EDITORS NOTE: The following speech was given to a meeting of the Detroit Circle held November 21 in the McGregor Memorial Building. Dr. Pollack is a History professor at Wayne and long active in the movement protesting the war in Vietnam.
Perhaps the biggest mistake many of us make when speaking about Vietnam is that we focus only on Vietnam, and in doing so, engage in a debate with the forces supporting the Administration on their own ground. Not that a case against the war could not be made even there, for it could. But I think the time has come to enlarge the inquiry and to make a case not simply against the war, but against the structure of American society which makes that war possible in the first place. Why are we in Vietnam? Until we dig deeply into that question and explore all the ins and outs, we will be forced to remain on a superficial level and to confront the war as a single issue--and in thinking of the war as a single issue. when and if this war is resolved, then the basis for the criticism is removed. This is not as it should be. I urge you to consider that the Vietnam war, as important as it is, is only a symptom--only a symptom of the larger course American society is pursuing. And one does not accomplish very much by confronting symptoms when the underlying causes remain unhampered.
Feb 9, 2015