Imagine the cost in lives and dollars if the United States were to rule over 1.9 billion people in other countries for a few centuries until future freedom fighters drove the U.S. out after centuries of revolution.
For example, Vietnam was occupied by China for more than 1000 years from 221 B.C. until 938 A.D. when the Vietnamese resistance was finally successful and drove the Chinese out. Once the Chinese were gone, what form of government replaced them? Was it democratic? No!
But then it would not have mattered, because a few centuries later the French arrived and occupied Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for almost a century before they too were driven out by a popular resistance that eventually became another oppressive regime. Then the United States moved in and fought a war in Vietnam—based on another lie—for almost twenty years, leaving millions dead before it too pulled out. And during this time, South Vietnam was never ruled by a democratically elected government. Instead, the noble United States supported one dictator after another in South Vietnam.
The Government of Vietnam or Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) was originally led by Ngo Dinh Diem until his assassination in 1963. Afterwards, a series of “revolving door” leaders emerged, including Nguyen Cao Ky, General Khanh, Duong Van Minh, and Nguyen Van Thieu.
During the Vietnam War, the US dropped more than three times the number of bombs on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos than it dropped on Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II. Were those bombs only dropped on military targets? No!
carpet bombing spares no one
It is estimated that the civilian death toll in Southeast Asia from America’s war (1955 – 1975) was 465,000 to 2.5 million. When we include military deaths that number is 1.1 to almost 3.9 million.
If we are unable to learn from history, we are guaranteed to repeat the same mistakes made by others.
Then of course, there is this incomplete history that many in the U.S. would rather never hear:
1. In 1953, the United States overthrew a democratic government in Iran and installed a dictator, the Shah of Iran, who ruled with American support until 1979.
2. In 1954, the United States overthrew a democratic government in Guatemala and installed a military dictator, and with American support brutal military dictators dominated Guatemala until the late 1980s.
3. In 1964, the United States overthrew a democratic government in Brazil and installed a military dictator, and with American support military dictators dominated Brazil until the late 1970s.
4. In 1965, the United States overthrew a democratic government in Indonesia and installed a military dictator, Suharto, who then with American help killed over 500,000 people–the people who supported the old democratic government. Suharto to this day continues to receive American economic, political, and military support.
5. In 1965, the United States helped install the brutal dictator, Mobuto, in Zaire, who killed tens of thousands of people and looted his country of over 8 billion dollars. The United States continued to support the brutal dictator Mobuto until just the last few years, when we are now calling him “a relic of the Cold War.” If he is a relic, he is the United States’ relic!
6. In 1973, after America had withdrawn from Vietnam, the United States overthrew a democratic government in Chile and installed a brutal dictator, Pinochet, who killed tens of thousands of people–people who supported the old democratic government. With American economic, political, and military support, the brutal dictator Pinochet dominated Chile until the late 1980s.
For a more complete list, see Dictators Supported by the United States and/or America’s Other Most Embarrassing Allies.
Now tell me how noble America’s government is.
One lesson we should learn from all this history is that one man’s noble cause often turns out to be a nightmare for millions.
Return to The Noble Nightmare: Part 2 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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