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Stating the obvious while AP flogs a strawman
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 02, 2007

Oh my, Henry Kissinger has says a military victory in Iraq is not possible for the US, says the AP headline.

Well not exactly:
"A 'military victory' in the sense of total control over the whole territory, imposed on the entire population, is not possible," Kissinger told The Associated Press in Tokyo, where he received an honorary degree from Waseda University.
Nor is it at all what is being sought. One has to wonder how many times it has to be said before AP figures it out. "Victory", or as I prefer it, success in Iraq will happen when the combination of military, diplomatic, economic and political spheres all yield positive results and, thereby a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

No one, that I know of, at least not anyone credible, is claiming success in Iraq depends only on the military. And neither is Henry Kissinger:
Kissinger said the best way forward is to reconcile the differences between Iraq's warring sects with help from other countries. He applauded efforts to host an international conference bringing together the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Iraq's neighbors — including Iran, Washington's longtime rival in the region.

"That is the sort of framework out of which it is conceivable that an agreement should emerge," Kissinger said. "One needs to be prepared to negotiate with adversaries."
So Kissinger, to no one's surprise, concentrates in the diplomatic area. But the message is clear. Security (military and political spheres) and diplomacy. He may have mentioned economic as well but AP couldn't be bothered to mention it if he did.

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, Zbignew Brzenski profoundly noted:
"We expected that the U.S. leaving Vietnam would result in massive killings and genocide and so forth, and collapse of the dominoes in Southeast Asia," he said. "It didn't happen. How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?"
As the article notes:
History does record that a bloodbath that claimed millions of lives occurred in neighboring Cambodia, the so-called "killing fields," and that millions more people left Vietnam as refugees after the two countries fell in 1975.
Where in the world was Brzenski during all of that? Apparently studiously ignoring it.
 
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A sto the second bit about the simple factual error:

Details details details...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"A ’military victory’ in the sense of total control over the whole territory, imposed on the entire population, is not possible,"
Not possible?

What a crock of sh*t. Not desired is much more believable.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"We expected that the U.S. leaving Vietnam would result in massive killings and genocide and so forth, and collapse of the dominoes in Southeast Asia," he said. "It didn’t happen. How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?"
Is he saying that the Watergate Congress thought it was enabling genocide? Is that really what he’s saying here?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Where in the world was Brzenski during all of that? Apparently studiously ignoring it.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter’s top adviser on foreign affairs throughout Carter’s four years in office
That’s where he was, working for the greatest president of our time (cough cough cough).

The AP could have gotten Neville Chamberlains opinion too, but, of course he’s dead. Yet I’m sure it’d be valid as any opinion (I remember thinking his name was an advertisement for a Russian car - Zee Big New Breznski!!!) Breznski has.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
While US involvement in Vietnam contributed to the Khmer Rouge gaining power, our leaving Vietnam was not a cause. In fact, Vietnam finally took out the Khmer Rouge regime. Our support of Lon Nol created more anger in the Cambodian countryside than anything else. To blame America’s choice to finally end a meaningless war for the Cambodian genocide is absurd.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Where in the world was Brzenski during all of that? Apparently studiously ignoring it
As was the rest of the left. All these high-minded oh so caring protestors so concerned with the plight of the Vietnamese all turned away en masse once they got their way.

An inconvenient truth indeed...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Vietnam finally took out the Khmer Rouge regime.
Yeah, because his genocidal policies were too much even for them.

But you can’t say Cambodia and South Vietnam would have fallen if we hadn’t bailed on South Vietnam, and you can’t say there WOULD have been genocide had South Vietnam and Cambodia not fallen (like Dominoes).

Have it as you will, our decision to break our commitment to the government of South Vietnam (courtesy of a Democratic Congress) started the downhill spiral that led the fall of countries and to genocide in Southeast asia, whatever your view on how the people viewed it in the countryside. I’d wager if you had been able to show them what was going to happen when Nol was gone they would have thought him a wonderful guy after all and probably preferable to being slaughtered.

