Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Jaselle Abuda - Week 3 Blogpost

Jaselle Abuda
Professor Valverde
ASA 150E
24 January 2017

            Nick Turse’s book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam depicts the US’ disregard of claiming their faults in the war crimes and massacres they have done to the indigenous people in Viet Nam. Instead, they have altered and silenced the voices of those they have caused harm to, to maintain its global status as the country that seeks only peace, prosperity, and a little bit of that Manifest Destiny. Some events in history that the US have claimed to have either “helped” and turned a blind-eye to are as stated: Khmer Rouge, My Lai Massacre, Balangiga Massacre, Philippine-American War, Bud Dajo Massacre, No Gun Ri Massacre, War on Terror, and many more that are left unsaid. As stated in the book, massacres during the Viet Nam War towards the citizens of Viet Nam were kept under the rug. For instance, the My Lai massacre, which accumulated to hundreds of deaths that consisted of murderous acts upon innocent civilians. This unforgiving act of atrocities was regarded as a US victory and was also neglected for more than a year until it could no longer be hidden from the public eye.
In recent events, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has openly expressed his resentment towards the US for their continuous military and political affairs in the Philippines since after the country’s independence from Spain in 1946. The Philippine’s had a well-organized army and government prior to US involvement. In fact, if the US did not interfere with Philippines’ newly growing government, the country would have had its own constitution and governmental laws. However, the US found themselves accountable to “tend” and “look after” the Philippines, in hopes that they can too, prosper and be civilized. The US saw their relationship with the Philippines in a manner that a mother would tend to her children. The reason as to why the US urged to stay and colonize the Philippines was to fulfill the notion of Manifest Destiny and that they must aid “our [US] little brown brothers” (Paddock). However, for the people of the Philippines to accommodate to the “American ways” they must take part in complete assimilation to fulfill the theology of Manifest Destiny. President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledges the horror and massacres that the US have done in the past, but all those events have only made his distaste towards the US more evident. President Rodrigo Duterte has stated in the past that he seeks to cut ties with the United States, but this will only cause economic and political distress due to the deep relations that both countries have with each other. Because of the US’ deep influence and history in the Philippines, separating the bond between the two countries may take years or even decades to accomplish. Not only have these changes of events strained the political relations between the Philippines and the United States, it has also caused worry within the Filipino-American community. Many Filipino’s have migrated and claimed their permanent stay in the United States, which can cause a major conflict if the Philippines were to completely cut ties with the United States.

Question: Why is the United States government so unwilling to acknowledge their wrongdoings and set things right by not repeating traumatic and inhumane acts of violence towards other countries?

Image Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/world/asia/philippines-duterte-united-states-alliance.html?_r=0

Work Cited

Paddock, Richard. "Rodrigo Duterte, Pushing Split With U.S., Counters Philippines' Deep Ties". The New York Times (2016): n. pag. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

Turse, Nick. Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Henry Holt and Company. New York: Picador, 2013

Monday, January 23, 2017

Chouatong Mouavangsou - Week 3

Week 3 Reading Response
In Nick Turse’s Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, he tells us how the United States government re narrated the Vietnam War through its usage of military power and influential power. The government did so in order to keep the good political image of the military and the president (222-223). They accomplished this by either placing a report in “review status, a form of bureaucratic limbo meant to kill it,” (223) or by providing a watered down version of a report in which that report would not have the desired effect it’s reporter would’ve wanted. The United States government also accomplished this task by making people “disappear” such as when Buckley’s group, who was investigating the Speedy Express, were dying due to noncombat related actions. Because of the United States government’s efforts, many of the war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Vietnam, went unheard and much of the violent and devastating history that happened there can only be found through extensive research. This “re narration” that the U.S. government did, has mostly done its job in reshaping and redefining the Vietnam War. Aside from those individuals and researchers who look into the Vietnam War in order to understand what happened there, most Americans believe the Vietnam War was a “call to honor,” or was “to stem the tide of communism.” Even now, the Vietnam War is being reshaped as shown in President Barack Obama’s 50th commemoration speech of the Vietnam War. The President focuses on emotion and itemizing personal artifacts such as the reporters did so in Espiritu’s book, Body Counts (88-90). This re narration may not have such an effect on the elders of the South East Asian community, but it may have a stronger impact for the younger generations due to elders not wanting to speak about the war. If all what the younger generations are hearing about the Vietnam War is this “duty” and “sacrifice” the veterans had to make, this narrative is what the Vietnam War shall be. If the elders of the community aren’t willing to share their own narrative of the war due to trauma or other reasons and if we as educators, aren’t educating the young about the it, the U.S. government will have succeeded in re narrating the Vietnam War. They will have succeeded in turning the “nightmare” into a “call of duty.” My question for us is, how can we challenge this master narrative that our government is trying so hard to push forward?

