Phoenix was far worse than the things attributed to it. — Ed Murphy, former member of the Phoenix program
There’s a reason the CIA wanted to prevent the publication of Douglas Valentine’s 1986 book, The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam. This masterwork is more than an exposé of the US pacification program in Vietnam the book is titled after. It is an indictment of a cynical and bloody plan to kill Vietnamese. In his book The Family Jewels, author John Prado wrote, “When a (CIA) Publications Review Board lawyer checked to see whether Phoenix was off-limits …, he was advised to caution interviewees not to talk to Valentine.”
Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business. – Michael Ledeen, former Defense Department consultant and holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute
Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with NO without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the American War against Vietnam, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring.
Forty-one years ago, Beacon Press lost a Supreme Court case brought against it by the U.S. government for publishing the first full edition of the Pentagon Papers. It is now well known how The New York Times first published excerpts of the top-secret documents in June 1971, but less well known is how the Beacon Press, a small nonprofit publisher affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, came to publish the complete 7,000 pages that exposed the true history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
[Two of history’s best known orations are Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I had a dream” speech and his last, the night before his 4/4/68 assassination, with its fateful:
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”
But official commemorations usually jump over his 4/4/67 anti-Vietnam war speech, which commands attention now, as America’s 1st Black President sends more troops to Afghanistan. Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), the great “black power” civil rights leader, called our attention to King’s talk in the 5/91 issue of The Anti-War Activist:
“Africans gave leadership in the Vietnam anti-war movement. On the extreme was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee with its slogan ‘hell no, we won’t go.’ In the middle stood Dr. Martin Luther King. The capitalists would make his ‘I had a dream’ speech his most popular speech. But we must make his ‘why I oppose the war in Vietnam’ speech the real speech.”
Indeed, it is so “real” that it is given below, complete. Study it for yourself. Then please look at my take on its background in 1967 and its relevance in 2009 and beyond.]
A few days after the inauguration, in a piece celebrating the arrival of the Obama administration, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote that the new president has clearly signaled: “No more crazy wars.”
Last week — and 44 years ago — there were many reasons to celebrate the inauguration of a president after the defeat of a right-wing Republican opponent. But in the midst of numerous delightful fragrances in the air, a bad political odor is apt to be almost ineffable.
Don’t tell my mother I work at the White House. She thinks I play the piano in a whore house.
The Republican presidential campaign has tried to make a big issue of Barack Obama at one time associating with Bill Ayers, a member of the 1960s Weathermen who engaged in political bombings. Governor Palin has accused Obama of ‘palling around with terrorists’, although Ayers’ association with the Weathermen during their period of carrying out anti-Vietnam War bombings in the United States took place when Obama was around 8-years-old. Contrast this with who President Ronald Reagan, so beloved by the Republican candidates, associated with. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained attention by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This is how they spent their time when they were not screaming ‘Death to America‘. CIA and State Department officials called Hekmatyar ‘scary,’ ‘vicious,’ ‘a fascist,’ ‘definite dictatorship material’. None of this prevented the Reagan administration from inviting the man to the White House to meet with Reagan, and showering him with large amounts of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan.