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ea-kar-2017
It was a 200-mile journey from Saigon to Dak Lak, a highlands province that saw much fighting during the Vietnam War. Just north of Saigon, I passed quite a few grand villas, with two dog statues on gate columns, though some owners outdid their neighbors by having lions instead. The further north I went, the... Read More
Vung Tau cafe, 2017
And so we’re in Vung Tau, a sleepy, seaside city at the mouth of the Saigon River. I’m staying in a hotel owned by an Army unit. My room is quiet, cheap and has an ample balcony with an ocean view. I’ve only stumbled onto two other guests, each sitting on a massage chair. The... Read More
Hanoi, 2017
With only a week and a half in Hanoi, I’ve been out and about almost nonstop. This article, then, is being jotted down at 5:11AM, as I’m lying in bed on my stomach at the Letters Home guesthouse. Stuck in a grim alley in an unfashionable neighborhood, it’s not exactly popular, so about the only... Read More
Home cooking in Hanoi, 2017
I’m back in Hanoi. Noi Bai Airport was sparkling after its recent upgrade, and I rode into town on a wide, well-landscaped freeway named after general Vo Nguyen Giap. On both sides were shops and restaurants. “I don’t recognize any of this, brother,” I said to the taxi driver, a man in his mid 40’s.... Read More
Poets Phan Nhien Hao and To Thuy Yen (far left) in New Haven
I’ve only been to New Haven four times, and last week, it was only to participate in the commemoration of the Fall of Saigon, as organized by the Vietnamese Studies Program at Yale. I was one of three poets invited. The other two were Phan Nhien Hao (b. 1967) and To Thuy Yen (b. 1938).... Read More
Gay Pride Parade in Vietnam.  Credit: VietPride
I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were few, and mostly confined to the Phạm Ngũ Lão area. There were no foreign stars in the just-established professional soccer league. Now in Saigon, there are 20 KFCs, eight Burger Kings... Read More
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How Diplomacy by Air Power Became an All-American Tradition
In April 2014, ESPN published a photograph of an unlikely duo: Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and former national security adviser and secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Yankees-Red Sox season opener. In fleece jackets on a crisp spring day, they were visibly enjoying each other’s company, looking for all the... Read More
Introduction: In 1975 the people of Vietnam successfully ended one of the longest and bloodiest anti-colonial wars in world-history – defeating the US, the world’s biggest imperial power, after 20 years of struggle. Barely forty years later the Vietnamese regime signed off on the US-Japanese dominated Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPFTA), which essentially converted Vietnam... Read More
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During the current refugee crisis in Europe, it is said that there are many imposters among genuine refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen, all countries, incidentally, that America and its allies have destroyed. Too many of them are men, it is pointed out, and they’re generally not dressed badly enough. Many have smart... Read More
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Ignorance is renewed with each newborn, and by the time any man figures out anything, he can almost feel the mortician leaning over his stiff face. Though all lessons are embalmed within history, few care to explore that infinite corpse. Lewis Mumford, “So far from being overwhelmed by the accumulations of history, the fact is... Read More
Vietnam has largely dropped out of sight since the Communists won a bloody North-South civil war in 1975. But, with a population of 93 million, it has hardly gone away. Now it is in the news again thanks to Noble, an acclaimed new movie. Directed by Stephen Bradley and starring Deirdre O’Kane, Noble is a... Read More
“It just started out as a simple goodbye song,” James Douglas Morrison told reporter Jerry Hopkins. “Probably just to a girl, but I could see how it could be goodbye to a kind of childhood... I think it's sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be almost anything you want it to... Read More
Is the PRC Ditching the Nine Dash Line? Without any ambiguity, the People’s Republic of China has announced that it considers itself and not the United States the boss in the South China Sea. Its most assertive statement of this principle was to send the HYSY 981 rig, escorted by a flotilla of dozens of... Read More
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A Dangerous Game for Washington
In a recent round of finger pointing, the Obama Administration blamed China for being both “dangerous and provocative” in its crisis in relations with Vietnam. The specific incident that led to the rebuke was rioting in Vietnam in response to a Chinese oil drilling rig being placed in disputed waters in the South China Sea.... Read More
And...Island Games: Okinotorishima vs. Johnson South Reef
My Twitter feed contained the following ringing statement: To paraphrase Napoleon on the Pope, how many battalions does the frickin’ passive voice have? “Must be prevented”. That’s the problem with the pivot. The "pivot to Asia" is an idea. It's not a doctrine, like the Monroe Doctrine, the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine, or the... Read More
First off, Vietnam. There has been some bewilderment expressed as to why Vietnamese--demonstrating against the PRC’s provocative positioning of its HYSY 981 oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam as part of its Exclusive Economic Zone--attacked Taiwanese factories. The answer is depressingly simple. Anti-Chinese prejudice—including prejudice against all Chinese, including Taiwanese Chinese, PRC Chinese, and... Read More
In discussing the issue of why the PRC plunked down the drilling rig HYSY981 off the Vietnamese coast, there seems to be a certain amount of cognitive dissonance plaguing the Western commentariat. Apropos l’affaire HYSY 981,The Asia Society hosted a roundtable on its website composed of the luminaries Daniel Kliman, Ely Ratner, Orville Schell, Susan... Read More
