You are hereBlogs / dlindorff's blog / Déjà Vu All Over Again: Notes on Jonathan Schell’s Review of 'Kill Anything That Moves'

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Notes on Jonathan Schell’s Review of 'Kill Anything That Moves'


By dlindorff - Posted on 26 January 2013

 

By Michael Uhl


Jonathan Schell‘s probing review of Nick Turse’s new book Kill Anything That Moves originated on Tom Dispatch and migrated to Salon, where it appeared under the head “Vietnam was even more horrific than we thought.”

Really? While Jonathan Schell is not accountable for the Homer-moment inSalon’s headline, he nonetheless seems convinced that Nick Turse’s recently published book justifies such hyperbole. Schell, of course, produced some of the finest reporting to come out of the Vietnam War, and one is inclined to take seriously his views on this subject. Yet Schell immediately undermines the authority conferred by his masterly reporting during the war’s earlier stages with the disclaimer that, “like so many reporters in Vietnam, I saw mainly one aspect of one corner of the war… not enough to serve as a basis for generalization about the conduct of the war as a whole.”

This retroactive blind spot on Schell’s part, I’d wager, did not prevent his many readers from doing precisely what he says he shied from, extrapolating from his gripping accounts the strong suspicion that the air war he witnessed so intimately in Quang Ngai Province was a template for the use of American air power and massive bombing throughout South Vietnam. It’s a tangential point, but it does set up the clouded historical perspective Schell applies throughout this review.

I cannot comment here directly on Turse’s book for the simple reason that I won’t see the copy I ordered for another week. But as I sit here midwinter in a small village on the coast of Maine, with only limited reference materials at hand, I must take issue with some of the claims Jonathan Schell makes for this book that are independent of any future evaluations on my part concerning its quality, timeliness, and scholarly contribution.

It seems that only now with the publication of Nick Turse’s book has the narrow window through which Schell says he once observed the war expanded to reveal a source that “has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture…. of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam.” What Schell had “once considered isolated atrocities were in fact the norm.”

Turse’s achievement, according to Schell, is “an accurate overall picture of what… has never been assembled… for instance, the mind-boggling estimates that during the war there were some two million civilians killed….” This is hardly news when you consider that the Vietnamese themselves have been loudly proclaiming this carnage for decades. Nonetheless Schell goes on to argue, “It has not been until the publication of Turse’s book that the everyday reality of which these atrocities were a part has been brought so fully to light.”

Perhaps the key word here is “fully.”...


For the rest of this article by MICHAEL UHL in ThisCantBeHappening, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1536


 

 

Speaking Events

2016

War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Book Tour

May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Sign up on FB.

May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event
Community United Church of Christ
5550 N. Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710
Contact Dan Yaseen 559-251-3361, danyaseen@comcast.net
Sign up on FB.

June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
Sign up on FB.

June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

June 24 Roanoke, Va.
7:30 pm @ Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke (2015 Grandin Rd SW, Roanoke, VA 24015) Contact: plowshare@plowshareva.org


Other Events Here.

 

 

 

 

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.