Know your enemy: a brief history of Vietnam

Vietnam is not our enemy today, but it was for almost twenty years (1955 – 1973)—a war that the U.S. started with the false claim that our Navy ships had been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 4, 1964.

The truth: “On August 2, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats, mistaking the Maddox for a South Vietnamese vessel, launched a torpedo and machine gun attack on it. Responding immediately to the attack, the Maddox, with the help of air support from the nearby carrier Ticonderoga, destroyed one of the attacking boats and damaged the other two. … Regarding claims that the attacks on the US were unprovoked, veterans of US Navy SEAL teams say that US-trained South Vietnamese commandos were active in the area on the days of the attacks. … There were no U.S. casualties’, but three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed and six wounded.” Source: What was the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

“In early 1964, South Vietnam began conducting a covert series of U.S.-backed commando attacks and intelligence-gathering missions along the North Vietnamese coast. Codenamed Operations Plan (OPLAN) 34A, the activities were conceived and overseen by the Department of Defense, with the support of the Central Intelligence Agency, and carried out by the South Vietnamese Navy.

“The United States was playing a dangerous game. The South Vietnamese—conducted OPLAN 34A raids and the U.S. Navy’s Desoto patrols could be perceived as collaborative efforts against North Vietnamese targets.” Source: U.S. Naval Institute

How does Vietnam compare to Afghanistan and Iraq? You will discover that Vietnam also has a long history of war and rebellion.

In 111 BC, the Nam Viet Kingdom is annexed by the Han Dynasty and becomes part of China. During the next thousand years, China rules over Vietnam and there are many rebellions that are crushed.

In 939 AD, Ngo Quyen frees Vietnam (Dai Co Viet) by defeating China’s army at the Bach Dang River.

In 1010, The Ly Dynasty defeats attacks from China, in addition to the Khmer and Cham empires and then conquers the Cham destroying their culture.

In 1288 after fighting off thirty years of invasions by the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China, the Mongols are defeated by Tran Hung Dao again at the Back Dang River. Kublai Khan (1215 – died 1294) conquered China and then ruled the Yuan or Mongol dynasty.

In 1407, the Ming Dynasty sends an army into Vietnam, and in 1428, China is defeated.

In 1788, China’s Qing dynasty invades again and is also defeated.

In 1858, the French Navy attacks Da Nang and South Vietnam becomes a French Colony while the north and center of Vietnam becomes a French protectorate.

Japan invades Vietnam in 1940, and after World War II, the French reoccupy South Vietnam followed by a war between France and the Viet Minh as the Vietnamese once again fight to regain independence from a foreign power just as they have done against the Chinese, the Mongols and the French. In fact, the Vietnamese defeated the Mongols where the tribes in Afghanistan and Iraq failed.

The bulk of the French army is defeated at Dien Bien Phu; the French leave in 1955, and are soon replaced by the (stupid) United States.

The United States—it is obvious that the US did not know their enemy—supports Ngo Dinh Diem who makes himself president of the so-called Republic of South Vietnam with support from the U.S. military. In 1963, Diem is assassinated in a US-initiated coup.

Defeated in its objective to end Communism in Vietnam, the U.S. leaves in 1975 and today, Vietnam is still ruled by a Communist government.

What I learned from this series of posts is that when attacked, citizens in other countries and cultures may want to decide their own political future and fight for that right. If the US had sought the advice of Sun Tzu, I’m sure he would have warned against wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam by just studying the history of these cultures

What do you think?

Return to or start with Know your enemy: A brief history or Iraq and/or A brief history or Afghanistan

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. 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 fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Noble Nightmare: Part 3/3

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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

The Noble Nightmare: Part 2/3

Foreign Policy Magazine lists The Worst of the Worst and says, “There are at least 40 dictators around the world today, and approximately 1.9 billion people live under the grip of the 23 autocrats on this list alone.”

The Foreign Policy piece is worth reading because it reveals how some of these dictators were seen as freedom fighters until they won their revolution. Foreign Policy says, “Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there’s one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile freedom fighters who were supposed to have liberated their people. ”

I think it is hypocrisy for any Americans to support the war in Iraq based on moral grounds without supporting wars against all of the other brutal, autocratic, and oppressive regimes across the globe. To do that, the U.S. would have to mobilize as it did to fight Japan, Italy and Germany in World War II by enacting the draft and raising a military force of more than sixteen million to fight a global war of this scale.

In fact, the use of nuclear weapons might also be an option to end this war as it did in World War II when two nuclear bombs were dropped on cities in Japan killing almost 200,000 innocent civilians including children.

Then after that global war on oppressive regimes,—that is if it was successful—to maintain the peace, the United States would have to occupy all of those countries by keeping a military presence as we have in Japan, Germany and South Korea. The last question would be, if the United States did do this and fought wars in these countries that have a population of about 1.9 billion people, how would the United States guarantee that a dictator would never rule these people again?

