Re: [sixties-l] Hiroshima as military target (Not a whole lot new here)

From: Carrol Cox (
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 17:34:07 CUT

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    "Craig M. Kind" wrote:

    > The bureaucratic and military inertia continued in the post-WWII
    > period. The use of napalm, Agent Orange, et al., seems to me an example of
    > the fetishization of technology.

    Would Vietnam suffering such miserable economic and social condtions now
    had the U.S. not saturated their land with napalm and agent orange? Of
    course not. Is it not in tha national interest of America (i.e., u.s. capital)
    that Vietnam be suffering such social and economic misery. Of course
    it is. Hence from the viewpoint of "America's interest" the use of napalm
    and agent orange was rational and wholly successful in achieving its aim.

    > The second point concerns the importance
    > of race in our foreign and military policies. In the post-WW II period,
    > our involvement around the globe has been based on racist assumptions;

    The *support* (or at least acquiescence) that the u.s. populace gave to
    these various adventures was (partly) grounded in racism (which was in
    tuirn grounded in the oppression of black people in the u.s.), and probably
    the powers-that-be took this into consideration in making military and
    diplomatic decisions. but the actions themselves had no linkage to
    racism whatever.

    Moreover, what do you mean, "our" foreign policy. Who is this "we"?

    > our
    > ignorance of other cultures never allowed us to see beyond the bogeyman of
    > Soviet Communism during the Cold War.

    Those who engendered the Cold War were perfectly aware that it was a mere
    bogeyman -- *they* (not we) depended on *our* (not their) willingness to
    be spooked by that bogeyman.

    > And that ignorance continues to lead
    > us by the nose today--why do we get involved in the Balkans yet shy away
    > from the conflicts in Africa and Asia?

    (1) Again, the convusion of "we" with "they" -- it is "they" not "we" who are
    involved in the Balkans. "We" divide into those who fight that involvement
    and those who in various ways are persuaded/forced into supporting or not
    resisting that involvement.

    (2) "They" are very much involved in the conflicts in Africa and Asia. The
    Africans and Asians could (after only a reasonable amount of bloodshed)
    resolve those crises if U.S. and European influence did not continuously
    rekindle them. The United States had the good fortune to be able to fight
    out its Civil War without excessive outside interference. Asia, Africa,
    and Latin America have their civil wars channeled and frustrated by outside
    interference. This vastly increases both the short range and the long range

    > The phrase "American interests" is
    > most abused as a justification for both action and inaction.

    You have to understand what "American interests" means in material actuality.
    It certainly has nothing to do with the interests of the American people.

    > Sadly, we have never learned any real lessons from our military escapades.

    "They" certainly have. They've learned that those military escapades really
    bring home the bacon.

    > And that is perhaps the most immoral thing of all. Successful or
    > unsuccessful, American never learn the lessons that wars might teach

    As a first tiny step, "we" (those who oppose those wars, those who do
    not support them but go along, and those who, against their own
    interests support them) must learn to stop speaking as though "we" were
    the ones launching those wars. As far as I can tell, with the possible
    exception of the War of 1812 all U.S. wars have been immensely
    successful for those who launched them. (The Civil War, or insurrection
    of the slave drivers, was a special case.)

    Carrol Cox

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