Pharyngula

Since I mentioned my fondness for Jane Fonda the other day, I think I have to respond to this insane wingnut rant I found via Atrios:

Seeing Jane Fonda Saturday was enough to make me wish the unthinkable: it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again. Remember how quiet they were after 9/11? No one dared take them seriously. It was the United States against the terrorist world, just like it should be.

It’s time to stand tall, speak loudly and defend America against these enemies like Hanoi Jane.

She’s back. Are we going to let her get away with it….again????

Atrios rightly points out that this so-called patriot is hoping for another terrorist attack so he can have an excuse to silence the left, but I also have to point out that Jane Fonda was exactly correct on the Vietnam War; we should not have been there, we shouldn’t have thrown away tens of thousands of American lives in that futile, destructive effort. Our wingnut friend is doubly wrong in both hoping for more terror and in rejecting the valid anti-war message of the left.

I’ll also mention that one of my colleagues at UMM has linked to some wonderful photos of a memorial to the Iraq war dead at my alma mater, the University of Oregon. I suspect the hysteria of the right is due to the galling tendency of the left to constantly point out how terribly, tragically wrong the jingo-chanting war mongers have been. Why is Mike Gallagher “driven to the bathroom, becoming violently ill, over something [Jane Fonda] said”? It’s not because of what Fonda has said, but because of the horrors he has supported.

Comments

  1. #1 Ruth
    January 30, 2007

    The left is still ignoring what happened after we withdrew from Vietnam. I hate much of the right-wing in this country, but the left refused to see Stalin’s gulags, the Vietcong ‘re-education’ camps or the killing fields of Cambodia. The Iraqi war was a mistake, but we can’t reverse it by just leaving. For better or worse, we have an obligation to try and repair the damage done. Perhaps I see things differently because my grandfather spent time in a Bolshevik prison, but communism is not just an alternative lifestyle.

  2. #2 Rey Fox
    January 30, 2007

    Well…at least he used the word “literally” correctly.

    I’m guessing this fellow lives in some comfortable middle America backwater that would never actually be targetted by a terrorist attack.

    What amuses me the most is how he claims to have been so ill at what was said, and then never actually mentions what Fonda said. Apparently, the mere sight of her talking to people was enough.

    Hell, I’ll support Fonda if we can make these cretins vomit just by showing them a picture of her.

  3. #3 Zbu
    January 30, 2007

    I’m just shocked that any idiot would welcome another 9/11 just so they can con the populace into furthering an anti-American agenda out of sheer fear. Seriously, do these people even think about what they’re bitching about outside of the tired football dichotomy?

    Pathetic. These people made me physically ill.

  4. #4 BlueIndependent
    January 30, 2007

    Wingnuts are highly predictable to be sure. I saw her segment at the anti-war rally the other day on CSPAN. I knew right then and there it wouldn’t be long before some winger shot his mouth off about it.

    Yet another case where you couldn’t apologize enough to wingers for the “misdeeds” in your life. As long as you’re more liberal than they are, you are an easy and likely target. Jane apologized for the incident where she sat on an anti-aircraft gun used against us in Viet Nam, and that she realized how stupid it was. But, in typical winger fashion, amends do not forgiveness make. It is criminality in perpetuity that drives them.

    As far as baggage is concerned quitter, wingers *MAKE* the baggage. You can be the cleanest person on Earth; it won’t matter because they do not care. As long as you are liberal, that’s all they need.

  5. #5 jdkbrown
    January 30, 2007

    Ruth,

    Very few on the left–and I’m fairly certain no one here, least of all PZ–would deny the existence of Stalin’s campaign of terror, Viet-cong “re-education” camps, or the Cambodian killing fields. Nor would they fail to condemn them. I’m pretty happy to be a representative of “the left” on this point: Stalin, the Viet-cong, and the Khmer Rouge all committed grievous and despicable crimes against humanity. (While I’m at it, I’ll throw in Saddam, too, since “the left” keeps getting accused of thinking he was a swell guy.)

    I agree with you–and, again, I think most on left do–that now that we’re in Iraq, we have an obligation to make the best of the situation. Where I disagree, however, is that staying will “repair the damage done.” Indeed, I think that our current course is simply inflicting *more* damage. Withdrawing from Iraq is not a good option–it will likely lead to death, destruction, general instability in the Mid-East, an upswing in Iranian influence in the region. Alas, it is also the *best* option: we’re past the point where we could have prevented any of those things. So if we stay, we’re still stuck with death, destruction, instability, and Iranian influence; *and* we throw away more American blood, treasure, and global prestige.

  6. #6 "Q" the Enchanter
    January 30, 2007

    “it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again.”

    A fair corollary being, of course, that it will take peace and prosperity to make the right-leaning crazies irrelevant. Which is why the Right-Leaning Crazy In-Chief won’t allow peace or prosperity to take hold any time soon…

  7. #7 Brian Coughlan
    January 30, 2007

    2 million vietnamese were killed in the vietnam war, on the american side about 60,000. It genuinely turns my stomach when I hear even the hint of a self pitying american whine as I do on a few of these posts.

    The solution is simple. Nationalisim, most especially american nationalisim, is as virulent a disease as religion. Renounce it, and it all becomes clearer. People are people. Withdraw your troops, agree binding international law, and prosecute the INDIVIDUALS that break it.

    We don’t allow vigilante justice in our nation states, so why stop there? Binding international law, for americans too (shock!!! horror!!!) is the solution to global peace, and ultimatley the middle east.

  8. #8 John Bode
    January 30, 2007

    In Viet Nam (Greg’s highly simplified history coming up here), the left put us there, the right escalated it to a nightmare, the left forced us out.

    LBJ was a right-winger?

    Jane was right to condemn the war in Viet Nam. She was most definitely not right to lie on behalf of the North Vietnamese government regarding the treatment of American POWs, nor was she right to denounce returning American POWs as “hypocrites and liars.” She

    I do not begrudge Viet Nam veterans their hatred of Jane Fonda; it’s well-earned, IMO.

  9. #9 Troublesome Frog
    January 30, 2007

    I was against the Iraq war from the beginning, and I have watched in horror as it was mismanaged in such obvious ways for such a long time. I am almost convinced that the ship has sailed on our opportunity to fix what we broke, but I’m not totally convinced yet. I agree that a half hearted troop surge with no particular plan is just sending more people into the meat grinder, but I’ll need to hear a very good argument for pulling out, because it seems clear to me that the choice is between likely failure on one hand and guaranteed civil war and genocide on the other.

    I might be more in favor of pulling out if I hadn’t married into a Vietnamese family. A number of my wife’s family members ended up in reeducation camps after the US left them hanging. It’s rarely discussed, but the sense of horror and betrayal seems to suck all of the heat out of the room if it’s mentioned. Regardless of whether it was a good idea to go in or whether we’ve made an intolerable mess of the situation, I can’t condone simply letting Iraqi society collapse further and fall into what will almost certainly be orders of magnitude more gruesome than the communist takeover of southern Vietnam. We owe all of the people we would be leaving to die a serious effort, and I’m not sure that we’ve earned the right to walk away and say we did our best.

  10. #10 a very public sociologist
    January 30, 2007

    He sounds a lot like my dear departed Nan, who used to think living in WWII was a fantastic time because it united the nation and what have you.

    As for what Ruth said at the beginning of these comments, if you delve deeper into what the left has said about Stalin, Vietnam and so on you will find some are quite vocal in their disgust at some of the things supposedly done in the name of socialism. Just as you would find some more than prepared to overlook/defend them. The left is a strange old place.

  11. #11 commissarjs
    January 30, 2007

    How does continued US involvement in Iraq fix anything? How many more bodies do we have to stack up to make things right? Hell we can’t even get people to agree on what is wrong much less what we can do to fix it.

    The only reason we still have troops there is pride. As long as someone is attacking the troops we cannot pull them out. To do so would be to admit weakness and by God we aren’t weak. As long as anyone is shooting at the troops they’re an enemy that is fighting and only weaklings walk away from a fight before it’s won.

    If the US pulls out now what is going to happen? The terrorists are going to take over? Who are these terrorists? The sunni insurgency? The shiite militias? Al Qaeda? The Red Crescent Scouts? Labeling the various parties fighting in Iraq against the US occupation and against each other as a singular group known as “The Terrorists” is just stupidity. Yet that’s all we hear from the people interested in continuing this folly. What’s worse noone even seems to question this anymore.

