans and increased doubt that a Western victory was in sight. It massively decreased the popularity of
President Lyndon Johnson. General Westmoreland toured the U.S. in 1967 at the behest of LBJ.
Westmoreland wanted to defend the war and he said that the Viet Cong was thinning. Tet was the Lunar
Year of a major holiday in Vietnam. During the holiday, relatives would travel long distances to visit each
other. This was the perfect time for an attack from NLF forces. The U.S. bombing had driven many people
into the cities, so many people traveled into the largest cities. The Tet holiday involved fireworks and many
strangers would be around. During Tet, Vietnamese human beings would celebrate their ancestors. In fact,
the plans for Tet existed a year before in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh approved of the Tet offensive plan. The North
Vietnamese wanted to use Tet as a way for them to shift the course of the war against America. The actual
offensive began as early as late 1967. This was during the dry season in Vietnam. This offensive was about
how the North Vietnamese and the NLF launched military feints to provoke the American military forces
away from the major cities. Before Tet, the major cities had seen little of a war which mostly occurred in the
The Tet Offensive revolves around some of the most brutal aspects of the brutal Vietnam War.
The French newspaper Le Monde in the cities "the Viet Cong were ground troops fought in combat
reported in January 1968 that a absorbed into the population by against 1200 NVA. The Americans
"sustained and general offensive" the urban underground like out of in Khe Sanh Marine base face a
had the Americans pinned back in relatives attending a family huge battle with the NVA and
defensive positions. On January 20, reunion." On the night of January some resort to hand to hand
the North Vietnamese Army began 29-30, 1968, the main part of the combat.
a siege of the U.S. Marine base at offensive starts. About 70,000
Khe Sanh near the Laotian border. NVA/NLF soldiers attacked 34 of The combined North Vietnamese
Westmoreland believed that the 44 provincial capitals, 64 district Army and NLF forced captured
Vietnamese wanted to repeat at capitals, and many military Hue or the ancient capital of
Khe Sanh the victory they had at installations. Over 100 targets were Vietnam for a time. Westmoreland
Dien Bien Phu 15 years earlier. hit all over South Vietnam. This believed that the Tet Offensive was
Johnson wanted Khe Sanh included the American embassy in a desperate attempt of the NLF
defended at all cost. He even had a Saigon or the citadel of American and he compared it to the Battle of
replica or model of Khe Sanh in the power. On, January 31, 1968, the the Bulge by the Germans during
White House. He was so nervous Tet Offensive overtly goes against the final time of WWII in Europe.
that he made his generals pledge American forces. At 2:00 am, (in The USA responded with a massive
that Khe Sanh could be held no January 31, 1968), General response. Massive air power was
matter what. President Johnson Westmoreland’s headquarters at executed by the U.S. in response to
reportedly barked at his generals Tan Son Nhut airbase suddenly the Tet Offensive. "The Viet Cong
that: “I don’t want any d____ come under attack by NVA mortar had the government by the throat
Dinbinphoo!” Khe Sah was a base and rocket fire. At 2:37 am, 19 in those provincial towns,"
of little strategic value. The NVA Vietcong commandos suddenly explained one U.S. military adviser.
was attacking Khe Sanh and breach the wall surrounding the "Ordinary methods would have
Westmoreland then rushed troops U.S. embassy in Saigon. At 2:55 never gotten them out, and the
to reinforce his besieged troops. am, hundreds of NVA troops government did not have enough
attack and burn the South troops to do the job, so firepower
The NLF moved in place to start Vietnamese Governmental was substituted." The NLF
Tet. In January of 1968, NLF troops headquarters in the ancient town nationalists occupied Hue for three
moved into larger provincial towns of Hoi an. In 3:33 am, 8,000 North weeks. Americans overtook Hue
and cities. They smuggled Vietnamese troops mass upon the after Americans virtually destroyed
weapons and explosives in coffins. city of Hue while Vietcong Hue "Nothing I saw during the
They buried them in cemeteries for commandos begin to execute Korean War, or in the Vietnam War
future use. There was widespread governmental officials in their so far," wrote Robert Shapen, who
sympathy for the nationalist homes. Many people reported toured Hue after its destruction,
movement, so no one told the attacks to Tam Ky. Later, U.S. "has been as terrible, in terms of
Saigon government or the Marines and other soldiers fight destruction and despair, as what I
Americans that a large NLF military back in Saigon, especially in the saw in Hue."
buildup was transpiring. As one U.S. embassy. Outside Saigon (in
American journalist observed, once Tan Son Nhut airbase), 905 U.S.
Ben Tre in Kien Hoa province was obliterated by U.S. firepower. American firepower ended the Tet Offensive
(and the US forces won the Tet offensive) and pushed back the NLF/NVA forces. The costs were heavily.
During the offensive, South Vietnamese (ARVN) forces were heavily mauled by the NVA and the NLF.
Americans suffered nearly 4,000 causalities between January and March 31. Many American military forces
were demoralized after Tet. More U.S. military rebellions grew, especially during the last years of the war. A
March 3 State Department report dismally concluded: "We know that despite a massive influx of 500,000 U.S.
troops, 1.2 million tons of bombs, 400,000 sorties per year, 200,000 KIA in three years, 20,000 U.S. KIA, etc.,
our control of the countryside and the defense of the urban levels is now essentially at pre-August 1965
levels. We have achieved a stalemate at a high commitment." The Vietnamese fighters still didn’t quit in war.
About 1,000 fighters fought off 11,000 U.S. troops and ARVN troops for three weeks. Tet also caused a huge
cost for the NLF. The NLF fighters were attacked in the villages and the Tet Offensive would be a defeat for
the NLF/NVA forces. The Tet Offensive was reported by the media and shown to millions of Americans. For
many Americans, it was showed them the unrestricted view of the graphic images of war.

Tet caused huge political consequences in America.

The anti-war movement grew into a higher level in 1967 and in 1968. More politicians like Eugene McCarthy,
Robert Kennedy, etc. opposed the war. They were running for President for the Democratic Party. Robert
McNamara or the secretary of defense and one architect of the escalation of the Vietnam War resigned.
Johnson was even told by John J. McCloy, Dean Acheson, and others (of the wise men clique. These men
were some of the major architects of the U.S. Cold War policy) to withdrawal from Vietnam. Johnson was
stunned and decided to not run for President in 1968. Lyndon Baines Johnson said these words on March 31,
1968 that he will not seek the nomination of President of the United States. The sentiment of the American
ruling class can be summed up by Walter Cronkite, dean of American broadcast journalism, who made a
fresh report on Vietnam on February 27:

"To say that we are closer to victory is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have
been wrong in the past…. It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out, then, will
be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people…[who] did the best they could."

1968 would be one of the most revolutionary years in American history. The Presidential race was continuing.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (a strong opponent of the Vietnam War) was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Afterwards, over 100 American cities would erupt in rebellion. Robert Kennedy was assassinated after he won
the California primary in June. In the Democratic convention, Chicago Mayor Daley’s cops attacked brutally
antiwar demonstrations. This showed the world more of the political repression in America. Some Soldiers in
Vietnam showed rebellion against the war in Vietnam.
One little known event of the Vietnam War is about how Lyndon Johnson’s peace negotiations with Vietnam
was ended because of the 1968 campaign efforts. Nixon wanted to prevent the peace talks in Vietnam, so he
could be elected President and execute his own plans in dealing with the Vietnam War. Nixon was in a tight
race with Hubert Humphrey, because Humphrey just before the election ended came out to support an end
to the bombing of North Vietnam. Humphrey called for a ceasefire. So, Nixon via the operative Anna
Chennault (who was an anti-Communist extremist) advised the Saigon government that the Nixon
administration would offer them a better deal. That is why Saigon rejected the course of the peace process.
Lyndon Johnson in private conversations called his action as treason and he was only prevented from saying
this in public via his advisors (and LBJ wanted to promote continuity in American politics). Also, President
Johnson allowed the FBI to wiretap the activities of Chennault too.

The Paris Peace talks failed and President Nguyen van Thieu supported Nixon. Walt Rostow has discussed
about this story too. Robert Parry’s excellent book entitled, “America’s Stolen Narrative” documents the
treasonous actions of Richard Nixon too. Tom Charles Huston was the national security aide assigned by
President Richard Nixon to investigate what President Lyndon Johnson knew about why the Vietnam peace
talks failed in 1968. He concluded that Nixon was behind a secret Republican plan to sabotage those
negotiations whose collapse cleared for the continuation of the conflict. “Over the years as I’ve studied it, I’ve
concluded that there was no doubt that Nixon was – would have been directly involved, that it’s not
something that anybody would’ve undertaken on their own,” Huston said in an oral history done for the
Nixon presidential library in 2008 and recently released in partially redacted form. So, the Vietnam War had
many secrets that tons of people don’t know about. President Lyndon Baines Johnson was wrong on
Vietnam, but he was right to sign the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Head Start, the Fair Housing Act,
Clean Water Restoration Act, the Freedom of Information Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and other progressive
Nixon claimed that the “silent majority” was with him. The era of Nixon grew the reactionary
counterrevolution. Richard Nixon wanted to end the Vietnam War in the realm of “peace with honor,”
but his administration lacked honor.
The Nixon era

Hubert Humphrey was narrowly defeated by Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon said that he had a secret plan to
end the Vietnam War, but the end of the war would end in the midst of Nixon’s aggressive military
campaigns. The U.S. left Vietnam in a controversial fashion just like the U.S. started the Vietnam War. The
antiwar movement wanted the US to leave ASAP while Nixon wanted America to leave Vietnam with
the South Vietnamese government intact via his Vietnamization plan. The inauguration of Richard Nixon
came about in January of 1969. Richard Nixon executed a counterrevolutionary movement (with the GOP’s
Southern Strategy as well). His supporters say that Nixon passed the EPA, the Clean Air Act, OSHA, the
earned income tax credit, détente, and other progressive legislation that I have no problem with. Yet, Nixon
collaborated with J. Edgar Hoover to basically crush the heroic Black Panther Party movement and he wanted
to pacify the anti-war movement. For example, in 1969 alone, 27 Black Panthers were killed by the police and
749 were jailed or arrested. The FBI and local police agencies were directly and indirectly involved in the
murdering of the Black Panthers. On December 4, 1969, Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were
murdered by the Chicago police. Richard Nixon said a lot of hateful, bigoted statements as documented by
tapes. Even with the EPA, Nixon refused to invest money massively in it.

