Monday, May 04, 2015

Monday News in early May of 2015

The problem is definitely rooted in the system (as the police institution is an extension of the establishment). I am researching about the Maryland’s “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights." The LEOBR in Maryland is very reactionary and many protesters want it to be revised or eliminated. One provision in the state’s LEOBR prohibits investigators from even attempting to interview an officer suspected of a crime until a lawyer has been hired. The law gives the officer 10 days to do so, effectively granting a 10-day “cooling off” period, in which the suspect is allowed to concoct a cover story. Also, the Maryland LEOBR says that departments have no obligation to even investigate brutality allegations that are filed more than 90 days after the incident. That is totally wrong. There is a culture in the police institution where some cops view themselves as infallible and some use the badge as a way for them to brutalize people. We must combat racism and economic oppression (which is a form of violence against oppressed people). Any cop, regardless of their skin color, who brutalize or kill a human being unjustly ought to be punished. Words can be used for good and evil. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is certainly a person who is experiencing her legacy as mayor. We all know that the word thug has been used by a wide spectrum of people with many connotations linked to it. Some use the word thug as code for the N word. Some don’t. Regardless of what we do or say, racists will still view us in the most negative light anyway. So, we should just do what is right regardless, advance community development, and grow our economic power. The rebellion in Baltimore existed as a product of decades long reactionary policies including poverty. So, not only must people have jobs (with living wages), but we need to end the War on Drugs too. If the mayor used different language (like criminals and other words), then she could have escaped much of the political firestorm that she is witnessing presently. Yet, I won’t scapegoat her for every problem in Baltimore. I know that she is in a difficult situation. Problems festered in Baltimore long before the mayor was born.

Certainly, society must change. Women and Men have the right to execute their own self-determination and never tolerate stagnation or mediocrity. Throughout human history, we have seen great black leaders of both genders fighting the good fight. Now, some males have dropped the ball (to put it lightly) and cowardly seek to exploit women for selfish reasons. These males (not men) ought to not be respected. Therefore, every black woman has the right to her own dating preference and to her own right to express her own aspirations (as a human being). There is nothing wrong with a man or a woman fighting for solutions and rejecting the materialism and selfishness which plagues certain parts of society. We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror, improve our lives, and help others. There is nothing wrong with black women seeking standards in their relationships. We know that the Black Lives Matter movement and so many other social movements have been headed by numerous black women. Therefore, black people of both genders are part of a strong black African heritage. The dignity of black women and black men should be respected and we should never support nefarious actions found in any relationship. Our ancestors suffered a whole lot worse than we do today. Therefore, we have to continue in the work of developing our communities, of standing up for truth, etc. Rejecting any form of misogynoir (in all of its dimensions) is a necessity. These are the authentic precepts that we internalize and accept in our souls.

Diem’s new successor was General Duong Van Minh or “Big Minh.” Many people in South Vietnam greeted Minh. The Americans soon didn’t like General Minh, because he expressed a rapprochement with the Buddhist forces that organized the massive demonstrations against the Diem regime. Minh was talking about possibly opening talks with the NLF which could have ended the war sooner. Minh called his government non-communist instead of anti-communist. This raised the hopes that that he wanted to promote the policy of “neutrality” in foreign policy world affairs. This clearly angered Americans who wanted an anti-Communist hardliner. Then, the Americans organized another military coup. They used the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam (or the main body that the U.S. military aid and advisers who were organized through in Vietnam). The coup occurred in January of 1964. It has been called the “Pentagon Coup.” Soon, General Nguyen Khanh was bought to power. Khanh was firmly in opposition to the NLF. He accepted U.S. military strategies and political strategies from the U.S. embassy. He immediately faced a new wave of anti-war activity from the Buddhists and radical students of South Vietnam. Khanh was shocked by this and he began to talk about a negotiated end to the war. The CIA found out that Khanh contacted the NLF in December of 1964. Khanh had more contact with the NLF during January and February of 1965. Certainly, the Western imperialists wanted him to go. So, the Americans (who were led by the new U.S. Ambassador Maxwell Taylor. Taylor was a retired general who returned to government services under Kennedy) sent huge pressure on Khanh. Khanh left Vietnam and was in exile in France. The power in South Vietnam was sent to the military triumvirate of Generals Nguyen Cao Ky, Nguyen Chanh Thi, and Nguyen Van Thieu. These 3 men ruled South Vietnam for years. The leading person was Ky. Ky was an evil person. Ky would be the Prime Minister while Thieu became the chief of state. Ky had power until 1967 when elections excluded anyone holding “pro-communist” or “neutralist’ views. This caused Thieu to be the Prime Minister. Thieu won only 35 percent of the vote. Ky worked with the CIA back in the early 1960’s in their covert operations against North Vietnam. Ky was wrong to tell reporters that his only real hero was Hitler. Ky and Thieu were both trained by the French and had fought against their own people in the First Vietnam War. So, both men were traitors to the Vietnamese people. On March 1, 1965, they pledged to never negotiate with the NLF or the North Vietnamese. They said that they would follow the lead of Washington on all military, political, and diplomatic affairs. Military coups harmed Saigon in 1964 and in 1965. By mid-1964, the U.S. strategies developed by the establishment were not working to combat the NLF. The Vietcong worked with the nationalists, who controlled 40-50 percent of the countryside. The U.S. sponsored counter insurgency tactics only turned the peasantry against the South Vietnamese regime. Another disaster was the Strategic Hamlet program. This was about the peasants being uprooted from their traditional villages and burial ground by force. They were sent into concentrated walled camps. The villages became concentration camps which were used to separate the peasant population from the guerillas. NLF fighters kept on fighting.

