Sunday, June 26, 2005

What are we doing in Vietnam?

In April 1975 Marine helicopters lifted the last Americans off the rooftop of our embassy in Saigon, and out of Vietnam. By the end of the month the Communist forces had taken control of all Indo-China and embarked on one of the most horrific social-engineering experiments in world history. These crimes are unknown to many Americans – for example the kids my age who didn't learn about them in school, and the former Vietnam War protestors who are afraid to acknowledge what a disaster the American withdrawal turned out to be. The ignorance is overwhelming: a search for "Vietnam atrocities" on the web will bring you reports of American "atrocities!"

Communist regimes murdered millions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The Commies were at their worst in Cambodia, under the Khmer Rouge and the social re-engineering of the Angka Loeu, whose plan was first put into action in April 1975. As Paul Johnson explains in his brilliant history Modern Times:


"On April 17 over 3 million people were living in Phnom Penh. They were literally pushed into the countryside...Every hospital was emptied. All papers and records in the city were destroyed. All books were thrown into the Mekong River or burned on the banks...Rockets and bazookas were fired at houses where any movement was detected. There were many summary executions. The rest were told, 'Leave immediately or we will shoot all of you.' By evening the water supply was cut off...

"On April 23 troops began emptying other cities... In Siem Reap over one-hundred patients in the Monte Peth hospital were murdered in their beds with clubs and knives; forty more were killed in the military hospital. Following the pattern of Stalin in Poland, there were massacres of officers: at Mongkol Borei, for instance, a group of two-hundred were driven into a minefield laid specially for the purpose. At the Svay Pagoda near Sisophon, eighty-eight pilots were clubbed to death. Other groups murdered en masse were street beggars, prostitutes, the seriously wounded and incurably sick found in hospitals, civil servants, teachers and students."

Those are the true atrocities of the Vietnam War. The similar crimes of the Vietnamese government prompted tens of thousands of "boat people" to risk their lives leaving Vietnam – and six out of ten never made it. Reformed Communist and former PRG Minister of Justice Truong Nhu Tang was a successful escapee. He wrote of Communist Vietnam: “Never has any previous regime brought such masses of people to such desperation. Not the military dictators, not the colonialists, not even the ancient Chinese overlords.” The Communists are still in power today, of course, and the repression continues, except that Vietnam is no longer openly called a murderous dictatorship – it is instead a “Country of Particular Concern.”

And so on Tuesday, June 21, President Bush received the Communist Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai at the White House, and, in a disgraceful fit of ‘reaching out’ reminiscent of the Clinton Presidency, accepted an invitation to go to Vietnam. In the meantime, a group of about 200 mostly Vietnamese-American protestors outside the White House was ignored.

Later that evening, Commie Van Khai was introduced at a formal dinner by none other than former Vietnam POW Senator John McCain. The dinner was briefly interrupted when a balding protestor, believed to be a Vietnam Vet, shouted “you’re a traitor!” towards the stage. The man was quickly kicked out by security guards. Since McCain

has apparently forgotten what he was doing at the Hanoi Hilton (and what was done to him) I will remind him with excerpts from one of his own pieces:

“We say [“before I got killed”] instead of "before I got shot down," because in becoming a prisoner in North Vietnam was like being killed.

“They took me out of my room to "Slopehead," [an interrogator] who said, "You have violated all the camp regulations. You're a black criminal. You must confess your crimes." I said that I wouldn't do that, and he asked, "Why are you so disrespectful of guards?" I answered, "Because the guards treat me like an animal."

“When I said that, the guards – who were all in the room, about 10 of them – really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn't have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.”

Did McCain stand up with hundreds of other prisoners under that gruesome torture only to find himself 30 years later as a consummate politician, whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the Communist government responsible for that torture?

As any of my regular blog readers knows, I support the Bush administration. And that makes me all the more disgusted with Bush and McCain and wishy-washy Republicans in general when something like this happens. I expect to see a morally vacuous leader like Clinton go to Vietnam, or reopen trade with the Vietnamese Communists (both of which he did – the US is now Vietnam’s largest trading partner). Equally, I expect leaders who have shown dignity and courage to understand that the fight is not over just because the war is over. As long as the Communists are still in power – as long as a man can be tried and sentenced to prison in half a day for using the word “democracy” – Vietnam is our enemy.

43 Comments:

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

Vietnam's army overthrew the Khmer Rouge in 1979. The U.S. provided Pol Pot support when Vietnam invaded.

So why are you blaming Vietnam for Pol Pot's atrocities?

Oops!

