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Good morning, my name is Mark Kalthoff I am the chairman of the history and political science department here at Hillsdale College. And as the Dean of faculty here it falls to me the privilege of chairing the CCA faculty round table sessions. This is the concluding session of this first CCA of the 2007 2008 academic years. And I have asked three of my colleagues from my department of history and political science to join me on this panel and help make sense of the week. One of the many things I learned this week, which is not anything beyond the small trivial level is that HR McMaster, Michael Lind and I are all exactly the same age, which is an interesting fact in this sense, we are well, just a bit too young to have been called to fight in the Vietnam war. But we are all simply too old not to remember it. I grew up as a child coming home from school, playing, being called in for dinner and the television was on and there were Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite usually with a map of Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam over their shoulder explaining this thing, and it went on for year after year as I learned algebra and things like that. So may be that's why people like Michael Lind, HR McMaster and I have become historians because we want to make sense of our first living memories as people who were aware that there was a wider world out there. And this week is a sign that those living memories continue to live with us and haunt us and challenge us to make sense with them. This week we have been privileged to have some truly extraordinary people with us. HR McMaster, Lewis Sorley Mack Owens, three chief among them and I think all students here should be take take stock that they're privileged to have these men with us and it's been a very good week. We have asked ourselves some difficult questions and they haven't all been answered so fortunately my colleagues will answer them all. So this will be an important session. Among those questions, we have asked ourselves about the war, was it a necessary war. Some have said yes, some have said no. If it was why? If not, then why did we fight? Was it simply to preserve US credibility in a global cold war as Michael Lind has argued, or for some other reason, perhaps some more noble reason than US credibility? Was it really our most disastrous military conflict? And did the war have to end as it did? Could we have not forsaken victory as Mark Moyer and Lewis Sorley suggest? Could it have come out differently? And if the war was fought for a high and noble purpose then why if so many of its veterans been treated ignobly rather than, again as Lewis Sorley contends soldiers of the next greatest generation? Could southern Vietnam have defended itself without our intervention? Why is the meaning of the war still so vigorously contested these many years after the war? And perhaps contentiously what are the many analogies heard popularly today between Vietnam and the war in Iraq? Some of these analogies were alluded to by speakers this week, but they weren't pushed very far. How far can they pushed how far should they be pushed? And perhaps of greatest concerned people in this room has so movingly and pointedly poignantly expressed by one of our own students Kara Silverhorn yesterday majoring in political science and planning herself on joining the armed forces. She asked a question about what it means to the students today and I suspect that's the question that we do need to get answered and that is what lessons for today, should college students glean from our collective memories of Vietnam War. If I continue to ask questions we will never get any answers so allow me to applause and introduce my colleagues here immediately to my right is Dr. Thomas Conner he will begin with a few remarks, he will speak for about ten minutes as he each of my colleagues will and then after about half an hour of our talking at you we will open up the floor for questions and continue until we are out of time. Dr. Conner earned his Bachelor's degree from the Elizabethtown College and his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently the William P Harris Professor of Military History here in Hillsdale College. He has held numerous tittles here including the William and Berniece Grewcock professor of History. He is also been the Dean of division of social sciences, the Dean of faculty, he is been voted professor of the year multiple times, he is an expert on French Government and politics, he has lectured here at Hillsdale on a number of topics including the French Revolution D-Day, how to read a battle and various other subjects in military history indeed his own seminar in military history is one of the most popular courses of the college or that it fills every spring when he teaches it. Immediately to Dr. Conner's right is Dr. Paul Moreno who is the William and Berniece Grewcock professor of the US constitution here at Hillsdale. He earned his Bachelor and Masters Degree at the State University of New York in Albany, and then his PhD at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a specialist in constitutional history and labor history. His most recent books are