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Posts Tagged ‘vietnam war’

Let’s interrupt their fun

Posted by terres on March 27, 2010

Whichever way you look at it, the final war before the COLLAPSE has started

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the increasing American war front across the world: from Afghanistan to Africa and Latin America. This is the Third World War in all but name, waged by the only aggressive “ism” that denies it is an ideology and threatened not by introverted tribesmen in faraway places but by the anti-war instincts of its own citizens.

Have a nice world war, folks

25 Mar 2010
John Pilger

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the increasing American war front across the world: from Afghanistan to Africa and Latin America. This is the Third World War in all but name, waged by the only aggressive “ism” that denies it is an ideology and threatened not by introverted tribesmen in faraway places but by the anti-war instincts of its own citizens.

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception”. Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

“War is fun”, the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is revealed as having no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one “who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to values” (Hugo Young, the Guardian) compared with today’s public reckoning of a liar and war criminal.

Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the anti-war instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested Israel’s assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police “kettled” (corralled) thousands, first-offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry custodial sentences. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.

Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the “market” or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq’s clean water system and lead to “increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease”. So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted Unicef, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.

Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era”. Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys”. The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner”. We should interrupt their fun.

Copyright: The author/publication.

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Time We Elected an Independent Candidate for President?

Posted by terres on July 13, 2008

submitted by a reader

How McCain the “war criminal” turned Psywar Stooge Against American Servicemen

From Glory Boy to PW Songbird

John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam’s Go-To Collaborator?

By DOUGLAS VALENTINE

If you have no idea what war is about, thank your gods. It is not what you see in Mel Gibson movies, nor is it hidden within the Big Lie Big Brother tells you about Pat Tillman’s heroic “Army of One” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When my father was in New Guinea with the 32nd Division in 1942, his fellow American soldiers would point their long Springfield rifles skywards and shoot at American pilots flying overhead.

“Glory Boys,” the long-suffering ground troops called them. …

McNasty

In the fall of 1967, Navy pilot John McCain was routinely bombing Hanoi from an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. On October 26, he was trying to level a power plant in a heavily populated area when a surface-to-air missile knocked a wing off his jet. Banged-up John McCain and what was left of plane splashed into Truc Bach Lake.

A compassionate Vietnamese civilian left his air raid shelter and swam out to McCain. McCain’s arm and leg were fractured and he was tangled up in his parachute underwater. He was drowning. The Vietnamese man saved McCain’s sorry ass, and yet McCain has nothing but hatred for “the gooks” who allegedly tortured him. As he told reporters on his campaign bus (The Straight Talk Express) in 2000, “I will hate them as long as I live.”

Americans have to hate people, and dehumanize them as “gooks” or “rag-heads” in order to drop bombs on them. Stirring up such hatred is the forte of the US government, as witnessed by its Israeli-driven PR campaign against Arabs and Moslems. That’s why Bush and his media minions tied “brutal dictator” Saddam Hussein to 9/11 – so Americans would hate Iraqis enough to kill and abuse them in a thousand ways, everyday, for five years. Or, according to McCain, for 100 years if necessary.

The flip side to the equation is that people generally hate those who drop bombs on them. When the Germans dropped bombs on London, the Allies called it Terror Bombing. The French resistance especially hated the Germans, especially after the Gestapo set up shop in occupied France in 1940. …

The Vietnamese had good reason to hate McCain. On his previous 22 missions, he had dropped God knows how many bombs killing God knows how many innocent civilians. “I am a war criminal,” he confessed on “60 Minutes” in 1997. “I bombed innocent women and children.”

If he is sincere when he says that, why isn’t he being tried for war crimes by the U.S. Government?

In any event, the man who rescued McCain tried to ward off an angry mob, which stomped on McCain for a while until the local cops turned him over to the military. McCain was in pain, but suffering no mortal wounds. He was, however, in enough pain to break down and start collaborating with the Vietnamese after three days in a hospital receiving treatment from qualified doctors – something no other POW ever enjoyed.

War is one thing, collaborating with the enemy is another; it is a legitimate campaign issue that strikes at the heart of McCain’s character…or lack thereof. …

The question is: “What kind of collaborator was John McCain, the admitted war criminal who will hate his alleged torturers for the rest of his life?”

Put another way, how psychologically twisted is McCain? And what actually happened to him in his POW camp that twisted him? Was it abuse, as he claims, or was it the fact that he collaborated and has to cover up?

Covering-up can take a lot of energy. The truth is lurking in his subconscious, waiting to explode. A number of US officials, including Andrew Card, have commented on McCain’s inexplicable angry outbursts.