Nixon was forced to enact some progressive policies by pressure from social movements. He also allowed
the ouster of the progressive leader Allende. He vetoed the Clean Air Act of 1972. Congress overrode his
veto and Nixon still used his presidential powers to impound half of the money. Richard Nixon even
opposed extending the 1965 Voting Rights Act and he lobbied Congress to end the fair housing
enforcement program. Leon E. Panetta (who was the director of civil rights for the Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare) resigned from the Nixon administration in protest of Nixon’s bad anti-civil rights
policies (like Richard Nixon trying to allow a segregationist G. Harold Carswell of Florida to be on the
Supreme Court. Nixon failed). Vice President Spiro Agnew criticized progressive activists, but he would resign
because he was caught doing financially corrupt actions. So, we can’t fall for the okie doke. Don’t get it
twisted. Richard Nixon was not a liberal. He was a slick reactionary. Now, it is important to note that
we must not lose sight of the prize. We will not show irrational hatred. We will show the truth in love
and stand up for justice.

After Tet, Vietnam would continue to be a bloody, controversial war. Richard Nixon wanted U.S. troops to
leave Vietnam, but he wanted South Vietnam to be non-Communist in an American victory. In other words,
he wanted a victory in the Vietnam War while gradually withdrawing American military forces. Nixon wanted
to accept the role of “peacemaker,” but in actuality he wasn’t. He supported military campaigns not only in
Vietnam, but in Cambodia (as he said that North Vietnamese forces were using Cambodia as a base of
operations). One big problem was that his bombing of Cambodia was that it was totally secret for a time. It
started from March 1969 and ended in August 1973. One big architect of Nixon’s policies in Indochina was
Nixon’s national security adviser Henry A. Kissinger. Kissinger knew about the situation of Tet. Nixon’s
Vietnamization policy was not new, because America tried Vietnamization from 1960 to 1965. It didn’t work
to defeat the NVA and the NLF at all. Nixon wanted to use as much firepower as policy as a way to provoke
the North Vietnamese to accept defeat. The first 14 months of the bombing campaign of Cambodia involved
more than 3,630 B-52 raids dropping over 110,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia. When the bombing ended,
the U.S. dropped about 257,465 tons of explosives on Cambodia (which caused Cambodia to be heavily
destroyed and allowed the genocidal and evil Khmer Rouge in 1975 to take power over in Cambodia).

To understand the Vietnam War in a higher level, then we have to understand about Cambodia in a higher
level. The leader Sihanouk of Cambodia was a neutral person and his nation was mostly filled with Buddhists.
Yet John Foster Dulles and others in the CIA were filled up with such anti-Communist paranoia, that they
wanted Cambodia to be adamantly anti-Communist as early as the 1950’s. Cambodia became independent
from France and Sihanouk was elected Prime Minister (after he abdicated his throne, so that he can go into
the electoral process). Sihanouk rebuffed the Dulles brothers, so the Western establishment used many
actions to try to destabilize Cambodia economically, so a puppet regime can replace Sihanouk. Mr. Norodom
Sihanouk also refused to be part of the SEATO military alliance (as documented in Sihanouk’s own memoirs
entitled, “My War with the CIA”). The West funded Cambodian factions hostile to Sihanouk like Khmer Serei
and Khmer Krom. William Blum wrote about a conspiracy to topple Sihanouk via a powerful Cambodian
general named Dap Chhuon at the end of the Eisenhower administration. By February of 1959, many of the
conspirators were caught or fled. Even when Kennedy was President, the CIA continued its covert operations
against Cambodia. Sihanouk confronted JFK about the matter and Kennedy tried to assure him that the U.S.
government was not involved.

To this Sihanouk wrote, "I considered President Kennedy to be an honorable man but, in that case, who
really represented the American government?" Today, we know that the CIA conducted covert actions even
without the President’s consent during the Kennedy years. After Kennedy’s assassination, LBJ’s
administration was filled with people (like Robert McNamara, Walt Rostow, and the Bundy brothers) who
created more U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Henry Kissinger especially wanted to end
Sihanouk’s neutral nation. The Establishment loved Kissinger, so they propped him up. By 1969, America
attacked Cambodia (with the support of Nixon and Kissinger) and Prince Sihanouk was removed from power
on March 18, 1970. General Lon Nol and Sirik Matak took over Cambodia. They supported the United States
and the interests of the Pentagon. With Sihanouk removed from power, civil war came about in Cambodia.
General Lon Nol’s troops fought the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese (who faced against the Khmer Serei
and Khmer Krom). The Khmer forces fought against the energized Cambodian communist movement (or the
Khmer Rouge who was led by the evil and infamous Pol Pot. Pol Pot was influenced by Stalinism not by
progressive Communism).
On April 30, 1970, American troops invaded Cambodia to assist General Lon Nol and to fight the
Communists. Blum wrote that the invasion was met with a huge protest from the peace movement in the
United States, and four members of Kissinger's NSC, including the above-mentioned Roger Morris, resigned
in protest. Pol Pot’s genocide came in the 1970‘s which killed over 1 million lives. Ironically, it would be the
Vietnamese who would intervene in 1978 and stop Pol Pot’s genocide against Cambodian human
beings. What’s wild is that the U.S. backed the murderous Pol Pot regime when Vietnam invaded Cambodia
(after the Khmer Rouge attacked and killed ethnic Vietnamese people on the Cambodia, Vietnam border).
Blum recounts the fact that during the Vietnam War, China sold several thousand tons of steel to the US
military in South Vietnam to help in the building of Air Force and Army bases. White House envoy Alexander
Haig met with Chinese Premier Zhou En-Lai in January of 1972, and Haig later wrote of his impressions of the
meeting, “…Though he never stated the case in so many words, I reported to President Nixon that the import
of what Zhou said to me was: 'don't lose in Vietnam; don't withdraw from Southeast Asia…” So, the evil,
unjust Vietnam War was a war filled with surprises.

Henry Kissinger wanted to even use a land invasion of the North and bomb dikes, so to destroy its food
supply (with the bombings of Hanoi and Haiphong). Kissinger's plan wasn't executed. Nixon announced the
withdrawal of 25,000 troops in June 1969. This was a token measure and the anti-war movement knew it. On
October 15, 1969, the first Vietnam Moratorium Day existed. On that day, more than 100,000 rallied in
Boston and Coretta Scott King led a march of 30,000 past the White House in a silent candlelight procession
to protest the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1970, Richard Nixon publicly said that U.S. forces were invading
Cambodia. People protested immediately. Strikes exist in more than 100 campuses nationwide. GI soldiers
rebelled and protested the war as well. In the summer of 1971, a former RAND corporation worker Daniel
Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers included documents that detailed the secret
history of Vietnam from the Kennedy to Johnson administration. It described 3 decades of lies and
deceptions made up by administrations as a means to justify the Vietnam War. Nixon tried to legally stop
Ellsberg from releasing the Pentagon Papers in public, but he was unsuccessful. American troops continued
to come home. On March 5, 1971, the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group. This was the
first American unit deployed to South Vietnam, and on that date, the military force returned home to its
former base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On May 9, 1972, Richard Nixon would execute Operation
Linebacker I, which U.S. jets laying mines in Haiphong harbor and other bombings of NVA forces.

Richard Nixon won the 1972 Presidential election in a huge margin against Democratic candidate George
McGovern. George McGovern was a U.S. Senator from South Dakota and he advocates an “immediate and
complete withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Vietnam. Nixon hypocritically claimed that he wanted peace, but
even on December 18-29, 1972, he allowed B-52 bombings of Hanoi and Haiphong (which has been called
“the Christmas bombings” or Operation Linebacker II). The U.S. dropped 36,000 tons of bombs on
factories, railroad years, and bus stations. Hanoi’s largest hospital was bombed and the residential
neighborhood of Kheim Thiem. These are war crimes without question. The Christmas bombings would be
condemned by anti-war activists, the media, various politicians, the Pope, and other world leaders. These
bombings would be the most intensive bombing campaign of the entire war with over 100,000 bombs
dropped on Hanoi and Haiphong. Many American soldiers were POWs and they were tortured by some NLF
forces too. That was wrong and that should be condemned. Torture and abuse are immoral actions no
matter who does it. POWs increasingly came home into America by the early 1970’s.

Hanoi's delegate Le Duc Tho cheers to the crowd while leaving the International Conference Center in Paris
on January 23, 1973, after meeting with presidential adviser Henry Kissinger, center. Le Duc Tho and
Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.

Here is Le Duc Tho and Kissinger.

The End of the Vietnam War

The war ended in a brutal fashion. The peace treaty ending officially American military involvement in the
war came about via the Paris Peace Accords on January 23, 1973. The Paris Peace Accords was between
America and the North Vietnamese (North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Le Duc Tho worked with U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in order for the accords to come about). South Vietnamese President
Thieu was skeptical of it, but he agreed to sign it reluctantly. The deal with those U.S. military forces would
withdraw from South Vietnam and prisoners would be exchanged. North Vietnam was allowed to continue
to supply communist troops in the South, but only to the extent of replacing expending materiel. The
communist leaders expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. Saigon was given a surge of U.S.
aid before the ceasefire went into effect. They began to roll back the Viet Cong. Then, the communists
developed a new strategy to conquer Saigon. According to the memoirs of Tan Van Tra, this plan was
mapped out in Hanoi on March 1973. Nixon implied that if the North Vietnamese violated the ceasefire, then
he would militarily intervene with U.S. forces. That is why the U.S. Senate passed the Case-Church
Amendment to prohibit such of an intervention. In 1973, there was the oil crisis caused after the Yom Kippur
War, so resources weren’t readily sent to South Vietnam and the South Vietnamese suffered as a product of
these developments. The Viet Cong recaptured its territory lost during the dry season on January 1974.
Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal. He and many of his administration officials were involved in
numerous crimes against the American people.

Nixon faced impeachment, so he resigned on August 1974.

Gerald Ford became the new President. President Ford faced a heavily Democratic Congress who caused the
withholding of financial aid to South Vietnam. At this time, Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from
$1 billion a year to $700 million. The U.S. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated
by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. Congress immediately
voted in restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a
total cutoff of funding in 1976. The Vietnam War continued. Proponents of the war say that the North
Vietnamese violated the Peace Accords and others disagree. By 1975, the North Vietnamese grew continued
to increase its military power. They controlled major Vietnamese cities. U.S. Congress did not give South
Vietnam forces military aid. The Saigon government soon fell. In April of 1975, the remnants of the Saigon
government surrendered to the invading forces of the NVA. Many Vietnamese people in Saigon escaped
into America and other places of the world.

By December 1974, as Tra wanted, North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phouc Long Province.
Phouc Binh fell in January 6, 1975. In 1975, the South Vietnamese had more military artillery than the North
Vietnamese, but the oil crisis prevented them from using much of their forces. The North Vietnamese used
General Dung in March 10, 1975 to execute Campaign 275. Gradually, the South Vietnamese surrendered
and experienced defeat. Hue fell in March 25, 1975. On April, the final offensive against Saigon by the North
Vietnamese came about. President Thieu of South Vietnam resigned and he said that the USA betrayed
South Vietnam. He criticized Kissinger for tricking him to sign the Paris Peace agreement. On April 30, 1975,
NVA troops entered Saigon. They overcame resistance and captured key buildings and installations. Ford
ordered Operation Frequent Wind to evaluate all Americans (which included U.S. Marines and some
Vietnamese people who wanted to escape from the U.S. embassy in Saigon) from South Vietnam. Soon, the
Viet Cong flag was raised above the gates of the Independence Palace in Saigon. President Doung Van Minh
surrendered. The Vietnam War was over.