Black Americans and Organized Labor-A New History, and From Direct Action to Affirmative Action Fair Employment Law and Policy of America. But he teaches regularly now for us a course called United States in the world since 1945 along being a popular course at Hillsdale College its the survey course of the upper level that coverage the Vietnam war period. Dr. Moreno's articles have also been published in numerous journals including the Independent Review of the Journal of Policy History, Social Philosophy and Policy and most recently last week in the Wall Street Journal. Our final panelist to my left is the lone political scientist among the group Dr. Will Morrisey is the William and Patricia LaMothe Chair in the American constitution and Associate Professor of history here in Hillsdale College. He is Also been editor of the journal interpretation a Journal of Political Philosophy from the last 30 years. He owned his bachelors degree at Kenyon College and his PhD from the New School University. His eight books most recently include Regime Change:What it is, why it matters, and A Political Approach to Pacifism. He has published a dozen of articles he is a popular teacher as recently won the Emily Daugherty Award for teaching excellence here at Hillsdale College. So allow me to turn over the podium to my esteemed colleagues we'll begin with Dr. Conner followed by by Dr. Moreno and then Dr. Morrisey, thank you. Good morning, first of all let me say how fine it has been to hear the seven speakers of this week CCA and to be a part of the audience of students, faculty, colleagues and visitors to the college, campus all week long. With this program the college has put itself in the midst of a major ongoing historical debate with direct implications for the present challenges abroad that our country faces and this is all very exciting and very important. The most compelling question this weeks examination of the Vietnam war has raised for me and it's the one I want to talk about in my allotted time is what does the American experienced in Vietnam reveal about who we are as the people and about how we understand our role in the world. Mostly by inference the earlier speakers have addressed these matters but I would like to hone in on them a bit more and I should say at the outset that my answers to these questions may come out and may sound somewhat conflicted because I am ready to admit that my own personal jury is still divided. I have been telling students for decades now that there is no better way to see what a nation values, holds dear, believes to be true than to know what that nation is willing to ask it's young men to go out and die for in a war. To know how America has sought to justify it's wars is to know a great deal about our character as a people. It is also to know what we identify as our national purpose - our national mission. A number of our speakers this week have analyzed how we tried to fight the Vietnam war or endeavor to explain why the war came out as it did or try to judge whether it was necessary or not. Some of them suggested that the war was winnable that we should have even could have won. Lewis Sorley went so far as to assert that the war was actually won some where between 1969 and '73. Yet, we lost and there is the road well, what did we at least say we were fighting for? In April 1965, Lyndon Johnson gave his speech at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in which he tried to explain what the United States was fighting for in Vietnam, the speech by the way is in the American heritage reader, don't leave home without it. That probably means that most of the students in this room have at least been assigned that speech at some point on their career, I hope you have read it. May be you will be inclined to after this if you haven't. This 1965 speech of Johnson's is a remarkable document and we can be sure I think that it's author crafted it to resonate with key components of the American character and sense of national purpose as ordinary Americans would have understood those things. Johnson's simple explanation of the cause for us in Vietnam was the defense of the independence of South Vietnam which was under attack, from North Vietnam acting as the president said explicitly as a proxy for China. Johnson went on to say that we would not grow tired or fail or abandon our goals in Vietnam under the cover of some meaningless peace agreement. This aim of defending the independence of South Vietnam of course was entirely consistent with the policy of containment which was the stated and long standing strategy of the United States in the cold war. And it was equally consistent with the aim that our country had earlier accomplished in the Korean War. Namely, in Korea to defend freedom south of the 38th parallel which divided that country while conceding the north to communist control. At one moment during the Korean War of course our objective was to stamp out communism in Korea altogether, but that grander aim reverted to a more limited one once the Chinese openly intervened with their own troops and drove the Americans back from the Chinese border. But in this 1965 speech, president Johnson couched this relatively simple and straight forward purpose in more