  12. #12 Mena
    January 30, 2007

    Maybe we should have stayed the course in Vietnam so that we would have the opportunity of still fighting there. It seems like most of the uptight “righties” are Vietnam era vets or people who agreed with that war, doesn’t it?

  13. #13 llewelly
    January 30, 2007

    What I’m starting to suspect now is that we may basically be taking sides in a civil war. I can’t imagine anything less likely to be “helpful” than that.

    Bush & Co dismantled the Sunni-dominated Saddam government at the outset. That amounts to siding with the Shia.
    The replacement government is clearly Shia-dominated.
    If we look back at the Iraq policy of the Clinton years (ignoring the vitally important intern affair) we can see an on-again-off-again pattern of aiding Shia-dominated revolutionary groups. The primary reason given for not using said groups to overthrow Saddam was that it would involve the US in a civil war on the side of the Shia.

    Whatever the intent of the Bush regime, nearly every decision they have made has favored Shia over Sunni. From a purely functional standpoint, the Bush govt has been siding with Shia in a civil war since the beginning. I don’t know to what degree BushCo realized they were siding with Shia – and it’s likely most of them genuinely believed (and perhaps still believe) they could avoid a civil war. Sadly, they were wrong. Sadder still, they were advised they were wrong before they went in. The radical Shia leaders, I suspect, realized Bush’s actions would favor them, and favor civil war, and realized it early. But whatever the intent, the US military has been in a civil war, on the side of the Shia, for long time now.

  14. #14 Marc
    January 30, 2007

    Jane Fonda wasn’t terribly relevant when she did her Hanoi stunt. Really, best known for movies such as ‘Barbarella’ (or was that after?), she was more or less the Paris Hilton of the ’60s. The animosity against her is really out of proportion.

  15. #15 Robin
    January 30, 2007

    I’ve been walking among those little flags here at the U of O all week. I like the idea, but I have to admit that the artist could’ve made it even more impressive by scaling the red flags (American deaths) to the same scale as the white ones (Iraqi deaths). He had to go all the way down to 1 white flag for every 8 Iraqis, but kept the Americans on a 1 to 1 ratio. It’s misleading for such an enormous and poweful piece.

  16. #16 Ichthyic
    January 30, 2007

    commisarjs:

    The only reason we still have troops there is pride. As long as someone is attacking the troops we cannot pull them out. To do so would be to admit weakness and by God we aren’t weak. As long as anyone is shooting at the troops they’re an enemy that is fighting and only weaklings walk away from a fight before it’s won.

    I just have one thing to say to that:

    Somalia

    seems we are more than ready to pull out with our tail betwixt in some circumstances…

  17. #17 David Marjanovi?
    January 30, 2007

    Ruth, like it or not, but there is such a thing as an unwinnable war.

    llewelly, you wrote “I don’t know to what degree BushCo realized” — sentences with “BushCo” as the subject and “realize” as the verb are not grammatical.

    My suggestion on how to end the Iraq war? Get out, get the UN in the same day, and pay for it, or rather make Halliburton and Bechtel pay for it. Somehow.

  18. #18 David Marjanovi?
    January 30, 2007

    Ruth, like it or not, but there is such a thing as an unwinnable war.

    llewelly, you wrote “I don’t know to what degree BushCo realized” — sentences with “BushCo” as the subject and “realize” as the verb are not grammatical.

    My suggestion on how to end the Iraq war? Get out, get the UN in the same day, and pay for it, or rather make Halliburton and Bechtel pay for it. Somehow.

  19. #19 David Marjanovi?
    January 30, 2007

    Somalia

    seems we are more than ready to pull out with our tail betwixt in some circumstances…

    Yeah. The best Republican president you’ve ever had knew better than to believe pride was more important than life. Fearless Flightsuit, on the other hand, has admitted how many mistakes in his entire life so far? One? Two? Or even three?

  20. #20 David Marjanovi?
    January 30, 2007

    Somalia

    seems we are more than ready to pull out with our tail betwixt in some circumstances…

    Yeah. The best Republican president you’ve ever had knew better than to believe pride was more important than life. Fearless Flightsuit, on the other hand, has admitted how many mistakes in his entire life so far? One? Two? Or even three?