Moise, E. (2014, October 11). 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Symbol, [Photograph] http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/fNgAAOSwv0tVEKst/s-l300.jpg

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Harry Manacsa Week 3 Blog

Harry Manacsa
21 Jan 2017

One idea from Kill Anything that Moves that stands out to me is how the United States’ imbued the National Liberation Front, whose “tactics were driven more by nationalism than by communist ideology.” (Turse 9) In other words, there is arguably a dislike of American involvement in the Vietnam War by local Vietnamese. Yet, I found it somewhat difficult to come to this conclusion, based on the reading, because there were not many explicit examples of the local Vietnamese admitting it. For example, Nguyen Van Tam testified that, “[U.S. troops] entered the road and said we must all leave . . . My mother cried. They took matches and burned our house. Then they shot our buffaloes.” (Turse 67) But that is all—emotion, without Van Tam’s direct opinion. But it is clear how some troops felt about the Vietnamese whom they consider are the “asshole of the world.” (Turse 49) This is all to say that such depictions resonate with the silenced Vietnamese narratives that is also central to our past readings as well, which testifies to it as a significant issue. Exposing the unjust realities of the war is a major first-step, especially after the War when the Vietnamese Veterans Against the War (VVAW) unified in solidarity against United States involvement, but why not have the Vietnamese voices heard in these testimonies? Moreover, it is important to hear the voices of the “victims” themselves, for it may exemplify for successful future international diplomacy with the United States listening to the ideas of Vietnam’s people.
            For United States involvement in a country may not set well. Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, multiple stories of the Filipino President cutting ties with the United States are surfacing. In short, the Duterte believes that the United States should not be guiding many of the Philippine’s policies against drug offenders, exclaiming, “Do not make us your dogs”, to President Obama back in October 2016. The parallels are noticeable, and in many other cases where the United States have intervened with other country’s local and international endeavors. Perhaps the US can learn from the stories of the Vietnam War to better grasp the potential detriments of their actions.

"Philippines' Duterte to US: 'Do not make us your dogs'" CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.
Turse, Nick. Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.Henry Holt and Company. New York: 2013. 20 January 2017. 

Week 3 - Angela Oh

The Vietnam War was an extremely unpopular war for the US both domestically and internationally. The US military resorted to utter annihilations of Vietnamese civilian villages, killing indiscriminately without hesitation. Soldiers were trained to chase after one thing: body-counts. This top-down order debilitated the long-term mental well-being of these young troops and decimated thousands of innocent Vietnamese people. As reports of massacres committed by the US military spread domestically, the war grew increasingly unpopular throughout its course. However, those in charge of ordering such massacres were reprimanded. For what should have been over forty army personnel, only one scapegoat received the punishment in order to save American face.

This unfolding of events is not an outlier; rather, it is one of many. The US is able to escape from accepting responsibility for atrocious crimes committed abroad by manipulating events and their documentation. The 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration has a proposed budget of $100 million, but it is evident that this will be an easy way to "rewrite" history. The US military will not admit to atrocious war crimes and refuse to hold their leadership accountable for violations. This new commemoration is a reminder to be aware of the US's actions and speak up about them. Otherwise, future generations will be completely unknowing of the US's inclination toward total devastation of less developed countries.


Week 3 - Linda Nguyen

Linda Nguyen
Professor Valverde
21 January 2017

In the reading, Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse narrates the often hidden history of the My Lai massacre and all the other atrocities perpetuated by the U.S. soldiers (Turse 2). What was shocking is that the Vietnam War crimes were little-known by the public, that includes more than 300 allegations of “massacres, murders, rapes, torture, assaults, mutilations, and other atrocities substantiated by army investigators” (Turse 14). Growing up, I remember my parents tellin me how lucky I am to be a U.S. born citizen. They would talk about how Viet Nam was a poor country with little opportunity for social mobility. My parents do not talk much about the Viet Nam war, but I always thought that the U.S. was this great country with full of opportunities. However, as from the reading, the My Lai as an operation in which the American military and administration in Washington produced, that was not the case (Turse 23). In connection to the reading to current events outside class would be the crisis in Syria. Similar to war in Viet Nam, Syrian refugees are seen as objects of imperial benevolence and in need of saving from the United States. This good cause paints a good image of the U.S., while erasing the history of the war crime act and atrocities that the U.S. committed.   

Question: Why is the U.S. repeating the same history again, given and knowing about this hidden side of history of U.S., and of their handling of the Viet Nam War?

Image: http://aftermathnews.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/vietnam-63-20130126-361.jpg

Turse, Nick. Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Henry Holt and Company. New York: 2013. 20 January 2017.