In a July 5 2006 NewsMax.com article, former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), was quoted as having said about McCain: “I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues…. He would disagree about something and then explode.” Smith called it “irrational behavior. We’ve all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I’ve never seen anyone act like that.” …

The Admiral’s Bad Boy

In the forced-labor camp where my father was tortured by the Japanese, the POWs killed anyone who collaborated. Indeed, the ranking POW in my father’s camp, an English Major, made a deal with the Japanese guaranteeing that no one would attempt to escape. When four prisoners escaped, the Major reported it. The Japanese sent out a search party, which found the POWs and brought them back to camp, where they were beheaded on Christmas morning 1943. …

McCain, in his carefully prepared statements, claims he was tortured while in solitary confinement, and that is why he signed a confession saying, “I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors.”

However, on March 25, 1999, two of his fellow POWs, Ted Guy and Gordon “Swede” Larson told the Phoenix New Times that, while they could not guarantee that McCain was not physically harmed, they doubted it.

As Larson said, “My only contention with the McCain deal is that while he was at The Plantation, to the best of my knowledge and Ted’s knowledge, he was not physically abused in any way. No one was in that camp. It was the camp that people were released from.”

Guy and Larson’s claims are given credence by McCain’s vehement opposition to releasing the government’s debriefings of Vietnam War POWs. McCain gave Michael Isikoff a peek at his debriefs, and Isikoff declared there was “nothing incriminating” in them, apart from the redactions.

McCain had a unique POW experience. Initially, he was taken to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp, where he was interrogated. By McCain’s own account, after three or four days, he cracked. He promised his Vietnamese captors, “I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.”

His Vietnamese capturers soon realized their POW, John Sidney McCain III, came from a well-bred line of American military elites. McCain’s father, John Jr., and grandfather, John Sr., were both full Admirals. A destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, is named after both of them.

While his son was held captive in Hanoi, John McCain Jr., from 1968 to 1972, was the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Pacific Command; Admiral McCain was in charge of all US forces in the Pacific including those fighting in Vietnam.

One can only wonder when the concierge at the Hanoi Hilton started taking calls from Admiral McCain. Rather quickly, one surmises, for the Vietnamese soon took John Boy McCain to a hospital reserved for Vietnamese officers. Unlike his fellow POWs, he received care from a Soviet doctor.

“This poor stooge has propaganda value,” the Vietnamese realized. The Admiral’s bad boy was used to special treatment and his captors knew that. They were working him.

For his part, McCain acknowledges that the Vietnamese rushed him to a hospital, but denies he was given any “special medical treatment.”

However….two weeks into his stay at the Vietnamese hospital, the Hanoi press began quoting him. It was not “name rank and serial number, or kill me,” as specified by the military code of conduct. McCain divulged specific military information: he gave the name of the aircraft carrier on which he was based, the number of US pilots that had been lost, the number of aircraft in his flight formation, as well as information about the location of rescue ships.

On the other hand, according to one source, McCain’s collaboration may have had very real consequences. Retired Army Colonel Earl Hopper, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, contends that the information that McCain divulged classified information North Vietnam used to hone their air defense system. …

According to the elder Hopper, McCain told his North Vietnamese captors, “highly classified information, the most important of which was the package routes, which were routes used to bomb North Vietnam. He gave in detail the altitude they were flying, the direction, if they made a turn… he gave them what primary targets the United States was interested in.” Hopper contends that the information McCain provided allowed the North Vietnamese to adjust their air-defenses. As result, Hopper claims, the US lost sixty percent more aircraft and in 1968, “called off the bombing of North Vietnam, because of the information McCain had given to them.”

The Psywar Stooge

McCain was held for five and half years. Collaborating during the first two weeks might have been pragmatic, but he soon became North Vietnam’s go-to collaborator for the next three years. Given the quality of the military information he allegedly shared, his situation isn’t as innocuous as the pragmatic French barber who cuts the hair of the German occupier. McCain was repaying his captors for their kindness and mercy.

This is the lesson of McCain’s experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain’s campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him and in return, he danced to their tune.

Not content with divulging military information, McCain provided his voice in radio broadcasts used by the North Vietnamese to demoralize American soldiers.

Vietnamese radio propagandists made good use out of McCain. On June 4, 1969, a U.S. wire service headlined a story entitled “PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral.”

The story reported that McCain collaborated in psywar offensives aimed at American servicemen. “The broadcast was beamed to American servicemen in South Vietnam as a part of a propaganda series attempting to counter charges by U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird that American prisoners are being mistreated in North Vietnam.”