  21. #21 Scott Hatfield
    January 30, 2007

    I’ve heard something to the effect that Jane Fonda rediscovered some sort of conventional religious belief and that this was a factor in the end of her marriage to Ted Turner.

    Does anyone else know anything about that? Is this an urban legend?

  22. #22 raj
    January 30, 2007

    Regarding the post (not the comments) just to point out, but the fact is that insane wingnuts like Mike Gallegher (to whose article your link links) earn their wages by engaging in insane wingnut rants. If they didn’t engage in insane wingnut rants, they wouldn’t earn their wages. Or any wages, for that matter.

    Cut to chase: it’s all about money. Once that is understood, it really is possible to laugh at them. Money does make their world go ’round.

  23. #23 raj
    January 30, 2007

    Greg Laden | January 30, 2007 04:33 PM

    The US pulling out of viet nam did not cause the subsequent problems there. If anything, 30 years of colonial rule (or whatever you want to call it) under the French and Americans prepared that country for totalitarian rule.

    In Viet Nam (Greg’s highly simplified history coming up here), the left put us there, the right escalated it to a nightmare, the left forced us out.

    Sorry, but your knowledge of the American participation in the VietNam war is sadly deficient. Aside from the fact that the French ruled Indochina (including, but not limited to VietNam) for a number of years prior to WWII (the point being that colonial rule lasted far longer than 30 years), the fact is that America’s involvement in Vietnam was pretty much instigated by Eisenhower in 1953-54, as the French were threatened to be pushed out by the anti-colonialist forces under Ho Chi Minh. It was Eisenhower who sent American military “advisors” into VietNam. It was Eisenhower who reneged on America’s promise to hold a VietNam countrywide pleboscite over the future of the country, which had been promised after the French defeat at Dien Ben Phu in 1954.

    And it is those facts that got the US involved in Vietnam. And, it is highly doubtful that Eisenhower would be considered a leftist.

    I’m sorry, but the fact is that is was the right that put the US into Vietnam, and that kept the US there until virtually everone in the US forced it out.

  24. #24 Djur
    January 30, 2007

    “She was being a puppet for another government that was beating and torturing our POWs, sometimes to death.”

    And that’s worse than being a puppet for a government that was shooting, bombing, and napalming Vietnamese civilians, very much to death, often in tremendously painful ways?

    Jane Fonda has no more to be ashamed of than any person who supported the butchery that the United States government committed and endorsed in support of an illiberal regime, even if only for a short time. Her real crime, it seems, was against American exceptionalism.

  25. #25 lockean
    January 30, 2007

    Raj,

    Your point is well taken, but the escalation of troops was largely under LBJ. He never wanted to increase troop levels and did so largely out of fear of being labelled soft of communism by the republicans, but that doesn’t alter his responsibility.

    And to be fair, containment was originally a liberal policy. Conservatives back then tended to crave a more directly aggressive policy toward communism up to and including nuclear war. Of course, containment did not inexorably require Ike’s dalliance w/ Vietnam (or his meddling with Central America and Iran), much less the escalation under JFK and LBJ, but Ike’s stupidity didn’t automatically force later presidents to get even stupider. Anyway, Eisenhower was hardly part of the ‘right’.

    And speaking of labels…

    Greg Laden,

    Historians, political scientists and LBJ’s biographers consider him a liberal. He was after all the author of the Great Society and launched a ‘War on Poverty’ that actually tried to reduce poverty. He was often a cynical, old-school machine politician deft at greasing palms, twisting arms, and stuffing ballots, but he had actual liberal convictions, particularly regarding education.

    The tragedy of Vietnam is that LBJ greatly expanded the war to keep from losing support with the general public, support he needed for his liberal domestic agenda–and in doing so he not only lost support anyway, but also split the left, which in turn benefited conservatives.

  26. #26 PZ Myers
    January 30, 2007

    Just to clarify things: I am not proposing Jane Fonda as the sole representative voice of the anti-war movement. She is a voice; she gets credit for being on the right side. It also does not mean I think she cannot be criticized or that her motives are necessarily well-informed.

    I also think the comments about her age are just weird. Do people think that after a certain age, one is no longer allowed to have opinions on politics or national and world affairs?

