A military-history organization is sponsoring a conference in Boston during the Democratic National Convention it hopes will dispel some of the “myths” anti-war activists, including candidate John Kerry, have spread about the Vietnam War.
“Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War” will be held at Simmons College in Boston from Monday to Thursday, corresponding with the Democrats’ convention there. Sponsored by the RADIX Foundation, it is being billed as “a veteran-funded, nonprofit, multicultural and non-political event.”
“By conducting this conference,” says the promotional material, “we would … like to afford the 15,000 media personnel at the nominating convention an opportunity to hear factual, first-hand accounts of Vietnam as well as some things that many of us have held back for many decades.”
Organizers hope to combat those they say have “mis-portrayed” the history of the Vietnam War.
“As Senator John Kerry is about to be nominated for president, in great part based on his Vietnam service,” the conference website says, “it is important for the American people to understand what ‘Vietnam’ was really about and to dispel some of the common misconceptions about why we went to war, what we did, what went wrong, and why it mattered.
Many Vietnam veterans have passionately rebutted Kerry’s 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he made horrific claims about alleged atrocities committed by American service members in Southeast Asia.
There are 17 sessions that will take place during the conference. Some sessions will address, according to organizers:
- The role of Hollywood in creating and reinforcing misinformation about the Vietnam War and the Vietnam veteran.
- The role of the anti-war movement in doing the same.
- Who are the Vietnam veterans and what did they really do?
- What is the culpability of the media for the events that they ostensibly reported.
- How is and how should the Vietnam War be taught at all levels?
- What are the legacies of the war, the protest movement and the outcome on our military, our society our past and present allies and out enemies?
Monday evening’s session will feature military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to talk about how the Vietnam War affected their decisions to enter the armed forces, their missions and their enemies.
Wednesday evening the conference features Vietnamese, Montagnard, Cambodian, Hmong and Lao people to share their views on the region past and present.