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Thread: The Point of No Return: Rolling Thunder In North Vietnam

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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    The Point of No Return: Rolling Thunder In North Vietnam



    The French lost the First Indochina War in Vietnam in 1954, after having fought there for at least a decade. But the French were fighting to maintain their colonial power over Vietnam, and so the lessons they might have passed to the Americans were never heard by our leaders.

    The first 20th century military presence in Vietnam dates to 1900, as most of Americans are unaware just how active we were in SE Asia dating back to the Civil War era. But the REASONS we were in Vietnam relevant to this thread are: the 1949 Chinese Communist Revolution, after the end of WWII in 1946 and the mistrust of the Soviet Union. No US president between 1949 and 1975 ever gave the civil, war in Vietnam the credibility it deserved. It was always about "fighting the spread of communism", whipsawed by fears of both the Soviet Union and Red China, men like Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover thought they were fighting Satan himself and trying to prevent the end of the world. Literally. Which of course, justified in their minds using any tactic imaginable.

    (Both men were deeply involved in the Red Scare manufactured by Joe McCarthy, and neither one ever stopped "hunting communists" among Americans until they died.)

    Rolling Thunder was a massive bombing assault on North Vietnam, which dropped more ordinance than any other bombing mission in world history -- a fact I don't think many Americans appreciate. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson, having been given the most HAWKISH advice possible and lacking the attention he should have paid, approved the mission as he was focused on Civil Rights and other domestic policies. Johnson was not the most evil US POTUS of the Vietnam War era but ironically he started the conflagration REALLY burning and probably got more people killed than any other POTUS of the Vietnam War era.

    LBJ, unsatisfied with the results of the mission which he been assured would cripple North Vietnam and thereby end the war, LBJ then committed ground troops to support the bombing effort.

    And that was the Point Of No Return.


    The 1968 Presidential race had GOP candidates OPENLY calling for the use of NUCLEAR WEAPONS against North Vietnam. (1964 had seen such remarks made behind the scenes, not for publication, but it was an open secret.)

    Nuclear Weapons & the Vietnam War | Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability

    Nixon, who won in 1968, was unwilling to nuke North Vietnam (thank God) but did favor expanding the war and subsequently secretly invaded Laos and Cambodia. No US military strategy expert, then or now, thought the US could win the Vietnam War after 1964, and most did not think it could be won as far back as the end of the Indochina and Korean Wars, in 1954 and 1953, respectively.

    Nixon could not bring himself to consider withdrawing from Vietnam; he could not live with "allowing the communists to win". His emotional problems killed MILLIONS.

    Pride, mistaken beliefs (Johnson was privately convinced the communists had killed JFK), and hubris killed 50,000 American soldiers, maimed another 300,000, saw 744 captured by the North Vietnamese, and another 2,338 MIA who have never been found. On the US side, the misery and horror is hard to overstated; fully 10% of their generation of American men fought in Vietnam, most as draftees. Women my age were their sisters, girlfriends, friends -- and the suffering of those at home is probably hard to overestimate.



    Most historians now agree, Nixon gave a shoot to kill order to the National Guard before they arrived on the campus of Kent State, killing 4 and wounding 9 on May 4, 1970.

    From the POV of the Vietnamese, especially the North Vietnamese, the US was attempting to genocide them and was having a lot of success. We killed 2 civilians for every Viet Cong soldier, and used what amounts to germ warfare to try to defoliate the country to assist in line of sight, etc. Altogether, over 3 million Vietnamese people died as a result of US military aggression, not including South Vietnamese soldiers. Another undisclosed number (most likely in the thousands) were killed by the Viet Cong as they entered South Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon. As we withdrew from South Vietnam in 1975, the US official policy (Gerald Ford) was to abandon EVERY South Vietnamese solider and their families, but the US Ambassador to SV, Graham Martin, defied orders from DC and saved a few thousand such people, who mainly settled in Texas where they have become outstanding US citizens.

    40 years ago: Vietnam War ends with massive airlift - CNN.com

    Graham Martin, 77, Dies - Envoy at Saigon's Fall - NYTimes.com

    Agent Orange's devastating effect on the human body is still not fully admitted to by its manufacturer, Monsanto or by the US government. It is not limited to the brain and nervous system injuries we all have heard of as to American vets. The generations of Vietnamese babies born during its use and after, for decades, include devastating birth defects not seem outside the thalidomide scandal. Babies without arms or legs, or without skin on their whole bodies, etc.

