Vietnam Full Disclosure

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Philip Jones Griffiths’ Viet Nam

2016 National Book Award Finalist, Viet Thanh Nguyen:

“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory . . . . Memory is haunted, not just by ghostly others but by the horrors we have done, seen, and condoned, or by the unspeakable things from which we have profited.”

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The Full Disclosure campaign is a Veterans For Peace effort to speak truth to power and keep alive the antiwar perspective on the American war in Viet Nam -- which is now approaching a series of 50th anniversary events. It represents a clear alternative to the Pentagon's current efforts to sanitize and mythologize the Vietnam war and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars.

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This Month in History: 1968

August 5-8 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach nominates Richard Nixon, who pledges that he will end the Vietnam War as soon as he takes office. A line of tanks has sealed off Miami Beach from demonstrations taking place in Miami.

August 23 Killeen – 5 Oleo Strut coffee house staff members are charged with possession of illegal drugs.

August 23-24 Over a. hundred Black GIs at Fort Hood, Tex., gather at a main intersection of the Fort to protest being sent on the so-called “riot control” duty to Chicago where the Democratic convention was being held.

After an all-night assembly of protest (during which the general of the division (1st Armored) comes out to plead with them to disperse) 43 were arrested.

August 24 Fort Dix – Allen Myers charged with violating Fort Dix regulation prohibiting the distribution of any written material, which “is in bad taste, prejudicial to good order and discipline in the command, subversive or otherwise contrary to the best interests of this command.”

August 26-29 Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominates Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, although he has won only 2.2 percent of the delegates in the state primaries, which were swept by McCarthy and Kennedy. Outside, police battle anti-war demonstrators who march and demonstrate throughout the city. Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley brought to bear 23,000 police and National Guardsman upon 10,000 protestors. Tensions between police and protesters quickly escalate, resulting in a “police riot.” The brutal crackdown is covered live on network TV. 800 demonstrators are injured.

Eight leading antiwar activists (Rennie Davis, Dave Dellinger, John Froines, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and Black panther Bobby Seale) are charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges. After a trial (beginning in 1969) resulting in both acquittals and convictions, followed by appeals, reversals, and retrials, there were some final convictions of the other seven, but none of them were ultimately sentenced to jail or fines. Seale was eventually sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court.

The United States is now experiencing a level of social unrest unseen since the American Civil War era, a hundred years earlier. There have been 221 student protests at 101 colleges and universities thus far in 1968.

An August Gallup poll shows 53% said it was a mistake to send troops to Vietnam, but polls also show that a majority of Americans support Chicago Mayor Daley’s tactics. Nonetheless, many antiwar activists celebrate the convention actions as a victory.

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