The Army of Vietnam troops (or the ARVN-Diem’s forces) deserted in droves. They didn’t want to defend the regime. Even the Marine pacification expert Lieutenant Colonel William R. Corson admitted that the role of the U.S. puppet regime in South Vietnam was "to loot, collect back taxes, reinstal landlords, and conduct reprisals against the people." As historian James Gibson summed up the situation: "Strategic hamlets had failed…. The South Vietnamese regime was incapable of winning the peasantry because of its class base among landlords. Indeed, there was no longer a ‘regime’ in the sense of a relatively stable political alliance and functioning bureaucracy. Instead, civil government and military operations had virtually ceased. The National Liberation Front had made great progress and was close to declaring provisional revolutionary governments in large areas." The NLF grew, because there was massive class inequality, absence of basic democratic rights, and a strong desire to the reunification of Vietnam. The puppet U.S. backed South Vietnam regime failed to do these things. The Vietnam War evolved from a proxy war being funded by America to a full-fledged American war. The NLF gained ground and U.S. intelligence said that the Saigon government was on the verge of collapse. The escalation of the Vietnam War came with the 1964 election and the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 Presidential election ironically spoke about not being involving a massive American military invasion of Vietnam. He was battling against the Republican Senator Barry Goldwater who threatened to use nuclear weapons if necessary against NLF forces. LBJ said during the campaign that: “…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.” Yet, The Johnson administration behind the scenes was planning to send hundreds of thousands of U.S. ground forces in Vietnam after the 1964 election. Many of the policies were concealed from the public. The credibility gap was about the gap that formed between what the Johnson administration said was policy in public and what they actually did in Vietnam for real. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 was the incident that caused the Vietnam War to go into a more massive military direction. The incident involved a real attack on U.S. forces on August 2, 1964 and then a phantom or nonexistent attack on the USS Maddox on August 4, 1964. The second phantom, false incident still caused the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to be passed.  On August 7, 1965, the Senate voted 98 to 2 and the House of Representatives voted 441 to 0 in favor. It was not repealed by Congress until 1971. The resolution allowed Johnson "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” This resolution gave Lyndon Johnson the legal authority to wage war in Vietnam. LBJ waited after the November 1964 election for him to invade Vietnam in a higher level since American forces were already in Vietnam for years. On March 8, 1965, there was the beginning of the massive U.S. troops build. Marines landed in Da Nang. At the peak of the Vietnam War, over 500,000 American troops were in Vietnam. The Vietnam War caused the strongest military on Earth to issue unprecedented violence militarily in one of the poorest nations in the world.

The United States government still led an aggressive military foreign policy against Vietnam even when there were times when a negotiated settlement could have been created. The U.S. government even rejected a coalition government and neutrality in Saigon. The NLF was ready to accept a proposal. Even Charles De Gaulle or the President of France back then was willing to establish such a plan all over Southeast Asia during that time period. Yet, the West fought against a nationalist movement that defeated French imperialists a decade before. Lyndon Johnson said in 1964 that “Surrender anywhere threatens defeats everywhere.” He said these extreme words since he supported the Cold hysteria myth that if Vietnam was ruled by non pro-Western forces then Communists will take over the whole world. During that time, some people were so paranoid about Communism (which came from McCarthyism, etc.), that some felt that any negotiation to solve the Vietnam crisis was equivalent to total appeasement. America, after WWII, was the leading capitalist country. Therefore, America wanted to preserve its Empire. One aspect of that Empire was in Vietnam. The U.S. has many military bases globally while the British Empire decreased its power after 1945. On March 1965, Robert McNamara asked John McNaughton (or the assistant secretary of defense) to summarize U.S. political strategy and war aims in Vietnams. McNaughton never wanted a political settlement or a U.S. withdrawal at all. The war hawks like Maxwell Taylor, McNaughton, etc. felt that a withdrawal would lead to chaos and defeat. Vietnam had no direct economic or strategic importance to America. Vietnam never attacked America either. The war was brutal. B-52 carpet bombed North Vietnamese people. There are pictures of Vietnamese children running naked with their flesh scorched by napalm. The U.S. invaded and occupied South Vietnam in 1965. The NLF controlled most of the countryside. North Vietnamese army and the NLF fought side by side. The Ho Chi Minh trail was a huge, complex network of roads connected North and South Vietnam among 12,000 miles. General Vo Nguyen Giap was one leader of the guerilla movement in the South. The U.S. Army General William C. Westmoreland organized the U.S. military response. Westmoreland was a graduate of West Point and he went to Harvard Business School. He was a former commander of the 101st Airborne Division and superintendent of West Point. He came to Vietnam for the first time in June of 1964. $2 billion was spent on the war. Huge American ports and road networks were formed by America too. Westmoreland’s war strategy had huge weaknesses, because he wanted to decimate the North Vietnamese population via a war of attrition. Yet, he failed to outline political solutions or massive social movements to gain support of the South Vietnamese people. The bombing of North Vietnam and the search and destroy missions in the North only galvanized the nationalist movement of Ho Chi Minh. The massive U.S. troop presence and bombing campaign caused Vietnamese people to abhor the reactionary Saigon government. U.S. atrocities in Vietnam caused the Vietnamese people to resist U.S. occupation even more. Operation Starlight was when the U.S. engaged the NLF militarily using air, land, and sea power. 6,000 Marines killed 573 people and lost only 46 of their own. The Vietnamese left mostly to fight another day. The early battle of Ia Drang in November 1965 allowed a fast hit and run battle. Both sides would claim victory for different reasons. Americans said that the battle was a success of military power while the North Vietnamese (like Colonel Nguyen Huu An) saw the battle as strengthening their military tactics. The massive military buildup came from 1965 to 1967. By 1967, over 500,000 American troops were in Vietnam.

By Timothy

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