Skip to comments.The Long Shadow of Vietnam: Review of Comrades in Arms: How the Ameri-Cong Won the Vietnam War
Posted on 10/02/2012 9:21:09 AM PDT by Fedora
If you've ever wondered who's behind the antiwar movement, in the Vietnam War era or today, a book you'll want to read is Roger Canfield's Comrades in Arms: How the Ameri-Cong Won the Vietnam War, written by an author known to many of us here. Canfield documents in greater detail than any previous book Hanoi's direction of the Vietnam antiwar movement, the impact of the protests on losing the war, and the continuing influence of the Vietnam antiwar movement on the strategies and tactics still used by America's enemies today. "Hanoi made the peace movement the critical element in its political strategy for victory in revolutionary war, a peoples war, and. . .the U.S. never developed a significant understanding of political struggle let alone a counter strategy," Canfield argues.
Canfield divides his coverage into three major periods: from the beginning of the conflict to the Tet Offensive of 1968; from the Tet Offensive to the ceasefire agreement of 1973; and from 1973 to the fall of South Vietnam and its aftermath. Appendices add details about American citizens who traveled to Vietnam during this period, Weathermen terrorist actions in the United States, Viet Cong war crimes, casualties,
This book should be of interest to at least several audiences. The first is political activists researching the opposition. Second is Vietnam veterans and other veterans seeking a better historical understanding of the sometimes-hidden forces they fought, who some continue to fight. Third is historians of the Vietnam War, many of whom will find assumptions challenged and overturned, others who will feel vindicated to find proof of what they have long suspected. And fourth is those who are still resisting Communist control of Vietnam today (and Canfield has worked with translators to make a Vietnamese edition available).
To preserve the historical record, this is a meticulously-documented reference, not for the reader with a short attention span. The book comes out to over 1,400 pages in PDF format, including ample appendices and numerous illustrations.
This documentation is vital for history, but the information is too valuable to remain buried in footnotes for specialists. With my encouragement, Canfield has prepared a number of shorter presentations for non-academic audiences. In this short review I will highlight a few of what I find to be the book's most significant points.
How Hanoi Directed the Vietnam Antiwar Movement
One of the book's most important contributions to the record is to dispel a myth left-wing historians have perpetrated on the public, summed up by Tom Wells' statement in The War Within, "No evidence has ever been produced for foreign communist involvement in the anti-Vietnam War Movement." Canfield makes short work of this claim by contrasting it in bare opposition to quotations from internal Communist conversations and documents, as well as sources such as the U.S. military, the FBI, and the CIA.
Canfield quotes from internal Soviet and Viet Cong directives, which say things such as, "The spontaneous antiwar movements in the US have received assistance and guidance from the friendly delegations at the Paris Peace Talks. . . The PCPJ. . .maintains relations with us." Placing quotes like this in context, he documents the activities of groups like the PCPJ (People's Coalition for Peace and Justice), a front group of the Communist Party used to influence ceasefire negotiations, POW negotiations, and protest actions. He also demonstrates the influence of foreign powers on U.S. domestic terrorist groups. For instance, he cites an FBI quotation of seized 1969 notes from Weathermen leader Bernadine Dohrn which reference a meeting in Cuba, saying, "We understood the reason the Vietnamese called the meeting was to get us moving against the war again." Canfield delves deep into the details of such connections, and for quick reference convenience, he provides a cast of characters, featuring spies, terrorists, antiwar activists, and fellow travelers who wittingly or unwittingly aided the enemy.
Canfield's general thesis of enemy influence on the antiwar movement is not new. It was explored and documented during the Vietnam War by published U.S. government security investigations he quotes, such as a 1971 House Committee on Internal Security investigation of the PCPJ. What is new is the degree of documentation Canfield delivers, supplemented by sources from U.S. and foreign archives that were not available during the war. Any historian wishing to counter his thesis has an uphill battle going forward. Most likely left-wing academics and the media will ignore it in the hope the facts will go away, but the Internet and the renewed determination of Vietnam veterans will make that harder than it was forty years ago.
