Post by David Arnstein Post by Tim May
the die was cast, so to speak, died for absolutely nothing. They were
just fed into the meatgrinder. But Kissinger was able to share the
Nobel Peace Prize with his buddy, the chief North Vietnamese negotiator
for the "peace talks," so I guess those 25,000 or so deaths were not in
vain. Yuk yuk yuk.)
This was the time of maximum dishonor in America's prosecution of the
Vietnam war. The leaders knew that the war was lost. Or more precisely,
they knew that the USA was unwilling to accept the expense, the loss of
life, and the brutality that would be required to defeat the enemy.
And yet, the American war machine rolled on. I will accept your figure
of 25,000 additional deaths, I don't have the heart to look it up for
myself. That would be 25,000 dead, entirely for the purpose of protecting
the careers of American leaders. No other benefits of the war effort
were expected by these leaders. That was the time of maximum dishonor.
I was just making a ballpark estimate, knowing that 1968 was the peak
year and that about 5 more years of American involvement lay ahead. Out
of curiousity, I just Googled for American war deaths by months, and
found a number of good charts. One of them is at:
It basically confirms that just about half the total number of war
deaths (58,000+) happened after about the 1968 period (the 7th year of
the war, in the chart, starting in 1961, at a very low level).
So the actual number after all the politicians knew it was over was
probably closer to 30,000.
And of course this is not counting the South or North Vietnamese who
died so that "American honor" could be upheld. (Many in the South
presumably would have preferred the South to win, but not enough to
actually win the war themselves. "Vietnamization" never really worked,
and within 18 months of the main departure of U.S. troops, the South
Interestingly, in my short Googling for this, I spotted a lot of people
making points about Vietnam and Iraq similar to mine (not
surprisingly), even some speculating that politicians on both sides of
the aisle will soon start speaking of "peace with honor" and "secret
plans to end the war."
This Iraq clusterfuck--pardon my French, but the term originated in the
Vietnam war--is far, far, far worse than the Vietnam version. We know
what happened after that one. Not a whole lot. Even some few good
things, such as when the Vietnamese sent troops into Cambodia in
1978-79 to remove Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. No dominos falling, no
Vietnamese following us back to our shores for revenge (as Julian M.
just quoted McCain as saying about Iraq). The Vietnamese followed us
back to our shores for other reasons, of course.
And, of course, even the hated Commies in Vietnam look like teddy bears
compared to Muslims who believe exploding themselves in crowded markets
sends them to Paradise. The good news is that this probably means
Condoleeza Rice or her successor in the next administration won't be
splitting a Nobel Peace Prize with some Taliban or Al Qaeda "peace with
The reason the Iraq clusterfuck will be so bad has many facets:
-- the 9/11 gang will now have the better part of an entire _country_
to work from, stocked with weaponry and highly experienced in IED
construction and use
-- the entire region, including nuclear Pakistan, is highly destabilized
-- and much of that part of the world, and even Europe, hates us...for
-- oil is pushing $100 a barrel, for various reasons, but Iraq is part
(I don't believe the primary reason for going to war in Iraq is oil,
though this is part of it. But for sure the real reason wasn't to get
"cheap oil" from Iraq....in fact, creating massive instability in that
region is really, really good for anyone who has oil wells ELSEWHERE.
Russia and Venezuela are major beneficiaries of the instability in Iraq
and nearby regions. So are a lot of American oil companies. To the
extent the war in Iraq was about oil it was probably about ensuring the
cessation of oil production there.)
Fact is, I'm not a believer in "democracry" as it is practiced even in
the U.S. and Europe. No time tonight to explain why, but it has to do
with past warnings about the long term implications of people being
able to vote goodies for themselves by taxing others, about mob rule,
But in any case, democracy forced onto countries that have NEVER had
any tradition of democracy, who have had strongman rule by kings or
dictators or juntas or just The Wealthy Families will not suddenly
learn democracry. Except in rare cases. It sort of worked in Japan,
partly because we had so massively pounded them so that a "reboot" was
possible. And also because Japan has a peculiar ability to reinvent
themselves, as in the 1860s, as in the early 20th century, and as they
recovered from the devastation of the war.
Democracy has not been successfully imposed in most of Africa, or in
the former Yugoslavia (Tito held things together....as Saddam Hussein
did in Iraq), or, seemingly, in Russia (where Putin is becoming a new
Actually, a strongman like Hussein was probably best for U.S. interests
in the region. And he wasn't even involved in 9/11 or Taliban or Al
Qaeda doings. (Despite the gung-ho nitwits who volunteered after 9/11
to "go kick some raghead butt in Iraq.")
Even America's insistence that Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass
destruction," despite being doubted by nearly everyone except those who
stovepiped the false information up the chain of command, was silly.
After all, one country over there was actually doing nothing to stop Al
Qaeda operations in its region. And that same country had nuclear
weapons. And that same country had the "madras" schools where many of
Al Qaeda's members were trained. And that same country was selling,
through its top officials, nuclear weapons knowhow to other countries.
What country was that? Why, Pakistan.
So, a country known to have WMDs. A country harboring Al Qaeda.
And yet we did nothing to them. Except ship more billions in money to
their government, most of which is probably even now in offshore bank
accounts. (Same thing happened in South Vietnam, by the way. When the
leaders fled, they had sizable bank accounts waiting to be accessed.
This does more to destabilize things than most people realize. The
leadership has an escape hatch already planned. No "skin in the game,
" so to speak...and much to be gained by fleeing in a chopper and
retiring to the beach.)
So, Pakistan had WMDs, Iraq did not. "Iraq must be stopped!"
Probably the real reason for attacking Iraq was that our planners
thought it would be a cakewalk, a quick "shock and awe" exercise to
teach other countries a lesson. And they knew they could not defeat
Pakistan....too many people. And the oil. Pakistan has none, so nothing
to be either grabbed, or, just as usefully, taken off the world market
through destruction of the production and transport facilities.
The Panama strategy...attack little countries.
Except things didn't work out quite so well. Obviously.
Now we have a country that is likely to be one giant training camp,
with a lot more hatred of America, and with nothing we can do about it.
And, as in the aftermath of Vietnam, the likely result will be a 10-15
year period of extreme American pacifism. Which won't be exactly bad,
in my opinion, but it sure will be the worst nightmare for all the
militarists and Israel First! hotheads.
I'll go out on a limb and speculate that this could end up costing
Israel its very existence. After the shellacking America takes over
Iraq, there will little heart for getting into a war with those
attacking Israel. And with a couple of small nukes from the
Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan/Pakistan Co-Prosperity Sphere of 2012, could be
lights out for Tel Aviv. Israel will of course strike back, or may
strike first. But the effect will be the same. A lot of instense gamma
ray and thermal sources for the evening news to show. The U.S. will
cluck, rave on at the U.N., and claim that "the Iraqi war protesters
lost us that war!" "Who lost Iraq?" may lead to "Who lost Israel?"
If so, this will be poetic justice, considering that it was the Israel
First! lobby which pushed for the invasion of Iraq.