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April 29, 2005

Comments

Chompsky

Well-stated post! I appreciate the last link, as I've always wondered about what happened in Vietnam after the war.

KB

Tanuki said:
"The memory hole is deep and wide, and those spelunking in one of its deep corners often shout abuse and those exploring other parts of the cavern."

Tanuki should know.KB

"One band of merry miners, identifiable by their tie-dyed shirts and bald spots capping their salt-and-pepper tresses, inhabits one region of the Vietnam memory hole."

Their memories aren't in a memory hole. Their memories are real memories which were created by their having participated in the entire experience. This is the opposite of flushing things down the memory hole. Memory holes are when folks deny something, or it simply doesn't register, due to the cognitive dissonace which occurs upon encountering information which doesn't match their belif system. Most of the tie-dyed folks did not, nor do not, do this.KB

"This is the history that had been written on the placards carried in the streets, all about imperialism, dead babies, and the nefarious plans of the Pentagon in collusion with big business."

All of these things are true. And what memory hole? Those using the memory hole are the ones who deny that these things occurred.KB

"It was all The Man versus the Noble Savage."

Who were the men? Those killing the poor peasants, or the poor peasants?KB

"Some dig deeper shafts and produce actual data referring to one aspect of the carnage, atrocities, and awful blunders."

Thank you. So ,you've finally read some of the 5,000 links I've left you with all of the actual data, atrocities, etc...KB

"Others, like Robin Pulvers, in this Japan Times piece, are happy just to pick up the decrepit placards and shout the old shouts."

Perhaps because the truth isn't going to change just because some people wish for it to. You know, the folks who flushed the data, facts, etc...down the memory hole the first time around. It's good to remind people of the truth from time to time so that history is not revised by the guardians of doctrinal management.KB

Pulvers:
"The American social model is not the only one. Japanese, Koreans, Swedes, South Africans, Indians, Venezuelans . . . they have their own traditions of dealing with social and economic inequities."

Yes, they do. And some are better than others.KB

"Sometimes they do this better than the U.S. does; sometimes not."

I agree.KB

"They don't need U.S. intervention to appreciate the difference."

I agree.KB

"Thirty years ago, the U.S. strove to impose its model on Vietnam through the offices of corrupt local officials. It failed. It wasn't a mistake. It was a crime!"

Actually, I'd have to disagree on this one. They didn't fail. The U.S. accomplished pretty much what it set out to do. It destroyed three countries beyond any hopes of being able to perhaps create some sort of independent development. Even the U.S. business press was saying as early as 1965 I believe it was that the U.S. should just pull out because most of it's goals had already been accomplished. The ultimate goal of turning it into a U.S. colony, like the Philippines didn't succeed, but the secondary goal did.KB

"I was born in 1944 and the Vietnam War was the war of my generation. It is also representatives of my generation who have repeated, on a potentially more lethal scale, the very same crime in Iraq."

I agree to an extent. There are a few differences. But it really is just another war of aggression in yet another foreign land. But think positively. I'm sure that deep down those rag-head Iraqis, just like the gook-Vietnamese, in the words of the drill sergeant on 'Full Metal Jacket', are just Americans trying to get out.KB

"Will they ever apologize for the needless killing and awful destruction that they and their allies have perpetrated on the Iraqi people?"

Huh? The U.S. apologize? Now these words sound like English, but they have no cognitive meaning. U.S. apologize? For what? The U.S. has never done anything wrong in it's entire history to have to apologize for. Every good pseudo-patriot knows this without even knowing it. That's their specialty.KB

Tanuki:
"This is a grading of the geo-political topography on an epic scale."

That's an impressive way to agree with him.KB

"Earlier in the article he talks about 'selective amnesia.'"

Tanuki should be quite well aware of this since I've had to mention it hundreds of times in the past. Let's see if give gives us yet another display of it at work by denying that I've ever mentioned this.KB

"He displays this within the space of a couple paragraphs in his own article!"

