The harm at home and abroad

Read Stephen Lendman’s very long article about ‘The Price of Imperial Arrogance, the harm at home and abroad from Bush administration policy‘, published today Nov. 17, 2006 on San Francisco

Lyndon Johnson was a conflicted man about Vietnam almost from the time he took office. As early as May, 1964, he confessed his doubts about the conflict to his good friend Senator Richard Russell in one of the many phone calls he taped in the Oval Office. That was three months before the fateful Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave him congressional authorization for military action in Southeast Asia without needing a formal declaration of war for it. Later that year, he privately acknowledged the Tonkin Gulf incident never happened and told Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara “we concluded maybe they hadn’t fired at all.” He was referring to the claimed attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two US destroyers which, on its face, seemed preposterous but which propelled this country deeply into the Vietnam conflict that didn’t end until President Gerald Ford evacuated the last of the US forces and a few South Vietnamese collaborators in humiliation from the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon 11 years later in April, 1975. They left behind a nation in ruins, its landscape devastated and chemically poisoned that remains so today, and a few million dead Southeast Asians in three countries showing the kind of men Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were – imperial war lords who never had to answer for their war crimes as they never do under a system of victor’s justice. The only compensation the victims got was their freedom from US aggression when realizing it couldn’t win it decided to give up a futile fight and pull out.

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As for the public, it’s not even a player in this game and won’t come out a winner whichever side wins or loses. Neither will the people in the Greater Middle East short of a near-impossible eventuality nowhere in sight – a full and unconditional US troop withdrawal from the region, the freedom of Iraqis and Afghans to run their countries out of Washington’s clutches, a solution to the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict not even being addressed, and an end to the joint US-Israeli partnership of imperial aggression in the region. Even with all that, it would only be a beginning but what a major one well stated by the old Chinese maxim that the “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” or the joke about all those lawyers on the bottom of the ocean being a good start. At this stage, the best people of conscience, not at the table, can hope for is the beginning of a process that eventually will achieve the scenario just laid out that looks impossible now but one day may happen because enough people never stopped working for it in the region and around the world. (Read the very long article between the two paragraphs on

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