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View Diary: In the Washington Times: a call to investigate, possibly to prosecute (271 comments)

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  •  Contradiction and Paradox Aplenty (1+ / 0-)
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    Across this nation, citizens call for accountability and the indictment of the crooks and thugs who have robbed us blind and plundered the planet with a rapacious appetite for murder and mayhem.  But how honest are these sentiments?  How willingly would we apply the standards of justice to ourselves, who so often have acceded to the policies of pillage and carnage in the name of patriotism?

    Our new President saluted the fallen heroes of Khe Sanh, who were soldiers and citizens who deserve our compassion, but who were also soldiers of the empire that practiced murder and mayhem in our name.  The same imperial loggerheads unfold around the planet tonight.

    Barack Obama, somehow without immolation and with some measure of miraculous grace, has to 'lead' this ship of state.  To what end?  Until the citizens are willing to see that, for all of his vicious hypocrisy and greedy opportunism, George Bush was practicing the American creed of cupidity and capitalism, and insodoing was pursuing what many of us hold most sacred--that is to say the main chance and the easy killing, Barack Obama can only lead into harbors in which we've dropped anchor before.

    'What goes around comes around' is apt advice, no matter how unwelcome.  If the United States of America cannot manage a social democratic turn, miraculous even to consider, then the plutocrats will have their way yet with Barack-the-Magnificent.  And their agenda does not include the indictment of their blessed fearless leader, the recently departed 43rd President of their cabal of capital and divide and conquer.

    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

    by SERMCAP on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 07:46:31 PM PST

    •  So everyone that fought in Vietnam (1+ / 0-)
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      was a murderer?  I think not.  It seems to me that you oversimplify to the point of slander.

      •  Why misrepresent? (0+ / 0-)

        If it's willful, then you become a liar.  If it is mere ignorance, a simple question would suffice.  Do you know the definition of homicide?  It is the taking of a human life, with intent, by another human being.  

        Yes, combat soldiers commit homicide.  But justification and excuse are the name of the game in war--self-defense, defense of others, etc.  The fact that soldiers have no choice but to kill is hardly the issue; it is not an issue that I even considered, since its consideration is at best a non-violence to which I do not subscribe, and at worst is mere childishness and an unwillingness to face life.

        The issue that I raised, and that your churlish and accusatory response failed utterly to address, is that the armed forces of the United States of America, off and on since our beginning as a nation, and repeatedly since at least the ending of the Korean conflict, have been exclusively an army of empire, the forces of plutocracy and oppression.  

        You may disagree with that; can you provide evidence that our forces have served otherwise since 1953?  For I can back up what I am saying with copious data and cogent argument.  If we want a better world, calling for the indictment of a crafty--or moronic, you decide--'decider in chief,' is not the way to go.  The way to go is to be honest with ourselves that we have gotten what we deserved and stand up for true transformation, a turn toward social justice, social equality, and social democracy, in order to salvage, not just our fortunes and our souls, but also the potential for a future for the children who are rising in the dust of our irresponsibility and unwillingness to face reality.

        I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

        by SERMCAP on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 08:05:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are wrong about the US use of armed force (0+ / 0-)

          You can disagree with the reason for fighting in Vietnam, but that war was hardly a war of empire.  American politicians (John Foster Dulles for instance) were interested in backing up the French prior to US involvement in Vietnam.  Surely that had nothing to do with Empire because the French would still have been there if our joint forces had prevailed.

          These guys truly believed in the South East Asia Domino Theory.  We now know that theory was incorrect but that is somewhat in hindsight.  Call those politicians what you will, but a lot of them were worried about the Soviet Union taking over the world and THAT was what our military was fighting against in many places.

          WRT Vietnam there was also SEATO which obligated us to help South Vietnam if we could.  Most (if not all)of SEATO fought in Vietnam of which we were one of the countries.  

          Saying that we have gotten what we deserved seems just a touch judgemental.  That is not to say that there is cause and effect in this world.

          •  History lessons are tough to do in comments. (0+ / 0-)

            However, if you're serious about learning, anything is possible.  Yes, disagreements are inevitable on occasion.  Yes, to judge the past by the standards of the present is ahistorical and an error in the presentation of the annals of the past.  And yes, many politicos and bureaucrats "truly believed in the...Domino Theory."  However, such views represent only one perspective, and analytically, they are not credible as history.

            In short, to assert that fears of communism provide a comprehensive explanation for the Vietnam war is naive and simplistic, though, admittedly, plenty of apologists for empire continue to promulgate such a view.  One big problem with such an assessment is that it only looks at the talk, and fails to account for political and economic relations and interests that have little or nothing to do with Russia or China.

            That said, let's just do a little tour of the work of one of the folks whom you mention: John Foster Dulles.  As a partner at Sullivan and Cromwell, as an adviser to presidents, as a mover and shaker behind the Central Intelligence Act, and as Secretary of State, his entire career supported the protection of corporate wealth and the embodiment of that protection in the administrative apparatus--that is to say the military, the intelligence agencies, and the Department of State--of the United States of America.  

