Thursday, August 23, 2007


Simple Lessons

There's been a wave of well-deserved ridicule of Bush's conclusion that the lesson to take from the US experience in Vietnam is "we left before the job was done, leading to millions of deaths". Far be it from me to pile on, but since the US war on Vietnam is an obsession of mine I can't resist. Here goes. Forgive my intemperance, but Bush's words are ringing in my ears and the only way to get them out of my head is to write him this plea.

Dear Mr. George Fucking Walker Bush:

I'm going to conclude that you didn't really mean (or even really understand) what you said in your speech yesterday because the resounding, ringing, clanging, utterly overwhelming, gut-wrenching, soul-shaking, mind-shattering, what-could-we-have-been-thinking, supremely inescapable and unspeakably unavoidable conclusion from the US experience in Vietnam is that WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! GET THIS THROUGH YOUR FUCKING THICK HISTORICALLY IGNORANT DADDY-PLEASING KNOW-NOTHING SKULL!!!!!

Mr. Bush: have you ever heard of the Geneva Accords of 1954? These accords ended French involvement in Vietnam, endorsed the territorial integrity of the whole of Vietnam and non-intervention from outside forces. Ominously, it also called for a physical separation between the nationalist Vietnamese forces (to the North) and those supporting the French regime (to the South), but with the explicit proviso that this separation was temporary and the country would be unified by nationwide elections in 1956.

The US was a signatory to these accords, but it immediately set about violating them by helping to establish a phony "government" in South Vietnam to replace the French administration. This government would have been a joke without US support, but its puppet in Saigon gave the US a pretext for intervention against so-called "internal aggression" by nationalist forces, who had the misfortune to also be Communist. It didn't matter that they were Vietnamese nationalists first (as the Pentagon Papers concluded just a few years later) and Communists a distant second. Like Islamofascist terrorism now, godless international Communism was the fear- and war-mongers' bugbear of the day, justifying any conceivable intervention the US military and political elites wished to pursue. Thus, the temporary separation between North and South became reified and the elections of 1956 were canceled, leading to decades of bloody war and deprivation of the most unimaginable kind.

So, Mr. George Fucking Walker Bush, ask yourself what would have happened had the US stayed out of Vietnam and allowed the Vietnamese people to decide the future of their country for themselves through internationally supervised elections in 1956. Would millions of Cambodians (whose lives you invoked in your speech yesterday) have died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge? Was the fact that the US left Vietnam in 1975 the cause of these deaths as you suggested in your speech yesterday? Or was it the fact that the US was there in the first place? I know that thought experiments of this type are not your forte, but what conclusion would you draw? It's a pretty simple thought experiment, really. Can you do it for me please? Please? My soul hurts just thinking about it, and I won't be able to rest until I know your answer. Please? I beg you.



Lance, the fact that we should never have ventured in doesn't change the fact that a humanitarian crisis would follow our departure, just as it followed our hasty retreat from SE Asia. Over 60,000 in Vietnam plus countless boat people fleeing the country or dying on the way, Cambodia with over a million and Laos where 40,000 died while being "re-educated".
Hello, anonymous. What is your evidence that a humanitarian cirisis would follow our departure from Iraq? There is much more evidence to support the thesis that our presence is the source of the problems there. If we stay on indefinitely and come to utterly embody and define the situation, like we did in Vietnam, it can only get worse. Let's learn our lesson and get out while there's still time (before Bush invades Iran, e.g.). Some blood will be let, but we have no power to prevent it, only to postpone it. We have the power to remove ourselves from a situation we should never have been in in the first place and to let the Iraqis make their own future. Let's get on with it.
Furthermore, does democracy matter? I know it's a concept that has almost completely lost its meaning in the modern US version, but the US population sent a resounding message to the power structure in last fall's elections that they wanted us out of Iraq. What has happened since then? An escalation. It's grotesque, and the (so-called) Democrats will pay a heavy price next November for ignoring the message that put them in charge of Congress last fall.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?