Breznski’s able administration stood by and watched it unfold, and then went on to preside, and fret uselessly, over an American power disaster in the Middle East as well. He’s not one to be giving any kind of advice on the subject.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Brzenski:
"We expected that the U.S. leaving Vietnam would result in massive killings and genocide and so forth, and collapse of the dominoes in Southeast Asia," he said. "It didn’t happen. How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?"
Erb:
While US involvement in Vietnam contributed to the Khmer Rouge gaining power, our leaving Vietnam was not a cause. In fact, Vietnam finally took out the Khmer Rouge regime. Our support of Lon Nol created more anger in the Cambodian countryside than anything else. To blame America’s choice to finally end a meaningless war for the Cambodian genocide is absurd.
History:
Upon taking control, the Vietnamese communists banned other political parties, arrested people believed to have collaborated with the U.S. and sent them to reeducation camps. The government also embarked on a mass campaign of collectivization of farms and factories. Reconstruction of the war-ravaged country was slow and serious humanitarian and economic problems confronted the communist regime. Millions of people fled the country in crude boats, creating a humanitarian crisis. In 1978, the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia to remove the Khmer Rouge from power. This action worsened relations with China, which launched a brief incursion into northern Vietnam in 1979. This conflict caused Vietnam to rely even more heavily on Soviet economic and military aid.
More history:
In all, some 300,000 people are being detained in re-eucation camps which are in no way similar to the show camps set up for the benefit of visiting dignitaries an foreign reporters. (TheWashington Post story of February 15 was based on a visit to such a show camp.)

One out every three Saigon families has a member in one of the camps, according to French journalist Jean Lacouture, who made an automobile trip from Hanoi to Saigon in 1976. After a visit to a new economic area for former Saigon near Phan-Thiet, Lacouture wrote that it was “a prefabricated hell and a place one comes to only if the alternative to it would be death."
History smacking Brzenski and Erb in the face:
* An estimated 1 million people were imprisoned without formal charges or trials.

* 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s re-education camps, according to published academic studies in the United States and Europe.

* Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed.

* Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, according to the U.S. Department of State, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years.

* At least 150 re-education prisons were built after Saigon fell 26 years ago.

* One in three South Vietnamese families had a relative in a re-education camp.
Erb putting it in his pipe and smoking it:
...

...

{cough, cough}

...

...
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
From the Article:
Kissinger said the best way forward is to reconcile the differences between Iraq’s warring sects with help from other countries.
Well, DUH! They just can’t pull anything over on ole Hank now can they?
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
While US involvement in Vietnam contributed to the Khmer Rouge gaining power, our leaving Vietnam was not a cause. In fact, Vietnam finally took out the Khmer Rouge regime. Our support of Lon Nol created more anger in the Cambodian countryside than anything else. To blame America’s choice to finally end a meaningless war for the Cambodian genocide is absurd
Yet that’s what you seem to do....

Amazing.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Where in the world was Brzenski during all of that? Apparently studiously ignoring it.


Hanging out with the “Holocaust Deniers
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Thanks, Michael, for the clue by four for Erb. Unfortunately, a clue by redwood wouldn’t make it through the adamantium that makes up his skull.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
History smacking Brzenski and Erb in the face:

Whatever, Mike. 1.6 million people died during the war, a factor of ten greater than the aftermath, so, not to trivialize the suffering undergone in your links, but the outcome you describe is pretty underwhelming as a catastrophe for Vietnam, specifically. Even more so as a catastrophe relative to its immediately prior environment.

It’s more accurately described as bad, but a general improvement on the state prior to the end of the war, i.e. the war. Of course, interviews of those who were specifically the worst off from the result won’t reflect that.

