Message from Michael Moore

Julio Pino jpino at
Thu May 18 14:15:47 MDT 2000

From: Michael Moore's newsletter [mailto:MICHAELMOORE at LISTSERV.AOL.COM]
>Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2000 8:55 PM
>Dear friends,
>This letter is for those of you who were born after the Vietnam War.
>Many of you are in high school right now. Some of you have recently
>graduated and are working the Slurpee machine at the 7-11 (your way of
>celebrating the greatest economic boom in history!).
>By now, you have probably figured out that a lot of adults have a hard
>time speaking the truth. Some are just forgetful, which comes with age.
>Some need to believe that the world is ordered a certain way so they can
>justify their actions and the way they live their lives. Others just want
>the pain to go away, and creating fantasies is one way to relieve the
>sorrow of the past.
>Today is the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. But that's
>not exactly true. It's really the 25th anniversary of the Vietnamese
>VICTORY over the United States of America. It's hard for a lot of adults
>to say those words. No one likes to lose. We did.
>You have probably seen a lot of nonsense on TV this week about how the
>58,000 Americans who lost their lives in Vietnam "did not die in vain."
>That, is not the truth.
>Those young lives were wasted and eliminated for absolutely no good reason
>whatsoever. They were sent to die in Vietnam at the whim of a bunch of
>politicians and the men who pick up their tab at the country club.
>I encourage you to read "Taking Charge" by Michael Beschloss. Beschloss
>obtained the secretly-recorded White House tapes from the day when
>President Johnson decided to send the troops to Vietnam. They show that
>Johnson KNEW he was doing the wrong thing, that the war could not be won,
>but, after a pause in the conversation, he decided to go ahead anyway. You
>can hear what little was left of Johnson's conscience in that brief pause
>of self-doubt, and like the moment of decision in a frightening
>cliffhanger, you'll find yourself shouting at the book, "Don't do it,
>don't do it, thousands -- millions! -- of lives will be spared!!" But he
>does do it. He went to Congress and lied about an American boat being
>attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam, and the Senate voted 98 to 2
>to send our boys to their early graves.
>By now, you have probably also figured out that politicians will lie about
>anything to create a justification for their actions. In order to get away
>with invading Vietnam without calling it an "invasion," the political
>leaders and their compliant media friends told the American people that
>the Communists were overrunning South Vietnam, a democracy and an ally of
>the United States (it was a totalitarian state with a puppet leader we
>installed after our government helped to assassinate the former leader).
>We were told the Communists had to be stopped and, if they weren't,
>Communism would spread throughout all of Asia.
>Communism, for those of you too young to have experienced the scare, was
>this thing that enslaved billions of people to a system where they had
>little or no say, where elections contained essentially no choice on the
>ballot, where competition and choice in the marketplace were eliminated,
>and where virtually every town had but one newspaper which told them what
>was going on. In other words, sorta like the U.S. today!
>The truth was, Vietnam had been invaded and colonized by various foreign
>powers for a thousand years. In the 1940s, during World War II, a
>Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, sided with America and the Allies to
>defeat the Japanese and Germans. After the war, he came to Washington in
>the hopes of convincing the President and Congress to back his people's
>struggle to be free. He was certain that the Americans, whose own country
>was founded through a revolution against a foreign king, would back his
>efforts to create a free and democratic Vietnam. He was not a "Communist"
>then. His hero was George Washington. The Vietnamese Constitution he
>proposed was based on the U.S. Constitution, which he thought to be a
>profound document.
>The Congress and the President turned him away. The French, who "owned"
>Vietnam at the time -- you see, they were our "friends."
>Ho and the Vietnamese were forced to look for help elsewhere. And the rest
>is history.
>There is not much talk on the news today about the Vietnamese who died in
>the war. Over two million perished. Two million people were killed in our
>name, using our taxes and America's sons in perpetrating a mass slaughter.
>You probably have seen a lot of Senator John McCain this year, everyone
>talking about him being a "a war hero." McCain's job was to bomb innocent
>civilians in the neighborhoods of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. He
>got shot down while committing this heinous act. He ejected and crashed
>into a lake in the center of town. How did the Vietnamese react to this
>American who fell >from the sky after killing their children? Did they
>string him up and kill him? No, they jumped into the lake and saved his
>life. Thirty-two years later, he rides with the press on his "Straight
>Talk Express" and calls them "gooks" and few bother to report it.
>A lot of people my age and older went to Vietnam. They were not bad
>people. They were just kids who didn't know they were being used. But, we
>are all responsible for our individual actions, and on judgment day, using
>the excuse that you were "only following orders" will not sit well. But
>neither will our lack of compassion and understanding. "All are punish'd."
>The only true heroes of the Vietnam War -- you will not read about them in
>your high school history books or see statues of them in city parks --
>were the brave ones who stood up against the government and refused to go
>and kill Vietnamese. Contrary to what you may have seen on TV, being
>against the war was never the popular position to take (until near the
>very end). Those who protested took a lot of abuse, not to mention a few
>billy clubs to the head. Those who refused to be drafted were sent to
>jail. Over a hundred thousand escaped to Canada, a country that took them
>in without question. Families were ripped apart. To this day, in spite of
>the amnesty, the government continues to track down and punish those
>unfairly accused of violently trying to stop the war (please read the
>excellent article on Howard Mechanic in today's New York Times Sunday
>Nine guys who went to my high school were killed in Vietnam. If there is
>anything you take from this letter, it is my hope that you will always
>resist our government's efforts to send you off to fight the rich man's
>wars. Most would agree that there come those times in history when, out of
>sheer self-defense, a nation must defend itself. That is not what happened
>in Vietnam -- or in Grenada or Panama or Nicaragua or Iraq or Kosovo.
>These are wars to make the world safe for oil and sweatshops. Don't ever
>let an adult tell you any differently. They will lie to you because they
>need YOU to go fight THEIR war. Don't fall for it. Only the strong and
>brave and courageous are able to resist what appears to be the human
>instinct to kill other humans. Be brave. Be strong. Learn from your
>parents' and grandparents' mistakes.
>Twenty-five years later, many of them still can't figure out what went
>wrong. That's why I believe April 30 should be a national holiday, a day
>to always remember what went wrong with us, so that it never happens
>again. In Vietnam, it's not called the "Vietnam War." It's called the
>"American War." The BBC news ticker that runs across the top of my
>computer screen just flashed on: "Vietnam Celebrates American Defeat."
>Defeat? Defeat! I have not read a headline like that in the U.S.
>As long as we can't call it for what it was, we are doomed to repeat our
>worst mistake. Kids, help us.
>Michael Moore
>mmflint at
>P.S. My latest thoughts on the Miami insanity can be found by clicking
>here onto (The police chief who refused to follow the
>orders of the Miami mayor -- and lost his job this week -- is a good
>example of following one's conscience in order to prevent bloodshed.)
>P.P.S.  Vote Ficus! "The Awful Truth," Wednesday
>nights at 10pm ET/PT, beginning May 17 (U.K.: May 16; Canada and Australia
>PPPS.  Another excellent resource on the American War in Vietnam is the
>documentary "Hearts and Minds."

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