Posts Tagged History

HOW DID THE HORRIBLE MISTAKE, WHICH WAS VIETNAM, HAPPEN?

NOTE:  Following France’s devastating loss at Dien Bien Phu, in July 1954, Viet Nam was partitioned at the 17th parallel. When the Geneva Agreements were signed, many Roman Catholics fled south, and elections were supposed to be held within two years, unifying all of Vietnam. South Vietnamese President Bo Diem’ however, never agreed to hold them

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In 2044 B. C., Chinese People began building dikes, roads and engaged in primitive farming in the Red River Valley of Vietnam.  Throughout history, Vietnam embodied much of Chinese culture, including Buddhism.  The country has always ben an agricultural nation.

During the 20th Century, Vietnam was ruled by China for 1,000 years.  Whenever there was a change in Dynasty, however, the Vietnamese fought for their freedom, but China always re-gained its control. And then, the French colonials ran Vietnam for two hundred years.

Unlike the Chinese rule, which was mostly territorial expansion, the French plundered the agricultural resources by making the locals work for them, and treated the Vietnamese People awfully.  The British and the Dutch were equally harsh in how they plundered the natural resources, and treated the locals in other parts of Asia.

During World War II, the American O. S. S. (Office of Strategic Services), which later became the C. I. A., was involved in sorting out the instigators from prisoners in the various Prisoner of War Camps.  Most OSS agents sent dispatches back to Washington, stressing that the Colonials should not return.

Mao Zedung, in China, Ho Chi Minh, in Vietnam, Sukarno, in Indonesia, etc., were all beloved by their citizenry, and they wanted them to lead.  As one Vietnamese man said:  We hated the Japanese; however, we knew that they would leave.  But, if we allowed the French to return, they would never leave.  Those sentiments were how the other Western Colonials behaved, as well.

President Dwight Eisenhower felt compelled to stand with the Western nations, who had been our Allies throughout WWII.  From then on, America was regarded as just another of the various Colonials, who were expecting to return to their plundering ways.

You might recall the “Domino Theory”, which was a key part of the basic rationale as to why America engaged in the Vietnam War, to begin with.  President Eisenhower gave a press conference in early 1954, just about the time that the Viet Minh, fighting for Vietnamese independence, were about to conquer the French at Dien Bien Phu.

“Ike” suggested that the four countries of Indochina—Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam were like dominoes, lined-up in a row.  And, once once fell to Communism, the rest would also fall, in turn.  After the Paris Peace talks for Vietnam, one of the Vietnamese representatives shot that theory down, however, when he pointed-out that Vietnam fought China for a thousand years.  Would we allow them in now?

With the 1954 Partition of Vietnam, most of the Roman Catholic minority fled south, from the North and the Central portions of the country.  This was a major problem for the Saigon government gaining the support of the People, 90% of whom were Bhuddist.  President Diem only admitted Catholics into his government, as well as the upper levels of his military.

To make matters worse, Diem had ordered his military not to fight; because, he said casualties made him “lose face.” Actually, he wanted the full force to be available, at all times, to rush back and defend him, in case of an attempted coup.  The Vietnamese Army preferred to just call in air and artillery strikes; however, they often killed more civilians, than than Viet Cong, the local guerrillas.

When the SeniorAmerican Advisors told the generals in Saigon that the Vietnamese Military refused to fight, regardless of how much they coerced them, they were ignored. And American junior Generals and Colonels, who tried to report what Washington didn’t want to hear, they were sometimes sent back to the Pentagon and forced to retire.

Washington and the American Saigon Command knew what news they wanted to hear: America and its Vietnamese allies would turn the corner:  with another 100,000 of our combat troops or another $10 billion would help; perhaps an additional six months; etc. And the Diem government was only too happy to tell it.  When I was there, in 1967 and ’68, there were more than 500,000 American GIs in the country.

Around that time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, specially Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LaMay, kept recommending that we bomb the North back to the Stone Age by targeting railroads; bridges; industrial plants, etc.  Common sense, however, would have suggested that agricultural nations would have very little industrial infrastructure to bomb.  The industrious North Vietnamese People had a solution for the bombs that were raining down on them—make bomb shelters out of the craters.

Perhaps the best example of what America failing to understand Vietnam was the ”Protective Hamlets” strategy.  Whole villages were destroyed, and the farmers were re-located to small hamlets, generally miles away rom their land.  The peasants were let out in the morning so they could work their farms, and return to the hamlets in the evening.  There were two major problems, however, with that solution.

