Obama’s Vietnam Speech
The reasons for rejecting Barak Obama’s brazen quest for yet another four years in office are seemingly unending. Where does one even start? His Wall Street appointees? Hooverian economic policies? Expansion of the Afghanistan War? Intensification of the Orwellian state? Mafia like global assassinations? Proposals to cut social security and medicare? The list goes on and on.
In this context, his Memorial Day speech on Vietnam is just another reminder of who he is and what he represents. The Vietnam War was, like the Korean War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and all other “interventions” after World War II, a colossal disaster. Defending a corrupt, unpopular, and undemocratic regime tied to French colonialism, the US unleashed utter destruction on this small country, dropping twice as many bombs as were dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II. It routinely sprayed toxic chemicals on peasant villages and the countryside and committed many other atrocities. Some one to five million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed in this immoral act of aggression.
In his speech, though, our Nobel Peace Prize president apparently sees no moral issues here and seems actually moved by the glory of it all. Here’s how he poetically describes the beginnings of expanded US combat in Vietnam:
It was January, in Saigon. Our Army pilots strapped on their helmets and boarded their helicopters. They lifted off, raced over treetops carrying South Vietnamese troops. It was a single raid against an enemy stronghold just a few miles into the jungle — but it was one of America’s first major operations in that faraway land.
Do we not hear glorious patriotic music in the background? Our eyes begin to dampen.
Obama continues and tells us the most important lesson of the Vietnam War wasn’t that it happened at all but that the troops weren’t always supported. Read this bit of babble:
And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam — most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there. You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor…. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. And that’s why here today we resolve that it will not happen again.
This is nonsense. The troops were blamed by very few, it was the leadership of this country that was being held accountable and it’s why Johnson decided not to run for a second term. A significant number of troops themselves opposed the war. The national shame and disgrace was Vietnam itself and Obama completely fails to address what forces should be held accountable for that. We all agree it wasn’t the young kids sent over there. Who specifically, Barack, should be held to blame? The silence is deafening.
The glorification of war proceeds:
As a nation, we’ve long celebrated the courage of our forces at Normandy and Iwo Jima, the Pusan Perimeter and Heartbreak Ridge. So let us also speak of your courage — at Hue and Khe Sanh, at Tan Son Nhut and Saigon, from Hamburger Hill to Rolling Thunder. All too often it’s forgotten that you, our troops in Vietnam, won every major battle you fought in.
So what lessons should be drawn from Vietnam? Or more to the point, from the unending series of violent conflicts after World War II? It’s pretty damn clear the leadership class in this country has learned nothing. Militarism continues and we can do little but marvel at how seamlessly one war links with the next, and how one existential threat, call it communism, so easily transforms into another, call it “terrorism”. Here’s what Obama has to tell us about lessons:
So let us resolve that when America sends our sons and daughters into harm’s way, we will always give them a clear mission; we will always give them a sound strategy; we will give them the equipment they need to get the job done. We will have their backs. We will resolve that leaders will be candid about the risks and about progress — and have a plan to bring our troops home, with honor.
Notice it’s when, not if, America sends its sons and daughters into war. This despite the fact that every fucking war this country has gotten into since 1945 has been in defense of corrupt unpopular regimes located thousands of miles away, has had no realistic bearing on true self defense, has in total cost tens of trillions of dollars, has led to vast carnage, and has objectively failed in its mission. And what worthless resolutions! Who could possibly object to providing a clear mission, a sound strategy, enough equipment, candidness or a plan to eventually bring the troops home with “honor”?
Here’s perhaps the most curious segment:
For we know that while your sacrifice and service is the very definition of glory, war itself is not glorious. We hate war. When we fight, we do so to protect ourselves because it’s necessary.
Military service is the very definition of glory? Preposterous! And are we to seriously believe the US regime that’s kept us in near constant war for almost 70 years actually hates war? We fight to protect ourselves because it’s necessary? To protect ourselves from the dire threat of what exactly? Korean and Vietnamese peasants? The Nicaraguan poor who seek land redistribution? A two bit dictator in Panama? The Caribbean islands of Grenada, population 110,000? Nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction”? A few thousand individuals in the Middle East? This is outlandish. The US ruling elite fights now and in the past because it seeks unfettered open markets for its banks and corporations, domination of natural resources, and the sheer naked glory of world power. And, damn it, it’s gloriously profitable!
As usual for a system built on money, there’s no real choice in the upcoming election. But I have to believe the forces of opposition will be much stronger without this faux progressive, Hooverian glorifier of war in office.