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Ellsberg says: "The colonels I was speaking to gave the impression that even American ground troops would be very unpromising. They would make more of a difference than advisors but unless they were in very large numbers they would not be able to beat the Viet Cong, and probably not even then."

US soldiers in Vietnam. (photo: Guardian Liberty Voice)
US soldiers in Vietnam. (photo: Guardian Liberty Voice)


Daniel Ellsberg: Top Military Brass Knew in Advance Vietnam War Would Fail

By MintPress News

12 January 16

 

Daniel Ellsberg traveled to Vietnam for the first time in 1961 as part of a task force commissioned by President Kennedy to seek alternatives to nuclear war.

intPress News is proud to host “Lied to Death,” a 13-part audio conversation between famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and social justice activist Arn Menconi.

Menconi wrote that these interviews are a “mixture of historical, political science and Dan’s sixty-year scholarly analysis as a former nuclear planner for Rand Corporation.”

For more information on the interview and Daniel Ellsberg, see the introduction to this series.

Chapter 3: U.S. colonels knew the war on Vietnam would fail before it began

In the third chapter of the interview, Menconi asks Ellsberg to explain more about the origins of the war in Vietnam and how it led to Ellsberg’s eventual decision to leak the “Pentagon Papers.”

The whistleblower explained that the war in Vietnam began as a covert war, with Kennedy in the 1950s publicly claiming only to be sending “advisors” to the region who would not participate directly in combat, although it’s clear they did participate directly in several parts of the conflict.

Today America seems to be using the same strategy on a global scale. From Iraq and Syria, where our military advisors try to train “moderate” rebels and local forces to fight ISIS, to Africa where ‘AFRICOM’ advisors are embedded in dozens’ of countries’ armed forces, the U.S. is involved in over 100 regional conflicts.

Ellsberg became involved in studying the brewing conflict in Vietnam in 1958 when he was loaned from the RAND corporation to the military’s pacific command, where he was asked to familiarize himself with all major U.S. war plans. A few years later, in 1961, Ellsberg traveled to Vietnam personally as part of a “limited war task force.” With the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Defense Department pushing for nuclear war, President John F. Kennedy created the task force to seek alternatives.

However, even as the military advised Kennedy to commit thousands of ground troops to fight on behalf of South Vietnam, privately the military brass on the task force doubted the effectiveness of the plan:

“The colonels I was speaking to gave the impression that even American ground troops would be very unpromising. They would make more of a difference than advisors but unless they were in very large numbers they would not be able to beat the Viet Cong, and probably not even then. In other words, our prospects were not better than the French prospects had been. That was the conclusion that Kennedy personally came to ten years earlier, that we should not replace the French.”

Nonetheless, Kennedy continued to increase the number of troops on the ground in Vietnam throughout the remainder of his presidency, setting the stage for Johnson to further escalate the conflict into a full ground war when he assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief after the Kennedy assassination.

Ellsberg also revealed that before becoming a whistleblower by leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971, he spoke out against the Vietnam War internally within the Pentagon. He also came to the attention of Robert Kennedy when the U.S. senator ran for president in the 1968 election and offered the whistleblower an advisory role on his campaign.

Although Ellsberg turned down the position so that he could freely advise all candidates, Ellsberg said that, when they met in 1967, “He was the first person I’d seen in Washington who seemed passionate about getting out of Vietnam, an urgency of doing it.”

A year later, “Bobby” Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968 after winning the California primary.

Listen to Chapter 3 | U.S. colonels knew the war on Vietnam would fail before it began:

About Daniel Ellsberg

As sites like WikiLeaks and figures such as Edward Snowden continue to reveal uncomfortable truths about America’s endless wars for power and oil, one important figure stands apart as an inspiration to the whistleblowers of today: Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the “Pentagon Papers,” over 7,000 pages of top secret documents, in 1971.

A military veteran, Ellsberg began his career as a strategic analyst for the RAND Corporation, a massive U.S.-backed nonprofit, and worked directly for the government helping to craft policies around the potential use of nuclear weapons. In in the 1960s, he faced a crisis of conscience while working for the Department of Defense as an assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs John T. McNaughton, where his primary duty was to find a pretext to escalate the war in Vietnam.

Inspired by the example of anti-war activists and great thinkers like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., he realized he was willing to risk arrest in order to prevent more war. Lacking the technology of today’s whistleblowers, who can carry gigabytes of data in their pockets, he painstakingly photocopied some 7,000 pages of top secret documents which became the “Pentagon Papers,” first excerpted by The New York Times in June 1971.

Ellsberg’s leaks exposed the corruption behind the war in Vietnam and had widespread ramifications for American foreign policy. Henry Kissinger, secretary of state at the time, famously referred to Ellsberg as “the most dangerous man in America.”

Ellsberg remains a sought-after expert on military and world affairs, and an outspoken supporter of whistleblowers from Edward Snowden to Chelsea Manning. In 2011, he told the Chelsea Manning Support Network that Manning was a “hero,” and added:

“I wish I could say that our government has improved its treatment of whistleblowers in the 40 years since the Pentagon Papers. Instead we’re seeing an unprecedented campaign to crack down on public servants who reveal information that Congress and American citizens have a need to know.”

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Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+30 # Radscal 2016-01-12 13:17
As Ellsberg well knows, the US intervention in Vietnam began even as the Japanese surrendered in August, 1945.

Initially, Colonel Fletcher Prouty shipped weapons TO Ho Chi Minh, as FDR had promised that "IndoChina" could claim independence after the war.

But Truman, possibly unknowingly, rescinded that agreement and told de Gaulle he was welcome to attempt to reinstall their French Colonial power there, resulting in the two decade-long Vietnamese War for Independence.