On one occasion, General Vo Nguyen Giap, the top Vietnamese commander and a nationalist celebrity of the time, personally interviewed McCain. His compliance during this command performance was a moment of affirmation for the Vietnamese. His Vietnamese handlers thereafter used him regularly as prop at meetings with foreign delegations.

In the custody of enemy psywar specialists, McCain became what he is today: a professional psywar stooge.

It is impossible to prove exactly what happened to McCain short of traveling to Vietnam and tracking down his captors, and picking up thee trail where it begins. According to The Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain, McCain says he only collaborated when he brutally tortured by his Vietnamese captors and a wicked Cuban he referred to as Fidel.

He says his confession led him to a suicide attempt.

“In the anguished days right after my confession,” McCain said in his autobiography Faith of My Fathers, “I had dreaded just such a discovery by my father.”

But as McCain discovered, dear old dad did know. …

But wait! McCain did not commit suicide. In fact, he’s alive, running for President on the “war hero” ticket, and promoting more war everywhere. The new McCain feels no distress at having been a collaborator or a war criminal – if he ever did.

According to Fernando Barral, a Cuban psychologist who questioned McCain in January 1970, “McCain was “boastful” during their interview and “without remorse” for any civilian deaths that occurred “when he bombed Hanoi.” McCain has a similar recollection, writing in his [autobiography] that he responded, “No, I do not” when Barral asked if he felt remorse.” …

“Barral said McCain boasted that he was the best pilot in the Navy and that he wanted to be an astronaut.” The Cuban psychologist concluded that McCain was [a] ‘psychopath.’” …

Psychopath McCain emerges, now, as a contemptible elitist, stewing in the crucible of his class conscience, the ultimate right wing psywar stooge.

McJekyll and McHyde

There are no public records from other POWs to confirm McCain’s self-aggrandizing claims, but his detractors, like fellow POWs Ted Guy and Gordon “Swede” Larson, and Colonel Hopper, have yet to be discredited or silenced by McCain’s PR team.

Hopper, Guy and Larson are part of a larger movement concerned with the fate of the 2,000 American veterans still missing in Vietnam. They’ve been pressing McCain to own up to his POW experience, drop the “war hero” posturing, and do more to provide a full accounting of the POWs and MIAs who were not as fortunate, privileged, or willing to collaborate as the would-be president. …

The American media accepts McCain’s “war hero” myth as gospel and, in so doing, bolsters the “straight talk” image so essential to his success in politics. In a recent TV interview with John Kerry, victim of the Swift Boat Heroes for Truth Movement in the last election, another “fortunate son,” Chris Wallace, actually took umbrage when Kerry criticized McCain. Son of media admiral Mike Wallace, Chris made Kerry admit that McCain was a hero. When it comes to psywar, the Vietnamese have nothing on the good old USA.

McCain learned his lesson well from the Vietnamese propagandists who used him for their psywar projects. But it’s not the collaboration that makes John McCain unfit for office; it’s the fact that he has managed to rewrite his collaboration into political capital. “He’s a war hero, respect him, or die.”

As a pedigree, the McCain family’s stature rests on the status and prestige of its achievements in the military: rank, medals, and most importantly to John McCain’s presidential campaign, the image of warrior masculinity: the straight talking maverick of the Republican Party, the 21st century rendering of Teddy Roosevelt.

Not exactly. In his current presidential campaign, he’s cozying up to the hate-mongering Christian right he once criticized. He’s reversed positions on so many issues that his Democratic rivals have assembled his contrasting statements into “The Great McCain Versus McCain Debates.

Underlying the Jekyll-Hyde reversals is McCain’s hidden past of collaboration. Somewhere in the unplumbed human part of John Sidney McCain III, he knows his POW experience contradicts the war hero image he projects. This essential dishonesty, this lie of the soul, is a sign of a larger lack of character – like the major in my father’s POW camp, but without the come-uppance.

McCain is not some principled leader, not a maverick cowboy fighting the powerful. He’s a sycophant. He believes in nothing but power and will do anything to attain it. He explodes in anger when challenged because, when a criticism hits to close to home, it goes to straight his deep-seeded shame.

McCain’s handlers have turned his unspeakable reality into a myth worthy of Teddy Roosevelt. No wonder the Glory Boy has stuck around Washington so long.

Doug Valentine is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, the story of his father’s experiences in a Japanese POW camp in World War Two. The Hotel Tacloban is available at Mr Valentine’s websites http://www.DouglasValentine.com and http://valentine.sb2.authorsguild.net

Full article and list of references

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