Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Like many conservatives, he seems to have the America Uber Alles attitude. He misses the whole point these texts are trying to achieve in showing that these cultures weren't the backwards, barbaric peoples that Western history has always portrayed. They have culture, they have education and learning, they made advancements and contributions to human society. But Journo is automatically dismissive of these peoples because they aren't Western. All of a sudden, because they are not part of the Western civilized world they are inferior and their achievements are not important, only the dark side of their cultures which prove the superiority of Western culture.
One text acclaims the inhabitants of West Africa in pre-Columbian times for having prosperous economies and for establishing a university in Timbuktu. But it ignores their brutal trade in slaves and the proliferation of far more consequential institutions of learning in Paris, Oxford and elsewhere in Europe.....
What these textbooks reveal is a concerted effort to portray the most backward, impoverished and murderous cultures as advanced, prosperous and life-enhancing. Multiculturalism's goal is not to teach about other cultures, but to promote -- by means of distortions and half-truths -- the notion that non-Western cultures are as good as, if not better than, Western culture.
He of course forgets slavery was not limited to the peoples of these African cultures, but was a crime also committed by the so called morally superior Western world. It also is important to note that slavery in the Western world was a much more brutal institution than in Africa since in the West the slaves brought from Africa were considered sub-human and had no chance in advancing in our society while slaves in many African societies typically had the ability to rise up in the ranks and even become a full member of the family of their former master. A slave in Africa had many more rights than a slave in the United States.
Also does he forget our slaughter of the indigenous tribes in our country? Or what about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II? Oh wait, I'm pointing out America's weaknesses and am thus anti-America and striving for the downfall of our country. If conservatives like Journo actually accepted to be educated in other cultures rather than only American history, then maybe they would actually have the ability to understand rather than bemoaning the teaching of the history of an inferior culture over that of the master race.
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
African Perspectives on Colonialism, by A. Adu Boahen
The Life of Olaudah Equiano, by Olaudah Equiano
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
First off, it take a really arrogant person who avoided service in Vietnam to invoke the lessons Vietnam as a reason not to leave Iraq. This dipshit of a president needs to get a clue and shut up and resign, along with five deferment Cheney. They have no place leading our country especially in a war.
As for support for what Mr. Bush is saying, the right will since they don't have a true sense of the history of Vietnam and only see red when discussing the topic. Make no mistake, this is a play to the base, not to intelligent thinking Americans who make up the majority which oppose a continuation of our presence in Iraq.
Now, to the CNN article where we have this from Bush:
...one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields'...Of course he forgets the random carpet bombings of the country by our air force which caused the death and suffering of innocent civilians in Vietnam. And what about the strategy of going into a town, wiping out the enemy there and leaving, only to have to return again and again because we kept giving up ground again and again because we did not have the manpower to hold that ground? Same thing is happening in Iraq.
There is also the long history of Vietnam's struggle for independence from the French. For over fifty years they fought a guerrilla war against the French, then the Japanese and then the French again. The Vietnamese, led by Ho Chi Minh, had actually defeated the Japanese but still the Western powers, including the US, refused to give them their freedom and instead rearmed the Japanese soldiers there to control the Vietnamese. Also remember the group Ho Chi Minh led was not strictly communist until the 1960's. It was in fact a coalition of nationalist groups who worked together for the freedom of Vietnam. The communists only came to dominate after it became clear that the West had no intention of allowing the Vietnamese to choose their own destiny: an independent Vietnam established by the Vietnamese people and not by the interests of foreign countries.
In 1954 the Vietnamese crushed the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. They controlled more than two thirds of the country and thought this was the moment that they had been waiting for, a united and independent Vietnam. The Western powers, in their arrogance, did not allow this and were more focussed on fighting communism and did not see or ignored the nationalist sentiment of the Vietnamese. Instead they thought they could split Vietnam and make it into another Korea. The problem in this was that South Vietnam was a creation by foreign powers whereas South Korea was only propped up by the Western powers and was, compared to South Vietnam, a country created and with the support of the people. To keep South Vietnam independent from the North, the Western powers poured billions of dollars into their economy in order to prop them up and make them more Western and thus identify with the West, and not with their brothers and sisters in the North.
American policy in Vietnam was doomed to failure because the government of South Vietnam was a Western puppet without the support of the people. Also, our military could not compete with a people who had been fighting for half a century for independence and have a history going back two millennia of fighting for independence from other nations.
We have lost Iraq as Vietnam because we do not understand the people. We have lost in Iraq as Vietnam because in our arrogance we believe we know what is best for these people. We have lost in Iraq as Vietnam because our objective is ethereal with no concrete targets to define victory.
We have not repeated these mistakes. Vietnam was a liberal war, and we learned. We warned against going into Iraq because as Vietnam it was not in our interest nor was it the source of the attacks on our soil.
This administration and the Republican party have repeated these mistakes because they have refused to acknowledge the mistakes and that we were wrong. These arrogant jackasses seem to believe that our country has the omnipotence usually reserved for God and therefore we can do no wrong. Until these dunces see what the mistakes were and understand them rather than defending America at all costs and only being able to proclaim 'victory or death' for every conflict we become involved in, our nation will continue to decline and we will continue to lose.
Now, for those who would be interested in learning about Vietnam rather than just assume they are all a bunch of pinko commies, there are two books you may be interested in:
The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family, by Duong Van Mai Elliott
The Sorrow of War, by Bao Ninh
Update 2:50 pm:
Josh at TPM makes a great point:
In addition to that I would like to point out that in the conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia, we backed the Khmer Rouge. It would seem it is more important to stick it to a group of people that defeated us in a war than to support them in overthrowing a regime committing a genocide against its own people. BTW, by this point Vietnam was alone against Cambodia since China also supported the Khmer Rouge.
More concretely though, didn't the killing fields happen in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge rather than Vietnam? So doesn't that complicate the analogy a bit? And didn't that genocide actually come to an end when the Communist Vietnamese invaded in 1979 and overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime? The Vietnamese Communists may have been no great shakes. But can we get through one of these boneheaded historical analogies while keeping at least some of the facts intact?
As Josh says, the communists in Vietnam weren't great, but their interests, beyond purging capitalist elements from their society, were on a whole more humanitarian the US government which would back genocide if it served their interests.
Also, if you haven't seen it, get your hands on The Quiet American. Very good commentary on our involvement in Vietnam early on.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
"We want to get the message to both Democrats and Republicans: Don't cut and run, fully fund the troops, and victory is the only objective."Now that last bit, 'victory is the only objective', is indicative of the entire reason our incursion into Iraq is such a debacle. The only objective is victory, and there is no definition of victory. No plan to get there, just this idea that we will go there and we will win. This is why we have lost the peace. Over and over again the administration and its supporters are told this, and they can only continue to say we must win.
Not only that, but they state that anyone who calls Iraq a failure wants to lose. This is total bullshit and anyone who says such is either stupid and blind or a liar. We don't want defeat, but we realize when such a defeat has been achieved and that it will only get worse if we continue to blindly march forward. We lost through the leadership of this administration and the Republican party. The best thing to do is get out and hope for the best, unless this country is willing to spend another trillion and reinstate the draft, which I doubt will happen and would most certainly bring our country to its knees.