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

As a matter of fact, Pol Pot did not become head of state until after the events I describe. I was careful to atribute these atrocities to the Communist regimes, which were all extremely evil (and yes I do know that the Vietnamese later broke with Pol Pot, and finally invaded Cambodia and threw him out). I see that you still have a way to go with reading comprehension.

 
At 8:53 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

Right... except the Vietnamese and the Rouge were shooting at each other as Phnom Penh fell, and Sihanouk was a figurehead.

The emptying of Phnom Penh is irrelevant. I can see that you still have a way to go with the concept of relevance.

 
At 8:11 AM, Blogger allen said...

Yeah Dan, Commander Mike'll tell you all about relevence. Why those long, off-topic cut-and-pastes are relevent for, uhhh, just how are they relevent?

Commander Mike wrote:

The U.S. provided Pol Pot support when Vietnam invaded.

Cite? Or should we just contact your proctologist?

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Matthew said...

BLAME AMERICA!

Funny, Dan writes a simple article about how past and current Vietnamese communist atrocities are being ignored and all liberals can do is say BLAME AMERICA! Commander Mike’s responses revolved around finding the one thing he could try to blame on America.

Nice Mike, nice. Dan did not even blame the atrocities in Cambodia on Vietnam. That was just an example of freedom loving communism at its best in South East Asia.

Never mind the evil communist government in power, we have to find something to blame on America and quick!

“Eck, democracy and capitalism makes me sick too! Now go get my big mac and star bucks coffee so I can write an article critical of my government!”

You guys are really stretching and over analyzing this one.

Oh and by the way, I am sure the righteous and good hearted communist regime in Vietnam had only the best intentions when overthrowing Pol Pot. It had nothing to do with the expansion of their communist rule. Stop using smoke screens to side step the main point of an article.

Here, we can all read a brief on Pol Pot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

Are you channeling Ann Coulter? You're like a parody of yourself. Really, I point out a technical flaw in Dan's argument, and suddenly I HATE AMERICA. Maybe it follows in extremist-nutball land, but in the real world, it's non sequitur.

When you're done sodomizing that straw man, post something serious, and I will take it seriously. I will not further indulge you in childish flame wars.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

Did you just miss the entire point of my post?

You said

"So why are you blaming Vietnam for Pol Pot's atrocities?"

Correct?

Well to better inform you, Dan did not blame Vietnam for Pol Pot's actrocities. Not only that, but you found the one thing in the entire article you could try and blame on the US.

"The U.S. provided Pol Pot support when Vietnam invaded."

That in itself speaks wonders about you. You found the one thing you could blame on America. Instead of addressing the main point of this article, you fired back with some irrelevant point about the US providing support for the Khmer Rouge.

Stop using smoke screens and address the main point of this article. That is, if you have any objections to the main point.

 
At 1:20 AM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

I adressed your point. It's a straw man argument, a change-of-subject, a smokescreen, and a waste of my time. That is how I adressed your point.

But since you show signs of being able to think like a human being, I'll try this one last time. Dan gives us this long spiel on the aftermath of Phnom Penh. He directly follows this up with: "Those are the true atrocities of the Vietnam War." The Phnom Penh atrocities are "the true atrocities of the Vietnam War". This is what Dan says. This is the technical flaw in Dan's argument that weakens it and makes it look silly. And I am pointing this out because I want to encourage him to post correct arguments, because I like it when people make sense.

Looks like I'm right and you're wrong.

(And stow whatever change-of-subject follow-up rant you're thinking about posting.)

 
At 4:25 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

The arguement that the United States should have stayed in Vietnam for humanitarian reasons is one you can not hold Dan. The United States committed plenty of atrocities that resulted in the deaths of millions around the world during the Cold War, Pol Pot is a good example, you could also look at all of Central and Southern America. Perhaps also the Middle East. Also the matter of the United States killing millions in Vietnam kinda kills your arguement.

But when you decry the United States I find it very interesting. Because while you would obviously support the United States using an army to "democratize" the Vietnamese, you fail to understand that militaries suck at creating democracies, whereas markets and wealth are flawless.

Simply put, the ends justify the means, if we open up tons of trade with Vietnam and assist relations with them, it will cause increases in wealth that have ALWAYS led to freedom, democracy, and all that good stuff.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

Mr. Alec, it is times like these, when I read your thoughts (such as they are) that I realize the full extent of your irretrievable stupidity. You seem to suggest, in an outrageous display of Durbinism, that Americans committed atrocities in Vietnam that rival those of the Vietnamese and of Pol Pot. If there are ever times that I start doubting the complete rightness of my position, all I have to do is read one of your posts, and I'm back in action again. Forgive me for that ad hominem, but nothing else can suffice. You sir, are a moron.

