Antiwar Wednesday

A crowd of demonstrators gather at the Washington Monument for a rally to protest the Vietnam War on Nov. 15, 1969.

A crowd of demonstrators gather at the Washington Monument for a rally to protest the Vietnam War on Nov. 15, 1969.

Let me tell you a story about a moment in my life I’m not likely to forget even if, with the passage of years, so much around it has grown fuzzy. It involves a broken-down TV, movies from my childhood, and a war that only seemed to come closer as time passed.

My best guess: it was the summer of 1969. I had dropped out of graduate school where I had been studying to become a China scholar and was then working as a “movement” printer — that is, in a print shop that produced radical literature, strike posters, and other materials for activists. It was, of course, “the Sixties,” though I didn’t know it then. Still, I had somehow been swept into a new world remarkably unrelated to my expected life trajectory — and a large part of the reason for that was the Vietnam War.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t particularly early to protest it. I think I signed my first antiwar petition in 1965 while still in college, but as late as 1968 — people forget the confusion of that era — while I had become firmly antiwar, I still wanted to serve my country abroad. Being a diplomat had been a dream of mine, the kind of citizenly duty I had been taught to admire, and the urge to act in such a fashion, to be of service, was deeply embedded in me. (That I was already doing so in protesting the grim war my government was prosecuting in Southeast Asia didn’t cross my mind.) I actually applied to the State Department, but it turned out to have no dreams of Tom Engelhardt. On the other hand, the U.S. Information Agency, a propaganda outfit, couldn’t have been more interested.

Only one problem: they weren’t about to guarantee that they wouldn’t send a guy who had studied Chinese, knew something of Asia, and could read French to Saigon. However, by the time they had vetted me — it took government-issue months and months to do so — I had grown far angrier about the war, so when they offered me a job, I didn’t think twice about saying no.

Tom Engelhardt


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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17 Responses to Antiwar Wednesday

  1. Den says:

    What war? I don’t see no war, oh wait, my cousin is texting me.

    Volunteers and no draft give us what we have today, perpetual wars, creating enemies to keep it all going, our economy dependent on war product production to keep it going since there is no more manufacturing work left for normal everyday appliances and household products, having been outsourced to China and others.

    General Dynamics, Raytheon, Honeywell, Lockeed Martin, Boeing and a hundred other major companies all feeding at the war money trough, all the while bridges collapse, roads crumble, sewers leak, and on and on.

    When you have a Limo Driver to take you everywhere you have no incentive to make your fellow mans life better or improve infrastructure, just don’t make me give up my luxurious lifestyle.

    Will we ever see the enormous crowds as pictured above protesting Obombers wars?
    Don’t hold your breath, for this society revels in violence as seen everyday on the news.
    As long as ISIS is not on their sidewalk yet, no one cares, wait, getting another text…


  2. David B. Benson says:

    A first for Illinois Street: a car being towed away by a tow truck.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    98 °F out; 76 °F in.


  4. David B. Benson says:

    @ the Nuevo Vallarta before a trip to the grocery store. Record tying temperature for this date. Welcome to Purgatory.


  5. Den says:

    We have engaged the Earths’ wrath, the end will not be pretty.


  6. Den says:

    Alpacas are nicer than LLamas, I’ll be conversing with them if anyone needs me.


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