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Déja Vu All Over Again: Notes on Jonathan Schell's Review of "Kill Anything That Moves'

By Michael Uhl  Posted by Dave Lindorff (about the submitter)     Permalink
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* "War Foes Blame U.S. Commanders for Viet Atrocities," by Richard Maynard. The Washington Post, November 24, 1970. This announced CCI's National Veterans Inquiry, to begin in Washington the following week.

* "Nuremberg III," by Nat Hentoff. The Village Voice, November 26, 1970. Hentoff here essentially challenges the rest of the media to pay attention to CCI's upcoming National Veterans Inquiry.

* "Vietnam atrocities told: "Military intelligence involves systematic use of electric torture and beatings,'" by Jerry Oppenheimer. The Washington Daily News, December 2, 1970. Day two of the National Veterans Inquiry.

* "War Veterans at Inquiry Feel "Atrocities' Are Result of Policy," The New York Times, December 4, 1970. The Times wrap-up on the three-day Inquiry.

* "Taylor Says by Nuremberg Rules Westmoreland May Be Guilty," by Neil Sheehan. The New York Times, January 9, 1971. This may have been the CCI's biggest publicity coup.

* "Five Officers Say They Seek Formal War Crimes Inquiries," by Neil Sheehan. The New York Times, January 13, 1971. This was the second article that week by Neil Sheehan on CCI's work. Shortly thereafter, Sheehan broke the Pentagon Papers story in the Times. He already had them from Ellsberg well before the articles on CCI ran, or so I was told by the late John Simon, former editor of the Times Book Review.

* "For a War Crimes Inquiry," Editorial. Newsday [Long Island, and New York City], March 22, 1971. Newsday, under the helm of Bill Moyers then as Publisher, I believe, may have been the only mainstream newspaper in the country to editorialize on behalf of a war crimes inquiry.

* "Should We Have War Crimes Trials?" by Neil Sheehan. The New York Times Book Review," March 28, 1971. An omnibus review of the contemporary literature on the war crimes issue in which Sheehan comes down hardest on the American air war in Vietnam.

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* "House Panel To hear Of Alleged Torture-Murder Policy in Viet," The Baltimore Sun, April 28, 1971. This article reports on a session of the Dellums Hearings on US War Crimes, which CCI organized on Capitol Hill in late April 1971. H.L. Mencken's old paper; what would he have made of all this?

* "Ex-GI Alleges 30 Slayings Near Mylai," by Richard Halloran. The New York Times, April 28, 1971. CCI witness Danny Notley made public the Truong Khanh massacre at the Dellums Hearings. The massacre was confirmed by an AP correspondent in Vietnam. "5 S. Viets Back Ex-GI on Atrocity." The Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1971.

* "Phoenix Program Details "Sterile, Depersonalized Murder' Plan, by Mary McGrory. The Washington Post, August 3, 1971. The article reports on the testimony two veteran witnesses, Bart Osborne and I, presented under oath before by House Government Operations Subcommittee, which had taken upon itself an investigation of the U.S. Phoenix assassination program. My testimony was analytical and dry; Bart's was sensational and got all the press. Both can be seen  at this link.

* The bibliography on what the historian and Vietnam War apologist Guenter Lewy called CCI's and VVAW's "war crimes industry" is short. It includes,Standard Operating Procedure, by James Simon Kunen, (Avon 1971); The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam, (Vintage 1972), and my own memoir,Vietnam Awakening (McFarland 2007).


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Here's how I described the CCI in Vietnam Awakening:

The CCI would play a catalytic role in building this unprecedented formation of antiwar veterans by framing an issue around war crimes that the former soldiers could address and legitimize with reference to their own experiences on the battlefield. And no one knew better from the inside out what was wrong with Vietnam than the troops who fought there. What made this mobilization of antiwar vets all the more astounding was that the war was still far from over. Moreover the vets who were eventually filtered -- directly or indirectly -- through CCI into Vietnam Veterans Against the War, already possessed strong needs to communicate their disillusionment to the Middle American communities from which they sprang: these same folks who President Nixon caricatured as the silent majority, a great blob of drones and tongue tied patriots, among whom, nonetheless, the message and style of the antiwar movement played with such little sympathy.

It was in linking Vietnam veterans to the powerful antiwar forces already in existence by means of a highly publicized campaign to denounce U.S. war crimes throughout Indochina that CCI's two principal coordinators, Jeremy Rifkin and Tod Ensign, made their considerable contribution -- though largely overlooked in accounts of the times -- to organized antiwar opposition during its later stages from 1970 through 1971.

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