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America’s Declaration of Independence has served as a model for other nations. One hundred sixty-nine years after its ratification, on Sept. 2, 1945, the leader of the independence movement in Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh, stood in Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi to deliver his Proclamation of the Birth of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, “Tuyen Ngon Doc Lap Viet Nam Dan Chu Cong Hoa.”
The My Lai Massacre occurred on March 16, 1968, 50 years ago during the Viet Nam War. Over 500 babies, children, women and men were slaughtered by American soldiers. Many Vietnamese women and girls had been raped. Huts were burned, livestock was killed, food supplies destroyed. Besides the My Lai Massacre that occurred that day, another massacre occurred in the nearby hamlet of My Khe.
“The Vietnam War” provides us a new opportunity to examine the history of the war and to examine ourselves and our nation. Burns’ and Novick’s documentary will be evaluated based on the historiography they employ, the balance and fairness of their approach, whether they give equal weight to the Vietnamese voices as to the American voices, and their objectivity. Let us not forget the Vietnam War. Let us not, in the name of misguided foreign policy, allow the government to send our young men and women abroad to kill and to be killed.
Policing in our cities is a militarized process, with features quite similar to counter-insurgency in war zones. Just within California, the LAPD trained U.S. soldiers going to Iraq in urban policing, returning soldiers from Afghanistan have trained the Salinas anti-gang squad, and Israeli police and Bahranian military recently trained the Oakland Police and UC-Berkeley police.