On today's date in The Beacon archives, we published:•The War on Higher Education (2011)
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Posted by Justin Jeffre
The Enquirer recently posted Boehner’s statement on the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. combat losses in Vietnam he claims that “the freedom and liberty Americans enjoy today were secured in Vietnam no less than in any of our other military conflicts”. Is he not aware that we now know that the Vietnam War (like Iraq) was based on a lie? How did losing the war in Vietnam-that was based on a lie and killed over 4 million innocent people-secure our liberty and freedom?
Boehner goes on to say, “As we mark today this solemn milestone of the loss of Master Sergeant Ovnand and Major Buis, let us always remember the courage and bravery of all those lost in Vietnam and honor the service of every Vietnam veteran who volunteered or answered their nation’s call.”
But shouldn’t we remember that Master Sergeant Ovnand, Major Buis, and the 58,259 other soldiers who were killed because of a bloody Imperial foreign policy—which is simply a racket designed to make profits for the war profiteers that fund crooked and foolish politician’s campaigns? And shouldn’t we also remember the lives of the 4 million innocent men, women and children who died in South East Asia because of that war?
The U.S committed very serious war crimes during that unconstitutional war. And I’m not just talking about massacres like the My Lai Massacre.
Democracy Now! reports that many people are still being affected by Agent Orange the horrors of that senseless war including second generation victims and our own veterans. Victims have sought justice in the courts with lawsuits against the US government and the largest makers of the deadly chemical Dow, Monsanto. The government used to deny its effects on soldiers but now gives small compensation to some American soldiers for rashes or chloracne related to Agent Orange exposure though it still denies it’s the cause.
Between 1962 and 1971, US warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of the poisonous dioxin over Vietnam. The Vietnamese government says this has left more than three million people disabled. Today, more than three decades after the end of the war, the effects of Agent Orange remain.
According to historian Marilyn B. Young, throughout World War II, in all sectors, the United States dropped 2 million tons of bombs; for the Vietnam War in Indochina the total figure is 8 million tons, with an explosive power equivalent to 640 Hiroshima-size bombs. Three million tons were dropped on Laos, exceeding the total for Germany and Japan by both the U.S. and Great Britain. For nine years, an average of one plane load of bombs fell on Laos every eight minutes.
Between 1964 and 1972 the war cost an estimated $133 billion - or $5.1 billion a month at present day values. Dr. King once said, “One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society… shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.”
Recently deceased former Secretary of (War) Defense and key architect of the Vietnam War Robert Strange McNamara confessed in his memoir in 1995 that the Vietnam War was “wrong, terribly wrong.”
“What went wrong was a basic misunderstanding or misevaluation of the threat to our security represented by the North Vietnamese,” he said in his Berkeley oral history. “It led President Eisenhower in 1954 to say that if Vietnam were lost, or if Laos and Vietnam were lost, the dominoes would fall.”
He continued, “I am certain we exaggerated the threat. We didn’t know our opposition. We didn’t understand the Chinese; we didn’t understand the Vietnamese, particularly the North Vietnamese. So the first lesson is know your opponents. I want to suggest to you that we don’t know our potential opponents today.”
McNamara certainly had a good understanding of the reasons used to justify the war. He was not only the key architect and main apologist, but he was considered to be the brightest man in the nation by both President Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.
As Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome”. OK, so that isn’t the actual definition, but you get the point.
Does it make sense to compare the US’s war on Grenada, Panama, Korea or Vietnam to the importance of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War or WWII in securing our liberty and freedom? Is it disparaging the men and women that served in those military conflicts to say that those wars were a mistake? Or is as Frederick Douglas once said, “A lover of one’s country that rebukes it and does nt excuse its sins”?
Like WWII veteran and renowned historian Howard Zinn, I reject the notion that we have “good wars”. He asked, “Canada is independent of England, isn’t it?” Adding, “They didn’t fight a bloody revolutionary war. Why do we assume that we had to fight a bloody revolutionary war to get rid of England?” Did other countries have slavery? I think so and many ended slavery in their countries without a bloody civil war.”
