• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


A generous supporter has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Everybody Must Get Stoned

I recently wrote on these pages about the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee. Reading an article that the committee references on the Pentagon’s past commemoration of the war, I was not surprised to find pure and unabashed vitriol hurled at the peace movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Yogi Berra might have observed that “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

The article “How Pentagon Plans To Whitewash 50th Anniversary of Vietnam,”(Forward, May 1, 2015) illuminates much of the pro-war psyche of the war makers:

The Pentagon is pushing to whitewash history. It hopes schools, civic organizations and state and local governments will hold ceremonies, mount exhibits and promote a version of history that honors those who fought the war while banishing from memory those who opposed it.

This assessment in the Forward is not new: In fact, it’s been going on since the inception of the Vietnam War in the early 1960s (the American War) and continues today. Ronald Reagan promulgated the first iteration of the “noble cause,” then ushered in his low-intensity wars in Central American countries that resonate at the U.S. border with Mexico today. Burns and Novick in The Vietnam War (2017) paint a disturbingly one-sided view of the carnage of that war leaving out masses of antiwar activism and references. The Guardian recirculates that view of the war in its unequivocal endorsement of the filmmakers’ work in “The Vietnam War review-Ken Burns makes a complex story immediately comprehensible,” September 26, 2017).

The culture wars go on and on and on, as is obvious from the comments section appended to the Forward article, the main thrust of which is that the Vietnam peace movement (read antiwar in a society that fights and profits from endless wars) was comprised mostly of communists who had only mean-spirited intent against those who fought that war. The latter is such trash that it almost begs not to be confronted, especially since one of the most prominent, but not the largest part of the Vietnam antiwar movement were the Vietnam antiwar veterans who conducted the 1971 Winter Soldier testimonials that documented some of the war’s atrocities and the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Former senator and secretary of state John Kerry was a prominent member of the group and his prominence is documented in the manner in which he was swift boated by his right-wing adversaries during the presidential campaign of 2004.

Veterans for Peace, in its effort to provide an intelligent view of the Vietnam War and protest of the war in its Vietnam Full Disclosure project, sets the record straight.

The most personal and upfront confrontation I have experience vis-à-vis the culture wars took place while completing the 2010 census. I finished the day’s work enumerating the data of a person who was a Vietnam veteran and suffered the effects of Agent Orange; the herbicide sprayed over Vietnam to make the forces of the North more visible in forested areas. When I asked the veteran what his attitude toward war resisters of that war was, he said that he would like to have been able to stand at the border between Canada and the U.S. shooting at those resisters. He now thought, decades later, that the war was wrong, but could not let go of his hatred toward those who resisted the war.

Recently, I spoke with a leader of a national peace group. We discussed the state of the peace movement in the U.S. and that leader observed that when millions march, no one pays attention because the obscenity (my categorization) of money in the political system makes it unnecessary to give even lip service to protest. Citizens United opened the floodgates. Look back to Nixon and his reaction to protest, even as he continued his vicious assault in Southeast Asia. He was profoundly fearful of protest in an almost paranoid-like manner.

Closer to home the culture wars continue with the ever-present anticommunism of the right in its treatment of the scholar and civil rights icon, W. E. B. Du Bois. Shades of racism also are a shadow cast over Du Bois. For decades a heated debate has raged in this part of the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts about how best to honor, and alternately how to demonize, Du Bois’ legacy. Two of the key parts of Du Bois’ life were his antiwar beliefs and his antipathy toward nuclear weapons. Those views and actions have drawn the extreme criticism of a few people who insist on focusing on Du Bois’ beliefs about communism and the former Soviet Union. The pushback has slowed, but not stopped, the effort of local groups and local governments to honor Du Bois’ legacy in several ways including considering erecting a statue in his hometown of Great Barrington and considering naming a school for him (“Effort underway in Great Barrington to rename middle school for Du Bois,” Berkshire Eagle, February 5, 2019).

The antipathy never ends!

*”Rainy Day Women #12 & 25″ by Bob Dylan


More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.