Shared by Vietnam veteran Michael Uhl, with this introduction: In early 1978, Citizen Soldier, a nonprofit dedicated to advocacy on behalf of GIs and veterans, became involved in the controversial Agent Orange issue when a range
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.
February – Hew-Kekaw-Na-Yo (meaning “to resist,” later renamed Hey-Tra-Sneyo), an all-Native American radical GI organization, is formed at Fort Lewis, Washington, and begins publication of a short-lived newspaper, Yah-Hoh.
February 2 – B-52 bombers strike the Ho Chi Minh trail in response to the increasing number of National Liberation Front (NLF) raids throughout the south.
February 3-5 – Congressional hearings on Vietnam Policy Proposals, nine proposals to end the war, begin.
February 6 – The East Coast Conspiracy to Save Lives, a group of mostly Catholic antiwar activists, “liberate” draft files in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and General Electric files in Washington, D.C. The latter because “G. E. is the second largest war contractor in the United States…and because…we wish to point out the collusion between the military system, giant corporations, and the government.”
February 11 – North Vietnamese Army (NVA, a.k.a. People’s Army of Viet Nam/PAVN or Vietnam People’s Army/VPA) and Pathet Lao forces launch an offensive in the Plain of Jars in Laos. U.S. increases secret bombing of the Plain of Jars.
February 14 – In a Gallup Poll, a majority of Americans polled (55 percent) oppose an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Viet Nam. The number favoring American withdrawal increasing from 21 percent, in a November poll, to 35 percent. President Nixon had taken office in January 1969 promising to bring the war to an end, but a year later, as fighting continued, support for the president’s handling of the war was beginning to slip significantly.
February 17 – Operation Good Luck, a series of U.S. bombing runs against NVA and Pathet Lao forces in northern Laos is launched.
February 17 – In anticipation of the verdict in the Chicago Conspiracy trial, and in protest of Judge Hoffman’s contempt citations issued against the “Chicago Seven,” approximately 2,000 protesters led by the new Seattle Liberation Front (SLF) clash with Seattle Police during “The Day After” (TDA) demonstration at the Federal Courthouse at 4th Avenue and Madison Street. Demonstrators pelt the Courthouse and police with paint bombs and rocks, leading to 76 arrests and 20 injuries. Federal prosecutors later file conspiracy charges against SLF leaders, leading to the trial of the “Seattle Seven.” Four days later, on February 21, solidarity demonstrations take place in Boston, Washington, Chicago, Madison, New York, Santa Barbara (where the Bank of America is burned down), and Berkeley.
February 18 – A verdict is reached in the Chicago Conspiracy trial. Each of the seven defendants is acquitted of conspiracy. (Black Panther Bobby Seale’s case had been severed from the others—see November 5, 1969 Chronology entry.) Two defendants, Froines and Weiner, are acquitted completely, while the remaining five are convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot, a crime instituted by the anti-riot provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 introduced in the House by Representative William C. Cramer of Florida. Two days later, February 20, the defendants are sentenced to five years in prison and fined $5,000 each. [On November 21, 1972, all of the convictions will be reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on the basis that the judge was biased in his refusal to permit defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias, and the Justice Department will decide against retrying the case.] During the trial, all the defendants and both defense attorneys had been cited for contempt and sentenced to jail, but those convictions would also be overturned on appeal.
February 21 – Although the official peace talks remain deadlocked in Paris; behind the scenes, Henry Kissinger begins a new series of secret talks with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s Lê Đức Thọ, which will go on for two years.
February 28 – A second Chicano Moratorium demonstration is held in East Los Angeles, with more than 3,000 demonstrators from throughout California participating, despite a driving rain. A Chicano program on the local public television station produces a documentary of the march, used nationally by the committee to popularize its efforts. [See December 20, 1969 Chronology entry.]
February 28 – GIs stage a demonstration at Fort Lewis, Washington, to protest the military’s “kidnapping” of Bruce McLean, a soldier and ASU member taken from his cell in the stockade and shipped to Viet Nam with little notice.
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.”