Zinn said, “We’ve got to rethink this question of war and come to the conclusion that war cannot be accepted, no matter what the reasons given, or the excuse: liberty, democracy; this, that. War is by definition the indiscriminate killing of huge numbers of people for ends that are uncertain. Think about means and ends, and apply it to war. The means are horrible, certainly. The ends, uncertain. That alone should make you hesitate.”
“Once a historical event has taken place, it becomes very hard to imagine that you could have achieved a result some other way. When something is happening in history it takes on a certain air of inevitability: This is the only way it could have happened. No. We are smart in so many ways. Surely, we should be able to understand that in between war and passivity, there are a thousand possibilities,” he said.
Unfortunately many of the people that are running our government don’t know basic history and therefore they have a warped world view. Boehner‘s statement, which is posted in its entirety at the bottom, says, “The heroism and dedication displayed by American and allied forces in Vietnam are a profound and unique testimony in the history of military arms.”
The biggest problem with this weird statement is that there were no “allied forces in Vietnam”. One would think that Boehner might know some basic history about the war he’s talking about because he spent 8 weeks in the Navy at the height of it before being discharged for medical reasons.
In The Fog of War—which was released in 2003 when the invasion of Iraq began—McNamara said, “We are the strongest nation in the world today. I do not believe that we should ever apply that economic, political, and military power unilaterally. If we had followed that rule in Vietnam, we wouldn’t have been there. None of our allies supported us. Not Japan, not Germany, not Britain or France. If we can’t persuade nations with comparable values of the merit of our cause, we’d better re-examine our reasoning.”
He went on to say, “War is so complex it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend,” he concluded. “Our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate. And we kill people unnecessarily.”
House Republican Leader John Boehner really is foolish. And he isn’t alone because Carl Weiser and the Enquirer post these foolish statements without questioning them or giving their readers basic facts and context. The 4th estate has an important role in the balance of power, especially when it comes to war.
Carl Weiser and the Enquirer are supposed to challenge those in power, but instead they simply act as stenographers, propagandists and a megaphone for corporations and their useful idiots like John Boehner. Carl Weiser and the Enquirer need a wakeup call. The Enquirer might not be tanking if it weren’t so clearly partisan and loose with the facts!
Boehner has become a regular fixture on Comedy Central’s Daily Show and the Colbert Report because he has so many foolish things to say. It’s a sad reality when people become better informed by fake news shows on Comedy Central than by major news outlets. That is how we end up with foolish representatives like House Republican Leader John Boehner and deadly lies—which lead us into wars that kill so many innocent people unnecessarily.
Boehner Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the First U.S. Combat Losses in Vietnam
WASHINGTON, DC - House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the loss 50 years ago today of U.S. Army Master Sergeant Chester Ovnand and Major Dale Buis, who were killed in a Vietcong ambush in Bien Hoa. They served as part of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, originally deployed in 1950 by President Harry Truman. Theirs are the first two names listed on the Vietnam Wall. “America’s involvement in Southeast Asia began not long after the dawn of the Cold War and lasted a quarter century. Ultimately, 58,261 American troops gave their lives in Vietnam defending freedom in the long struggle against totalitarian communism. The heroism and dedication displayed by American and allied forces in Vietnam are a profound and unique testimony in the history of military arms. America’s success in the Cold War and our ongoing success in the War on Terror are directly attributable to the military, logistical, and technological advancements made by our war fighters deployed in Vietnam. Their sacrifices in the jungles, battlefields, and skies over Vietnam ultimately gave the U.S. military a superior edge in every facet of combat arms.
“The freedom and liberty Americans enjoy today were secured in Vietnam no less than in any of our other military conflicts. As we mark today this solemn milestone of the loss of Master Sergeant Ovnand and Major Buis, let us always remember the courage and bravery of all those lost in Vietnam and honor the service of every Vietnam veteran who volunteered or answered their nation’s call.”
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