The United States suffered a defeat in front of the world. The legacy of the Vietnam War is diverse. One part
of the legacy is that no one should underestimate the self-determination of oppressed people. Other
legacies include that political and social solutions long term ought not to be abandoned, foreign policy is
complex not simplistic, solutions to crisis don’t deal necessarily with a one size fit all solution, and
imperialism is blatantly wrong and immoral.
In Memoriam (The Vietnam War Memorial)

The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. is one of the most solemn places on Earth. It commemorates
the people who passed away from Vietnam War. It has been a place of grief, reflection, and prayer. It’s a
place where some folks can be educated on the fact that war is nothing to be played with. War changes lives
and it will affect lives forever. Its history was a very interesting one. A college student, back then, named
Maya Lin won the memorial design contest. She was a 21 year old Yale University student. She created her
design or a class. This was after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund held a design contest. The guidelines
said that the memorial will have to contain the names of every American who died in Vietnam and remained
missing in action, it would make no political statement about the war, and it would be in harmony with its
surroundings. It would be contemplative in character. Maya Lin won the contest after over 1,400 submissions
came about. Maya Lin is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Unfortunately, she was suspected to racism,
because of her design. Yet, she was courageous and stood her ground. The Vietnam Veteran Memorial was
first unveiled on November 13, 1982. Over 4.2 million visitors came to the location in 2012 alone. There was
a U.S. flag and a statue of three servicemen added to the memorial too. There was another sculpture of three
women caring for an injured solider too. Soon, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be very popular in
America. Names have been added to the Memorial too.

There was a recent 2006 addition to the Memorial of a marine corporal whose 2006 death from a stroke was
determined to be the result of wounds received in action back in 1967. Photographs, bracelets, military
medals, dog tags, religious items, etc. are placed at the memorial in remembrance too. The memorial was
built without government funds. Jan C. Scruggs is a wounded Vietnam War vet. He studied post-traumatic
stress disorder when he returned to America. He called for a memorial to help with the healing process for
the roughly 3 million Americans who served in the conflict. After watching the movie “The Deer Hunter,”
Scruggs used $2,800 of his own money to form the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 1979. People used
their own money to help construct the memorial. Ordinary people, corporations, foundations, veterans
groups, civic organizations, and labor union have given 8.4 million dollars to the project. The money was
worth it, because we have to remember. The names of the soldiers on the wall have been read in 1982, 1992,
2002, and 2007. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a fitting location where people can use reflection and
remembrance about the Vietnam War.


It has been over 40 years since the fall of Saigon. The fall of Saigon marked the end of the Vietnam War.
There is a lot of historical significance involving the Vietnam War. The fall was the most decisive defeat of the
largest U.S. military intervention in American history. 2 years before, the last U.S. combat forces left Vietnam.
Later, the puppet regime of General Nguyen van Thieu and its 700,000 strong U.S. trained and U.S. armed
South Vietnamese army collapsed virtually without a fight. There are many images of the U.S. personnel
fleeing the besieged city of Saigon. There were helicopters that left the embassy. Many Vietnamese escaped
not just Americans. The Vietnam War represented a huge debacle of American foreign policy. The effects of
the Vietnam War still exist today. U.S. intervention in Vietnam existed even before the days of Eisenhower
(when he was President) and it continued until the time of Nixon.

The Vietnam War was a genocidal expression of imperialism. The U.S. dropped more bombs in Vietnam than
what the U.S. dropped in Europe during WWII. 536,000 American troops were in Vietnam during its peak. 15
million tons of munitions were dropped in its aerial campaign. Over 58,000 Americans died and over 3
million Vietnamese lost their lives as a product of the war. Vietnam experienced more than 20 million gallons
of toxic chemicals. The environment of Vietnam was damaged and even babies being born in Vietnam now
have been damaged by pollution from Western military actions. The leaders in planning and prosecuting the
war have not been prosecuted for war crimes. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the evil war. The
fall of Saigon allowed an oppressed people to be victorious against the most imperialist nation on Earth. The
Vietnamese people defeated French colonialism and U.S. imperialism. Yet, today, the West became very slick
and is an ally of Vietnam (via neoliberal policies, trade deals, and other policies). Transnational corporations
have exploited the Vietnamese workers, so they can make huge profits in the 21st century. 40 years later,
U.S. warships return to Vietnam, so the West can promote its “Pivot of Asia” agenda (which is about
encircling China, so China’s hegemony won’t exceed U.S. hegemony).

One of the real goals of the TPP is for the U.S. to check China’s rising economic power. The treaty could end
some of Vietnam’s state run enterprises. While China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, the US has become
its largest export market. The Maoist regime in China invaded Vietnam in 1979 after Hanoi ousted the evil
regime of Pol Pot of Cambodia. China’s invasion caused over 100,000 Vietnamese civilians to die and some
125,000 soldiers including militia members to die too. The U.S. antiwar movement and Vietnamese workers
contributed to the end of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War existed in midst of urban rebellions, civil rights
developments, and massive strikes in America and throughout the Earth. We face the threats of imperialism,
austerity, the 2 big business parties’ agenda, and other attacks on the working class. The essence of the
Vietnam War is that imperialism is not only wrong, but that the working class including the poor should
unite to end the oppressive system (so a system of justice can exist).

Appendix A: The Anti-War Movement (involving the Vietnam War)

The anti-war movement against the Vietnam War was diverse. The movement included young and old,
unions, black people, white people, Hispanic people, Asian people, women, immigrants, the homeless, the
poor, a diversity of workers, teachers, women, military human beings, political activists, clergy people, etc.
It evolved into a very large movement. By the time of when the majority of the country was against the war
(which was during the late 1960's), then the anti-war movement was to be reckoned with. The following
information will be a chronology of occurrences, so individuals can see the flow of history. As early as 1945,
American troops protested American aid to French imperialists, who fought the Vietnamese people.
Individual, progressive voices opposed U.S. support for the French fighting Vietnamese human beings
seeking independence. Yet, during the era of McCarthyism of the 1950's, voices of dissent were readily
suppressed by the American government. Many people were harassed, interrogated by Congress, and even
unfairly jailed because of their political views. Paul Robeson and other courageous men and women
demanded an end to American involvement in the Vietnam War.
By the early 1960's, things changed. McCarthyism ended and the Old Left grew in power. First, it is time to
define what the Old Left was. The Old Left was made up of mainline liberal people who were involved in the
anti-nuclear movement, some were anti-war, and many of them were anti-Communist. They opposed the
Vietnam War, but they wanted to use more moderate channels in getting their points across. 2 famous
organizations of the Old Left were the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy or SANE and Turn
Towards Peace. SANE was created in 1957 and it also wanted a nuclear test ban treaty and nuclear
disarmament, which are honorable goals. Both groups were anticommunist. Their groups were
exclusionary. They didn't even want socialists or especially communists to be in their organizations. Their
leaders strongly disagreed with allying with socialists or communists in expressing anti-war views. The
younger generation during 1960's felt annoyed by the Old Left, because of their dogmatism and their
exclusive policies of refusing to ally with socialists including communists. Therefore, the New Left started to
develop as early as 1960. The New Left was more progressive than the Old Left.

The New Left, SNCC, and the Anti-War Movement

The New Left readily allied with people regardless if someone was communist or non-communist. They
opposed the Vietnam War in more militant terms, which caused the Old Left to treat the New Left with
scorn and suspicion. The SDS or the Students for a Democratic Society were part of the New Left movement
including the SPU. The SPU or the Students Peace Union was created in 1959 in Chicago. The SPU (who
included socialists) and the SDS wanted an immediate end to the war in Vietnam. They were more militant
than the Old Left. The New Left grew in power and influence during the early period of the anti-war
movement (which lasted from 1960 to 1965). The black freedom struggle inspired the SDS too. Many SDS
members were part of Freedom Struggle and SNCC in fact. The SDS was moved by the strength and the
resiliency of black leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Forman, Ella Baker, and other heroes who
walked their talk.

SNCC was born in April 1960 at Shaw University. SNCC was formed with the help of Sister Ella Baker and
SNCC's greatest strength was that is advanced a grassroots, democratic organizing struggle. SNCC wanted
democratic type of organization in order for freedom to come to black people. The SDS copied that
ideology in their Port Huron Statement (on June 1962), which called for participatory democratic structures
in society. The anti-war movement was global.
In the year of 1963, the anti-war movement was still in its infancy. On May, Anti-Vietnam war protests were
found in England and Australia. The War Resisters League (which was a pacifist group) on September 21,
1963 organized the first major U.S. protest against the Vietnam War and against the anti-Buddhist
terrorism by the U.S. supported South Vietnamese regime. They advanced a demonstration at the U.S.
Mission to the UN in New York City. The same WRL on October 9, 1963 also turned out 300 pickets to
protest the speaking engagement by Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu (or the wife of Diem’s brother) at the Waldorf-
Astoria in New York City.

In 1964, the anti-war movement escalated its protests while the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War
escalated as well. As early as February 29, 1964, SDS member Richard Flacks wrote about Vietnam in the
memorandum entitled, “New Crisis in Vietnam.” In 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident came about and the
Johnson administration used deceptive rhetoric in order to promote a more active military involvement in
the Vietnam area. The draft resistance movement further develops, which means that many men refused
to be drafted to be in the Vietnam War. Some left America. Some went to jail courageously. Others burned
their draft cards, which angered the administration. The Progressive Labor Party and the Young Socialist
Alliance on May 2, 1964 organization expressed demonstrations nationwide in San Francisco, Boston,
Madison, and Seattle. 700 marched in San Francisco. On May 12, 1964, 12 young men in New York City
burned their draft cards in public. This was the first major act of American war resistance. As early as
Freedom Summer movement of 1964, a huge number of SNCC activists opposed the Vietnam War as
admitted by Brother and U.S. historian Clayborne Carson. The young people involved in the Free Speech
Movement (this was about students promoting the right to carry out political organizing on campus. Mario
Savio was a leader of the FSM. Ironically, he worked with civil rights workers too) also opposed the Vietnam
War during the fall of 1964.