Eisenhower first halted the reunification vote that had been a prerequisite of the Peace Treaty ending the French side of that war, knowing that the Vietnamese people would have voted overwhelmingly for a united Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. Then he began sent troops there. A good friend of mine was a paratrooper who fought in both Vietnam and Cambodia in 1959.

Though JFK did increase troop sizes, his famous October, 1963 Executive Order, NSAM 263 ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 troops within two months, and all US personnel by the end of 1965.

And yes, anti-JFK writers have tried to "read between the lines" to deny that JFK was ending US involvement in that war, but as more evidence has been revealed, it is clear that was his and RFK's plan.

http://history-matters.com/vietnam1963.htm

But there was never any doubt that the US could not "win" that war. The intention seems to have been to destroy Vietnam to stop their neighbors from establishing true self-rule.
 
 
+3 # Jim Young 2016-01-12 16:10
I believe the Australian view (more in line with the leaders I thought were honest whether or not right) was more to slow the communist expansion down so the neighboring countries would have time to become more resistant.

The impression I got from the USAID workers I thought honestly concerned for the Vietnamese people seemed more like letting a mini Marshall Plan strengthen Vietnam and the neighboring countries in what they thought would be letting them decide for themselves. I'm not in a position to comment on the worst of what some of our people did, but I did see what many of the best of them did. I would not tolerate abuses in my presence and didn't see much of what couldn't be stopped with relative ease.

I did report the worst of what I suspected to the CID (told to me by one of the soldiers forced to participate at My Lai, two days after). No formal report since I had so little direct information, but I was told they would investigate, as they also described, I think 16 others already in the Long Binh Jail for murdering or abusing Vietnamese. General Peers, whom I have great respect for, did an honest investigation, but like General Taguba so much later, held his tongue when the politicians chose to cover up and later attack the whistle blowers instead.

I'm most worried about the under reported and acted upon affects it has had on our troops who had to witness or even participate in that which was so very badly beyond their beliefs and consciences.
 
 
+9 # Douglas Jack 2016-01-12 17:08
When ever there is conflict both at home & worldwide, we've 2 main choices to: 1) believe the finance-media-e ducation-milita ry-industrial-c omplex, demonize the other, armour ourselves against our perceived enemies, launch pre-emptive war & create hell, 2) engage the other in formal equal-time recorded & published dialogues.

Mohandas Gandhi developed 'Satyagraha' (Hindi 'truth-search') based upon simultaneous inquiry with both parties to dispute & in research asking "What are your best intentions & how can we help you fulfill these?". Gandhi, "I can imagine a fully armed man to be at heart a coward. Possession of arms implies an element of fear, if not cowardice. But true non-violence is an impossibility without the possession of unadulterated fearlessness." We need transparency in all levels of human interaction including the military, government, education, business etc. listening to both sides. The universal soldier is to blame for all the fighting & the killing in this world. He is a coward & a war-criminal as are the rest of us who allow our states & nations to abuse people worldwide. USA, Canada, NATO, Israel & Saudi-Arabia owe trillions of dollars in war reparations. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/both-sides-now-equal-time-recorded-dialogues

Sending boys to murder for foreign government destabilization , resources & our war industry is shameful. We can require all combatants to engage in published debate before right-to-protec t.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2016-01-12 20:00
"... to slow the communist expansion down so the neighboring countries would have time to become more resistant."

Yeah, the "domino theory" of “communist expansion” was exactly the official story we were told, and in a way, I think quite true.

That is, a successful Vietnamese claim of independence from Western colonial/neocol onial control and the election of a socialist Vietnam would have served as a “good example” to its neighbors, and to oppressed “Third World” nations worldwide.

Others would have likely wanted to follow suit.

So, even though the US knew all along that it could never “win” a war to rein Vietnam back in, it chose to “bomb them into the stone age,” therefore turning them into a horrifying example to others. Sure, maybe they could cut the puppet masters’ strings, but was the carnage worth it?

USAID has always been a CIA front organization. I’m sure they have some good people who try to and actually do accomplish some good for some people in the many countries in which they operate.
 
 
+9 # Radscal 2016-01-12 20:03
Colin Powell was a young up-and-coming Major in Vietnam when the My Lai report landed on his desk. He successfully buried it for quite some time until an enlisted man leaked the story to the media. But that was just one of endless atrocities which served as the scapegoat to pretend that “free fire zones” were just fine, and My Lai was “just a case of a few bad apples.”

I know many people who served, and overall did so honorably, but even Colin Powell relates in his autobiography of personally torching civilians’ “hooches” with his Zippo, leaving them homeless and forced into the essentially Concentration Camps of “Strategic Hamlets.”

You're quite correct about the negative impacts of fighting that war on Western soldiers. The Vietnamese, who suffered far worse physically and emotionally, report essentially no PTSD symptoms in their veterans. They suggest this is because their vets know they were right in defending their homeland, while the Westerners know at some level they were wrong, and so suffer emotionally.

That's consistent with many of the vets I know and have known.
 
 
+3 # ktony 2016-01-13 10:12
Quoting Radscal:
Colin Powell was a young up-and-coming Major in Vietnam when the My Lai report landed on his desk. He successfully buried it for quite some time until an enlisted man leaked the story to the media. But that was just one of endless atrocities which served as the scapegoat to pretend that “free fire zones” were just fine, and My Lai was “just a case of a few bad apples.” .....

