Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
Category Archives: Vietnam War
By Spencer Ackerman, February 8, 2013. Source: Wired
Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.
That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.
Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.
But that’s the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the “D” from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agreewith Chiarelli.)
January 18, 2013. Source: Institute for Public Accuracy
While many are drawing parallels between Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama, some activists and analysts state that many of Obama’s policies run totally counter to King’s activism.The group RootsAction states: “Meticulous researchers have documented that U.S. drones are killing many innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Drones are making the world less stable and creating new enemies. Their remoteness provides those responsible with a sense of immunity.”
The Washington Peace Center has a list of protests and other events around the inauguration.
In King’s 1967 book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? he wrote: “When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.” That same year In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech [see text and audio], King said: “What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call ‘VC’ or ‘communists’? … Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.
“I’m convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. … When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. …
Note: Words fail here. Forty years after the damage was done, three generations of destruction…
August 9, 2012. Source: Sydney Daily Telegraph
THE United States has started its first clean-up to eliminate dangerous levels of the carcinogen dioxin left over from the war in Vietnam.
Plans are in motion to excavate and clean 73,000 cubic metres of soil and sediment at Da Nang airport, a former air base in central Vietnam contaminated by the defoliant Agent Orange, the US embassy says.
The chemical was used to clear cover providing sanctuary to communist troops during the Vietnam War. Da Nang airport was used as a storage area for the herbicide.
The soil is to be heated to destroy the dioxin and should be safe to use by 2016, the embassy said on Thursday.
Note: Forty-two years ago today, US National Guardsmen opened fire on unarmed students at Kent State University who were protesting the Vietnam War and its expansion into neighboring Cambodia. Four were killed and nine wounded. Justice has never been served to the victims of this atrocity.
Four decades later, the US is sending men and women overseas to fight wars for oil at the same time that the very life-support systems of the planet are on the verge of a complete meltdown from fossil fuel-induced global warming and its resulting climate chaos. These wars enable the 1% to continue their grossly unsustainable lives of privilege at the expense of the rest.
After the Kent State massacre, students rose up across the country. Hundreds of colleges and universities were shut down by student protests and outrage.
Today the stakes are higher than ever. Can we share and learn from the experiences of the movements from the 1960s and encourage a new era of global direct action–a new era of outrage?
The 1% will not change with niceties, permitted marches or orchestrated mass-arrests. They will not change through the corporate-owned electoral process. As Frederick Douglass pointed out:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
I would add to this that it is not enough merely to demand. The demands must be backed up by action: action in the form of general strikes, student shut downs and the total obstruction of business as usual. After all, it is literally our future that is at stake.
–Anne Petermann for the GJEP Team
Cross-Posted from Reuters
KENT, Ohio | Thu May 3, 2012 11:23pm EDT
(Reuters) – Survivors of the shooting of 13 students by the Ohio National Guard during an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University in 1970 called on Thursday for a new probe into the incident that came to define U.S. divisions over the Vietnam War.
Four students were killed and nine wounded in the shootings on May 4, 1970 that followed days of demonstrations on the campus after disclosures of a U.S.-led invasion of Cambodia that signaled a widening of the war in Southeast Asia.
Kent State was shut for weeks after the shootings and student strikes closed down schools across the nation.
On the eve of the 42nd anniversary of the shootings, four students wounded that day asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate digitally enhanced audio evidence they believe proves an officer ordered the guardsmen to fire on the unarmed students.
A command to fire has never been proven and guardsmen said they fired in self-defense. Criminal charges were brought against eight guardsmen, but a judge dismissed the case. Wounded students and families of those slain later received a total of $675,000 after civil lawsuits.
The shootings also spawned an investigative commission, numerous books and Neil Young’s song, “Ohio,” which became an anti-war anthem. A Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a teenage girl kneeling over the body of one of the slain students became an enduring image of the tragedy.
In 2010, Alan Canfora, one of the wounded students and director of the nonprofit Kent May 4 Center, asked the Justice Department to review the enhanced recording, which was taken 250 feet from the guardsmen when they fired their shots in 1970.
Canfora and other audio specialists say the enhanced recording shows a clear military order to fire seconds before the shooting. The troops fired 67 shots over 13 seconds.
A Justice Department official closed the matter last month, finding the recordings were still inconclusive.
Canfora, and other wounded students Dean Kahler, Thomas Grace and Joe Lewis, asked Holder on Thursday for a new probe, saying anyone involved in the shooting should be offered immunity to provide information. They asked any surviving guardsmen to come forward with information.
“I was an angry young man for a number of years,” Canfora said. “We have to work within the system. I’ve learned a lot since we were younger. I believe they were ordered to shoot us.”
Kahler, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since the shooting, told Reuters: “We want justice in a sense, to have the truth. It would be nice to know what actually happened.
If the United States does not open a new investigation, the May 4 group plans to appeal to the International Court of Justice, the U.N. Human Rights Council or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Canfora said.
“Blood on the Tracks”: Brian Willson’s Memoir of Transformation from Vietnam Vet to Radical Pacifist from Democracy Now!