Bloody civil wars often bring some form of misery when they end, but that doesn’t mean that the misery is greater than that from continuing the bloody civil war.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Whatever, Mike. 1.6 million people died during the war, a factor of ten greater than the aftermath
That’s a curious position, glasnost. If, after the US Civil War, President Johnson had ordered the torture and murder of 50,000 citizens, would that have been "a general improvement on the state prior to the end of the war"? After all, it’s only a tenth of those who died during the war.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Boris Erb writes:
While US involvement in Vietnam contributed to the Khmer Rouge gaining power,
That’s like saying that U.S. involvement in World War II contributed to the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, or the Maoist victory in China (because we neutered Japan).

But you were close enough for a lemonade stand Ward Churchill, Boris.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
not to trivialize the suffering undergone in your links, but the outcome you describe is pretty underwhelming as a catastrophe for Vietnam,
My coworker who spent time in the "reeducation camps" and lost his family there before escaping on one of the shanty town boats would disagree with your trivialization.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
," a factor of ten greater than the aftermath,"

Wow, do you actually mean to say that more people died during a war, over a ten year period, than during the PEACE that followed the END of the war? Wow! Amazing! Then, of course, we also have the millions of refugees.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
While US involvement in Vietnam contributed to the Khmer Rouge gaining power,
This time Erbb is correct. Cambodia was ruled by Prince Norodom Sihanouk who maintained an official policy of neutrality. The country was not able to stop North Vietnamese infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh trail, or sancturaries along the South Vietnamese border.

The U.S. tried to interdict supplies by bombing the trail, and launched an invasion that failed to destroy the sancturaries. In 1970, flustrated by it’s inability to stop the north Vietnamese, the United States helped General Lon Nol in a coup that ousted Sihanouk. He fled first to the Soviet Union, and then joined the Communist Khmer Rouge as a figurehead.

Despite the best efforts of Americia and the CIA, Nol’s supporters failed to stop the advance of the Khmer Rouge untill Phnom Penh fell in 1975. That was the start of the “Killing Fields” a time in which as many as three million Cambodians were killed by the regeim of Pol Pot.

Had the U.S. not become involved in Cambodia to support the war in Vietnam, Sihanouk would have remained as ruler of a backward rural country. It’s border with South Vietnam would have been controlled by the North Vietnamese, but the rest of the country would have continued it’s bucolic existence.

The Khmer Rouge was a small ineffective communist rebel force until the U.S. engineered coup put general Lon Nol in power. Sihanouk was a beloved figure in the country and his ouster fueled support for the Khmer Rouge by Cambodians. It was at this time the North Vietnamese started giving substantial aid to the Cambodian communists, vastly increasing their combat power.

In essence American involvement in South Vietnam lead inextricably to the Communist takeover of Cambodia.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
1.6 million people died during the war, a factor of ten greater than the aftermath, so, not to trivialize the suffering undergone in your links, but the outcome you describe is pretty underwhelming as a catastrophe for Vietnam, specifically. Even more so as a catastrophe relative to its immediately prior environment.
Now that is pretty misleading, so lets get a bit more quantitative here:

Consensus academic work comes up with a figure of 1,669,000 murdered by N. Vietnam from 1945-1987. This is not casualties from the various wars themselves, which of course could have been avoided by N. Vietnam choosing peace (about 2.5 million all told.) 944,000 of them were N. Vietnamese (a great many after the fall of Saigon.) They murdered 164,000 in S. Vietnam, and after 1970 they murdered 461,000 in Cambodia. After 1975 they murdered another 87,000 in Laos and many more in other places. On a per capita basis it is one of the greatest slaughters in history. Throw in the boat people, refugees and the massive reeducation camps the toll is quite similar to Stalins (which by the way holds true for Saddam as well, but we should leave that for now.) Oh. the toll of civilians killed in a manner that suggests an act of Democide by the US in Indochina? 6,000.

We also ended our support for Lon Nol (and while I think Fish has it right, I don’t agree that if we hadn’t withdrawn support the Khmer Rouge would have gained power, maybe, maybe not) and thus opened the door for the Khmer Rouge in cooperation with N. Vietnam. Yes Vietnam eventually invaded (and proceeded to commit a slaughter themselves as noted in my figures above) but that was later. They were allies at that point against Lon Nol.