I have never forgotten Colin Powell's heinous past. It sickens me that he has ascended to "Elder Statesman" status. I have often thought that the African American general in "Mars Attacks" is a caricature of Powell.
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2016-01-15 23:29
Colin Powell arrived in country after the incident and didn't do anywhere near the investigation that the Peers Commission did.

Peers to my knowledge,was an old OSS and CIA hand that did an honest and thorough investigation That Nick Turse (author of "Kill Anything That Moves") can tell us much more about from the contacts he made before and after writing the book. (He basically followed orders to keep the truth he discovered secret, very much to his regret then and even more after.)

Seymour Hersh did extensive follow up on the soldiers involved, most movingly on the one that cursed Calley during the massacre they didn't want to participate in. I'd love to see if he met the same one I did two days later at An Khe, and find out how his future turned out. I'd promised him I would do what I could (described previously, but not much effective for him). Sort of as my 1st Sgt father would do, I've tried to help at least three others for everyone I couldn't help enough at the time. Once you've succeeded with one, you never stop counting at three though.

I quit trying to judge almost of them, even the worst, as long as they let me do what I can for those most troubled like the guy I met.

The documentary on what retired Command Sgt Major Randy Liberty (Fallujah II) does with his friends up in Maine, "Matter of Duty" is the inspiration for how I try to help. It's at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_fiEAQ4Mqg
 
 
+2 # Jim Young 2016-01-15 23:51
Peers, mentioned in the previous post was to my knowledge an old OSS and CIA hand that knew what worked for and against us with local populations. The first choice was to earn their support and trust, much like former assistant secretary of defense Bing West (who Daniel Ellsberg trusts and considers a friend) describes in "The Village" which I read when the first edition came out during the war.

It seemed very much in line with the best of what I saw in Vietnam (about 60,000 miles through Vietnam and Thailand), while still showing the variability in different provinces where there were almost no US troops in anything like the 20% he described as really concerned for the Vietnamese. Most of what I saw was our guys taking care of each other as first priority. My Vietnamese friends said they appreciated Americans but thought we were stupid,compared to NVA and many VC they thought more dangerous and likely to pick them out for murder or forced support.

Though the treatment varied in different areas, very much of the best and worst occurred in a tiny area just south of Chu Lai where the best, "The Village" was less than 10 miles from My Lai (the worst), and where Dickie Chappell (Joe Galloway's mentor at the time of Ia Drang) was killed. There are a couple million stories that could be told but try Keith William Nolan's for starters, Joe Galloway was his friend
 
 
-2 # lorenbliss 2016-01-15 01:17
The presumably nameless MintPress News "writer" who assembled this piece makes a grave error in the fifth graf of this story -- an error that properly casts doubt on all his/her efforts to portray President Kennedy as merely another typical U.S. imperial warmonger:

"...with Kennedy in the 1950s publicly claiming only to be sending 'advisors' to the region..."

Even an ignoramus -- and certainly anyone worthy of the title "writer" -- should know Kennedy did not become president until January 1961.

The public claimant to the 'advisors' was President Eisenhower, a Republican, which makes me wonder if the MintPress "writer" is not in fact a clandestine Republican operative.
 
 
+2 # JSRaleigh 2016-01-15 08:40
Quoting lorenbliss:
The presumably nameless MintPress News "writer" who assembled this piece makes a grave error in the fifth graf of this story -- an error that properly casts doubt on all his/her efforts to portray President Kennedy as merely another typical U.S. imperial warmonger:

"...with Kennedy in the 1950s publicly claiming only to be sending 'advisors' to the region..."

Even an ignoramus -- and certainly anyone worthy of the title "writer" -- should know Kennedy did not become president until January 1961.

The public claimant to the 'advisors' was President Eisenhower, a Republican, which makes me wonder if the MintPress "writer" is not in fact a clandestine Republican operative.


Probably just a typo - it should have read either "Kennedy in the 1960s" or "Eisenhower in the 1950s", depending on which decade is correct.

The other statement, that Kennedy determined in the 1950s that the U.S. should not replace the French in Vietnam, is based on his time as Senator from Massachusetts (1953 - 1960).

By the time Kennedy reached the White House, the "advisors" were already in Vietnam.
 
 
+32 # Anarchist 23 2016-01-12 14:17
The object is not to 'win'...the object is to keep the war gong so the big industrialists can keep making money providing armaments...lik e Rockefeller's Standard Oil did in partnership with IG Farben during WWII...they made Panzer tanks for the Nazis...as did Ford, who build Ford engines for Nazi trucks...and it is the same today in all our 'wars' We have also ire-instituted slavery in any number of ways..our incarceration system...a huge pool of underpaid 'workers'...and of course the farm workers laboring for BIG AG. We live in a Fascist State. And it is interesting to note that Sirhan Sirhan was standing 6 to 10 feet in front of RFK, yet RFK was shot in the back of the right ear from 1 to 3 inches away. Mafia head Sam Giancana openly boasted to his brother (who recorded it in his book 'Double Cross') that he killed RFK in plain sight...sure you live in a free and brave country...keep telling yourself that...it's what they want you to believe...pay no attention at all to disconcerting facts!
 
 
# Guest 2016-01-12 22:33
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+30 # solartopia.org 2016-01-12 14:27
it's hard to avoid thinking that the kennedy's were murdered for their opposition to the war, and much else on the humanist side. rfk's 1963 american university speech is one of the great documents that should have opened the door to a new era of peace and justice. instead it got him killed. same with martin luther king's linking the vietnam disaster to the denial of social justice.
 
 
+5 # Jim Young 2016-01-12 16:28
Quoting solartopia.org:
...rfk's 1963 american university speech...


I think you mean JFK's speech, part of which reads:

"What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children—not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time."...