    Babies in Vietnam born with horrific defects 40 years since Agent Orange | Daily Mail Online

    Cancer rates among US Vietnam vets also tend to show, Agent Orange was carcinogenic -- a question no one has been permitted to research, and a claim the VA continues to deny. In fact, the brain and nervous system damage done by Agent Orange are still denied, if that question is measured by the VA's treatment of our vets.

    https://www.publichealth.va.gov/expo...ge/conditions/

    Our Vietnam vets are suffering, and have suffered, the highest rates of suicide, homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction and other horrors related to their combat experiences of any fighting force the US has ever mustered, including those who fought in the US Civil War.

    The US should have been condemned by the world as having used germ warfare in Vietnam, in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention, and Monsanto should be viewed as the MOST EVIL company of the planet, but few Americans understand the scope of what Agent Orange did. That is not an accident; the public here was and remains anxious to leave the grief and misery of war behind in 1975 and by 1980, was preoccupied with Conspicuous Consumption and the Reagan Era.

    Since 1975, 10,000 Vietnamese have been killed by unexploded bombs which later detonated by farmers, etc., dropped by the US and still killing the Vietnamese today. Another 40,000 Vietnamese have been killed by land mines the US planted, and not only have we not funded the clean up effort -- we never even gave Vietnam the data they needed to try to find them all.

    Vietnam Passage. The Perspectives: Landmines: War's Lingering Menace | PBS

    You may have heard me and other Boomers complain that we were so active, politically astute and angry in our 20's, fighting for justice on every front. and then lost our way, becoming self-indulgent and selfish in our 30's and thereafter. I think the 1975 to 1980 period is when that happened, because the possibility of no longer focusing on the horrors of war and government-sponsored oppression in the US against minorities, etc. was just irresistible. We could not spend our entire lives "in the service of the cause". We are entitled to be proud of the justice we accomplished at home -- especially ending Jim Crow -- but nonetheless, we are just humans. We wanted real lives, too, with families and careers.

    The Vietnam War was so horrific because the US PTB could not take on board that a civil war there was a matter of urgent, even life or death importance to the Vietnamese. Our political and military leaders could not accept the rights of other nations to self-determination, and to CHOOSE to install a communist regime if they wished. Frightened witless by Communist China and the Soviet Union, we engaged in some of the most egregious misery-making of any nation in history. And MOST Americans were okay with that, then and now, because the Asians fighting for their homeland in Vietnam, along with their families, were "not like us" aka we were racists.

    That's my POV; others have no doubt got a different one. But on this Memorial Day weekend, as we casually discuss making war against China, and so many seem at ease with the possibility of making war ANYWHERE, it behooves us all to pause and reflect on what the reality of war actually is.

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by Madeline; 26th May 2017 at 08:43 PM.
    Thanks from Hollywood and Bourne

  2. #2
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    I served in Vietnam for nearly four years years. 1st Cavalry (Airmobile), Bravo Blues (quick reaction) and 11th Aviation Pathfinders. I was wounded several times, mostly minor, the most serious was a piece of RPG shrapnel that pierced my upper left chest and broke my collar bone. About the size of a silver dollar and it wedged in the bone. I spent six weeks in a US Military hospital in Japan, then got shipped back to the war.

    When I and my brothers and sisters in the military came back, we were treated like shit. I can't believe that Army nurses were treated so badly. I moved on, went to college and built a career in medicine. But I never forgot the war. To this day, many nights I can't sleep or I wake up in incredible sweats. I have terrible dreams.

    Memorial Day is very special. I remember my best friend in high schoool, Ross "Sweeney" Johnson. He was a helicopter avionics specialist and died in a helicopter incident. His name is on the Wall.

    This fucking useless war shit. It has to stop. All it does is serve the wealthy.

    Cheers and don't forget Memorial Day,

    Bourne

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Moorhuhn Wanted Champion Hollywood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bourne View Post
    I served in Vietnam for nearly four years years. 1st Cavalry (Airmobile), Bravo Blues (quick reaction) and 11th Aviation Pathfinders. I was wounded several times, mostly minor, the most serious was a piece of RPG shrapnel that pierced my upper left chest and broke my collar bone. About the size of a silver dollar and it wedged in the bone. I spent six weeks in a US Military hospital in Japan, then got shipped back to the war.

    When I and my brothers and sisters in the military came back, we were treated like shit. I can't believe that Army nurses were treated so badly. I moved on, went to college and built a career in medicine. But I never forgot the war. To this day, many nights I can't sleep or I wake up in incredible sweats. I have terrible dreams.

