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History Repeating – Vietnam had “free” elections too.

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posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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The Guardian today carried a story in which they discuss the voter turnout and the "first casualty of war". They begin by reviewing a New York Times report on the September 4, 1967 election in Vietnam:



On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of the Vietnam war. Under the heading "US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror", the paper reported that the Americans had been "surprised and heartened" by the size of the turnout "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting". A successful election, it went on, "has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam". The echoes of this weekend's propaganda about Iraq's elections are so close as to be uncanny.

source - emphasis mine.


The spin is reminiscent of the Vietnam era. For example here is a quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson's Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union - January 17, 1968:



I report to you that our country is challenged, at home and abroad:

--that it is our will that is being tried, not our strength; our sense of purpose, not our ability to achieve a better America;
--that we have the strength to meet our every challenge; the physical strength to hold the course of decency and compassion at home; and the moral strength to support the cause of peace in the world.

And I report to you that I believe, with abiding conviction, that this people--nurtured by their deep faith, tutored by their hard lessons, moved by their high aspirations--have the will to meet the trials that these times impose.

Since I reported to you last January:

--Three elections have been held in Vietnam--in the midst of war and under the constant threat of violence.

--A President, a Vice President, a House and Senate, and village officials have been chosen by popular, contested ballot.

--The enemy has been defeated in battle after battle.

--The number of South Vietnamese living in areas under Government protection tonight has grown by more than a million since January of last year.

These are all marks of progress. Yet:

--The enemy continues to pour men and material across frontiers and into battle, despite his continuous heavy losses.
--He continues to hope that America's will to persevere can be broken. Well--he is wrong. America will persevere. Our patience and our perseverance will match our power. Aggression will never prevail.

But our goal is peace--and peace at the earliest possible moment.

source - emphasis mine.


I was surprised to learn of the Vietnamese elections and the rhetoric that surrounded it.

Again it is very similar to what is being said today with respect to Iraq. For an example see:

"Peace Without Conquest" - President Johnson's Speech at Johns Hopkins University:



Why must we take this painful road?

Why must this Nation hazard its ease, and its interest, and its power for the sake of a people so far away?

We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny. And only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure.

Our objective is the independence of South Vietnam, and its freedom from attack. We want nothing for ourselves--only that the people of South Vietnam be allowed to guide their own country in their own way.

We will do everything necessary to reach that objective. And we will do only what is absolutely necessary.

We do this in order to slow down aggression.

We do this to increase the confidence of the brave people of South Vietnam who have bravely borne this brutal battle for so many years with so many casualties.

Armed hostility is futile. Our resources are equal to any challenge. Because we fight for values and we fight for principles, rather than territory or colonies, our patience and our determination are unending.

The task is nothing less than to enrich the hopes and the existence of more than a hundred million people. And there is much to be done.

We will do this because our own security is at stake.

But there is more to it than that. For our generation has a dream. It is a very old dream. But we have the power and now we have the opportunity to make that dream come true.

source - emphasis mine.


There are still more parallels between the Vietnam and Iraq wars…



Aug. 4, 1964: The Johnson administration cites two unprovoked attacks by North Vietnamese gunboats against the USS Maddox and another American ship as a pretext for war. Only later is it learned that the Maddox was supporting covert raids by South Vietnamese commandos and that it was highly unlikely a second attack took place at all.

2002-March 2003: The Bush administration cites the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the regime's alleged ties to global terrorists like al-Qaeda as a pretext for war. Only later is it learned that there are no stockpiles of unconventional weapons in Iraq and that no substantive links with al-Qaeda existed.

Aug. 7, 1964: Congress, at the behest of President Johnson, overwhelmingly passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution put forward by the White House allowing the President "to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force" to prevent further attacks against U.S. forces. The resolution, passed unanimously in the House and 98-2 in the Senate, grants enormous power to President Johnson to wage an undeclared war in Vietnam. Among those voting to support the resolution are future Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern, Eugene McCarthy, and Hubert Humphrey.

Oct. 11, 2002: Congress, at the behest of President Bush, overwhelmingly votes to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions. The measure, passed 296-133 in the House and 77-23 in the Senate, grants enormous power to President Bush to wage an undeclared war in Iraq. Among those voting to support the resolution are future Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry, John Edwards, and Richard Gephardt.

Fall 1964: President Johnson campaigns for a new term by telling voters he will not escalate the war by sending more U.S. troops. He says: "We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."

Fall 2004: President Bush promises voters that he will work to bring home troops from Iraq as soon as possible, saying they will only stay "as long as necessary, and not one day longer."

Taken from The Vietnam-Iraq timeline


Did you catch this line? "The number of South Vietnamese living in areas under Government protection tonight has grown by more than a million since January of last year."