How the Antiwar Movement Helped Lose Vietnam
Another contribution Canfield makes is demonstrating the role that the antiwar movement played in influencing ceasefire negotiations and blocking US aid to South Vietnam after the ceasefire. Received history tends to assume that the war was so unpopular in South Vietnam from the beginning it had no hope of victory. This is far from the military reality, and while victory was by no means a given without antiwar interference (some have argued that Nixon and Kissinger sacrificed victory in Vietnam for detente, hoping to achieve a truce modeled on Eisenhower's ceasefire in Korea), the actual record shows that South Vietnam at least stood a chance of survival until the U.S. Congress blocked the Ford administration from extending aid to the falling republic.
Canfield cites internal Soviet, North Vietnamese, and U.S. intelligence communications demonstrating that developments after the Tet Offensive such as Vietnamization and U.S. raids into Cambodia were causing the Viet Cong more grief than historians have acknowledged. While better publicized for stirring controversy in America, the Cambodian operations also secretly struck at Viet Cong morale, triggering desertions and causing the Soviet embassy in Hanoi to worry, "the intensification of hostilities in Laos and Cambodia. . .truly created an extremely difficult position in Vietnam. . .Our Vietnamese comrades. . .permitted a number of miscalculations. . ."
Canfield further shows how Hanoi used the PCPJ and other groups to push their peace terms during ceasefire negotiations. He quotes documents demonstrating that the same talking points urged by Hanoi's ambassador in Paris were echoed by the PCPJ and passed on to sympathetic political allies in the U.S, like George McGovern and Mark Hatfield. Deliberately violent demonstrations like May Day, Weathermen bombings, and kidnapping and assassination plots against politicians were timed to force U.S. concessions at the bargaining table and to discourage effective U.S. military actions such as air strikes. Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda's Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC) coordinated a lobbying effort to put Congressional pressure on the Nixon administration.
This last tactic proved a decisive blow when Congress voted in 1973 to cut off funding for U.S. military actions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The concomitant ceasefire was premised on North Vietnam honoring the treaty terms, a commitment which predictably did not last long. As the conflict resumed, the IPC and its allies followed up by continuing to work with Hanoi to ensure that the Nixon and Ford administrations would be unable to resume U.S. aid to South Vietnam or extend it to other Communist bloc targets like Cambodia, Chile, or Angola. Nixon had secretly promised resumed aid to Saigon in the event the ceasefire failed, and requested $1.450 billion in renewed aid just before resigning from office. Influenced by the IPC lobby, Congress subsequently trimmed President Ford's request for $1 billion in emergency aid to besieged Saigon plus air and naval support down to $100 million. After Saigon fell, the antiwar movement also followed up to secure desired outcomes on other loose ends such as prisoner releases and amnesty for draft dodgers.
The War Is Not Over
As the end of the story illustrates, the influence of the movement Canfield chronicles did not end with the Vietnam War, and his book draws attention to some noteworthy connections between the tactics and networks employed by America's enemies then and now. Some of the highlights are summarized in his cast of characters, and many more are mentioned in passing in the body of the book. Here I will include just a few examples.
Bill Clinton's Vietnam antiwar activity is discussed and placed in context of the antiwar groups sponsoring the protests he organized and attended. Included is a detailed summary of Clinton's protest activity during his student days. Also mentioned in passing is Clinton and his future White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes assisting Sam Brown of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee (VMC) in Brown's IPC-assisted Operations Pursestrings effort to cut off Congressional funding for the Vietnam War. As this illustrates, the lobbying network created by the VMC, the IPC, and related groups would linger as a social network into the Clinton administration.