            After moving more or less full time into the upper reaches of the governing establishment, he did indeed espouse a virulent anti-communism as his primary perspective.  But this was inseparable from his earlier, much more pragmatic commitments to United Fruit, to Citibank, and other corporate interests in Latin America, where he did a lot of his legal work, destroying unions, making sure the fix was in against any reform-politician, etc.  These legal moves are matters of fact, and to say that they stemmed from a fear of Russian dominance is nonsensical.  In fact, a reasonable person would have a very difficult time accepting that any rational belief in Soviet takeover was real on the part of upper level government officials.  At best, a very real fear of social democracy existed, as witness the destruction of elected regimes in Iran and elsewhere at Dulles' behest.

            You can point to words about communist aggression; I can provide reams of documentation about backing the moneybag interests that he worked for as a high priced corporate attorney.  If you think that makes Vietnam a conflict that resulted from a fear of commie takeover, I'd have to say that the evidence in support of your position is rhetorical and ideological.  That same evidence fits with a more analytical and material position, that a defense of a new form of empire was at the root of the war, after the old empire failed to hold its ground.  For more reading about this, you might check out The Great Heroin Coup, which documents the U.S. involvement with the French as an imperial venture.

            Among copious other sources, I'd also look at the work of Daniel Ellsberg for the CIA; The Pentagon Papers amply document that the 'red scare' was just one tactic to accomplish sacrosanct political goals opposing any independent Vietnam.  You can try to go down the 'lions and tigers and reds, oh my!' road, but a lot of people won't buy it.  'It just don't add up, son,' as my grandpa used to say.

            So, in this context, of willful ignorance and a choice to believe naive analysis, I repeat, "we are getting what we deserve."  Moreover, our foreign policy will continue to be the source of carnage and mayhem so long as we fail to acknowledge this past and present commitment to imperial hegemony.  

            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

            by SERMCAP on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 05:52:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Facts must be hard to do in comments too (0+ / 0-)

              I guess.  Coming across like a condscending ass doesn't seem quite so difficult, though.

              You have done nothing to refute my point that many of our politicians that supported the Vietnam war wanted to go to war to help France.  That would have left Vietnam part of THEIR empire.  Not ours.

              You admit that many politicians in this country were concerned about communism.  The Soviet Union's actions in Eastern Europe were truly appalling and that surely got people's attention.  So feel free to pooh-pooh the Red Scare, but a lot of people truly were concerned and it did drive a number of policy positions.  

              You also fail to address the point that a large number of nations were involved in Vietnam and not just us.  Are you going to argue that they were all bought and paid for by the US?  I would say that at least the ROK troops took a dimmer and more serious look at the communist threat than you seem to.

              You throw out United Fruit and you will notice that I said nothing about Central America or South America where I would for the most part agree with you.  My point was specifically VIETNAM.

              •  "Condescending ass" versus ignoramus... (0+ / 0-)

                ...you decide.  One good thing comes of this; I'll do a diary on this little riff.  If you're this clueless, and insistent in clinging to ignorance like an infant to its mother's breast, then perhaps a more generalized deficiency is also present among the audience.

                As to the substance, thin as it is, of your response, here we go.  

                 many of our politicians that supported the Vietnam war wanted to go to war to help France.  That would have left Vietnam part of THEIR empire.  Not ours.

                On the surface, I suppose, a point like this has some validity.  Of course, it assumes that geopolitics is essentially like a game of Risk--a game that you probably enjoy, right?--and it completely ignores documentary, testimentary, and eyewitness evidence that suggest other predominant factors of self interest, but hey, who knows?  Maybe your bald assertion can stand against Chapters Two and Four of the aforementioned Pentagon Papers--passim, as the saying goes for those who care to examine the case.  And again, supporting--half-heartedly and with our own interests and agenda, but still, somewhat--the French was a part of the story, albeit just a part.  

                Perhaps you're unaware of Ho Chi Minh's repeated attempts to appeal to the U.S.  He wrote Truman in 1946,

                 I wish to invite attention of your Excellency for strictly humanitarian reasons to following matter.  Two million Vietnamese died of starvation during winter of 1944 and spring 1945 because of starvation policy of French... .Unless great world powers and international relief organizations bring us immediate assistance, we face imminent catastrophe.

                As Howard Zinn points out in his A People's History of the United States, "Truman never responded."  

                But the U.S., financing 80% of the war effort in Indochina, beginning well before the formal inauguration of the Cold War in Autumn, 1946, and years before we "lost China," pursued such a 'selfless' policy not because our leaders were morons who just thought the French Foreign Legion romantic, but because they foresaw markets, labor, resources, and key commodities in the region that they wanted for our bankers and manufacturing companies and fuel outfits.  To suggest that we were fighting for French imperial interests under these circumstances and in this fashion is, at best, hilarious nonsense.

