Iraq debate – personal historical view
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 8:25 PM
Colin Powell said, “Don’t get into war unless it’s absolutely necessary, and when we do, go to win, no half measures,” but it doesn’t apply very much in real life.
As a Vietnam era veteran, I know Johnson’s phony Gulf of Tonkin Incident fished us into war (I was drafted). He bought into the radical right’s communist containment scare. The Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars wrote:
“In part, the process of deception has also been unintentional. Much of the rhetoric and many of the actions that have accompanied our… involvement have been ad hoc responses to situations of stress: a cumulative series of reflex moves and lunges produced by deepening executive anxiety, defensiveness, alarm, desperation, and even a sensed state of siege. Similarly in rhetoric, our ‘national honor,’ ‘[enemies] with nuclear weapons,’ and the goal of ‘peace with honor’ – all have misled the public. At the root of executive deception is a vast amount of executive self-deception – or, .to put it bluntly, stupidity.”
America blithely ignores offers of friendship and makes enemies as fast as we can throw the first sucker punch. This is not military sense; it’s a bad case of ideology and invention over reason and fact. But, Americans don’t run out when the fight’s tough – see: Khe San. We stood nearly twenty years while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam. Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the Bush neoconservative leadership miasma.
We are now fighting a war for the health and life of the republic. Look at how the radical right Republicans have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor. The self-destructive insanity of the radical right Republican way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.
Published on Friday, September 11, 2009 by TomDispatch.com
How 9/11 Should Be Remembered. The Extraordinary Achievements of Ordinary People by Rebecca Solnit. Eight years ago, 2,600 people lost their lives in Manhattan, and then several million people lost their story. The al-Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers did not defeat New Yorkers. It destroyed the buildings, contaminated the region, killed thousands, and disrupted the global economy, but it most assuredly did not conquer the citizenry. They were only defeated when their resilience was stolen from them by clichés, by the invisibility of what they accomplished that extraordinary morning, and by the very word “terrorism,” which suggests that they, or we, were all terrified. The distortion, even obliteration, of what actually happened was a necessary precursor to launching the obscene response that culminated in a war on Iraq, a war we lost (even if some of us don’t know that yet), and the loss of civil liberties and democratic principles that went with it. Only We Can Terrorize Ourselves
Published on Friday, September 11, 2009 by The Nation
Afghanistan and the Wages of Empire by John Nichols. It is amusing, if remarkable, that there are still some players in Washington who try to maintain the fantasy that Afghan President Hamid Karzai governs with anything akin to legitimacy. Karzai, an alleged oil-industry fixer awarded control of his country by occupying powers, has always served with strings attached.
Posted September 11, 2009.
The way he’s headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency. True, he doesn’t seem a bit like Lyndon Johnson, but the way he’s headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency. LBJ also had a progressive agenda in mind, beginning with his war on poverty, but it was soon overwhelmed by the cost and divisiveness engendered by a meaningless, and seemingly endless, war in Vietnam.
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