Archive for August 27th, 2005

An Interesting Comparison

August 27, 2005

I have read the comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam, but until now I had never read a comparison of Vietnam to what is going on with Venezuela.

So the question becomes: why is Robertson (and those who share his views) so frustrated with the president of Venezuela? Is he frustrated with Chavez’s attempts at building agricultural cooperatives through the implementation of land reform? Is Robertson frustrated with Venezuela using its oil revenue to promote literacy, health and other social programs? Or is it Chavez’s call to review all natural resource extraction contracts to make sure that Venezuela is being properly compensated for such assets?

Whatever Robertson’s frustrations with Chavez, they seem to be eerily reminiscent of the unwarranted frustrations the US had with the late Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam. The US was unnecessarily frustrated with the probability of having democratically held elections won by a socialist leader in the mid 1950s.

These were frustrations that did not allow the US to support the land reform efforts of Ho, that were then just as valid and necessary to Vietnam as the land reform efforts are now to Venezuela. These frustrations led to the demonization and conceptualization of Ho and his supporters. They became part of the feared “red menace” and “the domino theory” – just as Chavez and Venezuela have become Latin America’s premier “rogue nation” and leader in the eyes of the US.

That view of Ho blinded the US from helping Vietnam with its deep and historical security concerns with China, against which it had fought several wars of independence, which made it impractical for communist Vietnam to walk lockstep with communist China in the realm of foreign and domestic policy. Similarly, Chavez and Venezuela are erroneously viewed as following the same “revolutionary socialist” path as Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Such parallels between Ho and Chavez – or even Castro – seem to suggest that the frustrations that Robertson has with the Venezuelan president have little to do with his desire for democracy and social justice and more to do with the promotion of imperialism and empire. Therefore, just as the frustrations that led the US to go to war with Ho and North Vietnam were unwarranted, so, too, are the frustrations that led Robertson to voice such inflammatory rhetoric towards Chavez of Venezuela.

Wow. Makes a lot of sense. I just hope we don’t make the same mistake we made in Vietnam when we helped get the democratically elected president of South Vietnem assassinated. I mean, we already tried to get Chavez ousted and tried to rig the referendum election that re-elected him. America is in the wrong once again, saying we are spreading freedom (what ever the fuck that means anymore) while in reality becoming the new empire builders.

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Remember Pearl Harbour

August 27, 2005

A Japanese pilot remembers that day:

…”All my concentration was focused on that scope, and I couldn’t think about anything else but the target,” says Abe, now 89 and – by his own admission – a wiser man than the daring pilot who at Pearl Harbour fired one of the first shots of the second world war in the Pacific.

……………………………………………………

He raises his eyes slightly as he re-examines the memories of 7 December 1941, but finally shakes his head.

Abe did not know it at the time, but the three Aichi Type 99 “Val” aircraft that he led on the bombing run against the USS Raleigh worsened the damage caused by an aerial torpedo dropped a short while earlier, although the crew managed to keep the warship afloat and it was later repaired. None of the crew was killed.

Another part of the story that Abe only discovered after the war was that the attack was carried out before Japan had declared war against the United States.

“I had always believed the attack was preceded by a declaration of war 30 minutes earlier,” he said. “When I did find out, I was extremely shocked and frustrated. I felt terrible regret. In war, surprise is a justifiable military tactic that is often effective, but it can only be justified if it is preceded by an official declaration of war.”

……………………………………………………

Fighting a new battle now, against cancer, Abe says that greater diplomatic efforts in the run-up to the attack on Pearl Harbour could have avoided bloodshed and laments the failure of young Japanese today to acknowledge what his generation lived through.

“Most Japanese people don’t know anything about Pearl Harbour,” he says. “In the United States, every time that December 7th comes around they make sure they remember. The differences between the two countries are vast.”

A soldier is a soldier, no matter what side of the line they are shooting from. Go read the whole piece, then remember why we fight wars. Both sides lie to their troops to get them to fight. Both sides of war are wrong. But still we fight on, killing so a few can have more.