On December 19, 1964, there were the first coordinated nationwide protests against the Vietnam War.
They existed in New York City (it was sponsored by groups like the War Resisters League, Fellowship of
Reconciliation Committee for Nonviolent Action, the Socialist Party, and the Student Peace Union. It was
attended by 1500 people), San Francisco (with 1000 people), Minneapolis, Miami, Austin, Sacramento,
Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C, Boston, Cleveland, and other cities. By the end of 1964, about
23,000 Americans were involved in the Vietnam War. Malcolm X was another strong opponent of the
Vietnam War too. In his speeches throughout 1964 and 1965, he criticized the Vietnam War as violation of
the human rights of the Vietnamese people. Malcolm X strongly supported the revolutions of Africa and
Asia (as he opposed the international Western power structure's agenda of neo-colonialism). On January
18, 1965, Malcolm X told the Young Socialist magazine about his views on the Vietnam War. Here are his

“…The same thing. It shows the real ignorance of those who control the American power structure. If
France, with all types of heavy arms, as deeply entrenched as she was in what then was called
Indochina, couldn’t stay there, I don’t see how anybody in their right mind can think the U.S. can get in
there--it’s impossible. So it shows her ignorance, her blindness, her lack of foresight and hindsight; and
her complete defeat in South Vietnam is only a matter of time...”
SNCC and the SDS were allies for a time. That changed slowly, because more SNCC members wanted a
more black nationalist approach in solving problems (not out of hate, but because SNCC witnessed the
betrayal in the 1964 Democratic convention and SNCC members wanted black community control. SNCC
was right to mention the fact that the black liberation struggle must be led by black people). SNCC was right
to expose the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party. The SDS moved into a more anti-war direction (which they
were right to oppose the Vietnam War), but many of their members ignored the necessity of respecting the
black liberation struggle. So, the divergence of ideologies caused SNCC and SDS to go in their separate ways
despite their agreement on so many issues. Yet, one positive is that both SNCC and SDS agreed in opposing
the Vietnam War. Bob Moses is a black man, who shared anti-war views and pro-civil rights views. Moses
was one man who was a bridge between the civil rights and anti-war movements. As early as 1965, Bob
Moses said the following words to journalist Jack Newfield: "...Most liberals think Mississippi is an
accurate reflection of America's values and morality. Why can't the people who killed Andrew,
James, and Mickie be brought to justice, unless a majority of the community condones murder?
Sheriff Rainey is not a freak; he reflects the majority. And what he did is related to the napalm
bombing of 'objects' in Vietnam."
Bob Moses was ahead of his time in understanding how imperialist policies in Vietnam harmed the rights of
black people including others in America too. For a long time, the more moderate civil rights organizations
from the NAACP to the Urban League supported the Vietnam War, because they were anticommunist, they
supported LBJ, and believed that the war could help the lives of black Americans in a perverse way (as
numerous black people served in every war. Truman allowed the integration of the armed forces during the
1940's. Many black military soldiers were heavily discriminated against unjustly in the battlefield and in
America). They (or people like Wilkins and Young) felt that a merger of the peace and civil rights
movements would distract the needs of black people in America. They were wrong. Even individual
members of the NAACP and the Urban League would oppose the Vietnam War. It would be not until the
election of Nixon when the moderate civil rights groups would oppose the Vietnam War via their official
The Early Anti-War Movement Grows
We know that black Americans were the most anti-Vietnam War demographic in America as proven by the
national polls. 1965 was the break out year of the anti-war movement. Worldwide, anti-war
demonstrations exist like in Budapest, Hungary. There, some 200 Asian and African students protested. The
RA Student Peace Union protested the war at Kansas University. On February 8, 1965, the SDS created an
ad that called the Vietnam War “hideously immoral.” The ad was found in the Liberator. Teach ins came
about too. Teach ins were about lectures in universities nationwide that discussed about the evils of the
Vietnam War, organizing political strength, developing anti-war strategies, etc. The SDS sponsored their
first teach in at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. About 3,000 students attended the teach in
movement spreads nationwide. In 1965, U.S. combat troops readily came into Vietnam. On March 26,
1965, an 82 year old Detroit woman named Alice Herz burned herself to death to protest the horrors of the
Vietnam War. Also, on March, the Vietnam Day Committee (with people like Jerry Rubin, and Stephen
Smale) organized a huge protest of 100,000 people in Berkeley, California.

In April 17, 1965, the SDS sponsored anti-war march came about in Washington, D.C. It had 15,000-20,000
people there. Paul Potter was there to speak of demanding a radical change in society. Protesters were
found in Sylvan Theater and on the grounds of the Washington monument. Speeches were given by Robert
Morris, Staughton Lynd, Senator Ernest Gruening of Alaska, and others. Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and a SNCC
trio called the “Freedom Voices” sang “We Shall Overcome.” Potter in D.C. gave an eloquent speech that
was greeted with applause. Some of what Potter said included the following words:

“…What kind of system is it that allows good men to make those kinds of decisions? What kind of system is
it that justifies the United States or any country seizing the destinies of the Vietnamese people and
using them callously for its own purpose? What kind of system is it that disenfranchises people in the
South, leaves millions upon millions of people throughout the country impoverished and excluded from the
mainstream and promise of American society, that creates faceless and terrible bureaucracies and makes
those the place where people spend their lives and do their work, that consistently puts material values
before human values-and still persists in calling itself free and still persists in finding itself fit to police the
world? What place is there for ordinary men in that system and how are they to control it, make it bend
itself to their wills rather than bending them to its?”
The April 17th March was feared by the Old Left (which included pacifists like A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin,
even socialist Norman Thomas, and members of SANE) that communists would overtake the march.

In May of 1965, Bob Moses gave a stirring speech in a teach in at Berkeley. Moses compared the racism in
America to the oppressive Vietnam War. 1965 saw the massive growth of the anti-war movement. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. expressed serious doubts about the Vietnam War in 1965, but he refused to overtly
oppose the war in a militant way in public for his fear of losing support by the government for the civil
rights struggle. Dr. King commented on the Watts rebellion in 1965 and on other important issues. His
actions in Selma (along with the work from SNCC, the DCVL, etc.) allowed the Voting Rights Act to be
passed. Yet, as time goes on, the second coming of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would emerge to oppose the
Vietnam War in a higher, courageous level. On July 1965, the young Brother named John Shaw was killed in
Vietnam. He was involved in the demonstrations at McComb, MS back in 1961. After people heard of his
death in America, black Americans in Mississippi protested. Young black human beings in McComb,
Mississippi learned that one of their classmates was killed in Vietnam and distribute a leaflet (in the
summer of 1965) saying "No Mississippi Negroes should be fighting in Viet Nam for the White man's
freedom.” This leaflet was reprinted in the MFDP’s newsletter in July 28, 1965.

On July 5 1965, Dr. King told a college audience in Virginia that "the war in Viet Nam must be stopped." LBJ
feared that Dr. King would strengthen the anti-war movement if he would publicly condemn the Vietnam
War. So, Dr. King (who was President of the SCLC or the Southern Christian Leadership Council) in 1965
and in 1966 called for the ending of hostilities in Vietnam. In August 12, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King called
for a halt to U.S. bombing of North Vietnam to encourage negotiated settlement of the conflict. Johnson
sent Arthur Goldberg to try to convince Dr. King to not issue radically anti-war statements about the
Vietnam War in public. Ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Goldberg (and Johnson supporter) talked
with Dr. King and tried to convince him that a settlement was in a making in Vietnam. We know that to be
false since LBJ was escalating the war. Dr. King knew of the complex history of Vietnam. He knew that Ho
Chi Minh had a more nationalist philosophy and that French imperialists oppressed the Vietnamese people
for a long time. CALCAV (or the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam) was created in October of
1965. It was made of religious clergy people who opposed the Vietnam War. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was
a member of CALCAV and the only black member from the South.

Burning drafts card continued. Some people refuse to serve in the military. The pro-war movement held
their own rally in NYC on October 30, 1965. SANE would sponsor their own March on Washington on
November 27, 1965. SANE in its leadership refused to call for an immediate American withdrawal of
Vietnam. James Forman and Bayard Rustin sponsored the march. 15-20,000 people attend the anti-war
rally. Coretta Scott King was in Washington D.C. and gave a speech against the war too in November 27,
1965. High school students in Des Moines, Iowa, are suspended on December 1965 for wearing black
armbands to "mourn the deaths on both sides" and in support of Robert Kennedy's call for a Christmas
truce. The students sued the Des Moines School District, resulting in the 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision
in favor of the students, Tinker v. Des Moines.

In 1966, the anti-war movement entered a new era and a new phase. SNCC would courageously oppose the
Vietnam War in a higher level. SNCC would also wholeheartedly embrace Black Power, which turned off
many white people (since many white people misinterpreted Black Power as a racist slogan of “black
racism.” In actuality, Black Power was not about racism, but about the promotion of black personhood and
black self-determination. Even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. agreed with much of the views of the Black Power
movement like the pooling of economic and political resources in the black community, but Dr. King
rejected separatism. Also, some Black Power proponents promoted explicit capitalism in a reactionary
sense not true liberation. Others Black Power advocates were more progressive). SNCC did a lot of good
just like the SDS. Both groups weren't perfect. Some members in the SDS and SNCC were misogynists. We
know that there can be no human liberation without the liberation of women. Groups like the Woman
Strike for Peace would not only protest the Vietnam War, but they advocated peace in general. The death
of Sammy Young Jr. changed SNCC and the rest of the anti-war movement forever. Sammy Younger Jr. was
a Brother who was a leader in SNCC from the Deep South. He was part of the U.S. Navy or a while. To the
time of his death, he helped to register black people to vote in Macon, Alabama. Younge was shot in the
back of the head by Marvin Segrest, a white gas station attendant at a local Standard Oil station, in
Tuskegee, Alabama on January 3, 1966. Younge, opposed a “Whites Only” bathroom sign in Alabama before
he was murdered. SNCC opposed the Vietnam before among individual members, but the cruel,
inexscuable murder of Younger caused SNCC to mention that Enough is Enough.

SNCC publicly issued a statement to oppose the Vietnam War courageous via a statement on January 6,
1966. The statement reads the following words:

“…The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee has a right and a responsibility to dissent with United
States foreign policy on any issue when it sees fit. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee now
states its opposition to United States' involvement in Vietnam on these grounds: We believe the United
States government has been deceptive in its claims of concern for the freedom of the Vietnamese people,
just as the government has been deceptive in claiming concern for the freedom of colored people in such
other countries as the Dominican Republic, the Congo, South Africa, Rhodesia, and in the United States
itself. ... The murder of Samuel [Younge] in Tuskeegee, Alabama, is no different than the murder of
peasants in Vietnam, for both [Younge] and the Vietnamese sought, and are seeking, to secure the rights
guaranteed them by law. In each case the United States government bears a great part of the responsibility
for these deaths. Samuel [Younge] was murdered because United States law is not being enforced.
Vietnamese are murdered because the United States is pursuing an aggressive policy in violation of
international law..."

