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Session 13

  Messages 4-3 deleted by author 07-21-2006 08:59 AM
2
Bill Laurie
05-04-2004
10:07 PM ET (US)
Today's "historical" explanations of Viet Nam, found in both high schools and colleges, are at once ludicrous and nauseating, and constitute historical invention rather than accurate, rational history. This is not an interpretive dispute but rather a case study in artful omission of relevant material, combined with inability or unwillingness to apply rational objective thought in explaining historical cause and effect. Damnation of contemporary Viet Nam "histories" does not go hand-in-hand with denial of any unpleasant truths about U.S. involvement. My Lai did occur, corruption was endemic, and other frequently discussed problems did exist. Yet any honest historical account must include all pertinent material, an example being the former GVN's land reform program, by which 2,500,000 million acres of rice land were given to 800,000 formerly landless peasant families, thereby stealing the thunder from VC/PRG claims for "land reform", an appeal that was manipulative and fraudulent. Today's students are subjected to what amounts to artfully crafted mythis having all the depth of 1940s black and white cowboy movies, people by 100% good guys (the VC) and irredeemable inept, craven and cowardly slugs (the US, GVN). Another monumental omission is exclusion of Laos and Cambodia, both integral components in Hanoi's theater war. Suffice it to say today's students are not learning honest history, but instead are subjected to what amounts to one of the most incrediblely mutated myths of the 20th century. It is what would be expected if the Aryan Brotherhood wrote a comprehensive history of the Civil Rights Movement. Whatever it is, it ain't history. Alloted time will not permit comprehensive in-depth discussion of this subject, but abundant examples of historical distortion will be discussed, egregiously flawed-and popular-textbooks will be identified and critiqued, concluding with an outlook for the future and profound difficulties in dissolving the hardened sludge of Viet Nam's historical "impressions." Suggestions welcome. Bill Laurie
1
Stephen ShermanPerson was signed in when posted
04-21-2004
08:58 AM ET (US)
I welcome your comments to this session where we will discuss the teaching of the Vietnam War. To return to the Session page go to http://www.viet-myths.net/Session13.htm

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