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Viet Nam Generation Journal & Newsletter

Announcements, Notices, and Reports
V3, N4 (March 1992)

This text, made available by the Sixties Project, is copyright (c) 1996 by Viet Nam Generation, Inc., or the author, all rights reserved. This text may be used, printed, and archived in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright law. This text may not be archived, printed, or redistributed in any form for a fee, without the consent of the copyright holder. This notice must accompany any redistribution of the text. The Sixties Project, sponsored by Viet Nam Generation Inc. and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is a collective of humanities scholars working together on the Internet to use electronic resources to provide routes of collaboration and make available primary and secondary sources for researchers, students, teachers, writers and librarians interested in the 1960s.

Canadian Women Vet's Play

From PeaceNet: Battle Fatigue by Jenny Mundy was first produced by Mulgrave Road Co-Op Theatre, and toured Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1989. You can read the full play in the Spring 1990 issue of Canadian Theatre Review. Playwright Jenny Mundy says: "I met and interviewed women who were photographers in the Air Force, war brides, nursing sisters, radio broadcasters, clerks, and women who stayed home.... I hope Battle Fatigue will help to remind all of us of the relevance of the experiences of veterans, both men and women."

Dieu-Thu Vo

Dieu-Thu Vo, M.D. visited the Vietnamese Students Association at Yale on December 7, 1991, to give a slide show of her recent tour of Viet Nam. Dr. Vo, a New Yorker born in Hue, travelled Viet Nam this year as a medical researcher on a Keane-Haas Fellowship from the Department of Internal Medicine at Cornell Medical School, investigating the spread of dioxin from Agent Orange through the population. She gathered 50 blood samples from each of several regions of the country. She paid 5,000 dong, the price of a kilo of rice, for each 3 cc sample. The samples from each region will be mixed together and tested as a unit for dioxin level, since each assay costs $2000. The results of the sampling will be plotted against a present map created from U.S. records of dioxin dumping, and against future epidemiological data from Viet Nam. Dr. Vo is aware that there are problems in health statistics from Viet Nam. Farmers, for example, often do not report babies born dead, or deformed babies whom they killed shortly after birth. She may not be aware that the impression of many who served with the U.S. military in Viet Nam is that such records as the military may have kept of Agent Orange application are less than complete. But these are quibbles, only relevant to a stupid courtroom situation where some poor soul has to prove that his liver cancer came from a specific batch of poison that left a particular factory on a certain date. Let's hope the government of Viet Nam doesn't have to apply for U.S. help with this problem in the same adversarial arena that U.S. veterans have had to resort to. It's clear that the 17th Parallel and the area around Saigon received a lot of poison. Vo's direct investigation of the presence of dioxin in the blood is clearly a step towards towards responsible public health measures.

Dr. Vo's slides included tourist shots and medical clinics. She toured the imperial ruins at Hue and the coast at Nha Trang, she watched the bicyclists at Hanoi and the motorscooters of Saigon. She pointed out the dilapidation at Hanoi and Hue, and all the fresh paint at Saigon. She took pictures of hotel rooms, for prospective travellers. At all the cities she stayed in clean, adequate accommodations for three to five dollars/day, and in the countryside she stayed where she could. At no place in the country did her expenses exceed $10 each day. The total expenses of the trip were above $2000 for two months. Travel is slow, as most roads are bad, but the vehicles she travelled in are new Japanese trucks. The one road she showed us in good condition was a part of what the U.S. called the Ho Chi Minh trail. Physicians she worked with in the countryside told her of surgery underground during the war, using coconut milk for saline and U.S. parachute cords for sutures, abandoning patients in mid-operation to flee from bombs. They told her how good it was to shoot an elephant and eat its meat, though they could only get to the top half of the dead animal. I've read that the African bushmen climb into the beast and hollow it out, but the NVA probably didn't have the benefit of National Geographic in their homes. Her informants remarked that the trunk was the best part, because it is full of chewy collagen. Though Vo speaks Vietnamese, she needed an interpreter to speak to country people. She showed us slide after slide of lovely, alert children, but told us that most of them suffer from malaria and malnutrition. In the clinics she visited, the technicians wore masks but not gloves to draw blood, a sight to make any U.S. health worker cringe. They have gloves, but they don't use them. Viet Nam does have one reported HIV positive, a woman who has had sex with two Vietnamese men returned from overseas.

