Letter to the Editor: Former student blasts U.S. overseas involvement article

To the editor:

The Lamron headline summarizing the Nov. 8, 2007 lectures criticizing U.S. policy, "Speakers vilify U.S. overseas involvement" (and accompanying article which barely summarized the talks' contents) was what was biased and a "one-sided message."

"Vilified" implies an unjustified attack, while what warrants deserved and unequivocal criticism is a century-plus continuing history of one-sided military interventions by the U.S. government against the right of self-determination of peoples throughout the world, e.g., in just the 20th century, 100-plus U.S. military interventions which included several multi-year military occupations by U.S. forces (e.g., in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and many more countries).

The C.I.A.-orchestrated overthrow of Arbenz's government (in Guatemala in 1954, details of which were outlined by Melville in his lecture) was not the only example of a Washington-engineered overthrow of a democratically elected government: coups against the reform-minded governments - Iran (1953), Brazil (1964), Chile (1973), etc. - which installed brutal pro-U.S. dictatorships were just the most prominent ones of those decades. Torture and killing were and are historically documented matters of the carrying out of U.S. foreign policy, not a "perceived (sic!) dark side of the United States' international involvement."

While [sophomore Brittany] Frankel et al. wrongly feel that, "U.S. foreign policy is far too complicated for one individual to understand," tens of thousands of individuals understood a simple principle quite well: Massive protests demanding "Bring the troops home! / out now!" can force Washington to stop sending GIs as cannon-fodder in unjust and unwinnable wars, which result in wounding or killing many GIs as well as millions of civilians. The prolonged Vietnam War resulted in the deaths of two to three million Indochinese plus 58,000-plus GIs; the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has already resulted in the deaths of more than a half-million Iraqis (according to Lancet, a British medical journal) plus 3,800-plus GIs. A Congressional cost estimate of $2.4 trillion being spent through 2017 shows that this war has barely started; a protest movement demanding "No blood for oil!" is starting to grow.

-Barry Schier

Former chair, SUNY Geneseo chapter of Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam