Re: [sixties-l] Re:Vietnam War (DH not mentioned)

From: Marty Jezer (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 21:55:11 CUT

  • Next message: William Mandel: "Re: [sixties-l] Re:Vietnam War"

    Ron is right, and the facts back him up. We dropped more tonnage of bombs
    on tiny
    Vietnam than we did on Nazi Germany -- a larger, more industrialized, and
    more populated country. We had total superiority in the air and the sea. We
    outgunned them, we bombed ruthlessly and recklessly with bombs, napalm, and
    agent orange. We destroyed the ecology of their country. The only thing we
    did not do was bomb dikes, which would have flooded population centers, and
    nuke Hanoi. Had we had done either of these things, we would have lost our
    Western allies, there would have anti-American rioting in every country in
    the world, and there would have been civil war at home. But to say the
    anti-war caused the loss or that LBJ did not have the will to win is
    military nonsense. We lost because our allies were corrupt and wouldn't
    fight, because the northerners (right or wrong) saw this as a war of
    national liberation -- a continuation of the war in which they defeated the
    french), because American military leadership was inept, and because after
    67 large sectors of the draftee army (much to their credit and honor) lost
    the will to fight except for their self-protection.

    The interesting question (a real difficult one), as I wrote in an earlier
    post, (lost in the DH furor) was whether the anti-war movement made a
    strategic mistake by taking a revolutionary turn in 1968 just when the
    mainstream population was opposing the war. I didn't understand then, but
    I do now, but had Humphrey become President (a sure thing with only token
    movement support), he would have been compelled to end the war on
    essentially the same terms Kissinger got a few years later. To continue the
    war would have destroyed his presidency and with it the Democratic Party.

    As Paul Joseph in his fine South End Press book, Cracks in the Empire,
    documents, the major elements of the Democratic Party, including its
    corporate financial backers, were ready to quit the war in 1968. The
    so-called "wise men" (that's a yuk) organized by Clark Clifford told LBJ
    the game was up. That's why he resigned. The anti-war movement, in my
    opinion, was about to achieve its goal of ending the war after the 68
    election when it took a revolutionary (violent and nonviolent) path. We
    bear some responsibility for electing Nixon President and for the war's
    continuation. I don't think we are morally to blame. We didn't order
    strategic bombing, Operation Phoenix, destroying villages to save them and
    other actions which, I believe, represent war crimes. But in our
    inexperience, enthusiasm, and misguided politics, we let an opportunity for
    peace to pass. Of course if Humphrey had had the courage to do what LBJ was
    too much of a coward to do and say the war had to be ended, he would have
    had our support and been elected. Then he would have had to produce if only
    to save his party. (As for the defense industry and it's support for the
    war, spending would have been high even without the war -- high defense
    spending in a stable domestic political situation is better for them than
    higher spending in a situation of political turmoil -- a point Paul Goodman
    and others made in 68. Ending the war would have been unpopular on the
    right, but the defense industry wouldn't have been desperate and many
    corporations, craving domestic stability, would have been happy to can it).
    Marty Jezer

    At 04:54 PM 6/14/2000 -0400, you wrote:
    >Regarding the "arguments" Horowitz makes concerning Vietnam: the reason
    >(as Ted M. stated) 2.5 million Vietnamese people died was not becasue the
    >antiwar movement demanded a withdrawal, it was becasue the war machinery
    >of the United Staes and its allies killed them, plain and simple. If our
    >call for a withdrawal had been heeded in 1967 or 1968 (even 1969) several
    >hundred thousand Vietnamese (and arguably Cambodians) would not have
    >died. The myth that it was the media and the antiwar movement which
    >caused the US defeat is exactly that-a myth. A major fact remains that
    >ruling elites in the US could not agree on how to run the war without
    >nuclear weapons and, although NIxon/Kissinger seriously considered doing
    >so, cooler heads prevailed in the wake of the major protests in Fall
    >1969. The primary evil power in the world (if one is to get
    >moralistic) should be measured by the number of evil acts undertaken by
    >its political and military machinery and, while the 20th century certainly
    >had more than its share of contenders for this title, it's seems pretty
    >certain that the US (especially in the post WW II era) will get quite a
    >few votes, probably a third place finish after Stalin's USSR and Hitler's
    >Reich (although some might give third to Mao's China in sheer tems of its
    >apparent barbarity. (The US system of empire is much more insidious and
    >consequently seems less sadistic to the casual observe).
    >Blaming the antiwar movement for the blodbath in Vietnam is a bit like
    >blaming those who opposed HItler's Reich in the 19030s in Germany for the
    >camps and slaughter that occurred therein. Or like Ronald reagan laying a
    >wreath at the SS cemetery in Bitburg and telling the worl that the members
    >of the SS were "victims" too......
    >-ron jacobs

    Marty Jezer  *  22 Prospect St. *  Brattleboro, VT 05301 * p/f  802 257-5644 

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