The Fall of Saigon — Forty Years After . . .

Saigon Evacuation

 What a difference 40 years makes! I was a struggling actor/director in New York City, twice divorced and two-and-a-half years sober, when sobbing in a rage I did not understand, I obsessively watched as much news as I could about the Fall of Saigon during April 29th and 30th of 1975. I was glued to the screen of a small B&W TV set in the W. 71st Street apartment of my then actress girlfriend, Barbara. In 1975, there … [Read more...]

The New Anti-Communism? Revising the Meaning of the Vietnam War

With “Last Days in Vietnam,” a full length documentary film contending for an Oscar in 2015, comes the disturbing realization that the spirit of the age has finally flipped the lessons of the Vietnam War from a progressive cautionary tale of longstanding, to a simplistic recitation of half-truths designed to nurture the turn toward reaction that grips the public mind today.  That a polemic supporting such a … [Read more...]

A Flâneur On the Road

Rosler-LeFlaneur4

Recently I learned from my colleague here on ITMF, John Grant, a new term -- flâneur. Since the mid-19th Century, a flâneur is known as a wanderer throughout urban landscapes, who leisurely takes it all in from a somewhat detached point of view, while musing upon the vagaries and ironies of one’s life and experience. From August 25th through October 10th of this year, I was a flâneur on the road in my Miata … [Read more...]

Thomas Friedman Comes In From the Cold War: Vietnam Was About Liberation!

A Water Buffalo FEA

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has discovered that the Vietnam War was not really about stopping communism. That was an emotional delusion. The Vietnam War, he writes, was about anti-colonial nationalism, what the Vietnamese called liberation from a French/American military yoke. When the Vietnamese beat the French, its patron, the United States of America, took up that … [Read more...]

Where the Real Dangers Lie

A waterinfrastructure

By W. D. Ehrhart The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is violent, fanatical, barbaric, brutal, intolerant, and . . . add whatever other adjectives you’d like to throw in.  I won’t argue that these characterizations are not true.  But over the summer and into the fall, I have watched and listened with increasing dismay to the shifting sands of the US approach to the situation. Not so many months ago, we were … [Read more...]

The Arrogance—and Ignorance—of Power

VIetnam

As I watch events unfolding in Iraq over the last weeks, I find myself wondering if Iraq War veterans are feeling the way I felt in March and April of 1975 when the fiction that was South Vietnam collapsed like a house of cards. Eight years earlier, I had arrived in Vietnam as an 18-year-old Marine, convinced of the rightness of our cause, and eager to save the Vietnamese from the scourge of communism. I left … [Read more...]