Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lost Battles of the Vietnam War 

The popular myth that the US “never lost a battle during the Vietnam War” should finally be put to rest.
“One theme presented by supporters of the American empire is the U.S. military is invincible and can never lose unless stabbed in the back by impatient politicians. They claim the U.S. military never lost a battle during the entire Vietnam war. 

On August 30, 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed to a gathering of veterans: "But let it be remembered that you won every major battle of that war. Every single one."

…This myth was disputed by America's most decorated officer of that war, Col. David Hackworth, in his book "About Face." The U.S. military had every advantage, yet mistakes were made and battles lost.

...98 lost battles of the Vietnam war:…” 

READ the complete story here:

Soldiers of the southern National Liberation Front  ('Viet Cong') advance in 1968. Three Lions, Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Learn more about the ‘Vietnam War’ from these video interviews with Col. David Hackworth (Ret.)

My Lai Massacre (Video 27:04), and Why the Vietnam War Was Lost: A Stunning Indictment of the Pentagon from an American Soldier (1989) (Video 59:09):

Friday, March 03, 2017

February 27, 2017 
As a result of discussions at the time of Tom Hayden's memorial in Los Angeles, the work of the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee will continue.  An interim committee is in formation, with initial members listed below.

Our immediate and urgent priority is to encourage nationwide local readings of Dr. Martin Luther King's speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" on or near April 4th, its 50th anniversary.

One year before his assassination, Dr. King eloquently (and controversially) linked together the struggles for peace in Vietnam and for economic and social justice at home at a meeting organized by Clergy and Laity Concerned in Riverside Church, New York.

To recall its power and importance, watch and share this 2010 documentary from Tavis Smiley Reports on PBS by clicking here
VPCC will also:

  • Encourage and support involvement by former anti-war activists in PBS stations' community outreach programs for Ken Burns' Vietnam Series airing in September.  We will work with others to evaluate and supplement content as needed.
  • Find partners in Washington to honor and learn from the 50th anniversary of the March on the Pentagon on October 21st, a seminal moment in our political and cultural history.
  • Promote even more nationwide readings of the Riverside Church speech on the 50th anniversary of MLK's assassination, April 4, 2018. 
  • Increase the impact of plenary and breakout sessions at the VPCC 2015 conference in Washington by soliciting and circulating written summaries of the on-line videos posted here .  (Volunteers welcome!)
  • Monitor and challenge as necessary the official Pentagon Vietnam war commemoration and time line.

If you wish to be involved in any of these initiatives or to serve on the new VPCC committee, please contact:
Terry Provance
and/or John McAuliff ;

Interim Committee (in formation)

Sally Benson
David Cortright
Ann Gallivan
Susan Hammond
Frank Joyce
Alex Knopp
John McAuliff
Terry Provance
Brewster Rhoads
Richard Walden
Becca Wilson

Reunion of the Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC) beforeTom Hayden's Memorial.

Make April 4th Matter

A Call to Break Silence

April 4, 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic speech, "Beyond Vietnam:  A Time to Break Silence."  In his dramatic address in Riverside Church at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, Dr. King argued that militarism and war abroad were undermining the struggle against poverty and racism at home.

He witnessed the anti-poverty program being "broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle plaything of a society gone mad on war."  He warned that a nation continuously spending more money on the military than on social uplift, "is approaching spiritual death".

This is a powerful message of enduring value.  It remains relevant today as our government considers greater American military involvement in the Middle East and the President urges "massively rebuilding" the military while cutting social programs.  It is also a reminder of how much our nation has forgotten the lessons of Vietnam and of the anti-war movement and incompletely addressed the humanitarian consequences of that war.

We call on religious organizations, community groups, labor unions, universities, schools, veterans, peace activists and civil rights advocates accross the nation to convene local events on this and future anniversaries.

Let us join together to re-read Dr. King's speech and reflect upon its powerful meaning for today, and let us follow Dr. King in speaking out against racism, poverty and war.

Organization and constituency leaders and individuals are invited to join this call by clicking here   http://tinyurl.com/VPCCcall

Three campaigns are underway with project ideas and resources for honoring the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's speech.

King and Breaking Silence (The National Council of Elders)  http://www.kingandbreakingsilence.com

Riverside Church  
The Shalom Center   
Our goal is to broaden their national outreach and to infuse the experience of peace activists into community programs around the country.

What groups are you a member of, or you can approach, with a simple but powerful idea to spiritually and politically deepen the disquiet and activism prompted by the Trump Administration?

  • To read the full text of Dr. King's speech, click here 
  • To hear the full audio, click here 
  • To see the speech divided into sixteen sections for dramatic group presentations, click here
  • To view Dr. King's speech being read last year by religious figures, activists and a member of Congress at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, click here
Please inform VPCC through Terry Provance of your plans and to suggest effective ways to link the legacy of the anti-war movement to the 50th anniversary of "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence".

Terry Provance ;   


Videos from the
 VPCC conference
and on the draft

"Vietnam: The Power of Protest" is a 50 minute video based on interviews conducted at the conference in Washington produced by Activist Video Archive.  It and the complete interviews of 43 participants can be seen here

The Draft and the Vietnam Generation, a 49-minute documentary by Beth Sanders, tells the stories of young men who faced being drafted to fight in a war they opposed. Their resistance to being drafted not only changed their lives, but shaped American history. Preview it here  www.thedraftproject.com  Purchase a download for at least $10 and the film maker will donate that amount to VPCC.

The Draft, an award-winning stage play by Peter Snoad, chronicles the diverse real-life experiences of 10 young Americans with the Vietnam War draft. The play was filmed during its Boston premiere and the resulting video can now be purchased through the Media Education Foundation. For a full preview, the trailer, a free discussion guide, and ordering information, please visit herehttps://shop.mediaed.org/the-draft-p662.aspx

The script of The Draft can also be used in the classroom or for staged readings or productions of the play (more information at www.vietnamdraftplay.com). 

The Draft is based primarily on Tom Weiner's book, "Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronting the Vietnam War Draft" another valuable educational resource (www.calledtoserve.com).


Update on Trip to Vietnam, 
 Laos and Cambodia in 2017 

We have heard so far from nine persons interested in joining a group tour of Vietnam in 2017 (with Cambodia and Laos options) that will be organized by the Fund for Reconciliation and Development. It is designed for folks who were active in the peace movement and their families. It offers an opportunity to see the impact of the war, reflect with hosts on the role of anti-war activism, and experience fascinating cultures, histories, geography and cuisines. Meetings with government and US embassy officials focus on contemporary issues, including economic development, trade and the danger of conflict over territorial claims in the South China (a.k.a. East) Sea. Dates and itinerary will be determined in consultation with prospective participants who should write to John McAuliff


Holly Near and Jane Fonda at the IPC reunion.
(photos by Brewster Rhodes)

Tom's final book grew from his work on the letter to the Pentagon and the VPCC Power of Protest conference.  It is available in stores and from Amazon.   

Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement
     by Tom Hayden
Yale University Press
168 pages

Buy Now

We need to raise at least $2500 a month to staff VPCC.  
Tax deductible contributions are warmly appreciated 

Click here to donate.

VPCC c/o Fund for Reconciliation & Development, 
64 Jean Court, Riverhead, NY 11901