My take on the Chinese oil rig HYSY 981 off the Vietnam coast is up at Asia Times Online. Today the PRC government has offered talks with Vietnam on the issue. Talks have always been on the table with Vietnam, since the PRC is determined to discuss its South China Sea issues bilaterally. On the... Read More
Jonathan Schell (1943-2014) and the Fate of the Earth
“Up to a few months ago, Ben Suc was a prosperous village of some thirty-five hundred people.” That is the initial line of The Village of Ben Suc, his first book, a copy of which I recently reread on a plane trip, knowing that he was soon to die. That book, that specific copy, had... Read More
[The following interview from Chris Appy’s 2003 book Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides is used with the kind permission of his publisher, Viking Penguin, and is posted at TomDispatch.com as a memorial to Jonathan Schell, who died on March 25th, and to his work, which will long outlast him.] Rushing into the... Read More
[The Asia Times Online yearender, which appeared on Dec. 22, 2012. It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.] The passing year was the People's Republic of China's (PRC) first opportunity to get up close and personal with the United States' pivot back to Asia, the strategic rebalancing that looks a... Read More
 A lot of matches are flying around the Chinese tinderbox.   Fortunately, most parties involved seem more interested in scoring political points than making a genuine and risky effort to push back China. However, as the example of Sarajevo tells us, sometimes wars happen when nations become prisoners of their own posturing.   So it's worthwhile to... Read More
Six days ago, we released our cover story presenting Sydney Schanberg’s stunning account of the American abandonment of hundreds of POWs in Vietnam, their presumed later death at Communist hands, and the decades-long governmental cover-up which thereafter ensued. Since that time, hundreds of websites have reprinted the articles in our symposium or otherwise discussed the... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The ghosts that haunt Senator John McCain are about 600 in number and right now they are mustering for an onslaught. McCain, one of America's foremost Republicans and President Barack Obama's opponent in 2008, is currently locked in a desperate bid for political survival in his home state of Arizona. After 20 years of immunity... Read More
The current issue of The American Conservative contains a symposium discussing the quite remarkable media silence surrounding the Vietnam POW research of Sydney Schanberg. Schanberg, a Pulitzer-Prize winning former New York Times reporter and editor, has published extensively documented evidence that many hundreds of American POWs were abandoned in Vietnam after the end of America’s... Read More
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The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Eighteen months ago, TAC publisher Ron Unz discovered an astonishing account of the role the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, had played in suppressing information about what happened to American soldiers missing in action in Vietnam. Below, we present in full Sydney Schanberg’s explosive story. John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on... Read More
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Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media.
In the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I clicked an ambiguous link on an obscure website and stumbled into a parallel universe. During the previous two years of that long election cycle, the media narrative surrounding Sen. John McCain had been one of unblemished heroism and selfless devotion to his fellow servicemen. Thousands... Read More
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My Four-Decade Fight to Report the Truth
Sydney Schanberg won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the war in Indochina. Yet his explosive 2008 essay ‘McCain and the POW Cover-Up‘ was stonewalled by the mainstream media. Here we present Schanberg’s account of his struggle to bring the story of Vietnam’s forgotten veterans to the public’s — and press’s — attention. From... Read More
May He Rest in Darkness
Robert McNamara, who died yesterday, July 6, served as Kennedy’s , then as Johnson’s defense secretary. He contributed more than most to the slaughter of 3.4 million Vietnamese (his own estimate). He went on to run the World Bank, where he presided over the impoverishment, eviction from their lands and death of many millions more... Read More
I am participating in a panel discussion on Friday as part of the 40th reunion of my class at the University of Chicago. I will be the token conservative pitted against three "progressives" who participated in the various building occupations, teach-ins, and demonstrations that took place in 1967-8, mostly directed against the war in Vietnam.... Read More
War Crimes vs. Thought Crimes by Ron Unz National Review Online, Friday, May 4, 2001 Former Senator Bob Kerrey is fortunate indeed that the charges recently leveled against him are merely that he committed war crimes and not any far more devastating accusations of thought crimes. Serving as president of the impeccably left- liberal New... Read More
Ho Chi Minh, by William J. Duiker
One of the great moving forces of the world in the early twentieth century was the resentment felt by Asians towards those European powers that had seized their territories. Intelligent young people from these old, proud countries seethed with rage at the effrontery of the white men. The other side of this anger was shame... Read More
In a March 1984 Optimist feature article, Julian Lowenfeld performed the valuable service of focusing our attention on the plight of the remaining 2490 American MIAs of the Vietnam War. As Dr. Lowenfeld makes clear, although these brave young Americans are officially listed as "Missing in Action,'' most are actually POWs, still held as human... Read More
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The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media.