Toward an honest commemoration of the American War in Vietnam
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 being commemorated during this decade with a series of 50th anniversary events. Full Disclosure represents a clear alternative to the Pentagon’s current efforts to sanitize and mythologize that war, and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars.
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50 Years Ago
July 1 6,100 American soldiers depart Vietnam, a record for one day.
During the peace talks, the NLF representative Nguyen Thi Binh (Nguyễn Thị Bình) proposes the return of all American and allied prisoners held in North and South Vietnam by the end of 1971 if all US troops were withdrawn within that same period. Previously, Le Duc Tho (Lê Đức Thọ) had suggested to New York Times correspondent Anthony Lewis, the release of POWs in exchange for US withdrawal.
July 9-11 Kissinger in a secret mission to Beijing meets with Zhou Enlai who urges complete withdrawl of US troops, refuses to pressure Vietnamese, but implies that the Vietnamese will be more generous in future talks.
July 13 Zhou Enlai, during a visit to Hanoi, claims that he avoided discussing Indochina with Kissinger, claims that the 1972 US elections will lead to a settlement, and then Nixon would visit China. Le Duan (Lê Duẩn) and Le Duc Tho (Lê Đức Thọ) are skeptical.
July 15 President Nixon announces he will visit the Peoples Republic of China in 1972. The Vietnamese resistance perceives this (and Nixon’s subsequent visit to the Soviet Union) as part of Nixon’s strategy of ‘triangulation’, an attempt to isolate them from their allies.
July 17 The ‘Plumbers’ unit is established in the White House by Nixon aides John Ehrlichman and Charles Colson to investigate Daniel Ellsberg and to ‘plug’ various news leaks. Colson also compiles an ‘enemies list’ featuring the names of 200 prominent Americans considered to be anti-Nixon.
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.”