Some of the farms were so far from their land, that the farmers had to walk as far as ten miles, each way, carrying their tools to and from work.  Also, a major part of Buddhism is ancestor worship; but, with the burial mounds are back at the farm, the ancestors are left behind each day.  That’s why we were not “Winning the Hearts and Minds” of the majority Buddhists, and this idea, in effect, was sending them over fight for the Viet Cong.

Additionally, as with most non-industrial countries, the government of South Vietnam was rife with corruption. America financed the Saigon Government; but, Diem and his key associates made sure to send sizable portions those funds to their offshore bank accounts.

We were in Vietnam under false pretenses, and the troops seemed to have been kept their for political reasons.  Previously, the VC or the North Vietnamese always attacked in small hit-and-run ambushes.  Over Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday, of late January 1968, Secretary of Defense Robert Mc Namara was convinced that the attacks would be limited to the  Khe Sanh Marine base and the large city of Da Nang, both of which were in the north of South Vietnam.  As it turned out, the local VC and the North Vietnamese Army attacked the South at many locations, and with sizable force. From that day forward, the war in Vietnam was recognized as being not winnable.

Newly-elected President Richard Nixon, however, decided to keep the war going until January 1973, in case he needed the extra push. How many innocent soldiers, marines, airmen or sailors were killed during those additional five years—just in case Nixon needed the extra political push.

NOTE:   It truly breaks my heart when I think of the more than 58,000 (mostly) young Americans who died in that senseless war, which we had no reason to be in, in the first place.  I have a few friends that I know were killed; but, how many did I know in Naval ROTC that died; boot camp, language school at Monterrey, CA and Infantry OCS, where some young Lieutenants lead from the front, but left their minds behind. But, the total of 58,000+ killed in a senseless war, even 50 years later is still just too difficult to fathom.

If you are in Washington, near the Mall, visit the Vietnam Memorial, either at sun-up or at dusk.  I believe that you will find it a very emotional experience.  Perhaps it is the only war memorial that can be truly viewed as an anti-war memorial. Also, the names of those killed, which are listed on it, have grown over time.

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KEN BURNS LINK:   The following link, about the showing of select clips a The Kennedy Center from Ken Burns’ series, followed by a panel discussion–with a number of present and former Congressional and Administration members–from The Washington Post, is a great introduction to the topic of Vietnam:

 The Daily 202: McCain and Kerry outline lessons from Vietnam after watching new Ken Burns documentary
  September 13

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Hundreds of Washington insiders gathered last night in the Kennedy Center Opera House for an advance screening of Ken Burns’s new documentary on Vietnam.

Before he showed half a dozen choice clips from his 10-part, 18-hour film, which premieres Sunday, the director asked everyone who served in the military during the war to stand so they could be recognized.

John McCain and John Kerry were among those who rose, along with other famous veterans like Bob Kerrey and Mike Mullen.

Burns then asked anyone who protested Vietnam to also stand. Dozens did.

“I couldn’t tell the difference,” the director said, referring to the two groups.

The veterans, including McCain, joined the audience in applauding the antiwar demonstrators.

That moment set a tone of reconciliation and harmony for a discussion about one of the darkest and most divisive chapters in American history.

— Forty-two years after the fall of Saigon, McCain believes “it is the right time to take notes.” “There has to be a period of time after a conflict where the passion cools,” he said during a panel that followed the screening. “Maybe we can look back at the Vietnam conflict and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes that we did before.”

“Their leaders didn’t lead, whether they were military or civilian,” said the Arizona Republican, who spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war after getting shot down on a bombing mission over Hanoi in 1967. “By telling the American people one thing, which was not true, about the progress in the war and the body counts, it caused a wave of pessimism to go across this country, which bolstered the antiwar movement. We can learn lessons today because the world is in such turmoil: Tell the American people the truth!

McCain said he visits the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as often as he can to take in the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who died. “Depends on the weather,” he said. “Sometimes once a week. Sometimes once every couple of weeks. I try to go very early in the morning or when it’s near sunset. … It’s really an incredibly emotional experience. … These young men died because of inadequate or corrupt leadership.”

As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, McCain is managing the defense reauthorization bill on the Senate floor this week. Whenever troops go into combat, he explained, it is essential that the country decides “what victory means” and, then, “do not forget it!”