    Memorial Day is very special. I remember my best friend in high schoool, Ross "Sweeney" Johnson. He was a helicopter avionics specialist and died in a helicopter incident. His name is on the Wall.

    This fucking useless war shit. It has to stop. All it does is serve the wealthy.

    Cheers and don't forget Memorial Day,

    Bourne
    Amen, glad you made it home alive.
    Thanks from Bourne, Madeline and Two If By Tea

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bourne View Post
    I served in Vietnam for nearly four years years. 1st Cavalry (Airmobile), Bravo Blues (quick reaction) and 11th Aviation Pathfinders. I was wounded several times, mostly minor, the most serious was a piece of RPG shrapnel that pierced my upper left chest and broke my collar bone. About the size of a silver dollar and it wedged in the bone. I spent six weeks in a US Military hospital in Japan, then got shipped back to the war.

    When I and my brothers and sisters in the military came back, we were treated like shit. I can't believe that Army nurses were treated so badly. I moved on, went to college and built a career in medicine. But I never forgot the war. To this day, many nights I can't sleep or I wake up in incredible sweats. I have terrible dreams.

    Memorial Day is very special. I remember my best friend in high schoool, Ross "Sweeney" Johnson. He was a helicopter avionics specialist and died in a helicopter incident. His name is on the Wall.

    This fucking useless war shit. It has to stop. All it does is serve the wealthy.

    Cheers and don't forget Memorial Day,

    Bourne
    My college was a state university in New York and was flooded with returning vets. To this day I have never seen such sorrow in anyone's eyes, including the parents if homicide victims I worked with in Florida, as we handled death penalty appeals. I know actual family members and loved ones of the victims of Ted Bundy, Oba Chandler and Danny Rolling IRL, and their "aura" of pain is nowhere near what the Vietnam vets in my univeristy exhibited.

    When I look at a homeless man my age (64) today, I usually see that same pain.
    Thanks from sweettee and Two If By Tea

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bourne View Post
    I served in Vietnam for nearly four years years. 1st Cavalry (Airmobile), Bravo Blues (quick reaction) and 11th Aviation Pathfinders. I was wounded several times, mostly minor, the most serious was a piece of RPG shrapnel that pierced my upper left chest and broke my collar bone. About the size of a silver dollar and it wedged in the bone. I spent six weeks in a US Military hospital in Japan, then got shipped back to the war.

    When I and my brothers and sisters in the military came back, we were treated like shit. I can't believe that Army nurses were treated so badly. I moved on, went to college and built a career in medicine. But I never forgot the war. To this day, many nights I can't sleep or I wake up in incredible sweats. I have terrible dreams.

    Memorial Day is very special. I remember my best friend in high schoool, Ross "Sweeney" Johnson. He was a helicopter avionics specialist and died in a helicopter incident. His name is on the Wall.

    This fucking useless war shit. It has to stop. All it does is serve the wealthy.

    Cheers and don't forget Memorial Day,

    Bourne
    I am so grateful for every man who came back, Bourne. Especially men like you.
    Thanks from Hollywood and Bourne

  6. #6
    Established Member Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bourne View Post
    I served in Vietnam for nearly four years years. 1st Cavalry (Airmobile), Bravo Blues (quick reaction) and 11th Aviation Pathfinders. I was wounded several times, mostly minor, the most serious was a piece of RPG shrapnel that pierced my upper left chest and broke my collar bone. About the size of a silver dollar and it wedged in the bone. I spent six weeks in a US Military hospital in Japan, then got shipped back to the war.

    When I and my brothers and sisters in the military came back, we were treated like shit. I can't believe that Army nurses were treated so badly. I moved on, went to college and built a career in medicine. But I never forgot the war. To this day, many nights I can't sleep or I wake up in incredible sweats. I have terrible dreams.

    Memorial Day is very special. I remember my best friend in high schoool, Ross "Sweeney" Johnson. He was a helicopter avionics specialist and died in a helicopter incident. His name is on the Wall.

    This fucking useless war shit. It has to stop. All it does is serve the wealthy.

    Cheers and don't forget Memorial Day,

    Bourne
    I wanted to fly. I took a whole Pre-induct Physical+ tests in LA to ..maybe enlist, fly spotter planes,choppers. I STILL recall the "blood test" when I wake up on a cold floor in a strange place with strangers looking at me and.. I'm just wearing jockey shorts. After the PROCESS.. they tell me my eyes ain't okay to fly ANYTHIN.. but I scored on a test and.. could do OCS. Well....I KNEW.... They'd "semi-promise" I'd be in Germany driving a bulldozer or on Japan as a LT then you go to whatever thing and 2/3 of the class flunks and...OMG you are INFANTRY enroute to the jungles of Nam.
    So.. I thought i needed to KNOW MORE. I read Bernard Fall's book on the battle of Dien Bien Phu... then read another book on that battle. OMG... it was like the ORIGINAL movie and our Viet Nam.. was the sequel.