Think "Green Zone" in Iraq.

Don’t bet on the newly "elected" (read targets) to ask their protectors to leave anytime soon. Besides they have to put those 14 permanent US military bases (built by Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root) to good use.

So was the Iraqi "election" really the great achievement this administration and the media would have you believe?

Is it’s future as bright as that of post 1967 Vietnam?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, err..err..err.. won't get fooled again!

Rhetoric – It never goes out of style.
.




posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 08:02 PM
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In the 1960s, there was a young population that knew more about civil action and their power to stop corruption and the war machine. What is the difference today?



posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 08:06 PM
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I know the left including the Guardian and Ted Kennedy loves to compare Iraq with Vietnam, in fact they started to do so days into the war. But there is no valid comparison! The Vietcong had an ideology and popular support. We find no ideology and very limited support amongst the Iraqi population. They offer nothing but anarchy or a return of Saddam or a Saddam-like regime. 80% of the country are either Shi'ite or Kurdish and were brutally oppressed under such a regime and don't want a return of it. Even most Sunnis didn't prosper under Saddam, so you're talking a small minority of a minority that sympathize with the insurgent rebels. Every day they become more marginalized and insignificant.



posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
We find no ideology and very limited support amongst the Iraqi population. They offer nothing but anarchy or a return of Saddam or a Saddam-like regime.


The resistance movement is an ideology unto itself. While I wont say the elections in Iraq are a bad thing, I will say that the end does not justify the means. Personally, I would rather have all the soldiers back who have given thier lives than to have Iraqis vote. The loss of my fellow countrymens life, to me, is not worth that of another nations government who posed not one single threat to the United States of America. It is nice that they are able to hold elections, but so what. There are now thousands of American children without mothers and fathers now. It was not woth it.



posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 09:03 PM
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Iraq and Afghanistan can go one of two ways -- as a project to build a nation that was a dictatorship into a democratic republic, it can end up as either a great success (like Japan and Germany were) or a miserable failure (like Veitnam was).

I think that politicians like Sen. Kennedy of Massachusetts have made clear what their preference is, but so far it looks like this -- Iraq has so far been a success along the lines of Japan and Germany (so far), but Afghanistan is just barely doing "OK" in comparison.

My question is -- Do you want Iraq and Afghanistan to become democratic republics? The answer should be "Yes!", no matter who the President of the U.S. happens to be, now or later.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 05:32 PM
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Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
In the 1960s, there was a young population that knew more about civil action and their power to stop corruption and the war machine. What is the difference today?


Exactly! What happened to that generation?

Besides selling out to corporate power they screwed up their kids and grand kids badly enough that we have reached the point where a majority of high school students think the first amendment "goes too far" and that government censorship is ok.


The next time I hear an old fart reminiscing about the 60's I'm going to bitch slap them for f-ing everything up!

I agree that the ends don't justify the means and the answer to ThunderCloud's question is obviously yes. But remember that democracy is a grassroots movement that comes from the people. It's not something that can be imposed top down.

I will be very surprised if this later method ever works.
.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 06:06 PM
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Apparently neither you, Goals, or the other Iraqi elections distractor, MaskedAvatar, understood/understand that there is a significant difference between the two:

The Vietnamese elections were held prior to Communist North Vietnam actively invaded South Vietnam, the same elections that placed Diem into power, where he was subsequently removed from power by a coup, supported by the US: aka: President Kennedy.

The Iraqi elections were held after the removal of a brutal dictator, Saddam, and are electing a leader that has very few ties to the US.

The most obvious connection between the two: Vietnam and Iraq, is the enormous amount of "naysayers" that both events spawned.

Let the left leaning, anti-war Guardian respond to this, k?
Beating a Dead Parrot: Why Iraq and Vietnam have nothing whatsoever in common.

Keep wishing that the two are the same.....






seekerof

[edit on 2-2-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 06:38 PM
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Seekerof

Do you mean to label me as a "distractor" or a "detractor"?

Sorry, bud, but when you point me out as "failing to see" something and follow it up with an irrelevant historical fact, it does little for whatever cause or "distraction" of the day you support.

You, on the other hand, fail to point out obvious connections:

* poor implementation and execution
* death and carnage and so-called "collateral damage"
* abuse and misuse of intelligence
* oil and corruption
* irresponsible fiscal management and squandered taxpayers' funds
* failed foreign policy


Your choice of political cartoons is, as always, puerile and pathetic. Congratulations once more.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:06 PM
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The fact is that the vast majority of Iraqis were in favour of these elections. Even if they couldn't vote for security reasons or if they hate the Americans, the general feeling amongst the population was that the elections were a good thing.
As someone has already stated, 80% of the population are Shia Muslims. 5% are Iraqi Kurds. Even Sunni areas registered a voter turnout - however small.