The continuing influence of John Kerry and the VVAW is another example of this that Canfield covers in detail. Canfield documents the VVAW's ties to Soviet and Vietnamese front groups, the Communist Party, and other Marxist groups. In this context, he explores Kerry's activity. Among other tidbits, he discusses Kerry's 1970 visit to the Paris peace talks, noting that Kerry's contact with the Vietnamese delegation was David Dellinger of the PCPJ. He cites several examples of Kerry continuing to speak on behalf of VVAW after his alleged "resignation" from the group following its discussion of plans to assassinate American politicians. He critiques in great detail Kerry's Senate war crimes testimony, along with the antiwar movement's related allegations. And he reviews Kerry's role in normalizing relations with Vietnam during later years.
With respect to Barack Obama, Canfield provides a brief but significant list of Vietnam antiwar leaders who supported the Obama Presidential campaign in 2008: "Bill Ayers, Noam Chomsky, Carl Davidson, Bernardine Dohrn, Thorne Dreyer, Terry Dubose, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Daniel Ellsberg, Richard Flacks, Jane Fonda, Jon Frappier, Todd Gitlen, Al Haber, Tom Hayden, Howard Machtinger, John McAuliff, Jeff Jones, Mike Klonsky, Mark Rudd, Stanley Sheinbaum, Steve Tappis, Arthur Waskow, Quinton Young, and others."
Canfield's book was completed during the Iraq War, and it includes a list of Vietnam-era antiwar organizations that remained active during the Iraq antiwar movement: "From the Vietnam era United For Peace and Justice includes AFSC, Center For Constitutional Rights, Coalition for Peace and Justice, Communist Party, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, IPS, Fellowship of Reconciliation, National Lawyers League, Peace Action, Pledge of Resistance, Students for a Democratic Society, Unitarian Universalists, United Congregational Church, United Church for Christ, United States Student Association, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against theWar, War Resisters League, and WILPF."
Expect these same names and groups to resurface as hot spots emerge in Iran or elsewhere. Canfield argues that the same tactics used against America during the Vietnam War era remain the standard method of operation for today's Jihadists and Chinese Communist agents, the latter a subject Canfield has also written extensively about. "Now Jihadist terrorists and Red China practice Hanois dau tranh franchise," he writes. "They operate near freely in the open stirring up dissent that they do not allow in their midst. When does dissent become treason?. . . Until we understand the political warfare of Vietnam and of the Jihadists we shall never achieve todays limited counter insurgency and counterintelligence goals let alone victory."
These are just a few highlights from the rich tapestry of detail included in Canfield's book. You will find much more in the complete book, available on his website at in PDF or CD-ROM formats http://americong.com/
The same way the Ameri-Qaeda is winning the wars in the Middle East - but this time, they are doing it from inside the Administration.
This begs for wide distribution.
The media has always had a love affair with our enemies.
Recall how they told Japan they weren’t setting their depth charges to the correct depth and killed our submariners.
Fedora - interesting pseudonym for the topic.
“And he reviews Kerry’s role in normalizing relations with Vietnam during later years.”
Sadly, this brings some other facts to mind: John McCain touting his good friendship with Kerry; McCain physically embracing his NVA torturer on the floor of the Senate committee room; McCain treating the POW/MIA families reps like crap in Senate committee hearings; McCain refusing to criticize Obama in 2008.
And something which only fuels my feeling that something happened in the Hilton that placed McCain under CPUSA control: His bill to close all POW files from the public.
If Kerry had carried Ohio in 2004 he would have won the election—someone who actively aided the enemies of the US in a war. He could well be the next Secretary of State if Obama is re-elected (if he can overcome the handicap of being a white male).
After rereading this, I must make one correction: I forgot to include an update that the book is now 1,800 pages. I was reviewing an earlier edition.
I agree, that’s why I posted this. Roger has made a very important contribution, IMO.
I didn’t hear about that one, but it sounds like something they’d do. My profile has an article on the history of the NYT that gives some more examples of stuff like that.
I have noticed that a lot of the fringe characters surrounding Kerry and some of the other more radical candidates from 2004 (esp. the Kucinich campaign) have resurfaced on the outskirts of the present campaign. Seems like they like to hang in the background hoping no one will notice until after the election when they can make the move to “legitimacy.”