The answer is simple: The U.S. would have to rule over these countries no matter how the people felt and to achieve this, order would be maintained by a permanent U.S. military force.

Continued on February 26, 2013 in The Noble Nightmare: Part 3 or return to 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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

The Noble Nightmare: Part 1/3

After reading a post on the Iraq War by an individual who thinks the war was moral and just, I left a comment on that Blog, and then decided to continue the discussion here.

The author of that post is an advisor on Foreign and Security Policy and a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy. Julie holds a BA in European Politics and an MSc in Conflict Studies (Comparative Politics) from the London School of Economics. Source: Julie’s Think Tank.com

Julie says, “It is important to learn the right lessons from Iraq.”

But I say, “Why do we have to learn from the Iraq experience when we have thousands of years of history to learn from?”

Julie clearly says that she “strongly supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and still maintains the same position.”

And I’m one of those people that changed his mind after the truth about WMDs came out revealing that it was another fabrication used as an excuse to start what many in America still consider to be a just and noble war.

Of course going to war to remove a dictator considered a monster such as Saddam could be seen as a moral and just cause, but why do so many Americans see the United States as the global force to do that and then not continue this in other countries that were listed by The Atlantic Wire as ruled by dictators?

Continued on February 25, 2013 in The Noble Nightmare: Part 2

_______________________

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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

A U.S. Marine Deals with his PTSD through Ballet

I faced my PTSD when I started to write about it. Here’s a Marine that did the same thing but with Ballet.

After serving at Fallujah, choreographer Roman Baca channeled his military experience into provocative dance performances.

This post is in addition to a post I reblogged from “Off the Base” — A Marine’s Voice Being Heard from the Dance Stage

“Roman Baca is a Marine Iraq War Veteran and the Artistic Director of Exit 12 Dance Company in NYC.  After a career in dance, Mr. Baca served as a US Marine and was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq from ‘05-’06.”  Source:  Exit 12 Dance Company

_______________________

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. 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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 3/3

Jane Fonda visited Hanoi, North Vietnam in July 1972 at age thirty-five. At that time, the anti-war movement was at its highest point and sentiments against the war were running loud and strong in the United States.

In fact, on April 23, 1971, Vietnam veterans threw away over 700 medals on the West Steps of the Capital building. The next day, antiwar organizers claimed that 500,000 marched, making this the largest antiwar demonstration since the November 1969 march.

In addition, by May 1971, public support for the war had reached 28%. This was the last time Gallup polled this question: “In view of developments since we entered the fighting in Vietnam, do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam?”

If you subtract 28 from 100, what is the answer that shows the percentage of Americans that were against the Vietnam War in 1971?

The highest rating for public support of the war was in 1966, the year I was there and that was 59%.

During her 1972 trip, Fonda made ten radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as “war criminals”.

Fonda’s visits to the POW camps in North Vietnam led to persistent and exaggerated rumors repeated widely in the American media, and decades later have continued to circulate on the Internet. Fonda has personally denied the rumors. Interviews with two of the alleged victims specifically named in the emails found these allegations to be false as they had never met Fonda.

Because of her time in North Vietnam, the ensuing circulated rumors regarding the visit, and statements made following her return, resentment against her among some veterans and those currently serving in the U.S. military still exists.

Snopes.com has this to say about Jane’s Fonda’s visit to Vietnam:

“Although Fonda’s actions in visiting North Vietnam were sufficient to earn her the wrath of many Americans, in the years since those events took place they have been embellished to the point that the one tale most commonly associated with her Vietnam Trip is an incident that never took place—a tale about U.S. POWs who furtively slipped messages to Fonda while she was meeting with them and whom Fonda promptly betrayed by turning those messages over to the POWs’ North Vietnamese captors (resulting in several of those prisoner’s being beaten, tortured, or killed). The fact is that while in North Vietnam, Fonda met with only a single group of seven U.S. POWs: all seven of those POWs agreed to meet with her, no POWs were tortured for declining to meet with her (or for behaving inappropriately during the meeting), and no POWs secretly slipped Fonda messages which she turned over to the North Vietnamese. The persons named in inflammatory claims about this apocryphal incident have repeatedly and categorically denied the events they supposedly were part of.”

There’s more at Snopes.com, and I urge you to read that entire entry. In fact, Snopes says, “Some of the POWs who did meet with Fonda have spoken out on the record to disclaim the apocryphal story about her alleged betrayal …”

Then there are these facts reported by the New York Times (also worth reading) that supports Fonda’s claim that America’s political and military leaders were “war criminals”.

The evidence that supports Fonda comes from the architect of the Vietnam War, Robert S. McNamara, the United States Secretary of Defense for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from January 21,1961 – February 29, 1968.

