Friday, October 23, 2009

Review: "Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost"

Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. LostJoe Allen presents a history of the United States' invasion and occupation of Southeast Asia never discussed in mainstream accounts. Aside from demonstrating several major factors which combined to end the war, the book shows the importance of movements influencing and overlapping each other. This is clearly laid out in discussing the impact the civil rights and black power movements had on the nascent anti-war movement. Another important thread in the book is the often ignored account of how brutal the intervention was. The revelations on the staggering amount of ordinance dropped on the Vietnamese people underscores the degree of violence the U.S. ruling class resorts to when imperial interests are on the line.

In the struggle against the empire's current horrific occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the lessons laid out in "Vietnam: The (Last) War the US Lost" couldn't be more valuable. From fighting the endemic imperialist racism leading to My Lai and its modern counterpart Haditha, to linking social justice struggles to the enormous costs of the war, to supporting GI resistance in practice as well as principle. If there is any overarching lesson from the book, it is that an anti-war movement diminishes in the absence of an understanding of imperialism.

Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost
By Joe Allen, Foreward by John Pilger
Haymarket Books 2007 ISBN: 9781931859493


No comments: