Sunday, January 20, 2013

From the archives of the Vietnam War

From the archives of the Vietnam war (1959-1975): this is the cover of a 1965 Life magazine which included a pictorial on the war. The Viet Cong were the political army of guerrilla & regular troops who opposed the US military in South Vietnam--& won.

Coming out of the McCarthy witch-hunt era, the US government & media were recklessly straightforward in their coverage of the Vietnam war. The pictorial in this issue of the magazine included this photo of the abuse of a prisoner, as well as photos of napalm fire bombing, peasant homes being torched, & a Viet Cong prisoner being threatened with a knife with the caption, “In interrogating prisoners each side in the Vietnam War occasionally resort to terror.” That candor led to massive international opposition to the war with millions of people in the streets in nearly every country. It led to deep, widespread opposition to war pathologized in the media as the “Vietnam Syndrome”--a social malady that needed to be overcome. In future wars, the norm became media blackouts, embedded reporters, & stinking mendacity to hide the ugly, monstrous truth about the conduct of US wars & occupations. That might be when they started giving all their wars poetic names like Desert Storm & Enduring Freedom because they can’t call them what they really are: colonial plunder.

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