Of course comparing the aftermath to the many years before is not only inappropriate because of the different time periods lengths, it only stopped because the people were throughly beaten. Killing wasn’t as necessary after about five years because imprisonment, death and torture had exhausted any resistance. Torture, mutilation and imprisonment was sufficient, and many of the potential victims had fled (can we get our head around the figure of a million people imprisoned in a country the size of Vietnam? 165,000 of them died, at that point who was going to resist and need to just be lined up and shot?)

The pace in the first few years after the takeover was furious however until that had occurred. If you want to compare 30 years of war initiated by the communists and the mass murder they engaged in over that time to five years of slaughter afterward as if they can be directly compared go ahead, but in no way were the S. Vietnamese better off, nor the Cambodians or Laotians. Had we kept our aid going and the pace of death (I’ll ignore the far larger number of tortures, mutilations, etc. after the fall) stayed at its previous level it would have been far lower. The VC were spent, the N. Vietnamese were unable to launch major operations against the South without getting their a*ses kicked. Lots of N. Vietnamese soldiers were dying, but S. Vietnam was not a killing field due to either military action or government murder in 1975. The N. Vietnamese were dying and suffering at an incredible rate, but not the South. For the South it was much worse after 1975, and to deny it is very similar to Holocaust denial. It seems it is only a failing in many circles to minimize Hitler’s crimes, when others were just as bad or worse.


 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
In 1970 I was 28 years old and closely followed the war in Southeast Asia. At the time there was no doubt the ouster of Sihanouk was the turning point for the Khmer Rouge. Prior to then they were a small group of rebels ignored by the Cambodians. They received little support from the North Vietnamese who’s only interest in Cambodia was the Ho Chi Minh trail and the border sanctuaries. It was only after the coup they became, over time, an effective Revolutionary Army.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
That’s like saying that U.S. involvement in World War II contributed to the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, or the Maoist victory in China (because we neutered Japan).
There is a term for this type of argument SOPHISTRY.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
James: You are ignoring both China and the Soviet’s interest in the area. The dominoes did fall, and they fell for a reason other than our involvement. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that leaving Vietnam (with the job undone) precipitated the fall of Cambodia, the "Killing Fields" and the expansion of first Chinese and then Soviet communism into Southeast Asia.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Is he saying that the Watergate Congress thought it was enabling genocide? Is that really what he’s saying here?
No, the Watergate Congress thought it was screwing President Ford and the Republicans.
The dominoes did fall
No the Dominos did not fall with defeat in Vietnam. Only Cambodia went Communist. The rest of Southeast Asia remained non-communist. The Killing fields were due to the psychotic philosophy of Pol Pot’s hatred for modernity.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
The Killing fields were due to the psychotic philosophy of Pol Pot’s hatred for modernity.
Pol Pot had the idea when he and other effete intellectuals studied at the Sorbonne. They realized that in order to make communist work (after studying all the previous failures), they needed to remove any educated members of the previous society. Thus they would achieve year zero of their new civilization.

The genocide could probably be stopped but the left (championed by Noam Chomsky) left a singular battle to deny any and all reports of the ongoing genocide. Read Sophal Ear’s thesis. In fact people just like Erb and Glasnost.


 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Nothing succeeds in selling newspapers (or eliciting blog comments) like trotting out an interview or quote by Brzenski. The man is held in such extraordinary contempt by our Right that his use as an expert has to be a deliberate effort by a media mogul to boost circulation. No one else generates such a blood-in-the-water frenzy as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor.

The man is completely discredited, yet millions of us will tune in to feast on his wisdom. My, how we humans love what we hate.
 
