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Donald Kennedy, chairman of the department of biological sciences at Stanford University, introduced a 1971 study on the effects of the American chemical war in Vietnam with these words:

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“The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 1964,” Avalon Project, . See also Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (New York: Skyhorse, 2003); and Edwin Moise, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War (Chapel Hill: Univ. of N. Carolina press, 2000).


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There were people in the U.S. State Department, such as Abbot Low Moffat, head of the Division of Southeast Asia, who understood the intense nationalism of the Vietnamese people and could see through the imperial fictions, but their views were subordinate to those of higher authorities, particularly Secretary of State Acheson and President Truman. Acheson was of the view that all communist movements, political parties, leaders, and liberation armies were part of a global conspiracy directed by Moscow. Although his own department found no evidence of Moscow’s controlling hand in Vietnam (after three years of searching), Acheson claimed a collusion by virtue of both adhering to “Commie Doctrine.” Moffat traveled to Hanoi and met with Ho in December 1946. He reported to Acheson that Ho might be a communist, but he was first and foremost a nationalist seeking to establish an independent national state. Moffat maintained that “the majority of natives stoutly maintain that Ho Chi Minh is the man, and the only one, who represents them and they will oppose the putting forward of any other candidate as the creation of but another puppet.” His message fell on deaf ears.


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See Greiner, War Without Fronts; Deborah Nelson, The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth About U.S. War Crimes (New York: Public Affairs, 2009); and Duffet, ed., Against the Crime of Silence, which includes testimony by international legal experts at the Stockholm (Sweden) War Crimes Trials sponsored by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation in 1968. Russell, the 94-year-old philosopher who convened the hearings and whose antiwar activism extended back to World War I, wrote in the introduction: “war crimes are the actions of powers whose arrogance leads them to believe that they are above the law. Might they argue is right.” (Duffet, p. 4).

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Quoted in Stuart W. Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), p. 238. The worker was Jim Kain, described as a clean shaven twenty-two-year-old graduate student from Alabama. His colleague William McFarland, 29, said he didn’t regard his work on military weapons as “evil. I think the American government is composed of rational men who do not sit around all day thinking of ways to kill people.” See also Jon Nordheimer, “Protests Disturb Lab Men at M.I.T.,” New York Times, November 9, 1969.

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Young, The Vietnam Wars, p. 177; Eric Norden, “American Atrocities in Vietnam,” in Richard Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and Robert Jay Lifton, eds., Crimes of War (New York: Vintage Books, 1971), pp. 265-284; Herr, Dispatches; and Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drugs Trade, rev ed. (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991).