As US capitalism continues to recede from its industrious past, it has come to rely all the more on financial manipulation and war making as the economic engines of the empire. Just as the military-industrial complex grows in significant so does the nation's perceptions about the Vietnam War because the experience of that war has played a central role in the development of an American opposition to all wars.
Therefore it is not surprising that the Obama administration has just launched a major campaign to prettify the Vietnam War. A PR campaign that is expected to last more than a decade and cost tens of millions of dollars was officially kicked off by President Obama on May 28th. From Jack A. Smith in the Activist Newsletter, June 7, 2012:
REVERSING THE VIETNAM WAR VERDICT
The Pentagon has just launched a multi-year national public relations campaign to justify, glorify and honor Washington's catastrophic, aggressive and losing war against Vietnam America's most controversial and unpopular military conflict.
President Barack Obama opened the militarist event, which was overwhelmingly approved by Congress four years ago, during a speech at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, May 28. The entire campaign, which will consist of tens of thousands of events over the next 13 years, is ostensibly intended to "finally honor" the U.S. troops who fought in Vietnam. The last troops were evacuated nearly 40 years ago.
However, I have already fashioned a powerful weapon with which to dispatch this latest attempt at Vietnam War revisionism - Vietnam: American Holocaust. [IMDB] Brave New Theaters
I started production on Vietnam: American Holocaust back in 2006 because I saw this coming in the new crop of Vietnam War docs designed to revise that history for a new generation. I cajoled Martin Sheen into narrating it because, when it comes to narrating an antiwar Vietnam doc, who you going to call? I put three years of my life and the little nest egg I had from selling my late mother's house into the project. Now I have a clue as to how Noah must have felt when the rain started to fall.
I found out last year that the great documentary filmmaker Ken Burns was working with PBS to give the Vietnam War the whole "Ken Burns" treatment with a new 12 hour documentary film series on the Vietnam War slated for broadcast in 2016. I've offered them my services, contacts and expertise in this area, and they said they would be in touch. That was months ago and that is the last I've heard from them. Now I suspect that the Ken Burns Vietnam doc is part of this pentagon Vietnam War makeover and they really aren't interested in telling the story the way I have told it.
Currently as many as 5000 people a day are watching my 90 minute doc, on YouTube, getting an anti-imperialist perspective on the Vietnam War and a real taste of its horror. It has only been on YouTube 14 months but is expected to reach the quarter-million mark in views this weekend, so Ken Burn and all will have some catching up to do.
I am now seeking funding and other support so that I can finish the sequel Vietnam: People's Victory and it would now seem that completion of that project is more important than ever!
Jack Smith continues on the Vietnam War Commemoration plans:
In reality, the unprecedented project titled the Vietnam War Commemoration will utilize the "pro-veteran" extravaganza to accomplish two additional and more long lasting goals:This attempt at rewriting history in the name of the Vietnam veterans will also be powerfully opposed by those Vietnam veterans that learned from Vietnam how to love peace and hate war.
The first is to legitimize and intensify a renewed warrior spirit within America as the Pentagon emerges from two counter-productive, ruinously expensive and stalemated unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prepares for further military adventures in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Within days of Obama's speech, for instance, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced a big increase of U.S. Navy forces in the Pacific, a move obviously targeting China. At the same time the Obama Administration's drone wars are accelerating as the Oval Office's kill list expands, and the president engages in cyber sabotage against Iran.
The second is to dilute the memory of historic public opposition to the Vietnam war by putting forward the Pentagon's censored account of the conflict in public meetings, parades and educational sessions set to take place across the nation through 2025. These flag-waving, hyper-patriotic occasions will feature veterans, active duty military members, government officials, local politicians, teachers and business leaders who will combine forces to praise those who fought in Vietnam and those on the home front who supported the war. There won't be much if any attention focused on the majority of Americans who opposed this imperialist adventure, except as a footnote describing how tolerant U.S. democracy is toward dissent.
Veterans for Peace, which showed my film at its national convention and sells it on their website; Scott Camil, the decorated Vietnam vet that appears in my film and has been a strong supporter: Ron Kovic, who wrote & lived Born on the 4th of July, and, together with Martin Sheen, serves as honorary co-chair of my fund-raising committee; and all those who fought in the Vietnam war and came to oppose it, you will be called upon to serve your country once again because a battle royal is about to be joined for the Hearts & Minds of the American people.
Jack Smith also includes a strong critique of Obama's Memorial Day speech and brief refresher on the history of the Vietnam war in which he rebuts the nonsense. Read the full article at Activist Newsletter here.
Buy the Vietnam: American Holocaust DVD on Amazon. Help me complete the sequel. We still need a lot of help if we are to finish Vietnam: People's Victory. Support this work with a PayPal donation or [Click Here] to make your tax deductible Now! We can also accept checks made to "From the Heart" for tax deductible contributions. Send to Linux Beach Productions, 116 Rose Ave, #9, Venice, CA 90291