“We need to be able to have leaders who will lead and who will be able to give (the troops) a path to victory so that we will not sacrifice them ever again in a lost cause,” McCain said.

Kerry, who captained a swift boat in Vietnam before returning home to protest the war, echoed similar themes and alluded to the Trump administration’s credibility gap.

“Vietnam has always stood out to me a stunning failure of leadership,” said the former secretary of state. “We were operating without facts back then. In today’s world, it’s (also) really hard to figure out what the facts are. And people won’t honor facts. You know what they are, but you have your ‘alternative facts.’”

The 73-year-old spoke of feeling betrayed by “the best and the brightest” who he had looked up to in the American government. He singled out Robert McNamara, who was secretary of defense under John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

“I thought I had felt all the anger I could feel about the war, but I hadn’t until I read ‘A Bright Shining Lie’ by Neil Sheehan,” Kerry said, referring to the classic book that came out in 1988. “All the way up the chain of command, people were just putting in gobbledygook information, and lives were being lost based on those lies and those distortions.”

Martha Raddatz of ABC News, who moderated the discussion, asked Kerry how society can learn “the right lessons” from Vietnam. “A lot of people don’t,” he replied. “It’s that simple.”

The five-term Massachusetts senator said that war should always be “a choice of last resort” after diplomatic options have been exhausted. He spoke of the need to have an endgame before going in. “So many missed opportunities,” Kerry said, shaking his head. “I hope never again will any generation have to face a moment like we did.”

Kerry explained that his combat experience as a young man has been “tricky” at times, and that he tried to not let it overly color his approach to the world during his tenure at Foggy Bottom. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t a captive of Vietnam,” he said. “Not everything is Vietnam!”

— By sparking new conversations, Burns and his co-director, Lynn Novick, hope to heal old wounds. Famous for his in-depth explorations of the Civil War and World War II, the director highlighted additional parallels between Vietnam and the present moment: “Mass demonstrations taking place all across the country against the administration … A president certain the news media is lying … Asymmetrical warfare that taxes the might of the United States military … A country divided in half … Huge document drops of stolen, classified material into the public sphere … Accusations that a political campaign reached out to a foreign power during a national election to affect the outcome.”

“So much of the division that we experience today, the hyper-partisanship that besets us, we think the seeds of that were sown in Vietnam,” Burns said.

— Kerry recounted his work with McCain in the 1990s to normalize relations with Vietnam, which grew out a conversation they had during an all-night flight on a CODEL to the Middle East. “We decided consciously to work on this because we felt very, very deeply that the country was still at war with itself, and that we needed to move forward in the relationship with Vietnam in order to be able to move forward with the relationship here at home,” Kerry said. “We wanted to be able to talk about Vietnam as a country, not as a war.”

As the 2004 Democratic nominee for president spoke, the 2008 Republican nominee interjected to say that Bill Clinton deserves credit for backing them up at a time (before he got reelected) when it was not politically easy.

— Former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, who enlisted to fight in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts as an infantryman, praised the documentary for humanizing the war. “We too often don’t humanize the mechanics of war,” the former Nebraska Republican senator lamented. “We say, ‘Well, we’re going to send six or seven divisions or three battalions or squadrons of planes.’ But what does that mean to the men and women who are fighting and dying? … As secretary of defense, I saw that from many years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The same was true for Vietnam.”

NOTE:  Two books, which I have on my Recommended Public Affairs Tab, which are arguably the two best on Vietnam, are as follows:

The Brightest and the Best, by David Halbersham.

Perhaps the most widely acclaimed book on Vietnam, I believe, along with Bright and Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan, tell two sides of what until then, was our longest war.  The two books, however, relate it from different perspectives.  While Sheehan recounts the war mostly as related to him by subordinate officers in Vietnam, Halberstram portrays it mostly from the political perspective, back on Washington.  

Both reported that America was losing the war, and the generals only wanted to receive good news from the field.  Many lies and omissions were also bandied about in Washington, as President Lyndon B. Johnson placed more emphasis on his Great Society, and running for President in his own right.  Read both, if you can!

A Bright Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan.
This is the most exquisite, well-written and comprehensive (790 pages) book that I have read about Vietnam, or any war! It won the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 1989.

