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Session 12

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  Spam messages 10-7 deleted by QuickTopic between 10-30-2019 05:50 PM and 07-21-2006 08:59 AM
07:41 PM ET (US)
The Honorable (Your Senator’s Name)

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senator:


Please cosponsor the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2004, which sought to ensure that trade and expanded relations with Vietnam would promote political reforms, freedom, civil society, and democracy in that country.


Repeatedly passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support (410-1 in 2001 and again, 323-45 in 2003), this legislation links further increases in U.S. non-humanitarian assistance to progress on human rights in Vietnam and provide assistance to pro-democracy groups.


Human rights and religious freedom situation in Vietnam has deteriorated significantly since 2001. The U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom has repeatedly recommend Congress to pass Vietnam Human Rights Act.


If passed, this legislation would reinforce a balanced approach of trade and human rights in U.S. foreign policy. Undeniable reality of human rights violations in Vietnam today has suggested that perhaps one reason why our “constructive approach” failed to work is because we have simply focused on trade and economic assistance as the only solution in this complex relationship. We strongly believe that a “constructive approach” must not solely rely on trade itself but also on universal values that would build a strong foundation for US-Vietnam bilateral relation to foster in the future.


Passing this legislation would also mean that our people’s tax money would be well spent and directly delivered to benefit the people of Vietnam. While the U.S. government has increasingly provided economic assistance to Vietnam over the years, we must make sure that this money will be spent to help developing infrastructure, carrying out reforms to benefit 80 millions of Vietnamese. Currently, there is no benchmark or monitoring system available to measure progress in human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam. However, it was with this clear intention that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill 410-1 when it, at the same time, ratified the US-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement in 2001.


I wholeheartedly urge you to join the bill’s author, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), in working to build a more positive bilateral relationship between the two countries and help construct the stage for the development of civil society for 80 million Vietnamese.


Please support the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2004.



03:56 PM ET (US)
One aspect of the news media coverage of Vietnam that I never heard discussed is how much of an impact did color TV have on the coverage.

You might think to yourself that my point is pretty funny, but think about it. Most of the film was of jets dropping bombs, napalm with its bright colors of red and orange.

The network news used these colorful images to present a negative story and support the anti-war crowd. I could be wrong, however, it might prove to be an interesting question for the conference.
10:56 PM ET (US)
Mr. Friedman's comments well taken. Amplifying upon same:
   1.One reason news media could not tell truth is that so many "reporters" were astoundingly ignorant and ill-informed about matters SE Asian, military, etc. Having no comprehension of what is going on around them, too many reporters fell back on crowd contagion and group think and simply reported the consensus party line. Few reporters knew or wanted to know anything about SE Asia's essentials: three-phase protracted war, Hanoi's "dich van" campaign, the comparative characteristics of 155mm and Soviet 130mm guns, ad infinitum. Most reporters thought VN was arithmetic; it was differential calculus.
   2.New York editors did slant and distort things even more, many having a pronounced political agenda and outlook. They wanted more blood and gore because it boosted ratings and advertising rates, and would not tell their reporters to comprehensively examine such subjects as land reform in VN, an incredibly successful venture after several false starts in the Diem years. There was NO network TV coverage on land reform. It was important to the people of VN but didn't provide enough visual "drama"-read blood, gore, explosions, etc.-to satisfy NY editors and producers.
   3.If-IF-one digs hard and long one will find commentary on reporter performance (?) and behavior, such as it was, in Laos and Cambodia. Robbins' THE RAVENS includes an observation on draft-dodger reporter T.D. Allman, and his being "bored to death" upon visiting a hospital built for Hmong people under US auspices. He should have asked the patients if they were "bored" with having medical care. He didn't because he didn't care, and because it wasn't as much fun as being a self-indulgent "anti-war" messiah. Reporter experiences in Cambodia revealed in San Ansom's WAR NEWS and Jacque Leslie THE MARK. Anson w/Time Magazine; Leslie w/LA Times. Both recount tales of abundant reporter drug use and other examples of assinine "Ugly American" behavior. Ansom thought Cambodia was a great war because he could drive out to see the NVA in action ("truly fantastic!") and then return to Phnom Penh for good food, drugs, parties, etc. Swell guy. He admits, in his book, to being filled with ideas he picked up at "anti-war" demonstrations years earlier as a student.
   3.Many veterans of SE Asia remember coming home and hearing profoundly stupid questions and comments from Americans who watched from afar. The reason these questions were infantile is because the news media never told anyone anything of substance about SE Asia. Nothing. If there were justice in this world, Cronkite, Rather, Arnett, et al would have been remanded to live in a refugee camp until such time as no more refugees exist in SE Asia. The bitter irony of all this is that these self-absorbed people actually think they know something about Viet Nam.
Max Friedman
06:38 PM ET (US)
There's a lot to bitch about re the news media and Vietnam, etc. What is needed at this conference are personal observations concerning what the media did correctly and professionally in their covering a very complex war, as well as what they did wrong and/or unprofessionally.

Think of an incident you personally saw or participated in, and then how it was reported in the print media, TV, etc. What can you add to explore this incident and issue?
Those who participated in the Tet battles should have a lot to work with. The same for those who saw the atrocities committed by the VC and NVA.

What we don't have are many stories from Laos and Cambodia.

Since Dolf Droge is going to conduct this session, you will be getting one of the best participant/observer's points of view and actual experiences.

Also, Viet Vets should contrast today's reporting from Iraq with that of Vietnam - the good, the bad, the neutral. etc.

I say this as a Vietnam journalist and the father of a son who fought in Iraq.

It is important that the media not be allowed to get away with deliberate, and that is the key word, deliberate, distortions, bias, incompetence etc. Where they screw up, let's nail them. Where they did a good job, let us praise them. There were a lot of journalists, often from smaller papers, who did a great job in reporting the story, and who have never really been acknowledged. I'm thinking of a book by a former soldier named MacDonald called "Report or Distort". He wrote about those people who didn't get bylines or TV sound bites.

I my opinion, after having been a journalist for almost 35 years (among other jobs), is that the mainstream media is still pretty biased against America, though I see some improvements. However, the embedded journalists in Iraq were really some of the best that I've ever seen/heard. It is back home, at the editorial/policy level, that things get turned around, esp. at CNN and CBS.

What happened in Vietnam framed the way the news media reported foreign affairs for decades, often to the detriment of our country and our armed forces.

This session should be the Viet vets chance to level the playing field with factual observations, criticisms, praise, and suggestions on how military operations should be covered.
Bill Laurie
07:45 AM ET (US)
Somebody should be bitching about the news media and its pathetic performance in VN/SE Asia. There's a lot to bitch about. A lot.
Stephen ShermanPerson was signed in when posted
09:02 AM ET (US)
I welcome your comments to this session where we will discuss the role of the Media in the Vietnam War. To return to the Session Page go to http://www.viet-myths.net/Session12.htm