Dr. Vo is involved with a fund that proposes to subsidize U.S. citizens to travel Viet Nam to start and finish projects that take at least two months. The fund offers an $18 per diem, medical insurance, and $500 upon return to the U.S. for transitional expenses. The fund will not pay for travel to Southeast Asia from the U.S.. For more complete information, contact Dieu-Thu Vo, M.D. at 420 East 70th St, #15R, NY NY 10021-5320.

Doo Dah

A press release for posterity: The Veterans for Peace will be participating in the Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, CA this Sunday, December 1, at 10:00am. The Doo Dah Parade started as a parody of the Rose Bowl and all that is reverent. We have decided to take this opportunity to make our statement about the absurdity of war and graphically present some of the true costs. Sorry the notice is so short, but join us if you can. We will assemble at the corner of Holly and Raymond in Old Pasadena. There is a parking garage at Fairoaks and Walnut, and there should be street parking. For those who get there early, a pancake breakfast will be served (for an unknown cost). The Veterans for Peace will be wearing black and white shirts and hats with a dove on them. If you can't spot the shirts, just look for our TANK. Hope to see you there. Peace.

Winning Hearts and Minds and Demilitarized Zones Available

Bill Ehrhart writes: I have available for sale the following books: 18 copies of Winning Hearts and Minds: Poems by Vietnam Veterans, 1st Casualty Press, 1972 (1st printing); 10 copies of Winning Hearts and Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans, 1st Casualty Press (2nd printing); 49 copies of Demilitarized Zones: Veterans After Vietnam, East River Anthology, 1976 (only printing).

These two anthologies are both seminal and hard to find. Rare book seller Ken Lopez offers copies in his Vietnam War Literature Catalogue and Supplement for $75, $25, and $45 respectively. The two printings of WHAM are identical, except that the 2nd printing carries the title on the spine while the 1st printing does not. All of my copies are in excellent condition.

I will sell my copies for $12 each, postpaid, any number of books per order, until my supplies are exhausted. Make checks payable to W.D. Ehrhart, and send orders and checks to W.D. Ehrhart, 6845 Anderson St., Philadelphia, PA 19119. If I cannot fill your order, I will return your check.


Buy the December 1991 Atlantic, Vol. 268 No. 6, and read the cover story, The Pow/MIA Myth: How the White House and Hollywood Combined to Foster a National Fantasy, pp. 45-81. VGN subscriber and contributor H. Bruce Franklin demolishes with facts and figures any possibility of there being now or ever having been any U.S. POWs or MIAs left behind in Viet Nam. He explains that Richard Nixon started the myth on purpose to fan support for his policies. Subsequent administrations have fed the myth to justify the embargo on Viet Nam. Franklin doesn't explain that these cynical public relations strategies became a sop for ordinary citizens who have been forced by the war to distrust the government but can't bring themselves to accept that individual soldiers might ever have done anything wrong. The guys who created millions of Vietnamese KIAs and MIAs for no particular reason became poor joes imprisoned by evil Asians. It's a load of beans. If you want to see a beat-up, malnourished, trapped and abandoned Viet Nam veteran, all you have to do is volunteer at the local prison or hit the park and start asking winos for a DD-214. There are plenty of miserable vets in Viet Nam, but they aren't U.S. citizens. Franklin's article is something to clip and keep in your wallet, to xerox and hand out to the folks wearing the hat, to slip under the driver's side windshield wiper of every car that has the bumper sticker, and to paste on every municipal flagpole that flies that maudlin, lying, evil black flag. The article comes from a book on POW/MIAs that Franklin will publish next spring. The book was to be about a laundry list of U.S. fantasies, and POW/MIA was going to be only the first chapter, but it grew and grew. Franklin is already the author of marvellous books on Melville, science fiction, and prison literature, but I think this one's going to put him on Donahue. The letters column in the Atlantic will be juicy for a few months, at least. Maybe the author could be persuaded to do a book-signing at the Wall next Memorial Day.