                But wait, there's more.
                  The most important region in the French empire was that of Indochina, which supplied sources of tin and rubber to the allied war effort.  Vietnam, the largest, most populous part of Indochina, was already seething with nationalist sentiment, and the leaders of the Vietnamese independence movement seized on the Atlantic Charter to press their demands for self-determination.  Yet the Roosevelt administration turned a deaf ear to those appeals. In late 1942, FDR assured the French that "it is thoroughly understood that French sovereignty will be reestablished as soon as possible... .
                  Even before the... war, some business leaders described their ultimate goals in blunt terms.  Speaking to the Investment Bankers Association of New York in 1940, Virgil Jordan, president of the National Industrial Conference Board, used these words: "Whatever the outcome of the war, America has embarked on a career of imperialism, both in her world affairs and in every other aspect of her life."  Carrying out "our imperial responsibilities"...meant advocacy of an American empire, based on dominance of the global economy, continu(ing)after the war.

                Do you notice there, that our leaders had more than just a tad of self interest, imperial purpose, that sort of thing, in being so magnanimous with the French while we let the Vietnamese starve?  And this was largely occurring while our alliance with the Soviets was in high gear--we also wanted to sell them shit, after all.  The quote above is from Peter Irons most excellent monograph, War Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution.
                 You seriously ought to study this matter some, before you try to make a serious argument, but hey, that's just my advice.

                Of course, you also throw up the commie bugaboo.  Let me explain something about chronology.  The future cannot cause the past.  The plans for empire date from at least--and many people would, like Irons, would move this back a couple of decades or more--the late 1930's.  You see 'the commie menace'--which never really existed in any substantial form, except to our imperial presence, but hey, we're all liberals here, right?--didn't exist when we got all of this started.  That means, in case you're interested, that you have to account for this matter of empire, in addition to talking about the evils of communism.

                You also fail to address the point that a large number of nations were involved in Vietnam and not just us.

                You're joking right?  Not just that we supplied over 98% of the combat troops, endured the same proportion of casualties and expense, but just, like, it was our deal.  You don't get that?  It's like calling Operation Iraqi Liberation--oh, excuse me, I mean OIF, they changed the name for a less damning acronym--a 'multinational effort.  Please.

                You note, charitably, that you do oppose imperialism in Latin America "for the most part."  Unfortunately, it's the same empire, led by the same folks, for the same purposes.  Thanks all the same.

                I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                by SERMCAP on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 02:57:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Intellectual Integrity is NOT your strongpoint (1+ / 0-)
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                  And yet you discount my most important points.  Weak.  You are so completely focused on the possible economic benefits of fighting in Vietnam that you completely ignore that the threat of the Soviet Union was real.  

                  You see 'the commie menace'--which never really existed in any substantial form,

                  Take a little time out of hating the US to look at what was really going on.  You have this prism that you look back in time with where you discount EVERY possible defensive reason for going to Vietnam and emphasis every possible economic reason.  It is disingenuous or LYING.

                  The Soviet Union did take over the Eastern Block countries.  The Soviet Union really did blockade Berlin forcing the Berlin Airlift.  Kruschev really did bang his shoe on a table yelling "We will bury you".  The Cuban Missile Crisis really did happen.  The Korean War really did happen.  These are not figments of my imagination even though you write all of this off as the "commie bugaboo". As I started out, intellectual integrity is NOT your strongpoint.

                  •  You offer nothing of substance about my primary.. (0+ / 0-)

                    ...points, you accuse me of things which are calumny, since I am an insufferable patriot, and you offer nothing except your assertions about Southeast Asia and then use a few hackneyed examples of 'evil Stalinists' to attack me.  Of course, the 'evil Stalinists' involved much more complicated issues than you acknowledge, and they, in any event are completely divorced from Southeast Asia.  

                    The Berlin blockade justified slaughtering a million IndoChinese, and somehow, magically, caused us to plan imperial domination of the region two decades before it happened.

                    In short you are presumptuous, your arguments consist of non-sequiturs and red-herrings, and, apparently, you have no interest in learning anything about your ignorance.  On the other hand, I revel in learning, so I thank you for your correction below, which supports my POV anyhow, and I can use all of the continued conversation that you present, since it merely sharpens my points to anyone who is objective, as opposed to a nationalistic, anti-communist, imperialist, which pretty much precludes anything akin to objectivity, more's the pity.

                    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                    by SERMCAP on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:51:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Simply pointing out that there are two (1+ / 0-)
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                      sides to the story.  You come across like one of the people that thinks that the Gazans have no reason whatsoever to fight the Israelis which then leads to the obvious conclusion that the Gazans are simply evil.  

                      The Stalinists / Soviet Union were for the most part divorced from Southeast Asia.  I would contend that there were Russian advisers there.  The Vietnamese were certainly using Russian arms even if the supply came through China. In hindsight, you can say that Vietnam wasn't a threat to Southeast Asian stability, but at the time, that may not have been obvious.  You also have no idea what the effect on the regimes in Southeast Asia would have been if we hadn't been involved.  You can speculate all you want, but we do know what happened.  If we had done nothing, would Thailand and Malaysia have become communist (against their will I might add)?  You don't know.