Written By: a Duoist
URL: http://www.duoism.org
Nothing succeeds in selling newspapers (or eliciting blog comments) like trotting out an interview or quote by Brzenski The man is completely discredited, yet millions of us will tune in to feast on his wisdom. My, how we humans love what we hate.
Then thare is Henry Kissinger who helped Nixon sell us down the river, and gets the same treatment as Brzenski.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Actually, I disagree with Brzenski quite often, but I don’t think he is a joke. I think he is wrong here, but I respect Brent Scowcroft despite his occasional howlers, the same for Brzenski. In fact, Brzenski was at least a staunch anti-communist at a time when many liberals were not (and I recommend his textbook on Eastern Europe.)
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The genocide could probably be stopped but the left (championed by Noam Chomsky) left a singular battle to deny any and all reports of the ongoing genocide
By then it was too late. Even if the genocide had been publicized, the American people were fed up with South East Asia, and we were military impotent due to the Geopolitical and Geographic conserns. Chomsky, Hentoff and their ilk deserve nothing but scorn for their hatred of America.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
I disagree with Brzenski quite often, but I don’t think he is a joke.
No, the joke was Jimmy Carter.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
If North Vietnam had not violated Cambodian neutrality by running arms along the border, then we would not have had to destabilize the regime. Of course, if we would have let Ho Chi Minh take over post WW II, they wouldn’t have had to fight to "liberate" S. Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh only had to become a nationalist leader to fight the French, so thus, we can blame the whole shebang on the French.

I’m sure that satisfies most of us?

p.s. Pol Pot studied at the Sorbonne.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
James Fish writes:
This time Erb is correct.
He’s referring to Erb’s claim that U.S. involvement in Vietnam led to the Khmer Rouge’s taking power in Cambodia.

That’s like saying that by fighting Germans in Western Europe it allowed Stalin to take control of Eastern Europe, as if the one could have possibly intended the other, with the Germans treated as a mere vapor of history—not really there and not really the issue.

It is a sop to commies who want to wash their hands of Pol Pot’s genocide to let them blame the U.S. for the rise of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge wasn’t a benign actor, swept up in the torrents of history. It was exactly a radical commie insurgency that would murder its way forward on any contingency or opportunity. That it had even more murder in its eyes than Ho and his gang doesn’t somehow elevate the latter, whose use of Cambodian territory seems to get passed over during a throat clearing.

The rule suggested by "this time Erb is correct" is that "others have only you to blame for their actions."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
James Fish writes about my comment that blaming the U.S. for the rise of Khmer Rouge is like blaming the U.S. for the victory of Maoism in China (by neutering Japan) or Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe:
There is a term for this type of argument SOPHISTRY.
Well, no, it’s exactly the opposite of sophistry, which is the attribution of causality by argument where none exists. "If the motor car had not been invented we wouldn’t have a shortage of gasoline." "If we hadn’t been fighting in Vietnam and trying to win, other actors wouldn’t have acted the way they did."

If you operate on the principle that the actions of the Khmer Rouge were attributable to the U.S., then you can find ways to blame everything on the U.S., which is one of the principal objectives of the commie enterprise. And to excuse the commie enterprise for one of its most crystaline manifestations.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
No the Dominos did not fall with defeat in Vietnam.
And one of the arguments as to why that didn’t happen is our fight in the RVN gave other regimes, such as Thailand, the time it needed to shore up what needed to be shored up and prepare itself to fend off that sort of an attack (politically, economically and militarily).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If you operate on the principle that the actions of the Khmer Rouge were attributable to the U.S., then you can find ways to blame everything on the U.S.
This, in a nutshell, is what I think every time I read Erb. No matter the topic, it always seems to come back to... "US bad, (fill in the blank) misunderstood or only reacting to the bad US".

Somehow I think Erb would defend the wicked witch of the west, saying it was all Toto’s fault.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"Life’s a bitch" seems to be the attitude for what happened in Cambodia, Vietnam and the whole Domino’s thing.

Yep, as long as you weren’t one of the people off to the camps, or their families, or one of the people under the Cambodian domino when it tumbled,
yep, "Life’s a bitch".