I don’t know the whole story there, but what happened with that whole POW/MIA and normalization thing certainly carried a stench that still lingers, I hope someone will uncover what happened there.
I used to have a link to the autobiography of General Giap.
In it he said that the North was beaten during the Tet offensive and was planning to sue for peace. Then Walter Cronkite spoke about how the US could not win that war, and the word of massive anti-war demonstrations changed their minds, and the NVA decided to keep fighting.
The link disappeared several years ago.
World War II, some senator shot his mouth off about how the Japanese set their depth charges too shallow.
Well.. the press eagerly ran the story and it wound up on the wires in Tokyo.
And thanks to the communists, $100 a month is considered high wages in Vietnam while their sons sell themselves to the male homosexuals from Europe and the US.
There is a lesson there about what happens when anti-American communists gain political power in our country through elections, control of the media, and control of education. It would be a disaster if this happened again in modern times with a similar group of anti-American communists gaining power while we face an a much greater danger than the Vietnamese communists of the 1960s.
Fedora is one of the top internal security historians/specialists in the business. I’ve followed his/her writings for years and found them to be much more in-depth than any others in the field, and I’ve been in the field as an operative/researcher/journalist for over 40 years.
Roger Canfield spent over 20 years doing his research which is extremely extensive in scope and depth. He writes about things that the liberal/leftist historians/journalists left out of their own books, either through a lack of knowledge of the topic, ideological protective bias, or sheer incompetence.
Ameri-Cong does nationwide publicity and usage. Hopefully someone reading it will supply a few of the missing details about John Kerry’s illegal contacts with the Communists n Paris, more on what the No. Vietnamese taught the SDS/Venceremos Brigade marxists in Cuba, and how much KGB money flowed into the so-called “anti-Vietnam” organizations (i.e. Mobes/PCPJ/NPAC) under the table.
Roger deserves the thanks of every patriotic American for his decades long efforts to present us with the truth about the “peace movement”, which, in reality, was not about them being “doves for peace”, but actually being “hawks for the other side”.
And the specific items you mention are certainly worthy of follow-up. We found a bit of that under-the-table money you mention in the FBI files on VVAW--I made a point to itemize some of that when I indexed one of their summary reports which is linked on my profile page but I see the link is now expired (this is the item titled "8/25/1972 FBI Information Digest Special Report on VVAW")--but there were a lot of leads there indicating broader funding networks. Cross-referencing that with other FBI files might turn up a lot. Since the link's not currently up, I'll take the liberty of reposting a few quotes from what I had there below. Also see my article on Corliss Lamont's donations to the VVAW, mentioned in the same FBI file.
(By the way, what follows below is my commentary on the names in the FBI file, not direct quotes from the file, which I transcribed separately. From my commentary, then:)
* * *
Groups funding VVAWs Winter Soldier Investigation:
United States Servicemens Fund (USSF): GI-oriented antiwar group formed in 1970 to recruit active servicemen to the antiwar movement and provide financial and legal support to soldiers opposing the war. USSF recruited GIs through a network of coffeehouses located near military bases and through antiwar newspapers distributed at military bases. Led by Paul Lauter, who was active in the American Friends Service Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and Resist, Inc. Sponsors and supporters of USSF included CP-linked Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Black Panther-endorsed Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, antiwar professor Noam Chomsky, CP-linked feminist Betty Friedan, Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff, and several unions. USSF supported the F.T.A. troupe associated with Jane Fonda.
Groups funding USSF:
Fund for Tomorrow, Inc.: Left-wing charity founded as a spinoff of the Rubin Foundation, a major financier of CP activity. The Rubin Foundation was founded by Faberge millionaire Samuel Rubin, a CP member and friend of Armand Hammer, who was the Soviets chief financial agent in the United States. It became the chief financier of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban agents used to coordinate various left-wing groups in the US and abroad. Rubins daughter Cora Rubin Weiss (see entry) and her husband Peter Weiss (see entry), a member of the CP-connected National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and a leader of IPS as well as a lawyer for the VVAW, administered the Fund for Tomorrow.