                      •  Projection is the most primitive form... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...of coping strategy.  So that must be why you say this:

                          You come across like one of the people that thinks that the Gazans have no reason whatsoever to fight the Israelis which then leads to the obvious conclusion that the Gazans are simply evil.

                        You're describing yourself here.  Set this all aside, whenever you're finished trying to squirm your way out of the hole you keep digging deeper.  Then, after a month or two, go back and reread it.  My guess is, with your obvious intelligence, you'll be able to see that you were looking in the mirror when you wrote those lines.  They're sure as shit not about me.

                        The presence or absence of the Russians in Southeast Asia has nothing to do with my argument, except inasmuch as it supports the fact of the imperial nature of the venture, by both France and the U.S., long before the Cold War was official, and continuing afterwards, primarily guided and financed, and ultimately fought, by the USA.

                        We were the "threat to S.E. Asia's stability."  The murder of millions at our hands and with our weapons at the hands of others, the rise of Pol Pot, a generation of murder and mayhem in the behest of empire, those are not the responsibility of any Stalinist or Russian anywhere.  These evil and self-serving results, about which you continue to advance self-righteous notions of justification, were the responsibility of U.S., and to an extent French and other European, policy makers and leaders.

                        I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                        by SERMCAP on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 10:31:22 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm not the guy (0+ / 0-)

                          that looks at 184,000 dead South Vietnamese soldiers and sees that as proof of US imperialism!

                          The murder of millions at our hands and with our weapons at the hands of others, the rise of Pol Pot, a generation of murder and mayhem in the behest of empire, those are not the responsibility of any Stalinist or Russian anywhere.  These evil and self-serving results

                          Stop.  You again look with hindsight and decide that this was a foregone conclusion going into things as though it was the plan.  Sure our involvement in Vietnam didn't turn out well but that is the nature of wars.  Some go well some don't.  I guess not everyone is omnipotent and knows the results going in.  

                •  Wrong on number of casualties too (0+ / 0-)

                  The greatest number of fatalities suffered by allied forces in Vietnam was the South Vietnamese Army at around 185,000.

                  •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

                    Thanks for this, which is another point in relation to the essentially imperial nature of the process.

                    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                    by SERMCAP on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:44:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
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                      Your logic escapes me here.  It seems to me that South Vietnam didn't want to be communist.  At the time of the separtion of Vietnam into North and South, the North Vietnamese murdered some 8,000 "class enemies" (shades of the Khmer Rouge?) and threw a large number of other people into reeducation camps.  These were not good people any way you slice it and a good portion of the country didn't want any part of it.

                      Diem was not a great leader and that is putting it mildly, but having a lack of qualified leaders is something of a hallmark of countries throwing off imperial rule (France, not us) so this is unsurprising.

        •  And yes I know the meaning of homicide (0+ / 0-)

          It was you that used the word murder and mayhem with respect to the soldiers that fought at Khe Sanh.  Now you will claim that you were speaking circumspectly with the charge leveled at the US as a whole and not those soldiers in particular, but as you pointed out soldiers commit homicide, not murder.

          •  Here's what I wrote. (0+ / 0-)

            Our new President saluted the fallen heroes of Khe Sanh, who were soldiers and citizens who deserve our compassion, but who were also soldiers of the empire that practiced murder and mayhem in our name.

            Some of them, such as Lieutenant William Calley, were guilty of war crimes.  All of them who saw combat participated in 'murder and mayhem.'  That's what war is.  

            The question is not 'circumspection' but analysis.  Were all members of the Wehrmacht guilty of war crimes?  To assert such would be absurd; but unless one wants to advance a case that the nazi cause was a justifiable engagement of war powers, they were participants in unjust 'murder and mayhem' in the name of Germany and its people.  A precise analogy is possible with the involvement of the United States in Southeast Asia.  

            That is not to say that the war was a fascist enterprise, though some might argue that.  But it was an imperial enterprise, about controlling markets, resources, real estate, and trade.  And, arguably, the United States' actions there were unjust: just ask the people of the world; hell, a lot of Americans agree with me.  As such, the soldiers there, though caught between a rock and a hard place, were doing the work of murder and mayhem in the name of freedom and democracy while actually representing the interests of the rich, the military, corporate contractors, and so on.

            Finally, affirmative; "soldiers commit homicide," which is synonymous with murder(check your Black's if you're in doubt), but are not criminally culpable.  The policy was culpable, however, whatever the blamelessness of the GI's on the ground.  Until Americans recognize this, our future will be a brutal one, at the best.

            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

            by SERMCAP on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 06:05:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong on homicide definition (0+ / 0-)

              In broad strokes there are only four ways to die:  natural causes, accident, suicide, homicide.

              Yes our soldiers committed homicide.  Some were certiainly murderers, but murder is a subset of homicide.  You make it sound like all homicides are murder which is simply untrue.  An execution by a state is "state directed homicide" which if a person was found guilty of a capital crime is certainly not murder.

              •  I make it sound like what? (0+ / 0-)

                Our government promulgated a policy of murder and mayhem in Southeast Asia for twenty odd years.  As I pointed out to you, The Pentagon Papers and copious other sources document this homicidal choice by four United States presidential administrations.  I don't "make it sound like anything" other than what I said.

