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Don't Thank Me For My Service
By Larry Kerschner (reviewer)
Don't Thank Me for My Service: My Vietnam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies
by S. Brian Willson
(Clarity Press, Inc., 2018)
I often say that my political education began in the jungles of Vietnam. I'm sure Brian Willson would say something similar. Using his training as a lawyer his new book, Don't Thank Me For My Service, reads like a prosecutor building a solid case brick by bloody brick.
Beginning with his vision of "countless human bodies scattered across the ground" Brian dissects what his "service" in Vietnam truly was. Looking back to place this in a historical context, Brian likens the United States to a spoiled child who has never been held to account for the years of genocide, slavery, and racism both at home and abroad. This child has inevitably grown into the psychopathic American Empire of today.
The United States was designed from the beginning specifically with Empire As Way Of Life. Especially following the second World War, government and corporate media propaganda supported a near-total indoctrination of the public in the unquestioned hysterical belief in the exceptional nature of the American Way. Americans could not recognize "what would be considered criminally insane behavior if carried out by others."
Brian chronicles the criminal and barbaric lengths to which the United States has gone to force our industrial "civilization" on people around the world. Brian explains the extent of corporate collusion in the chemical warfare concentrated especially on the men, women, and children of developing Southeast Asian nations with a desire for self-sovereignty.
Brian illustrates the upheaval and resistance to the American War in Vietnam that developed both among the US public and among those fighting in Vietnam.
rian states that "our healing as a nation depends on our removing the wool that remains in our eyes – that we seek to understand and grapple with these (deep historical and psychological) forces, these lies that continually drive us to war and violence. We must strive to unravel the pretend US America – its skewed origin stories, its false mythologies, and its phony sense of "exceptionalism" – in an honest pursuit of "liberty and justice for all."
Reading this book would be a beginning of that journey.
Larry Kerschner is a lifetime member of both VVAW and VFP. He is in the 17th year of a weekly peace vigil inside Trump country. Find Larry online at: www.livejournal.com/~larrywrites