From 1965-70, AFSC helped build the antiwar coalitions that challenged U.S policy in Vietnam.  Bridging the divide between liberal faith groups and more radical antiwar resisters, we argued for a big tent and broad peace movement. Through our research and communication project NARMIC (National Action/Research on the Military Industrial Complex), we provided critical facts and analysis to help activists confront corporate war profiteers. For years, AFSC and Quakers were also at the center of the draft resistance movement.

After President Nixon announced the “end of war” in 1973, NARMIC and our staff on the ground in Vietnam revealed another story.  Automated weapons were continuing to rain terror from the skies, not only in Vietnam, but also in Cambodia and Laos. From 1973-75, we campaigned and convened stakeholders to help bring a real end to hostilities. By 1978, when few nongovernmental organizations were permitted to remain in the region, AFSC continued to work for peace and reconciliation, having earned trust on all sides.

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  • Protesters sit on the sidewalk in front of the White House while a man films.
    Despite intense Cold War politics, AFSC promoted broad antiwar coalitions that included mainline churches, student groups, labor unions, and more radical organizations.
  • Image from the cover of a report showing the faces of children.
    At the end of 1965, AFSC released this devastating report on the situation in Southeast Asia. It intensified opposition to the war and inspired us to focus even more on peace education.
  • Five people sit in a circle in a small room full of files, talking to one another.
    The researchers of NARMIC drew on many sources to expose the military industrial complex. Their slide shows and reports were widely used by churches and peace groups.
  • Black and white image of a mother holding a child in her arms, face upturned.
    NARMIC’s slide show on the automated air war revealed the military’s strategy to “give wherever possible the appearance of peace while executing war; replace the man with the machine.”
  • Two young men talk over a desk with papers on it.
    The draft brought many young men who opposed the war to AFSC for military counseling.
  • Four people stand together near a table covered with medical equipment.
    Defying a U.S. embargo, AFSC sent medical supplies to North Vietnam. Here, a staffer delivers cardiac surgery equipment to the Viet-German Friendship Hospital in Hanoi in 1969.
  • Young man speaks to a woman sitting in a chair with a prosthetic leg while another young man looks on.
    At AFSC’s Quang Ngai rehabilitation hospital in South Vietnam, patients from both sides of the conflict received treatment side-by-side
  • Woman crouching down next to a child with a prosthetic leg.
    Ingeniously designed U.S. sensors and explosives uncovered by NARMIC harmed only people, not buildings or military equipment.
  • Child squats in the grass holding a small, brown cylinder.
    This sensor, designed by Honeywell Corporation to look like animal dung, sends a signal when stepped on that allows a computer to trigger a bomb.
  • Four people use shovels to work soil in a field.
    After the war, unexploded ordnance continued to injure and kill. A flat shovel was safer than a traditional hoe for turning the earth. The Shovels for Laos project sent over 500,000 shovels to mine-laden areas.
  • Small group of people stand together on a beach near a boat floating on the nearby body of water.
    By 1978, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam were all closed to Americans. But Laotians trusted AFSC enough to let our staff remain and work in the most remote, impoverished areas.