                You took offense either for your own reasons, or because you don't know how to read.  Soldiers, inasmuch as they are combat forces, always participate in murder and mayhem.  The issue is whether the conflict is justifiable.  In the case of Vietnam, the war was imperial in nature, for which contention  I have provided documentation and will provide more.

                Most American soldiers were not criminals; they were tragic victims of a vicious and greedy imperial holocaust.  I never called them murderers.  That was your assertion, as I pointed out either a lie or ignorance.  Which one?  Inquiring minds want to know.  

                Despite being innocent for the most part of felonies or crimes against humanity, combat forces and other U.S. agents did participate in the government's criminal enterprise, and it was murder and mayhem.  BTW, here is the entry from the People's Law Dictionary.
                 

                homicide
                n. the killing of a human being due to the act or omission of another. Included among homicides are murder and manslaughter, but not all homicides are a crime, particularly when there is a lack of criminal intent. Non-criminal homicides include killing in self-defense, a misadventure like a hunting accident or automobile wreck without a violation of law like reckless driving, or legal (government) execution. Suicide is a homicide, but in most cases there is no one to prosecute if the suicide is successful. Assisting or attempting suicide can be a crime.

                I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                by SERMCAP on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 02:00:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Soldiers don't murder (0+ / 0-)

                  if they are acting within the rules of war.  It is called homicide or killing.  Murder is a legal term which does not apply to lawful killing as part of a war.  

                  I don't remotely buy that the ENTIRE purpose of the war in Vietnam was imperial.  That is to say that if a few people might have thought they could make a buck that does not invalidate the entire effort or make every soldier a murderer.  That is your judgement which remains unproven at best.

                  The people that I knew that fought in Vietnam all went because they thought there were fighting against the advances Soviet Union.  You will of course dismiss all of these people as fools or dupes to which again I will say just makes you a condescending ass.

                  •  Ahhhh! (0+ / 0-)

                    Since I explicitly, at four different points at minimum, noted that one purpose of conducting the war was anti-communism, your all CAPS on "entire" is more than a tad humorous.

                    And now you acknowledge, along with boatloads of professional historians, and boatloads and boatloads of documentary evidence and testimony, that maybe just a little bit of profiteering and imperial pretension may have been in play.

                    Congratulations.  You've made a step toward reason.  As to my alleged tendency to "dismiss...as fools or dupes" honorable soldiers, you should look in the mirron when you are being slanderous, since you're the only one guilty of such as you describe here.  I've been clear from the get go, over and over and over and over and over, and with complete sincerity and honesty, honoring  the "tragic warriors" of Vietnam.

                    You're the one looking for someone to blame, and with the Commies having left the field, you've chosen me.  Honestly, I feel honored.

                    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                    by SERMCAP on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 08:58:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Calling it the "Communist Bugaboo" (0+ / 0-)

                      and otherwise pooh-poohing any threat from the Soviet Union substantially undermines your statement that you

                      noted that one purpose of conducting the war was anti-communism

                      •  You must really be stodgy. (0+ / 0-)

                        Or something.  I'm not anti-communist.  I recognize that you, and most other Americans--bless their naive, ignorant hearts--are of course reflexive 'red-baiters.' It no more undermines my analysis than 'pooh-poohing any threat from' miscegenation undermines the recognition that White Supremacy is a powerful force throughout American history.

                        Really, dude.  You should read this carefully.  Your analytical screws are loose, and clearly you're clever enough to tighten them up a bit.  Please.

                        I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                        by SERMCAP on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 10:20:37 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No you are not anti-communist. (0+ / 0-)

                          This comes across well.  I suppose not much for defense either except when it comes to typing away on the keyboard.

                          If it had been up to you, Berlin would have been taken over by the Soviet Union, Korea would have been reunited - all communist, missiles would still be sitting in Cuba, and who knows the fate of Thailand and Malaysia.  I'm hardly a "red-baiter".  Suit yourself if such stereotypes help your thought processes.  I simply think that certain threats need to be defended against.  Nothing more.  That they keep coming from the same set of countries does suggest something of a pattern, yes?

                          Your analytical screws are loose, and clearly you're clever enough to tighten them up a bit.

                           

                          You truly make me laugh.  Again, You are the guy that looks at 184,000 dead South Vietnamese soldiers and decides that is proof of American Imperialism.  To me that looks a lot like men that didn't want to live under the communist system.

                          •  Whoa!! (0+ / 0-)

                            One thing is for certain.  I would have supported democratic processes and opposed imperialistic processes.  That you refuse to acknowledge that you support murder and mayhem in the guise of protecting against commies is difficult to stomach, but you are of course entitled to that opinion.  

                            You keep introducing non-sequiturs to defend yourself.  This is what I meant by 'tightening up.'  You keep returning to the nonsensical red-herrings.  I've said nothing about the complexities of post-war Europe, so your accusations in that regard, at best, are off base and a little absurd.