 
At 8:58 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

And you, sir, will never get laid.

Ad hominem is the opposite of an appeal to authority. Ad hominem is an attack used as a hypothesis. What you have is the converse, an attack used as a conclusion. You might want to look all those fancy words up. What you have is a mere childish insult, the sort of which I left behind in high school. "You, sir, are a moron"? Spare me.

Everything Alec says is factually correct and easily verifiable (except for Pol Pot, whom the U.S. only started to support a while after he was done killing millions) and the fact that you refuse to believe it on ideological grounds says quite a bit about how worthwhile you are as a human being.

Ideology will only win arguments in your head. In the real world, we pay attention to facts.

If being responsible for the deaths of millions around the globe, in the name of "anti-communist" battles that never won anything, if that's an atrocity on the level of Vietnam, well, America's guilty. This might contradict your ideology, but the truth does not care about your ideology.

Yeah, I'm "blaming America" now, aren't I? Well, America should have not killed millions in useless wars. You disgust me, child.

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger Gary Aminoff said...

Dan,

It is somewhat idealistic to imagine that the President can decide with whom the United States can have relations on purely moral reasons. Politics is pragmatic. Vietnam was over 30 years ago. Southeast Asia is important to the United States.

It would not be practical to not receive the Prime Minister of Vietnam in order to further the interest of the United States.

Yes the communist regime was brutal, and the regime is still communist, but the U.S. needs to futher its interests in the region.

While it would be ideal to have matters of state based solely on morality, it would not work in the real world.

Gary Aminoff
http://beartotheright.blogspot.com

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

As a matter of fact Mike, an ad hominem attack is one directed against a man -- in other words, a personal attack. It has nothing to do either with opening or closing arguments.
You both seem to think that the United States murdered millions. Alright, what were these atrocities that accounted for those million?

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Theorigamist said...

I've been gone for a while, busy with a job, but nothing appears to have changed. Go figure.

I don't feel like spending the time to respond to all of the arguments that I've missed, so I'll just jump in on this ad hominem argument.

Dan, you're missing a key thing in your definition. Yes, ad hominem is an attack, either on somebody's character or on special circumstances. But the other part of the definition that you ignore is that ad hominem is a type of fallacy. Why the hell are you bickering about whether you used it as a hypothesis or a conclusion, when you should be fully aware that you shouldn't be using ad hominem arguments at all?

By the way, just to end this useless dictionary debate about ad hominem's precise meaning, here it is, from the Introduction to Logic: Tenth Edition, by Irving M. Copi and Carl Cohen (Holy citing my sources, Batman!):

("At the person") An informal fallacy in which the object of attack is not the merits of some position, but the person who takes that position. When the attack is on the character of the person, the fallacy is called an "abusive ad hominem"; when the attack is grounded on the special circumstances of some person, the fallacy is called a "circumstantial ad hominem."

Also, just so it's clear, Commander Mike is absolutely correct in saying that an ad hominem attack is used as a hypothesis rather than a conclusion. Otherwise, it's not an attack, it's a conclusion.

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Beowulf, King of the Geats said...

I, Beowulf, King of the Geats, beat my chest and affirm the position of Republican Dan. Economic and Social ties cannot flourish and enrich two nations that have fought each other in the past. America's empire should be based on a policy of military victory first, economic development second, not economic successes for America and the partner nation backed up by military strength. Henceforth, there shall be no healing of the wounds of old wars, all sores shall fester, and all reconcilliation shall be undone. Therefore, due to the nightbombing campaigns committed against Japan in World War II, she shall henceforth reject all American trade and ideals such as liberty and capitalism and return to her state as an isolationist Imperial island. Because of World War II, World War I, The Franco-Prussian War, The Napoleonic Wars, the French and Indian War, The defeat of the Spanish Armada and 100 years war, the European Union, and all of its economic and social benefits shall immediately be cancelled, and Europe shall return to its rightful place as the most warlike continent on Earth. Due to the destruction of the Temple in 67 A.D., Israel shall immediately close off all trade with the former Roman Empire, then immediately resume hostilites with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabi, and Germany for good measure (Although on your wise advice they will discontinue the policy of having women in front-line combat roles that has saved them time and again.)
Most importantly, we shall kick out all the republicans, carpetbaggers and scalawags, the period of "reconstruction" shall end, and the South shall rise again!

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

As a matter of fact Dan, I looked up "Ad Homenim" before making that post. You didn't.

Instructions: open mouth, insert foot here.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

Ten bucks says the next blog post is about the Supreme Court.

