The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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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
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
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 CITY - A Vietnamese TV crew is shooting a soap opera in a park behind the late 19th-century Notre Dame cathedral. The leading lady, clad in a beautiful crimson ao dai, sobs uncontrollably despite the efforts of her partner, against the background of the city's usual non-stop parade of motorbikes. Nguyen Phuoc... Read More
HO CHI MINH CITY - Wheeling and dealing is the name of the game in go-go Saigon. The city of Uncle Ho remains a motorbike hell, although Vietnam may be on its way to becoming a country where the middle class buys cheap sedans to replace them. In the lovely characterization of a communist party... Read More
HANOI - Just as it took a few years for the Americans to lose the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese, it took them only a few weeks to lose the hearts and minds of the majority of Iraqis - which ultimately means losing the war, whatever the strategic final result. Topographic denials -... Read More
HANOI - The remains of a B-52 shot down by North Vietnamese anti-aircraft artillery lie in the middle of Huu Tiep Lake in northern Hanoi, by the side of a busy back road. For old residents of Ba Dinh district, it's a powerful reminder of what the country fought for: during the American War -... 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
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
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My Four-Decade Fight to Report the Truth
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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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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.
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
 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
[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
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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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
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
“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
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
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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
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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
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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Chicago, 2012
Millions of Americans still have ties to their ancestral country. Two years ago, I met an 54-year-old man who would periodically visit his family home in Abruzzo. Its grape vines and olive trees had been sold a long time ago, and the house itself was little more than a husk, thanks to thieves, “Locals, not... Read More
Vinh Chau Chinese at the Seven Wonders Restaurant, Saigon, 2018
In the 17th century, the Manchus conquered China, causing thousands of defeated Chinese soldiers and their families to flee to Vietnam, then divided between north and south. The Nguyen Clan, rulers of the south, granted these Chinese land in nominal Cambodian territory, paving the way for Vietnam’s annexation of a third of Cambodia. This obscure... Read More
saigon-2018
With their brief existence, and dumbed down now by a degraded and warped education, most Americans have a telescoped and cartoony sense of history, so nothing matters, really, beyond the last two or three presidential elections, and each foreign country is represented, at most, by a caricature or two, so Germany is Hitler and Merkel,... Read More
Baby ritualistically abandoned, Saigon, 2018
In Saigon, the foreign tourists stay mostly downtown, where they can patronize American bars, and restaurants serving Indian, Thai, Korean, Italian, Mexican and Middle Eastern food, not to mention McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeyes, Starbucks and Lotteria, the last a Japanese chain. With English as the lingua franca, they can be overseas, yet... Read More
saigon-alley-2018
Even more than eating for fun, the main pleasure of Vietnam is mingling, but that's only if you enjoy being around people, which Vietnamese obviously do, and here, community life is most intense and intimate in alleys. The French gave Hanoi and Saigon a facelift, so there are straight streets, grand boulevards and many traffic... Read More
Quy Hop, Nghe An, 2018
In Marseilles, I met an illegal immigrant from Nghe An. He said his boss and housemates in Paris were all from the same province. Long known for its poverty, Nghe An leads Vietnam in the ratio of people working overseas, with most never returning. In fact, so many have become illegal in South Korea, Vietnam... Read More
Americans Need to Rethink War and Look Honestly at Ourselves and Our Friends
"This time, they think they have it right." So declared an Associated Press story reporting an upbeat assessment by this country's top military officer at the end of a five-day visit to Afghanistan earlier this spring. Marine General Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was heading home from the war zone,... Read More
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Trinh Cong Son, the great song writer, poet and soul of Saigon, said that he got his heart and mind revving each morning by watching frantic life unfurling all around him, while sitting in a sidewalk cafe. Lesser Vietnamese do exactly the same, however, for to be among one’s own kind is practically an hourly... Read More
Ỵ, a domestic servant in Saigon, 2018
My first book, Fake House (2000), was dedicated to “the unchosen,” and by that, I meant all those who are not particularly blessed at birth or during life, just ordinary people, in short, with their daily exertion and endurance. Further, I’ve always considered losing to be our common bond and bedrock, for no matter how... Read More
A foreign country seeps into one’s consciousness via large events and personalities, mostly, as in war, earthquake, tsunami, coup d’état, unprovoked bombing, Gaddafi and Assad, etc., but it’s the lesser turbulences that will begin to yield more revealing clues about any society. My two years in Italy, I often combed through newspapers for crime stories,... Read More
Saigon, 2018
First, the good news. To those who can’t stand my scribbling, it’s clear this pitiful, barely gurgling font is drying up quickly, for lately, all I feel like doing is vegetate at a sidewalk café, or wander mindlessly for miles, so that I can be just another anchovy in this demanding, forgetful stream. Though my... Read More
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“Tổ Quốc Trên Hết” [“Nation Above All”] was a slogan of the defunct and much maligned Republic of South Vietnam, while the Socialist North rallied their populace with “Chống Mỹ Cứu Nước” [“Fight the Americans, Save the Nation”]. During the war, both Vietnamese sides stressed their nationalist credentials while discrediting their opponent as a foreign... Read More
Saigon Trade Convention, 2018
All floridly unequivocal praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Universes, and to his faithful Servant and Prophet, Mohammed, and may Israel, that abomination, smudge and curse upon mankind, be neatly erased with no trace left behind, so the rest of us can peacefully go on with our tedious and humbling labor, all while... Read More
Topic Classics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.