                            In regard to Korea, where both my dad and my uncle were stationed during the early '50's, you may know as much as I do about the war--it is a conflict that I have studied quite a bit, for various reasons--but you certainly don't show that by your simplistic generalizations.  And the analogy with Vietnam is worse than weak; it is non-existent, vacuous and silly.

                            You've either not studies the things about which you speak, comfortable in your fantasy world of petty bourgeois American presumptuousness, or you are withholding any evidence and analysis which might show your knowledge and ability.  

                            The only line that you repeat is that the ARVN incurred many casualties, so this means that it can't be an imperial war.  What in the world would justify that reasoning?  Mercenaries and thugs are as old as history; and plenty of people in a dog-fight back different dogs.  So what?  That has as much to do with the question of imperialism as saying that lots of gamblers' losing money on football is proof that the bookie's vigorish is not driving the system.  

                            You prefer your little fantasies to analysis apparently.  Bon chance; keep those cards and letters coming, as I appreciate the chance to answer the absurd, of which so much is in evidence these days.

                            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                            by SERMCAP on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 05:09:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I see little proof in anything you write (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you even know the meaning of "non sequitor"?  Everything that I have presented has supported my ONE position which is that much of the fighting (to include Vietnam) was geared toward defending the US.

                            Were Korea and Vietnam identical.  Nope and considering I never made that point, it doesn't seem salient to this conversation.  Read closer.  We did just complete the fighting in Korea at the time Vietnam was ratcheting up so that certainly informed out thinking there, yes?

                            I've said nothing about the complexities of post-war Europe, so your accusations in that regard, at best, are off base and a little absurd.

                            My point is that the complexities if you will in post-war Europe also informed our decisions to fight in Vietnam AT LEAST as much as any desire for an empire.  

                            The only line that you repeat is that the ARVN incurred many casualties, so this means that it can't be an imperial war.

                            Perhaps it's just the only line that you actually read.  I have pointed out numerous places all over the planet where we fought the Soviet Union or the Chinese.  Vietnam was simply one more.  

                            You seem very smug in what you have put forth, but you haven't in the slightest even dented my hypothesis.  All you can do is provide a variety of materials indicating that we might have had imperial designs in Vietnam.  That doesn't disprove in the least my contention that our actions in Vietnam were primarily geared toward defense against the threat of Communist take-over and simply a continuation of the multitudinous other battles that we fought against each other.

                            Coming from a science background, I'm guessing I probably have a little more rigorous definition of what constitutes proof than you do.

                          •  I sure do. (0+ / 0-)

                            And you illustrate them quite well.  You offer ideas that, whatever their truth or utility, are 'out of sequence' with the matter at hand, and then you point to them triumphantly, not only having proven nothing, but having offered nothing substantive.

                            Now, in this response, without offering any documentation but certainly showing some general knowledge of intellectual and political history, you DO connect to the thread of the discussion.  Well done.  And again, you acknowledge the possibility that imperialism was 'AT LEAST as much' a part of our thinking as anti-communism.  That's all that I would insist, and I noted it in my "Ahhhhh!" comment.  Prior to that, you denied this potential, or ignored it, preferring to ride the hobby-horse of anti communism.  

                            In relation to the points that you do make here that are substantive--and again, congratulations; better late than never--here's why I have argued, and made a case for a belief, that imperialism is much the stronger actual basis for U.S. foreign policy.

                            In relation to the connection between Europe and Asia, this was actually a matter of huge contention among the Plutocratic set.  And yes, inevitably, especially in relation to Greece and Italy, we feared the impact of communist and Soviet designs.  This informed what happened in Asia, though the butchering of the situation in Korea, as Halberstam's book, The Coldest Winter, which I've read twice, amply documents, was an example of either monumental stupidity or an attempt to draw the Kim storm troopers into an attack that we could then repel.  I

                            The problem with both of these points in relation to Indochina, which I have presented repeatedly without any response from you even as applicable as you've given here, is that the policies of post-WWII dominances are demonstrably present by at least the early 1940s.  We were up to our asses in the region well before Korea's shit hit the fan; we considered the peninsula of limited value in all by geopolitical terms, completely in contrast to the resources, market, and investment potential that we contemplated in Southeast Asia.  Thus, pointing to the initiation of a Cold War, and to the coming of the Korean conflict, is not apropos to support 'fighting commies' as the basis for Southeast Asia.  For one thing, the future cannot cause the past; for another thing, documents, commentary, and secondary sources all show the imperial plans that we were unfolding in Vietnam.

                            You can disagree about degree, but your argument seems weak to me, and you've already admitted what I consider to be the 'minimum program,' so to say.  Good luck.

                            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                            by SERMCAP on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 05:57:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You have a basic problem. (0+ / 0-)

                            You don't actually argue against my point.  My initial post said "You oversimplify to the point of slander".  Let's break that down.  Do I at any point say that you are wrong?  Nope.  I point out that you have oversimplified which indicates that you are at least partially correct.  I then pointed out a large number of places (pretty much all over the world) where we fought either Russia or China.  These were serious engagements with the potential for progressing into WWIII.  Vietnam was simply one more in the group.  You have done nothing to dent that hypothesis, although you think you have.  What you did was provide info as to why you think we had imperial designs.  I never argued against that point from the beginning.  I simply think that was a far smaller component that you.

