McCain and the Vietnam War

Dead man and child. By Ronald L. Haeberle
Dead man and child. By Ronald L. Haeberle

Didn’t the Vietnam war, where McCain fought, pit the world’s most powerful superpower against the Vietnamese people who were only defending their freedom to determine their nation’s affairs? How could it have been about fighting for the freedom of the American people, as Palin and her Republican handlers put it, when it wasn’t at all at stake during the war in Indochina in the first place?

Belatedly reading accounts of the Republican Party National Convention in the news made me sick. Now this could be a spillover from my last entry. But I do find it incredibly base for McCain to claim the slogan of change to the point of asserting, “We need to change the way government does almost everything,” when his party has in fact been holding the reins of power for the better part of the last decade!

Then there’s the thing about McCain’s POW experience during the Vietnam War as one of his main qualifications for the presidency. The line up of speakers blather about McCain’s having fought for freedom and Palin, his book-banning VP candidate, declared:

“There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you, in places where winning means survival and defeat means death, and that man is John McCain.”

But wait a minute? Didn’t the Vietnam war, where McCain fought, pit the world’s most powerful superpower against the Vietnamese people who were only defending their freedom to determine their nation’s affairs? How could it have been about fighting for the freedom of the American people, as Palin and her Republican handlers put it, when it wasn’t at all at stake during the war in Indochina in the first place? On the contrary, it was the U.S. state itself which repeatedly clamped down on its own citizens who opposed the unjust war in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, an estimated 2 million Vietnamese civilians, 1.3 million Vietnamese soldiers, and 58,000 US soldiers were killed by the end of the war. The intense U.S. bombing spree that dropped 7 million tons of bombs all over Indochina in the course of the war — more than all the bombs used in Europe and Japan during World War II — also helped the genocidal Khmer Rouge take power in neighboring Cambodia.

Now that’s the freedom they fought for! ■

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6 Comments

  1. “Didn’t the Vietnam war, where McCain fought, pit the world’s most powerful superpower against the Vietnamese people who were only defending their freedom to determine their nation’s affairs?”

    That’s not quite true. The Vietnam War was part of the “Great Game” between American and Soviet players, who have been pushing pieces across the world from Korea to Cuba to the Middle East to see who will flinch first.

    You’re right, though. It wasn’t fighting for freedom, but for empire.

  2. Ah, yes. The Vietnamese people were not only fighting a war of national liberation, they were also helping tilt the world’s balance of forces in favor of the socialist camp: hence, the removal of the word “only” in the post.

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