Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Lessons of Vietnam

Let's see.  

The Gulf of Tonkin whopper, a false flag fiction of monstrous proportions? No, fell for that kind of thing in Iraq. First it was incubators on the floor, then it was nonexistent WMD (try as hard as they Times does to claim otherwise).

That must be it then; the chemical warfare waged on the Vietnamese (and our own troops). Nope, still doing that in some form or fashion, be it fumigating in a drug war or hustling the stuff over to Israel so they can use it against Palestinians in Gaza.

Then it has to be the atrocities that inevitably result (in Iraq it was Haditha) despite the most allegedly altruistic of aggressions?


"Last US Marines to leave Saigon describe chaos of war’s end" by Margie Mason Associated Press  April 30, 2015

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — On the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon on Thursday, a group of Marines who were there that day returned to what is now Ho Chi Minh City for a memorial ceremony at the site of the old embassy, which is now the US Consulate. They had been in charge of guarding the embassy and the defense attache office beside Tan Son Nhut airport and were tasked with helping to get the last Americans out.

The days leading up to the end of the Vietnam War were chaotic and exhausting. Enemy forces had been sweeping southward for weeks, capturing major South Vietnamese strongholds as they went. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the capital, Saigon, also fell. Rumors of a looming bloodbath gripped the city, and Americans along with their South Vietnamese allies were being evacuated on cargo planes from the airport.

On the chopper out ahead of him, former sergeant Douglas Potratz, now 60, from Fullerton, Calif., watched Saigon burn.

‘‘I felt sad because I felt like we had lost the war and so many lives had been spent on the war here,’’ he said. ‘‘I felt like we were entrusted to keep the traditions going and to not let the country go to communism and we had failed, and I felt very low at that time. I felt like it was the end of the world.’’

Nope, the lesson is we abandoned the place. Pretty good argument for staying put in all the places Obama said we would be out of, if not expanding the presence elsewhere, huh? 


That's the lesson I learned from the article. 

Here is what went unlearned:

"The unlearned lessons of Vietnam" by H.D.S. Greenway   April 22, 2015

FEAR IS contagious. Forty years ago, and half a world away, a great panic the likes of which I have never seen before or since took over the country where I lived: Vietnam. The American-equipped and American-trained army was simply melting away before the less well-equipped but better motivated North Vietnamese onslaught sweeping south. Some South Vietnamese soldiers stood and fought, but most just dissolved without fighting back.

When the final American evacuation of Saigon came on April 29, after 30 years of the United States backing first the French colonialists and then the Republic of South Vietnam, fear raced through the city like an Ebola outbreak. Thousands of terrified Vietnamese came to the American embassy, pleading and crying to be let in. Marines beat back those who tried to scale the walls.

As our helicopter rose from the embassy compound in the gathering dusk, I could see more panic below in the rain-washed streets of Saigon, with people milling about or trying to force their way on to boats on the waterfront — anything to get away.

Out in the South China Sea, an American fleet was waiting for us. Vietnamese helicopters, like butterflies borne on an offshore wind, landed briefly and were thrown overboard to make room for more. All about us, hopelessly overfilled boats packed with fleeing Vietnamese drifted like flotsam and jetsam after a gigantic shipwreck.

Last summer I remembered that collapse as a similarly equipped and American-trained army in Iraq melted away before a better motivated and far more brutal foe.

There are threads linking the Vietnam disaster with our more recent military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ten years ago I went to see General Martin Dempsey in Baghdad. Dempsey is now chairman of the joint chiefs, but back then he was in charge of training the Iraqi army. He and his staff told me it was comparatively easy to train an army to fight. But only the Iraqis themselves could instill motivation. No amount of foreigner advisers could do that.

Five years ago I went to see the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan. As a younger man he had been in Kabul during the Russian occupation. “You are making the same mistakes as we did,” he told me. “We really thought we were coming to help the Afghans,” to save them from Islamic extremism.

It was the U.S. that created the Islamic extremists in the first place with help from their Arab and Muslim allies (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Gulf sheikdoms) and it is western intelligence agencies and those same allies that have created the self-serving ghosts of ISIS.

Can this guy really be that naive or is it just disingenuousness?

The Russians thought that an Afghan, if given a choice, would want to be a communist. And some did. You Americans, he said, think that an Afghan would want to be an American. And some do. But the purple ink on an Afghan’s finger, to show he had voted, was not going to be the answer to 1,000 years of ethnic and tribal rivalry.

Another thread connecting all three conflicts is our desire to mold societies into our image, too often by military force.

What do you mean "our?"

The Spanish said they wanted to save souls for the Catholic faith when they conquered other lands. The British and French had their civilizing missions. The Russians had communism. For Americans, it has been promotion of democracy.

All cover for grabbing land and resources. It's what war-criminal governments do to sell wars to their people. Even Goering grasped that.

But as Henry Kissinger wrote about American values in the Iraq context: “To seek to achieve them by military occupation in a part of the world where they had no historical roots . . . proved beyond what the American public would support and what Iraqi society could accommodate.”