                            You have pointed out that we had some long-term goals of opening markets and whatnot in Southeast Asia.  So if that wasn't the case and the Commies (I'll use your word) tried to take over South Vietnam, would we have gone, I would contend yes.  Was imperial interests that our main focus in fighting there?  You haven't proven that.  Did we lose 58,000 troops and spend umpteen billion dollars to try to exploit Vietnamese resources?  Totally unproven and hardly logical.

                            I'm curious.  Of the reasons that we went to Vietnam, what percentage do you think was to exploit the region and what percentage was to fight communism?  I'm going 20% imperial 80% fighting communism.  You?

                          •  We all have problems, eh? (0+ / 0-)

                            Your first post misrepresented, and in case you're unclear on that, that means, in context that you were the slanderer, by asking a rhetorical question.  And in case we're unclear on that, one form of the rhetorical question is one that carries an accusation.  It stated, "So everyone who fought in Vietnam was a murderer?"  

                            How arch that you then accused me of slander.  After that, when I pointed out that misrepresentation, for approximately the next seven or eight posts, for example here:
                             

                            that war was hardly a war of empire

                            and here:
                             

                            That would have left Vietnam part of THEIR empire.  Not ours.
                              You admit that many politicians in this country were concerned about communism.  The Soviet Union's actions in Eastern Europe were truly appalling and that surely got people's attention.  So feel free to pooh-pooh the Red Scare, but a lot of people truly were concerned and it did drive a number of policy positions.

                            and here:
                               

                            Take a little time out of hating the US to look at what was really going on.  You have this prism that you look back in time with where you discount EVERY possible defensive reason for going to Vietnam and emphasis every possible economic reason.  It is disingenuous or LYING.

                            and here:(this is the first hint of reality--i.e., "two sides" in the 'subject' line.
                             

                            You can speculate all you want, but we do know what happened.  If we had done nothing, would Thailand and Malaysia have become communist (against their will I might add)?  You don't know.

                            and here:
                             

                            Stop.  You again look with hindsight and decide that this was a foregone conclusion going into things as though it was the plan.  Sure our involvement in Vietnam didn't turn out well but that is the nature of wars.  Some go well some don't.  I guess not everyone is omnipotent and knows the results going in.  

                            And I could go on.  You were insulting and snarky, and for a time, I remained clinical, before I decided, 'Oh what the hell!  Maybe he enjoys being insulted as much as he does casting aspersions," and I joined in the fray, though without the same level of vituperation--i.e., scatalogical usage, all CAPS, etc.

                            More pertinent to an actual discussion, you(except for the "two sides" implied admission in the one 'subject line')denied or ignored the possibility that imperial aspects of the Vietnam conflict might have been important.  In contrast, in the second post after your really nasty insinuation in your first posting, I admitted, 'sure, anti-communism played a role.'  I then proceeded, by providing primary source references, secondary source references, and analysis to provide evidence--you are aware of the difference between evidence and proof, right? Your 'subject' line a couple of stitches back makes me wonder--to develop a reasonable historical argument that imperialism played a significantly more important basis for the Southeast Asian conflict that the U.S. promulgated for close to thirty years than did such factors as 'self-determination for Vietnam'(laughable really)and anti-communism(clearly a part of the mix, like I've repeatedly acknowledged).

                            You on the other hand, having now admitted that maybe imperialism did play some role--again, bravo; where there's life there's hope--have yet to offer a single source, of any sort, to buffer your position.  Instead you rely on 'what we all know about the evils of commies.'  Except I don't buy it; and many historians don't buy it.  And that little matter of chronology and documentation keeps coming up, a charge to which you've yet to make a reply.

                            Now, since it took me something like seven or eight stitches in this thread--probably more like ten, but we'll be conservative--just to drag you to the point that you acknowledge the irrefutability of my basic argument, that Vietnam had imperial components, you haven't had the chance to hear me expand on what this new form of empire entails.  

                            You keep referring to commodities and real estate, as if the 19th century forms of exploitation have never changed.  I'd refer you to another speech, but given your lack of documentation, I'm afraid that you don't like reading much.  But who knows?  It's Ike's farewell address, the one in which quite explicitly he warned of a certain "Military Industrial Complex."  And see, both in my estimation and the assessment of loads of 'professional historians' and academicians in other fields, this M.I.C. is a huge part of the imperial presence of the USA, both in terms of the political economy of capitalism, and in terms of the social and political control of the national economy.

                            So, given this, and the still important vestiges of nineteenth century forms, I'd say, at a minimum, imperial elements were twice as important as ideological underpinnings.  But that's just a ball park.  I never denied the role of the 'red-baiting'--hell, you're living proof, right?--from the get go.

                            I know that I've won this argument; you've moved, and I haven't.  But you've allowed me to create all sorts of lovely dialogs for other aspects of my work.  So please, by all means, keep those cards and letters coming.  