Let's see what Tanuki 'thinks' he sees.KB

"Saddam Hussein's murderous, totalitarian regime was merely representing a different 'tradition of dealing with social and economic inequities'?"

Yes? And Saddam had lifted the majority of the population into the middle class despite his tendency to kill Kurds, and others whose haircuts he didn't like. With the support of the U.S. I should say.KB

"History will judge which was worse--the prospect of endless dictatorship and sanctioned slaughter or the death and destruction brought about by a war to attempt the establishment of democracy."

Wrong again. History will judge, if the actual history transcends the desired history, that the U.S. supported Saddam from his earliest days when the C.I.A. helped put him in power. He was always a dictator and worked exactly as the U.S. liked, as was even recognized by Thomad Friedman after Saddam had committed his one mistake when invading Kuwait, and being told he'd have to go.

'As the diplomatic correspondent of the New York Times,
Thomas Friedman, explained when the US backed Saddam’s crushing of the Kurds, “the best of all worlds” for Washington would be an“iron-fisted junta” ruling Iraq just as Saddam did, but with a different name, because his is now embarrassing, and since no one like that
seemed to be around, they’d have to settle with second-best, their old friend and ally the butcher of Baghdad himself.'

The U.S. had absolutely no problem with his dictatorship, nor has had much problem with supporting them throughout it's history. All over the middle east. All over Latin and south America. All over Asia. Speaking of selective memory. Tanuki has just pulled a whopper. Note the amnesia displayed in his very statement. We installed the dictator, kept him in power for years, got the U.N. to take him off the list of terrorists so that we could give him more aid, and then when he disobeys orders, which were nothing in relation to those crimes he had already been committing for years, the U.S. decides he has to go. So, the propagnda machine goes to work and manages to persuade a few folks that now that the U.S. has decided he's too big for his pants and not obedient enough, we'll be the heros by liberating the population from the man they helped create. Tanuki has either flushed these blatently open facts down the memory hole, or simply was not aware of them, though they're all over the place. In addition, those protestors were the same people fighting against the U.S. support of Saddam at the exact time he was carrying out his worst crimes. And yet this, too, gets flushed down the memory hole, and the protestors become "supporters of Saddam". Orwell! Orwell! Where art thou?KB

"There are many valid arguments against the invasion of Iraq (like Max Hastings' in yesterday's post), and history may judge it to be a tragic mistake."

Not if the history is constructed by the "right" folks.KB

"But to claim that the kind of government practiced by Hussein--or Ho Chi Minh and his supporters-- is merely a different but equally valid way of doing things is simply willful ignorance, glorying in the blackness of the memory hole."

Well, both examples you've given are nothing the same. And we wouldn't know what Ho's would have led to since it wasn't given a chance to start. It was destroyed early on. And what right does the U.S. have at all deciding what kind of systems other people may want to try? NONE! Also, it's good NOT to flush down the memory hole yet another thing which is often flushed, and that is that the vast majority of the population supported Ho.KB

"I think that conservatives--good conservatives--recognize that we are all, to some degree, in the dark."

I think that the left agrees with you. Conservatives ARE, to some degree, more I'd say, in the dark.KB

"There is no way we can know all the factors which have brought a given situation into being, and far, far, less are we able to predict the outcome of our actions."

Actually, I agree with this to an extent. But rather than attempting to reduce everything to some great impossibility of being able to know anything, I think there are a few rather predictable occurances and patterns which have happened often enough where some relatively good estimates or approximations can be surmised. We invade countries, people get killed. We support dictators, people get killed. We support dictators, we get oil and money. We invade, some businesses make a lot of money. There are many, many more things such as these which are all relatively predictable and consistant over time.KB

"Yet, as well as we are able, we have to judge and act, preferably by taking into account all the information available and doing what we can to bring about the best outcome."