Though I was still a loyal Republican at the time, I considered JFK a great inspiration for people to do the very best they could, for what made the most sense to them as they saw the world around them. To me, he inspired critical thinkers, and people I thought would be even more motivated than any demagogue could manage.

It seems that is not nearly as true as I wish it was, but I am still inspired by the ones that are most honest in acting in accordance with their professed beliefs, especially when those more critically thought out individual belief's are so universal across the widest variety of societies on the plant. The USAID workers and Peace Corps people (inspired by Kennedy) I encountered have been the best examples.
 
 
+31 # elizabethblock 2016-01-12 14:37
Remember Aesop's fable of the hare and the hound?
The dog, after chasing a hare and failing to catch her, was twitted by the other animals. He said, "Remember that I was merely running for my dinner. She was running for her life."
When we try to conquer people who are fighting for their national life, what do we expect?
 
 
+24 # Jayceecool 2016-01-12 14:45
Our government is not focused on winning wars, only fighting them, so as to feed our war machine, making huge profits for our military-indust rial-corporate complex and completely oblivious to the human cost...
 
 
+20 # PABLO DIABLO 2016-01-12 14:56
Ellsberg is a HERO.
Some people make money off of war, lots of money. (See Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush, George w. Bush for example) and can continue to buy politicians who will push for war ( See Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama for instance). The media is pushing Hillary to go against THE DONALD and ignoring Bernie Sanders in order to make Neocon Hillary “our” next President
 
 
+5 # Jim Young 2016-01-12 15:46
Anyone preparing to argue the intentions of the US leaders must read the Pentagon papers. No matter how right or wrong you think they are, they at least tell you what they were thinking.

The mystery to me was how Harry Truman was persuaded to reverse FDR's refusal to allow extension of colonial powers beyond the end of WWII.

David Talbot's "The Devil's Chessboard" has gone the farthest towards explaining what I have been unable to understand, or even conceive much of. I wonder how much of it aligns with what Ellsberg revealed or suspects to be true.

It is to our great detriment that the internal channels (whether IGs, congressional or the justice department) turned from investigating and sorting out suspicions from verifiable facts and acting appropriately on them, to helping cover up the truth (even from those who could correct many of the wrongs outside of public revelations) that really help protect us. They have instead covered up more and actually prosecuted even the whistle blowers who still kept everything within secure channels.
 
 
+1 # Douglas Jack 2016-01-12 18:42
JIm, Talking about the 'Devil's Chessboard', here's the devil Zbigniew Brzezinski, B..
USA, Canada & NATO 'heads' such as Obama, Harper & Cameron are puppet-actors whose financial & status strings are controlled by a trillionaire owned Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Legislative -Complex. In geopolitical self-righteousn ess, they care not about life.

1998 interview with President Jimmy Carter's National Security advisor B., about US arming Mujahadeen before Soviet assistance to Afghani government. 1998 Le Nouveau Observateur. http://dgibbs.faculty.arizona.edu/brzezinski_interview

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the national security advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?
B.: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-01-12 20:17
I think Truman was in WAY over his head. FDR did not want him as VP, and kept him "out of the loop" after the election. Once he became President, he was manipulated by "the smartest guys in the room" to align with Great Britain and ignite the Cold War.

Truman bequeathed upon the world the National Security Act that led to the creation of the NSA and CIA. One month after JFK's murder, Truman wrote an editorial in which he basically confessed to having created a monster, and pleaded with us to undo what he had done.
 
 
+2 # lorenbliss 2016-01-15 01:35
Truman -- for whom FDR had naught but contempt -- was a typical hack from Missouri's infamously corrupt Pendergast political machine, which means he was undoubtedly blackmailable by the capitalist Ruling Class and its military vassals, hence for example the so-called Cold War.
 
 
+2 # Jim Young 2016-01-16 00:39
Truman was apparently a friend of my wife's grandfather (reputedly an old OSS hand), enough so to have Truman call him from time to time up through 1971 when he said that was who he was talking to when he told us to hold the noise down. I thought he was pulling our leg, but now suspect he wasn't.

He was married into a family that still holds the record for having the only three brothers to serve at the same time in congress, and though a lifelong Republican, very good friends with Harold L. Ickes. the impression I got was that Truman did remarkably well for being in over his head, though with the help of several former Republicans or lifelong Republicans, including from Herbert Hoover, who likewise went around all his advisers and party members, secretly at first, to start working on post war relief plans. I suspect the Marshall Plan had some of its seeds in the Hoover/Truman partnership, though Marshall was asked to put his name on the whole sum of plans to get it through the tough political waters of the time. Though he may not have been the best, I have to believe he was, on balance, far from our worst. I'm more afraid of what others would have done in his place.

That article (new to me) makes me wonder all the more about his thoughts on the 3rd director, the one appointed by Eisenhower. Truman doesn't look any worse, but Eisenhower does. Seems I trusted some too much.
 
 
-3 # bardphile 2016-01-12 15:48
"With the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Defense Department pushing for nuclear war...

That's a flat-out lie.

"However, even as the military advised Kennedy to commit thousands of ground troops to fight on behalf of South Vietnam, privately the military brass on the task force doubted the effectiveness of the plan ..."

That's probably the truth.
 
 
+11 # MidwestDick 2016-01-12 15:57
Curtis LeMay was the Chief of the Air Force and he was pushing for nuclear attack on Viet Nam.
 
 
+5 # bardphile 2016-01-12 16:55
True. That was bombs away LeMay. But at no time was the US, or the Joint Chiefs collectively, remotely close to using nuclear weapons, even in a war we publicly stated we couldn't afford to lose. That's the conclusion of exhaustive reports that have studied the issue.

