How to stop a war
I've been reading Orlando Weekly for some time now, and I'm glad that Michael I. Niman's article, "Who'll stop the war?" `Feb. 15` was put in your newspaper. Frankly, I think you guys could use a bit more political commentary.
Though I was born in the '80s and the only info I know about the Vietnam War I've read or received by word of mouth, I know enough to know that military resistance alone did not stop the war. Though the mutinies and desertions of the troops contributed to it, radical groups at home helped to make keeping the American public ineffective in stopping the war a difficult task.
The Weather Underground (better known as the "Weathermen"), a group of Marxist-Leninists during the 1960s and 1970s who broke away from the Students for a Democratic Society, engaged in militant actions to sabotage the war effort. The Weathermen engaged in riots with the police and even bombed facilities that were manufacturing arms and other equipment for the war. The Black Panthers were also influential in sabotaging "business as usual." The Panthers practiced armed self-defense against police brutality and galvanized many working people and people of color through their community service organizations and their radicalization of such gangs as the Puerto Rican Young Lords and the white Southerners in the Young Patriots.
Also, let's not forget that the North Vietnamese Army, together with the Viet Cong, had the support of much of the Vietnamese population. Though the Viet Cong's tactics were brutal, many Vietnamese people supported their fight against what they viewed was a puppet dictatorship in South Vietnam organized by brutal U.S. occupiers. The VC and the NVA were relentless in their attacks against American forces. Ho Chi Minh said it best when he was referring to the French Army: "You can kill three of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win."
Whether or not you agree with the militant tactics of the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, or the VC and NVA, the combined might of Vietnamese forces, together with resistance in the American military and the "war at home," simply made continuing an increasingly expensive war unpopular and impossible.
We can draw parallels between the resistance against the Vietnam War and Iraq. Imperialist wars are not ended by waving placards and shouting "Hell, no, we won't go." Imperialist wars are ended by military desertion, resistance in the occupied country and direct action against the war effort. This means anti-recruitment, forcing ROTC off college campuses and performing acts of civil disobedience. The American public might be squeamish about this, but the fact remains that the best way to support your troops is to urge them not to fight, and to let your congressman, senator and presidential cabinet member know that you will not tolerate any more deaths.
J.C. Colgan, Longwood
J.C. Colgan, Longwood
First, I have to disagree with your assessment of Wild Hogs `Film, March 1`. The movie was funny and I never felt it was gay bashing. The entire idea of four normal, middle-aged, married (well, three out of four) men going back out to capture "glory days" is a fun idea, and hell yes, in reality they probably were a bit homophobic. It's a movie, fun and simple, and my wife, who is hard to please as they come (she walked out of Talladega Nights), enjoyed it immensely.
I felt you gave the movie a bad rap, and everyone who walked out of the theater last night was laughing and rehashing the funniest parts. Sorry you didn't enjoy it, but we certainly did.
Rick Manley, Melbourneletters@orlandoweekly.com