                            I mean, you probably believe that there really is a "War on Terror," I'll bet, and a "War on Drugs" too, right?  What a trip.  

                            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                            by SERMCAP on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 10:17:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Some day you will figure out (0+ / 0-)

                            that flashy prose and patting your self on the back for points that you think you made is no substitute for a cogent argument.

                            Your job was to show that somehow we fought the "Commies" only where we thought we could make a buck or extend our empire.  You didn't remotely do that.  As I have pointed out (and which you haven't refuted) we fought them pretty much everywhere.  Some places you could argue we extended some sort of empire.  Other places we didn't (Greece, Germany, Turkey, Israel, Korea, etc.).  The lack of a pattern here is your problem and you haven't addressed it.  All you want to do is provide examples of people or entities that wanted to extend some kind of empire in Southeast Asia.  Provide a million of them.  I don't care.  It does not scratch my hypothesis.  

                            All I see is the application of the Truman Doctrine or put another way a full court press on Communist aggression or expansion.  Nothing more.  That some guys expressed some interest in Southeast Asia at some point does not in the slightest refute my point.  It simply doesn't.  And as I indicated, I never really disagreed with your original premise but I thought things were far more complex than you made them out to be.

                            So you say that anti-communism was "part of the mix" in Vietnam, yet you call our soldiers murderers (so to speak).  Well how much of a percentage of the mix would it have to be for you to not call them murderers?

                          •  Have you ever thought of therapy? (0+ / 0-)

                            I've had good friends and lovers who were therapists, and they worked well with people who had issues with honesty, whether the manifestation of the problem was in lying to others or lying to themselves.  You clearly have issues with telling the truth.

                            Your "only" in the sentence that begins the second paragraph, followed by "where we thought we could make a buck or extend our empire" is a travesty.  You are a liar, as I pointed out in the first reply to you that I made.  Let me repeat.  You are a liar.  By my second response to you, I was already acknowledging that anti-communism played a role, though I produced evidence and argument--which you have yet to do in a coherent form, just offering your opinions about a period of four decades without any support--to contend that imperial and 'make-a-buck' matters were paramount.

                            To support your lie, after pontificating on the great insight of Blanchy, oh-he-who-knows-all-but-must-still lie-repeatedly, you lie again; we went back and forth about the homicide issue already.  To state so baldly and so falsely that I have "call(ed) our soldiers murderers" is a pitiful act.  Thus, you are not only a liar, but you are also pathetic.  

                            Nonetheless, Vaya con Dios, kiddo.  Boy, I'd love to be in a panel discussion or debate with you in front of an audience of neutral truth-seekers.  I love to watch folks turn all red.  It's my favorite color.

                            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                            by SERMCAP on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:40:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm a liar. Sure. Run with that. (0+ / 0-)

                            You STILL can't refute my point that we fought communism everywhere and Vietnam was just one more place.  

                            You throw out that "anti-communism played a role" and then proceed to call our soldiers murderers as though the defense aspects were not at least as significant as any others.  You are the one that can't call a spade a spade or at least attempt to quantify how much emphasis you put on each one.  So this is what makes me a liar?  LOL.

                            And I wasn't sure what you meant by scatological comments at first.  Then I figured out that you don't know the etymology of the word ass, my little wordsmith.  If you call someone an ass, you are referring to the animal and not the part of the human body.  

                          •  You're not even an artful liar. (0+ / 0-)

                            You ... proceed to call our soldiers murderers as though the defense aspects were not at least as significant as any others.

                            You either need a reading course, or a bolt from the blue to introduce you to reality or the motivation to stop seeking to deceive others.  Too bad that you are so comfortable in your little bubble of self-deception.  The world can use intelligent people who are not deluded and insistent on advancing their delusions as reality.  

                            As to the 'braying donkey' origins of ass, sure, I'm aware of them; in part Biblical, if I recollect rightly.  I misconstrued.  I'm always happy to acknowledge error.

                            Good luck to you in your insular little world of lies, compadre.  Vaya con Dios.

                            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                            by SERMCAP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:01:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You seem to think you ticked me off. (0+ / 0-)

                            Enjoy your fantasy.  I really enjoyed watching you clothe your lack of an argument in fancy prose, but when all the dust cleared you STILL can't refute my very basic hypothesis.

                          •  I not only refuted your measly excuse... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...for an argument, I developed an essay that expanded and launched that argument further.  You, on the other hand, have yet to produce any evidence other than your truly pathetic ideological imprecations against Reds.  

                            "Lions and Tigers and Commies, Oh My!' does not an argument make, though I suppose it barely passes muster as premise and presumption, so it is hypothetical, and refutable, which is what I have done over the course of this thread.

                            Of course, this is all opinion.  But I'd bet that if we did a poll among university history professors, both of us would receive stern critique--that's what scholars do--but that I at least would be given credit for advancing an argument, something that you have yet to do in any other than the form of an assertion that you know the truth about the evils of Communism.

                            Good luck making peace with your maker with that line.

                            I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

                            by SERMCAP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:06:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

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