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I Agree On This: End of War

with 4 comments

Iraq War soliders in battle I graduated from high school in 1964, just as the Vietnam War took off. Most of my young male classmates were drafted into that war that hawks in both parties said was absolutely necessary to prevent Communism from spreading throughout South-east Asia. Known as the Domino Theory, it was widely believed that if Vietnam fell to Communism so would go all other So. East Asian nations, then eventually So. and Central America and eventually Africa.

So great was the fear of Communism in So. East Asia, that Eisenhower’s Administration came to believe that if Communism was not stopped at the borders of the USSR, China, and No. Korea, it immediately would spread to engulf the entire So. East Asia region including India and possibly Japan. However, conspiracy theorists such as those who created and joined the John Birch Society believed Eisenhower was too soft on Communism. They accused him of being a co-conspirator or “fellow traveler” or soft on communism because he refused to declare war again so soon after the end of WWII.

One of the greatest believers in the domino theory was Henry Cabot Lodge, a Republican who served as an adviser to Eisenhower and later to JFK on So. East Asia. Lodge came from a long-standing, prominent and highly politically influential New England family. His knowledge and standing on So. East Asia gave him a well respected gravitas. So, when he declared that Communism must be stopped or the entire So. East Asia region would fall to Communism, presidents and Congress listened.

The end result of the fear that all of So. East Asia would fall to the Communists was the Vietnam War. Nixon was elected on a platform of ending the war. As my own husband said when he returned from Vietnam, “we’re fighting a war to preserve the French rubber plantations.”

So much had the tide of war turned within the nation that during the 1968 election season, Nixon based his platform on ending the war. Overwhelming numbers of students and Vietnam vets turned out to cast their votes for Nixon, causing him to win the election. But Nixon was no appeaser. Instead of ending the war, his first term in office saw him expand the war into Laos and Cambodia. Loud protests erupted all across the nation…but it wasn’t until the sons of Congress members began being drafted that Congress turned from pro-war to pro-peace. It seems it was okay to send the sons of other people’s families to war but when their own sons became cannon fodder, sensibilities changed. Finally, Nixon realized that the only way to win a second term was to bring the war to a close.

But there were still a significant number of hawks within the Democratic Party who believed that the US had not only failed to win the war but had lost it. For them, nothing less than the complete annihilation of Communism was sufficient; they would gladly have used “the bomb” on North Vietnam rather have the US somehow seen as having lost that war. Those hawks joined the Republican party to later become known as neo-conservatives.

The neo-cons we know today, by and large, have never served a day in the armed forces but are willing to send the children of others to fight and die. They see enemies around every bend. They thoroughly believe that the US must have the greatest military force on earth because the destiny of the US is to be the greatest super-power, if not the greatest empire, on the face of the earth.

Even though GW Bush’s foreign policy gave the lie to the neo-cons ideology, they still hold considerable sway in Congress, in the media, and, most importantly, within the Republican Party. Respected conservative publications such as Buckley’s National Review are now completely controlled by neo-cons as is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). And, of course, the John Birch Society is no better, believing the supposed evils of communism – and its evil companion socialism – are just around every policy corner.

As a result, we have the Patriot Act and its equally odious new companion, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), adopted by the Senate in a count of 98 to 1 – more than enough votes to override a veto by President Obama.

As a centrist-left leaning voter, I do not believe in the constant, always needing a enemy, and ready to Even the dead ask, Let there be peace...declare war stance our nation has taken since Reagan’s Administration. I do not believe the US should be the world’s police force or build an American Empire or deplete our nation’s blood and treasure to fight wars that fail to serve our national interests. I believe that our nation would be much better served, just as the overwhelming number of our young GIs who have served in the war zones believe, by rebuilding and renewing our own nation and using diplomacy, rather than war, to negotiate our national and international interests.


Written by Valerie Curl

January 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM

4 Responses

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  1. Well well…

    Vietnam was indeed a cluster f%#k. I was there too, as a Marine Corps combat photo journalist. Technically it was a bad choice of battle ground because it was at the end of a very long supply chain, but even so, it wasn’t handled right by our executive branch. Had Johnson and McNamara left running the war to the military brass, we would have been out of there a lot sooner, but in their supreme egotism they decided to micro-manage it themselves, by playing escalatio with the commies, when the issue was military rather than political.