Sheehan made numerous trips to South Vietnam, oftentimes going out with combat troops on missions; because that is where wars or fought! Our War was mismanaged at the highest civilian and military levels; because, no one understood the culture, nor was flexible enough to consider more relevant ideas and strategies. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used the War for their own political purposes.

Additionally, America didn’t understand the Saigon Elite, and the string of unpopular puppet governments that we helped establish. Each of those South Vietnamese governments had two primary concerns: use the Army to prevent an overthrow; and manage both the civilian and military bureaucracy for their own corrupt enrichment.

 

 

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“WHY DO THEY HATE US SO MUCH?”

If you read one book this year, let it be “I Was Told to Come Alone,” by Saoud Mekhennet,  This book is the culmination of the author’s journey to analyze and answer a question by Maureen Fanning, the widow of a New York City firefighter who had died in the collapse of the World Trade Center, on 9/11.  Mrs. Fanning directed the title question toward Saoud who, although German-born, is of Turkish/Moroccan descent.

There are two key factors in Ms. Mekhennet’s background that, perhaps, make her the ideal person to even attempt to understand this multi-facetted dilemma:

  • As the child of immigrant “guest workers,” Saoud felt the harsh reality of discrimination, oftentimes not being considered “German, German,” even though she tutored other German students in “German”.   Many young Muslims in Europe, who perceive being rejected by society, are prone to radicalization!
  • Ms. Mekhennet’s parents were born into different sects within the Sunni/Shia schism; however, she and her family had always lived as secular Muslims.  In fact, Saoud only came to realize the problem in her later teens, but without any emotional biases.  The religious instability caused by the Schism back home, merely fuels the flow of Muslims to the West, further compounding the growth of Terrorism–especially among the young!

Ms. Mekhennet’s journey took her to various countries within the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Western Europe, during which, Saoud interviewed a number of al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban leaders.  Even though those interviews placed her at considerable personal risk, as a journalist, she knew that they were vital to her understanding–and explaining–of both sides of the issue.

A considerable amount of this book is devoted toward Ms. Mekhennet’s attempt to understand how and why young European Muslims have become radicalized, and join the Jihad.  Is it a legitimate cause, necessary to save the Islamic way of life, or is it a false reality, based on a hijacked version of Islam–merely replacing one version of beliefs for another?

Throughout the book, Ms. Mekhennet also questions the false assertions behind such ideas as Weapons of Mass Destruction, false intelligence reported by various Western agencies, and the lack of concern for civilian deaths.  Basically, if we throw off our parochial views and narrow-mindedness, we might begin to understand that there is plenty of blame, for the entire terrorism issue, to go around.

As somewhat of a summation to her journey, Saoud Mekhennet points out that “…some people in Western countries don’t see the hazards of setting standards for others, as if our way is the right way and the only way.  This is the same argument that ISIS makes.”

NOTE:  And oh, by the way, toward the very end of her journey, Ms Mekhennet solved one of those pesky questions that was on everyone’s mind, when she unmasked “Jihadi John”, who played a key role in those ISIS videoclips!

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WHO OR WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING IN THE MIDDLE EAST? WHY? WHAT DO WE HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH? AND WILL WE EVER KNOW IF OR WHEN ITS OVER?

The First Rule of Warfare is to “Know Your Enemy!”  But, after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, George W. Bush declared a Global War on Terror.  So, what does that mean?  Have we been fighting a tactic: Terrorism?  Are we fighting for Good, versus Evil?  What exactly is IT?  Also, is the fight, against this uncertain opponent, limited to the Middle East, or might it be global in scope?  Unfortunately, as the “Coalition” was gearing-up to invade, George Bush waved the red flag—citing the Crusades.  How damn ignorant can one man have been?

Ever since those terrorist attacks, many in Washington have attempted to assign the role of our new invisible adversary to Islam.  Why didn’t Bush confront the Saudis, since 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudi nationals?  By falsely accusing Global Islam to be our new Enemy, the Administration had enabled our real enemy to gain more strength, while America tilted at windmills!

Many of us in the more secular West have trouble understanding the role of Religion in other cultures.  Until approximately 1500 AD, Western Europe was considered to be somewhat of a cultural backwater, as compared go the Great Empires of the world.  The source of all power was universally thought to be the King, Caliph, Bishop, etc, who was believed to have received it from God.

Eventually, however, Europeans began to question the role of the Kings, as well as the Pope, as they also began to doubt that the Earth was the center of the universe.  As people began to think for themselves, an Intelligentsia evolved, which explored science, philosophy, geography, economics, etc.