I love it when they quote mass-murdering war-criminal globalist pukes for expertise.

The unlearned lessons of Vietnam are that, in the post-colonial age, military intervention and occupation is hard to maintain both at home and abroad. If intervention is deemed necessary, better to go about it as did George H.W. Bush in the first Gulf War. Go in quickly. Get the job done, and leave. You can help, support, and arm foreign clients, but in the end it is their fight, not yours. Be aware that military interventions have unintended consequences and can do more harm than good. Export American values by example, not by bayonets. And better not to think about nation-building unless you are prepared to extend blood and treasure for 30 years, and even then it might not work.



With all due respect, I don't think he learned a goddamn thing.

I may be taking some time off this afternoon because World is running a whole flurry of programs that bring back memories and make me quite emotional

I am forced to confront that fact that not only was I hated then (disregard those polls that say Americans are against any more wars or that independent and intelligent isolationist strain in the collective unconscious), I'm hated now in a society that has become even more militaristic (forget this generation). So much, and yet so little, has changed. Just what I wanted to do today, spend an afternoon sobbing.

Drove by the town common during my errands this morning and counted five antiwar protesters on the town common next to the dozen or so farmer's market and food tents. It's been years since I've been down there to join them, and we can add Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Africa to the list of new ones to protest. That is what is so discouraging. The war machine grinds on and nothing in heaven or on earth can stop it.

I also checked to see if the Globes had been delivered, and they had. I didn't buy one.


I should have known I wouldn't have gotten out without another Globe potshot.

"Debate over Vietnamese airport reveals financial power of army" by Mike Ives Associated Press  May 02, 2015

HO CHI MINH CITY — Vietnam’s busiest airport, once a major gateway for thousands of US troops headed for battle, is now the scene of a slow-burning controversy linked to the commercial clout of the country’s powerful military.

As I reflect upon yesterday -- brought to me by corporations galore, with Liberty Mutual leading the list -- the level of war contract fraud we saw in this latest round in the Middle East was prevalent in Vietnam as well.

Some city residents and aviation experts wonder why the property is being used for a new golf course.

Golf again. Bunch of party-poopers if you ask me.


The debate sheds light on a rarity in Vietnam: the appearance of conflict between the army’s considerable financial interests and the public’s interests.

Awww, gee, they had to fly all the way to Vietnam to holler kettle, the hypocritical bastards (apparently, the only good software programs written are for NSA hacking and bank ATMs. Other than, the rest are $hit).

The Vietnam People’s Army — which on Thursday celebrated its 40th anniversary of defeating the Americans — was for decades a ragtag but tenacious military that also fended off France and China in the last century.

Fighting for their homes, know the terrain, the U.S. power structure and military didn't learn a goddamn thing based on the last dozen years!

Since the Vietnam War, it has added to its portfolio a dizzying array of enterprises and subsidiaries that span construction, airport services, shipbuilding, garment manufacturing, and other sectors....

Yeah, when you start investigating where the money comes from in this mammoth structure of the U.S. it invariably is feed back to military -- even in the forms of social and health management. It really is a war machine gobbling up all the cash. Sorry. 

According to government estimates, military enterprises had a before-tax profit of $2.14 billion in 2014.

Does their Congre$$ hold stock in the same companies to which it doles out loot?

But analysts say the enterprises operate to some degree outside the Communist Party’s control, and that the exact scope of their commercial dealings is unknown.

The army declined a request for an interview and did not respond to e-mailed questions about its commercial activities.

Many armies around the world have corporate portfolios, and Southeast Asia’s are no exception.

Then why the bayonet in the back to Vietnam? What did they do wrong? Making nice with China?

Andrew Wood, the head of Asia country risk analysis for BMI Research, an international consultancy, said army enterprises play a smaller role in Vietnam’s domestic economy than they do in military-dominated Myanmar, but a larger one than such enterprises play in China and Indonesia.

Yeah, okay, I know from yesterday those nations are in a bit of trouble over human trafficking and minority repression. Thank the Christian God the U.S.A. is pure.

Cellphone operator Viettel earned nearly $2 billion in pretax profits last year, or 85 percent of all profits reported by military enterprises, the state-run Zing News quoted the company’s general director, Nguyen Manh Hung, as saying in January. Viettel has also expanded to nine markets across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Many Vietnamese see military-linked companies as having more integrity than other government institutions, particularly state-owned enterprises. Financial scandals are common in Vietnam, but they rarely involve military personnel.

Hmm. Looks like we did win the war despite the millions and millions of dead Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians. 

Oh, yeah, THAT seems to have been FORGOTTEN in this DISCUSSION all around, huh? 


‘‘This Military Bank belongs to the military, so people trust it more’’ than other Vietnamese banks, said Vo Van Tam, a Ho Chi Minh City real estate developer, on a recent afternoon at a branch of the bank....

I hope it's like USAA insurance and I'm sorry, but I have to get back to the airport.


Sunday Globe turned it into a le$$on, huh?