Good to be safe here in the good old U.S. of A. when we say those things.

Now, I wonder if we continue down the path of the current Congress, whether or not we’ll have an opportunity to mumble "life’s a bitch" for the Iraqi’s too sometime in the next 10 years. But it’ll be okay, because if need be, we’ll trot out 100 years of Iraqi history to garner whatever number of casualties we need to accumulate to exceed whatever number are killed in whatever slaughter might ensue after a U.S. withdrawal, it’s all just numbers anyway ain’t it?. And they’re nasty little foreigners too, who we’re only worried about if they’re being oppressed in some way by the U.S. (or by the jews, of course).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Meagain writes, quoting a comment of mine:
"If you operate on the principle that the actions of the Khmer Rouge were attributable to the U.S., then you can find ways to blame everything on the U.S."

This, in a nutshell, is what I think every time I read Erb. No matter the topic, it always seems to come back to... "US bad, (fill in the blank) misunderstood or only reacting to the bad US".
That is exactly what Erb does, always. It’s not simply a matter of inclination, but one of training. By explicit and osmotic training, Erb does this at every opportunity. The origins of the practice can be traced right back to commie thinking from the 1930s and through the Cold War and now beyond, as the commie ghost that, surprise, haunts the American university.

Beck, in fact, will trace it back to the French Revolution, but I’ll settle for placing it with the cadres of Party activists and fellow travelers whose roots really took hold in the 1930s.

It is not only possible, but probable, that Erb had to evince these attitudes to get and keep his job, so strong is the hold this inheritance has on the academy.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
1. In hindsight, it’s pretty clear that the Vietnam war was a mistake. It was sold by JFK and LBJ as relatively easy (and they thought it would be), and once the war was costing tens of thousands of lives, it was inevitable that the public would question the war and stop believing the government. Moreover, the war was a direct benefit to the Soviet Union who, with a minimal amount of aid to the North, could lock the US into a quagmire and quickly build up their forces. President Nixon made a national interest decision to leave; the war was costing the US immensely.

2. The aftermath of the Communist victory was clearly bloodier in Vietnam than it would have been had there been no war – they had scores to settle with those who had opposed them, and no one can deny that there was a lot of suffering. But one can’t just assume that if we had stayed that would have been avoided, or that the deaths that staying would have caused wouldn’t have made the situation worse. Chances are there would never have been support at home for the US to stay long enough to truly pacify the country, and while some believe that the US had learned counter-insurgency well enough by the late sixties to develop a better and possibly winning strategy, insurgents always learn and change tactics and adapt. One can’t assume relative quick success, nor can one posit an American public that thinks totally different than it did.

3. The US certainly was in no mood to intervene in Cambodia; hell, even when the UN was on the ground 20 years later in Rwanda and reporting directly what was happening the US (as well as the rest of the world) had no desire to intervene. Somehow saying that staying in Vietnam would have prevented the Khmer Rouge from coming to power means you have to again posit a vastly different public opinion than existed, and assume complete victory in Vietnam, and American will to intervene in Cambodia. Even then, it’s not clear there would have been success. Meanwhile the Soviets would have benefited from our intense efforts in a relatively unimportant part of the world and might have had a stronger Middle East policy. The only chance they ever had of winning the Cold War was to somehow disrupt the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

Bottom line: American public opinion matters. If you go to war you should have the American public on board for what could be a long, hard haul. Wars sold just to get initial approval, with the assumption that success will silence opposition, are exceedingly dangerous. Also, while Nixon often gets vilified by both the Left and the Right, the shift from JFK and LBJ’s idealism (or neo-conservatism!) to Nixon and Kissinger’s realism was necessary. Ultimately you get in trouble if you ask people to kill in the name of something abstract and distant, apparently irrelevant to their lives otherwise. If a war is truly in the national interest, the people have to be convinced. Otherwise, failure is very likely.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
In hindsight, it’s pretty clear that the Vietnam war was a mistake.
No, in hindsight it’s pretty clear that the Vietnam war was a battle in the Cold War. That larger war was won, leaving behind a few hostage states, like North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and American universities, none of which have been allowed the fruits of victory.

