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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 09:56 PM
Original message
History Repeating Itself: Kerry-Brokered Cambodia Tribunal Set To Begin
Edited on Wed May-16-07 10:02 PM by ProSense

History Repeating Itself: Kerry-Brokered Cambodia Tribunal Set To Begin

In early May Time Magazine published its " Most Influential People in the World, The Time 100."

Among those featured was Youk Chhang, who is director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia and a survivor of that countrys darkest period: the genocide during the reign of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Nearly two million people were killed and buried in areas that became known as the Killing Fields. The Khmer Rouges reign of terror is in the news again as the Cambodian tribunal is set to begin.

Time included the following essay about Youk Chhang written by Senator John Kerry, who brokered the U.N.'s Cambodian-genocide tribunal.

"Cambodia is like broken glass," says Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. "Without justice, we cannot put the pieces together." Putting the pieces together is the mission of the man who made himself the keeper of Cambodia's darkest memories.

Standing up to powerful forces that feared reopening the past, Chhang has documented the three years, eight months and 20 days of cruelty that claimed the lives of 1.7 million Cambodians under Pol Pot's genocidal Khmer Rouge. Six hundred thousand pages of documents, maps of 20,000 mass graves and 4,000 transcribed interviews with former Khmer Rouge soldiers are testimony to Chhang's conviction that there is no future without making peace with the past. They will provide the evidence at a long-delayed tribunal on the genocide, which it is hoped will finally start this year.

Confronting painful history is never easy. But for Chhang, 46, it is personal. Under Pol Pot, his sister was accused of stealing rice. A soldier slashed open her stomach to prove her guilt. Her stomach was empty. She died a slow and horrible death. This is one of the unspeakable acts that have gone not only unpunished but unexplained.

The tribunal will allow the world to hear the architects of these crimes speak about why they inflicted such suffering. In pain revisited, there will be a chance for a nation's healing?and in Youk Chhang, a hero confronting the past's villains.


Senator Kerry entered the negotiations at a time when there were concerns about the countrys corrupt legal system, the talks were on the verge of collapse and a judicial power struggle over who would lead the trial was ongoing. Senator Kerry stepped in to offer a compromise, establishing a framework for the tribunal, known as The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC):

In 1997, at the suggestion of the U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary General to Cambodia, Thomas Hammarberg, the co-Prime Ministers of Cambodia requested assistance from the U.N. in establishing a tribunal. David Scheffer went to Cambodia to design a proposal acceptable to the Cambodian government. The U.N. appointed a Commission of Experts which in 1999 recommended establishment of an international tribunal outside Cambodia.

Years of negotiations followed. The U.N. Office of Legal Affairs tried to impose a U.N.- run tribunal. Cambodia insisted that the tribunal be majority Cambodian, under Cambodian law. At the suggestion of U.S. Senator John Kerry, who went to Cambodia, agreement was reached in 2001 on a mixed tribunal with a Cambodian majority, but requiring super-majority agreement by international judges for all decisions. Administration would be shared by Cambodian and U.N. officials, prosecutors, and investigating judges. The maximum penalty would be life in prison. The Cambodian National Assembly passed a law to establish the tribunal on those terms.


The agreement Kerry brokered was a significant breakthrough:

57 The proposal was delivered by Senator John Kerry at a meeting between Kofi Annan and Hun Sen during a summit of developing nations in Cuba in April 2000, and came to be known as the "Kerry proposal." Cambodian Television, Apr. 17, 2000; Cambodia Lauds Fresh US Proposal to Break Khmer Rouge Trial Deadlock, Associated Foreign Press, Phnom Penh, Apr. 17, 2000; Hun Sen Accepts UN Proposal on Trial: US Senator, Kyodo, Phnom Penh, Apr. 29, 2000.


Here are highlights of Senator Kerrys efforts:


April Meeting between Senator John Kerry and Samdech Prime Minister, in which were laid down the principles of a national court with participation by foreign judges.


April A further meeting was held and letters exchanged between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Secretary-General in Havana, Cuba, but the outstanding issue was not resolved, so the Prime Minister met again with Senator John Kerry, who then returned for another visit to Phnom Penh. This all led to another compromise concerning what to do in case of differences between the co-prosecutors and co-investigating judges.

May The Prime Minister and the Secretary-General Kofi Annan exchanged letters confirming the latest compromise reached through John Kerry.

November Senator John Kerry made a final visit to seek confirmation of the government's position regarding the Draft Law, urging the government to move ahead soon with the debate in the National Assembly.

(More information is available from the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University.)

Disputes about fees kept the trials from moving forward for years. That sticking point was finally resolved in April 2007, almost nine months after the judges were sworn in, when the Cambodian Bar Association reduced the registration fee for foreign lawyer to $500 (from a high of $4,900) satisfying the ECCC international judges. Almost 30 years after the Khmer Rouges reign of terror, those involved in the will finally be brought to justice. One of the former Cambodian leaders is already dropping names, including Henry Kissingers, which leads to the other disturbing aspect of the Cambodian Genocide: the U.S. governments role in facilitating it.

Whats even more disturbing than the Nixon-era catastrophe in Cambodia is that under George Bush, the U.S. finds itself in a similar predicament. Rhetoric similar to that used by Nixon to escalate bombing Cambodia is being advanced by the Bush administration to justify escalating the Iraq war.

In an April 2006 speech, John Kerry stated:

I understand fully that Iraq is not Vietnam, and the war on terrorism is not the Cold War. But in one very crucial respect, we are in the same place now as we were thirty five years ago. When I testified in 1971, I spoke out not just against the war itself, but the blindness and cynicism of political leaders who were sending brave young Americans to be killed or maimed for a mission the leaders themselves no longer believed in.

The War in Vietnam and the War in Iraq are now converging in too many tragic respects.

As in Vietnam, we engaged militarily in Iraq based on official deception.

As in Vietnam, we went into Iraq ostensibly to fight a larger global war under the misperception that the particular theater was just a sideshow, but we soon learned that the particular aspects of the place where we fought mattered more than anything else.

And as in Vietnam, we have stayed and fought and died even though it is time for us to go.


In 1970, Nixon, similar to Bush, saw the law as irrelevant. He was the Commander Guy of his day, proclaiming that he was protecting American troops by defying the U.S. Congress.

Vietnam, similar to Iraq, was an exercise in U.S. aggression, imperialism, deception and callousness.

... the President had assumed the power to wage war, not only without Congressional approval, but in the face of express disapproval of the majority. Since it was clear to the Democrats that the votes to override another veto did not exist, such a compromise was made. When the President publicly agreed to respect a deadline of August 15, and not to increase the intensity of the bombing in the interim, the Congress gave him another month and a half to bomb Cambodia and to produce the cease-fire that he and Kissinger claimed was within grasp. The paradox was clear. Senator J. William Fulbright remarked, "I don't think it is legal or constitutional. But whether it is right or not, he has done it. He has the power to do it because under our system there is not an easy way to stop him." That was an accurate political assessment but it did not satisfy all of his colleagues. Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri complained that bombing was "not an issue that yields to compromise. Congress cannot sanction an unconstitutional and illegal endeavor for 'just a little while.' There is no way of just being a little bit unconstitutional or just a little bit illegal." Senator Edward Kennedy called it an "infamous" agreement, totally careless of Cambodian lives... Neither the United States nor its friends nor those who are caught helplessly in its embrace are well served when its leaders act, as Nixon and Kissinger acted, without care. Cambodia was not a mistake; it was a crime.


With growing opposition to his Indochina policy, Nixons bunker mentality set in. On December 9, 1970, he called Henry Kissinger, his national-security adviser, and demanded that US Air Force "go in there and crack the hell out of them."

Within minutes, Kissinger relayed the order General Alexander Haig: "He wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesnt want to hear anything. Its an order, its to be done. Anything that flies, on anything that moves. You got that?"

Cambodia was descending into civil war, and Nixon believed he could bomb his way to success in the region, propping up the countrys pro-Western government. The primary characters in Cambodias civil war were Lon Nol, who served as the countrys prime minister two times, and Norodom Sihanouk, who after being abdicated as king in 1963 engaged in a long power struggle with Nol.

An Ahmed Chalabi type, Sihanouk manipulated all the major players, China and the United States, while advocating neutrality. In 1965, he made a secret deal with China and North Vietnam allowing the permanent bases to be established in eastern Cambodia and military supplies from China into Vietnam via Cambodian ports. He followed that in 1968 with another secret deal, this time allowing Americans to Bomb eastern Cambodia.

Sihanouks dealings alienated Cambodians. In 1970, Nol succeeded in an effort to depose Sihanouk and assume control of the government.

Sihanouk went into exile in Beijing, where he continued efforts to overthrow the Nols government, primarily through support for the Khmer Rouge in their struggle to in Phnom Penh.

When superpowers get bogged down in another countrys civil war, it is a sure formula for disaster. Cambodia "quickly turned into a war zone, economic (destabilization) and refugees meant that no amount of money could make the situation better."

By the time the last phase of Nixons bombing campaign was completed, more bombs had been dropped on Cambodia (2,756,941 tons) than during all of World War II (just over 2 million tons). Nixons bombing of Cambodia led to a wider conflict, an increasingly angry civilian population, a deadly insurgency and the rise of the Khmer Rouge.

Bushs plan to escalate the war in Iraq is already showing signs of similar consequences. The civil war is raging out of control, and violence is spreading into the Kurdish areas. An estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have fled the country and their homes. More than 34,000 civilians were killed in 2006, and the civilian casualty is as low as 70,000 and could be as high as 655,000 since Bush launched the war four years ago. The Iraqis are rejecting the &en=98baa13adf3f4e58&ei=5087%0A">U.S. occupation and U.S. sanctioned segregation. Its probably no accident that when Time Magazine released its list of the 100 most influential people, George Bush was notably missing.