Mail from Wyoming

3 Dec. 91: One bit of odd news. It looks like part of the Cowboy poetry world (which I do not consider myself part of despite the fact that I am a native Wyomite) and the Nam poetry are starting to overlap. John Dofflemeyer of Dry Crik Review published two Nam poems about a year ago & they baffled some of his readership, but the response was generally favorable. Anyway, he and Bill Jones of Lander, Wyoming and Rod McQuarry of somewhere in Nevada are putting together either an anthology or a war poems issue of Dry Crik. I only know about this because they asked to include some of my work, which I agreed to. I've only met Jones, who was a cop for several years after returning from Nam, got in a wreck, pensioned off, moved to Wyoming & got into the Cowboy poetry circuit. He's a decent guy & I'm sure they're sincere and won't be printing doggerel that ticks like a cheap watch. However, the fusion of cowboy poets and Viet Nam material boggles my little mind, although in some ways it's logical. You can't get much farther away from academic poetry than Nam poems or Cowboy poetry. It's an amazing world. On that note I'll sign out. Take care.

Jon Forrest Glade 314 S. Cedar, Laramie, WY, 82070 is editing "the University of Wyoming's student art/lit mag The Owen Wister Review." The latest issue went to press on 9 Dec. '91. See his poems in the the Fall '91 issue of VGN.

Two Books by Murray Polner

Murray Polner sent Kalí and I each a card, offering to help out with editorial work. We'll take him up on it. A book packager and newsletter editor, Polner is the author and editor of the following books:

No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971, paperback 1972)

A study of the war's impact on the men who fought it, concentrating on soldiers from lower-middle and working class families. The veterans who spoke out in the book were hawks, doves, and what Polner called "the haunted." Their varying "political" attitudes became secondary as they tried to explain what their war experience had meant to them. They were in agreement only in that they had been betrayed by both hawks and doves, by both Washington and the home front. "Never before in American history," Polner concluded, "have as many loyal and brave young men been as shabbily treated by the government that sent them to war; never before have so many of them questioned as much, as these veterans have, the essential rightness of what they were forced to do."

When Can I Come Home? A Debate on Amnesty for Exiles, Anti-War Prisoners and Others (Doubleday Anchor, 1972). Edited by Murray Polner

Among the legacies of the Viet Nam War were the tens of thousands who refused to serve, or serving, refused to fight. Hundreds went to prison, others deserted, and some 50,000 fled into exile into Canada and various European countries. This book raised the question of whether, when the war was over, these men should be amnestied and set free. The issues Polner raised were not simple: Would amnesty imply admission of wrong by the government? Can we expect obedience to the law in the future if we excuse some offenders? How do Viet Nam veterans, members of the black communityand the resisters themselvesfeel about amnesty?

Peace Education Resource Catalog

Youth and Militarism

The Draft: It's Impact on Poor and Third World Communities: Produced by AFSC San Francisco this Pamphlet discusses the discriminatory impact of the draft during the Viet Nam War. $0.10, 100/$7.00

If the Army is Not Your Choice: A small cartoon booklet especially for high school aged youth. Makes the point that you don't have to go into the military and you may be a conscientious objector without knowing it. $0.10 10/.80

Some Say "No": A collection of statements about non-registration and draft resistance from various perspectives. $0.25 1; 100/$15

You and the Draft: A Third World perspective on the draft, including the "poverty draft," the kinds of wars you may fight, and military life for Third World people. $0.15, 100/$15

El Servicio Militar Obligatario y tu: Perspective del Tercer Mundo sobre la conscripcion. $0.15 cada uno, 100/$10

Register for the Draft: What if You Don't: Produced by the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, this pamphlet explains possible consequences of failing to register for the draft, penalties and alternatives. $0.15, 10 /$1.00

Before You Join the Military... Read This: Produced by the Militarism Resource Project, this brochure is for young people, parents and teachers. It covers military service and the problems of the Military Delayed Entry Program (DEP). $0.20, 20+ .15 ea