The Vietnamese elections have no comparison. They were held in a country with two separate governments. Iraq contains a minority that doesn't want to see peace whereas Vietnam had a majority who wanted to see the South deposed.

The war could end within a week if the Americans pull out. The same people who are committing terrorist atrocities are the enemy of both the Americans and the Shia majority. If Sistani hadn't reigned his people in on the orders of the Americans there would be no Sunni resistance. It would have been genocide. The Shia would have mobilised and totally destroyed the resistance but would have probably killed thousands more innocents.

That's the danger now. Any government is going to be dominated by Shias and the people are going to be looking to them to end the violence. If the government can't deliver, you can guarantee that it won't be the US that pays. The Sunni population will be on the receiving end of the Shia militias and everything that has gone before will look like paradise. The US military is now a foil - it's not an occupying power. It is the only thing keeping the Shia majority from annihalating the Sunni minority.

The elections have made things far more dangerous for the terrorists. We're told that they are trying to create a civil war, but now those elections have taken place, civil war is not going to be in their favour. Their opposition has been legitimised in the eyes of the majority of the Iraqi people. All the Sunni terrorists can do now is hurt their own people.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:15 PM
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I fail to point out nothing when it comes to you and others trying to make Iraq into another Vietnam.

Having taken a couple of courses on Vietnam this past year, lets look at what you have mentioned:


poor implementation and execution

A broad based unsubstantiated comment. Enlighten me.



death and carnage and so-called "collateral damage"

Confirmed. But then again oh, MaskedAvatar, please produce one war or one regional conflict that hasn't produced such, k? Amounts to being irrelevant.



abuse and misuse of intelligence

Another? Must be refering to LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin? Besides, again, please name a war or regional conflict where such hasn't happened, k? "Abuse and misuse of intelligence" had nothing to do with why the US was in Vietnam, unlike Iraq. This cancels out the Vietnam and Iraq comparison.



oil and corruption

Quite a huge unsubstantiated comment here. You mention "oil"? You fail to mention that Vietnams "oil" was the least of its strategic resources that were traded or deemed 'required' at that time? Try tin, rubber (SE Asia was the largest producer of natural rubber), tungsten, among other strategic commodities. No, MaskedAvatar, Vietnam was not about "oil". Nearly all Vietnam historians disagree with your assessment on this matter, and unless you enjoy historical revisionism, this is another 'comparison' that becomes cancelled.



irresponsible fiscal management and squandered taxpayers' funds

Clarify and give specifics. Because if your reference is to money used to support France, in Vietnam, the South Vietnamese governments, and the US war expenditures, your point is moot. Again, please name a war or regional conflict were such does not apply, k?



failed foreign policy

Relative Generalization.
Failed foreign policy? Why? Because the US won the war, but lost the peace? Or because the US had adopted a containment of Communism policy? Your taking two entirely different time periods and then two inherently different US policy's and trying to mesh them together. Foreign policy is relative to the time period it was meant for, MaskedAvatar. Nation's do not operate without foreign policy, and whether it is successful or not is always open to criticism and debate. Its relative.

The cartoon illustrated exactly my point. You can deny its meaning, matters not to me. Thank you for the "congratulations".






seekerof

[edit on 2-2-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:32 PM
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Boiling it down then, you want to justify war, death and destruction on the basis of misused intelligence and lies, and gloss over the damage done because it happens in all wars (making it a good thing), and to omit any consideration of the economic impact of the incumbent administration's misguided efforts on the succeeding two generations of Americans (the only test of foreign policy success that may really matter to those with sensitive hip pocket nerves). (With the exception of the shareholders of corrupt crony companies, while it lasts, of course).

The main difference as I see it is that "terrorists" are a simpler focus for inducing fear and terror these days than were the "communists" of the long past Cold War era, because of how the Bush administration has used the worst domestic terrorist attack that they allowed to occur on 9/11/2001. All propaganda all the time.

Free elections, the US-Iraq way? No thanks.

Are we there yet at Doomsday, Donnie baby?

[edit on 2-2-2005 by MaskedAvatar]



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:36 PM
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The Most Important Difference

The politics of Iraq are decidedly different from those of Vietnam, and in so many different ways that opponents of it are forced to try to shoehorn whatever similarities they can into the picture, and are not doing a very convincing job of it.

Those who are supporting the insurgency do not have the wherewithal Ho Chi Min's supporters had. While neighbors like Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia are doing what they can to help, they know it is ultimately futile, and are helping more as a matter of form than conviction.

They also don't have as many agent-provocateurs in the U.S. as the Vietnamese and their benefactors the Soviet Union had during the '60s, which means whipping up domestic support for the headhunters is virtually impossible.

Students are in school studying instead of burning things and spouting Communist propaganda. Well, the intelligent ones, anyway.