The NY Times reported, “The war became his personal nightmare. Nothing he did, none of the tools at his command—the power of American weapons, the forces of technology and logic, or the strength of American soldiers—could stop the armies of North Vietnam and their South Vietnamese allies, the Vietcong. He concluded well before leaving the Pentagon that the war was futile, but he did not share that insight with the public until late in life.”

McNamara recalled, “‘If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.’ and I’d say I—were behaving as war criminals.”

Then McNamara was quoted asking, “What makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?”

“We are the strongest nation in the world today,” McNamara said in The Fog of War, released at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “I do not believe that we should ever apply that economic, political, and military power unilaterally. If we had followed that rule in Vietnam, we wouldn’t have been there. None of our allies supported us. Not Japan, not Germany, not Britain or France. If we can’t persuade nations with comparable values of the merit of our cause, we’d better re-examine our reasoning.”

“War is so complex it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend,” McNamara concluded. “Our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate. And we kill people unnecessarily.”

Speaking out and protesting dramatically as Jane Fonda did in 1972 brands her as a true patriot and hero—not a traitor.  It takes courage—or stupidity—to stand up and tell millions of trained killers they were wrong and were being led by war criminals, and the truth—of course—hurts those who refuse to hear it.

Patriots and heroes speak out when his or her government is wrong, but those who do not speak our may be as guilty as their leaders.

Return to Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – 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. 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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 2/3

Before calling someone—anyone—a “traitor”, especially Jane Fonda, you should do your homework first.

I fought in Vietnam too (1966, field radio operator, U.S. Marines), but I do not blame Fonda for what she did when she went to North Vietnam, because when she spoke out, she was the voice of America’s conscience and she was not alone—at the time, a vast majority of Americans may have felt the same way she did.

After I came out of my PTSD shell in the early 1980s and stopped drinking, I started to learn the truth about the Vietnam War.

Most American troops went to Vietnam in honor, some came back tainted with innocent blood but many came back untainted but damaged physically and/or mentally as I did with PTSD.

The Vietnam War was based on a lie about the Tonkin Gulf Incident. You may want to read “30-year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie launched Vietnam War” by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon published July 27, 1994. The conclusion of that report says, “We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”

On October, 2005 the New York Times reported that Robert J. Hanyok, a historian for the U.S. National Security Agency, had concluded that the NSA deliberately distorted the intelligence reports that it had passed on to policy-makers regarding the August 4, 1964 incident. He concluded that the motive was not political but was probably to cover up honest intelligence errors.

In addition, before President Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert later said he was planning to pull out of Vietnam, because he saw it turning into quagmire if we stayed.

Then there is the fact that South Vietnam was ruled by a brutal dictator possibly worse than the leadership in North Vietnam.

And during most of the war, the U.S. leadership ran the war with the concept that we could win the war by killing as many people as possible. and to achieve that goal, the U.S. dropped more bombs than it dropped in all of World War II.

Pete Larson reports that the United States dropped 280 million bombs in Laos alone and that 80 million never exploded. Today, the population of Laos is estimated to be 6.5 million. That equals about 43 bombs dropped for each of today’s citizens in Laos. Do you know how many people lived in Laos during the Vietnam War?

If you click on Yale.edu, you will discover a map of Cambodia that shows where the bombs were dropped on 113,716 sites in 230,516 sorties dropping 2,756,941 tons of ordnance (explosives).

Libcom.org reports, “By the end of the war, 7 million tons of bombs had been dropped on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia – more than twice the amount of bombs dropped on Europe and Asia in World War II.”

Then there is the history of Vietnam.  For one thousand years, Vietnam was occupied by the Chinese (221 BC – 928 AD) and the Vietnamese resisted and fought to be free.

Then the French arrived in 1859 and occupied Vietnam, and eventually the Vietnamese fought to rid themselves of the French and the Japanese in the first Indochina War (1941 – 1954)

When the French left, the Americans moved into Vietnam in the late 1950s and stayed for almost 20 years. When the U.S. left, the soil was drenched with Agent Orange and millions—in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam combined—had been killed.

Vietnam is America’s shame and it took courage for someone like Jane Fonda to speak up and confront America’s leadership for this crime. The only honorable Americans in Vietnam were troops like your husband and me that went there as patriots believing we were fighting for freedom when the truth is that we were being lied to by our corrupt leaders.

Then there is the CIA and Air America. To this day the CIA denies that Air America was running drugs into the U.S. and supplying weapons to drug lords in the Gold Triangle with the design of creating an armed buffer between Communist China and Southeast Asia.

I refuse to condemn Jane Fonda for standing up to the corruption and lies of America’s leaders. More evidence that supports my opinion will appear in Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 3 on February 12, 2013 or you may return/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. 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.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”