Stern Family Fund aka Stern Fund: Left-wing charity founded to distribute the fortune of the heirs of Sears, Roebuck & Company chairman Julius Rosenwald, a financier of left-wing causes. Rosenwalds own fortune was initially administered through the Julius Rosenwald Fund, whose second director, Alfred K. Stern, fled to Czechoslovakia in 1958 after being indicted on three counts of spying for the Soviet Union. Later a separate Stern Fund was established in 1936 by Julius daughter Edith Rosenwald Stern (wife of Alfreds brother Edgar Bloom Stern, a New Orleans businessman), and in turn her son Philip Maurice Stern later endowed the Stern Family Fund upon his death in 1992. Under executive director David Romeyn Hunter, the Stern Fund provided much of the initial endowment for the Institute for Policy Studies, a Marxist think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban agents.
Financial contributors to USSF:
Peter Weiss (1925-): Husband of Cora Rubin Weiss (see entry). Senior partner in law firm of Weiss, Dawid, Fross, Zelnick & Lehrman and member of CP-linked National Lawyers Guild (see entry). Chairman of board of Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a Marxist think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban agents. Participated in Bertrand Russell Peace Foundations International War Crimes Tribunal (see entry for World Assembly for Peace), which inspired the VVAWs Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI). Served on panel at WSI. Acted as lawyer for VVAW.
Cora Rubin Weiss (date of birth unknown): Daughter of CP member and financier Samuel Rubin and president of Samuel Rubin Foundation. Wife of Peter Weiss (see entry), chairman of board of Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a Marxist think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban agents. Leader of CP front womens antiwar group Women Strike for Peace (WSP). Codirector of Committee of Liaison with Families of Servicemen Detained in North Vietnam (COLIFAM), which acted as a liaison between North Vietnam and families of POWs, offering families contact with POWs in exchange for pro-Communist statements. Travelled to Paris and Hanoi to meet Communist leaders.
Max Palevsky (1924-): Venture capitalist and Democratic Party fundraiser who financed antiwar movement. Trained in math and philosophy before working in computers at Bendix and Packard-Bell and founding innovative computer company Scientific Data Systems of California in 1961. Sold Scientific Data Systems to Xerox Corporation in 1969 for $100 million, joined board of Xerox, and funded computer company Intel. In 1967 became president of Business Executives Move for Peace in Vietnam (BEM, changed in 1975 to Business Executives Move for New National Priorities), antiwar businessmens group cofounded by his associate Harold Willens, financial associate of longtime CP front financier Robert Maynard Hutchins and founder of the Businessmens Educational Fund (which became the Center for Defense Information, financed by General Motors Heir Stewart Rawlings Mott through the Fund for Peace and aligned with the Soviet front the World Peace Council). Joined Democratic Advisory Committee in 1968, supported Robert Kennedys Presidential campaign in 1968, organized George McGovern's Presidential campaign in 1972, and ran Tom Bradley's campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles in 1973, hiring Gray Davis as Bradleys fundraiser. Considered part of a Malibu Mafia that rivalled MCA chairman Lew Wasserman for domination of the left wing of the Democratic Party in Southern California in the early 1970s; the Malibu Mafia also included Willens, Stanley Sheinbaum (son-in-law of movie mogul Harry Warner, also associated with Hutchins and with Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg), Warner Brothers chairman Ted Ashley, TV producer Norman Lear, clothing manufacturer Miles Rubin, Tool Research and Engineering Corporation executive Leopold Wyler, and celebrities Warren Beatty, Neil Diamond, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford. Joined board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Financed the Institute for Policy Studies; the marijuana legalization group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML, linked to lawyers for leading drug dealers); and the United States Servicemens Fund (USSF), which funded the VVAWs Winter Soldier Investigation.
Elizabeth Williams: Unable to identify this individual from information in FBI document.
Paul Williams: Unable to identify this individual from information in FBI document.