Bush, similar to Nixon, is waging a campaign of death and destruction, depriving young Iraqis of hope and creating perfect conditions for an insurgency to thrive. Bush, like Nixon, doesnt get this concept: insurgencies not only adapt quickly to conditions on the ground, but also grow stronger as civilian casualties begin to mount. There are a lot of differences between Iraq and Cambodia, but the similarities are a quagmire and deceitful, misguided and stubborn and leaders:

If the Cambodian experience teaches us anything, it is that miscalculation of the consequences of civilian casualties stems partly from a failure to understand how insurgencies thrive. The motives that lead locals to help such movements dont fit into strategic rationales like the ones set forth by Kissinger and Nixon. Those whose lives have been ruined dont care about the geopolitics behind bomb attacks; they tend to blame the attackers. The failure of the American campaign in Cambodia lay not only in the civilian death toll during the unprecedented bombing, but also in its aftermath, when the Khmer Rouge regime rose up from the bomb craters, with tragic results. The dynamics in Iraq, or even Afghanistan, could be similar. The impact of this bombing, the subject of much debate for the past three decades, is now clearer than ever. Civilian casualties in Cambodia drove an enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until t he bombing began, setting in motion the expansion of the Vietnam War deeper into Cambodia, a coup dtat in 1970, the rapid rise of the Khmer Rouge, and ultimately the Cambodian genocide. The data demonstrates that the way a country chooses to exit a conflict can have disastrous consequences.


Thats the lesson for Iraq as war supporters plead for more time in six month increments, and throw out claims that if the U.S. withdraws, Iraq will become a "terrorist Disneyland". Yet every six months, the situation in Iraq worsens. Daily attacks in Iraq went from 71 in January 2006 to 176 in October 26, after 15,000 additional troops were sent into Baghdad in August, and climbed to 180 in January 2007. For the first four months of 2007, per-day attacks averaged 162. Iraq and Cambodia are different, but the dynamics that led to the killing fields are again at work, this time turning a river into a graveyard.

The war in Afghanistan, which should have been the focus, has turned into a sideshow for Iraq. Bushs negligence is having serious consequences in Afghanistan, but he may have found someone to scapegoat for both wars.

Pol Pots reign was brutal. Its not comforting to know that two Republican presidential candidates America's Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Tom Tancredo support waterboarding, a torture technique used by the Khmer Rouge.

In August 1973, Congress cut funding for the Vietnam war; something the Senate failed to do today to end the war in Iraq. Sen. Eagleton, who was responsible for the 1973 bill, passed away on March. Senator Kerry gave a touching tribute to him on the Senate floor.

As history is being repeated, lets hope it arrives sooner at Congressional action to end the war in Iraq, rather than later at an even more brutal point, which will not be defined by the level of brutality, but by the number of lives destroyed.

(Edited to fix links.)

Cross posted at Daily Kos
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. That is an amazing amount of research
and it is both sad and scary that there are so many parallels between what went on in SE Asia and what is going on now in the Middle East.

Thanks for this!
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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wow, great post, it is so well researched. n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. Kick!
Thanks for the recs.
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 11:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. Kerry will do great there. Just stay off the streets of PP until after n/t
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Greeby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
5. Lest we forget, Reagan/Bush/Thatcher armed and trained the Khmer Rouge
After the Vietnamese drove them out of Phnom Penh

John Pilger
Cambodia - The Betrayal (1990)
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Let's hope that that will come out in the Tribunal
Even in the wake of the nightmare that Bush created, it will be amazing if this country could look at and really accept the horrors that the US government participated in in our names.

When Reagan died, the media rewrote even what was known to portray Reagan as a great President. When you look at this, the arming of the mujahadim in Afghanistan and the Iran/Contra evils, he was worse than Nixon.

Many Democrats bought into pieces of this, such as supporting the Contras. At the end of Senator Kerry's famous 1971 speech, he sppeaks of his goal of having the US turn, and that Vietnam would be seen as where America turned. I wonder if in 2004, we lost the leadership of the one man whose life has been filled with efforts to stop this type of foreign policy. It is good to see the role that he played in helping the Cambodians get this together.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. This is exactly why the books on BushInc's decades of crimes need to be opened.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. But they grabbed them all and stashed them
in a secure location in Texas...
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Thankfully, there are some of us interested in preserving REAL HISTORY for future
generations, and not giving in to the revisionism currently popular that is rehabilitating the legacies of the worst criminal administrations whose policies and covert actions LED this country and world straight into the resulting catastrophe of this Bush2 regime.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 07:44 AM
Response to Original message
7. Kick -this needs to be seen
This brilliant analysis provides answers to the RW attempt to blame the Cambodean nightmare on the withdrawal from Cambodia - instead of on the bombings and other invasions that were more likely the case for the destabalization.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. Thanks! It really boggles the mind
that anyone believes that bombing is going to stabilize a country gripped by civil war. Shiites and Sunnis are killing each other, Americans are killing a lot of Iraqis, and not long ago the Bush admin considered siding with the Shiites to wipe out a well-equipped and not easily discernable Sunni insurgency.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
51. Eerily familiar:
Chillens, I want you to put on your thinkin caps and dissect the logic behind these statements:

1.) Were giving up on political reconciliation between the Sunnis and Shiites.

2.) Instead, were going to focus on helping Malikis Shiite-dominated sectarian government take control of the capital, with the end goal of helping them take greater responsibility for securing the country.

And yet

3.) Sectarian violence is not a problem we can fix.

So, ladiesn'gents, how do you suppose the sectarian, Shiite-dominated government will go about securing the country? Ding! You got it! Ethnic cleansing!


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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. K&R
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
10. K & R. This is a fantastic history lesson, Prosense.
Thanks for putting this together.
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
12. Wait, isn't John Kerry that guy
who had "no significant accomplishments as a Senator"? :eyes:

Guess this sort of thing is only significant to the Cambodians, not American talking heads.

(and God forbid they actually refer to history to help sort out what's going on in the world today...)

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
27. Not to mention it makes joe Klein even more of an ass for
Edited on Fri May-18-07 09:06 PM by karynnj
saying that Kerry didn't speak enough about torture ana d abuse - whan he spoke more than anyone else.

Not to mention, the RW were replaying Kerry's Vietnam comments speaking about the Geneva conventions -

They also complained about him speaking against the thugs known as Contras, Oh

He also really annoyed them speaking about incursions into Cambodia - which this post kind of shows why - all our illegal bombing etc destabalized Cambodia leading to Pol Pot

Wasn't there a Democratic President in the 1990s who could have mentioned this instead of Kerry's time in Vietnam when he was 25.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #27
66. Klein never "got' John Kerry because he's too superficial himself to 'get' honest
Edited on Sun May-27-07 12:46 PM by blm
and committed men of peace, honor, and action.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
14. Nixon's defense secretary comments on Iraq
Nixon's defense secretary is still trying to sell the failed strategy and rhetoric that victory could have been achieved if the U.S. had stayed in Vietnam.

In 2005:

Summary: During Richard Nixon's first term, when I served as secretary of defense, we withdrew most U.S. forces from Vietnam while building up the South's ability to defend itself. The result was a success -- until Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975. Washington should follow a similar strategy now, but this time finish the job properly.

MELVIN R. LAIRD was Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973, Counselor to the President for Domestic Affairs from 1973 to 1974, and a member of the House of Representatives from 1952 to 1969. He currently serves as Senior Counselor for National and International Affairs at the Reader's Digest Association.


President Bush does not have the luxury of waiting for the international community to validate his policies in Iraq. But we do have the lessons of Vietnam. In Vietnam, the voices of the "cut-and-run" crowd ultimately prevailed, and our allies were betrayed after all of our work to set them on their feet. Those same voices would now have us cut and run from Iraq, assuring the failure of the fledgling democracy there and damning the rest of the Islamic world to chaos fomented by extremists. Those who look only at the rosy side of what defeat did to help South Vietnam get to where it is today see a growing economy there and a warming of relations with the West. They forget the immediate costs of the United States' betrayal. Two million refugees were driven out of the country, 65,000 more were executed, and 250,000 were sent to "reeducation camps." Given the nature of the insurgents in Iraq and the catastrophic goals of militant Islam, we can expect no better there.


In 2007:


Democrats are positioned to offer a plan for Iraq, but cutting off funding is not a plan. Holding hearings to excoriate the executive branch is not a plan. Emotional oratory about casualties is not a plan. Such is the stuff of dinner-party debates and protest rallies. It is not what the American people need from their elected representatives, and it is not what they voted for in November.

To Congress, which has the opportunity to make a difference, I offer some perspective:

...Surprisingly, at least from an old Republican such as myself, the best hope for leadership I see now in the majority party is Sen. Hillary Clinton. She is highly motivated to tread a path to success in Iraq; she knows that without it, she will never be president...

...We never did this during the Vietnam War; nor has any Congress or administration in recent memory seemed willing to trust the American people to understand and make choices about what is at stake and what we are willing to pay in time, money and lives. Congress must also realize that if there is no settlement in the Middle East, the price of oil will more than double. Lawmakers must recognize the threat this poses to our economy.

? Defense spending must be substantially increased. Since 1986 the defense budget has been slighted while needs have only grown. The all-volunteer military needs better wages and better equipment. The troops today have what we lacked in Vietnam -- the will to win and unit cohesiveness and pride. What they don't need is a Congress that thinks it is doing them a favor by cutting off funding for Iraq. They need a Congress that makes national defense a budget priority. Even including the war in Iraq, defense spending is still a sliver of gross domestic product.

? Congress must take the lead in demanding accountability from the Iraqi government. Our troops are in escalating danger from Shiite militias because Iraq's elected leaders do not have the will or the ability to crack down. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been unable to keep the tribal and sectarian factions of Iraq in balance. We cannot do that for him. If he can't or won't do it, he should step down, or we cannot justify the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.

...The call to jihad is powerful, and it is apparently irresistible in the Third World where attempts to export Western culture and values have failed. If widely adopted, radical Islam will fail them even more in the end. And if allowed to play out to its goal of world domination, radical Islam will make the "domino theory" of Southeast Asia pale by comparison.


(emphasis added)

Fascinating! After spewing RW talking points, here is the gist of his argument:

He's under the impression that Hillary is willing to stay the course.

A failed Iraq will result in higher oil prices in the U.S.

Dig the country deeper into debt by spend a lot more than the half trillion dollars Iraq has eaten up, fix the broken army, and do the soldiers a favor by giving them better wages to face escalating danger in a war most people think is immoral and unwinnable (That's responsible! With estimates that the current war will cost nearly $2 trillion, anyone for a $3 trillion, never-ending war?)

Link victory to al-Maliki (start packing up troops and equipment). Agree with this: "we cannot justify the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq."

Leaving will result in world domination by radical Islam (fear mongering similar to the spread of communism after U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam).