On an unrelated note: My computer feed reports that Bernie has overtaken Hill in the Q poll for Iowa. How about that!
 
 
+4 # lfeuille 2016-01-12 18:13
"True. That was bombs away Lemay"

Wasn't he the inspiration for Dr. Strangelove?

"On an unrelated note: My computer feed reports that Bernie has overtaken Hill in the Q poll for Iowa. How about that!"

Excellent! Go Bernie!
 
 
+3 # bardphile 2016-01-12 19:41
Not sure about Strangelove. Lemay was a brilliant commander of combat aircraft, the kind you want on your side when the gloves come off. But, a major war criminal who led the firebombing of Japan late in WWII. As many as half a million Japanese civilians were incinerated under his orders, and as far as I know, he never expressed regret at what he had done. Oh, and he was George Wallace's VP running mate in '68.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-01-12 20:19
Curtis LeMay was also in the audience for JFK's official autopsy.
 
 
# Guest 2016-01-13 19:17
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-8 # skylinefirepest 2016-01-12 23:04
Correct Bardphile, and we did actually win the war with the Cong but lost the war with the media and the public.
 
 
-2 # jbelson02@yahoo.com 2016-01-12 16:04
When will we ever learn, Vietnam, Iraq were disasters. We hear GOP except for Rand Paul all wanting to go into Syria. At least Obama has limited our involvement in Syria to aerial. Worked in Kosovo, could work against ISIS.
 
 
+7 # Radscal 2016-01-12 20:27
First, I see no reason to believe the planners of all of those wars failed. I think they achieved their goals in each case.

The aerial bombing of Yugoslavia worked in the way it was intended. It destroyed the infrastructure of a highly industrialized and remarkably prosperous country with a highly educated population and low poverty rates.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West was happy to gobble up the impoverished nearly slave labor of Eastern Europe and their resources. But the West did not want another Italy like Yugoslavia had been.

The destruction of Yugoslavia (and its resultant "Balkanization" ) was the model for all later wars the US has engaged in. Including the shipping in of al Qaeda to serve as "boots on the ground."

Divide and conquer. It has always worked, and it still does.
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2016-01-12 23:25
ps. Does anyone else remember the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia? What a beautiful country.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was involved in arranging one of the first sailing charters to the Adriatic Coast of Yugoslavia. This is a land that was a vacation spot for the elite of the Roman Empire! Talk about historical.

But soon, outside agitators were dividing the many ethnic groups that had lived together before and after WW II, and violence began to break out.

A genuine communist friend of mine predicted what I wrote above would happen for the reason I gave. I thought he was exaggerating or paranoid or something. He was a guy who thought the Nicaraguan Sandinistas were wrong for abolishing the death penalty. He thought they should put all of Somosa's fascists up against the wall.

He was correct about Yugoslavia, and may have been right about Nicaragua, too, after seeing what happened when Reagan got behind his Contras.
 
 
+1 # cmp 2016-01-13 03:43
"sshhhh... It was a well kept secret... (smile)"

I just love Central - Eastern Europe and over into the Uzbekistan, etc.. They were all some what "buffed" from the 30 year cycle of the post modern rent a box. .. And, the pictures that I have seen of the lower Danube delta, Carpathian Mts, etc.. .. Whew - Historical Harmony & Pristine..
 
 
+1 # Jim Young 2016-01-15 22:43
Quoting Radscal:
ps. ...But soon, outside agitators were dividing the many ethnic groups that had lived together before and after WW II, and violence began to break out.

A genuine communist friend of mine predicted what I wrote above would happen for the reason I gave. I thought he was exaggerating or paranoid or something...


A classmate of my daughter that car-pooled with us told us much of the same, long before the events. We had no clue on where to get better information on such tiny bits of information, from a teenage girl. Seems events were much as she predicted, though.
 
 
+10 # diamondmarge7 2016-01-12 16:29
Besides his authenticity, his saying/doing the same for his entire political life, I love BERNIE for his saying 'that war is a LAST resort,'unlike the Shillary, a hawk, a liar, embedded w/the banks, the MIC. I also greatly admire his judgment on Iraq. It was obvious to me from the gitgo that Bush&Co were lying through their teeth. BERNIE acted on this w/his vote against the war. Why coulodn't Congress-includ ing Shillary-if I, down here in provincial SC,could see the truth so clearly? www.citizensagainstplutocracy.org. Take the pledge to vote BERNIE/vote GREEN.
 
 
+5 # revhen 2016-01-12 17:20
Very interesting. German generals knew invasion of Russia would be fatal to Germany but were afraid to resist Hitler. In fact many of the Prussian military high command were involved in plots against Hitler and as a consequence were arrested, tortured and executed. Rommel for one was forced to commit suicide because of his resistance. "The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history." Unamuno?
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-01-12 20:29
"History repeats; first as tragedy and then as farce."

~ Karl Marx
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2016-01-15 22:59
WWI ace (2nd highest scoring), Ernst Udet promoted to chief of armaments procurement killed himself 20 days before Pearl Harbor.

The version I believe (I think from people that knew Hanna Reitsch) was that he had told his boss, Goering that there was no way they could produce the numbers of aircraft Goering had promised Hitler. Histories I've seen blame Udet for appointing incompetent friends, but I believe that was Goering's doings. Anyway Udet tried to resign when Goering had lied to Hitler about the production capability but Goering wouldn't let him, telling Udet that he would tell Hitler that it was Udet that had lied to Goering. As the Russian front got worse, Udet supposedly saw that he had no hope of overcoming Goering's trap, so he shot himself.