Note: Waking up this morning to Brian Willson being interviewed on Democracy Now! had great meaning for me. Many years ago, around 1996 or so, I received a letter from Brian urging that the group I then worked with, Native Forest Network, to please get involved in the effort to stop the destruction of Nicaragua’s Bosawas Rainforest which was, at that time, the largest intact rainforest north of the Amazon. We did become involved and I’ve been to Nicaragua many times. In 1997 we had a major victory for the Bosawas jungle when we worked with Mayangna People to stop a 150,000 acre illegal logging concession on their ancestral lands. Thanks to Brian, I became so active in the region that I co-founded a new organization: ACERCA (Action for Community and Ecology in the Regions of Central America) in 1998. I first met Brian in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico where the Zapatistas held the “First North American Encuentro” in the spring of 1996. GJEP’s Anne Petermann and I have visited with Brian many times since then on both coasts of the US–though not recently. It was great to see Brian again today, albeit via satellite dish. I encourage you to watch this interview and learn of Brian’s remarkable journey of personal discovery and resistance to the dominant paradigm–including the infamous incident in 1981 when he lost both of his legs after being run over by a train that he was blockading. The train was carrying munitions to the Contras in Nicaragua in a US-backed attempt to overthrow the Sandinista revolution that had ousted the long stranglehold of the Samoza family’s regime.
Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team
Click here for today’s Democracy Now! interview with Brian Willson
Also, Climate Connections featured Blood on the Tracks: The Life And Times of S. Brian Willson on June 17, 2011.
Herbicide Resistant ‘Superweeds’ Revive an Old, Highly Toxic Herbicide : 2,4,D (Remember Agent Orange?)
Note: As we and other activists fighting to stop the use of genetically engineered crops predicted long ago by , the vast increase in the amount of RoundUp herbicide that accompanied the introduction of “RoundUp Ready” GMO crops has led to RoundUp resistant “superweeds.” Now the same geniouses that came up with that brilliant idea want to bring back more toxic herbicides to control the superweeds. Talk about not getting the concept…
It is for this and many other reasons that we are determined to ban genetically engineered trees BEFORE they are released en masse into the environment. These corporate “scientists” have no idea what they are doing. Not a clue what the long-term consequences will be. Nor do they care. If one does not look for problems, one will not find them. Then they get to say, “we have no evidence this will cause problems,” when in fact they never bothered to look.
–The GJEP Team
‘Superweeds’ Revive an Old, Highly Toxic Herbicide
—By Tom Philpott
Ecologists call it the “pesticide treadmill”: pests like weeds and bugs evolve to resist the poisons designed to destroy them, forcing farmers to apply ever-higher doses or resort to novel poisons.
But Monsanto’s empire of Roundup Ready crops—designed to resist lashings of its own herbicide, Roundup—appears on the verge of sending the pesticide treadmill into reverse. As Roundup loses effectiveness, swamped by a galloping plague of resistant superweeds, farmers have already played the card of dramatically boosting Roundup application rates.
Now they’re being urged to resort to an herbicide called 2,4-D that first hit farm fields in 1948, and that made up half of the formula for Agent Orange, the infamous defoliant applied to disastrous effect in the Vietnam War. Reports Southeast Farm Press:
2,4-D is coming back. What many might consider a “dinosaur” may be the best solution for growers fighting weed resistance today, said Dean Riechers, University of Illinois associate professor of weed physiology.
To be fair, 2, 4-D made up the less toxic half of the Agent Orange formula, according to thisBeyond Pesticides report (PDF) on it. The other half, known as 2,4,5-T, carried most of the dioxin contamination that made Agent Orange such a nightmare for everyone exposed to it in Vietnam.
By Orin Langelle
Yes, it’s ten years after 9/11. And this video is not about the twin towers. I’m not going into any conspiracy theories, nor am I going to wave the flag. Something terrible happened ten years ago; that’s undeniable. I was going to write about some of the notable changes that have occurred in those ten years, like the further loss of freedoms, growing fascism, corporations with the rights of people, a surge in racism, workers’ rights denied more and more, the continued pillaging of the Earth, the intensification of climate chaos, plus the withering of the global justice movement in the U.S. A movement that was vibrant and offered hope to millions who wanted to live in a better world–a movement that still can resurge and is more necessary than ever.
Then I started looking at my past and the beginnings of my involvement in the movement for social change back in the late-60s, and I remembered a rock group called Ten Years After. How appropriate for this 9/11. So I thought about running a video clip from them like “I’d love to change the world.” It has some great lyrics: “…Tax the rich, feed the poor–Till there are no rich no more…” Then I started looking at other videos from the late 60s—early 70s and found the one below by Jefferson Airplane. This video brought me sad memories of that war. Many dead on both sides. Scorched Earth. Agent Orange. Suicides when soldiers returned. Friends’ lives and minds ruined. With those memories flooding back I realized it would be good to look further into the past than just ten years and to remember things that happened during the Vietnam War to provide a broader perspective. Could the U.S. war in Indochina, other hostilities including violently backing various dubious governments, and the establishment of U.S. military bases around the globe be some of the reasons “they hate us?” And let’s not forget that the U.S. military is the largest single emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet. I hope this video helps jolt us into looking back into history–things that the Tea Party, Republicans, Democrats, corporations etc. want us to forget. Let’s shake off some of the collective amnesia.
(BTW—in the video one can click the X on the box to get rid the annoying google advert.)
-Orin Langelle is the Co-Director/Strategist for Global Justice Ecology Project
Video cross-posted from utahraptor88