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. Kick! n/t
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Island Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
16. Excellent, ProSense!
Looks like I have some heavy reading to do tonight. K & R!
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Thanks! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
19. Journalist killed in action
May 2006:

71 Journalist Killed in Iraq, Vietnam Wars

Iraq Journalist Deaths Equal Number Killed During Vietnam War

By RICHARD PYLE Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK May 31, 2006 (AP)

With the deaths of two CBS television crew members from a car bomb in Baghdad, the number of journalists who have died in hostile incidents in Iraq has risen to 71 the same number killed or presumed dead during the Vietnam War.

Both counts are unofficial but based on careful compilations. The Vietnam list, maintained by The Associated Press Saigon bureau during the war, covers the years 1965-75 and includes 34 lost in Cambodia, 33 in Vietnam and four in Laos. It counts only deaths in hostile incidents and excludes those from accidents or illness.


May 2007:

2 Iraqi ABC News journalists killed


Journalists have been frequently targeted by violence in Iraq. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded 102 journalists and 39 media support workers killed and 48 journalists abducted since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Those numbers do not include those killed in the latest attack.


(emphasis added)
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-07 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #19
56. Remember Sean Flynn & Dana Stone
and the dozens of other journalists killed in Vietnam. It seems history is repeating itself.

The following link to former US Army Covert Intelligence officer Zalin Grant gives very good background on the campaign by Cambodia to kidnap and (often) kill foreign journalists during the Vietnam War. Many of those criminals are still in power. Good reading.

Keep up the good work, John Kerry.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-07 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. Thanks for the link! Interesting article,
I'll have to give it a closer read.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #19
69. Three more journalists killed in Iraq in record toll
Edited on Wed May-30-07 10:19 AM by ProSense

Three more journalists killed in Iraq in record toll

By Aseel Kami
38 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The deaths of three more Iraqi journalists were reported on Wednesday, bringing the monthly total to nine and equaling the worst month on record for reporters in the Iraq war.

The monthly total is matched only by February 2004, when nine journalists were also killed, according to figures by Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Another independent watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), lists seven journalists killed in April 2003 as the bloodiest month for reporters since the start of the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in March 2003.

Iraq is already the deadliest conflict in 25 years for journalists. RSF puts the total death toll of journalists and media assistants in Iraq at 177, while CPJ says 104 journalists have been killed. The figures do not include the latest deaths.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
20. "Triangle Of Death" Is A U.S. Nightmare

"Triangle Of Death" Is A U.S. Nightmare

Mark Strassmann: Iraqi Region Is A Friendless Place For U.S. Troops Searching For Missing GIs

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 18, 2007

(CBS) This story was written by CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann

Iraq's "Triangle of Death" is one of the last places on earth you want to be if you're an American in trouble. It's southwest of Baghdad, and much of it looks more like Vietnam than Iraq: It's a river area, lush and green with farm fields and palm trees.

But even by Iraq's horrific standards, it's an especially lethal area dominated by Sunni insurgents. Through their terror campaign of murder, rapes and kidnappings, they've cowed most residents. America has few friends there and most of those we do have keep it quiet. Self-preservation is a powerful silencer.

Yet this is where a massive dragnet is now trying to find three missing U.S. soldiers. They were parked in a pair of Humvees, essentially an observation post looking for trouble. Then trouble found them.

In a pre-dawn raid, a group of insurgents ambushed them. Five soldiers in the Humvees were killed, four Americans and one Iraqi Army translator. By the time other U.S. soldiers arrived almost an hour after hearing the explosions slowed by roadside bombs en route the three remaining U.S. soldiers had vanished. There are signs at the scene that suggest they were dragged into cars and taken somewhere, but no one knows what kind of shape they were in, then or now no one, except their attackers.

"These are somebody's friends. Somebody's brother. We want to get them back as bad as their families want them back," said Sgt. Greg Woodruff.


ABC video: U.S. soldiers are missing in an area of Iraq known as the triangle of death

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mloutre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
21. TRULY superb post! ...and I see it got picked up by Kerry's blog, too.


P.S. -- see the following Guardian piece for an update on the situation with the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the first IntHerTrib article for a good bio on Youk Chhang, and the following one for a harrowing story on what's happening in the old killing fields today...

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Democrafty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Yay, ProSense! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. Wow! Thanks for the links and for
bringing this to my attention. I'm on my way over to the JK blog to say thanks for giving the diary a little more exposure. Thanks again.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. Yay!
In one of your links, ity says that Sierra Leone has accepted the same hybrid tribunal - which ones of the sublinks refers to as complicated which is funny because reading it it seems elegantly simple.

So as MH said too bad this guy has no accomplishmnets.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-07 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #28
42. Just came across this.
The United Nations and Siniora's government agreed in November 2006 on a draft statute to create a new court, which would be modeled on war crimes tribunals in Sierra Leone and in Cambodia. The court enjoys the backing of a majority in Lebanon's pro-Western parliament.


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politicasista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
22. K&R
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
25. Is Iraq Headed for Genocide?

Is Iraq Headed for Genocide?


President George W. Bush has continued to reject assertions that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. But in the wake of his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the country's continuing sectarian violence, some human rights experts are worrying about a different, worse fate for Iraq: genocide.

Juan Mendez, Kofi Annan's special advisor on the prevention of genocide, told TIME that the targeting of minorities based solely on religion in Iraq, the extent of the violence there, the lack of central control, and the fact that Iraq has already experienced genocide, "constitute warning signs that we take very seriously." He stressed that those warning signs can be present in conflicts and never rise to the level of genocide, but that his office is watching the situation closely. If the situation in Iraq did deteriorate, Mendez said, "I would not hesitate to request armed troops to protect people" but, he added, it would have to be in a "different configuration" than what is there now.

Gregory Stanton, a professor of human rights at Virginia's University of Mary Washington, sees in Iraq the same troubling signs of preparation and execution of genocidal aims that he saw in the 1990s in Rwanda when he worked at the State Department. Sunni and Shiite militias are "trying to polarize the country, they're systematically trying to assassinate moderates, and they're trying to divide the population into homogenous religious sectors," Stanton says. All of those undertakings, he says, are "characteristics of genocide," and his organization, Genocide Watch, is preparing to declare the country in a "genocide emergency."

Though the term conjures up thoughts of enormous numbers of civilian dead, the quantity of victims is not the warning sign experts look for when considering the danger of genocide. Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says with Shi'ite and Sunni sub-groups already identifying and killing victims solely on the basis of their religious identity, "genocidal intent" is already present in Iraq. "When you drive up to a checkpoint and you're stopped and somebody pulls out your ID and determines whether you're a Sunni or a Shiite and takes you away and kills you because of that, there is a genocidal mentality afoot." The question, Power says, is how broadly that mentality will spread. Iraq has already seen one genocide in recent decades: Saddam Hussein stands accused of attempting to exterminate Kurds, the third largest group in the country.

While Power and Stanton both see a mounting danger of widespread genocide in Iraq, there is certainly not consensus on the threat. Other human rights organizations, like the Committee on Conscience at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the International Crisis Group, do not see the conditions for genocide developing. Human Rights Watch, which is particularly restrictive in what it calls genocide, says it believes Iraq is not headed in that direction. Joost Hiltermann, who covers Iraq for the International Crisis Group, says that the biggest impediment to full-blown genocide is the fact that there are divisions between Shi'ite factions, which prevent them from uniting in a nationwide persecution of Sunnis.

Much of the debate over the possibility of widespread genocide in Iraq stems from differing interpretations of the 1948 United Nations convention on genocide. There, genocide is defined rather broadly as killing, seriously harming, restricting birth or attempting to destroy in whole or in part, "a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Says University of Mary Washington's Stanton, "Anyone who says that's not happening in Iraq is burying their head in the sand." But others say the number of people in Iraq operating with the intention of eradicating people solely on the basis of their membership in a ethnic or religious group is too small to constitute genocidal intent.


Iraq: A New Age Of Genocide?

Bill Weinberg
May 15, 2007

Bill Weinberg, editor of the online journal . This piece originally appeared in New America Media.

Amid daily media body counts and analyses of whether the surge is working, there is an even more horrific reality in Iraq, almost universally overlooked. The latest annual report by the London-based Minority Rights Group International, released earlier this year, places Iraq second as the country where minorities are most under threatafter Somalia. Sudan is third. More people may be dying in Darfur than Iraq, but Iraq's multiple micro-ethnicitiesTurcomans, Assyrians, Mandeans, Yazidisplace it at the top of the list.

While the mutual slaughter of Shiite and Sunni makes world headlines, Iraq is home to numerous smaller faiths and peoplesnow faced with actual extinction. Turcomans are the Turkic people of northern Iraq, caught in the middle of the Arab-Kurdish struggle over Kirkuk and its critical oilfields. Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, now targeted for attack, trace their origins in Mesopotamia to before the arrival of the Arabs in the seventh century. So do the Mandeans, followers of the worlds last surviving indigenous Gnostic faithnow also facing a campaign of threats, violence and kidnapping. The situation has recently escalated to outright massacre.

In late April, a grim story appeared on the wire services about another such small ethnic group in northern Iraq. Twenty-three textile factory workers from the Yazidi community were taken from a mini-bus in Mosul by unknown gunmen, placed against a wall and shot down execution-style. Three who survived were critically injured.

Yazidis, although linguistic Kurds, are followers of a pre-Islamic faith which holds that earth is ruled by a fallen angel. For this, they have been assailed by their Muslim neighbors as "devil-worshippers" and are often subject to persecution.


Genocide Watch

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
26. Kick! n/t
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mloutre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 06:41 AM
Response to Original message
29. morning kick ... because this post deserves it ... n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
30. Tragic, dangerous signs in Iraq

Sat May 19, 5:42 AM ET
Iraqis rally in protest against frequent combined U.S. and Iraqi
military raids in Shiite neighborhoods in northeast Baghdad, Iraq,
Saturday, May 19, 2007. Hundreds of residents protested
demanding random raids against their neighborhoods to stop. (AP
Photo/Karim Kadim)

Eight more US soldiers killed; Gunmen dressed as Iraqi soldiers kill 15 (Kurds)

Contractor Deaths in Iraq Soar to Record (at least 146 killed in first three months of 2007)

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
31. It Was Not An Ambush
Larry Johnson via Daily Kos:

It Was Not An Ambush


What happened to a squad of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division in the Mahmoudiyah area is something worse and more disturbing.


The attackers did not pop up out of spider holes nor did they fall from the sky. They moved against a fixed, defended position. The most likely possibility--the U.S. soldiers were asleep and did not spot the attackers. They apparently did not have time to even call for help over the radio.