High School Military Recruiting: Recent Developments: Produced by the Militarism Resource Project this is a comprehensive article on deceptive military recruiting practices in high school. $0.50, 10 or more $ 0.40

New Youth and Militarism Resources

Some Facts About Selective Service Warning Letters: A new leaflet ''Some Facts About Selective Service Warning Letters," addresses the concerns of the millions of young people who have received letters from the government alleging that they have failed to register for the draft. The leaflet provides basic information about the legal significance of these letters and options for responding to them. Produced jointly by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) National Youth and Militarism Program, the National Lawyers' Guild Military Law Task Force, and the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft. $0.25 each or 0.15 each for orders of 10 or more.

Latino/a Youth and the Military: A Fact Sheet Offers current information about the status of Latino/a youth in the military today, including information on the recruitment of Latino/a youth. Latino communities and the Viet Nam War, Racism on the Job, and the possible use of Latinos in future wars. $0.25 each or $.15 each for orders of 20 or more.

Students Guide to High School Military Testing: Discusses the pitfalls of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam that is offered free of charge to high school students. $0.20 each or $0.15 each for orders of 20 or more.

Many Recruiters Use Fraud to Sell the Service": Military Recruiting: Quotas and Corruption" Reprint of an investigative news series reporting on fraudulent behavior by military recruiters. Reprinted from The Hartford Courant (December, 1989). $0.75 each

To order: American Friends Service Committee Literature Resources 1501 Cherry Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 To order by phone call: (215) 241- 7048 or 7167

Peace Studies

The Peace Studies Association, an organization of college and university programs for the study of peace, justice, global issues, and security, will be holding its Fourth Annual Meeting from February 27 - March 1, 1992 at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The theme of the conference is is "Conflict and Change in the 1990s: Redefining Power, Democracy, and Development." Sessions will focus on such topics as multiculturalism and the university: consequences of the Persian Gulf War; the ramifications of the break-up of the Soviet Union for peace and justice; global stratification in the post- Cold War era; conflict and change due to changing demographics in the U.S.; the environment and sustainable development; and peace and pedagogy.



Contributing Editor Tony Williams asks that I make it clear that in his review of Paul Fussell's Norton Book of Modern War in the Fall '91 issue, he did not write the sentence, "It [the anthology] is relevant to our continuing destructiveness and provides good context for Vietnam War literature." I wrote that. What Tony wrote was, "It is a highly relevant production for a continuing age of twentieth century destructiveness and a relevant context against which to view Vietnam literature."

Sandbag Couch

On 12-2-91 John Bennett of the African Collection, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, sent me an undated, no-page-number clipping from the Washington Post. It's a box article with the by-line Nancy L. Ross, datelined New York, about a sofa of sandbags offered for sale in that city by an Italian national, Gaetano Pesce. "As a memento of Desert Storm," he filled sandbags with foam and stacked them on a metal frame. A dribble of foam "sand" seems to leak from one bag. There's a photo with the article, of five stacks of sandbags, that may be the furniture in question. The 8 1 /2 foot "January 16 Sofa" is offered at $65,000 by Lorry Parks Dudley, director of the Peter Joseph gallery, in a fall show of Pesce's work. Pesce is 52 and was trained as an architect. His designs are mass produced in Italy by Cassina and marketed in this country by Atelier International.

Committed to Memory: Messages at the Wall

The Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of American History presented "Committed to Memory: Messages at the Wall" to the public on 10 November 1991. The panelists included Laura Palmer, author of Shrapnel in the Heart: Letters and Remembrances from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial , a book based on the letters and on interviews with some of the letter writers; Carole Page, one of the letter writers featured in Shrapnel in the Heart, active in bringing together people whose letters or interviews are included in the book; editor of the newsletter " From the Heart"; Sue (Xuan) Burns, a Viet Nam native and widow of a South Vietnamese army officer killed in action, now married to an American, and working with Carole Page to draw attention to the common legacy of history and emotion that Vietnamese and Americans share; Dwight Edwards, a Viet Nam war veteran, executive director, Vietnam Veterans Health Initiative Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Health, former director, Olney Vietnam Veterans Outreach Center, Philadelphia; Jim Wallace, Director/curator, Smithsonian Institution's Office of Photographic Services, editor, designer, and director of photography for the book Reflections on the Wall; Edith Mayo, Curator, Division of Political History, National Museum of American History with particular interest in women's history, politics, civil rights, and voting rights in the twentieth century. The program was moderated by Patrick Hagopian, Fellow, National Museum of American History, and a Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University, researching the social memory of the Viet Nam War.