— Press release: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

SNCC members Cleveland Sellers and Kwame Ture would continue to oppose the Vietnam War. Many well-
known members of SNCC were James Forman, John Lewis, Diane Nash, Marion Barry, Julian Bond, Angeline
Butler, Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, Victoria Gray, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Anne Moody, Gloria Richardson,
and so many other human beings. SNCC deserves a whole lot of credit for their contributions in the black
freedom struggle. The NAACP and moderate civil rights organizations would distance themselves from the
1966 SNCC anti-war statement. SNCC supported their fellow SNCC member and Georgia state Congressman
Julian Bond. Julian Bond in 1966 publicly dissented with the Vietnam War, supported SNCC’s anti-war,
statement, and he agreed with those who resisted the draft. The reactionaries went wild and tried to
prevent him from being in the George State Legislature. Even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. supported Julian
Bond’s right to dissent on January 10, 1966. The American Civil Liberties Union or the ACLU, and other
groups supported Bond as well. In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in the case of Bond v.
Floyd (385 U.S. 116) that the Georgia House of Representatives had denied Bond his freedom of speech and
was required to seat him. In 1966, Dr. King was caught in a space. He morally opposed the war, but didn’t
feel it was time to totally break with the Johnson administration (Dr. King feared that the social programs of
the Great Society will be gone as a product of the obsession with extending the conflict in Vietnam). On
May 29, 1966, Dr. King urges a halt to the bombing on a Face the Nation televised interview.

Anti-war groups continued with massive, international demonstrations on March 25-26, 1966. It was called
the Second Days of International Protests. It was organized by the National Coordinating Committee to End
the War in Vietnam, led by SANE, Women Strike for Peace, and the Committee for Nonviolent Action and
the SDS. There were 20,000 to 25,000 people in New York alone. Demonstrators were found also in Boston,
Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Ottawa, London, Oslo, Stockholm, Lyon,
and Tokyo. In 1966, Muhammad Ali would oppose the Vietnam War in public too. Ali was reclassified 1-A
(from 1-Y) in February 1966, so he was eligible to be part of the draft.

Muhammad Ali opposed the draft and sought to oppose the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector (on
religious and moral grounds). Muhammad Ali won the Olympic gold medal for boxing in 1960 at the age of
18 year old. He won the world heavyweight championship (against Sonny Liston) in 1964. Muhammad Ali
called himself the greatest, which inspired more confidence in black people. The reactionaries abhorred
Muhammad Ali for this and Muhammad Ali stood his ground like a man. Ali also famously said in 1966: "I
ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me n____." Ironically, Muhammad Ali was
beloved by the anti-war campus students. In a press conference where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first
proclaimed his opposition he said, "Like Muhammad Ali puts it, we are all–Black and Brown and poor–
victims of the same system of oppression." Muhammad Ali was very much loved by the black community as
well. Protests continued and a scuffle broke outside the US embassy in London over the Vietnam between
the police and protesters on July 3, 1966.

There can be no full understanding about the Black Panther Party without acknowledging the huge role that Black
Women have had in the party. Sisters like Kathleen Cleaver, Tarika Lewis (who was the first Sister to join the BPP
for Self Defense back in 1967), Assata Shakur, Varlie Douglas, Barbara Easley-Cox, Dorothy Phillips, Brenda
Hall, Leslie Booker, and many other courageous, strong black women did their part in the struggle. Today, we will
continue in this struggle. We want the human race to be liberated fully.

On October 1966, the Black Panther Party for self-defense was created in Oakland, California. Bobby Seale
and Huey P. Newton formed it. Its other original members include Elbert "Big Man" Howard, Sherwin Forte,
Reggie Forte, and Bobby Hutton. The BPP was a socialist organization who wanted the empowerment of
the masses of the people. They wanted black people to confront police oppression and to use the
community as a means to establish solutions like free breakfast for children, using trained, discipline people
with guns to protect their own communities, medical clinics, and other actions. Its leadership and
members would oppose the Vietnam War 100 percent. In fact, the original 1966 platform of the Black
Panther Party stated the following words: "...We want all black men to be exempt from military
service...We believe that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a
racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world
who, like black people, are being victimized by the white racist government of America. We will protect
ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means
necessary...." The Black Panther Party was a strong, progressive, and revolutionary organization. It would
be the victim of attack not only by the Oakland police, but by the FBI via the illegal COINTELPRO operations.
In November 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. publicly criticized the draft system as being classist and how it
disproportionately affected also poor black people. Dr. King said that the draft system denied black people
both education and educational deferment, which sent them to the military. The Student Mobilization
Committee would be established by December of 1966.
A New Era of the Anti-War Movement
1967 would be a year of a higher level of militancy in the anti-war movement. Anti-war activists William
Sloane Coffin, socialist leader Norman Thomas, and Allard Lowenstein wanted Dr. King to take a public
stand against the Vietnam War. They would receive their wish. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s opposition to the
Vietnam War was like a series of piecemeal steps. First, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was tired and wanted a
rest. Therefore, he took a trip to Jamaica on early January 1967 to relax and to work on his last, prophetic
book entitled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” He then rent a house in Jamaica and he started to meditate
on the civil rights movement, on the war, on housing, on poverty, and on life in general. Bevel came to
inspire him. Bevel told him in Jamaica that he must oppose the Vietnam War as the Vietnamese people are
his brothers and his sisters too. Bevel asked Dr. King to be a part of the MOBE anti-war protest rally in April
15th, 1967. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew what he had to do.

Dr. King knew that the Vietnam War was totally evil and unjust, therefore he publicly opposed the Vietnam
War in a great level by January 1967. He also saw images of Vietnamese babies being mutilated by napalm
bombs. This shocked Dr. King up and he was emotionally stirred up to fight against that war. The pictures
were found in Ramparts magazine and it was featured in an article called “The Children of Vietnam” by
William Pepper. William Pepper was an author, a human rights activist, and he visited orphanages in
Vietnam. On February 21-22, 1967, anti-war activists first issued against Dow Chemical (because Dow
helped to create napalm, which was used in the Vietnam War) in the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
19 people were arrested. SDS chapters would fund more anti-Dow Chemical protests in campuses

On February 25, 1967, Dr. King criticized the war in a press conference. Mark Hatfield, George McGovern,
and Eugene McCarthy were there to back him. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had great arguments for opposing
the Vietnam War. He felt that resources were wasted in an imperialist war (when the Great Society
programs were sacrificed in the war in Southeast Asia) which could be used to build up the rural and urban
communities of America. He felt that the war interfered with the self-determination of the Vietnamese
people and he believed that a peaceful resolution to the conflict could end the war without violence. He
felt that the war violated international law. We know that the FBI and the NSA illegally monitored Dr. King,
Muhammad Ali, and others because of their anti-war views. Even some of Dr. King’s advisors like Stanley
Levison felt that he went too far. Some of his advisors were afraid that he would support in their minds the
most “fringe” elements of the anti-war movement. Moderate civil rights leaders (like Roy Wilkins, Whitney
Young, and others), who supported the war, believed that Dr. King was wrong in trying to form an alliance
between the civil rights and anti-war movements. These moderate civil rights people felt that the civil rights
movement and the peace movement must be separate.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that ending Jim Crow apartheid was not enough and that there must
be a radical redistribution of political and economic power, so the poor can have economic justice too.
Lyndon Johnson was furious at Dr. King’s opposition to the war. Dr. King had an argument with National
Urban League Director Whitney Young on the Vietnam War. This incident occurred in a private Long Island
reception. Whitney Young disapproved of Dr. King’s statement in Los Angeles on February of 1967, because
Young supported the war. Whitney Young would later oppose the war after Dr. King’s assassination. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. stood up his ground and said to Whitney Young that what you say may give you a
foundation grant, but it won’t get you the kingdom of truth. Whitney Young became shocked and Whitney
pointed at Dr. King’s stomach and said you’re eating well. Henry Wachtel stepped in to pull Dr. King aside to
prevent any more tension to occur. Later, both men would discuss in private more cordially about Vietnam
and Johnson.

On March 17, 1967, a group of anti-war citizens protested the Vietnam War at the Pentagon. On March 25,
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a march of 5,000 people against the war in Chicago along State Street. He
gave an eloquent speech. Al Raby, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Bernard Lee, anti-war military veterans (as military
veterans and military active duty soldiers were be a strong part of the anti-war movement itself) and others
marched with him. In the March anti-war rally in Chicago, Dr. King said the following words:

“…Poverty, urban problems and social progress generally are ignored when the guns of war become a
national obsession. When it is not our security that is at stake, but questionable and vague commitments to
reactionary regimes, values disintegrate into foolish and adolescent slogans… Those of us who love peace
must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the
propaganda of peace. We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement.
We must demonstrate, teach and preach, until the very foundations of our nation are shaken. We must work
unceasingly to lift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more
noble expression of humaneness…”

Dr. Martin Luther King here is giving his historic Riverside Church speech in NYC one year before he was
assassinated in 1968.

One of the greatest speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be his Riverside speech in New York City
on April 4, 1967. CALCAV sponsored the Riverside event and Dr. King agreed to speak there. He received
huge applause before he gave his address. Dr. King’s Riverside speech was one of the most eloquent
speeches on the Vietnam War. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed a strong criticism of the Vietnam War.
He gave a summary of the history of the Vietnam War, the error of the U.S. supporting the Hitler loving
General Ky, he condemned the use of napalm, and he wanted a revolution of values (where human rights
are respected without imperialist adventures overseas).

In the speech in the Riverside Church, Dr. Martin Luther King said the following words:

“…I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos
without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own
government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of
thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent...A true revolution of values will soon look
uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across
the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and
South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries,
and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say:
"This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to
learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of
war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm,
of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins
of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically
handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A
nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of
social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Dr. King condemned poverty and made the great point that the Vietnam War is wrong just like the
oppressive conditions of the ghettoes of America. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accurately said that the
Vietnam War stripped away resources from the Great Society which could have been used to help the poor.
He called the war “an enemy of the poor.” Immediately, the establishment turned on Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. after he gave that speech. The NY Times, the Washington Post, and Life Magazine (who slandered
the Riverside speech as “a demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi”) all criticized Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. for his views on the Vietnam War. The leadership of the NAACP, Carl Rowan, The
Pittsburgh Courier, Whitney Young, and other black people even criticized Dr. King. Spock and others
wanted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to run for President in 1967, but Dr. King refused to do so since he said
that he wanted to be his own man (and Dr. King at his best was a preacher and a social activist not a
politician). So, SNCC especially, CORE (with the anti-Vietnam War activist Floyd McKissick), and the SCLC
opposed the war early on. It would be until Nixon would be President until the NAACP and the Urban
League to oppose the Vietnam War. Dr. King’s friend Rabbi Joshua Abraham Heschel opposed the Vietnam
war and agreed with Dr. King’s views on the war.