  27. #27 steve
    January 30, 2007

    Here’s a sweet sweet banner from the protest:
    http://scienceblogs.com/omnibrain/2007/01/antiwar_protests_in_dc.php

  28. #28 llewelly
    January 30, 2007

    One item I failed to point out in my earlier comment about US siding with the Shia, is that in the last 6 months or so the US military has clearly realized that unintentionally aiding radical Shia (as distinct from moderate Shia) forces is a bad thing, and trying to do something about it. However there is no sign these actions are slowing the civil war, nor do I see any reason to believe the civil war can be staunched by US forces.

  29. #29 Sean
    January 31, 2007

    Bah. Bullocks.

    No true Scotsman is a load of dung when fundies use it to deny association with their own liabilities. It is also a load of dung when used to deny LBJs leanings on the grand liberal to conservative politicalometer.

    Is also a load of dung to try and lump (most) people into a nice clearcut category. But, if the groupthink here is to blame some vague group labled ‘conservatives’ for Vietnam, then then I’ll disagree as I have LBJ in my box called ‘liberals’.

    Firsts While a Democrat was President
    first financial aid
    first military aid
    first military advisors
    first use of helicopters to transport allied troops
    first use of aircraft to support allied bombings
    first South Vietnamese aerial bombing
    first American aerial casualties
    first ‘special’ Green Beret advisors
    first ground troops
    first Laotian aerial bombing
    first North Vietnamese aerial bombing
    first American POWs
    first Congressional authority to wage war
    first strategic bombing campaign
    first use of the draft (for this war)
    first violation of the DMZ
    first use of defoliants
    first peace talks

    Firsts While a Republican was President
    first grand political screwup getting Diem in charge
    first American ground casualties
    first Cambodian aerial bombing
    first troop reductions
    first ground troops in Cambodia
    first peace accord
    first amnesty for draft evaders

    And all those firsts took place with Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate. Plenty of blame to go around.

  30. #30 Dunc
    January 31, 2007

    One item I failed to point out in my earlier comment about US siding with the Shia, is that in the last 6 months or so the US military has clearly realized that unintentionally aiding radical Shia (as distinct from moderate Shia) forces is a bad thing, and trying to do something about it.

    Unitentionally? I take it then that you are unaware that the leading death squad in Iraq today is the Special Police Commandos, trained directly by US personnel, who came to prominence around the time the US foreign policy establishment was talking about something called the “Salvador option” – ie deliberately provoking a sectarian bloodbath by training and supporting death squads?

  31. #31 Jumail
    January 31, 2007

    Of course that bastard Nixon at least had the pragmatic brains to open up relations with China, just the biggest nation on earth, END the war, and END the draft.

    He HE had to resign?

    Wow!

  32. #32 commissarjs
    January 31, 2007

    Ichthyic:

    I just have one thing to say to that:

    Somalia

    seems we are more than ready to pull out with our tail betwixt in some circumstances…

    Well the first law of holes is that when you find yourself in one, stop digging. I disagreed with Clinton involving the US in Somalia from the beginning.

    Somalia was another fiasco where we had no idea what the plan was, who the enemies were, who our allies were, and the troops were ill-equipped to deal with it. We didn’t even have an idea what victory was.

  33. #33 Brian
    January 31, 2007

    “And that’s worse than being a puppet for a government that was shooting, bombing, and napalming Vietnamese civilians, very much to death, often in tremendously painful ways?”

    That’s not the point. The point is that she wasn’t some great moral crusader who had the guts to stand up against our governments sluaghtering of civilians. She at best traded one bad position for one that was at least as bad if not a whole lot worse. The NVA commited attoricites against their own people; that’s already been discussed here and is a well established part of the historical record. So no, Hanoi Jane wasn’t protesting against war crimes comitted by this country. She was stumping for an evil totalitarian regime.

  34. #34 commissarjs
    January 31, 2007

    John Bode:

    Isn’t it interesting that almost every time the United States went to war in the 20th century, it was under a Democratic administration? Wilson in WWI, Roosevelt in WWII, Truman in Korea, Johnson in Viet Nam. I guess they were all really right-wingers?

    You left out almost constant US military involvement in Central America, South America, and the Carribbean since the time of Teddy Roosevelt. Smedley Butler didn’t earn his Congressional Medals of Honor in Wyoming.