idealistic rhetoric which on the one hand was quintessentially American seems to me but on the other hand, held out of vision that proved beyond our capacity to attain then and still seems like beyond our capacity to attain today, yet this vision seem to seduce Lyndon Johnson just has it had seduced Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt earlier and perhaps is seducing George W Bush today. Here is the rhetoric to which I just made reference from Johnson speech. He said, we fight in Vietnam because we must fight. If we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny and only in such a world, well our own freedom be finally secured. This kind of world will never be build by bombs or bullets yet the infirmities of man are such that force must often precede reason and the waste of war, the works of peace. We wish that this were not so but we must deal with the world as it is if it is ever to be as we wish. What do these words sound like? In the historical sense they sound like Woodrow Wilson's advocacy of Self-determination of all peoples as the foundation of just world order his great hope coming out of World War I. We might also hear in these words of Johnson, President Roosevelt's advocacy of the same principle of Self-determination world-wide; and his enshrinement of this principle as a key war aim of the United states in the Atlantic charter of 1941. We might also hear in these words of Johnson echoes of Roosevelt's insistence in his for freedom speech of January 1941 that the establishment of fundamental human freedoms every where in the world was not hopelessly utopian but rather attainable his word. Johnson's assertion that we must deal with the world as it is if it is ever to be as we wish is at least vaguely reminiscent it seems to me of the hope expressed in President Bush's second inaugural in 2005; that America might some day rid the world of tyranny altogether. Here is my dilemma. "I am proud to live in a country that expresses devotion to even the commitment to fight for such lofty aims". President Wilson said in 1917 at the end of his War message that "American would be privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness." This is the language of the idealism that has defined the American character. The language and the hope and vision that it expresses are as old as the republic itself; it is noble and righteous stuff and can be very dangerous. It proved dangerous in Vietnam and I fear its proving dangerous in Iraq today. In the middle of the Vietnam War Vietnam Era, 1966 to be exact; J. William Fulbright who was then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a member of President Johnson's own party offered what he he hoped to be a corrective to what he termed the arrogance of power and what I might liberally refer to as the arrogance of idealism. Here is what Fulbright said, "I do not question the power of our weapons and the efficiency of our logistics; I cannot say these things delight me as they seem to delight some of our officials, but they are certainly impressive. What I do question is the ability of the United States, he wanted to say or France or any other Western Country, to go into a small, alien, undeveloped Asian nation and create stability where there is chaos, the will to fight where there is defeatism, democracy, where there is no tradition of it and honest government where corruption is almost a way of life." Certainly one of the lessons of our experience in Vietnam should be that the pursuit of noble goals in this fallen world is no guarantee of a happy ending. And so my still divided jury leaves you with this thought. It is a great good thing to be an American and to love the values and ideas associated with that name. It is also a very hard thing. We glory in the goodness of our ideals. We grieve when we and our leaders cannot figure out the best ways or the right times or the right places to fight for them. But that quest goes on and each of us has a part to play in it. Thank you. Well, I thank every one for being here. It's a great privilege to be able to speak at this CCA which was excellent and unique I think to have the speakers that we had all of them in one place in this week is really one of those sort of only at Hillsdale are kind of moment. I certainly learned a lot posed new questions to me and taught me how to look at old questions in new ways. Like Professor Kalthoff we're about the same age, I grew up also sort of in the shadow of Vietnam trying to learn my algebra while Vietnam was in the background. Except unlike Professor Kalthoff I have never learned the algebra. Instead I became a historian and the fundamental question that I think this CCA posed for me was about the the value, the utility and the use of history. Why is that we studied especially the question of the applicability of the use of history to examine the current events, the Vietnam, Iraq analogy. One view of this, I would like to take the idea that history is useful and does help us make policy and even predict the future. One group of historians have looked at it this way, I just want to take as an example that great teacher Machiavelli who said, it is easy, by diligent study of the past, to foresee what is likely to happen in the