This is the crowd of protests in the anti-war demonstration in NYC on April 15, 1967.

The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam or MOBE (MOBE was a coalition of anti-
war activists) planned on a huge April 15, 1967 rally. Dr. King agreed to join it. Levinson, Rustin, and some
of his friends didn’t like the rally since it included communists and they felt that it would include so-called
“fringe” people. The Spring Mobilization March of April 15, 1967 would go forward as planned. Thousands
of people were there like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Belafonte, James Bevel, Dr. Benjamin Spock (who
was a famous American pediatrician who popularized more compassionate child raising in American
society), and others were there in New York City. There was also a simultaneous march in San Francisco,
which was attended by Sister Coretta Scott King. Coretta Scott King was there in Kezar Stadium in San
Francisco with Julian Bond to oppose the Vietnam War. Kwame Ture and Floyd McKissick (from CORE as
CORE also opposed the Vietnam War early on) also spoke in NYC too to talk about exposing imperialism.
The MOBE rally in NYC had an estimated 100,000 to 125,000 people. There was a more militant tone as
some people shown North Vietnamese flags proudly in the protest. Many people burned draft cards. Dr.
King led the marchers from Central Park, through Midtown, and to the United Nations Plaza. African
Americans involved in the antiwar movement often formed other anti-war groups, such as Black Women
Enraged, National Black Anti-War Anti-Draft Union, and National Black Draft Counselors. In the
Encyclopedia of African American History: 5-Volume Set, it mentioned that many black GIs rejected military
sexism. So, these GIs called on all black Americans to reject sexism and views black women as equals, on
the base and off the base. They fought racism and sexism. Many Sisters (who viewed the Vietnam War an
extension of the oppression of black people in America, which is true) formed their own anti-war groups as

Appearing for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967 in Houston, Ali refused
three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony
punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name
was called. As a result, he was arrested. On the same day the New York State Athletic Commission
suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. On June 20, 1967, Muhammad Ali would be
convicted. He appeals and eventually wins by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. has praised Muhammad Ali for his anti-Vietnam War stance in public.

MOBE planned another large demonstration in October 21, 1967 in Washington, D.C. Protesters were at
the Pentagon and at the Pentagon memorial. David Dellinger was a key Mobe coordinator. Dellinger has
been in the anti-war movement for years. About 650 people, including novelist Norman Mailer, were
arrested for civil disobedience on the steps of the Pentagon. A few individuals such as Allen Ginsburg, Ed
Sanders, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin (Hoffman and Rubin would co-found the Yippies later in ‘67)
attempted by means of meditation and chanting to “levitate” the building and “exorcise the evil within.”
Over the years, some of the yippies are seen as eccentrics even by the most progressive people. Dr. King
has a complex view of the counterculture movement. Dr. King agreed with the hippies in promoting love as
a great moral value and desiring social justice, but Dr. King rejected the escapism and the isolation that
many of the hippies embraced. The militancy of the anti-war movement continued. Acts of civil
disobedience will come by the protests.

In October of 1967, protesters again protested the Dow Company in the University of Wisconsin. Yet, the
police responded in a more aggressive fashion. The students were in civil disobedience and sang songs. The
university officials try to negiotiate with the protesters to leave peacefully. They refused. So, the police
cleared the protesters out via violent force. The police with riot gear charged at the students. Many
students were bleeding by the police assault. The cops used tear gas, which was the first time tear gas was
used in a college campus. Some in the crowd threw bottles and bricks and then the police used mace. In the
same month, protesters tried to stop the draft in Oakland, California as well. So, a diverse array of pacifists
and other anti-war activists created the “Stop the Draft Week” from October 16-20, 1967. Members of this
campaign included members of the SDS, the War Resisters League, and the anti-draft organization called
Resistance. Some used civil disobedience at draft induction centers. Later, the police would be violent
against the protesters. The protesters would defend themselves. This caused a new era of the anti-war
movement to exist. The SDS by the end of 1967 grew in the thousands.

The Vietnam War can’t be fully comprehended without knowing about the 1968 United States Presidential
campaign. The campaign dealt with many issues from the environment, civil rights, “law and order,” health
care, and economic subjects. Yet, one big issue that the campaign dealt with involved the Vietnam War.
Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota opposed the Vietnam War. He soon officially announced his bid for
President on November 30, 1967. McCarthy was strident in promising to fight President Johnson’s Vietnam
policies. He vowed to fight LBJ in primaries in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oregon, and in California. During the
1968 election, President Johnson was very much hated by numerous people in America because of his
reactionary views on foreign policy. The Democratic Party split on the war as well. McCarthy was a Senator
and his views on Vietnam are complex. He opposed the war later on, but Eugene McCarthy voted for the
Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Also, McCarthy voted for every war appropriation bill. McCarthy said that he
wanted to run for President to eliminate the possibility of arrival third party movement (ironically, years
later, he would run for office as an Independent). He wanted to restore hope in American society. He
believed in reformism when we need revolutionary change. Eugene McCarthy’s supporters spread across
the country from Virginia to California. These people wanted to get people registered to vote for him.

On December 4, 1967, about 500 protesters saw 88 draft cards collected and burned at the San Francisco
Federal Building. Benjamin Spock would be arrested in New York City on December 1967.
1968 would be an escalation of the power of the anti-war movement. 1968 would be a very revolutionary
year in the world. Singer Eartha Kitt, while at a luncheon at the White House in January of 1968 would
spoke out against the war and its effects on the youth, exclaiming, “you send the best of this country off to
be shot and maimed,” to her fellow guests. “They rebel in the street. They will take pot…and they will get
high. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be
shot in Vietnam.” Eartha Kitt was right.

Richard Nixon declared his candidacy for the U.S. Presidency on February 1, 1968. The New Hampshire
Democratic primary allowed McCarthy to run a close second to LBJ on March 12, 1968. McCarthy had 40
percent of the vote. His rival in his own party was Lyndon Baines Johnson. People were telling RFK to run
for President. Robert Kennedy was responsible for Operation Mongoose, for supporting wiretapping of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. during the early 1960's, etc. Robert Kennedy was a staff lawyer for Senator
McCarthy’s subcommittee, resigning after about six months. As time went onward, Robert Kennedy
became more progressive albeit slowly. Robert Kennedy’s conscience propelled him to oppose LBJ on the
war in Vietnam. By the late 1960’s, many in America loved Robert Kennedy as almost a celebrity person. On
March 14, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech in Grosse Pointe High School in Gross Pointe,
which is a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. In this location, Dr. King was heckled by reactionaries (some of them
were from Donald Lobsinger’s anti-Communist group called “Breakthrough.” These extremists shout that
Dr. King was a “traitor” because he opposed the Vietnam War) who advocated the Vietnam War. Dr. King
refuted the hecklers with eloquence and dignity. Dr. King in his speech called “The Other America” talked
about the evil war in Vietnam, economic inequality, racism, and the struggle for liberation in general. He
said the following words in Grosse Pointe:

“…One, I want to say that if we’re to move ahead and solve this problem we must re-order our national
priorities. Today we’re spending almost thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight what I consider an
unjust, ill-considered, evil, costly, unwinnable war at Viet Nam. I wish I had time to go into the
dimensions of this. But I must say that the war in Viet Nam is playing havoc with our Domestic
destinies. That war has torn up the Geneva accord… Ultimately, a genuine leader is not a succor for
consensus but a mold of consensus. And on some positions cowardice ask the question is it safe?
Expediency asks the question is it politics? Vanity asks the question is it popular? The conscience asks
the question is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor
politics nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right…”
Finally, Senator Robert Kennedy finally declared his candidacy for President on March 16, 1968. Robert
Kennedy gave numerous eloquent speeches. The socialists are right that RFK was not a super liberal as
some portrayed him as. RFK would never vote against any appropriation bills that funded the war. He never
advocated an unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. He voted against this, but he wanted
peace in Vietnam via a negotiated settlement. RFK opposed economic sanctions on South Africa for its
apartheid policies, but he morally opposed apartheid, he opposed busing to integrate schools. Many of his
economic views desired tax breaks to corporations to move into poorer communities as a way to end
poverty (which is not a super progressive view). This caused California Governor Ronald Reagan back then
to joke that Kennedy was sounding more and more like Barry Goldwater. Although, to Robert Kennedy’s
credit, he opposed pollution, he disagreed with racial oppression, he opposed the death penalty, and he
expressed solidarity with Cesar Chavez’ pro-labor movement in Southern California. Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. expressed praise for Robert Kennedy. On March 25, 1968 (in the 68th annual convention of the
Rabbinical Assembly. He was interviewed by Rabbi Everett Gendler), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the
following words on the 1968 Presidential election:

“….I was about to say that I don’t endorse candidates. That has been the policy of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference. We are non-partisan organization. However, the issues in this election are so
crucial that it will be impossible for us to absolutely follow the past policy. I do think the voters of our
nation need an alternative in the 1968 election, but I think we are in bad shape finding that alternative with
simply Johnson on the one hand and Nixon on the other hand. I don’t see the alternative there.
Consequently, I must look elsewhere. I think in the candidacy of both Senator Kennedy and Senator
McCarthy, we see an alternative…I think very highly of both Senator McCarthy and Senator Kennedy. I think
they are both very competent men. I think they ae both dedicated men. So, I would settle with either man
being nominated by the Democratic Party…”

On March 17, 1968, violent protests exist in London. There are over 300 arrests. On April 3, a National draft
card turn in happens. Over 1,000 draft cards were turned in. In Boston, 15,000 protesters watched 235 men
turn in their draft cards.
The passing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a tragedy. Sister Coretta Scott King in the picture to the
right is holding her daughter Bernice King on April 9, 1968. Dr. King and Coretta Scott King’s lives
remind us that nonviolent social change is strong, that love is important to promote prodigiously, and
that justice is a legitimate goal that we all should strive for.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” Speech on April 3, 1968. That would
be his last speech in public. Dr. King and other activists were fighting for the economic rights of Memphis
sanitation workers (as these brave workers were in the midst of a strike. Memphis mayor Loeb was not only
a reactionary, but he was stubborn towards meaningful social change. An agreement between the city of
Memphis and the workers would only come after Dr. King passed away). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would
be assassinated on April 4, 1968. The movement would change forever. Then, rebellions in over 100 cities
across America existed in April of 1968. His death changed the anti-war movement and the black liberation
struggle forever. More militancy will come. Universities nationwide would protest the war. In fact, there
will be major student rebellions in the year of 1968. There was the French May strikes, the student strike at
Colombia University, the Mexican protests, and other events.

