America's Spiritual Death: It's Time to Learn the Dark History of the U.S. You Were Robbed of ... and Oliver Stone Will Help
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It was not only conservatives who whitewashed American history. Bill Clinton: "Whatever we may thing about the political decisions of the Vietnam era, the brave Americans who fought and died there had noble motives. They fought for the freedom and the independence of the Vietnamese people."
The outcome has been shrouded in sanitized lies. The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, dedicated in November of 1982, now contains the names of 58,272 dead or missing Americans. The message is clear. The tragedy is the death of those Americans. But imagine if the names of 3.8 million Vietnamese and millions of Cambodians and Laotians were also included.
The supposed shame of Vietnam would be finally avenged by Ronald Reagan, the two Bushes and even to an extent Barack Obama, in the two decades to come.
The irony is that the Vietnam war represented a sad climax of the WWII generation from which Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., and all the generals in the high command came, those proclaimed by the mainstream media in the late 1990s as "the greatest generation."
Yet that same media ignored the arrogance of a generation that, overconfident from WWII, dismissed Vietnam as a fourth-rate power that could be easily defeated. From what the ancient Greeks called hubris or arrogance comes the fall. And from this initially obscure war came a great distortion of economic, social and moral life in America. A civil war that polarized the country till this day -- with much denied, little remembered, nothing regretted, and perhaps, nothing learned.
"History must be remembered or it will be remembered until the meanings are clear." The second president of the United States, John Adams, once said, "Power always thinks it has a great soul and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws."
Which makes the details of the oncoming history a sad, inevitable bloodbath that repeats itself again and again, as the U.S.A., much too often, stood on the side of the oppressors, propping up allies with financial and military aid, war on drugs programs, police and security training, joint military exercises, overseas bases, and occasional direct military intervention.
The U.S. empowered a network of tyrants who were friendly to foreign investors who could exploit cheap labor and native resources on terms favorable to the Empire. Such was the British and French way. And such would be the American way. Not raping, looting Mongols, but rather benign, briefcase-toting, Ivy-league educated bankers, and corporate executives who would loot local economies in the name of modernity, democracy and civilization, to the benefit of the United States and its allies.
During the Cold War politicians and the media sidestepped debate over the basic morality of U.S. foreign policy, by mouthing platitudes about U.S. benevolence and insisting that harsh, even dirty, tactics were needed to fight fire with fire. The Kissingers of the world called it "realpolitik." But even when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, our nation's policies did not change, as the U.S. time and again, has taken the side of the entrenched classes or the military against those from below seeking change.
It was the American war against the poor of the earth, the most easily killed, the collateral damage.
As was asked at the beginning, was it really about fighting communism, or was that a misunderstood or disguised motivation?
It was George Kennan, America's leading early Cold War strategist who went to the heart of the matter in a memorandum written in 1948:
"With 50 percent of the world's wealth but only 6% of its population, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, raising of living standards and democratization. We are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans the better."