Lack of loyalty to the Diem government was more subtly apparent in the unwillingness of ARVN soldiers to fight. They were supposed to fight to the death for the government of South Vietnam (GVN), in a Washington-scripted play that divided the Vietnamese people into “good” non-communists and “evil” communists. Yet most had no cause for animosity toward the communist-led NLF and only wanted to survive and be paid. Hence when called to action, the results were often disappointing to U.S. military advisers. A case in point was the battle of Ap Bac on January 2, 1963, in which 350 lightly armed guerrillas routed a larger force of 2,000 ARVN soldiers equipped with Colt AR-15 rifles and light-weight jungle radios, and backed by aircraft and armored vehicles. The ARVN had one of the highest desertion rates in the history of modern warfare. Sixty-five percent of ARVN soldiers were forcibly conscripted, and many ARVN officers were patronage appointees who served the French and used their positions for personal gain.
Second, the Centrists and the Right know very well what game these people are playing. It is the “scream” game where those who really don’t want all the trouble and controversy (the majority – especially in the Center) just throw their hands up and walk away. The problem is that, after all the screaming, we end up abandoning some once-vital cultural institutions to decay into irrelevance. The extemist claims, in essence, are just a way to try to intimidate others into leaving the hard left to its Gramscian project.
In the aftermath of this successful demonstration, SDS national leaders decided not to pursue antiwar organizing at the national level, a decision that SDS national secretary Paul Booth later called “a colossal blunder.” The SWP stepped into the breach and formed a new coalition in August, the National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam. Planning began for a major event in mid-October, the “International Days of Protest.” SANE and other liberal groups declined to participate and initiated plans for a separate demonstration six weeks later. Not wanting to exclude the left entirely, SANE invited 30-year-old SDS president Carl Oglesby to speak. Most people who attended these demonstrations were not too concerned which groups sponsored them, but the dueling demonstrations attested to the difficulty of national coordination.
The main organizational strategies of the antiwar movement involved education, political action, demonstrations (mobilization), and draft and GI resistance. National organizations differed in their strategic priorities. Liberal groups and some pacifist groups, such as FCNL, took the lead in lobbying, while SDS and SWP eschewed both lobbying and election work. Socialist Party chairperson Michael Harrington, however, was a strong advocate of political action, even arguing that the peace movement’s resources would be better spent on influencing Congress than on organizing mass demonstrations.
Demonstrations, despite difficulties, were of great value to the antiwar movement. They fostered camaraderie, stimulated learning, encouraged activism, made a public statement, and gave people a sense of being part of something important and larger than themselves. They also fostered hope that the wheels of democracy would turn in favor of the protesters, that citizen advocacy would compel a recalcitrant Congress to put an end to the war. That hope was the source of much frustration as neither protest in the streets nor lobbying on Capitol Hill seemed to affect the administration’s relentless escalation of the war for three years running.
Dropped into war zones, without knowledge of the Vietnamese language and with little, if any, understanding of local culture, U.S. soldiers had problems distinguishing enemy from neutral from friend. They often became frustrated when making no contact with enemy soldiers for long periods, then seemingly out of the blue were interrupted by violent surprise attacks. Daily treks through insect-filled jungles in the heat and humidity also took a toll on GI nerves. In numerous documented cases, their frustrations were taken out on civilians. The approved routine of burning of huts, destruction of villages, and terrorizing of residents could and did lead to unauthorized sexual assaults, random shootings, and even massacres such as that in My Lai. Heonik Kwon lists thirteen large-scale massacres, including some by South Korean troops; Nick Turse, in Kill Anything That Moves, documents more. Even in villages with decent relations with local U.S. forces, other mobile U.S. forces were known to violently intervene.
Among the factors contributing to the killing of civilians were the bureaucratic labeling of whole districts as NLF territory and thus free-fire zones; a “body count” reward system that identified civilians killed as communist guerrillas; lack of official accountability such that the generals did not want to know about, report, or investigate civilian casualties; psychological factors including revenge, sadism, racism, and boredom, any of which might impel a soldier to slay or rape civilians; a military culture that encouraged racist views of Asians and Vietnamese, commonly referred to as “gooks”; and the massive firepower readily available to U.S. soldiers that killed indiscriminately.
Good guess. The dominent influences in Wiccan symbolism remain Greco-Roman and Celtic, but there’s a strong sense among us that what we’re actually groping for is a form of shamanism appropriate to our cultural context. Thus there have been continued and conscious efforts to stir Native American shamanism into the mix. Sioux mysticism has been expecially influential because there are good primary sources on it, notably .
So, cola, you object to my charge because you think Chomsky may have written his main apologetic for Pol Pot later than I remembered (e.g. with less excuse?) There’s a new model in hairsplitting — a kind that actually hurts the person you’re defending! Congratulations!
Bích Khê reveals here a personal, intimate glimpse of his inner soul, and the tension and conflict of a manwith his libido, which sinks him to bottomless depths from which the only escape is to soar phoenix-like to theloftiest heights of deliverance from the sway of the flesh.
The massive bombing and artillery fire disrupted the agriculture upon which the South Vietnamese economy depended, produced huge numbers of civilian casualties, and drove millions of noncombatants into hastily constructed refugee camps or into the already overcrowded cities. American military operations further undermined the social fabric of an already fragile nation and alienated the people from a government which never had a firm base of popular support. “It was as if we were trying to build a house with a bulldozer and wrecking crane,” one American official later observed.
The critic Đặng Tiến characterizes Hoàng Cầm's poetry as "afelicitous marriage between the traditional folk culture and the modern way of life that expresses traditional beauty ina language of novelty, modernity and youthfulness."