News Release

25 Years Later: Perspectives on the Vietnam War


On her 24th birthday, Sonneborn was informed that her husband was killed in Vietnam. Twenty years later, she felt compelled to travel to Vietnam. The result was “Regret to Inform,” an Academy Award nominated film (nationally broadcast on PBS earlier this year) which documents the experiences of widows from of all sides of the Vietnam-American war. She is now organizing the Widows of War Living Memorial which provides a forum for widows of war to tell their stories and become a force for peace. Said Sonneborn: “When I went to Vietnam I knew that war was the enemy, not the Vietnamese people.”

A former Air Force captain who served in Vietnam, Willson is writing his memoirs. He said today: “We need to acknowledge the horrific harms we caused both the Southeast Asians and ourselves, so that we can genuinely heal. It revealed our dark psyche, but we can use that to redeem ourselves, as vets do.”
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A U.S. policy analyst during the Vietnam War, Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, a study by the U.S. government that documented its own deceit. He is available for interviews beginning Thursday.

Professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of Manufacturing Consent and After the Cataclysm: Postwar Vietnam and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, Herman said: “The United States did not lose the Vietnam war; it failed to win — or to achieve its main objective of keeping control of South Vietnam in the hands of a minority government of U.S. choice. But it was successful in so devastating all of Vietnam (and Cambodia and Laos as well) as to end any ‘threat’ that Vietnam would offer an alternative route to development. The long postwar boycott, based on the fact that the aggressor has seen itself as the victim, helped ensure that Vietnam would not recover from its severe wounds.”

Editor of The Vietnam War in American Stories, Songs, and Poems, author of M.I.A. Or Mythmaking in America and the forthcoming Vietnam and Other American Fantasies, Rutgers University professor Franklin said today: “One cannot understand today’s America without comprehending how the Vietnam War has been transformed into fantasies permeating our culture. The antiwar movement was not hostile to veterans — it was led by veterans and GIs. Contrary to much mythology, no POWs were left behind.”
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Author of Lessons of the Vietnam War, Starr said today: “The seeds of conflict typically are planted years ahead in actions taken and opportunities ignored by political leaders not held accountable by an independent press. Vietnam was avoidable. Unless the people’s leaders and press take seriously the need for an informed citizenry, the wars to come will not be.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167