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Originally posted by rich23
Excuse me, the US fought Vietnam with its hands tied behind its back?
The US dropped as much ordnance on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as was dropped in the whole of World War II. It made no formal declaration of war on the last two countries, which made military action against them illegal. After a protracted guerilla war - much like it's facing now - in which most of the population wanted the thuggish US soldiers out of their country - just like now - the US eventually realised defeat and helicoptered itself out of there.
Most of the world cheered when the swaggering US got its clock cleaned by a bunch of dedicated amateurs.
Johnson himself chose many of the major targets to be bombed
"cock cleaned," in Vietnam
Well, I don't think it's possible for you to say that. I think it's far more likely that the population would have kicked you out in the end. And
Vietnam would've been a quick, easy victory, had Johnson not done what he did.
so much, in fact, that the Government had to invent the Tonkin Gulf incident to bring people into the war. Right.
Vietnam had plenty of justification
STEPHEN KINZER: A lot of these coups have been studied individually, but what I'm trying to do in my book is see them not as a series of isolated incidents, but rather as one long continuum. And by looking at them that way, I am able to tease out certain patterns that recur over and over again. They don't all fit the same pattern, but it's amazing how many of them do.
You ask about the motivations, and that is one of the patterns that comes through when you look at these things all together. There’s really a three-stage motivation that I can see when I watch so many of the developments of these coups. The first thing that happens is that the regime in question starts bothering some American company. They start demanding that the company pay taxes or that it observe labor laws or environmental laws. Sometimes that company is nationalized or is somehow required to sell some of its land or its assets. So the first thing that happens is that an American or a foreign corporation is active in another country, and the government of that country starts to restrict it in some way or give it some trouble, restrict its ability to operate freely.
Then, the leaders of that company come to the political leadership of the United States to complain about the regime in that country. In the political process, in the White House, the motivation morphs a little bit. The U.S. government does not intervene directly to defend the rights of a company, but they transform the motivation from an economic one into a political or geo-strategic one. They make the assumption that any regime that would bother an American company or harass an American company must be anti-American, repressive, dictatorial, and probably the tool of some foreign power or interest that wants to undermine the United States. So the motivation transforms from an economic to a political one, although the actual basis for it never changes.
Then, it morphs one more time when the U.S. leaders have to explain the motivation for this operation to the American people. Then they do not use either the economic or the political motivation usually, but they portray these interventions as liberation operations, just a chance to free a poor oppressed nation from the brutality of a regime that we assume is a dictatorship, because what other kind of a regime would be bothering an American company?
Embedded journalists are secretly embedded in units; soldiers are not aware that they're even there