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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
32. I hope you will put this in the Research Forum
Great work, thanks.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Thanks. Good idea. n/t
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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
33. And this guy is getting slammed daily by a few Hillary supporters in GD:P
Go figure.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. It's the difference between a lawmaker who uncovered IranContra, BCCI and CIA drugrunning
Edited on Sat May-19-07 04:20 PM by blm
and the lawmakers who thought those crimes of office were unnecessary to pursue or reveal to the public.
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ray of light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #33
76. ridiculous, huh?!!!
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
36. Iraq Isn't Like Vietnam -- Except When It Is

Iraq Isn't Like Vietnam -- Except When It Is

By Robert Dallek
Sunday, May 20, 2007; Page B03

These days, it's not terribly original to say that the Iraq war is like the Vietnam War. Many doves use the comparison lazily, invoking Vietnam to urge the United States to pull out. Like most historical analogies, it's a pretty inexact one. (For one thing, Vietnam began as a guerrilla war and ended as a conventional one, while Iraq began as a conventional fight and degenerated into an insurgency.) But having studied President Lyndon B. Johnson's descent into the Vietnam abyss, and having just spent several years poring over Vietnam-era papers and tapes from President Richard M. Nixon and Henry Kissinger, I've found that some of the parallels sound disturbingly familiar today. They're not perfect, but they're instructive -- and give us a disquieting sense of how hard it can be for policymakers to learn from history.

Like Johnson and Nixon, President Bush is hoping that adding troops will turn a civil war around, is relying on local, U.S.-trained forces to stave off defeat, and is worried that failure will undermine America's international credibility. Bush also disdains antiwar voices and is determined to prove them wrong in the long view of history. But unlike Johnson and Nixon, he doesn't seem to realize that his war is lost. Instead of learning from his predecessors, Bush seems to be replicating their mistakes.

The parallels may be most stark when it comes to the current troop increase in Iraq. Military escalation was also LBJ's answer to unrelenting attacks by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese in an uncontrollable civil war -- an increase from 16,800 advisers in 1963 to 545,000 combat troops by 1968. But compare that with Bush's increase of about 28,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. If more than half a million troops couldn't succeed in Vietnam, is a total U.S. force of more than 160,000 likely to pacify Iraq? And what can be done when one escalation doesn't do the trick? The more you double down, Johnson and Nixon found, the harder it is to cut your losses.

We can see another important similarity by considering "Vietnamization," Nixon's 1970s program to arm and train South Vietnam's forces to take care of their country's security. In effect, Nixon hoped that as the South Vietnamese stood up, the United States would stand down. Today Bush is trying something eerily similar with the Iraqi military. But it's proving no more capable than its predecessor in Indochina. During a typically ineffective South Vietnamese offensive against North Vietnamese forces in early 1971, Nixon privately seethed with frustration. "If the South Vietnamese could just win one cheap one," he fumed to his national security aides. "Take a stinking hill. . . . Bring back a prisoner or two." When the South Vietnamese air force failed to attack North Vietnamese trucks because they were "moving targets," Nixon exploded with invective that can't be printed in a family newspaper. One can only imagine how incensed Bush is in private about the performance of Iraq's U.S.-trained units.


As such, Bush is now fighting both in the arena of politics and in the arena of history. Having bet his presidency on Iraq, he seems to be planning to leave the war to the next administration, which he no doubt assumes may be Democratic, and then blame it for whatever additional disarray erupts when the United States withdraws.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #36
38. On Memorial Day, Cambodians call for swift Khmer Rouge trials

On Memorial Day, Cambodians call for swift Khmer Rouge trials

Sun May 20, 4:30 AM

CHOEUNG EK, Cambodia (AFP) - More than 1,000 Cambodians gathered at the Khmer Rouge's notorious Choeung Ek killing fields on Sunday and called for the swift trial of the regime's surviving leaders.

Buddhist monks chanted prayers for victims of the brutal regime, as sombre crowds gathered at the execution site to mark "Memorial Day", when the kingdom remembers those killed.

"I want the tribunal to start as soon as possible -- I want to get justice before I die," said 76-year-old Koun Thol, who lost four children under the Khmer Rouge.

The start of a joint UN-Cambodian tribunal has been pushed back to early 2008 after years of delays and wrangling.

But many Cambodians fear it will not be soon enough, and are concerned that ageing Khmer Rouge leaders will die before being brought to justice.

"I am so angry -- will I never forget this brutal regime?" said 68-year-old Thong Thon, who lost 14 relatives during the ultra-Maoist regime.

"The delay should be ended and the trial should begin as soon as possible."

Cambodian judges and international jurists will meet from May 31 to June 13 in the hope of resolving a long-running dispute over rules that has delayed the start of genocide trials.


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mloutre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-07 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. fresh kick for updated content ... n/t
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mloutre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-07 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #36
40. Yup -- and Rolling Stone magazine had that pegged two years ago this month, too.
As the Iraq war drags on, it's beginning to look a lot like Vietnam

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-07 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Thanks for the link. n/t
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globalvillage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-07 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
37. Excellent work, ProSense
Looks like I'll be busy reading for a while!

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-07 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
41. "Iraq Isn't Like Vietnam -- Except When It Is"
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-21-07 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
44. Beyond Saber Rattling

Beyond Saber Rattling

By Jim Hoagland
Sunday, May 20, 2007; Page B07

The United States was never in danger of becoming the "pitiful, helpless giant" that Richard Nixon conjured up in 1970 to justify the invasion of Cambodia -- and it does not risk that fate today. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Bush both need to keep that in mind to avoid stumbling into a widening of the war in Iraq.

The danger is real even if neither leader deliberately seeks such an outcome. Bush's calculated saber rattling against Iranian "triumphalism" in Iraq and the Persian Gulf has been met with new bravado from Ahmadinejad. The Iranian pugnaciously tells his neighbors that "America is weak and cannot protect you." Worse, he seems to believe it.


But history and contemporary politics both suggest that this is a time for steady nerves and calibrated pressure tactics -- not sudden lurches in policy. Using Iraq as a springboard and rationale for an American military strike into Iran would expand the current disaster, just as Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, nominally undertaken to show American strength, came to undermine the U.S. presence in Indochina.

That invasion was meant to bolster an earlier U.S.-backed coup in Phnom Penh. Washington would risk similar results in Iraq by strong-arming the admittedly faltering government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki out of office and replacing Maliki with a U.S.-anointed Iraqi savior.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-21-07 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #44
46. Kick! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-21-07 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
45. McCain's Vietnam lesson
McCain's Vietnam lesson: Don't give up:


Though McCain similarly criticized the Bush administration's handling of the first years of the Iraq war, he does not draw parallels today. McCain, who has said he's willing to be the "last man standing" in support of the president's current strategy, told the Monitor he sees Bush's troop increase as the only viable option. However, he's less than certain about its chance for success.

"I think we've got the right strategy. I think we understand the enemy," McCain said Friday. "Whether we're going to succeed or not - I believe we can, but I don't guarantee it, particularly since we've made so many mistakes in the past. But I think we have to try."

In a visit to New Hampshire last month, McCain said withdrawing would mean "a date certain for surrender." In a phone interview Friday, McCain reiterated that the country must give the so-called troop surge a chance "before we start thinking about Plan B." He believes U.S. troop withdrawal would cause the sectarian and anti-American violence in Iraq to ignite throughout the Middle East and beyond.

"It's my job to try to warn (the country) that unlike the Vietnam War, where we just left and came home, that (in this war) they will follow us home," the Arizona senator and Republican presidential candidate said. "They will follow us home, because it's now become part of the struggle against radical Islamic extremism."


"Fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #45
47. Kick! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
48. Thinking Past Plan B in Iraq

Thinking Past Plan B in Iraq

By Ivan Eland
May 22, 2007

After initially spurning the Iraq Study Groups (ISG) recommendations, President Bush now seems inclined toward the ISGs recommendation of transforming the U.S. militarys role from fighting insurgents and militias into a smaller force that would train Iraqi forces in seeming perpetuity.

Although this solution would lower U.S. casualties, and perhaps increase Republican chances in the 2008 elections, it will do little to dampen the combination of guerrilla and civil war in Iraq. A more radical solution is needed: a dramatic decentralization of Iraqi governance.

This ISG strategy has actually already been tried and has failed. U.S. forces have been training Iraqis for years but the Bush administration elected to spearhead the surge into Baghdad with U.S. forces because Iraqi units were unreliable.

Like the Vietnam War, where the substitution of U.S.trained South Vietnamese forces for withdrawing U.S. forces failed, the same plan will fail in Iraq. In Iraq, the United States is in a worse situation because it disbanded the Iraq Army and had to start from scratch.

Iraqization will fail for the same reason that Vietnamization didsocietal cleavages prevent a national army from saving a fractured country. After the U.S.approved coup that threw out South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, the South Vietnamese government never had any legitimacy with its own people and became infiltrated with Viet Cong.

In an Iraqi society ruptured by three wars, international economic sanctions, and Saddam Husseins divide-and-conquer style of ruling, the United States can train Iraqi forces ad infinitum but their first loyalty will be to their ethnic/sectarian/tribal groups rather than to the Iraqi state.

In any solution to the Iraq problem, the two main causes of the violence must be eliminated. The first is the U.S. occupation. The second is suspicions that one ethnic/sectarian group in Iraq will use a strong central government to oppress the other groups.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Kick! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
50. LONG STRUGGLE AHEAD (the unbelievable)

He predicted a long ideological struggle facing successive presidents.

"Presidents are going to have to keep the pressure on al Qaeda by using good intel and finding him and pressuring him. At the same time, presidents are going to have to promote ... an alternative ideology to that espoused by these extremists and radicals, and that happens to be one based on liberty."


His early months in 2001 were dominated largely by domestic developments. The Sept. 11 attacks that year irreversibly changed his presidency.

"One of the things that I've learned is to be prepared for the unexpected," said Bush, wearing an Air Force One flight jacket and sipping a diet Coke.

A student of presidential history, Bush reads books on his predecessors, including three on George Washington last year alone, and says it will be a long time before his own presidency will be put into proper historical context.

"The lesson you learn with the presidency is that it takes a long time -- if you're doing big things, it takes a while for history to be able to fully analyze your presidency. There's no such thing as accurate short-term history of a president," he said.

What will be his legacy?