Too bad he didn't shoot Goering first.
 
 
+1 # revhen 2016-01-12 17:24
Hegel.
 
 
+1 # futhark 2016-01-12 19:51
West Point graduates are not idiots, even if some of the policies they are enforcing are ethically challenged and genuinely lame-brained. They have studied military history, tactics and strategy and must know that an imperial power's ability to defeat an indigenous insurgency is nearly impossible. I am not surprised that professional military people looked upon the conflict in Vietnam as a lost cause virtually from the beginning. That war was over access to resources and the hubris of not wanting to be the first American president to lose a war.

In Nazi Minister of Armaments Albert Speer's memoirs he records that he knew that Germany would lose World War II the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, followed by Hitler's declaration of war against the United States. That was the same day that the German invasion of the Soviet Union was turned back within sight of the domes and churches in the Kremlin in Moscow. The next 3 and a half years of fighting were over saving face and prolonging the life of the Nazi dictator, neither seemingly very good reasons for the millions of deaths and catastrophic destruction of property that were the direct consequences.
 
 
+6 # Shades of gray matter 2016-01-12 20:50
NO EXCUSES for what Dem HST and GOPer Ike did. Truman was a severe anti-Asian racist from Missery, & Ike knowingly pushed the Dulles brothers' destruction of democracies not subjugated to global capitalism. The domino theory was always about not allowing a successful alternative to U.S. based capitalists' control of most economies. Like Afghanistan and Latin America, our Indochinese efforts had an awful lot to do with control of the world's drug supplies.
 
 
-4 # WaaDoo 2016-01-12 20:54
D--N, DANIEL !
What else you got. My generation was WWII, and we knew this about Nam. What do you have to say about PUTZUS and HIS failed foreign policies !?
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-01-14 10:53
Ellsberg has been just as hard on the Obama Administration as he was on LBJ's.
 
 
+3 # Shades of gray matter 2016-01-12 21:00
U.S. military academy grads may not be IQ morons, but their SEVERE brainwashing renders them as ineffective at independent thinking as a brain tumor would. And the cult of successful self promotion produces the likes of high IQ David Betrayus: kill Americans to give W a chance to leave office before it ALL hits the fan, & GOP may make you Prez someday, if you can keep your dick out of Arkansan dilemmas. Arrogance actually is STUPID. As is the cult of flashy uniforms. Thank God for ordinary service personnel, not these ambitious fake patriots.
 
 
+3 # cmp 2016-01-13 02:26
It looks like, the the most important lesson the Capitalist learned in Vietnam was to try their best to never again, involve the American Public, the Congress and probably even the President, himself.
( .. yes, the President, but mainly, when some form of blocking and/or cover (CYA) is necessary)

But, it would appear that "Pentagon Capitalism" has been shifting into high gear since the War Powers Act of '73, and has been ever increasingly expanded through these Authorizations To Use Military Force.

ex: Do we really believe that a Commander In Chief can preside over battle fronts in 134 Countries within the single year of 2013 alone?
http://www.thenation.com/article/americas-secret-war-134-countries/

.. We've deviated a long way, from what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

.. And,,,
If I was Bernie, (or any President/Presi dential Candidate) I would be pretty damn Scared to talk Foreign Policy too..
 
 
+1 # wmarcelle@earthlink.net 2016-01-13 02:40
Some very knowledgeable and informative posts here, led by RADSCAL and DOUGLAS JACK. I try to always look at the BIG PICTURE, and from what I've seen and learned, it appears that a huge portion of the world's woes involve one group, -- mainly from the WEST -- but elsewhere too -- attempting to CONTROL and enslave other groups on the other side of the world (mainly in THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES) and keep them in a kind of COLONIAL BONDAGE so that, like PARASITES, they can eat them. Their MEDIA is filled with GLORIOUS RHETORIC about PEACE and LIBERTY, but it appears (hypocritically ), that everything comes down to one group of PATRIARCHAL APES hell-bent on enslaving its neighboring APES out of pure GREED.
 
 
0 # no2oil 2016-01-13 10:31
"The whistleblower explained that the war in Vietnam began as a covert war, with Kennedy in the 1950s publicly claiming only to be sending “advisors” to the region who would not participate directly in combat..."

Either the author or Ellsberg got this important fact WRONG, it was NOT Kennedy in the 1950's, he wasn't even the President at that time, it was President Ensihower,
 
 
0 # Radscal 2016-01-13 15:59
Right you are. JFK did go to Vietnam as Senator in the 1950s. Upon returning, he declared the French war against Vietnamese independence as both unwinable and morally wrong.

In fact, his view of colonialism around the world was that the time had come to end it, and allow all countries independence and self-governance . This ethic often came into conflict with the realpolitik situation he found as President, and sometimes supported. But as James Douglass' "JFK and the Unspeakable" showed better than any other book, JFK evolved his views and policies in those 1,000 days.
 
 
-1 # Shades of gray matter 2016-01-13 11:00
OK, JFK in early '60s, who ordered Pres. Diem shot in the head. Bad karma.
 
 
0 # Radscal 2016-01-13 16:00
The evidence is that JFK had signed off on the coup (though with serious misgivings), but was shocked to learn the Diem brothers had been murdered.
 
 
+3 # Douglas Jack 2016-01-14 08:49
Radscal,RE: "JFK in early '60s, who ordered Pres. Diem shot in the head". JFK understood his leadership role in a violent machine. Over these 100s of years of colonial genocide & rule, the pattern of violence hasn't changed in our illusion of "democracy".