As that transition occurred, Western Europe jumped ahead of the rest of the world in knowledge, in adventure, and in understanding how things worked.  So, while Europe had become more secular, the importance of Religion, however, had not changed among the other great civilizations of the world!

Muslims seem to have maintained a feeling of commonality with one another, around the world.  For instance, many of those who fought in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Croatia, toward the end of the Twentieth Century, have answered the call to Jihad in the Middle East. Similarly, Muslims from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, joined-in as well. Accordingly, how do we fight something that we cannot define, nor do we even understand?

We hoist our arrogance on our Military; but, two major powers have not faced-off in battle since the middle of the last century.  Frankly, American GI’s are: too weighed-down by all of the high-tech firepower that they carry on their backs; the sometimes unreliable air cover; conflicting command structures; and the lack of loyalty, by local soldiers, for the general that we propped-up to head the country.  Meanwhile, the enemy can travel light, knows he has little that can disappoint him, and he can blend in with the populace; BUT…he is also fighting for a cause!

Rather than funding a large invading army, with firepower out the gazoo, we should focus a sizable portion of the State Department budget on devising vital parts of the cultural infrastructure, which is so lacking.  By helping build that missing support structure, out in the villages, America can eliminate the environment in which terrorist groups and religious extremists thrive.

For instance, three or four decades ago, much of South and Southeast Asia had been in a  situation similar to that of the current Middle East.  Poverty and illiteracy were rampant! Also, that part of Asia has considerably more Muslims than does the Middle East.  Through the transformation, perhaps following Japan’s lead, the local infrastructures began to change.  Education, industry, viable health care, a functioning economy, and the standard of living began to rise.   A better lifestyle goes a long way in combatting terrorism and extremism.  Also, preventing war is more cost-effective than waging it, and it saves lives!

NOTE:  For a much more in-depth explanation of how western Europe transformed, here is the comment on my Books That I  Recommend tab:  A great historical and scientific explanation of Who we are, Where we came from, and How we got here. The obvious idea is to understand our past in order to contemplate our future. Namely, what We, as a Species, will become in the future?

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ISTANBUL ON THE POTOMAC!

Donald Trump, that fellow who resides in the White House, appears to be as narcissistic as The Sun King, and he has the vindictive nature of a small child, who just won’t quite! Donald is so spoiled that he only sees or hear things, which only he “knows” to be true, and his actions bespeak only those that are in his best interest.  So, after five and a-half months, holed-up in the Executive Mansion, is he now ready to make Washington into His Kinda Town?

During his time in office, with numerous sabbaticals at his various resorts, he has seemed to be mad at the world, attacking everyone in sight.  Here’s the Short-List of his targets:  Obama and Clinton; all three major Intel Agencies; members of any and all minority groups; both the DEMs and the GOP; the print and broadcast media, at every opportunity; Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, perhaps as a corporate leader who just won’t kowtow to him; and on, and on.  Equally as bad, is the mass disruption, which Donald has spread overseas, in our name!

Donald Trump acts as if HE owns the place, and that anything that he does, while in office, should be whatever he wishes; because, you see, Donald John Trump is above the Law—or so he seems to thinks!   Now, we can consider Trumpie to be just another loose cannon; but, his actions certainly appear to be more evil than that.  Remember that Donald has literally offended every one of the nations which we have long-term alliances with, while cozying-up to some of our most dangerous adversaries.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are too ensconced in their long-term leadership roles, as Communist dictators, in systems that have been in existence for some 70 years.  But, Donald Trump did invite Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, to visit him in the White House, about six weeks ago.  Turkey had been founded in 1923, as a secular democracy, and over the course of time, it had transformed itself into a Western-style nation.  It is also a NATO ally Istanbul, its largest city, is strategically located west of the Bosporous Strait, which, separates Europe from Asia.

Erdogan had been thrown out of office in 1998, and imprisoned, when he was the Mayor of Istanbul.   e was sacked for trying to spread his conservative Islamic views.  He returned to political life as Prime Minister in 2003, and became President of Turkey in 2014.  Ever since then, he has once again, been trying to instill his conservative Islamic fervor, and thus transform the nation into one more to his liking.

Just consider any of today’s authoritarian nations—China, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Turkey—and the many commonalities are quite obvious.  Trump is possibly observing how President Erdogan has been re-building Turkish Society, and perhaps getting ideas, but with an American twist.