"Whatever it is, I'm not going to be around to see it. I hope it is that George Bush fought the war, he laid out a strategy for America and her allies to ultimately defeat these ideologues; he recognized the nature of the enemy" and put in place measures to deal with the threat, he said.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
52. New look at Nixon-Kissinger decisions draws parallels to today's events

New look at Nixon-Kissinger decisions draws parallels to today's events


New York Times
Article Last Updated: 05/23/2007 08:11:09 AM CDT

The current war in Iraq is mentioned only once in Robert Dallek's engrossing new book, "Nixon and Kissinger," and yet the reader cannot help regarding his account of the Nixon White House and its handling of the Vietnam War as a kind of parable about the presidency of George W. Bush and its determination to stay the course in Iraq.

Indeed, Dallek seems to have taken up the much-written-about subject of Richard M. Nixon and his national security adviser (and later secretary of state) Henry A. Kissinger with just this sort of subtext in mind.

Though much of the Nixon White House's copious tape and paper trail has been available for years, and books by insiders like H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff, have minutely chronicled the Jacobean atmosphere in that embattled White House, Dallek has shrewdly drawn upon recently declassified archives, including transcripts of Kissinger's phone calls and the papers of Alexander M. Haig Jr., Kissinger's deputy on the National Security Council and later Nixon's chief of staff.

Through these, the author has succeeded in drawing a compelling portrait of the two men while analyzing the momentous consequences their foreign policy decisions had on America and the world.

What Dallek has done, and done remarkably deftly, in this volume is focus on the relationship between the two men and the ways in which their personal traits - their drive, their paranoia and their hunger for power and control - affected their performance in office and informed their foreign policy decisions. Each was given to impugning the other's emotional stability: President Nixon would ask his aide John Ehrlichman to talk to Kissinger about getting therapy, while Kissinger would frequently refer to his boss as "that madman," "our drunken friend" and "the meatball mind." At the same time, the two men had more than a little in common, including tumultuous childhoods that left them painfully insecure and a self-serving grandiosity that made them feel they could rationalize dubious means to achieve their ends.

Nixon's determination to run foreign policy out of the White House meant that Congress and State Department analysts were often cut out of the loop on important decisions. Nixon, for instance, ordered the massive bombing campaign against Hanoi and Haiphong in December 1972 while Congress was in recess for the Christmas break, telling Kissinger that "one of the beauties of doing it now" is "we don't have the problem of having to consult with Congress."


(emphasis added)
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
53. Bush makes a Vietnam-Iraq comparison
Bush usually does not bring up Vietnam analogies on his own, although on Wednesday he volunteered a comparison. "There are many difference between the two conflicts, but one stands out above all," he said. "The enemy in Vietnam had neither the intent nor the capability to strike our homeland. The enemy in Iraq does."

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. Kick! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-07 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
55. Former House member says, Cut off the money to the war

Former House member says, Cut off the money to the war

Middletown Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman says the Democratic Majority in Congress must stand up to President Bush and end the war in Iraq.

Holtzman was in the House in the 1970s during the Vietnam War and she said Congress should do what lawmakers did back then, keep introducing legislation to cut off funding for the war, but leave enough in to bring the troops home.

Thats how we stopped the war in Vietnam. We stopped the money. We cut off the money. The president vetoed the bill; we went through that. This is dj vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said, Holtzman said. The president vetoed the bill in 1973. We gave him the same provision on various bills and he finally said, Okay, give me another 60 days to keep the bombing of Cambodia going, and youve got 60 days and its all over.

Holtzman, who was in Middletown Wednesday night to promote the book she co-authored, The Impeachment of George W. Bush.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-07 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #55
60. Kick! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-25-07 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #55
61. Kick! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-07 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
58. The Other Vietnam Syndrome (April 2003)

The Other Vietnam Syndrome

Slate, April 23, 2003

Catharin E. Dalpino, Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies

Last week the United States concluded the military phase of the war in Iraq and began discussing the creation of a new political regime and a new system. During the warjust as in every other U.S. military intervention of the past decadeWashington had to face the so-called Vietnam syndrome: the fear that conflict in a foreign country will lead to quagmire, especially in a country where the native population can use guerrilla tactics to stymie superior military technology. But there's another type of Vietnam syndrome, less well-known but just as pervasive. It derives from our relationship with South Vietnam and the political quagmire that resulted from our experience as democratic imperialists there. And if we don't address it, we may very well repeat it in Iraq.

What wrong turns did the United States take in South Vietnam?

Underestimating nationalism. The alliance between the United States and South Vietnam was uneasy and ambivalent. The failure of America's "hearts and minds" campaign in the South can be attributed as much to nationalism as to the North's resolve to expel foreigners from Vietnamese territory. Americans saw themselves as protectors; many South Vietnamese viewed them as occupiers. Early warning signs were plentiful but ignored. The majority of Saigon streets were named after Vietnamese heroes who had liberated the country from a millennium of foreign occupiers: Chinese, French, and Japanese. Washington's opposition to a reunification vote was based in part on intelligence that Ho Chi Minh would win a free election in the South because his nationalist credentials trumped reservations about ideology. A similar cognitive dissonance appears to be brewing in Iraq, evidenced by the mounting anti-American demonstrations in Mosul and other areas.

Reinforcing religious and ethnic divisions. When France gained control of Vietnam in the 19th century, French administrators put many Catholics in official government positions, replacing the traditional Vietnamese leaders who had quit their posts in protest against colonial rule. By the mid-20th century, Catholics made up 20 percent of the Vietnamese population and formed the political elite. When the United States took up the struggle against Vietnamese communism, Washington, too, showed an initial preference for the Catholic elite. Many Buddhist leaders equated the repressive South Vietnamese government with its American sponsors and were an early source of anti-Americanism.

In an eerie parallel, the percentage of Sunni Muslims to Shiites in Iraq is roughly that of the Catholic-Buddhist ratio in Vietnam in the 1950s. The United States has historically been closer to the Sunni community, and some Shiite groups have issued calls to resist any American involvement in a postwar government. Conversely, some Sunni groups fear that the U.S. will try to compensate for its past slight of the Shiites and are protesting the American presence in Iraq on the grounds that they will be disadvantaged.

In both countries, the United States also enlisted ethnic minorities as military mercenaries: Montagnards in Vietnam (as well as Hmong in Laos) and Kurds in Iraq. In Southeast Asia this patronage exacerbated ethnic tensions, which have rippled outward ever since: Twenty-eight years later, Montagnards are still fleeing the Central Highlands. The Kurds have undoubtedly improved their position with the U.S. victory in Iraq this month, re-enlisting to help maintain order in the north. However, giving Kurds a military franchise will do little to persuade the rest of the country that we have the best interests of all Iraqis at heart.

Importing political leadership. Following the 1954 Geneva Conference, which partitioned Vietnam, Washington found few political allies in Saigon. So the United States promoted Ngo Dinh Diem, an exiled Catholic politician, who returned to become South Vietnam's head of state. Virtually unknown in Vietnam, Diem had spent several years in the United States and was dubbed both the "new George Washington" and the "Churchill of Asia" by President Eisenhower. He proved to be neither. With no real constituency or grass-roots support, Diem became increasingly corrupt and oppressive while publicly shunning Western democratic mores. He was murdered in a 1963 coup that had been blessed beforehand by the United States. Forty years later, the internal debate in the Bush administration is over Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled Iraqi National Congress leader who has a strong chance to become the interim head of state in Iraq. Before returning to the country this month, Chalabi had not lived in Iraq for more than 40 years.

Creating the illusion of democracy. From the beginning, U.S. policy in South Vietnam was a conflict between realpolitik and democratic ideals. For the Johnson administration, the solution was to legitimize Washington's choice of a leader after the fact with elections. But in the "demonstration elections" of 1967, the designated favorite, Nguyen Van Thieu, won a plurality of only 35 percent. The runner-up, Truong Dinh Dan, had promised to support a cease-fire with the North. Shortly after the elections, Thieu threw him in jail, sparking anti-government demonstrations in Saigon that nearly turned into riots.

In Iraq, early indications cast some doubt on Washington's insistence that Iraqis will choose their own leaders. The 75 officials invited to attend last week's conference on a new government were handpicked by the American military, on the basis of their cooperation with the United States rather than their political relevance or resonance.

Americans make poor imperialists because we are uncomfortable in the role and seek the most expedient path out of it. With the scant 18-month time frame the administration has allowed for political reconstruction in Iraq, if that, we run a high risk of repeating past mistakes. That possibility is even greater if we attempt to direct Iraqi political development alone. For Iraq's sake, and our own, the time has come to bring in the international community.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-07 07:35 PM
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59. The Iraq War Is An Absolute Replay Of Vietnam
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Rosa Luxemburg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-25-07 09:22 AM
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62. good research1
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-25-07 11:43 PM
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63. Intelligence horror stories
May 25, 2007 7:33 p.m.

Iraq Intelligence Horror Stories Shouldnt Be Old News

By Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor

Hearing horror stories about the manipulation of Iraq intelligence is like watching The Exorcist again and again: Each time you see something new and laugh at the parts that used to make your hair go up straight.

Patrick Lang told a hilarious story the other night, for example, about a job interview he had with Douglas Feith, a key architect of the invasion of Iraq.

It was at the beginning of the first Bush term. Lang had been in charge of the Middle East, South Asia and terrorism for the Defense Intelligence Agency in the 1990s. Later he ran the Pentagons worldwide spying operations.

In early 2001, his name was put forward as somebody who would be good at running the Pentagons office of special operations and low-intensity warfare, i.e., counterinsurgency. Lang had also been a Green Beret, with three tours in South Vietnam.

One of the people he had to impress was Feith, the Defense Departments number three official and a leading player in the clique of neoconservatives who had taken over the governments national security apparatus.

Lang went to see him, he recalled during a May 7 panel discussion at the University of the District of Columbia.

He was sitting there munching a sandwich while he was talking to me, Lang recalled, which I thought was remarkable in itself, but he also had these briefing papers they always had briefing papers, you know about me.

Hes looking at this stuff, and he says, Ive heard of you. I heard of you.

He says, Is it really true that you really know the Arabs this well, and that you speak Arabic this well? Is that really true? Is that really true?

And I said, Yeah, thats really true.

Thats too bad, Feith said.

The audience howled.

That was the end of the interview, Lang said. Im not quite sure what he meant, but you can work it out.

Feith, of course, like the administrations other Israel-connected hawks, didnt want Arabists like Lang muddying the road to Baghdad, from where according to the Bush administration theory overthrowing Saddam Hussein would ignite mass demands for Western-style, pro-U.S. democracies across the entire Middle East.


