September 5th, 2012

Godzilla, default

Appropriate discussion given today is the anniversary of:

On this day in 1972 the Palestinian movement Black September attacked the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics.

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To defeat terrorism, society would have to revert to a pre-modern existence, in which case over the sheer expanses of large societies there would be those violent types who exist in a vacuum of law and order, preying on trade routes and requiring regular punitive expeditions against them to keep them in check.

Thus, to me, the entire concept of ending and defeating terrorism is an impossibility, and amounts to a concept of castles in the air without any genuine validity in itself.

The Politics of History: Dominoes? What Dominoes?‏‏

As a wee lass growing up in the industrial fartland of America I was exposed to TV news reports about a war overseas that was not really a war. When I asked why this non-war was going on I was told that there was fear of dominoes falling to communism. Kids today might imagine their favorite pizza chain collapsing under the brutal oppression of Ho Chi Minh but that was not what really was at stake. It was not until later in life that I learned about fears that the Philippines and Japan might be brought under the big red bumbershoot. If that had happened we would not have hybrid Toyotas or Nintendo GameCubes. The horrors are too grim to contemplate.

In reviewing the history of Vietnam I became curious about the institution of strategic hamlets. They were part of a program by the South Vietnamese government to regain territory that had been lost to Viet Cong insurgents. Although at least one commentator has referred to them as concentration camps, they were not as confining as German work/death camps or American internment facilities. The effectiveness of the program was questioned by American intelligence who saw them as easily overrun by the nationalist opposition.

A propaganda movie, Night of the Dragon, made for the American market in 1971 shows us a model hamlet in operation. The movie depicts a small military operation to flush out a nest of commie subversives in the neighborhood of a village. It gives us a glimpse of what the conflict was like inside the protective envelope of the American military presence. Although the movie shows us the victims of Viet Cong atrocities, it omits mention of the Phoenix Program of atrocities on behalf of the government under the guidance of American intelligence.

What fascinates me about the Youtube posting of Night of the Dragon is the quality of the comments that people made. One of them takes the film to be an accurate depiction of Vietnam and protests liberal historical revision. The film portrays the motive behind the insurgency as a desire to take over the lucrative rice trade. That speaks more to the fear on the part of government officials of losing that trade. If preferred history is faulty will accurate history automatically fall into the domain of revision?

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Are political perspectives at play in how social groups interpret history? Do people tend to select the version of history that suits their personal sense of aesthetics?

Links: The Youtube copy of Night of the Dragon. A liberal "revisionist" perspective on the conflict in Vietnam. Phillip Catton on strategic hamlets. Nardin and Slater on historical revision over Vietnam.
  • luvdovz

The objective laws of military physics postulate that...

...In the conditions of a military conflict, the US aircraft (planes, helicopters, invisible flying saucers, etc) are completely and totally invincible. A scientifically and politically proven fact! They just can't be brought down. Not by enemy missiles, RPGs or anything like that anyway. The only way to bring down a US aircraft is either through a malfunction (which never happens), or through incredibly severe weather conditions (happens sometimes), or ultimately, human mistake (now that's another story).

Here's the latest piece of evidence of this scientific axiom:

Missile hits top US general’s plane in Afghanistan

That's the chief guy in charge of the military HQ there, one of the topmost of the top guys in the US military. Who the Taliban, in their silly attempt to win a PR victory, failed to kill because he wasn't there. A small but significant victory for the good guys!

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Godzilla, default

Speaking of the politics of history:

Since the Bush Administration, there has arisen an erroneous assumption that the USA and US capital played a predominant role n the rise of the Nazis and their military aggression. Originating from real contacts with the Bush Family and Hitler, these assumptions rest on a number of deeply, even fatally, flawed concepts.
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. The only answer that exists to this willful use of the Big Lie mislabeled as history is for the historian thus to illuminate the dark and squalid corners of the past, and to expose the nature of that time, even when it makes modern eyes wish that they could close and block out what is thus discovered.

That's what I think. What do you think?