    Of course we were right to fear communism, a lesson that we didn’t learn very well, as evidenced by the fact that America itself has now been taken over by a communist (Marxist / Socialist / Collectivist) administration. All such ism’s have only failed every time they were tried. Freedom is the only thing that works. The left has robbed us of so much of our freedom, that we’re becoming a third world nation. All of the evil the left blames on capitalism & free enterprise was caused instead by their interference with the free enterprise system. It started with the railroads in the 19th century, and it’s progressed to the point where the NLRB can tell a company like Boeing where they can and where they can’t build a factory.

    Our founding fathers are turning over in their graves.



    January 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    • Have you read “Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class” by professors Jacob Hacker & Paul Pierson? Rather than screeching about evil liberals, try reading this book to learn that both parties got us into this mess, partly as a result of corrupted politics.

      I’d say more but I really think you should read the book for yourself and come to conclusions for yourself.

      Oh, and if Obama is such a terrible socialist, why is the far left so angry with him, calling him a sell out and no better than Romney and a tool of Wall St and the wealthy? I think Andrew Sullivan’s editorial in Newsweek pretty well got Obama right…and just about what I expected when he was elected. The economy may not be where I’d like to be, but as Rogoff & Reinhart explain in their book, research of over 100 countries shows that after a financially caused recession it takes on average 10 years to recover. That length of time is necessary to reduce the level of debt overhang and thus begin to grow again at normal/average rates. By comparison, the US is doing pretty well but still has significant debt overhang to work off.

      Valerie Curl

      January 16, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      • Anyone who reads my work knows that I’m almost as upset with the GOP as I am with the left. Progressivism, the new name for socialism / Marxism / communism, has its hooks into both sides of the aisle.

        As to Obama, calling him a terrible socialist is redundant. Are there people to the left of him? Sure there are, but none of them have their heads screwed on right. You prove my point when you refer to our “financial” recession. Since all recessions are financial, I assume that you mean that this recession was caused by the financial community, and therefore by capitalism. If so, you make the same mistake that everyone on the left has been making for decades.

        Our financial community doesn’t operate in a free market environment. No part of our economy really does. It’s all fixed & regulated by the damn elites who think they know everything when in reality they don’t even have a clue. It’s a big subject, and I’ve been battling leftists on it for decades. Frankly I’m getting tired of repeating myself. I received a copy of a wonderful letter from a fellow in Wisconsin, that I’m going to post here. I may have to use 2 posts if it’s too long. It explains the free market perspective in different terms than I usually use. I hope you find it interesting.



