In so many ways, Phan Thi Kim Phuc is emblematic of the realities
of the situtaion. She and the others were running from a Cao Dai
monastery after the VC attacked her village. The pilot was South
Vietnamese. The Forward Air Controller was American.
Phan Thi Kim Phuc lived in Cuba for a while, then finally
defected to Canada, where she chose to make her home and her life. She
had converted to Christianity. Says it all, really.
The Goddamn Hanoi regime did not _have_ to attack and invade
South Vietnam. The two countries could have left each other alone.
The North's territorial integrity was guaranteed by the USSR and
China. Indeed, Ho Chi Minh and his crew were helped into power by
Archimedes Patti and his OSS chums, as part of the US 'decolonization'
mania. The South Vietnamese elite were certainly an unsavoury bunch,
and this could have been more intelligently handled by Lansdale.
You would be the first to admit that remaking entire societies is a
You haven't told us if the world is better off without the Nazi
regime. And the USSR. And Maoist China...
--- In LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com, Rad Geek <agitate@...> wrote:
> tony_hollick wrote:
> > I do want you to understand that I _do_ understand the point
> > you're making.
> I'm not at all sure that you do, since if you did, it would be much
> harder to make sense of responding with this:
> > I do not believe that the pilot who dropped the napalm that
> > burned the little girl worke up that morning and thought: "Let's go
> > out today and deliberately napalm some children." I believe he flew a
> > mission, and was directed erroneously by the Forward Air Controllers
> > to drop his bombs on what were believed to be military targets.
> Well, hey, at least his heart was in the right place.
> If you are claiming that someone is acting as "the defense" in a
> particular conflict, then it ought to make some difference to you
> whether the violence that they use actually succeeds in defending
> against anything, whether or not the means that they select are
> appropriate to the task of proportional defense, whether or not the
> people--the *actual individual people*, not The People in the mythical
> political sense--that they claim to be defending ever actually asked
> their protection, or asked to be protected in the way that their
> "defenders" set about protecting them, whether or not the putative
> defenders actually tend to succeed, or had any realistic hope of
> succeeding, in protecting those individual people as claimed, etc.
> private thoughts and hopes have a lot less to do with any of this than
> their outward actions and the context of those actions, particularly
> context of how those actions affect those they are putatively
> protecting, and whether those they are putatively protecting ever
> that kind of "defense."
> My question is what the (ARVN, under a U.S. chain of command) pilot
> as per the requirements of his mission, dropped napalm on the
> Trang Bang, and then wheeled around and -- oops! my bad! -- burned the
> fleeing refugees alive, mistaking a crowd of screaming children (among
> them Phan Thi Kim Phuc) and ARVN soldiers for a military target, was
> actually defending, and what he was defending it against. If you think
> that incendiary bombardment of villages -- knowingly and deliberately
> burning people's homes, and running a substantial and perfectly
> predictable risk of burning the people themselves alive -- villages
> where few or none of the people, and especially not the people ruined,
> maimed, or killed by the bombardment, ever asked for your "defense" --
> is a good way of defending individual people's lives or livelihoods,
> then I think it obvious that you are trying to get to a predetermined
> conclusion rather than reasoning in good faith.
> Judging from the means, mission, and context, I think it is perfectly
> clear what the ARVN and the U.S. military were trying to defend at the
> burning of Trang Bang. It wasn't Phan Thi Kim Phuc, or much of
> Trang Bang. It was the U.S. occupation and the south Vietnamese State,
> both of which were separate from, parasitic upon, and generally hostile
> to, ordinary people like Phan Thi Kim Phuc. But if you think that I
> a good god damn about the "defense" of either of those, particularly
> when the human cost of that defense is what's happening in that photo
> and in millions of unrecorded "missions" of fire, maiming, and death,
> forgotten now by everyone but the surviving victims, the kind of
> missions that immediately turned "It became necessary to destroy the
> village in order to save it" into clichÃ©, then you've got another
> > The little girl recovered from her awful injuries, and has
> > visited the West, giving interviews.
> Yes, I know that she has. She wouldn't have except that someone who had
> nothing to do with the military assault -- Nick Ãt, the Vietnamese AP
> photographer who took the photograph -- took her and the other
> children to a hospital in Saigon, where surgeons exhibited actual
> heroism and defense by defying all odds (it was initially believed she
> could not have survived such severe burns) by saving her life.
> Many of the children who were burned alive at Trang Bang were not as
> fortunate as Phan Thi Kim Phuc. Many of them, including two of Kim
> Phuc's cousins, died in the bombardment.
> > Lt. Calley's misconduct was brought to trial after the bravery
> > of a helicopter pilot there, and has recently been released from
> > prison.
> Yes, again, I know. Thompson's decision to put himself in the line of
> fire in order to defend villagers from rampaging U.S. "defense", and
> decision to report what happened, is a good example of genuine heroism
> and a genuine effort to defend realm people from aggression. The U.S.
> military command's well-known reaction to the report -- a year and a
> half of white-washing, stonewalling, downplaying, and conscious deceit,
> until Seymour Hersh's investigative report finally forced their hand --
> is not.
> > Ten million Germans were killed during WWII. Between half a
> > million and a million German prisoners-of-war were murdered in US and
> > British prison camps _after_ WWII had ended, and after they had
> > surrendered in response to air-dropped Safe Conduct passes (James
> > Bacque, "Other Losses"). Every female in Berlin between the ages of
> > 14 and 55 was raped, usually many times, by Red Army "liberators."
> > Between nine million and fourteen million Germans died _after_ the war
> > from the deliberate withholding of fertilizer and farming tools.
> > Was smashing the Nazi State worth the price? You tell us.
> The price to whom? Worth it for whom?
> It may well be that the price to 40,000 people in Dresden was worth it
> for you. But I'm not sure that you're the one that should be asked.
> Since I didn't pay the price, I wouldn't presume to say what would be
> worth it or wouldn't be worth it. But, as a logical matter, I certainly
> wouldn't recognize the savage conquest of half of Europe for Stalin's
> Red Empire, or the aerial terror-war that the RAF and US Army waged
> against German cities, or the deliberately brutal occupation of Germany
> by the corporativist-Stalinist Alliance, as examples of what you might
> call "the defense." And I think it's interesting that you would
> as just obvious that an anarchist, of all people, would somehow just
> have to concede the moral legitimacy of the conduct of the governments
> involved in the single most destructive war in the entire history of
> world, no matter what the human cost inflicted upon innocent bystanders.