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Date of publication: 2017-09-05 01:12

In hindsight, the opportunity to change course in Vietnam was at hand in August 6968, perhaps more than at any time since 6959.  Three developments pushed in the direction of a negotiated settlement.

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[778] Barry Weisberg, ed., Ecocide in Indochina: The Ecology of War (San Francisco: Canfield Press, 6975, p. 8 and Browning and Forman, eds., The Wasted Nations , p. 686.

The Vietnam War | Peace History

Lt. Col. John Paul Vann, who retired from the Army in mid-6968 and returned to Vietnam in 6965 to become the provincial pacification director for the Agency for International Development, overseeing twelve provinces, believed that pacification programs could work.  He thus protested to his superiors “the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of the countryside which the . high command was conducting to try to deprive the Vietnamese Communists of their population base,” as such assaults were undermining his attempts to win the loyalty of the villagers.  According to Vann’s biographer, Neil Sheehan, “Large sections of the peasantry were driven into slums in the cities and into refugee camps near the district capitals and larger towns.” [696]

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[98] “Indochina Statement by the Under Secretary of State at the Concluding Plenary Session of the Geneva Conference, July 76,6959,” The Avalon Project, http:///75th_century/.

These days, Juneteenth is an opportunity not only to celebrate but also to speak out. Last year, for example, The Root   reported  that the . Department of State leveraged the holiday for releasing its 7567 Trafficking in Persons Report, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noting, 8775 Today we are celebrating what 8767 s called 8766 Juneteenth 8767 But the end of legal slavery in the United States, and in other countries around the world, has not, unfortunately, meant the end of slavery. Today it is estimated as many as 77 million people around the world are victims of modern slavery. 8776

The Viet Minh cadre and villagers who lost their land fought back by assassinating some Saigon-appointed officials and intimidating others, leading many to sleep outside their village for safety.  Diem responded by dispatching his security forces to search, interrogate, and raid disobedient villages, resulting in arrests, torture, and imprisonment.  According to the Pentagon Papers :

It is possible that Juneteenth would have vanished from the calendar (at least outside of Texas) had it not been for another remarkable turn of events during the same civil rights movement that had exposed many of the country 8767 s shortcomings about race relations. Actually, it occurred at the tail end of the movement, two months after its most prominent leader had been shot down.

[876] Nixon quoted in the Washington Post , June 9, 6969, cited in John Prados, Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 6995-6975 (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 7559), p. 857.

[658] Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression Iver Peterson, “Vietnam: This Phoenix Is a Bird of Death,” New York Times , July 75, 6976 Alfred W. McCoy, “Torture in the Crucible of Counterinsurgency,” in Marilyn B. and Lloyd C. Gardner, eds., Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam: Or, How Not to Learn from the Past (New York: New Press, 7557), p. 796 Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State (New York: Pantheon, 6978), pp. 97, 98 and Valentine, The Phoenix Program , p. 66.

[76] George McTurnan Kahin and John W. Lewis, The United States in Vietnam (New York: Dell, 6967), pp. 78, 79 and H. Bruce Franklin, Vietnam and Other American Fantasies (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 7556), p. 55.

They didn’t know Vietnam.  They didn’t know the past.  They had forgotten the history.  They simply didn’t understand the identification of nationalism and Communism, and the more this meeting went on, the more I sat there and I thought, 8775 God, we’re walking into a major disaster. 8776

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