Of course there is a correlation of co-dependency between the occupation of American universities and Vietnam by the losing side, with the former still proud of the survival of the dreadful losing ideology in the latter, which it likes to take as much credit for as possible.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
UN was on the ground 20 years later in Rwanda and reporting directly what was happening the US
Who was in charge of UN peacekeeping? -> Kofi Annan <- who completely disregarded all reports of the impending (fingers in his ear and lalalala sound out of his mouth).

Who was president of the US at that time? Bill Clinton along with all the current Democratic luminaries who knew definitely what was going on.

In fact, France who had the Hutus as clients were busy covering up and explaining away the genocide as it was ongoing.

The airplane crash that sparked the conspiracy that lead to the genocide? The UN recovered the black box that proved the events detailed in the conspiracy were false, but promptly put it in storage and forgot about it.

Rwanda was a disgrace.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
Who was in charge of UN peacekeeping? -> Kofi Annan <- who completely disregarded all reports of the impending (fingers in his ear and lalalala sound out of his mouth).

Who was president of the US at that time? Bill Clinton along with all the current Democratic luminaries who knew definitely what was going on.

In fact, France who had the Hutus as clients were busy covering up and explaining away the genocide as it was ongoing.

The airplane crash that sparked the conspiracy that lead to the genocide? The UN recovered the black box that proved the events detailed in the conspiracy were false, but promptly put it in storage and forgot about it.

Rwanda was a disgrace.
Agreed, though Boutros Boutros Ghali and the Security Council deserve far more blame than Annan. Annan had no power to approve anything the Security Council did not want. Ghali could have been more public and shamed the Security Council into acting, but didn’t want to anger Security Council governments. Clinton clearly deserves a lot of blame, though frankly, I doubt a Republican in office at that time would have behaved much differently.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Had the U.S. not become involved in Cambodia to support the war in Vietnam, Sihanouk would have remained as ruler of a backward rural country. It’s border with South Vietnam would have been controlled by the North Vietnamese, but the rest of the country would have continued it’s bucolic existence."

Since when has a revolutionary Communist movement ever, ever, ceased in its attempts to gain power without being soundly and thoroughly smashed? Examples? And just how was the ineffective government of Sihanouk going to prevent it?

"Only Cambodia went Communist."

And Laos.

" The Killing fields were due to the psychotic philosophy of Pol Pot’s hatred for modernity"

What is your definition of "modernity"?
 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
It’s more accurately described as bad, but a general improvement on the state prior to the end of the war, i.e. the war.
By the end of the war, at least the part of the war we were participating in, the VC were gone, the North was largely bottled up past its border despite its COMBLOC support, and the RVN was in a position to follow the Taiwanese course of increasing prosperity and liberalization.

That possibility was closed off by our treachery. That treachery was brought about by the Congress, and to our shame endorsed by mopst of the American people.

Instead, the RVN got Hanoi.

Glasnost, you are a moron.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
By the end of the war, at least the part of the war we were participating in, the VC were gone, the North was largely bottled up past its border despite its COMBLOC support, and the RVN was in a position to follow the Taiwanese course of increasing prosperity and liberalization.
And magic fairies were spreading pixie dust to make all the world a lovely and beautiful place...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Killing fields were due to the psychotic philosophy of Pol Pot’s hatred for modernity
It had nothing to do with modernity. He and others believed that the only way you could suppress counter revolution and ensure the success of a communist state was to remove all those who had the intellectual capacity to resist it.

So anyone who wore glasses, anyone who had a watch, etc.