    I GOT it. The VIET's were VERY resolute and willing to endure. They were NOT fond of Russia or China but were NOT okay with Post Colonial corruption and the REMAINING situation where MANY people were pretty much share croppers.

    Dien Bien Phu? the French ASSUMED they were "more advanced/skilled". They were SHOCK/Awed when the Viet Mihn would just not quit....were actually....pretty clever.
    The Viet Mihn would dig and dig....fight the French against the odds..... NO MATTER WHAT. The French NEVER thought the Viets would have good STRATEGY..... but also the WILL to endure forever. Like te US later..... the French MUCH underestimated the skill but.. especially the sheer PERSISTANCE.

    as for returning Nam vets treated badly? They NEVER got the expected backup from the OFFICIAL USA. The Myth of Anti War hippies going to airports to SPIT at returning JUNGLE WARFARE VETERANS??? WTF? WTF? The FACT is I could not PAY a dozen Anti War pacifists to start a BRAWL with a bunch of VETS who were used to fighting the VC in dreadful environments. Maybe a couple fools ACTUALLY spit at some Veteran.. but...NOBODY ever thought that was a good idea.

    Hindsight? I respect the guys who went, volunteer or drafted. They may of meant well.. or....thought they had no choice.
    Again.... Dien Bien Phu.. the SEQUEL....
    Thanks from sweettee

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    I wanted to fly. I took a whole Pre-induct Physical+ tests in LA to ..maybe enlist, fly spotter planes,choppers. I STILL recall the "blood test" when I wake up on a cold floor in a strange place with strangers looking at me and.. I'm just wearing jockey shorts. After the PROCESS.. they tell me my eyes ain't okay to fly ANYTHIN.. but I scored on a test and.. could do OCS. Well....I KNEW.... They'd "semi-promise" I'd be in Germany driving a bulldozer or on Japan as a LT then you go to whatever thing and 2/3 of the class flunks and...OMG you are INFANTRY enroute to the jungles of Nam.
    So.. I thought i needed to KNOW MORE. I read Bernard Fall's book on the battle of Dien Bien Phu... then read another book on that battle. OMG... it was like the ORIGINAL movie and our Viet Nam.. was the sequel.

    I GOT it. The VIET's were VERY resolute and willing to endure. They were NOT fond of Russia or China but were NOT okay with Post Colonial corruption and the REMAINING situation where MANY people were pretty much share croppers.

    Dien Bien Phu? the French ASSUMED they were "more advanced/skilled". They were SHOCK/Awed when the Viet Mihn would just not quit....were actually....pretty clever.
    The Viet Mihn would dig and dig....fight the French against the odds..... NO MATTER WHAT. The French NEVER thought the Viets would have good STRATEGY..... but also the WILL to endure forever. Like te US later..... the French MUCH underestimated the skill but.. especially the sheer PERSISTANCE.

    as for returning Nam vets treated badly? They NEVER got the expected backup from the OFFICIAL USA. The Myth of Anti War hippies going to airports to SPIT at returning JUNGLE WARFARE VETERANS??? WTF? WTF? The FACT is I could not PAY a dozen Anti War pacifists to start a BRAWL with a bunch of VETS who were used to fighting the VC in dreadful environments. Maybe a couple fools ACTUALLY spit at some Veteran.. but...NOBODY ever thought that was a good idea.

    Hindsight? I respect the guys who went, volunteer or drafted. They may of meant well.. or....thought they had no choice.
    Again.... Dien Bien Phu.. the SEQUEL....
    Maybe the spitting never happened.

    But neither did the parades. GI Bill benefits were a shadow of those provided to my WWII Daddy. Every dickhead in America wanted to corner a vet in a quiet bar and hear the "real" stories on vets killing NK babies.

    I think you forget the silence, too. Who spoke about the vets after 1975? NOBODY. I know some who shunned the American Legion because they did not want their colleagues to know they had served.

    We still step over homeless men we all know are vets, and keep walking.