    Just a few others off the top of my head:
    a) Nixon’s decision to bomb Cambodia.
    b) Reagan and Carter’s financing and support of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan (including Osama Bin Ladin).
    c) US military support and training for the Contra’s in Nicaragua, including the lovable death squads.
    d) US support for Iraq in their war against Iran. Including “agricultural products” which were really used to make mustard gas.
    e) Reagan’s bombing of Libya.
    f) The deployment of US troops to Beirut under Reagan.
    g) Bush I’s wars in Iraq and Panama.

    All in all the US was at war constantly for the entire 20th century.

  35. #35 raj
    January 31, 2007

    commissarjs | January 31, 2007 10:08 AM

    I disagreed with Clinton involving the US in Somalia from the beginning.

    I did, too, but I’ll just remind you that US involvement in Somalia began under the pResidency of Clinton’s predecessor, George Herbert Walker Bush, and that not long before the end of his term.

    Somalia was another fiasco where we had no idea what the plan was, who the enemies were, who our allies were, and the troops were ill-equipped to deal with it. We didn’t even have an idea what victory was.

    Well, not exactly. IIRC, the mission in Somalia was initially advertised as being a humanitarian one–to bring foodstuffs to starving people. It’s difficult to say what the mission turned into, given mission creep and the fact that the local warlords were using food deprivation and seizing food shipments from abroad for their political purposes. But maybe, just maybe, the US and other outsiders should let them sort it out themselves. It may seem heartless, but it seems to be obvious that outsiders can’t sort it out for them and our “outside agitation” only seems to exacerbate problems there.

  36. #36 Steve LaBonne
    January 31, 2007

    commisarjs, I’m perhaps more sympathetic to what you say than some of your other respondents here. I’m absolutely sick to death of “liberal hawks” myself (got that, Hillary? ;) ). This country needs to sit down, shut the hell up, and stop trying to throw its weight around. Then we can treat the terrorist threat as the serious international law enforcement problem that it really is (to be dealt with by close police cooperation with our allies), and we can substantially shrink our obscenely bloated military and devote the resources saved to much-needed improvements at home.

  37. #37 Ian H Spedding FCD
    January 31, 2007

    Seeing Jane Fonda Saturday was enough to make me wish the unthinkable: it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again.

    That is a remarkably silly thing to say but the outrage is understandable. Fonda may have been naive but what she did could easily be construed as “adhering” and giving “aid and comfort” to an enemy of the United States while American troops were fighting and dying in the field. In World War II she would probably, and quite properly, have been tried and imprisoned for what she did. Disapproving of and actively campaigning against the policies of one’s own government is one thing, actively lending support to an enemy is quite another.

    As for Vietnam, you can argue that US involvement was ill-judged in that it involved propping up nasty and corrupt regimes but anyone who thinks that North Vietnam was a model of liberal, socialist democracy needs to take a closer look at how they treated any opposition. And don’t forget that it was little more than ten years since the US and a few allies had halted communist expansionism in the Korean peninsula.

    I assume there’s no real doubt that both the North Korean and North Vietnamese regimes were – and are – totalitarian. In the recent atheist/agnostic spat my argument was that the atheist focus on religion was too narrow, that the real enemy is absolutist or totalitarian thinking of any kind, whether religious or political. PZ, Dawkins and other atheists are quite rightly outspoken in their condemnation of religious totalitarianism and scathing in their criticism of our politicians where they believe them to be lying and corrupt so why so much less outrage at political regimes which are equally deserving of it?

  38. #38 Sean
    January 31, 2007

    Um, true, but it is undeniable that American active involvement in Vietnam pretty much began under Eisenhower.

    1945. Japan’s puppet in charge of Vietnam gives up power. Ho Chi Minh sets up a provisional government. Truman refuses to recognize the government.

    1949. The French put Japan’s puppet back in charge. Truman recognizes the government.

    1950. Truman sends military aid and American military advisors to Vietnam. Before Eisenhower’s election, over two billion in military aid is sent to prop up the South Vietnamese.

    1953-1960. Eisenhower continues an expanding program of aid and advisors.

    1961-1962. Kennedy inserts special forces, uses American helicopters piloted by American pilots to ferry Vietnamese ground troops into combat, and uses American aircraft piloted by American pilots to support bombing missions.

