Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Six Pack, Twelve Pack, USA, AOK

In the general vein of my previous post I continue to be fascinated with American’s flagellating self-love, arrogance, and all-around delusional views of its own greatness which seems to be based mostly on having the “greatest military ever” which in itself is highly questionable considering the U.S. usually limits its attacks against other nations to those that are militarily much weaker than the U.S though I note that despite the apparent weakness of our victims they usually seem to survive our gentle “humanitarian” Midas touch of incompetent and all-around mediocre leaders (including Obama). I believe one of the most complimentary things the European generals in WWII said about American generals was that if you point them in a direction they will go there. I mean like the only reason there is any less violence in Iraq under general Petraeus is because we paid the “insurgents” to stay home and not kill anyone.

In regards to the ongoing drone attacks along the Pakistan border I don’t believe that anyone has noted the abject cowardice of such murderous pastimes. If you look at the thing what we have is some schmuck in some secret cave in Arizona many thousands of miles away from any danger piloting what is in effect a model airplane equipped with missiles, bombs or whatever and pulverizing what is most likely a bunch of poor farmers and their families in the dead of night. I wonder what said schmuck thinks of himself or herself as the case may be. Does the schmuck believe the schmuck is clever? Brave? True blue? A Patriot? A modern day warrior? After all, said schmuck is just a sneaky weasely sluggo who murders people by remote control at no danger to himself. This I find to be the epitome of how the U.S. conducts its imperial wars. God we are fucking great, eh?

But Americans are so trusting in their leaders and I keep wondering why? Where is the proof that we are being led by anyone that has the capacity to add two and two and come up with four? Almost every interference in the business of other nations has blown up in our leader’s faces. Bush forces an election in Gaza and essentially puts Hamas in power. Kennedy's involvement in the Vietnam War sets the stage for a war that is escalated out of complete control by two other dolts – LBJ and Nixon of the sweaty face.

From the National Security Archive (John Prados)

Records of the Kennedy national security meetings, both here and in our larger collection, show that none of JFK's conversations about a coup in Saigon featured consideration of what might physically happen to Ngo Dinh Diem or Ngo Dinh Nhu. The audio record of the October 29th meeting which we cite below also reveals no discussion of this issue. That meeting, the last held at the White House to consider a coup before this actually took place, would have been the key moment for such a conversation. The conclusion of the Church Committee agrees that Washington gave no consideration to killing Diem. (Note 12) The weight of evidence therefore supports the view that President Kennedy did not conspire in the death of Diem. However, there is also the exceedingly strange transcript of Diem's final phone conversation with Ambassador Lodge on the afternoon of the coup (Document 23), which carries the distinct impression that Diem is being abandoned by the U.S. Whether this represents Lodge's contribution, or JFK's wishes, is not apparent from the evidence available today.

A second charge has to do with Kennedy administration denials that it had had anything to do with the coup itself. The documentary record is replete with evidence that President Kennedy and his advisers, both individually and collectively, had a considerable role in the coup overall, by giving initial support to Saigon military officers uncertain what the U.S. response might be, by withdrawing U.S. aid from Diem himself, and by publicly pressuring the Saigon government in a way that made clear to South Vietnamese that Diem was isolated from his American ally. In addition, at several of his meetings (Documents 7, 19, 22) Kennedy had CIA briefings and led discussions based on the estimated balance between pro- and anti-coup forces in Saigon that leave no doubt the United States had a detailed interest in the outcome of a coup against Ngo Dinh Diem. The CIA also provided $42,000 in immediate support money to the plotters the morning of the coup, carried by Lucien Conein, an act prefigured in administration planning Document 17).

The ultimate effect of United States participation in the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem was to commit Washington to Saigon even more deeply. Having had a hand in the coup America had more responsibility for the South Vietnamese governments that followed Diem. That these military juntas were ineffectual in prosecuting the Vietnam war then required successively greater levels of involvement from the American side. The weakness of the Saigon government thus became a factor in U.S. escalations of the Vietnam war, leading to the major ground war that the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson opened in 1965.

(Emphasis added by me)

Someday it may occur to Americans that we are led by people who shouldn’t be allowed to lead a troop of cub scouts. But to be perfectly fair perhaps people aren’t capable or even needed to lead other people. Now there’s a concept.

To the relief of some I will not be posting for a few days. I’m heading to the Bay Area to seek an apartment in Palo Alto in a bold escape from rural America. I never should have left the Bay Area my home for most of my life. I can’t wait to get back. Actually I have found many of the inhabitants of rural America to be very decent people but this place ain’t fer me.

For more betterer reading than my own hackiness on the topic of leaders I would suggest this by Ioz.

And this by Dennis Perrin.


