All posts tagged: Vietnam

Haunted by the Ghosts of War

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About the “Ecology of War”

Text and Photos: Andre Vltchek Dr. Gus Abu-Sitta is the head of the Plastic Surgery Department at the AUB Medical Center in Lebanon. He specializes in: reconstructive surgery. What it means in this part of the world is clear: they bring you people from the war zones, torn to pieces, missing faces, burned beyond recognition, and you have to try to give them their life back. Dr. Abu-Sitta is also a thinker. A Palestinian born in Kuwait, he studied and lived in the UK, and worked in various war zones of the Middle East, as well as in Asia, before accepting his present position at the AUB Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon. We were brought together by peculiar circumstances. Several months ago I burned my foot on red-hot sand, in Southeast Asia. It was healing slowly, but it was healing. Until I went to Afghanistan where at one of the checkpoints in Herat I had to take my shoes off, and the wound got badly infected. Passing through London, I visited a hospital there, and …

Will Vietnam embrace China after Trump elected?

by Andre Vltchek Common wisdom says that after Donald Trump got elected in the United States, Vietnam should be in panic. True, there could be some ‘objective’ reasons for alarm, if one is truly obsessed with the ‘free’ trade agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership may soon go to the dogs and at least one sizeable part of the Vietnamese leadership was counting on it, hoping that it would boost the economy, particularly its garment and agricultural sectors. However, Vietnam is and always was tough, and on top of it, there are many signs indicating that the public and many government and Party heads are actually demanding a more ‘hardline’ Communist path, not just more business activities. Earlier this year, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, was re-elected, while Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was pushed from power. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported: “Mr Dung was the party’s strongest voice in denouncing Beijing and was credited with Vietnam’s smooth accession to a US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.” In brief: he was one …

No Pasaran, Commandante Fidel!

by Andre Vltchek Many years ago, Fidel declared: “Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour.” It did; destiny shaped them all, los Barbudos, and threw them right into the center of the whirlpool of world history. As they fought for the freedom of Cuba, of Latin America and the entire oppressed world, they actually managed to defy their own words: in the end they irreversibly shaped the fate of our planet, of the entire humanity. Fidel stood firmly at the forefront of the struggle, from the very outset to his last breath. I was driving through Central Vietnam when the message of Fidel’s death arrived on my phone screen. For several minutes there was absolute emptiness and silence inside me. Then, on a wide and beautiful river I spotted several marvellous ships belonging to an ancient Vietnamese fishing fleet, and a boat proudly flying both the Communist red flags with yellow stars, as well as several desolate black flags – symbols of mourning. In a remote place in Asia, Fidel’s …

Western Hypocrisy, and Why It Makes the World a Dangerous Place

by Michael Jabara Carley, October 16, 2016, via Strategic Culture The West has always been a great trembling hive of hypocrisy, portraying itself as liberal, progressive, civilised and democratic. You know the descriptors; the list is very long. Take the United States, for example, it is the «shining house upon the hill»: just, altruistic, democratic, with a «mission to extend individual liberties throughout the world». “Our cause has been the cause of all mankind”, Lyndon Johnson declared during the 1964 presidential election campaign. To reinforce his argument Johnson cited President Woodrow Wilson, who had similar things to say about American virtue. Nothing has changed: listen to Barack Obama talk about the altruism of the United States. “We are the «exceptional nation»,” he often says. These western and especially US virtues are mobilised to justify policies, wars, covert activities which are not virtuous at all. Let’s start with Wilson. He is best known for the «Fourteen Points», national self-determination, “democracy”, open agreements, and so on. “Do as I say, not as I do,” Wilson might have …

“Our imperial adventurism”

by Charles W. (Chas) Freeman, Jr., via LobeLog I’m here to talk about the end of the American empire. But before I do I want to note that one of our most charming characteristics as Americans is our amnesia. I mean, we are so good at forgetting what we’ve done and where we did it that we can hide our own Easter eggs. [….] Americans like to forget we ever had an empire or to claim that, if we did, we never really wanted one. But the momentum of Manifest Destiny made us an imperial power. It carried us well beyond the shores of the continent we seized from its original aboriginal and Mexican owners. The Monroe Doctrine proclaimed an American sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere. But the American empire was never limited to that sphere. In 1854, the United States deployed U.S. Marines to China and Japan, where they imposed our first treaty ports. Somewhat like Guantánamo, these were places in foreign countries where our law, not theirs, prevailed, whether they liked …

America’s Real Foreign Policy: Global Corporatization by Force

by Noam Chomsky, via Common Dreams (2014) The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs.  In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.  First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact.  Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it.  Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. — and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices.  The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond. There is a “received standard version,” common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse.  It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat. There are a number of ways …

John Pilger: “From Pol Pot to ISIS: The blood never dried”

Following the ISIS outrages in Beirut and Paris, John Pilger updates this prescient essay on the root causes of terrorism and what we can do about it. Part of our “New 9/11” series. In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a “merciless” attack on the rubble of Syria, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty. As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a …

Viet Nam a half century later

by David Swanson Jimmy Carter called a war waged in Vietnam by the United States — a war that killed 60,000 Americans and 4,000,000 Vietnamese, without burning down a single U.S. town or forest — “mutual” damage. Ronald Reagan called it a “noble” and “just cause.” Barack Obama promotes the myth of the widespread mistreatment of returning U.S. veterans, denounces the Vietnamese as “brutal,” and has launched a 13-year, $65 million propaganda program to glorify what the Vietnamese call the American War: As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away . . . They pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Which ideals might those have been? Remember, this was the bad war in contrast to which World War II acquired the ridiculous …