    1964. LBJ starts the American bombing campaign.

    1965. LBJ starts the American ground campaign.

    That is a very very condensed version of the start. By what measure does Eisenhower get credit for initiating active involvement?

    Not that I disagree with most of the actions of the first three presidents in the chain. Minh was a ripe bastard. “You have too much private property, we are seizing it,” is one thing. “You have too much private property, we are executing you,” is another.

    Similarly, it was Nixon who got us out of Viet Nam…

    Not really. It was the Democratic Congress that refused to keep funding the American adventure in VietNam that got us out of VietNam.

    Huh?

    1969. His first summer in office, Nixon flat out declares no more ground wars with American troops. Military aid and airpower are still on the table. He withdraws troops in the summer, fall and winter of this year.

    1970. Nearly two hundred thousand troops come home before Congress repeals the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

    1971. Congress passes a nonbinding resolution calling for the withdrawal of American troops. Nixon has already called back all Marine units. Total ground troops is under one third of peak levels by the end of the year.

    1972. The last American troops are out of the country.

    1974. Congressional funding for military aid drops below the billion dollar mark.

    1975. South Vietnam falls.

    By what measure does Nixon not get credit for getting our troops of Vietnam? I suppose Congress could get some credit if you think slowing the flow of aid during the inevitable fall that final year mattered much. The South never showed any propensity for being capable of holding off the North on their own. They were going down no matter how much money we threw down that rathole.

  39. #39 Dianne
    January 31, 2007

    Since the Khmer Rouge have been mentioned, it might be worth pointing out who funded the Khmer Rouge’s attempts to regain power after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia stopped their massacres: that notorious left-winger Ronald Reagan. Apparently Reagan wanted to hurt the Vietnamese and didn’t care what other effects his policies in that region had so he put his support behind one of the most notorious mass murderers in history, Pol Pot, in order to punish Viet Nam for continuing to exist despite American efforts.

  40. #40 Lune
    January 31, 2007

    Need it be stated again? Iraq != War on Terrorism. Even if there were another attack on the U.S. (gods forbid), the resistance to the Iraq War would be the same because…Iraq != War on Terrorism.

    I don’t know much about the Vietnam War. I’m pretty sure that anti-war != pro-communist though. I’m also pretty sure that one of the fastest ways to ruin a country is to bomb the infrastructure away.

  41. #41 trrll
    January 31, 2007

    I think that one can make a reasonable case that some of the actions that Jane Fonda took as a very young woman in opposing the war were naive and poorly-conceived. But the truth is that the real harm to both American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians arose from those (of both parties) who imagined that intervening in Viet Nam would either be in our national interest or accomplish any humanitarian goal in Viet Nam, and who failed to recognize a failing strategy and year after year funneled more and more American lives into a fruitless and useless war. The main rationalization for the huge waste of American lives–the domino theory–was proved by history to be false. Our loss in Viet Nam did not result in huge global or regional gains by communism; quite the opposite. And one does not have to believe that the North Vietnamese were a bunch of sweethearts to recognize that our involvement extended and prolonged the conflict, and greatly increased civilian casualties. It is difficult to imagine any scenario, even if the war somehow could have been “won” by sacrificing even more American lives, in which the humanitarian gains could have outweighed the humanitarian disaster that we created by prolonging the war.

    Compared to all of the politicians and pundits who supported or prolonged that war, or the ones who have made such a botch of the current one, whatever errors Jane Fonda may have made in how she chose to oppose that war, or this one, seem rather trivial.

  42. #42 David Marjanovi?
    February 1, 2007

    Fonda may have been naive but what she did could easily be construed as “adhering” and giving “aid and comfort” to an enemy of the United States while American troops were fighting and dying in the field.

    Are we afraid today? Afraid of the dangerous, dangerous Jane Fonda?

  43. #43 David Marjanovi?
    February 1, 2007

    Fonda may have been naive but what she did could easily be construed as “adhering” and giving “aid and comfort” to an enemy of the United States while American troops were fighting and dying in the field.

    Are we afraid today? Afraid of the dangerous, dangerous Jane Fonda?

  44. #44 Stanton
    February 1, 2007

    I’m afraid of Jane Fonda…
    I saw her in “Monster in Law”
    Scary.

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