Individuals like JFK are willing malleable actors on a stage which they did not build, but know they are expected to play carefully scripted roles upon. To a man, they give next to no hint of the orchestrated manipulation, they act out. Eisenhower gave a slightest suggestion in his warning about the Military-Indust rial-Complex, but all are extremes of pathological deceivers.

The Finance-Media oligarchs who hired: Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama etc. are precisely consistent in their ongoing genocide against 1st Nations here & foreign resource extraction, depletion, exploitation & perpetual war.

We err treating Presidents as individual personalities without reference to the oligarchs who control them. Political analysts spend inordinate time & resources on individual psychology of presidential personalities. Instead we're better off to reveal the puppet masters, behind the curtain on national & more importantly trillionaire oligarch worldwide scale. Finally its public collusion we must address in feeding these monsters. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/7-nuclear-war-detached-housing
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-01-14 11:02
All witnesses to JFK's treatment of the coup in Vietnam agree that he was hard-pressed to sign off on it, but when he did he didn't expect the Diems to be murdered and that it really freaked him out when he heard.

JFK was a willing member of the elite, but the record is quite clear that he was evolving while in office. He had opened back channels to Khrushchev following the Missile Crisis and was doing so with Castro (JFK's liaison was with Castro at the very moment they learned JFK had been murdered).

You err in assuming that these people are not people. A disproportionat e percentage seem to be psychopaths, but some have shown genuine human emotion and were capable of independent thought.

And sometimes, that gets them killed.

I highly recommend "JFK and the Unspeakable."
 
 
+2 # Douglas Jack 2016-01-14 12:20
Radscal, I'm continually inspired by your research & writing.
RE: "A disproportionat e percentage seem to be psychopaths, but some have shown genuine human emotion and were capable of independent thought". Many psychopaths have genuine human emotion & independent thought woven through the distortions of their lives. I'm not impressed with those, like Netanyahu who can kill humans with one hand & pet their dog with another or even JFK for supposedly being on the road to recovery.
RE: "You err in assuming that these people are not people". I expect a level of honesty which is outside of the standard obedience to the elite. I realize that to for a president to be honest about oligarch masters, he or she would have to flee surreptitiously to Russia or China like Edward Snowden. If Obama ever wanted to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, weaken the Finance-Media-E ducation-Milita ry-Industrial-L egislative-Comp lex & help make a liveable planet for all, he would flee to Russia & tell all at the 1st opportunity now at the end of his term.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2016-01-14 16:13
I'm a fan of your writing, and have learned much from reading it.

I believe that, by definition, psychopaths do not feel real human emotions... especially empathy. I'm not one who lionizes Kennedy (or any of the Kennedys). But I do recommend you read that book. It made sense of many of the contradictions I've long seen in JFK's record.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2016-01-14 18:17
Radscal, Thanks for 'JFK & the Unspeakable'. "JFK said he wanted to splinter the CIA into a 1000 pieces & scatter it to the wind. He was taking a position against his national security state which profoundly threatened his life".

Years ago I listened to an hour video given by Jim Douglass on this book. The video is inspiring & I'll look out for the book. I believe I met & worked with Jim Douglass in 1978-79 when I was part of trial support in Seattle for activists charged around the Trident Nuclear Submarine base. I came down with a bus-load of activists from Vancouver British-Columbia.

I created a trial-prop consisting of a large red-button vertical-spring -mounted on a base connected by a signal-delivery cord to a map of the world. The trial-prop was used during the trial with an invitation for the judge & others to press the button.
We need to deepen from many aspects of colonial worldview such as any glorification of genocidal president Lincoln. References made in Jim's talk about JFK to Noah etc. Indigenous peoples & 1st Nations go right to the roots of peace in the Great-good-way- of-kindness aka 'Great-Law-of-P eace' aka 'Haudenosaunee' (Iroquois 'People of the extended rafters/welcome '). We have to think mutual-aid. Noah's wooden boat building for example was a major cause of the flood. The Torah, Bible, Koran etc are indoctrination justifications for the beginnings of the world's colonization. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2016-01-14 18:51
Jim Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, COPA Dallas 2009 1 hour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwECsq459d4
 
 
0 # Radscal 2016-01-15 13:33
Cool prop!

Hope you find Douglass' book interesting and informative.
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2016-01-18 12:27
Quoting Radscal:
The evidence is that JFK had signed off on the coup (though with serious misgivings), but was shocked to learn the Diem brothers had been murdered.


My understanding from people who were there before me(when Diem was killed), was that Kennedy was surprised (and perhaps somewhat disappointed) that he was killed. They thought Diem was one of the worst little warlords, and bad for his own people and any attempts for us to help the average people (which a high percentage of our guys really wanted to do).

Vietnam had so many little power groups that it was hard to get even many of the best to cooperate as well as we would have wanted, though it did improve after Diem was gone.

I have to look on it as sort of a balance where we were far from the worst that they could have fallen under the influence of, and very many individuals created friendships over more honest efforts to help them. The best indicator to me is that the Vietnamese welcome almost all returning Americans more than any other nationality.

Bing West's "The Village" update includes a description of the small monument to the 19 Marines that lived and died with the villagers, as the one monument to foreign soldiers that the communists can't convince them to get rid of.

(Even the communists should have left the 900 or so haunting graves of the French Group Mobile 100 as a reminder to all who took their country lightly.)
 
 
-1 # Robbee 2016-01-13 12:52
GOP troll alert! - says - # diamondmarge7 2016-01-12 16:29 "... Take the (GOP) pledge to (write in) BERNIE/vote GREEN."

- marge is off her nut! she is now telling folks to pledge to VOTE bernie, not to write-in bernie, like her a-hole pledge says!