At February 28, 2009 3:13 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

JFK's position on Diem was that if he thought he could have replaced Diem with someone better he would have, but he didn't have anyone better. That is, he knew that Diem would not be able to unite South Vietnam, and therefore, the war was lost. RFK, before his death, said that he and his brother were against these coups because it made the US an untrustworthy ally. It would make allies nervous. Kennedy insiders pointed towards Lodge, the CIA and others as having been behind the coup and Diem's murder.

So if JFK wasn't behind the coup of Diem, then that would mean that he was not totally in control of all the levers of power in the government. If that was the case, then that would make this representation of the evil JFK a bit off target.

Perhaps the best evidence that the CIA would like everyone to believe that JFK was behind the coup is the fact that they forged documents to do so.

Here is some questioning of E. Howard Hunt, under oath, at the Hunt v. Liberty Lobby trial:

Q "Did you ever have discussions with Mr. Colson in which you agreed to falsify State Department cables to show that President John F. Kennedy's administration
ordered the assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem?"

Hunt "I did."

Q "And, in fact, did you falsify and forge those documents?"

Hunt "Did I?" (lengthy pause) "Yes I did."


If the CIA (for E. Howard Hunt was always a CIA man) was falsifying documents to prove that JFK ordered Diem's murder, then what does that prove?

Since JFK's NSAM 263 laid out plans for the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam, forging documents to prove that JFK was still elbow-deep in continuing the war would help to transfer the blame for the continued war on the dead President. Placing him behind the coup of another president would make his own death seem almost justified. It's clear that some people are on the CIA's side on this issue.

It should also be noted that Lodge and his element were the authors of NSAM 273 in the days after JFK's murder. 273 turned around American policy from withdrawing troops to sanctioning an increase in troops in case an incident (remarkably like the Gulf of Tonkin) occurred. It did. The war got bigger.

In the next several years after JFK's death the number of CIA-backed coups around the world multiplied.

The rest is history. But be careful whose history you're relying on.

At February 28, 2009 4:35 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

In "The Assassinations", edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, there is an essay by DiEugenio, "The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy," which goes through the history of slander against Kennedy after his death. For those who rely on the common wisdom of who JFK was, or even the "documented history" (note the forged documents regarding the Diem assassination), the essay is an eye-opener.

The opening two paragraphs can be found here:


I recommend those interested should read the whole thing. In short, if you are part of the permanent government that disposed of Kennedy, and huge swaths of the population not only distrust the official version of the President's assassination but actually mourn over the loss of him, the best thing to do is to keep creating propaganda against JFK (and RFK) and leak it to their people in the media.

Every few years someone comes out with another book demolishing "Camelot". One should look closely at the charges and presumptions of these books and how well they hold up under scrutiny.

And it's advisable to look at who the authors of these books are. Over the years many icons of the Left have put out books for the purpose of tarnishing JFK. For example, Seymour Hersh, who is a darling of the Left for his stories on the Iraq, was originally going to float the fairy tale of the Kennedy brothers and Marilyn Monroe (but his source was exposed before publication). Hersh researched his book by talking with Judith Exner, the Secret Service and the CIA. If you believe that the CIA and Kennedy were in league with each other then you might not see the problem here.

But people in the CIA and the military have been leaking information to him on the war in Iraq. And they were leaking information to him over JFK. Who in the CIA in the 1990s felt the need to leak information to the guy who "exposed" My Lai? And still leak information a decade later?

A closer examination of Hersh's My Lai reporting, even in his second book on the subject (the aptly titled) "Cover Up," finds it lacking in that he makes My Lai appear to be the ragings of the immediate officers, and not, as Doug Valentine explains in "The Phoenix Program," part of the CIA's assassination program in Vietnam.

(As an aside, if more people had read Valentine's book, fewer people would have been surprised at the horrendous doings by our special services in this War on Terror.)

So what we have is Hersh being a mouthpiece for the intelligence agency, providing modified limited hangouts. Ron Rosenbaum points out that Hersh circulated dirt on Daniel Ellsberg. Part of his search for truth?

At March 01, 2009 5:05 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Hi Bob,

Concerning the assassination of Diem I think Prados pretty much says that Kennedy was not involved. On the other hand it does say that there is evidence that Kennedy was involved in the coup overall which is a different thing from what Hunt discusses, that being the assassination of Diem. Of course that wouldn’t mean that Hunt wouldn’t have forged documents concerning the coup itself. I think however that the point remains that we shouldn’t have been involved in Vietnam period. None of this really negates that it was the coup that set the stage for escalation of the war. But we shouldn’t have been there in the first place. And this is key because in the realm of foreign policy this is where the Republicans and Democrats agree the most – that the U.S. has the right to wage imperial wars because of the special nature of the United States. And on a somewhat wider view I think the point is that we shouldn’t idolize national leaders. Like almost all national leaders Kennedy was responsible for the many deaths which hardly makes him a saint.


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