Auteur: Cortright, David
Titel: Soldiers in Revolt
Sub titel: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War
Pioneering 1975 study of GI resistance during the Vietnam war. Most younger Americans know about the anti-war movement from first-hand film accounts of the massive marches and sit-ins. Yet far fewer know the extent of resistance within the armed forces themselves. There are no video tapes of widespread clashes between MP's and GI protesters during war's peak period. Nor is there footage of crew members demonstrating aboard such elite ships as the USS Kitty Hawk, nor even from blue-collar vessels such as the USS Nitro (a humorous and inspiring episode). Yet the resistance in many instances proved doggedly disruptive. And despite silencing efforts by the Pentagon and its media allies, the war's outcome was seriously affected by thousands of courageous resisters in uniform, who, each in his own way, refused to support a murderous politicians' war. Cortright exhaustively documents stateside developments from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, to Camp Pendleton, California, plus the role of civilian supporters in facilitating the movement. Coverage of GI resistance in Vietnam is harder to document because of battlefield censorship. Nonetheless, revealing instances of fragging, combat avoidance, and conscience-baring convocations such as Winter Soldier are included and speak volumes. Cortright's approach is sympathetically objective, providing a good birdseye view of what was going on behind the general coverup. Morover, he's careful to point out those cultural factors which intensified resistance, including widespread racism for which black resisters bore the brunt. If there's a downside, it's the absence of subjective, first-hand accounts that would make the reader feel the oppressive weight of the war machine as it attempted to roll over those who would stand in its way. In addition, some material in Part II has dated and perhaps should have been elided, while a 2005 Postscript begs for comparisons with Iraq but proves somewhat disappointing. Nonetheless, the length and breadth of resistance is meticulously set forth, along with some surprising results -- enlistees were more likely to resist than draftees; the least educated were more likely to physically resist than the more educated. But most importantly, the research shows a rapidly disintegrating fighting force that belies apologist claims that the war was lost because it was fought "with one arm tied behind us". No, the war was lost because it was one that should never have been fought in the first place, as increasing numbers of those participating came to realize, (not to discount the astonishing will of the Vietnamese people to resist Western neo-colonialism) .
2005, 364 pag., Euro 16,35
Haymarket Books, Chicago, ISBN 9781931859271
This page last updated on: 13-1-2015