There were defections from the Johnson administration over Vietnam, more with the Nixon administrations invasion of Cambodia and of course there were Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, which exposed a historical record of official deceit on Indochina.

But back then intelligence officials didnt quit one day and the next day write real-time books exposing the machinations of current, or near-current, defense and intelligence leaders.

When one did in 1974 dissident CIA executive Victor Marchetti, who wrote The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, an expose of how the agency overthrew governments, etc. (with John Marks, a former State Department intelligence analyst), there was an uproar.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-26-07 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. Kick for Patrick Lang's job interview with Doug Feith. n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 11:41 AM
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65. "Kissinger's record is filled with achievement and tragedy..."
On May 27, Henry Kissinger turns 84. He is, without doubt, the most influential and controversial foreign policy maker of the last half century. He is, for better or worse, a continued presence in the White House and other leadership circles around the world. At 84, this German-Jewish immigrant is the face of international power.

Strong opinions about Kissinger --strategic genius or war criminal?-- are easy to find. Few people, however, appreciate the complexity of his legacy. He infamously escalated American military and covert intervention in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile, Argentina, Angola, and countless other countries. At the same time, he brokered unprecedented schemes for multilateral cooperation and compromise with China, the Soviet Union, Israel, and Egypt. Kissinger strongly asserted American national self-interest, but he also oversaw the broadening of global interdependence through the first real nuclear arms control treaty (SALT I), the creation of a free-floating international currency regime, and the most significant human rights treaty of the Cold War --the Helsinki Accords of 1975. The abundant records of his time in office show Kissinger as a vain, vindictive, and manipulative man, as well as a brilliant, hard-working, and far-sighted thinker. He represents the best and the worst of American foreign policy.

...Here are four insights and inspirations we might draw from Kissinger's career:

1. Multilateral Leadership: Kissinger was most successful in the Middle East and with the Soviet bloc when he emphasized a leadership role for the United States, within a framework of alliances, compromises, and close coordination across diverse countries. Kissinger was least successful in Vietnam and Chile when the United States acted alone. The U.S. must lead by building constructive and diverse international coalitions, not issuing ultimatums. For all its power, the U.S. cannot act alone.

2. Force and Diplomacy: Americans tend think of force and diplomacy in dichotomous terms. Either we fight or we negotiate, many of the advisors around President Bush reasoned after September 11, 2001. Kissinger's experiences with China, the Soviet Union, and even Vietnam show that effective policy often involves BOTH fighting and negotiating at the same time. War is diplomacy by other means, and diplomacy is war by other means. You cannot have one without the other. U.S. policy in Iraq has failed because it emphasized war and excluded effective negotiations with adversaries (especially Iran) --until too late.

3. Public Consensus: Kissinger failed to build a public consensus behind his policies. He and President Richard Nixon made deception and secrecy standard operating procedures. At times his deviousness helped to produce breakthroughs, as in the dramatic 1972 opening to China. As a whole, however, Kissinger's approach bred suspicion and hostility among citizens. Ordinary listeners stopped believing what he said. Politicians as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson, and Jimmy Carter turned public distrust against Kissinger's policies. Effective foreign policy requires sustained effort to consult, educate, and inform the public. Secrecy and deception in the White House are self-defeating.

4. Lesser Evils: Much of our contemporary rhetoric about human rights, democracy, and other values is framed in absolutes. Either you are a supporter of human rights or not. Either you believe in spreading democracy to the world or you are anti-democratic. Kissinger's career complicates these simple judgments. As a refugee from Nazi hatred, Kissinger recognized that American protections for human rights and democracy had provided "salvation" for his family. He entered foreign policy circles to make sure these values were never again imperiled in the same way.

Of course the protection of these values, in Kissinger's eyes, often required some infringement upon them in the short-run. To protect American democracy, for example, Kissinger believed he had to act undemocratically to defeat communist threats. The choices were not about moral absolutes, but lesser evils --short-term democratic infringements versus existential communist threats, as Kissinger subjectively judged them. Kissinger did not always make the right decisions (he frequently didn't), but his career does show that the choices are rarely as clear-cut as many claim.

Foreign policy is a dirty business. Instead of pursuing a false moral clarity as some policy-makers and critics advocate, we need more careful weighing of lesser evils in a dangerous and complex world. We cannot democratize the planet; we must frequently find ways to work with regimes we detest without promoting them in the process.

Kissinger's record is filled with achievement and tragedy, extraordinary peacemaking and needless suffering. We should not glorify or condemn him. On his birthday we might look back on his career to provoke some serious thought about the past and future of U.S. foreign policy. Such an endeavor would serve the men and women coveting the White House in 2008 very well. It would also help Kissinger make sense of his own life as he reaches his twilight years. Happy birthday, Henry.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 12:20 PM
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67. "So many died because of ego and deceit... "
Maureen Dowd makes a good assessment/comparison:

For me, the saddest spot in Washington is the inverted V of the black granite Vietnam wall, jutting up with the names of young men dying in a war that their leaders already knew could not be won.

So many died because of ego and deceit because L.B.J. and Robert McNamara wanted to save face or because Henry Kissinger wanted to protect Nixons re-election chances.

Now the Bush administration finds itself at that same hour of shame. It knows the surge is not working. Iraq is in a civil war, with a gruesome bonus of terrorists mixed in. April was the worst month this year for the American military, with 104 soldiers killed, and there have been about 90 killed thus far in May. The democracys not jelling, as Iraqi lawmakers get ready to slouch off for a two-month vacation, leaving our kids to be blown up.

The top-flight counterinsurgency team that President Bush sent in after long years of pretending that wed turned the corner doesnt believe theres a military solution. General Petraeus is reduced to writing an open letter to the Iraqi public, pleading with them to reject sectarianism and violence, even as the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr slinks back from four months in Iran, rallying his fans by crying: No, no, no to Satan! No, no, no to America! No, no, no to occupation! No, no, no to Israel!

W. thinks he can save face if he keeps taunting Democrats as the party of surrender just as Nixon did and dumps the Frankenstate hes created on his successor.

The enemy in Vietnam had neither the intent nor the capability to strike our homeland, he told Coast Guard Academy graduates. The enemy in Iraq does. Nine-eleven taught us that to protect the American people we must fight the terrorists where they live so that we dont have to fight them where we live.


The president is on a continuous loop of sophistry: We have to push on in Iraq because Al Qaeda is there, even though Al Qaeda is there because we pushed into Iraq. Our troops have to keep dying there because our troops have been dying there. We have to stay so the enemy doesnt know were leaving. Osama hasnt been found because hes hiding.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 09:32 AM
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68. Spread the Word: Iraq-Nam
Edited on Wed May-30-07 09:34 AM by ProSense
From the Spread the Word: Iraq-Nam blog:

Above: At the scene of a March 15 raid in Sadr City, a Bradley fighting vehicle provides security for soldiers who searched through dozens of nearby houses in a hunt for a suspected militia commander. Yesterday's kidnapping was reportedly a sophisticated operation, with roadblocks set and buildings sealed. Anywhere from 40 to 100 gunmen took part, with at least some dressed in Iraqi commando and police uniforms. Official security vehicles were also said to have been used. The scale and sophistication of the raid -- which occurred in the well-guarded building without any gunfire -- suggested that there was collusion, if not outright participation by Iraqi security forces. Some fingers have pointed toward the Interior Ministry, which is dominated by Shia Muslims, and has repeatedly been accused of harbouring death squads. But Iraq's security forces overall are rife with shadowy sectarian activity. Suspicion also fell on dissident members of the Madhi army, the Shia militia loyal to the Moqtada al-Sadr.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 10:47 AM
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70. Nixon Republican Wanted (Peace with Honor ad)
The first link in the piece below is to a post on the National Review blog, which offers insights into RW framing of Democrats:

Nixon '68 (Jonah Goldberg)

Brink Lindsey and Ross Douthat see past as prologue in this Nixon ad calling for an honorable end to the Vietnam war.

They might be right. But, this raises an interesting question: Which Democrat could plausibly run such an ad? Frankly, with the exception of Joe Lieberman, it's hard to see how any of them could play the Nixonian peace-with-honor card. That's because the analogy breaks down when you look at the nature of the two parties, both in '68 and today. Vietnam spelled the end of Democratic hawkish internationalism and, to a certain extent, the beginning of a new Republican era of hawkish internationalism (there are important caveats to be made about the GOP, but irrelevant to this discussion).

When Richard Nixon promised an "honorable end" to the Vietnam war it had specific resonance because of Nixon's record as an anti-Communist hawk. Anti-Communists trusted that Nixon understood the real threat of Communism. Hillary may have until recently burnished her hawkish credentials, but she's hardly a Democratic Nixon. And her supporters are hardly the war-on-terror equivalent of raging anti-Communists. Does anyone think that Hillary is particularly passionate about the Islamist threat? Is there anything like a Nixon-to-China move she could pull off? And the rest of the Democratic field is far more dovish than Hillary.

The irony here is that the most likely candidate to run the most persuasive Nixonian strategy would be one of several Republicans. McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Thompson or even (especially?) Gingrich could all pull off this sort of ad better than any of the Democrats. Of course, it would have to be a bit more subtle. But the point remains that the '08 Democrats their real advantages notwithstanding are not poised to be the Republicans of '68.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nixon Republican Wanted

31 May 2007 11:12 am

For "peace-with-honor." Ross has the ad they need. But who? The GOP has rather painted itself into a corner on Iraq, declaring anything that isn't "lets-keep-doing-what's-failing" as a "white flag." So McCain and Giuiani are non-starters. Romney could do it, of course. He could stand for anything, if it got a him a few percentage points. Fred Thompson? I'm sorry but I haven't seen a whiff of seriousness about the war on terror from the guy - except rhetoric. So if we're looking for a Nixon in '68, Obama may be the best bet, however strange the analogy, however different the men.

You Tube Video: Nixon commercial (Peace with Honor)

Yeah, that's just what Obama needs to do associate himself with Nixon. Not strange, crazy!

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 07:20 PM
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71. The lessons of Vietnam By Henry A. Kissinger

The lessons of Vietnam

Iraq desperately needs a political solution in the short term to make the war more manageable for the next president.

By Henry A. Kissinger, HENRY A. KISSINGER was secretary of State from 1973 to 1977.
May 31, 2007

THE IRAQ WAR has reawakened memories of the Vietnam War, the most significant political experience of an entire American generation. But this has not produced clarity about its lessons.