Human rights have been diminished during the Erdogan Era, as there are other civil rights violations, such as:  peaceful civil disobedience has been dealt with harshly; media has been forced to accept the government’s viewpoint; disloyal corporate leaders have been replaced, and many businesses have been nationalized; and Islamic Law is being gradually installed.  Also, he has made the Kurdish minority into a boogeyman for many of Turkey’s problems, and questions abound as to whether last fall’s unsuccessful coup was, in fact, staged–thus giving him the reason to take an even harsher stance!

Donald Trump has been moving on many of these same issues.  Consider just a few: his Regime is trying to diminish many of the human rights issues by continually attacking the media, and using fake news and falsified facts coming from the White House in order to shift public thinking; middle and upper-level civil servants have been denied work if they do not Pledge Loyalty to Trump; jawboning corporate leaders to follow his wishes; and why are there three generals in his Cabinet?

I cannot honestly say that Donald Trump is trying to transform America into an Authoritarian State; however, there are many similarities with various dictatorships, and  one one can be perceived as more insidious than the next.  At present, except for the Travel Ban, and the apparent over-active protection given to police officers—in very questionable circumstances—Donald hasn’t tried to change too many of our laws to meet his needs.  But, just let your mind wander as to what might be in store for Americans in the future!

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WORLD WAR II INTERNMENT CAMPS ARE STLL AN EXPLOSIVE MEMORY!

Today, the last Saturday in April, commemorates one of the darkest days in American history, especially for Japanese-Americans and, as it appears–today’s Muslims.  We Americans always seem to act like we’re the Good Guys, in the White Hats; but, save that for the movies.  Because, that’s just not really US!

Just consider a few of our Crimes Against Humanity:  widespread Human Slavery from pre-Colonial America, through the mid-19th Century; stealing the ancient tribal lands of Native Americans, and relegating them to barren reservations, barely capable of sustaining life; and the massacre of 550 Vietnamese old men, women, and even nursing babies, by the “Men” of the U. S. Army Americal Division, at My Lai4,  in 1968.

The following Op-Ed from the NY Times, “Internment, America’s Great Mistake”, by George Takei (“”Mr. Sulu”, on StarTrek), beautifully conveys the sorrow and hardship, that many Japanese-American had to endure—by someone who was there. As Mr. Takei noted, he was expected to “Pledge Allegiance to the Flag”, every morning, while living in such a “Camp”.  And to add the harshest insults to War Heroes, when Japanese-American men returned to their Homeland, after fighting in World War II, they too were placed in the same “POW” Camps, with their families!

Along with the many Japanese and other Americans remembering that Darkest Day on America, many of whom were born after The War, there are also a number of Muslims.  Just two days ago, eight Iraqis were deported to Iraq, and many other Muslims wonder if they, too, might be sent “back” to a land they had never known. Once again, is this what Humanity is all about?

As Donald Trump has reached Day #100, we can only be happy that he hasn’t blown -up the planet yet.  But, as each day passes, I can only think how wonderful it would be to have a Parliamentary Government, and with a “No Confidence Vote” scheduled first thing on Monday! morning

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THE KOREAN PENINSULA—A POTENTIALLY MUCH MORE DANGEROUS SITUATION THAN SYRIA!

By now, most people are aware that: America fired 59 Tomahawk Missiles on a Syrian airfield; that act was a violation of both the U. S. Constitution and the U. N. Charter; the Syria Air Force bombed the same city (without Sarin gas) just a few days later; the Pentagon has not suggested any sort of long-range plan in Syria; but, there have been suggestions that the U. S. is considering either placing nuclear weapons in South Korea, and/or sending a team of (assumedly) special ops to assassinate North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un.

In 1950, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai told several foreign diplomats that China would enter the Korean War if the U. S. crossed the 38th parallel, into North Korea.  General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of U. N. Forces—disobeyed direct orders—crossed the 38th, and continued on to the Yalu River—the Chinese Border.

The Chinese. as Zhou had said, entered the war in a big way, and the Armies of the Two Koreas, plus the U. S., have been encamped at the DMZ ever since.  Although there was considerable Signals and Human Intelligence ,reporting a very significant massing of Chinese troops at the Yalu River, Mac Arthur disregarded it—at his own Army’s peril!