And this is exactly why anyone who had the information would NOT have allowed the war to occur. Would NOT have been supporting Saddam for years when he was killing his own. And about a hundred other things which the left was correct about. And even if 50 years from now Iraq does develop more, as it should given all it's oil, I mean U.S. oil, and assuming that the facts are adequately flushed down the memory hole, the history will be able to be written to satisfy the requirement of doctrinal management. Of course, if the former Soviet Republics ever become a great power, opens up, grants folks even more freedoms, etc...Then they'll be able to give Stalin all the credit he deserves for setting the stage for this to happen. All of the places where Hitler invaded and which have since developed can give him credit as well. And, as a matter of fact, many folks probably do. I mean, I'm sure the Native Indians have all realized by now that the slaughter of there relatives was all for there good because look at everything they have now which they wouldn't have had had we not killed them all. These victims of genocide are just so unappreciative sometimes.KB

"The only thing we can be sure about is that none will be perfect."

Huh? The U.S. is perfect. Or at least it seems that way according to Tanuki. I've asked him about 6,000 times to give me some examples where the U.S. has done anything, anything at all, wrong and he has never responded. Perhaps he thinks the U.S. failed in Vietnam because we didn't kill everyone.KB

"We must be objective, but does that mean being blind, even blindly antagonistic to our own successes?"

You need to be answering this question, not asking it. Your lack of objectivity doesn't allow you to see anything but perceived successes. Whose blind to U.S. successes? Most of the good things which the U.S. has have come about because of the left. They are quite well aware of the successes because they are the ones who fought for them. They are also the ones most familiar with the negative aspects and realize that it's probably a good idea to remove them as these are the exact things which they had to overcome to create the successes which were previously mentioned. THEY ARE the objective ones. Or are at least a little closer to anything which may resemble objectivity.KB

"Has our experience in the last century of totalitarianism--both fascist and communist--taught us nothing?"

Exactly! So, why on earth is the U.S. trying to take the U.S. down a similar path? Are they really that blind to think that their system is so much better than anything that's ever existed that they have Goddess's permission to force it down other countries throats? Are they so naive and ignorant of history that they do not know this is exacly the samething every other murdering imperial power has thought throughout history? Talking about flushing, again. Geez!KB

"Has the incredible growth of political freedoms and prosperity in western nations done nothing but make us armchair cynics?"

Cynics about what?KB

"Most of the vocal critics of the Iraq War ignore or downplay Hussein's despotism."

HUH?! What the hell are you talking about? The critics of the Iraq war were the ones pointing out his crimes much earlier when you were supporting him. Remember? I just heard another flush. They were the ones supporting the anti-Saddam resistance LONG ago when he was gassing the Kurds. Remember? Another flush. The U.S. government was doing everything in it's power to keep Sadam in power. Remember? Flush. I could go on for an hour pointing out the absurdity of this Tanukiism, but what's the point? We already know where it's going to go. Flush.KB

"When they do admit it, it's usually coupled with, "But, the U.S. supported him!""

Admit what? There's nothing to admit. He did gas the Kurds with U.S. support. You can choose to pretend this wasn't the case if you like, but being a grown-up it's probably a good idea to stop pretending.KB

"However, in the context of Chinese, French, and Russian aid to Iraq, the U.S. was a small player, indeed, and even so--if one arms a murderer is one not doubly responsible for disarming him?"

Here goes the small player garbage. Sorry, but the U.S. was no small player. The U.S. comp@letely controlled Iraq and has for years. And NO the U.S. is not responsible for doing anything. Once again, I find it necessary to use an elementary school example: Just because a hitman in one area of town gets out of control of the mafia don and makes a mistake, doed the mafia don have the responsibility to kill the hitman? Perhaps you think he does. However, being that the mafia don has been supporting him for years during the time he was murdering hundreds of other folks, and being that this is an illegal interprise in the first place, I doubt that if we asked law enforcement if it was okay for the mafia don to whack his out of control hitman they would say "Yes. He's doubly your resonsibility." Is not the absurdity of your position apparent? The U.S. not only has no right, they should be held responsible as accomplices. That the propaganda can spin it to actually make the accomplices out to be the saviours is nothing short of amazing. And I'm sorry to say, but this IS the way most of the world sees this.KB

"Similarly, the arguments about Vietnam generally leave out the context of the Cold War."

