blue-flag-thumb2_50x50Our side's flag is a thin, airlight blue, drifting almost unseen against the sky. Our military march is a meadowlark's song among the dandelions. --Ken Kesey, The Real War
 

John Kerry, US 'Mistakes,' And The 'Real' Obama | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Dec. 15, 2012

“I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here: 'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.' 'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding both puppets!'”

- Bill Hicks

With news that Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) may soon be nominated for U.S. Secretary of State, it’s a good time to re-visit one of the standard bullshit stories we heard from Obama voters about six weeks ago.

Classic lesser evil rationalization: Just wait till his second term; we’ll see the real Obama.

Senator John F. Kerry (JFK2), who the real Obama wants to head the U.S. Department of State, is a man who voted for -- and wrote parts of -- the USA PATRIOT Act, a man who voted for the 1996 “welfare reform” law (read: class war against low-income mothers), a man who cast a “yes” vote in October 2002 for George W. Bush’s plan to invade Iraq the following year. (Take note, Syria: Kerry justified that vote with the statement that “according to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons.”)

After that vote on Iraq, Kerry publicly pondered: “Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try?” In 2004, JFK2 ran for president on a platform of sending even more troops to Iraq than Dubya was willing to commit.

In what universe does John F. Kerry represent change?

Further demonstrating how deeply he’s internalized the values of the 1%, Kerry also famously declared that the Vietnam War was merely a “mistake.”

While there are enough “errors” to fill volumes, let’s take a brief look at the U.S. foreign policy “mistake” specifically cited by the man chosen by the real Obama to help guide current U.S. foreign policy.

In April 1954, Vice President Richard Nixon explained the need for U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia to the American Society of Newspaper Editors: “The Vietnamese lack the ability to conduct a war or govern themselves.” Over the next two decades, the United States (accidentally) dropped the equivalent of one 500-pound bomb for every person living in Vietnam. (Those bomb bay doors need better latches.)

In February 1966, David Lawrence, editor of US News & World Report, wrote: “What the United States is doing in Vietnam is the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another that we have witnessed in our times.” When challenged with stories of American atrocities in Vietnam, Lawrence corrected his gaffe, “Primitive peoples with savagery in their hearts have to be helped to understand the true basis of a civilized existence.” (Ah, much better.)

When at war with savages, you can rationalize dumping 400,000 tons of napalm on them. It was just one big faux pas… ain’t that right, Secretary Kerry?

“During the Vietnam War, it was reported that cynical U.S. lawyers working in that country had coined the phrase ‘mere gook rule’ to describe the very lenient treatment given U.S. military personnel who killed Vietnamese civilians,” writes Ed Herman. Or, as General William Westmoreland characterized the killing of Vietnamese civilians, “It does deprive the enemy of the population, doesn’t it?”

That Westmoreland, he was always quick with a one-liner but don’t “mistake” that for standard operating policy now, okay? Let’s allow the guy a goof-up or two.

What Americans (by mistake) called the “Viet Cong” was really the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the NLF enjoyed the broad support of the Vietnamese people. In response, the U.S. Army began, as author Mark Zepezauer explains, “destroying villages, herding people into internment camps, weeding out the leaders and turning the countryside into a ‘free-fire zone’ (in other words, shoot anything that moves).”

Part of this terror campaign was Operation Phoenix, an assassination program put into action by the CIA. “The idea,” says Zepezauer, “was to cripple the NLF by killing influential people like mayors, teachers, doctors, tax collectors -- anyone who aided the functioning of the NLF's parallel government in the South.” (More of a blunder than a mistake, perhaps.)

“Between 1968 and 1972 hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians were rounded up and turned over to the Vietnamese police for questioning,” says former CIA agent, Ralph McGehee. “Such interrogation has usually been marked by brutal torture.” (Our bad.)

“Some were tossed from helicopters during interrogation,” adds Zepezauer. (Surely, they slipped.)

K. Barton Osborn was a U.S. military-intelligence officer in Vietnam who testified that Phoenix suspects were subject to electric shock torture and “the insertion into the ear of a six-inch dowel which was tapped through the brain until the victim died.” (C’mon… anyone can confuse a six-inch dowel for a Q-Tip.)

William Colby, who later became CIA director, was the Agency official in charge of Operation Phoenix. Calling the program a “military necessity,” he put the death toll at 20,587. (Pardon us.)

Asked by Congress: “Are you certain that we know a member of the VCI (Vietcong infrastructure) from a loyal member of the South Vietnam citizenry?”

Colby replied: “No, Mr. Congressman, I am not.” (See: a mistake!)

Phoenix was a joint operation between the United States and the South Vietnamese who estimated the operation’s death toll at 40,994. (Mea culpa.)

In his book, Nuremberg and Vietnam: An American Tragedy, Telford Taylor, chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, suggested that General Westmoreland and others in the Johnson administration (Democrats, btw) could be found guilty of war crimes under criteria established at Nuremberg (unless, perhaps, they use the “whoopsie daisy defense”).

“The West has never been allowed to forget the Holocaust,” says historian William Blum. “But who hears the voice of the Vietnamese peasant?” (Apparently not the current U.S. president or the next U.S. Secretary of State.)

As the planet braces for another four years of Obama’s murderous interventions… I mean, mistakes... I have a question for all those who voted for the real Pope of Hope last month: Any luck yet scrubbing all that blood off your hands?

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Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.

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