Tuesday, April 26, 2005

FEAR & LOATHING @ TTU: VVAW Faces Off With the Swifties in Texas


Several VVAW members from the early 70’s attended and presented at the Texas Tech Vietnam Project 5th Symposium in March, 2005. The preponderance of the attendees and presenters seemed to be there to defend the Vietnam Conflict and to blame the “loss of the war” on the anti-war movement in the USA. The general feelings seemed to be that we could have won the war, except for the likes of Jane Fonda, John Kerry, VVAW, and the antiwar people. There were many of the old “Ranch Hands” presenting much data that they claim proved their spraying of Agent Orange had no ill effect on our troops or the Vietnamese; not to mention the Swift Boat Vets and their types cherry-picking “facts” to support their arguments.

As one who participated in both the war and VVAW after I returned, I got the distinct feeling that there is an attempt rewrite the history of this era. It is as if they are angry that they “lost their war” and want to blame it on something/someone other than Cold War diplomacy run amuck.

Hope you historians are not letting the half-truths taken out of context influence you.

Please see:

Fear and (Self) Loathing in Lubbock
How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love Vietnam and Iraq

“Taylor's expressed his views recently at the 5th Triennial Symposium on the Vietnam War sponsored by the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech. That Taylor would offer his views at Texas Tech is not surprising, but it is a cause for concern that such ideas have become the de facto party line at the Vietnam Center in Lubbock and increasingly popular in public discussions of Vietnam. Unlike the Vietnam archives there, which remain a valuable resource with well-trained and professional archivists for anyone studying the war, the Center clearly resembles a right-wing think tank. On the surface, its ideological underpinnings are not a problem ­institutions should be able to reflect a variety of opinions ­but the Center also seeks academic legitimacy and claims to represent, as its director James Reckner says, opinions all along the spectrum of views on Vietnam. While it is true that Reckner has given a voice to officials from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and some antiwar groups, such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW], the vast majority of voices heard at Center events tend to represent the far right to the near right. Since it was established by a number of Vietnam Vets and has included a number of influential retired officers and government officials on its board, this might not be surprising, and is not illegitimate. But it seems to be imperative that the representatives of the Center in Lubbock make clear what their mission and purpose is. ”

Peace, Terry