No they don't. What they do leave out is that Ho, Castro, etc...all came to the U.S. first and were turned away and relectantly turned to the Soviets. Why did the U.S. turn them away? Why was communism so appealing to so many countries? Why weren't they all wanting to be like the imperialists who had taken over their countries, killed all of their relatives, exploited their resources, and...oh..I guess I just answered my own question. It could be becaus ethe model which the Soviet Union had set, spectacular development within one generation seemed appealing since they hadn't advanced an inch after having been under the care of western invaders for many years. Does it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? Here, perhaps this can shed a little light into the memory hole:

'In mid-1958 the Dulles brothers -- one of them was Secretary of State, the other the head of the CIA -- in a private conversation were deploring what they called the "communist ability to get control of mass movements, something we have no capacity to duplicate".

"Unlike us they can appeal directly to the masses", President Eisenhower complained.

Then John Foster Dulles explained the reason for this unfair advantage that they had. He said: "the poor people are the ones they appeal to and have always wanted to plunder the rich. That's the great problem of history and somehow we find it hard to sell our values, namely that the rich should plunder the poor."
That's a kind of public relations problem that no one has yet quite figured out how to overcome. And because we can't overcome it we are forced to resort to our comparative advantage in violence and terror.'

So, there you have it. Straight from the mouth of one of the most powerful persons in the U.S. government. Honesty that you rarely hear these days.KB


"Was an expansionist political system spread by Stalin and Mao Tse Tung, themselves responsible for the deaths of millions of their own citizens, to be unopposed?"

So, it gives the U.S. the right to go kill more millions? That's a good solution. The thought that we may try and appeal to the poor which Dulles thought is just to difficult? What's the problem?KB

"Let the facts speak."

That's what I'm doing. Why are you resisting? And if you keep flushing the facts, how on earth are they supposed to speak? Are they to yell from the bowels of the toilet?KB

"Pulvers says, "The wish of the Vietnamese people of virtually all political persuasions at that time was for genuine independence and social reform.""

Yes, this is true. Why was the U.S. against it? Don't flush here. Just answer the damn question.KB

Is that what they got after 1975?"

Why are you talking about the end of the war?KB

"A Wall Street Journal essay available through Common Sense and Wonder takes up the same questions as Pulvers, but comes to a very different conclusion."

Yes, we know. So, why did the U.S. invade south Vietnam in 1962 and start bombing? Did they talk about this? Why would they leave out the such a fundamental aspect of the war? Do you see what you're doing? The very quotes you're leaving are textbook examples of selective amnesia at work. You are only looking for the items which will confirm your communist domino theory and ignore evrything else, everythig else relevant.KB

Wall Street Journal:
"Those who think final defeat was inevitable and the United States could or should have done nothing more for their South Vietnamese allies are guilty of severe memory loss...."

No memory loss here.KB

"It is fashionable to reduce historical complexity to a list of 'crimes' in order to come to easy conclusions and congratulate oneself on the kind of virtue earned only by having an opinion."

Here goes yet another apologetic for crime. Yes, it was complex. Yes, it was a difficult time. Yes, blah, blah, blah, nothing but apologetics. Fact: The French stole the land for exploitation. Fact: The people didn't like it. Fact:The people wanted to kick out the assholes. Fact: They aske dthe U.S. for help. Fact: The U.S. said "Sorry, we don't help poor third-world peasants. We only side with the strong cowards. Fact:The freedom fighters had to resort to the Soviets for assistance AFTER approaching the U.S. Fact: The U.S. invaded in 1962 and began bombing. Fact:The U.S. killed hundreds of thousands of poor people. Fact:The U.S. helped to destroy the country to which it has still not recob\vered and which folks are still being killed by landmines which the U.S. even refuses to give details of how do defuse them to those folks trying to remove them because the technology is secret. There are about a thousand more FACTS I could mention as well, but...what's that I hear? Flush!KB

"In Vietnam, easy conclusions are the hardest things to make for anyone with any kind of intellectual integrity."