In 1968, Robert Kennedy overtly talked forcefully in public about the need for racial equality in American
society to his credit. His speeches in Indianapolis on April 4th, 1968 and his eloquent “Mindless Menace of
Violence Speech” in Cleveland, Ohio on April 5, 1968 described his empathy towards people. His platform
was about advancing economic justice, decentralization of power, and social improvement. In life, we have
to look at the complexities of people and history in order to get a fuller picture of events. Robert Kennedy
had huge support among black Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics, while he had some trouble in
gaining the working class white vote. Eugene McCarthy continued to be in the election. He was angry at
Robert Kennedy for jumping into the election later on. Also, McCarthy made the foolish statement in
Oregon that Kennedy's supporters were "less intelligent" than his own, which angered African American
and Latino community leaders, and strengthened Kennedy's appeal. McCarthy and Kennedy would have a
debate on various issues. Young people supported McCarthy too. Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy
agreed on a lot of issues. Eugene McCarthy’s platform included collective bargaining rights for farmers, a
guaranteed minimum livable income for all Americans building at least 1 million new housing units each
year, and more federal funds to stop pollution. On March 31, 1968, LBJ said that he wasn’t running for
President. McCarthy would win many primaries like in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Vice President Hubert
Humphrey would run for President on April 27. On April 30, 1968, Nelson Rockefeller would run for
President on the GOP side.

Robert Kennedy is in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles shaking people’s hands in March 26, 1968.

He or RFK won the South Dakota primary. Robert Kennedy won the Nebraska primary on May 14, 1968
while McCarthy wins the Oregon primary. The Democratic primary race goes into South Dakota and
California. In the beginning of June 1968, both Kennedy and McCarthy vigorously campaigned all over
California. They debated each other in televised forums like on in June 1, 1968. Robert Kennedy won the
California primary in June. RFK also won the South Dakota primary. The campaign of Robert Kennedy
possessed great enthusiasm among the young, black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, progressives,
and others who desired real change in America. Robert F. Kennedy wanted economic modernization and he
certainly gained support among working people, students, and GIs. RFK wanted a coalition of black people,
blue collar white people, Hispanic human beings, labor in general, farmers, Asian-Americans, and the young
in order to cause him to be President. According to Schlesinger, Kennedy sought “a coalition of the poor
and powerless in the battle to bring the excluded groups into the national community.” “I’ve got every
establishment in American against me,” said Kennedy on April 2, 1968. “I want to work for all who are not
represented. I want to be their President.” (Arthur Schlesinger pg. 872). Civil Rights leaders like Freedom
Rider John Lewis and Charles Evers of Mississippi campaigned for Robert Kennedy. Richard Hatcher or the
black American mayor Gary, Indiana back then support RFK including Tony Zale.
These are images from the funeral of Robert Kennedy which took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
on June 8, 1968.

On June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy gave his famous speech in Los Angeles, CA (inside of the Ambassador
Hotel) about bridging the gap in America and ending the divisions based on class, race, age, or in the debate
of the war in Vietnam. In his own words at his final rally in Los Angeles, he said the following words: “…I
think we can end the divisions within the United States. What I think is quite clear is that we can work
together in the last analysis. And that what has been going on with the United States over the period of
that last three years, the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society, the divisions -
whether it's between blacks and whites, between the poor and the more affluent, or between age
groups, or in the war in Vietnam - that we can work together. We are a great country, an unselfish
country and a compassionate country. And I intend to make that my basis for running...So my thanks to
all of you. And now it's on to Chicago and let's win there." After his speech, he was shot in Los Angeles.
He died soon afterwards on June 6, 1968. His assassination was completely evil. Robert Kennedy’s evil
assassination represented an end to an era. McCarthy continued to talk about hunger, gun control, etc. but
Humphrey’s political machine was too powerful. One political weakness of Eugene McCarthy’s campaign
was that he made little effort to broaden his appeal beyond the student youth and sections of the middle
class who were radicalized by the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam War was horrible. About 28,000 Americans died in Vietnam after 1968. Millions of Vietnamese
people died in the war via U.S. bombs, napalm, “search and destroy” missions, and mass assassination
campaigns like Operation Phoenix. Richard Nixon won the Republican nomination easily. The reactionary
George Wallace ran for President in 1968 too as an Independent. Wallace appealed to the more reactionary
elements of American society (under his views of xenophobia, war mongering, and other views) and he
contributed to the system of Jim Crow apartheid. During this time period, we see the great social crisis in
America. We see the youth and students opposing the Vietnam War. We witness civil rights struggles and
the urban rebellions in the ghettos of America. We witness a powerful wage offensive by the industrial
working class (there was the January 1966 transit workers’ strike in New York City and the 1968 Sanitation
workers strike in Memphis). We see other social movements of Hispanics, women, Native Americans, etc.
standing up for their human rights. So, these movements were resistant to the status quo of American
The 1968 Democratic National Convention protests was an event that was a key part of the anti-war
Movement. Demonstrators came to Chicago in August of 1968 to protest the U.S. war on Vietnam and the
forces of reaction in America. The protesters were abused, assaulted, etc. by the Chicago city police. They
or the police were acting on orders of the reactionary Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley. Daley was part of
a political party that was heavily responsible for the war in Vietnam just like the Republicans too. The
“liberal” Johnson administration and the U.S. military told the public that in public that the light was at the
end of the tunnel. Yet, in private, they knew that the war was in a vicious stage where there were
pessimistic about the conduct of the war. LBJ promoted the false “guns and butter” approach which was
about how liberal reform at home and the funding of the war in Vietnam would work to caused economic
stability in America. This doesn’t work, because the Great Society was abandoned in some ways in favor of
the war in Vietnam (many of the resources sent for the imperialist war in Vietnam could have been used to
help rebuild urban and rural areas of America). The Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley opposed
demonstrations and other similar activities directed at the convention. So, Daley mobilized his police forces
(who are known for racist violence and corruption) and he used the National Guard including other military
units to intimidate protesters. The Democrats and the Republicans were war political parties. Humphrey in
the convention won the Democratic nomination. Even an anti-war resolution was voted down when it was
put forward at the convention. The National Mobilization committee to End the War in Vietnam called for
demonstrations in the Chicago convention.

Other anti-war groups like the Yippies decided to protest the Chicago convention. The SDS decided to send
people to Chicago to convince the young McCarthy supporters of the need to build a movement outside the
Democratic Party, but it didn’t mobilize for any of the planned demonstrations. 20,000 demonstrations
came to Chicago to protest and the city denied permits to protest outside the convention or any of the
candidates’ headquarters. When the protesters’ arrived, the cops beat, maced, and arrested
demonstrations or legal activities. Reporters and McCarthy supported were targeted by the police.
Photographers had their camera broken and their film confiscated by the police. There was violence in the
floor of the convention itself. Even Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut condemned Daley for using
Gestapo tactics from the podium. Daley was angry and yelled at Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut.
So, the police acted violently and this was a police riot. Humphrey would have trouble to gain votes during
the Presidential election. Humphrey would win a contentious Democratic primary. Eldridge Cleaver ran for
President in 1968 in the Freedom and Peace Party. He was younger than 35 at the time, so he technically
couldn’t be elected President. Later in the election, Humphrey broke with Johnson’s policy on Vietnam (by
Hubert Humphrey wanted to stop the bombing of North Vietnam and he desired a ceasefire) and he almost
won the election, but Richard Nixon won the Presidency in 1968.

The 1968 election caused the increase of the reactionary backlash against the reformist liberal New Deal &
Great Society political movements. In fact, Eugene McCarthy later on would agree with some conservative
views like opposing campaign reform laws, opposing bilingualism in education, and he voted for Ronald
Reagan in 1980 (this actions are things that I don’t agree with. He also supported the organization called
FAIR or the Federal for American Immigration Reform. FAIR wanted decreases in immigration in general,
which I don’t agree with at all). Yet, he was mainline liberal person on other issues. Ironically, McCarthy
would condemn the Democrats for not opposing the theft of the 2000 Presidential election. He supported
the right of Ralph Nader to un his Third Party campaign. He passed away on 2005. Also, the 1968 election
caused the more rightward trend of the Democratic Party and it was a sign of Reagan’s movement too
(which increased economic inequality, harmed communities of color including the poor, and it executed a
more reactionary agenda). So, the campaign of 1968 was very historic. Unfortunately, the capitalistic
Republican and Democratic parties (the Democratic Party has been used as a shocker absorber for the
American ruling elite. In other words, when populism comes about, the Democratic Party is used to control
movements which can be used in a more independent, radical way outside of the Democratic Party) on
many issues would be more reactionary. The good news is that there are still many people who are still
fighting for racial, economic, and social justice.
The End of the Anti-War Movement (involving the Vietnam War)
1969 would be a year of the division in America. The SDS was more radicalized by 1969 and some of its
members openly condemned capitalism. Yet, divisions between the SDS and the PLP would cause a split. In
1969, the Weathermen Underground would form by leaving the SDS. The Weathermen overtly used
violence in trying to stop imperialism, but many of them advanced nihilistic violence and they had no
coherent strategy for real social change. They enacted the failure filled Days of Rage where property was
damaged and people. About 287 people would be arrested in Chicago. The Moratorium to End the War in
Vietnam demonstrations continued in October 15, 1969 in both Washington, D.C. and Boston. Senator
George McGovern gave a speech to a large crowd in Boston. The lottery system of the draft existed by late
1969. The anti-war movement increase massively by the end of the 1960’s as it included more middle class

4 young people were killed in Kent State University on May 4,

1970. This caused a massive strike among more than 450
universities and colleges. The anti-war movement reaches its
peak in 1971. The working class and veterans were also crucial
in the anti-war movement too. Many unions joined anti-
Vietnam War protests. The VVAW or the Vietnam Veterans
against the War came about to hold congressional panels on
the Vietnam War. On April 23, 1971, Vietnam veterans threw
away over 700 medals on the West steps of the Capitol
building. The next day, antiwar organizers claimed that 500,000
After the Vietnam War, the anti-war
movement is still in existence. This image
people marched making this the largest anti-war
shows protesters in New York City years demonstration involving the Vietnam War since the November
ago protesting the Iraq War. The Iraq War 1969 march. In 1972, Richard Nixon made a decision to mine
was not only destructive, but it was based harbors in North Vietnam and he renewed bombing of North
on fabrications and outright falsehoods. Vietnam via Operation Linebacker. This caused protests again
to exist across America on May 13, 1972. As late as 1973, there
was the massive March against Racism and the War in Washington, D.C.
“…But at that time, at that time, we felt very alone because when we start saying, “The war is wrong in Vietnam,”
well people looked at us like we were something out of space. But when they talked about the other day of the
Gallup Poll being fifty-eight percent of the people against the war in Vietnam then we see if you are right, you
have to stand on that principle and if it’s necessary to die on the principle because I am sick of the racist war in
Vietnam when we don’t have justice in the United States…And we keep on saying we’re against the war. One
crowd of people can’t change the status quo, but if two and two and fifty make a million, we’ll see the day come
around that we will have our boys home. And we’ll be able to stand and fight together for the things that we
rightfully deserve, not in Vietnam, not in Vi-Afra, but right here in the United States to make democracy a reality
for all of the people of the world regardless of race or color. Thank you.”

