Thursday, May 3

Maybe It's Time To Reconsider The Link Between Comic Books And Wanton Juvenile Violence

Victor Davis Hanson, "Don't Give Up," April 26.
Sometimes no comment is needed. So it was of Vietnam when victorious Gen. Giap later remarked that that the American Left was “essential to our strategy.” He elaborated to the Wall Street Journal : “Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9AM to follow the growth of the antiwar movement.”

And Giap added that anti-war activists, “Gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war.”

HERE"S a quick experiment for you. 1) Go to 2) Click on "What's New". 3) Open the first wingnutty article or Email-related story that strikes your fancy. I picked "Does Steak and Shake have a company policy prohibiting customers from praying at their restaurants?" but choose what one you wish. 4) Read the email/set-up ("This recently happened right here in Albany, Georgia"). 5) Note how fucking similar the story is to the above.

That, or you could check out the now-lost-under-piles-of-intervening-bullshit Zarqawi letter from those computer files we seized in a safe house raid took from a captured al-Qaeda courier found by the side of the road back in '04. Remember that one? Proved without doubt the Iraq insurgency-al-Qaeda link, warned of recruiting difficulties in the face of so much American competence, urged action before the all-important June 30, 2004, return of Iraqi sovereignty which would establish a democratic Iraq once and for all? Boy, those were the days.

But let's start at the beginning. Most of us learn at some point that if something sounds too good to be true it undoubtedly is. Though obviously, assuming you get email, you realize that shit must float in somebody's pool. You might expect, though, that an alleged historian would check out this Wet Dream Wrapped In Satin Sheets.

Well, Victor Davis Hanson didn't.

We can be sure of this 'cause the interview, which he seems to quote fairly accurately, down to Hanoi Jane's Hanoi red dress (the interview is not online; there's a supposed copy of it here) wasn't with Gen. Giap, but with Colonel Bui Tin, a member of the general staff who became a Vietnamese dissident in the 1980s, exiled himself to France, and wrangled a book deal telling the American Right that every last drop of those delicious post-wargasms was pure ambrosia and right on target. So either V.D. has been carrying those quotes around in his head and failed to check them before typing, or he made Giap the source on the grounds that it sounded better to have the actual Viet Minh military commander say it than some guy with an obvious motive. Thousands, in fact. All green.

The thing is stupid on the face of it. The Vietnamese had been fighting for independence since 1940, against the French, the Japanese, the British (all but forgotten, it was they who propped up the former colonials in 1945-46 until they could re-assume military control), the French again, and then the US. The idea that thirty years on they'd crave the approval of some bimbo Hollywood actress, giving them the strength to persevere, is beyond belief. Make that rational belief. What sort of military history expert are you, again?
So now read the official al Qaida response to Sen. Harry Reid’s declaration that the war is lost:

Or, y'know what? Better yet. Don't.

Who issues the al-Qaeda response to US political news, anyway (gotta admit, though: that "official" is a sweet seeing-eye double with men in scoring position) ? This Parson Weems of Military History styles himself an expert. I'd like to hear one example, just one fucking example, of an insurgency, guerilla movement, partisan faction, or side in a civil conflict, other than one fighting against a pet project of the American Right, which based its strategic plan on the enemy's internal politics, headline writers, or anti-war movements. Just one, from any time in recorded history. It sure didn't matter to the Vietnamese whether the French occupiers were Vichy or Gaulist. The Zionists fought Labour or Tory; so did the Irish, so did half-a-dozen other colonized peoples. Israel's various enemies have fought on regardless of what line was taken against them.

Alternately, name me the insurgency that has simply given up in the face of cold-eyed resolve that booked no domestic criticism. Partisans operated against the Nazi occupier in every country despite a backing back home in the Fatherland that approached statistical unanimity. Insurgents are insurgents because they're 1) aggrieved enough to fight and 2) weak enough that they can't employ conventional forces. They already fucking know those things.

And by the way, only 15% of Americans can identify Harry Reid. It's hard to imagine they're sitting around the wireless in the Pakistani badlands waiting for the man to give 'em a pep talk, but if they are maybe they need to check in with Gallup more often.
How odd that the ongoing evocation of Vietnam by the Left in connection with Iraq has proven silly in every aspect—we’ve lost 5% of the fatalities of the Vietnam War, have been in Iraq as third as long,

How odd of a "military historian" to count only fatalities. let alone to do so like he's scoring a baseball game. Iraq is deadly enough. In one-third of the time, with less than one-third of the troops involved (which Hanson leaves out) we've suffered 10% of the total casualties, in a war where we have specifically sought to minimize casualties (just as we've minimized troop commitment) to reduce domestic opposition to a senseless mission with no clear plan. Ten percent in one-third the time may sound good, unless it's you coming home with a softball-sized piece of your head missing, but let's stop the fucking gloating about it, already. In the name of fake decency, if nothing else.
have witnessed a popularly-elected government in place,

Well, depending on your definition of "popularly-elected". There weren't any in Vietnam, granted. That's because we blocked 'em when it became obvious our side would lose. This is the place where we point out that the Popular Elections in Iraq were held because the bumbling Bush administration was forced into backing them after it faced an insurgency it hadn't expected or planned for.
are fighting primordial reactionary religious fundamentalists

Primordial? Maybe next time you could look up what that means. But yeah, it's a difference. In Vietnam we were backing the theocrats.
except one: the reoccurring liberal effort to cut-off funds and end American support for a consensual government.

Consensual? Is that the best you can manage in the way of getting around the lack of democratic elections in the "democratic" South? It was governed by a series of thugs and criminals installed by us or with or consent and removed the same way. Who consented?
If this succeeds, so will follow the Vietnam-era sequelae: mass exodus, mass killing, American humiliation, and regional realignment with the winners. Who would want that—and why?

First, there's already been mass exodus, mass killing, and American humiliation, same as there was in Vietnam long before we cut off funds. "Regional realignment with the winners"? What regional realignment followed the Viet Minh victory? As to who would want it, well, if you ask me, Vic, that would be the people who want to pretend that the massive screwups to this point 1) don't exist and 2) wouldn't count if they did. How's the view from up there, anyway?

Or put another way: who would want to continue to employ US troops well past the point of fracturing men and matériel just so the party that got us there in the first place could deny to itself that it was responsible? And why?


Anonymous said...

I am always amazed that these folks completely mis-interpret or lie about history, then make predictions about the future that we are supposed to take seriously.

I'd like someone to compile a list of correct wingnut preditions about Iraq. Slim volume, I know.

I guess if these folks were honest they'd have to evaluate and acknowledge how profoundly wrong they have been about Iraq. And everything else.

Can't have that.


heydave said...

This pompous fuck certainly bloviates with gravitas.

Too bad for him bullshit is still brown.

Anonymous said...

This Parson Weems of Military History styles himself an expert.

Well, he does provide some much needed depth of analysis. For instance, until Hanson, I had no idea we were still fighting the Germans in December, 1945.

stAllio! said...

and of course, one of the main reasons that fatalities have been relatively low (on the US side, not on the iraqi side) is because medicine is so much better now. not as many troops die, but a lot more come home with missing limbs.

Anonymous said...

end American support for a consensual government.
Perhaps it's just my sick mind, but the word "consensual" in association with "government" makes me think of leather straps, a whip, and a safe-word.

Anonymous said...

regional realignment with the winners

Sure, because everything was sweetness and light between South Asian communist governments afterward:

Vietnam's decision to align with the Soviets together with its invasion of Cámbodia and mistreatment of the Hoa, provoked Beijing to "teach Hanoi a lesson." A "self-defense counterattack," mounted by China along the Sino-Vietnamese border on February 17, 1979, ended less than a month later, on March 5, when Chinese leaders announced that their objectives had been met and proceeded to withdraw their forces. Despite the Chinese boast of having shattered the myth of Vietnam's invincibility, the invasion effected little more than the diversion of some Vietnamese troops from Cambodia. The bulk of the resistance reportedly was offered by local Vietnamese border units and regional forces. Outnumbered, they performed well, exposing significant weaknesses in Chinese tactics, strategy, logistics, equipment, and communications.

FWIW, I think that the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, which took out the Khmer Rouge, would be something that VDH would, post facto, get behind. After all, it was Nixon's expansion of the war which destabilized Cambodia enough for the Khmer to take power and begin one of the bloodiest genocides (based on population) in history. And the Vietnamese took care of that. But Hanson has what I will politely call a "condition;" no cloud over America can have a silver lining for him. He is childish and dishonest, and I hope that reality will one day gobsmack him right in the face.