Special Issue of Humanity and Society

A special issue of the Journal of the Association for Humanist Sociology, Humanity and Society, was published in November 1991. The issue is entitled Political Prisoners and the Repression of Human Rights in the United States. Guest editors of the issue are Richard A. Dello Buono, Rosary College, and Kathryn Stout, Northeastern Illinois University. Contents: "Political Prisoners as an Emergent Contradiction of State Repression," Kathryn Stout and Richard A. Dello Buono; "Political Prisoners in the United States: The Hidden Reality," Jan Susler and Michael Deutsch; "History of the Afrikan Prisoner," Sundiata Acoli (New Afrikan political prisoner), Leavenworth Federal Prison; "Swords Into Plowshares," Fr. Daniel Berrigan; "Verdict of the Special International Tribunal: On the Violation of Human Rights of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War in U.S. Prisons and Jails," Members of the Special International Tribunal; "The Criminalization of Women Fighting Back Against Male Abuse: Imprisoned Battered Women as Political Prisoners," Shelley Bannister; "Prisoner/Patient Struggles: A View from the Inside," Alan Berkman, M.D. (political prisoner); "Guillermo Morales Speaks from Exile" (Puerto Rican independentista fighter living in Cuba); "Incarceration of a Movement Lawyer: Leter from Linda Backiel"; "Little Rock Reed vs. the Ohio Parole Authority: A Letter to the Humanist Task Force on Political Prisoners"; and a bibliography of resources including books, selected articles, videos, and organizations.

Humanity and Society publishes articles on a wide variety of topics: studies of inequality (class, race and/or sex); war, peace and international relations; aging and gerontology; family, sex roles and sexuality; urban and environmental studies; political sociology and political economy, health and mental health; social theory, sociology of knowledge and science; humanism and human rights; crime and deviance; ethnic and intergroup relations and others. Articles may be theoretical and speculative, critical essays, or analyses of data utilizing various qualitative and quantitative research strategies. Theoretical orientations may be eclectic, Marxist, critical theory, symbolic interactionism, humanistic sociologyi.e., oriented towards a more humane and egalitarian society. For specific examples consult recent issues. Progressives and activists working in all areas are encouraged to submit articles for publication to Humanity and Society. Proposed articles should be sent to the editor along with a $10 submission fee.

Humanity and Society, the official journal of the Association for Humanist Sociology, was first published in 1977 and has been published quarterly since 1978. It is a peer-reviewed journal with abstracts of published articles appearing in Sociological Abstracts.

The philosophical view of the Association for Humanist Sociology is that people are not merely products of social forces but are also shapers of social life, capable of creating social orders in which everyone's potential can unfold. The Association arose in 1976 out of a shared sense of disenchantment with conventional sociology. Its members include sociologists, scholars in other disciplines, political activists, social practitioners and others united not out of shared politics but out of a common concern for "real life" problems of peace, equality and social justice.

A subscription to Humanity and Society is included with membership in the Association for Humanist Sociology. Annual membership dues, based on income: $25 (under $15,999); $30 ($6,000 to $24,999); $35 (over $25,000); $50 (annual donor); and $100 (annual sponsor). Domestic institutions may subscribe to Humanity and Society at the annual rate of $40. Subscriptions and article submissions should be directed to: Dragan Milovanovic, Editor, Dept. of Criminal Justice; Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., Chicago, IL 60625-4699.

To purchase the special issue, send $10 (make check payable to Association for Humanist Sociology) and send to Richard A. Dello Buono, Ph.D., Sociology Dept., Rosary College, 7900 W. Division St., River Forrest, IL 60305.

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