Tom Hayden: Gone But Not Forgotten

Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden

Looking back: Mad Magazine + Tom Hayden = SDS. And before I forget. Meanwhile, the obits are pouring in for Hayden, who died yesterday. Here are three (with great photos) from The Washington Post; from The Huffington Post; from The New York Times. And here is a video of him speaking about the need to remember the Vietnam War, which with the civil rights movement, was the seminal event of his generation. (Broadcast by Democracy Now! on May 25, 2015, his remarks begin at 6’20”. They are a command to recall a “proper history of those times.”) Hayden emphasizes the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. and the power of protest, pointing to the need to “challenge the Pentagon now on the battle field of memory … to resist their military occupation of our minds and the minds of future generations,” which “we suspect has to do with the programming of amnesia” [not excepting President Obama’s failure to recall Vietnam, a point Hayden makes strongly] by “very powerful forces in our country who stand for denial, not just climate denial but generational denial. … Our national forgetting is basically pathological. … There came a generation of career politicians who were afraid of association with the peace movement, who were afraid of being seen as soft, who saw that the inside track was the track of war. Our systems are totally out of balance today because of our collective refusal to admit the Vietnam War was wrong and that the peace movement was right.”

This entry was posted on in homepage. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tom Hayden: Gone But Not Forgotten

    1. william osborne says
      October 24, 2016 at 10:57 am

      The principle war the Pentagon fights is against the American people. America’s all-volunteer military had to embrace advertising since it needed to compete for human resources in a free market. Vietnam also illustrated that it has to manipulate the media to win propaganda wars. The Pentagon thus initiated a propaganda war against Americans.

      Since the military’s resources are unparalleled, its ability to conduct a cultural war on its own people is without comparison. Under the military-industrial complex’s massive social engineering, war has become the unifying force of American society.

      The biggest lie began after WWII with the claim that we defeated Nazi Germany. The USSR defeated Germany, not the USA. 80% of the Wehrmacht was on the Eastern Front fighting the Red Army. In comparison, the war in the West wasn’t too much more than skirmishing. By the time D-Day came, Germany was already defeated and the outcome of the war already determined.

      The USSR lost 27 million people in the war, the USA about 300,000. That’s 1/90th the amount. One in every four Soviet soldiers was killed in the war, while in the USA it was one in every 100. In the Battle of Stalingrad, which is where Germany was actually defeated, the Soviets lost one million men, three times more than the USA lost in the whole war, including against Japan.

      This wasn’t an accident. The policy of the USA and UK was to let Germany and the USSR bleed each other white, then go in for the kill. And then we claimed with false heroics that we defeated Germany.

      We also overlook how incompetent our military often was in Africa and Europe. During the war, the Germans literally referred to as “the bumbling Americans.” This history of our poor military leadership during WWII, and the numerous major fiascos and countless American deaths it caused still needs to be written. This would also include an account of military equipment which was all too often poorly designed and built – and often a direct result of war profiteering.

      Nevertheless, the myth of the “American Fighting Man” was created after the war, and became a central part of the militarization of America. The delusions created by this myth and the delusions about our military prowess led to the difficulties in Korea, and to simply getting our asses kicked in Vietnam.

      After Vietnam, in the true nature of bullies, we became more cautious and have focused on smaller, even less developed countries for our “heroics.” And yet we continue to create delusions about the ability of our military to solve international problems. Anyway, those like Hayden who refer to the Pentagon as a bullshit factory have a point, and it is probably a far larger distortion of history than the vast majority of Americans realize.

      Comment by Jan Herman on 30 October, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.