There are still plenty of them spouting Communist propaganda, but unfortunately, that's because that's part of the curricula in modern campuses.

Fortunately, most kids are smart enough to figure out they were duped later, so it tends to even out.

But by far the most important difference is this: The party that started, mismanaged and ultimately forced the withdrawal from the war in Vietnam is no longer in power.

And that's the only difference that truly matters.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:43 PM
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as posted by MaskedAvatar
Are we there yet at Doomsday, Donnie baby?


Apparently and obviously not. Save the "doomsday" rhetoric for the doomsayers, but then again, I guess doomsayers and naysayers are the same, huh?

I will admit that you make some relatively modest points, but in relation to this topic and comparison between Vietnam and Iraq:
The Vietnam doomsayers and naysayers proclaimed "doomsday," which did not happen.
The Iraq doomsayers and naysayers have been and still are proclaiming "doomsday," which has yet to happen. The Iraqi people proclaimed "nay" to "doomsday" rhetoric, and at this point in time in history, thats what counts; not what the doomsayers and naysayers, along with the terrorists and insurgents, wish to continue to preach.





seekerof

[edit on 2-2-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:48 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
The Vietnam doomsayers and naysayers proclaimed "doomsday," which did not happen.




No, they proclaimed things like "Make Love Not War" and "Bring Them Home", which did happen. Such things as free speech and protest are not so fashionable in the US these days.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:52 PM
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No, the naysayers, aka: doomsayers, proclaimed more than that. Those few that you mention were the 'conservative' versions utilized by them.




seekerof



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:53 PM
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Originally posted by MaskedAvatar

Originally posted by Seekerof
The Vietnam doomsayers and naysayers proclaimed "doomsday," which did not happen.




No, they proclaimed things like "Make Love Not War" and "Bring Them Home", which did happen. Such things as free speech and protest are not so fashionable in the US these days.


I seem to remember a little incident at Kent State University.
Freedom of speech and the freedom of protest was not exactly fashionable back then dude.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:57 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Those few that you mention were the 'conservative' versions utilized by them.



I think I will bow out of this alternative reality *with the exception of a response to my level-headed friend* to enable the next few automatons and shills to resume regular programming. I knew freedom of speech and freedom of movement and freedom of association were being curtailed, but not free access to free history about the free thinking 60s or free thinking itself.

Freedom and democracy in the US are dying.




[edit on 2-2-2005 by MaskedAvatar]



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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Originally posted by Leveller

I seem to remember a little incident at Kent State University.
Freedom of speech and the freedom of protest was not exactly fashionable back then dude.



And less so, now.

Cultural "evolution".



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 08:00 PM
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The only thing you can really compare Vietnam with Iraq is the amount and type of Rhetoric spewed by the US administration. Gunboat Diplomacy is really the only type the hawks knows how to do "properly". You're either with us or against us. You're either with "Freedom" or you're with the Commies/Terrorists/Dictators or whatever the Boogieman of the day happens to be. And if you speak out against the current policy of shoot first ask questions later you're labelled as "Unpatriotic" and spewing "Communist" Lies.



The Vietnam doomsayers and naysayers proclaimed "doomsday," which did not happen.


Umm what do you consider doomsday Seekerof? You guys lost that war remember? Is Vietnam a Democracy because of the USA's efforts? NOPE! Still Communist. Allthough it did "prevent" the domino effect of Communist Gov'ts taking over. It really depends on which side your on in how you look at history.




The Iraq doomsayers and naysayers have been and still are proclaiming "doomsday," which has yet to happen.

Doomsday? I have yet to hear anyone proclaim doomsday will come out of the Iraq war, at least no one sane anyway.



The Iraqi people proclaimed "nay" to "doomsday" rhetoric, and at this point in time in history, thats what counts; not what the doomsayers and naysayers, along with the terrorists and insurgents, wish to continue to preach.


Again with the Rhetoric, the Iraqi people have yet to say anything at this point, wait till a Constitutional government comes to power and examine what that Constitution says before you make judgements based on news reports about an election that really doesn't count, it only elected a provisional government and I do not think thier powers will be total, the USA will still have the final say for some time to come.



No, the naysayers, aka: doomsayers, proclaimed more than that. Those few that you mention were the 'conservative' versions utilized by them.

Again why equate people who are against the politics of the Gov't in power to "Doomsayers"? It makes no sense...



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 08:06 PM
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as posted by MaskedAvatar
...but not free access to free history about the free thinking 60s or free thinking itself.


Another broad relative generalization? History is viewed like any religious scripture: relative to the one viewing, reading, and interpreting it. One thing is for sure though, MaskedAvatar: there is a distinct and dividng difference between reading and studying History (not history), and historical revisionism. You decide. I already have.





seekerof




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