by Susan Lamont (from Apr/May2014 Peace Press)
In 2012, the United States government began a thirteen-year-long 50th anniversary remembrance of the Vietnam War.
“It was January , in Saigon. Our Army pilots strapped on their helmets and boarded their helicopters. They lifted off.....It was a single raid against an enemy stronghold just a few miles into the jungle -- but it was one of America’s first major operations in that faraway land.” Nowhere in the ensuing narrative from the White House is there an explanation for that “first major operation.”
On Memorial Day 2012, President Obama honored the 58,282 “patriots,” who “pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans” and, finally, dying in Vietnam.
You may all remember that the U.S. was not in Vietnam protecting ideals and that Tonkin Gulf was a phoney event staged as a pretext for war, but those in the White House wish you wouldn't. And you probably got a laugh out of John Kerry's recent comment that countries shouldn't “behave in 19th-century fashion by invading another country on trumped-up pretext.” Maybe he thought that, by referring to the 19th-century, we'd all forget about the U.S. invasions in the 20th and 21st century, of which Vietnam was but one.
“Support our troops” rhetoric is trotted out again. We are asked to “give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced.” The Vietnam War was a “challenging mission?” And soldiers who were drafted or enlisted because of financial hardship or bought the lies out of patriotic blindness “saw our country through?”
In the White House version, you will find nothing about the true history of the Vietnam War. Instead, you will find soaring and meaningless rhetoric. “And here we see a piece of our larger American story. Our Founders -- in their genius -- gave us a task. They set out to make a more perfect union. And so it falls to every generation to carry on that work. To keep moving forward.” Are we to assume “that work” is “moving forward” in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the many countries around the world where the United States has troops stationed openly or covertly?
Obama calls the war “painful,” but not because it was unnecessary - painful because Americans [the Peace Movement – you and me] did not honor the soldiers. “So let us also tell a story of a generation that came home, and how -- even though some Americans turned their back on you -- you never turned your back on America.”
I didn't turn my back on them. I didn't want them placed in harm's way. It was our government and our war-profiteering corporations which turned their backs on U.S. soldiers and sent 58,282 Americans and at least 2 million Vietnamese to their deaths. But it is hoped that Americans will accept this lie - this total perversion of the truth - and carry it over to today's lies and all the lies that will be told in the future.
And what about the veterans? “You became teachers and police officers and nurses -- the folks we count on every single day. You became entrepreneurs, running companies and pioneering industries that changed the world You became leaders and public servants, from town halls to Capitol Hill -- lifting up our communities, our states, our nation.“ No mention of the number of homeless vets. No mention of those ill or dead from the effects of Agent Orange. No mention of the number who have committed suicide – more than were killed in the war.
But the claim is made that we have learned the lessons of war. “So let us resolve that when America sends our sons and daughters into harm’s way, we will always give them a clear mission; we will always give them a sound strategy; we will give them the equipment they need to get the job done. We will have their backs.” And this was said with a straight face. And you are supposed to believe it despite all evidence to the contrary.
Please read this attempt to divert you from the real story. Please help us set the record straight. The future depends upon it. http://www.whitehouse.gov/50th-anniversary-vietnam-war