future in any republic, and to apply these remedies and to apply those remedies that were used by the ancients, or, not finding any that were employed by them, to devise new ones from the similarity of the events. Sort of history teaches us prudence and is useful for policy. On the other hand, the opposing view, a much more limited and modest view, I will take from another Florentine Guicciardini who said, some men write discourses on the future basing themselves on current events and if they are informed men, their writings will seem very plausible to readers. Nevertheless they are completely misleading, for since one conclusion depends upon the other if one is wrong, all that are deduced from it will be mistaken, but every tiny particular circumstance that changes is abs to is apt to alter a conclusion. The affairs this world therefore cannot be judged from far and that must be judged and resolved day-to-day. To judge by example is very misleading, unless they are similar in every respect, examples are useless. Since every tiny difference in the cause, may be a cause of great variation in the effects, and to discern these tiny differences takes a good and perspicacious eye. So I think then, I agree with Guicciardini I think that the lessons of Vietnam are very limited utility especially with regard to what's going on in Iraq today. And I think that the historians that we had this week have have done what historians do best which is really not so much telling us from the past what we should do in the future or even not so much telling us what we did do in the past as dispelling untruths about the past. This is revisionist history at it's best. What we are doing here is dispelling a generation of untruths about the Vietnam experience were better off for not having misleading stories about the past. These historians are also what I would call a sort of second wave or neo revisionist. The reinforcing work that was done generation ago that took basically their approach to the Vietnam War. People like Guenter Lewy who wrote one of the first revisionist's works called the America in Vietnam or Harry Somers who has been mentioned his book on strategy or people like Timothy Lomperis, a journalist like Don Oberdorfer and Peter Braestrup would address some of the media distortions of the Vietnam War. I think the Iraq situation has given some momentum and more attention to this revisionist view, and I am glad to see that it's getting getting some traction. I would also say that the - my what I took away from this week reinforced for me for the most part, the teaching of the foreign policy analyst known as the realists, and I emphasize to you that I am talking about Vietnam. I am not necessarily talking about the applicability of the realist analysis of the Iraq war. I am not not saying that either, but I am not saying it. I am limiting my self here to the Vietnam experience in the past. People people in 1950s and 60s knew this before the Vietnam war and warned us that you know, they were not good reasons of national interest to get involved in this conflict. People like Hans Morgenthaler and especially our George F. Kennan. And one of the things that most struck me this week looking at the Vietnam War and schematizing it in a new way, was that to reinforce some of the teachings of founding generation and especially of George Washington in his farewell address. I was thinking here especially of the way in which the Vietnamese or the south Vietnamese our allies ended up being sort of betrayed on numerous occasions. 1964, just when it seems like the South Vietnamese and Diem are getting their act together, he has been assassinated and more chaos ensues. The Tet Offensive as the a point at which the nation the United States could have been rallied around the Vietnam war and when the south Vietnamese themselves learned what a north Vietnamese take over would be like. And instead this begins the American withdrawal. And last of all are the 1972 Easter offensive and when the South Vietnamese of the success. At least relative success of Vietnamization and after that the cut off of that sort of assistance of congress ends up being the final betrayal of the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese it says sort of learn the hard way, or one of the lessons that George Washington articulated in the farewell address. If I may quote from it that "it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another, that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character, that by such acceptance, it may place it self in the condition of having given equivalence for nominal favors and yet have been reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure which a just pride ought to discard. And I think Americans learned the lessons from Vietnam that a foreign policy that isn't based on the national interest is not going to be that successful foreign policy and it would have been I think very hard for anyone let alone Lyndon Johnson, but anyone to articulate compelling reasons for us to make the sacrifices that we did in the Vietnam War. The political situation of the 1960s has reinforced many of those difficulties; a lot of this has to do with sort of the the post new deal American polity but