Of course, history never repeats itself exactly. Vietnam and Iraq are different conflicts in different times, but there is an important similarity: A point was reached during the Vietnam War when the domestic debate became so bitter as to preclude rational discussion of hard choices. Administrations of both political parties perceived the survival of South Vietnam as a significant national interest. They were opposed by a protest movement that coalesced behind the conviction that the war reflected an amorality that had to be purged by confrontational methods. This impasse doomed the U.S. effort in Vietnam; it must not be repeated over Iraq.

This is why a brief recapitulation of the Indochina tragedy is necessary.

It must begin with dispelling the myth that the Nixon administration settled in 1972 for terms that had been available in 1969 and therefore prolonged the war needlessly. Whether the agreement, officially signed in January 1973, could have preserved an independent South Vietnam and avoided the carnage following the fall of Indochina will never be known. We do know that American disunity prevented such an outcome when Congress prohibited the use of military force to maintain the agreement and cut off aid after all U.S. military forces (except a few hundred advisors) had left South Vietnam. American dissociation triggered a massive North Vietnamese invasion, in blatant violation of existing agreements, to which the nations that had endorsed these agreements turned their backs.


Nor was unilateral withdrawal feasible. To redeploy more than half a million troops is a logistical nightmare, even in peacetime conditions. But in Vietnam, more than 600,000 armed communist forces were on the ground. They might well have been joined by large numbers of the South Vietnamese army, feeling betrayed by its allies and working its way into the good graces of the communists. The U.S. forces would have become hostages and the Vietnamese people victims.


When negotiations stalemated, the Nixon administration did what it could unilaterally, without undermining the political structure of South Vietnam. Between 1969 and 1972, it withdrew 515,000 American troops, ended American ground combat in 1971 and reduced American casualties by nearly 90%. A graduated withdrawal compatible with preventing a takeover by radical Islam in Iraq is also a serious challenge in Iraq.


American disunity was a major element in dashing these hopes. Watergate fatally weakened the Nixon administration through its own mistakes, and the 1974 midterm congressional elections brought to power the most unforgiving of Nixon's opponents, who cut off aid so the agreement couldn't work as planned. The imperatives of domestic debate took precedence over geopolitical necessities.

Two lessons emerge from this account. A strategic design cannot be achieved on a fixed, arbitrary deadline; it must reflect conditions on the ground. But it also must not test the endurance of the American public to a point where the outcome can no longer be sustained by our political process. In Iraq, rapid, unilateral withdrawal would be disastrous. At the same time, a political solution remains imperative.


Stunning rationalization: It's public impatience that prevented victory in Vietnam. Typical fear mongering.

So it took three years to withdraw more than a half million troops from Vietnam with "more than 600,000 armed communist forces" on the ground, yet he's arguing that the U.S. can't withdraw 120,000 troops from Iraq in a year when the best estimate is that there are only a few thousand foreign fighters in the country? Actually, Nixon withdrew about 300,000 troops from Vietnam in about a year.

Message to Kissinger: set a deadline.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-01-07 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #71
72. Timeline
April 29, 1970

South Vietnamese troops attack into Cambodia, pushing toward Vietcong bases. Two days later, a U.S. force of 30,000 -- including three U.S. divisions -- mount a second attack. Operations in Cambodia last for 60 days, and uncover vast North Vietnamese jungle supply depots. They capture 28,500 weapons, as well as over 16 million rounds of small arms ammunition, and 14 million pounds of rice. Although most Vietcong manage to escape across the Mekong, there are over 10,000 casualties.

February 8, 1971

In Operation Lam Son 719, three South Vietnamese divisions drive into Laos to attack two major enemy bases. Unknowingly, they are walking into a North Vietnamese trap. Over the next month, more than 9,000 South Vietnamese troops are killed or wounded. More than two thirds of the South Vietnamese Army's armored vehicles are destroyed, along with hundreds of U.S. helicopters and planes.

Summer 1971
While herbicides containing Dioxin were banned for use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1968, spraying of Agent Orange continues in Vietnam until 1971. Operation Ranchhand has sprayed 11 million gallons of Agent Orange -- containing 240 pounds of the lethal chemical Dioxin -- on South Vietnam. More than one seventh of the country's total area has been laid waste.

January 1, 1972

Only 133,000 U.S. servicemen remain in South Vietnam. Two thirds of America's troops have gone in two years. The ground war is now almost exclusively the responsibility of South Vietnam, which has over 1,000,000 men enlisted in its armed forces.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-02-07 10:05 PM
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73. "a chilling 1964 phone conversation between President Lyndon B. Johnson and one of his top aides"
Bill Moyers, LBJ, Walter Lippmann -- and the Vietnam/Iraq Link
I figured Moyers would be interested in this transcript of a chilling 1964 phone conversation, since he was LBJ's press secretary -- and more sensitive than most to how nations go to, and stay in, losing wars. Sure enough, on his PBS show Friday night, Moyers offers a brief segment on the conversation.

By Greg Mitchell

(June 01, 2007) -- Earlier this week, I sent Bill Moyers a link to an article I had written about a chilling 1964 phone conversation between President Lyndon B. Johnson and one of his top aides, McGeorge Bundy. The subject of their conversation was the growing fear that the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war would be hard to halt, with the cost in lives staggering in years to come (a fear fully realized, and then some).

I figured Moyers would be interested in this transcript, since he was LBJ's press secretary, and more sensitive than most to how nations go to, and stay in, losing wars.

Sure enough, on his PBS show Friday night, Moyers offered a brief segment on the conversation (and mentioned E&P), augmenting his reflections with the actual tape recording of the conversation. It followed a vigorous but depressing interview with Bob Kerrey, the badly wounded Vietnam vet, who continues to defend a major U.S. presence in Iraq, indefinitely.

The Moyers segment on the LBJ chat is up online at You Tube at:

Here is my original article and the transcript. Moyers closed his segment by adding: "That was May 1964. Two hundred and sixty Americans had been killed in Vietnam by then. Eleven years and two presidents later, when U.S. forces pulled out, 58,209 Americans had died, and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese."


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-02-07 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
74. William F. Buckley: HONOR, DUTY, COUNTRY?


Fri Jun 1, 7:56 PM ET


To truncate the story drastically, what happened back then was the result of the correlation of four strategic factors:

(1) Hanoi's resolution to conquer the south. The North Vietnamese were held back by the failure of their spring offensive in 1972. That offensive was weakened by U.S. mining of the harbors and by the reluctance of China, in the swoon of the Nixon visit to Mao, to give full-bodied support to an invasion. But Hanoi simply bided its time.

(2) The withdrawal by the United States, ending in March 1973, of a combative military presence. Only a few hundred U.S. advisers were left in South Vietnam.

(3) The growing stability of the South Vietnamese government, which was assumed competent to carry out the terms of the Paris agreements of 1973. These agreements had been negotiated in dozens and dozens of meetings between Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger. The agreements called for the removal of U.S. forces, the cessation of North Vietnamese offensives, and recognition of the Saigon government as the ruling political entity in the south.


The parallels in the current situation are plain, beginning with the nature of the United States' participation. What we have right now is a progressively immobilized executive and a dissenting legislature, leading -- inevitably -- to an impotent military.

The question immediately posed is: Do we feel responsibility for what happens in the period ahead? The Iraqi government resembles the government of South Vietnam in 1973-'74 in that Baghdad is fighting, as Saigon fought, for a political system free of overweening foreign elements. But Saigon could not hold out in the long run without U.S. military support, and neither can Baghdad.

If the parallels hold, i.e., if the result of failure in the Middle East is equivalent to the result of failure in Indochina, then we would expect to see the collapse of the Maliki government in Baghdad, some kind of bloody vengeance against Iraqis who had supported that government, and a people subjugated by a regime that sits on 1 percent the world's supply of oil and is unlikely to proceed indifferent to the march, by Iraq's eastern neighbor, to becoming a nuclear power.


Henry Kissinger has said that the use of the American fleet to contain the invasion of 1975 could have saved the day. What could save the day in Iraq? Nothing short of public revulsion toward those Democrats who are measuring these days the political value of honor. In the election ahead, all the world will be looking over our shoulders, including the ghosts of Vietnam.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
75. "Do they really want to turn into Pol Pot's Cambodia?"
Interesting comment and posted in this thread becuase of Gen. McCaffrey's reference to Pol Pot:

"Everyone says this is over. I don't think it is," McCaffrey said during an interview last week at the Philadelphia office of the engineering and architectural firm HNTB Corp., where he serves on the board. "These (Iraqi) people - they're smart people - and it is just so miserable living in Iraq right now. It's beyond belief."

McCaffrey, who has decades of military and combat experience from Vietnam to Desert Storm, has been regularly reporting on conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan since his five-year term as drug czar ended in 2001.

He says Iraqis are starting to realize they are running out of chances to save their country, and, as bad as life is, conditions could still get much worse.

"Do they really want to turn into Pol Pot's Cambodia?"

The greatest challenge facing Petraeus, McCaffrey says, is not directing the day-to-day military efforts - "Lt. Gen. (Raymond) Odierno and the troops are phenomenally courageous and competent. They'll do that" - but working with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker to persuade the senior Shia and Sunni leadership to "back off the ledge" and not dive into a worsening sectarian maelstrom.

"My head tells me the situation doesn't look great, but why shouldn't it be possible for us to get that kind of response out of the Iraqis?" McCaffrey asks.

Americans have a right to be impatient but need to be realistic about expectations, McCaffrey says.

While politicians in both parties eagerly await Petraeus' September report, McCaffrey doubts whether that's enough time to fairly evaluate the new tactics.

"It is absolutely ludicrous to think that a modest increase of 30,000 troops in Baghdad by September can have any fundamental impact on the political, military or social dynamics at work in that disputed land," he says.

"February sounds more likely. By then you can say if there's a trend or if it's ephemeral. ... September? Come on, the last brigade is closing right now."


Why would Pol Pot be on the General's mind?
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
77. Iraq isn't Vietnam because a U.S. pullout "would embolden and empower al-Qaeda"
Edited on Tue Jun-05-07 06:07 PM by ProSense
From Time:

Iraq is not Japan or Germany; nor is it Vietnam (though, as hard as it is for Bush's critics to swallow, the notion that a Saigon-like pullout from Iraq would embolden and empower al-Qaeda and its sympathizers worldwide is hardly idle.) It's not even Malaya, where the British fought insurgents from 1948 to 1960 a struggle that informs, to a degree, the current U.S. counterinsurgency strategy now being implemented by General David Petraeus. And it is most certainly not Korea.

