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