the last point I would like to make is that democracy in general makes it difficult to have coherent foreign policy right, I think one of the things of the Vietnam war shows is that democracies are fickle. And this is the lesson that goes back to probably the father of real history Thucydides. It will take a long time I think for the United States to arrive at a coherent strategy for what people are calling now world war four. And Vietnam is a sort of an experience for that and that it took a long time for us to devise one for world war three, the cold war. It took a lot of partisan wrangling and internal domestic conflict between the end of world war two and end of the Korean war for the United States to arrive at a coherent foreign policy what's often that called the consensus policy of containment, right. And Vietnam derailed that they put at an end what had been largely a consensus after Korea about our policy with regard to the opposing the communist world and that sort of threw American foreign policy and American status in the world into a great disarray. Another lesson that is from the Vietnam period and the cold war period though too is that democracies also have assets and in long run, these assets turned out to outweigh the liabilities. This is I think the lesson especially of Yale Historian John Lewis Gaddis in his analysis of the cold war. and that I think we are in the early stages and trying to coble together, a strategy for world war four is going to take a while, is going to get a lot of partisan back and forth about it. But the democracies can turn themselves around in their foreign policy. Ronald Reagan did this in the 1980s of sort of out of the ruins of Vietnam, so I would say that was regarded to world war four the lesson of world war three is that we need to find another Ronald Reagan. So with that, I will conclude. This was your this was your parent's war, like me most of them didn't fight in it. But it got into their souls nonetheless. Not in the searing way that duty and combat must do but permanently nonetheless. Thank you Americans fought the war on the home front too and in the end, that part of it proved decisive. The war was as much a part of your parent's lives as the "Beatles" and "The Stones", Mini Skirts, and artfully torn Levis, it was in the atmosphere like the suspicion of marijuana smoke in the dorm. The war was a presence here. Not a brutal fact as it was there, but it was in the air on the news. You want to learn about Vietnam partly, because you want to know your parents better. In the same way your parents grew up on stories of the Second World War. The baby boomers may not be the greatest generation of Americans but they were the biggest. They rule your house hold your school and now for the better and the next decade or so your country. You are right to want to understand them better. Vietnam War came to me first on television, I remember the sound of Walter Cronkite's voice swelling in patriotism announcing that the marines had hit the beach for the first time since Korea. I must say at the age of 13, I have liked the idea of kicking commie butt, I still do. I wasn't so enthusiastic about the draft. Army life sounded far too much like an agonizingly prolonged gym class, group showers, towel snapping, bellowing coaches but with guns. Whenever I thought of the prospect my heart sank. I soured on the war sometime during myself more years in high school late in 1966 early in 1967. My mother used to subscribe to US news in world report than a serious publication, it featured interviews with Pentagon and state department that which I read at the beginning of the escalation Johnson administration officials although not Johnson himself to his credit predicted a short war not more than a year. Two years later, they stopped making predictions now I knew even less about military strategy than I know now. But I knew enough about my fellow human beings to that think these guys are either lying or they are incompetent. From then on I wanted nothing to do with their project. I could never quite persuade myself that I was a pacifist although had to I being able to I might had been able to avoid the draft. The law permitted exemptions based on what was called CO status which said for Conscientious Objector. I read the literature defining a Conscientious Objector handed to me at my request by the stern eyed matron I found that the Red Bank New Jersey draft board office, a lady who had sized up my kind before. Retreating to the safety of my room at home I read the pamphlet and felt all the considerable pull of fear and self interest to one way and much to my regret all the pull of self knowledge in the other. That pull of fear and self interest taught me something, it taught me how easy it is to confuse those feelings with conscience. I have no longer surprised much less indignant when I see others doing the same thing but I do notice that in them and in myself. You might say that moment that I laid the ground work for life studying politics, so I owed that the Vietnam War although I supposed there might be other ways to reach the same conclusion. I arrived at Kenyon College in September of 1969 Kenyon is a small liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio which is in Knox County. The county seat Mount Vernon is about five miles down the road in between is mostly horse corn. if you took Hillsdale College and put it in Jonesville you get the picture. Kenyon was quiet during the war, the most part of students spend their more time reading Chaucer than they did demonstrating against the war, truth to tell we complained more about saga food than we did about Richard Nixon then the president. The war did follow me there in a small way but in a way that I have never forgotten. I was temporarily exempt from the service because college students had what as Michael Medved explained the two S deferment which meant that you could delay entry into the military until after graduation. One day in freshman year I was coming out of Dempsey hall cafeteria after breakfast after you left Dempsey you walk through pierce hall the main dining hall which wasn't used for breakfast. Dempsey was a pedestrian little room but Pierce had a 30 foot high ceiling, wood paneling, stain glass windows. The stained glass windows depicted not the saints of the episcopal church which had founded the church in 1820's but character is in English and American literary works Canterbury tales, Macbeth, The Scarlet Letter, one of Longfellow's poem I think it was Hiawatha may be two dozen of these beautiful windows in all as I already suggested we took our poets seriously at Kenyon. On this morning I saw someone I hadn't seen before and would not see again. He was my age 18 but he is dressed in an army uniform. He was coming in as I was going out. He had that unsure look a person gets when he is in a place he is never seen before he surprised me still more when his first word to me was "Sir". I had never been called that, and would not be called that again for sometime in my life. "Sir, is this where the breakfast is served?" Turned out that he had just come back from boot camp. He had come to see his mother, she worked in the kitchen. We got to talking, being exactly the same age; and both of us having been away from home for the first time. I don't remember his name, and I remember only a few things he said. When an especially pretty girl walked by, I remember him whispering, "That's the best I have seen in all in a long time." Towards the end of our conversation, he complemented me by offering, "You know, you are the nicest long haired guy I have ever met." My hair, really wasn't any longer than it is now although was more evenly distributed. But then he said something of a different kind. I said, "I hope you won't have to go to Vietnam." No Sir, I want to go to Vietnam. I feel that I." "Why do you want to go to?" "I feel like I have had this great training; and I don't want to put it to waste." I thought he was a lot braver than I was. I also thought he might not be quite known what he was getting into. On reflection over the years, I think I may have guessed right on both of those points. I remember another thing about his conversation our conversation. He stood there with that sunlight coming through these stained glass windows and the students were walking past this. Some of the students looked side long at it. You know, their eyes were sort of looking up and down at the uniform with expressions of contempt on their faces. Now then as now, I make it my business not to be easily offended. Life runs better that way, as Satchel Paige put it, there is no sense and needlessly angering up the blood. But then and now, those students offended me. They weren't about put their lives on the line. And their mothers, they didn't work in any dam cafeteria. I haven't forgotten them either. By the end of the year, I knew I wasn't going to be in the army. In 1970, Congress in the Nixon Administration changed the conscription law going to drafted lottery system. Under that system, each of the 366 possible birth dates was placed on a piece of paper and put in a capsule. The capsules went into a drum rather like the sort that you see on a TV game show. Those whose birth dates was drawn first were up first in the draft that year and on through number 366. As it happened, they didn't mix the capsules thoroughly enough and people in the latter half of the year, were more likely to be called the people in the first half. My birth date came up, it was number 102. The draft calls that year got up around number 92 or so. The Communist Regime a couple of years later defeated their enemies in South Vietnam and they did what Communists always do to the defeated. They killed the survivors in massive numbers. This did not surprise me. Congress did I have read Marx bythen. Congress did nothing to stop this nothing to assist the South Vietnamese although they were the ones fighting the war now and not the Americans. Why? Because although the McGovern wing of the Democratic Party lost the 1972 Election in a land slide. They controlled Congress and Congress is where the money is. And so, we come to the end of my stirring tale of martial heroism and civic engagement. I spent the Vietnam War going to school. Most of your parents did the pretty much the same thing. Almost all of you have spent the Iraq War doing that. Learn as much as you can hear don't forget the ones who are making it possible. Thank you.