Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Bush vs Peace Movement - Lessons from Vietnam

Between the Lines Q&A
A weekly column featuring progressive viewpoints
on national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media
for release May 9, 2005
http://www.btlonline.org/btl051305.html

BETWEEN THE LINES Q&A
for the week ending 5/13/05

Bush Administration, Peace Movement Learned Very Different Lessons from Vietnam War

Interview with Marcus Raskin, co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris

Listen in RealAudio:
http://www.btlonline.org/raskin051305.ram
(Needs RealOne player or RealPlayer)

With the recent escalation of violence by insurgents in Iraq that includes daily attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces, car bombings and kidnappings, the optimistic picture recently painted by White House and Pentagon officials of diminishing violence, stability and a short-term reduction in the number of American occupation troops seems ever more implausible. Meanwhile, nations such as Italy and the Ukraine that had initially deployed soldiers to support the Bush administration's occupation of Iraq are now steadily withdrawing.

While differences outnumber similarities between the Iraq war and the U.S. war in Vietnam, there are a growing number of observers who are concerned that the Bush administration may be making the same critical mistakes that led to the American defeat and withdrawal from South Vietnam 30 years ago. Critics and supporters of Washington's war in Southeast Asia, haunted by the deaths of 58,000 American troops and more than a million Vietnamese, have drawn very different lessons from the Vietnam conflict.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Marcus Raskin, co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies in 1963, and a vocal opponent of the Vietnam war and military draft. Raskin assesses the current peace movement's demand for a rapid U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the lessons he believes should have been learned in Vietnam.

MARCUS RASKIN: Well, I think that if you look at the Vietnam War, there was an election in September of 1967 in South Vietnam, and the assumption in the press and among people in the administration was, "You see, this election is working, and it will result in the stabilization of the South Vietnamese government and everything is going to be hunky dory."

The same sort of crude understanding of life of another culture is happening in Iraq. There's nothing to suggest, at least at this point -- and there's nothing on the horizon to suggest that the attempt to have an election or an election on top of what is now an incipient civil war -- that it will result in any sort of quiet in allowing the United States to leave.

Furthermore, though, there is in case no apparent reason the United States will leave. It wants to have the bases in the Middle East; it wants to be the nation that is able to guide where the oil is supposed to go, etc. And it wants to establish itself directly as the nation that has the sphere of influence over that area.

BETWEEN THE LINES: By all accounts, U.S. military recruitment is down, and there are real prospects out there that a draft may be re-established in this country soon. What do you think the response of the peace movement who want a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from the occupation of Iraq -- what do you think the peace movement should be doing now?

MARCUS RASKIN: I think that there are several things that should go on. One is obviously the increase of marches and demonstrations, which I think does have an effect. I think also, there is a core question of legitimacy of the war -- that is to say, it's based on a lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction, on and on. That the president had no intention of following whatever the intelligence said -- that he and (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair wanted to make war and planned to do this several years ago. So that this was an aggressive war, that being an aggressive war is something which is violative of the Nuremberg principles which the United States supported as it related to German war criminals.

Furthermore -- and that's just a part of an argument -- it strikes me as mistaken in the extreme, not to raise the question of either censure or impeachment with regard to the president and his Cabinet, and at least the president in order to make clear that these people indeed have acted in an unlawful way.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Just a final question, if I could. Many half-truths and blatant lies were told in justifying the Iraq War on the part of the Bush administration, but our government seems unaccountable for these breaches of trust. In fact, policymakers have been rewarded with promotions, medals and re-election. The press was blamed for the loss of the Vietnam War by conservatives who supported that conflict, and it seems that the press in the United States has been asleep at the switch, to say the least, in terms of scrutinizing and challenging the rationales for war in Iraq.

MARCUS RASKIN: Well, I think that's right, and for the most part, our press is what you would call a palace court press. That is to say, it takes handouts, and is more willing to take propaganda than doing individual or critical research on various questions. It's a great shame, because what that means is that the people of this country suffer as a result of it.

This issue is going to become more and more important as people in any case, move away from reading newspapers and dependent on the mass media, such as television, which indeed, only tells a fleeting glimpse of any story. So the country is faced with a very, very great problem now, in terms of how news is gathered, how criticism is made and how it gets out.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Any lessons you want to impart from you learned during the Vietnam War in your activism against that conflict?

MARCUS RASKIN: I think that there's one principle, and that is less a principle, I think, than a stand. And that is that unless you speak out and act, the social and political space will close down. The only way to keep open that social and political space is to use it.

Contact the Institute for Policy Studies by calling (202) 234-9382 or visit their website at www.ips-dc.org. Raskin and Carl Lavan are the editors of a new book titled, "In Democracy's Shadow: The Secret World of National Security."

* "The Unreported Vietnam-Iraq Parallel," by Danny Schechter, CommonDreams.org, May 1, 2005 * "From 'Gook' to 'Raghead'," by Bob Herbert, by the New York Times, May 2, 2005

**************

Scott Harris is executive producer of Between The Lines, which can be heard on more than 35 radio stations and in RealAudio and MP3 on our website at http://www.btlonline.org. This interview excerpt was featured on the award-winning, syndicated weekly radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines for the week ending May 6, 2005. This Between The Lines Q&A was compiled by Scott Harris and Anna Manzo.

**************

TO DONATE

It's your future ... help make a difference against the corporate media's blackout of news and viewpoints like those in the interview above by helping us distribute to a wider audience in 2005! Please send your donation to:

Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 110176 Trumbull, CT 06611

*** Please note: If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible, please make your check out to our fiscal sponsor, The Center for Global Communications Foundation Inc. (or The Global Center) and send to the above address.***

**************

PRINT INFORMATION: For reprint permission, please email betweenthelines@snet.net.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news