 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
It had nothing to do with modernity. He and others believed that the only way you could suppress counter revolution and ensure the success of a communist state was to remove all those who had the intellectual capacity to resist it.
One reason I oppose ideology is that Pol Pot is an example of where it can lead. He so believed in his Marxist inspired vision of a perfect utopia that he thought it OK to kill off those who may be "corrupted" by exposure to modernism and the West so that the youth could be taught to have the "proper" moral virtues.

Stalin killed 20 million. Mao’s policies caused famines which killed 30 million. Pol Pot killed almost 2 million, but nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population. Ideology, especially the virulent form of Marxism that posits the possibility of some kind of utopia from above, is perhaps the most dangerous of human constructs.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And magic fairies were spreading pixie dust to make all the world a lovely and beautiful place...
And the destruction of the first attempt at invasion of the South by the North renders your attempt at sarcasm nugatory...

You are a fool Erb. Try responding to the statement if you can.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Ideology, especially the virulent form of Marxism that posits the possibility of some kind of utopia from above, is perhaps the most dangerous of human constructs.
The Enlightenment is ideology, you idiot. So was the American revolution, the One That Worked(TM).

The question is what ideology acceptably and best meshes with human nature, and it ain’t the assumptions or results of the sh!t you sling.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
" And magic fairies were spreading pixie dust to make all the world a lovely and beautiful place..."

Another of his idiot fantasies. I told you he was insane.

"may be "corrupted" by exposure to modernism"

What is this "modernism" idiocy you people are talking about? The Communist kill anyone who opposes them, "modernist" or not. "Modernism" is irrelevant, but I guess it does sound cool to use it if you are trying to impress the unwashed with your supposed intellectual prowess. Can you even define it? Not only pretentious, but wrong.

"Ideology, especially the virulent form of Marxism that posits the possibility of some kind of utopia from above, is perhaps the most dangerous of human constructs"

And this is stated as a truth, one might even say part of an idology. Don’t I recall something from a previous post about there being no truth? Idiot. At least be consistent.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"The Enlightenment is ideology, you idiot."

I think, Mr. Perkins, that we should try to be a little more creative in our choice of words, purely to avoid burnout or boredom. It also gets a distressingly redundant when we all use the same word(s). I know I could use a little more amusement to counteract the depression I feel when I contemplate that these cretins may have some actual influence over some poor unfortunate’s worldview (that’s weltanschauung for you pretentious ponces). Not that we are inaccurate, mind you.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Lance, I’m not really a student of the subject, not enough to pick apart your numbers, which, no offense, I’m sort of skeptical of. I suppose it’s possible that the North Vietnamese killed a million of their own people separate from the million or so of them the U.S. killed and I never heard about it, since the leftist-written history books are biased and all, but I’m not willing to take your word for it.

Frankly, I lean towards Erb in thinking that the Khmer Rouge would not have come up if not for the regional polarization, escalation, and regional psychosis induced by the war. That’s not the same as blaming the U.S. for the deaths: I’m happy to blame the Khmer Rouge. However, blaming the U.S. withdrawal for the Khmer Rouge is an absurdity: we never had a hope in heck of dealing with that.

I’m also very skeptical of the happy face tales of S. Vietnam turning into Taiwan if only we’d hung around. My understanding was that the leadership was a grab bag of corrupt thugs. If the local population had had any loyalty to them whatsoever, they wouldn’t have collapsed like pinatas when the North invaded. It’s sort of telling that there was a massive local resistance movement against the U.S. when we invaded, but not against the N.Vietnamese. Some will put that down to the brutality, etc, but color me, again, a little bit fuc*ing skpetical of that convenient excuse. We killed 400,000 S. Vietnamese putting down the Viet Cong, whereas N. Vietnam killed 140,000 when they won. You can weave as many tortured explanations as you like, but Occam’s Razor suggests the state of non-war was probably less fatal to the Vietnamese than the state of war.

This particular issue brings out a lot of the crazies in some people, so I’ll let it go at that. But "destroy the village to save it" pretty much sums it up for me. Arguments here are too rhetorical and unsubstantiated to convince me otherwise.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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