No they're not. They're the hardest things to make for those who practice selective amnesia. The conclusions are quite easy. Trying to present them after the facts as somehow being just another complexity of the time is as gross of an aologetic as they come. "Intellectual integrity" is only hard for those who refuse to face the facts and acknowledge the truth of the matter.KB

"There are plenty of crimes to go around."

Yes, but your crimes are your crimes. You should worry about your crimes before you start preaching to others about theirs. It's like a murderer lecturing another murderer on the evil of his ways, and telling him he shouldn't be doing these things, only to turn around and shoot someone in the head in the name of freedom.KB

"R. J. Rummel, who (in his on-line book Statistics of Democide) presents an objective analysis here, estimates how many were killed by Hanoi in the post-war era alone:"

Nowhere near as many as the U.S. killed before 1965. Why are you starting your history at the convenient end?KB

"Finally, I can calculate the overall democide of Vietnam in the post-Vietnam War period (lines 762 to 764). This amounts to 346,000 to 2,438,000 Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, probably about 1,040,000."

So? What's this supposed to prove? Does his demo-theory take into these considerations which are easily pointed out my just a plain old blogger: War, Democide, and Liberventionism
http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/007054.html
Also, I looked at a page of his and some nice charts showing the numbers of his choosing, but I didn't see a list of any U.S. killings. Can this be possible? Flush!KB

"But critics like Pulvers are quite happy with their own brand of 'selective amnesia,' and curse the U.S. rather than light a candle."

They curse the U.S. because they're honest. They look at the root causes of the wars, not just the effects. They wish to try and prevent the smae thigs from happening in the future, not perpetuate them by saying that war is natural, or by ignoring the causes. This is not amnesia. This is honesty. Amnesia is for those who do not wish to look at the negative aspects as well as the good. Ignoring the negatives is actually a slap in the face to those who REALLY care about their country.KB

"But hey, it's a sixties thing."

Yes, truth was finally given a boost in the 60's. And from that time on things have been improving at an alarming rate.KB

"As the old joke goes (sort of), if you can remember the political realities of the sixties, you weren't really there."

Well, then there weren't very many people of the left there then. I guess they just thought they were. Fortunately, there were a few there at the time who wrote extensively about this period. They weren't taking drugs. They had more principles and bravery than the average folk. They took chances on making a moral stand when it wasn't popular to do so. And eventually they saved thousands of more lives which no doubt would have been killed had the U.S. kept up the aggression.KB

KB

Chompsky said:
"I appreciate the last link, as I've always wondered about what happened in Vietnam after the war."

Listen Chompsky, I'd be a little hesitant to automatically assume that what Tanuki writes about what happened before, during, or after the war is true. What should be noticed and which is more important than what happened after the war, was what happened before and during the war. In other words, it's probably a much better idea to look at the causes rather than the effects. A good doctor doesn't look at a pair of bad lungs only to assume that they were made this way. He wants to know what caused them to become bad. By leaving out the precipitating factors, such as living under colonial occupation, etc... which lead countries to follow revolutionary ideals, one simply isn't giving an accurate prognosis, and thus will sure be unable to give any sort of diagnosis. Does Tanuki mention the U.S. invasion of South Vietnam in 1962? The Soviets have the honesty to admit that they invaded Afghanistan in similar fashion. Anyway, do a little research for yourself. Tanuki's 'selective amnesia' often leaves out such facts, especially if they may implicate his beloved, perfect, has never done anything wrong since the beginning of time, and is an easy place to get a gun, U.S.KB

KB

At least the Internatioal Hearld Tribune has the honesty to recognize that it wasn't just communism attempting to take over, but a desire for them to be in control of their own country. I slight oversite for those who actually swallowed U.S. propaganda:

"Americans increasingly questioned and opposed the conflict, which eventually claimed 58,193 American lives. But North Vietnam lost more than 1.1 million soldiers and two million civilians - in addition to two million civilians lost in the south - and kept fighting. It was not so much out of a belief in communism, many Vietnamese say now, but out of a primal urge to protect what was theirs."