That's it, more fear mongering.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-07-07 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
78. Defeats Killing Fields
Op-Ed Contributor

Defeats Killing Fields

Published: June 7, 2007

SOME opponents of the Iraq war are toying with the idea of American defeat. A number of them are simply predicting it, while others advocate measures that would make it more likely. Lending intellectual respectability to all this is an argument that takes a strange comfort from the outcome of the Vietnam War. The defeat of the American enterprise in Indochina, it is said, turned out not to be as bad as expected. The United States recovered, and no lasting price was paid.

We beg to differ. Many years ago, the two of us clashed sharply over the wisdom and morality of American policy in Indochina, especially in Cambodia. One of us (Mr. Shawcross) published a book, Sideshow, that bitterly criticized Nixon administration policy. The other (Mr. Rodman), a longtime associate of Henry Kissinger, issued a rebuttal in The American Spectator, defending American policy. Decades later, we have not changed our views. But we agreed even then that the outcome in Indochina was indeed disastrous, both in human and geopolitical terms, for the United States and the region. Today we agree equally strongly that the consequences of defeat in Iraq would be even more serious and lasting.

The 1975 Communist victory in Indochina led to horrors that engulfed the region. The victorious Khmer Rouge killed one to two million of their fellow Cambodians in a genocidal, ideological rampage. In Vietnam and Laos, cruel gulags and re-education camps enforced repression. Millions of people fled, mostly by boat, with thousands dying in the attempt.

The defeat had a lasting and significant strategic impact. Leonid Brezhnev trumpeted that the global correlation of forces had shifted in favor of socialism, and the Soviets went on a geopolitical offensive in the third world for a decade. Their invasion of Afghanistan was one result. Demoralized European leaders publicly lamented Soviet aggressiveness and American paralysis.

True, the consequences of defeat were mitigated by various factors. The Nixon-Kissinger breakthrough with China contributed to Chinas role as a counterweight to Moscows and Hanois new power in Southeast Asia. (Although China, a Khmer Rouge ally, was less scrupulous than the United States about who its partners were.)

And despite the defeat in 1975, Americas 10 years in Indochina had positive effects. Lee Kuan Yew, then prime minister of Singapore, has well articulated how the consequences would have been worse if the United States had not made the effort in Indochina. Had there been no U.S. intervention, he argues, the will of non-communist countries to resist communist revolution in the 1960s would have melted and Southeast Asia would most likely have gone communist. The domino theory would have proved correct.

Today, in Iraq, there should be no illusion that defeat would come at an acceptable price. George Orwell wrote that the quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. But anyone who thinks an American defeat in Iraq will bring a merciful end to this conflict is deluded. Defeat would produce an explosion of euphoria among all the forces of Islamist extremism, throwing the entire Middle East into even greater upheaval. The likely human and strategic costs are appalling to contemplate. Perhaps that is why so much of the current debate seeks to ignore these consequences.

As in Indochina more than 30 years ago, millions of Iraqis today see the United States helping them defeat their murderous opponents as the only hope for their country. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have committed themselves to working with us and with their democratically elected government to enable their country to rejoin the world as a peaceful, moderate state that is a partner to its neighbors instead of a threat. If we accept defeat, these Iraqis will be at terrible risk. Thousands upon thousands of them will flee, as so many Vietnamese did after 1975.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-07-07 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
79. Nixon 'wrecked early peace in Vietnam'
Edited on Thu Jun-07-07 06:33 PM by ProSense

Nixon 'wrecked early peace in Vietnam'

Martin Kettle in Washington
Wednesday August 9, 2000
The Guardian

On the eve of his election in 1968, Richard Nixon secretly conspired with the South Vietnamese government to wreck all-party Vietnam peace talks as part of a deliberate effort to prolong a conflict in which more than 20,000 Americans were still to die, along with tens of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians.

The devastating new charge against Nixon, which mirrors long-held suspicions among members of President Lyndon Johnson's administration about the Republican leader's actions in the autumn of 1968, is made by the authors of a new study of Nixon's secret world in the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

"The greatest honour history can bestow," reads the inscription on Nixon's black granite tombstone in California, "is the title of peacemaker." But if the charges by authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan are correct, Nixon better deserves to be called a peacewrecker than peacemaker.

At the heart of the new account was Nixon's fear that Vietnam peace efforts by President Johnson in the run-up to the November 1968 US presidential election could wreck Nixon's bid to oust Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, and capture the White House.

Nixon's response to Johnson's efforts was to use a go-between, Anna Chennault, to urge the South Vietnam's president, Nguyen van Thieu, to resist efforts to force them to the peace table.

Nixon's efforts paid off spectacularly. On October 31, Johnson ordered a total halt to the bombing of North Vietnam, the precondition for getting the North and their Vietcong allies to join the talks. Two days later, under intense secret urgings from Nixon and his lieutenants, Thieu announced his government would not take part. Less than a week later, Nixon was elected president with less than a one-point margin in the popular vote over Humphrey.

Playing with US lives

The Vanity Fair article charges that Johnson knew what was going on. Intelligence reports to the president told him that Nixon and his running mate, Spiro Agnew, were playing politics with the lives of US soldiers. "Had it been made public at the time, it would surely have destroyed Nixon's presidential hopes at one stroke, and forever," the authors write.

Johnson offered Humphrey the chance to go public about Nixon, but Humphrey was afraid that the charges would be seen as election dirty tricks. Once Nixon had won, Johnson again contemplated revealing what he knew, but decided the national interest precluded it.

In the weeks running up to the election, Nixon's public stance was that, if elected, he would bring the war to an end more effectively than Humphrey. He promised not to interfere with pre-election peace efforts, pledging that neither he nor Agnew "will destroy the chance of peace".

In reality, however, Nixon used his campaign manager, John Mitchell, later his disgraced attorney general, to use go-betweens to encourage Thieu to believe he would get a better deal under a Nixon administration and to boycott the putative talks. Nixon constantly denied that he was conspiring with Thieu against the US government, but the release of previously classified FBI files used by the authors show this was exactly what he was doing.

Chennault, Nixon's main go-between with the South Vietnamese, was a right-wing Republican society hostess who was Chinese born and lived in a newly constructed Washington apartment complex - named the Watergate. She was vice-chairman of the Republican election finance committee and an inveterate lobbyist on behalf of right-wing and pro-American Asian interests.

Chennault regularly passed messages to Mitchell and Nixon during 1968 and they urged her to put pressure on the South Vietnamese leader to create delays and to refuse to take part in the peace talks.

US embassy spy operations, including wiretaps of Thieu's offices, revealed the Thieu-Nixon connection in October and Johnson was briefed about them. One message from Thieu's ambassador in Washington, Bui Diem, told Thieu: "Johnson and Humphrey will be replaced and then Nixon could change the US position."

When Thieu pulled out of the talks, Johnson exploded. He told his advisers that he would go public on a development that could "rock the world". That development, he said, was Nixon's "conniving" with the Thieu regime. An adviser had told Johnson that Nixon was "trying to frustrate the president by inciting Saigon to step up its demands". "It all adds up," Johnson told his advisers.

On October 31, with the bombing halt announced, Mitchell rang Chennault and told her: "Anna, I'm speaking on behalf of Mr Nixon. It's very important our Vietnamese friends understand our Republican position and I hope you have made that clear to them. Do you think they have decided not to go to Paris?"

Chennault made contact with Thieu once again. An FBI report said that she "contacted Vietnamese ambassador and advised him that she had received a message from her boss (not further identified) which her boss wanted her to give personally to the ambassador. She said the message was that the ambassador is to 'Hold on, we are gonna win' and that her boss also said 'Hold on, he understands all of it'."

On November 2, three days before the election, Thieu announced that South Vietnam would not attend the talks.

Johnson's bad relations with J Edgar Hoover at the FBI meant that Hoover, a Nixon ally, did not tell the president everything that his agents had unearthed. Even so, Johnson had learned enough to speak to Nixon by phone the weekend before the election. Nixon denied Chennault was working for him. When the phone was put down, it was later reported, "Nixon and his friends collapsed with laughter".

Johnson was certain Nixon was lying, and told Humphrey what was going on. Humphrey learned about the Nixon-Thieu contacts while he was travelling by plane to a campaign. "By God, when we land I'm going to denounce Thieu. I'll denounce Nixon. I'll tell about the whole thing," he shouted to aides. But he never did.

In the five weeks leading up to the election of 1968, 960 Americans were killed in Vietnam. In the years to come, under Nixon, 20,763 more US soldiers would die.

"What the Nixon people did," the US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, then attached to the advance US guard to the Paris talks, tells Vanity Fair, "was perhaps even a violation of the law.

"They massively, directly and covertly interfered in a major diplomatic negotiation, probably one of the most important negotiations in American diplomatic history."


(emphasis added) h/t pink-o
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-07-07 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #79
80. Wow, great thread, ProSense! This story so belongs here!
...It's so important to remind everyone that we've been here before, and we're still dealing with the repercussions of one heinous war built on lies--it makes me sick to see us jump headlong into another one.

I'm 52 now, so I remember well how Vietnam defined my adolescence. At aged 13, I watched MLK and RFK get assasinated, Nixon get elected and all my illusions about a happy peaceful world get shattered. The years that followed brought the US international shame, PTSS and physically ill Vietnam vets--and what I thought was an evolution towards global education and understanding. Certainly the 90s gave me hope--I never had the vision to realise we'd be right back where I was when I first acknowledged my social conscience.

Can I just say the biggest difference between now and then is the MSM! Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley told the American people everything that was going on. I guess in 30 years, the movie "Network" has totally come to pass. But news aa entertainment isn't half as scary as news being an arm of Corporate America and the Defence Contractors.

It's just a bloody tragedy illegal wars could happen twice in my lifetime! And it breaks my heart that a whole 'nother generation of adolescents will be defined by Iraq, an incomprehensible death toll, and another president's greedy folly.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-07-07 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #80
81. Exactly, the MSM is the biggest factor. Thanks for the insights, and
again thanks for the link.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-07-07 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #80
82. Except THIS time the GOP machine made sure to gain control of most newsmedia FIRST
before they would wage the next big war.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-10-07 01:00 PM
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83. Kick! n/t
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