    This nation vampired an entire generation of young men in aid of a madman's delusions.
    Thanks from Two If By Tea

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    Veteran Member sweettee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bourne View Post
    I served in Vietnam for nearly four years years. 1st Cavalry (Airmobile), Bravo Blues (quick reaction) and 11th Aviation Pathfinders. I was wounded several times, mostly minor, the most serious was a piece of RPG shrapnel that pierced my upper left chest and broke my collar bone. About the size of a silver dollar and it wedged in the bone. I spent six weeks in a US Military hospital in Japan, then got shipped back to the war.

    When I and my brothers and sisters in the military came back, we were treated like shit. I can't believe that Army nurses were treated so badly. I moved on, went to college and built a career in medicine. But I never forgot the war. To this day, many nights I can't sleep or I wake up in incredible sweats. I have terrible dreams.

    Memorial Day is very special. I remember my best friend in high schoool, Ross "Sweeney" Johnson. He was a helicopter avionics specialist and died in a helicopter incident. His name is on the Wall.

    This fucking useless war shit. It has to stop. All it does is serve the wealthy.

    Cheers and don't forget Memorial Day,

    Bourne
    Texas hugs and love, B!
    Thanks from Bourne and Madeline

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Micro Machines Champion, Race Against Time Champion Tedminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Your thoughts?
    The Allied leaders should have supported Vietnam's Declaration of Independence that was presented to the world on 9/2/1945..


    Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

    "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

    This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

    The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: “All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights.”

    Those are undeniable truths.



    Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.

    -In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

    -They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Center and the South of Vietnam in order to wreck our national unity and prevent our people from being united.

    -They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slain our patriots; they have drowned our uprisings in rivers of blood.

    -They have fettered public opinion; they have practiced obscurantism against our people. To weaken our race they have forced us to use opium and alcohol.

    -In the field of economics, they have fleeced us to the backbone, impoverished our people, and devastated our land.

    -They have robbed us of our rice fields, our mines, our forests, and our raw materials.

    -They have monopolized the issuing of bank-notes and the export trade.

    -They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especially our peasantry, to a state of extreme poverty.

    -They have hampered the prospering of our national bourgeoisie; they have mercilessly exploited our workers.




    In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese Fascists violated Indochina’s territory to establish new bases in their fight against the Allies, the French imperialists went down on their bended knees and handed over our country to them.

    Thus, from that date, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that from the end of last year to the beginning of this year, from Quang Tri province to the North of Vietnam, more than two million of our fellow-citizens died from starvation. On March 9, the French troops were disarmed by the Japanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered showing that not only were they incapable of “protecting” us, but that, in the span of five years, they had twice sold our country to the Japanese.

    On several occasions before March 9, the Vietminh League urged the French to ally themselves with it against the Japanese. Instead of agreeing to this proposal, the French colonialists so intensified their terrorist activities against the Vietminh members that before fleeing they massacred a great number of our political prisoners detained at Yen Bay and Caobang.

    Notwithstanding all this, our fellow-citizens have always manifested toward the French a tolerant and humane attitude. Even after the Japanese putsch of March 1945, the Vietminh League helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued some of them from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and property.

    From the autumn of 1940, our country had in fact ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession. After the Japanese had surrendered to the Allies, our whole people rose to regain our national sovereignty and to found the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.




    The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French.

    The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for the Fatherland. Our people at the same time have overthrown the monarchic regime that has reigned supreme for dozens of centuries. In its place has been established the present Democratic Republic.

    For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government, representing the whole Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France; we repeal all the international obligation that France has so far subscribed to on behalf of Vietnam and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in our Fatherland.

    The whole Vietnamese people, animated by a common purpose, are determined to fight to the bitter end against any attempt by the French colonialists to reconquer their country.

    We are convinced that the Allied nations which at Tehran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Vietnam.

    A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eight years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent.

    For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country—and in fact is so already. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.

    ..end.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procla...lic_of_Vietnam


    Trivia time! That declaration was written with the help of OSS agents (OSS is the predecessor of the CIA).

    Last edited by Tedminator; 27th May 2017 at 04:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Two points: communism DID spread in SE Asia after 1975, and most people there were blessed by the new regimes.

    Second: the US government's empire is a misery merchant anywhere it appears, chiefly the entire Western Hemisphere apart from Canada. We drove Mexico to knees. We created anarchy in Venezuela. We force unimaginable poverty on Haiti. Our government is untrustworthy, deceitful, anti-human and corrupt.

    And the American people STILL struggle to take on board that maybe we ought not trust it to act humanely unless every move is transparent.
    Last edited by Madeline; 27th May 2017 at 08:59 PM.

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