By W.R. Baker
The new Vietnam Veterans for Factual History is a resource designed to address a concern by its creators and associated blog readers that many history books and teachers are presenting a fraudulent picture of what was done and accomplished in Vietnam.
It would be a mistake to think of this magazine as just a place to air complaints and reminisce about Vietnam. Most of the members are Vietnam veterans, which is unusual today for any magazine to have so many with a shared unique background and who can “talk the talk because they walked the walk.” But this magazine offers more with academics and “Indochina veterans with special expertise in various aspects of the war,” too. Most have written books and articles on Vietnam subjects, as well. Vietnamese-Americans are also members and present a side of Vietnam that is usually overlooked or deliberately ignored. Members’ books can be identified throughout the magazine.
What binds these people together is the last two words of their organization, factual history. Somehow, the years since Vietnam have seen the repetition of erroneous information that has, in turn, been repeated so often that they are now presented as facts. Likewise, the pseudo-experts today are not seemingly interested in the facts as much as they are interested in selling their books, obtaining their doctorates, or resting on their ill-gotten laurels. The old expression about “repeating a lie often enough…” seems to have come true. Because of this, factual information about the U.S. presence in Vietnam is now called “revisionist” because the foxes are now guarding hen house in academia and in the press.
The premiere issue takes on the Burns and Novick Vietnam “documentary” that was hailed by the press even before it was released. While Vietnam Veterans felt differently, the press knew better and didn’t print the objections to the firm, but unlike them, the specifics of why veterans didn’t like it are addressed in the pilot issue. Carefully choosing who to interview and their Vietnam rolls obviously slanted the story.
Tet 1968’s 50th anniversary also had a place in this issue, as one would expect. A review of a recently released book about this subject and information about the VC massacre in Hue is presented. A section written by many who “lived it” has numerous articles that individually present how Tet impacted their unit and themselves. Included in this overall discussion is Rich Botkin’s article entitled “Cronkite—The Broadcast You Never Saw or Heard” which includes a link to the actual broadcast he made in Vietnam.
The politics of the time, politicians, other personalities, and what was occurring back home are not glossed over, as well.
“Harry Summers Remembered” is a salute to a Vietnam veteran, strategist, and the first editor of Vietnam magazine. How his Vietnam magazine has waffled leftward is also bemoaned as an unfortunate event.
The greater expanse of Southeast Asia has/will have discussions about the politics and war effort in these surrounding countries.
All of the contributors freely and without remuneration write their articles, research the facts (with or without advice from other members), as necessary. All are experts in their particular areas, all should be Ph.D’s (though the leftist professors of today wouldn’t probably allow it to happen).
The VVFH might turn towards also printing their issues in the future, depending upon subscriber interest and support.
The magazine will have much to contribute to the Vietnam and Southeast Asia story, though the popularity of criticizing the America and South Vietnam of yesteryear remains almost mainstream. Those who know better have taken up the gauntlet to convey the truth, no matter how bad or how good the real facts are.
A word of note: “This pilot issue is being offered free to interested parties who register at www.VVFHMag.org . After receiving this issue, we would greatly appreciate it if you would return to the website, provide a rating/comment on this issue and let us know whether or not you would be willing to be a subscriber, if the interest in this issue warrants a continuation of this effort.”
A small enough requirement for the truth about one of the most divisive times in history.