As the more astute observers, such as Chomsky, who have always been anti-totalitarian communist, were saying from the beginning. I really just can't believe how long it takes some to catch up.KB

And just to remind you that the war is still not over in many ways:

"Life since the war has been mixed for Xiem and her family. Her brother - the one born underground - was out playing with a friend when he was 15 when they found some of the unexploded ordinance that still litters this part of Vietnam. It exploded, killing the friend instantly, and taking off Xiem's brother's toe."

So, if we're honest, we would say that the U.S. is still at war with Vietnam.KB

"Her brother recovered, and is now a fisherman, doing what his father and his grandfather did before the war. Xiem herself runs a little outdoor stall, selling Coca-Cola and Wrigley's gum to tourists, including American veterans who come to see the tunnels. She said she bears them no hard feelings, but wishes they were doing more to help the area they once bombed so thoroughly."

Now that kid has my respect. Being the victim of an agressor and still being able to forgive them. Wonder what branch of Christianity he got this ability to forgive from? It sure as hell wasn't the "A toe for a toe" school.KB

In all fairness, I should mention that there are some vets, the moral ones who realize that what they were involved in was mass murder(the ones some say suffer from the dreaded "Vietnam Syndrome"), unlike the weak pseudo-patriotic ones who still try and justify the crimes they were caught up in as somehow noble, who are attempting to make ammends.KB

"A few kilometers south, on the other side of the Ben Hai, American veterans with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund - the same group that built the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington - are indeed working. They are helping to remove an estimated 300,000 tons of unexploded ordinance left over from the war."

And I don't recall Tanuki or Rummel saying anything about these murders since the end of the war:

"That ordinance, throughout Vietnam, is reported to have killed as many as 35,000 people since the war ended - one-third of them children."

Of course I'm sure that not all of the unexploded ordinace was U.S., but this hardly makes any difference at all. If the U.S. wasn't invading, there would be no reason for it to have been put down in the first place. It's nice to be able to sweep uncomfortable facts under the rug whenever you wish.KB

And while some South Vietnamese were a little more welcoming of the U.S. troops, even though they had been invaded first, not all people were happy to see the U.S. back.KB

'Northern Vietnamese veterans are a little more reserved when they speak about their former American opponents.' "In the wartime, most of our cities, villages, bridges and construction were destroyed," said Nguyen Huu Dang, who fought in Quang Tri. The war has cost our country very much, in terms of people and in terms of economy and infrastructure."

So, as I mentioned earlier, the U.S. HAD won the war long before the war had supposedly came to an end. It had already ruined most of the country beyond repair which then uses the lack of developmet as somehow a sign of the weakness of the system. It's odd that this development DID take place in the Soviet Union, but then again they hadn't been blown into the stone age.KB

"But now," he continued, "our country has official relations with the United States, and the trade relationship is better and better. And we would like to close the past and advance to the future."

Once again, the victim forgives the criminal. These people are amazing. I just dread the day when the U.S. starts to claim Vietnam as their's, only to have an independence movement rise up and war start all over again. Of course, it's good to remember now, that the Vietnamese wanting their independence from the U.S. will be considered terrorists.KB

Chompsky

KB: "Listen Chompsky, I'd be a little hesitant to automatically assume that what Tanuki writes about what happened before, during, or after the war is true."

I'm not assuming that. I'm just saying I appreciate a link to info and/or analysis on post-war Vietnam, because I don't know much about the subject, and would like to know more about it.

I think I understand your point about the need to study the causes and not only the effects (post-war Vietnam), but I assume you don't think we can just write off what the communists did to its people after the war?

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