- marge, where did your zomblican buddies go?

citizen, at long last! thanks! outs RAP! - Republicans Against Progress - says - # Inspired Citizen 2015-12-10 18:10 "It's going to be #BerrnieOrElse the GOP. That's RAP's promise!"

- # jsluka 2015-08-30 17:22 "Don't care what you say, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton ... It would be better for a Rethuglican to get elected, and bring on the revolution!"

here's exactly what bernie says about hill, while marge blocks her ears! - Sunday Nov 08, 2015 "On “ABC This Week,” Bernie was asked if he thought his agreements with Clinton outweighed his disagreements.

"Well, that’s -- well, the answer is yes and no,"

Sanders responded. "Yes, we do agree on a number of issues, and by the way, on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day."

"But having said that, we have very significant differences and the key difference is I see a nation in which we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality."

privileged brat! marge! are you calling bernie a liar? okay, then! start listening to bernie! - go bernie!
 
 
-2 # Robbee 2016-01-13 12:58
marge is so full of herself! a zomblican troll - # diamondmarge7 2016-01-03 11:07 "... take the pledge (to write in bernie)"

- about marge's pledge that bernie detests, says - # Scott Galindez 2015-10-20 10:28 “Its not leverage; threats backfire, especially empty ones. Bernie will not run as an independent.”

rsn is our own little laboratory of sexism, classism and delusions of grandeur in a boiling cauldron - thick with pledgers - those who hate lesser progressive hill so bad that they invite us to ignore her solid progressivism on women, unions, labor, tpp, blacks, voting rights, path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, gun control - and, if hill wins the primaries, join them in writing-in bernie, voting 3rd party, or not at all - in other words to, in effect, NOT vote progressive! - instead vote into presidency a next deeper level of zomblican hell!

well, marge - if you collect enough progressives - turn them into your boiling cauldron of pointless gestures, privileged idiots and pointy heads - such as makes you invite decent progressives to make your vicious pledge - you just may get the deeper level of zomblican hell your pledge prophesies! as scott galindez says - “Bernie needs enough delegates at that convention to win, not signers on a petition making an undemocratic threat.”

do we hate ourselves, and each other, enough to throw away our progressive vote and elect the successor to bush 2 on steroids? who here really, truly hates the rest of us that bad?
 
 
-1 # bigkahuna671 2016-01-14 18:36
JFK wasn't in office in the '50s so how could he have publicly been claiming to only send advisors to Vietnam? Did the writer of this article actually mean Eisenhower? It's easier to give veracity to an article and an author when their facts aren't so messed up. Later, the author says Ellsberg went to Vietnam in '61 as part of a "limited war task force", further saying, "President John F. Kennedy created the task force to seek alternatives." Later in the article, the author says that JFK continued to increase the numbers of troops in Vietnam until his death. Uh, that's not true 'cause JFK had given orders in Oct. '63 to begin a withdrawal of troops in an effort to force Ngo Dinh Diem to put forth more of an effort in defending his own country. According to JFK, if their country is that valuable to them, they should be willing to do more to fight for it and not expect us to do their fighting for them.
 
 
0 # JSRaleigh 2016-01-15 08:18
Kennedy wasn't elected until 1960 and didn't take office until 1961, so it must have been Eisenhower who sent "advisers" to Vietnam in the 1950s.

Kennedy did continue the military assistance program that started under Eisenhower.
 
 
0 # bigkahuna671 2016-01-15 11:57
JSRaleigh, JFK did increase troop sizes, his famous October, 1963 Executive Order, NSAM 263 ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 troops within the next four months, and all US personnel by the end of 1965. He expected to withdraw several hundred in the last months of '63, but his plans didn't come to fruition. Some conspiracy theorists believe JFK was assassinated because of this EO because they believe the military-indust rial complex didn't want to see their money-making war end.
 
 
+1 # JayaVII 2016-01-15 22:46
Nonetheless, Kennedy continued to increase the number of troops on the ground in Vietnam throughout the remainder of his presidency, setting the stage for Johnson to further escalate the conflict into a full ground war when he assumed the role of Commander-in-Ch ief after the Kennedy assassination.

This offhand line indicates a very deep misunderstandin g of U.S. history. There was no continuity in policy -- it took a 180 turn after November 1963. Two quotes in John Newman's authoritative "JFK and Vietnam" say it all:

"A comment that Lyndon Johnson made in December [1963] ... demonstrates how the tragedy of Dallas affected the course of the Vietnam War. While Kennedy had told O'Donnell in the spring of 1963 that we could not pull out of Vietnam until he was reelected, 'So we had better make damned sure I am reelected,' at a White House reception on Christmas eve, a month after he succeeded to the presidency, Lyndon Johnson told the Joint Chiefs: 'Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war.'

This is a continuity of direction? To suggest such a thing is a slander on the dead. For political reasons, Kennedy spoke out of both sides of his mouth, fearing another "who lost China" debacle if the South Vietnamese puppet regime collapsed. But read the Newman book and you will see that JFK never had the slightest intention of sending combat troops to Vietnam ... quite unlike LBJ.
 
 
0 # humanmancalvin 2016-01-18 13:53
Every lowly grunt beating the bush knew this when we were not allowed to follow the retreating NVA into Laos or Cambodia never mind the military not being allowed to obliterate the heart of North Vietnam. It was a war of frustration for the fighting man. Following a firefight of varying sizes & besting the enemy, the NVA would hastily retreat in an orderly & direct fashion knowing if they crossed a border they were out of harms way. Certainly the voices of the grunts were not listened to, after all rifle fodder was not deemed important. That war was a joke on every single level.
 

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