FDL Book Salon Welcomes John White, The Gulf of Tonkin Events – Fifty Years Later: A Footnote to the History of the Vietnam War

By: Sunday April 20, 2014 1:59 pm

The war in Vietnam essentially began in 1964 in response to what the American government claimed was an unprovoked attack upon two U.S. naval ships, the destroyers USS Maddox (DD-731) and USS Turner Joy (DD-951), while they were steaming peacefully on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. Although there was a U.S. military presence in Vietnam before that, the Tonkin events led to congressional action which allowed President Lyndon Johnson (and, later, President Richard Nixon) to escalate our military presence enormously and to wage war not only in Vietnam but also covertly in Southeast Asia.

Among the many books written on the Vietnamese war, half a dozen note a 1967 letter to the editor of a Connecticut newspaper which was instrumental in pressuring the Johnson administration to tell the truth about how the war was started.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Andrew J. Bacevich, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country

By: Sunday December 22, 2013 1:59 pm

Andrew Bacevich’s “Breach of Trust: How Americans failed their Soldiers and their Country” is a post-mortem on the professional standing army that the US has sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bacevich argues that the citizens’ standing army created by the draft in WW II and after had been highly successful militarily in Europe and Korea and had been a profound expression of individual buy-in and shared national sacrifice.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mary L. Dudziak, War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences

By: Saturday October 19, 2013 1:59 pm

In War Time we are shown how the Cold War years and the development of the Military-Industrial-Complex moved us into a period (which continues today) of grossly disproportionate spending on the military, permanent infringement on civil rights, and so used to war and militarism that we now accept it as the norm. Terrorism is the new communism and must be defended against at all costs. She also discusses other factors that affect the public’s perceptions of wartime and peacetime, such as the roles of government propaganda, the media, citizen sacrifice, proximity of the conflict, and the number of Americans killed.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

By: Saturday January 19, 2013 1:59 pm

Writing about war crimes in an American war fought nearly 50 years ago is a thankless task for a journalist. But it is a subject that is more relevant than ever as the United States gears up for permanent global war in which U.S. troops may be sent to fight simultaneously in several Islamic countries. What really happened in Vietnam holds profound significance for understanding how the U.S. military operates.

That is why Nick Turse’s new book “Kill Anything That Moves” deserves the attention of activists in particular. It is the first real scholarly book on this subject.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes David Swanson, War Is A Lie

By: Sunday November 28, 2010 1:59 pm

Clearly, War Is A Lie is an ambitious effort, organized around ideas rather than chronology, taking in, albeit briefly, most of the wars we talk about, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the two World Wars, back to the Civil War and even to antiquity. It is full of eye-opening facts that cast doubt on the school textbook version of events, and “wow” moments where we are made to question our deepest assumptions. David Swanson whets my appetite for a much more discerning look at particular wars I thought I knew much about, and more importantly, about war itself. He is particularly effective in demonstrating the cynicism and duplicity of leaders who tell us that war is for one purpose, while knowing full well that it is for another.

Swanson’s passion for the topic, his compassion for all peoples, his fresh thinking and his commitment to questioning conventional attitudes toward war and exposing popular myths and fallacies are what stand out. He presents many significant pieces of history that are not widely known and effectively assumes the mantle of moral guide. Swanson makes a compelling case for our re-examining our own knowledge about why we make war, and underlines the deception and folly that is almost always at the core of such violent adventures. Compared to traditional histories and analyses, and even with its drawbacks, I consider War Is A Lie an important work and one worthy of our attention. I’m glad to moderate this conversation.

Forty Years Ago

By: Tuesday May 4, 2010 7:15 pm

The killings at Kent State and Jackson State left scars I feel 40 years later.

FDL Movie Night: The Weather Underground

By: Monday April 19, 2010 5:00 pm

Sam Green’s Oscar nominated film The Weather Underground is an in depth look at the radical group which grew out of the Students for a Democratic Society and turned into a domestic terrorist organization opposed to racism, the war in Viet Nam and the oppression of people in the United States and around the world.

Anger at the United States government policies at home and abroad propelled this group forward. They were young, white middle class, intelligent, articulate and driven by what they saw was wrong with United States policies at home and abroad. To that end the group took to bombing government buildings, alerting the occupants in order to minimize casualties. Three members were killed while building a bomb, but no other live were lost, though millions of dollar worth of damage occurred, and a sense of fear was instilled in the American public. The group bombed the Capitol building and the Pentagon, broke Timothy Leary out of prison, and evaded one of the largest FBI manhunts in history.

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