During the second (I believe) Presidential Debate last fall, Donald Trump had suggested that China should just invade North Korea and be done with the irrational Kim Jong-Un.  The result from such an action, however, would force a direct confrontation between nuclear-armed China and the U. S., across the DMZ.  So, here we are, 65 years after that War, and the Chinese seem to understand the potential danger of a nuclear build-up on the Korean Peninsula.  But, why doesn’t Donald Trump get it ?

The Pentagon has deployed a Carrier Strike Force to Korea with the USS Carl Vinson, and three guided missile destroyers, all of which have been temporarily docked in Singapore.  Japan must also be included in any strategic Korean Plan, along with Taiwan, which lies off the southeast coast of China.  I believe that, if China deploys ships to the Formosa Strait, which separates Taiwan from the Mainland, Donald Trump should be very, very careful in making his next move. China proved, once before, that it does follow-through i protecting its interests!

North Korea  has an 880 mile (1,420 km.) border with China, as well as a very small one with Russia.  But, neither of the two nuclear superpowers have common borders with Syria.  Additionally, the U. S. apparently has no long-term plans for Syria.    

America does, however, have a very long, and semi-permanent, presence in South Korea.  With a total of approximately 77,000 U. S. Troops in East Asia, and roughly two-thirds of them in nearby Japan, the situation appears to be more dangerous than Donald Trump’ s first major “Adventure”, in Syria.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump can be almost as irrational as Mr. Kim, of North Korea.  So far, however, Donald has dodged a bullet in Syria, at least so far; but, I surely don’t trust him in Korea, where China will be a much more serious, and powerful, opponent!

NOTE:  Welcome to my readers in China, Taiwan and Malta!

 

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THIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY, NOT ALL OF THE IRISH EYES WERE SMILING!

As the Irish are one of the oldest, and most easily assimilated groups of immigrants, St. Patty’s Day has come to be a day of celebration, not only for the Irish, but for many Immigrant groups.Ω even those who might seem to be flying under the radar—because they are of European stock. But they realize that Trump’s racially-motivated immigration ideas today could turn against all other groups tomorrow.  So, they stand together! 

Sure, Donald Trump might have toasted Irish Prime Minister Enda Kelly with green beer, on Thursday, and both men had-on green ties, and the fountain on the White House’s south lawn glowed green, for a day or two.  The undocumented Irish find little solace in those hollow events, however, due to the fact that they entered the    U. S. on perfectly legal Visas, and remained here after they had expired.  Besides the Irish, many others, like the Polish, the Mexicans, Nigerians, Filipinos, etc., are hard-working taxpayers, who are raising families here.

Perhaps the Irish won’t be the first group to be deported; but, how can they ever be sure that, as Trump or some other demagogue like him, works their way down the list of nationalities that, at some point, they might be next!  As much as Trump talks about creating jobs, he doesn’t realize that immigrants often are the reason for economic expansion as they add (usually) younger workers, entrepreneurial and technological skills, and they also increase the consumer base, as more spenders can grow the economy exponentially.

Undocumented immigrants normally enter the U. S. incrementally, and they are eventually assimilated into our society.  Unfortunately, racist actions do make it difficult for some, such as today’s Muslims, and of course blacks after centuries of living in America!

In 1981, 120,000 Cubans came ashore in Miami, in just two months time, and they were quickly assimilated into the local, very large Cuban-American community.  That many refugees, arriving in one area, and being quickly assimilated was, of course, an aberration.  Even though some of those “Marielitos” were, as Donald Trump would say, “Bad Hombres”, their proportion generally pales when compared to the overall percentage of criminals in American society.

So, while Mr. Trump was toasting Prime Minister Kelly at the White House, Joe McHugh, Ireland’s Minister for the Diaspora and International Development visited the Aisling Irish Community Center, in Yonkers, N. Y.  Aisling is one of a number of community centers that provides social services, health screenings and other assistance to, what it calls, the “forgotten Irish”.  Staff members at Aisling, and other such centers, say that anxiety is peaking because of Trump.  Minister Joe McHugh, said, after his visit: “They live in fear.” But why?

Is this what America has come to:  like those billionaires, who have more money than they could ever hope to spend, and they just seem to want more?  Everyone of us are descendants of people who had come from somewhere else–even the Native Americans.   And for all of those “god-fearing Christians”, I surely wonder how you can mouth the words: “Do unto others…”

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