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Dan, you can call me a moron all you want, it does not really bother me, but when you distort statements and come off as so naive to the reality of United States foreign policy over the past 60 years, that is what really pisses me off. So lets review how poorly you read and understood what I said.

You say: "You seem to suggest, in an outrageous display of Durbinism, that Americans committed atrocities in Vietnam that rival those of the Vietnamese and of Pol Pot."

Focus in on the part where you say, IN VIETNAM

Now what I said: "The United States committed plenty of atrocities that resulted in the deaths of millions around the world during the Cold War."

Now focus in on the part where I said, during the Cold War, and I think that is a position I can hold given what happened in all of the Middle East, all of Africa, all of South America, and all of Asia. So basically take away the G8, the Soviet Bloc, and China and the United States fucked them up, in varying degrees of atrocities. You can assert all you want that the United States has clean hands, but millions all over the world died so that the United States could win the Cold War. Not that Russia was any better, but perhaps your warped notion of Good and Evil is just that, warped...biatch.

Now if you want specific atrocities in Vietnam, which is that assertion you created I made. Well I will defend this phantom arguement of mine, because it happens to be correct. About the 1-2 million civilians killed by American troops and bombs all because in the 1950s the Vietnamese freely voted to unite under the North. The United States did not like that a country and people had "incorrectly" determined their course, so we blew the shit out of them for a couple decades. That seems like an atrocity to me. How about you Dan? Or am I just such a moron?

Now to what I said of substance and what you failed to acknowledge. I responded to your statements about how it is terrible that the United States would ever fraterenize with Vietnam by giving an excellent economic explanation. How economics is infinitely more effective at democratizing and "Americanizing" than any military force. That shows how your crying about Clinton and Bush's signing of trade deals with Vietnam is stupid simply because the ends justify the means.

Please read statements before thinking about them. Please understand statements before commenting on them and please please please, don't act like you are the cock of the walk when all you have is blind faith in lies and a daddy who will publish you in whatever you want.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

mr alec and commander mike

do u guys have aim sn's?

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

cynicalkane

 
At 8:03 PM, Blogger allen said...

Mr. Alec wrote:

About the 1-2 million civilians killed by American troops and bombs all because in the 1950s the Vietnamese freely voted to unite under the North.

Cite?

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Screen name is bam022

On the issue of Vietnam and the number of casualties, I have read it in a number of places that I do not feel like digging through. However wikipedia confirms my assertions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War

You can look at civilian casualities. They list 2-4 million.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger fmragtops said...

I'm too young to know anything about Viet Nam, but Mr. Alec, you missplelled beyotch. According to the Icepick-RayRay dikshonery of ebonics: "when used as a conclusion the word is spelled Beyotch. The word should only be spelled biatch when used as a hypothesis."

Commander Mike, you said the millions that were killed in the name of stopping communism during the Cold War didn't win anything, but your boyfriend Mr. Alec said the millions died so the US could win the Cold War. Make up your minds guys. Your arguments will go better if you put up a united front.

Seriously though, all of you are acting like freakin' kids. We could spend all day attcking misused or misspelled words. Let's stick to the facts.

As for me, I can see both sides of the argument, but there is one thing that sticks out glaringly in the hippies' argument. If there is no free market in place prior to a country recieving the aid, how does it get to the people? Isn't that the basic problem with the billions being flushed down Africa? And one final question. Was winning the Cold War good or bad?

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

From what it looks like it was good.

But in order to win it we commited atrocites almost as bad (if not as bad) as the USSR

In the end we turned out to be the same thing we wortked so hard to destroy

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Fmragtops, look at China. It is not a democracy yet the money gets to the people. That is because our deals with Vietnam are not aid! It is trade, which is predicated on a market economy. Furthermore, nothing about democracy says that wealth goes to the people, if its a market economy, and trade is booming, then the country has no choice but to let money go to the people. Read every publication on development and nation building ever, and they will confirm this arguement.

By the way, I am sorry I don't have a united front with various people on this comment board. I think Commander Mike is wrong, the US won the Cold War because we fought it by proxy and by never backing anyone that liked the color red, killing millions in doing so was unfortunate, but did win the Cold War (I am such a hippy aren't I).

Furthermore, calling me a hippy is hilarious, I am more conservative economically than anyone on this board. I actually believe in the free market and that money assuages all, everyone else here thinks stupid things like morals trump that. Man am I a hippy! Those economist hippies are so annoying aren't they.

Oh and lastly, you start your post by correcting my spelling, then later on say that we shouldn't get bogged down in issues of spelling.

-Mr. Alec

 
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