Anne Peretz aka Anne Labouisse Farnsworth Peretz (1938-): Wealthy heiress who funded left-wing causes. Daughter of State Department and UNICEF official of H.R. Labouisse and Singer family heiress Elizabeth Scriven Clark. Wife of Martin Peretz, a cofounder of the SANE-linked activist group Massachusetts Political Action for Peace (Mass PAX), who worked with the antiwar magazine Ramparts and the Vietnam Moratorium Committee (VMC--see entry for John Forbes Kerry) and VVAW during the Vietnam War and became editor-in-chief of the CP-infiltrated magazine The New Republic in 1974. Funded New Republic and Students for a Democratic Society during the Vietnam War. Later Martin and Anne became business partners of Sam Brown, a former leader of the VMC.
Financial contributors to Operation Dewey Canyon III:
Larry Canada (date of birth unknown): Rich hippy recruited by Rennie Davis from an Indiana commune to fund Mayday activities. Married Lilly pharmaceutical family heiress Kathy Noyes. Questioned by authorities along with Noyes in connection with 3/1/1971 bombing of US Capitol. Later introduced Davis to Divine Light Mission cult of Guru Maharaj Ji. Contributed $75,000 to Mayday and communicated Mayday plans to Chinese officials via visit to Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
Edgar Miles Bronfman aka Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr. (misspelled Edgar Branfman in FBI file) (1929-): Seagram Company executive. Son of Samuel Bronfman, a descendant of Jewish refugees from Czarist Russia who started a Canadian whisking distilling business that exported to Prohibition Americas Big Seven organized crime syndicate, linked to Meyer Lansky and Joseph Kennedy. Headed Seagrams American subsidiary after 1957 and assumed presidency of parent company after his fathers death in 1971. Also began acquiring shares in MGM in 1966 and briefly chaired the company in 1969 before being outbid and selling controlling share to Kirk Kerkorian, a millionaire who invested in Las Vegas ventures linked to Morris Moe Dalitz, a member of a Detroit-based syndicate called the Purple Gang which had distributed liquor for Samuel Bronfman in the US during Prohibition. Hosted VVAW Dewey Canyon III fundraiser in New York organized by former Robert Kennedy speechwriter Adam Walinsky for John Kerry.
Philip J. Levin (?-1971): New Jersey real estate investor who held controlling interest in approximately 50 companies. Presided over Madison Square Garden Corporation, owned shares in New York Knicks and other sports teams, and purchased racetracks from daughter of Chicago racetrack owner Ben Lindheimer, who had been represented by mob lawyer Sidney Korshak. Sat on board of Gulf & Western, which in 1966 had bought Paramount Pictures, whose executive Robert Evans was linked to Korshak. Also tried to acquire MGM, and after failing to persuade Edgar Bronfman to sell his shares in MGM, sold 420,000 shares to Bronfman in 1967. Contributed heavily to political candidates from both parties, including John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, and served as New Jersey delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Donated to VVAWs Dewey Canyon III at New York fundraiser hosted by Bronfman and organized by former Robert Kennedy speechwriter Adam Walinsky for John Kerry.
Abraham Feinberg (1908-1998): New York banker, Israeli lobbyist, and Democratic Party fundraiser. Funded and lobbied Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. Held major shares in and chaired American Bank & Trust Company (ABT, previously called American Trust Company), a bank which had been taken over in 1963 by the Israeli-controlled Swiss Israel Trade Bank of Geneva (SITB) before being sold in the late 1960s to Chilean millionaire Jose Klein. As ABT Chairman became involved in fourth-largest bank failure in US history up to that time when ABT was looted by David Graiver, an Argentine businessman who paradoxically both financed right-wing dictator Juan Peron and laundered kidnapping profits from the Montoneros (Movimiento Peronista Montonero), a left-wing terrorist offshoot of the Peronist movement that initially undermined the exiled Perons opposition with support from Communist Cuba before later turning against Peron. Feinberg donated to VVAWs Dewey Canyon III at New York fundraiser hosted by Edgar Bronfman and organized by former Robert Kennedy speechwriter Adam Walinsky for John Kerry.