The US war against Vietnam was a criminal act, an assault on democracy and savage beyond imagining but children won’t learn any of this from the BBC website, “Bitesize GCSE History: Vietnam 1954-1975”.
The BBC site does not even acknowledge the main events in the war: the American attack on and invasion of South Vietnam: the word “invasion” is not even used. The word “attack” is however used to describe what Vietnamese people, on Vietnamese soil did to the US invaders whereas normal logic would demand the word “defend” or “resist” to describe the actions of a native population against a foreign military occupation. Nowhere on this site can one find the fact that the US committed against Vietnam the supreme international crime, the crime against peace: the launching of a war of aggression. Continue reading
The BBC Schools history website “GCSE Bites: Vietnam 1954-1975”
is fundamentally a lie though most of the statements on it are not, strictly, untrue. An individual sentence, shorn of background and context, can be both factually correct and at the same time a lie in that it contributes to an erroneous overall picture. A young student of history can learn a lot by studying this phenomenon. A simple example from the site is the statement that in the war “thousands of Vietnamese people had been killed”. That is not strictly false but it is nevertheless an appalling lie because when rough numbers are stated they should be of the appropriate order of magnitude. A more complex example is “in 1945 the French re-occupied Indo-China,” as I will discuss. The cumulative effect of many such “not untrue” statements, coupled to the missing out of the basic facts of the matter — namely the lawlessness of US actions, the immorality of its aims and the horrifying savagery of the military attack — is to bury the truth.
In future articles I will analyse the site line by line but for now I want to draw attention to a grotesque game on the site, “Surviving Vietnam.” Continue reading