Similar to Vietnam? "The differences are so notable that it would take too long to list them," Def Sec Donald Rumsfeld remarked. Administration officials blanch at comparisons with Vietnam. And yet, the similarity in wording of presidential assurances can take on a creepy tone.
"America is committed to the defense of South Vietnam until an honorable peace can be negotiated," Johnson told the Tennessee Legislature on March 15, 1967. Despite the obstacles to victory, the president said, "We shall stay the course."
After fourteen Marines died in a roadside bombing on Aug. 3, Bush declared: "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. And the job is this: We'll help the Iraqis develop a democracy."
Still, though Truthout and others leap upon such similarities, I haven’t noticed anyone pick up on the two biggest ironies.
(1) The Right has long diagnosed failure in Vietnam as due to “politician meddling in military matters” (deeply underplaying Vietnamese Nationalist will & tenacity). Yet no war in American history has featured so much meddlesome fiddling by complete amateurs, over-ruling professional soldiers, than this intervention in Iraq.
(2) The guy who supervised our final humiliation in Vietnam was... Donald Rumsfeld.
And finally...a good old blog-style rant!
We all have pet peeves. One of my own came up recently in the form of an urban legend conspiracy theory. (Feel free to clip the following and use it whenever you see this old chestnut raised.)
Now, mind you, I know I sometimes come across as a conspiracy theory fetishist. I’m not, really, but some of the things I say about who might really be calling the shots in this current administration do seem to wind up leading us toward a pretty darn conspiratorial scenario! (Hey, real world conspiracies can happen!)
Still, most conspiracy theories revolve around one central motive... helping to make the theorist feel romantically cool and smart and much more in-the-know than his fellow citizens, or historians, or anyone else among the benighted masses. Conspiracies swarm through Third World bazaars causing no end of grief. One is responsible for a huge outbreak of polio in many Muslim countries, just as the World Health Organization seemed on the verge of wiping out that scourge, forever.
Busting these piles of nonsense is the job of any true modernist... hence the jazz one has to get from the “Myth Busters” TV show! Indeed, this is one of the strongest reasons to fight for a relatively transparent world.
All right then. Here I go. The "FDR Knew About Pearl Harbor" myth is the biggest piece of utter lying insane hogwash in circulation today. It is utter malarkey and drivel of the first water.
Yes, FDR was driving Japan against the wall in order to get them to commit a casus belli. That’s no secret. The oil and resource embargo against Japan, heroically assisted by the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia (despite threats against their families by the Nazis controlling Holland) was what succeeded in forcing Japan to attack. (Of course, the outrages in China more than justified an embargo.)
On the other hand... Think. will you? Yes, he wanted them to attack... and expected them to attack the Philippines. That’s what historians, FDR, and George Marshall (arguably the greatest man of the 20th Century) all said.
No, FDR did not want to enter the war with the Pacific Fleet destroyed! What insane doggy poo!
THINK! If they knew the Japanese were coming to Pearl, fine. Wouldn't they, thereupon, have wanted to win that battle? What’s even better than the enemy starting a war when you want it started? Why, having them start it and lose!
If the Japanese come 4,000 miles, stick their necks out, start a war... and LOSE... that frees FDR to send almost all US resources to what he considered the "real" fight... against Hitler. If he knew they were coming, he'd order an ambush! At LEAST he would have had Halsey's carriers ready to pounce. All the subs would sortie and stake-out along the northern approaches. Torpedo nets would be up. For freaking sakes, PLANES would take off, ready to make the attacker pay as soon as they legally start war by crossing Hawaiian air space.
This piece of arrant nonsense proves that cynics can be the biggest fools of all.
See also Conspiracies and Wishful Thinking: How to tell the difference.
News flash from David Brin - (Repeats an earlier announcement, but pass it on.)
Along with authors Stephen King, Amy Tan, Peter Straub and others, I have joined a fundraising auction to help the First Amendment Project, http://stores.ebay.com/AuctionCause an online campaign to support free speech.
Most of my peers are offering the highest bidder a chance to have naming rights for a character in a coming novel... or to be "killed" (in Stephen King's case). To be different, I’m auctioning the right to have your name given to either an alien race, to a garish building, or to a uniquely gruesome and inexplicable disease. Hey, it's for a good cause. Bidding opens Thursday Sept. 15, and runs through Sept. 25.
(Oh, finally, we won't see a "space elevator" above Earth in our lifetimes. Even if it would work, the liability insurance, in case the thing broke, would be staggering. The lower half would strike Earth at hypersonic speeds, paining a charred "equator line" all the way around!)