-Fannie Lou Hamer on October 15, 1969 at the Vietnam Moratorium Rally in Berkeley, California

*Also, a great point ought to be mentioned. The anti-war movement is still here in 2015. It will be here to
stay in the future too. So, we have responsibility to use social activism. The injustices of poverty, economic
oppression, racism, xenophobia, police brutality, ecological pollution, the system of white supremacy, etc.
must end. We need more than just progressive economic power, but need also political power to liberate
us totally. We have to realize the value of life and the beauty of life (for the expression of life is a gift and
our job is to help others as well). We want economic and social justice. We will never be at peace with evil.
We will advance goodness and defend the rights of the poor as well. We must struggle until the current
system is ended and the system of justice comes about. Liberty will always be proclaimed across the
world. We want human beings to not only be liberated, but to have justice for justice is indivisible.

By Timothy
Appendix A: A Review of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's Vietnam War documentary

One of the most emotional wars in human history was the Vietnam War. It was an unjust war. Ken
Burns and Lynn Novick made a historic documentary about the Vietnam War, which has spanned
multiple decades. To be fair in the analysis of it, first, an introduction must be made, the
documentary’s strengths will be outlined, the documentary’s weaknesses will be mentioned, and a
fitting conclusion must be made. In introduction, the Vietnam War is part of American history and
Vietnamese history. To this very day, soldiers among both sides are hesitant in talking about it,
because of its brutal nature, its controversial compositions, and its turmoil that harmed the lives of
millions of human beings. It was a war that divided America on many generational and cultural
lines. It inspired many social activists and caused more Americans to question governmental policy,
especially at it relates to foreign policy affairs (as we know that Western governments has used
deception and manipulation for decades and centuries. The Pentagon Papers totally prove that to be
true). The documentary is very lengthy with 10 episodes. There are strengths to the film. It took
years of research for the organizers of the film to gather the images, the maps, the testimonies, and
the rare interviews in order for them to cover the breadth of the conflict which lasted for three
decades. The documentary had people who interviewed not only Americans, but Vietnamese
soldiers, Vietnamese civilians, and other people who were involved in the Vietnam War era.

It allowed the Vietnamese people, among its many classes and its many walks of life, to express
their honest feelings about the war conflict (including the American involvement in the war). It
showed music that is diverse from soul music to rock music. It has articulate or eloquent
commentaries about the different eras of the war from the beginning, the Dien Bien Phu, the
Geneva Accords of 1954, the migrations of peoples from North to South Vietnam (and vice versa),
the American advisers, the Ap Bac battle of 1963, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Operation
Rolling Thunder, the Tet Offensive, the evil shooting of students in the Kent State University
location, the release of the Pentagon Papers to the public, the Paris Peace Accords, the Watergate
scandal, Nixon's resignation from the White House, and the end of the war in 1975. There is a
subsequent book (about the Vietnam War) with over 500 pages that outlines the war in its diverse
history and its far reaching impact historically and socially. I brought the book and the book has
extensive analysis about the time period. The movie made the accurate point that the roots of the
war came long before 1945 (as after World War I, Ho Chi Minh desired freedom and independence
for his people) and it involved the quest of the Vietnamese people to have independence from
French colonial oppression. It gives especially young people a window for them to further research
the Vietnam War.

The image to the left shows American military forces in Vietnam. The image to the right shows a
Vietnamese woman being accused of being part of the NLF (or what Westeners call “Viet Cong”).
She is awaiting interrogation. The image from the right is from August of 1965 and it’s found in the
Associated Press and from Ken Burns’ & Lynn Novick’s Vietnam War documentary (as found
on PBS).

The documentary showed how the U.S. made many mistakes during the time period. The
documentary did a great job to show the history of the Vietnam War Memorial. The documentary
showed the tapes of Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.
Those tapes prove that they said some words in public which contradicts their views in private.
Many of them knew that the war would not be successful, but they continued in advancing the
Vietnam War regardless for the sake of promoting the myth of the domino theory. Also, they had
fears of being labeled "soft" on Communism. Now, a critique has to mention the documentary's
weaknesses too. One weakness of the film was the omission of many important aspects of the
Vietnam War. The Vietnam War omitted the many GI revolts in Vietnam that tried to end the war
and promote social justice. The lengthy film also omitted JFK’s NSAM 263, which accepted the
recommendations to withdrawal 1,000 American military personnel by the end of 1963 and
hopefully the bulk of that personnel by 1965. NSAM stands for National Security Action
Memorandum. Lyndon Johnson disagreed with an explicit withdrawal plan.

LBJ told Robert McNamara on February 20, 1964 (in a declassified phone conversation) the
following words: “…I always thought it was foolish for you to make any statements about
withdrawing. I thought it was bad psychologically. But you and the President thought otherwise,
and I just sat silent…” The documentary was too critical at times of the anti-war movement. The
anti-war movement included students, teachers, military soldiers, children, civil rights leaders,
athletes, musicians, and a diverse amount of people who used eloquence, powerful arguments,
protests, and courage to oppose the Vietnam War. The anti-war movement should never apologize
for disagreeing with the war and desiring it to end. Many anti-war heroes risked their lives to speak
truth to power about the evils of unwarranted militaristic aggression and any injustice. Ken Burns’
Vietnam ignored the complexities of communism
and socialism.

Communism is not monolithic and many

communists and socialists opposed the
authoritarianism plus the brutal anti civil liberty
actions of Joseph Stalin. Before 1917, the Czars
used anti-Semitism, violations of people's human
rights, and other evils. Many Trotskyites were
persecuted and murdered by many Stalinists. The
episodes in the film definitely ignored the harshness
of Western imperialism in an in-depth way. Western
The anti-war movement contributed to the Imperialism (done by the French and the
war ending much sooner. Also, the anti-war Americans in the region of Southeast Asia) was
movement educated many human beings on done out of a stone cold, ideological drive to get
the value of protest and dissent courageously.
resources, control people, and enforce a radical
anti-Communism in Southeast Asia. That is why
they or Western political elites originally funded Diem since he was Western educated and he was a
radical anti-Communist (Diem would make the mistake of being brutally vicious against dissidents
and Buddhists in South Vietnam. That is why many Buddhists and dissidents readily protested
against Diem's regime. The coup of November 1-2, 1963 caused Diem and his brother to be killed).
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick put their thesis out in the following quotation: “It was begun in good
faith, by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence, and Cold War

Yet, the reality is that there was no misunderstanding on the part of the Western capitalists. They or
the Western policy makers, who were involved in executing U.S. war strategies, wanted to go out
and advance capitalist markets and further exploit the regions of the Third World continuously.
This pattern has existed in the U.S. involvement in Operation Ajax in Iran and how the U.S. helped
to overthrow Jacob Arbenz in Guatemala. Therefore, the war crimes of not only Diem, but other
generals from America were not miscalculations. They were overt acts of terrorism against the
people of Vietnam. The documentary used the argument of violence on both sides as a common
theme to outline even the claim of moral equivalency when there is no comparison. The bad actions
of some North Vietnamese forces involving torture and other acts are heinous and without
justification. American soldiers being tortured and forced to make erroneous statements in prison
camps is also evil and wrong. Likewise, American forces dropped bombs, dropped napalm, using
Agent Orange, some were involved in free fire zones, and other atrocities came about in a higher
level by U.S. forces than North Vietnamese forces. During the Vietnam War, no North Vietnamese
soldier bombed an American city or town. No Vietnamese army regiment from the North invaded
America. Many Americans suffered during the Vietnam War. Also, we should acknowledge the
suffering of the Vietnamese people in which millions of Vietnamese men, women, and children
died as a product of the conflict.

This map of Vietnam territory is from National Geographic.

Eight million tons of bombs were dropped on North and South Vietnam alone, far more than in all
theaters of World War II combined. In addition, US warplanes dropped 370,000 tons of napalm
and sprayed 21 million gallons of toxic defoliant chemicals like Agent Orange. To this very day,
Vietnamese babies suffer birth defects as a result of the chemical bombings of Vietnamese
territories. Also, there is no excuse for the U.S. invasion of Vietnam when peaceful resolutions were
especially available to resolve the conflict. The Pentagon, the State Department, the Council on
Foreign Relations, and the rest of the military industrial complex had a vested interest in trying to
prop up a pro-Western Southern Vietnamese state. When that failed, they cut their losses and left.
Ironically, Vietnam is an American ally today via negotiation and trade deals. The documentary was
funded by many corporate foundations and banking interests (like receiving grants from Bank of
America and the Koch brothers). The documentary omitted the imperial defense contractors that
financially benefited from the Vietnam War, except Dow Chemical funding napalm (which was
used in the conflict. Napalm harmed many innocent Vietnamese men, women, and children). In the
documentary, it showed many Americans and Vietnamese people coming together in trying to form
In conclusion, we would want a resolution to the Vietnam War. The problem is that ironically,
many Westerners (plus others) haven’t learned the lessons from the Vietnam War conflict. We have
a continued war in Afghanistan, the Iraq War existed (which existed as a product of the neo-
conservatives showing a false premise among other reasons), the U.S. destabilized Libya, and other
foreign policy crisis transpired. So, while we need dialogue about how the Vietnam War existed and
ended, U.S. imperialistic arrogance, and criminality can never be omitted or sugarcoated. As Noam
Chomsky accurately stated in 1969,

“…There are, to be sure, costs of empire that benefit no one: 50,000 American corpses or the
deterioration in the strength of the United States economy relative to its industrial rivals. The costs
of empire to the imperial society as a whole may be considerable. These costs, however, are social
costs, whereas, say, the profits from overseas investment guaranteed by military success are again
highly concentrated in certain special segments of the society. The costs of empire are in general
distributed over the society as a whole, while its profits revert to a few within…”

By 1975 (when the war ended), 58,318 Americans died including about 3,000,000 Vietnamese
human beings died as well from the Vietnam War. The crimes of imperialism must always be
condemned period as imperialism is evil and unjust. We need more people to speak their minds
among all sides. Yet, in order to find true peace, we have to organize the poor and the working class
in order to defeat the same system that advances wars in the first place. In order to have
reconciliation involving the Vietnam War, we have to discuss, form dialogue among Americans plus
Vietnamese people, establish the fact permanently that the Vietnam War was a foreign policy
disaster (plus an unjust war), and fight to end injustices worldwide (which is about promoting
investments to help Vietnam War veterans suffering homelessness, economic exploitation, or other
conditions in their lives. We should additionally express empathy and solidarity with the Vietnamese
people too). That is how we honor the memories of those who passed away from this conflict.
By Timothy

We will follow the truth regardless.