Of that 57,231 total, 3,840 died during or after the Vietnam War.
Open dissent on U.S. military bases slowly emerged. The first public act of defiance came on June 30, 1966, when three privates issued a public statement declaring their refusal to ship out to Vietnam on the grounds that the war was “immoral, illegal, and unjust.” The “Fort Hood Three” were court-martialed in September and sentenced to three to five year prison terms. In October, Army doctor Howard Levy refused to train Green Beret medics at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, asserting that Special Forces units were responsible for war crimes in Vietnam.
Young, The Vietnam Wars, pp. 69-72.
Australians – like the French (who handed the war to Washington), Germans, British, South Vietnamese and Japanese – connected their democracy and prosperity to American power rather than to its absence or to some organic, geographic, ostensibly Asian mechanism. For them, the Vietnam War may have been poorly and inconsistently executed, but it was inspired by a sound, historically validated, geostrategy. Dumbrell might have afforded more space to considering why Australia fought with America in Vietnam when others did not.
Interview with Tom Wells, in Tom Wells, The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1994), pp. 559-60.
Young, The Vietnam Wars, p. 182.
Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the son of an émigré Hebrew scholar, addressed the issue of the moral responsibility of intellectuals in a special supplement in the New York Review of Books in February 1967. Based on a thorough examination of U.S. policy in Vietnam, he judged that it was genocidal in conduct and imperialist in intent. Like other intellectuals on the left, he viewed U.S. involvement in Vietnam as neither an aberration nor a simple mistake but rather as part of a larger design to extend American hegemony. Chomsky examined the role of the intellectuals in World War II, particularly those in Germany and Japan who failed to speak out against the atrocities committed by their respective governments. Considering the relative freedom of Western societies, he argued that academics and intellectuals had a responsibility to “seek the truth hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.”
Young, The Vietnam Wars, pp. 289, 286.
Criticism of imperious U.S. policies in Vietnam began long before U.S. troops were deployed. During the 1950s, insightful critiques were proffered by investigative journalists Bernard Fall and I. F. Stone, political scientist Hans Morgenthau, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and peace leaders A. J. Muste and Sidney Lens, to name a few; and in publications such as I. F. Stone’s Weekly, The Christian Century, The New Republic, The Nation, Dissent, Monthly Review, and Liberation. In the November 1952 issue of The Christian Century, for example, the editors castigated the U.S. for supporting French imperialism in Vietnam and ominously warned, “American boys are not dying in Indo-China – yet. But American policy is getting into a deeper and deeper morass there.” In the June 1954 issue of Monthly Review, following the defeat of the French, Marxist scholars Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman issued another warning:
Young, The Vietnam Wars, 177, 302.
The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.