        January 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM

  2. A Letter From Wisconsin
    We used to make things in Wisconsin . We made machine tools in Milwaukee, cars in Kenosha and ships in Sheboygan . We mined iron in the north and lead in the south. We made cheese, we made brats, we made beer, and we even made napkins to clean up what we spilled. And we made money.
    The original war on poverty was a private, mercenary affair. Men like Harnishfeger, Allis, Chalmers, Kohler, Kearney, Trecker, Modine, Case, Mead, Falk, Allen, Bradley, Cutler, Hammer, Bucyrus, Harley, Davidson, Pabst, and Miller lifted millions up from subsistence living to middle class comfort. They did it – not ‘Fighting Bob’ La Follette or any of the politicians who came along later to take the credit and rake a piece of the action through the steepest progressive scheme in the nation.
    Those old businessmen with the beards cured poverty by putting people to work. Generations of Wisconsinites learned trades and mastered them in the factories, breweries, mills, foundries, and shipyards that those capitalists built with their hands. Thousands of small businesses supplied these industrial giants, and tens of thousands of proprietors and professionals provided all of the services that all those other families needed to live well. The wealth got spread around.
    The profits generated by our great industrialists funded charities, the arts, education, libraries, museums, parks, and community development associations. Taxes on their profits, property, and payrolls built our schools, roads, bridges, and the safety net that Wisconsin’s progressives are still taking credit for, as if the money came from their council meetings. The offering plates in churches of every denomination were filled with money left over from company paychecks that were made possible because a few bold young men risked it all and got rich. Don’t thank God for them; thank them that you learned about God.
    Their wealth pales in comparison to the wealth they created for millions and millions of other Wisconsin families. Those with an appreciation for the immeasurable contributions of Wisconsin’s industrial icons of 1910 will find the list of Wisconsin’s top ten employers of 2010 appalling: Walmart, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Milwaukee Public Schools, U.S. Postal Service, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Menards, Marshfield Clinic, Aurora Health Care, the City of Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.
    This is what a century of progressivism will get you. Wisconsin is the birthplace of the progressive movement, the home of the Socialist Party, the first state to allow public sector unions, the cradle of environmental activism, a liberal fortress walled off against common sense for decades. Their motto, Forward Wisconsin, should be changed to Downward Wisconsin if truth in advertising applies to slogans.
    There is no shortage of activists, advocates, and agitators in this State. If government were the answer to our problems, we would have no problems. The very same people, or people just like them, who picketed, struck, sued, taxed, and regulated our great companies out of this state are now complaining about the unemployment and poverty that they have brought upon themselves. They got rid of those old rich white guys and replaced them with nothing.
    Wisconsin ranks 47th in America in the rate of new business formation. We are one of the worst states for native college graduate exodus; our brightest and most ambitious graduates leave to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Why shouldn’t they? Our tax rates are among the worst in the nation and our business climate, perpetually in the bottom of the rankings, has only recently moved up thanks to a Governor who now faces a recall for his trouble.
    In 1970, the new environmental movement joined unions and socialists in a coordinated effort to demonize industry. A generation or so ago, the ranting against ‘polluting profiteers’ was like white noise, always there. They won, and here is the price of their victory: in 1970, manufacturers paid 18.2% of Wisconsin’s property taxes, the major source of school funding and in 2010 those who remained paid 3.7%.
    So who is it that caused the funding crisis in our schools and the skyrocketing tax rates on our homes? It is the same ignoramuses who are sitting on bridges, pooping on things, and passing around recall petitions. The unemployed 26-year old in the hemp hat looking for sympathy might look instead for some inspiration from Jerome I. Case, who started his agricultural equipment business at the age of 21, miraculously without an iPhone 4s. Mr. Case got rich by asking people what they want and making it for them. He did not get rich by telling people what he wanted and waiting for them to do something about it.
    In the last decade alone we have lost 150,000 manufacturing jobs in this state, over 25%. And it’s not just jobs that have been lost; the companies that provided them are gone. Those jobs are not coming back, no matter how long we extend unemployment benefits pretending that they are. The 450,000 people who still work in manufacturing in Wisconsin are damn good it at, but we are now outnumbered by people who work for government. A significant number of the latter are tasked with taxing, regulating, and generally harassing the former. While it is true that many manufacturers chased low-wage opportunities on their own, many more were driven out of the state by the increasing cost of doing business here.
    It is a myth that unions improve wages. If you consider only the 1,000 jobs in a closed shop, you might think an average union wage is, say, $30/hr. But if you add in the zero wages of the 10,000 jobs lost in companies chased out by union harassment, the average of all 11,000 union workers is reduced to $2.72/hr. Do you know the average wage of union iron miners in this state? Zero. And the left is fighting hard to keep it that way in Northern Wisconsin – looking out for the working man, they call it.
    It is also a myth that free trade causes job losses. Over the past three years, U.S. manufacturers sold $70 billion more goods to our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners than we bought from them. Conversely, we suffered a $1.3 trillion trade deficit with countries where no FTA’s exist. I doubt that kids are going to learn that in our government-union monopoly schools’ it doesn’t fit the narrative.
    No one wants to see another person suffer in poverty, and liberty is the best economic policy there is. The great industrialists of Wisconsin took less than a generation to lift millions up to a life of dignity, pride, prosperity and good will. When enterprise was free and government was limited, we all prospered.
    Those great men of industry were not anointed at birth to be rich; they rose from nothing to great wealth through their own hard work and the value they added to their employees and their customers through choice, competition, and voluntary exchange. That is the only sure path to real prosperity. The debt economy is a temporary illusion.
    Look again at the list of our famous industrialists and the list of our current employers. Who would you wish your child or grandchild to grow up to be? Who do you think will do more good on this earth, J. I. Case and his tractors, or the Coordinator of Supplier Diversity at Milwaukee Public Schools? If you chose the MPS, then apply now, that job is open, and it pays up to $72,000 plus benefits and early retirement.
    Go in peace and save the world. Me, I’m going with the tractor guy.


    January 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM

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