Recently I got caught up in a history discussion with some other writers on a LinkedIn forum. The topic of “What was America’s worst war” was introduced by Dennis Byrne, Chicago Sun Times columnist and author of Madness: The War of 1812.
The material is lengthy, so I will present it in two parts. Part 2 will appear tomorrow in my post etitled JFK Conspiracy Fact #8. I present the discussion unedited and unproofed (typos and all), because it is an illuminating conversation. Misinformation about the “why” of Kennedy’s death is rampant, even among the supposedly historically literate. I will identify the writers as they appear.
“I suggest that America's worst war was the War of 1812.
Not Iraq? Not Vietnam?”
Timothy Fleming Author of The President’s Mortician: A Story of How and Why JFK’s Murder was Executed and Covered Up:
“Vietnam...pointless and cruel. War profiteers got rich, of course, but no one else benefitted.”
Jack Durish Author/Historical Fiction, Spy Thrillers, Action/Adventure, Short Stories:
“Every war seems pointless and cruel and war profiteers always get rich, but no one else benefited? How about the other communist inspired insurgencies that failed in Southeast Asia because we attempted to hold the line in Vietnam? Thailand. Indonesia. Et al. And we would have succeeded in Vietnam - indeed we succeeded and then walked away - because we were so poorly led politically.”
“So it is America's right and privilege to determine by what system others will decide their fate? 58,000 dead Americans to accomplish what? Prevent SE Asians from determining their own fate? We lost the war. The North overran Saigon in April 1975. Did you miss that chapter? And you seem to ascribe innocent motivations to USA intentions. Naïve.”
“No, Timothy, I do not advocate that the US has any special privileges or rights to determine anything for others. Indeed, it's a fool's errand to attempt it (as seen so clearly in Iraq). Especially when we espouse a system (democracy) that we do not ourselves want (well at least those among us who think).
The fact is that the South Vietnamese had made their choice to avoid communism and made that choice clear. The partition of Vietnam was based on that decision. However, the communists were hell bent on expanding their plans for world domination throughout Southeast Asia (and later everywhere else) and invaded South Vietnam. Yes, there were South Vietnamese who joined their cause, but it was never a popular movement in that country.
Now tell me: Where should we have fought that war?”
“Where? Nowhere. It was never our war. It was theirs. We made it our war for profit. It was Bell Helicopter's war. It was Halliburton's war. It was Brown & Root's war. It was Ling- Temco-Vought's war. It was Dow's war. It was General Dynamics war. It was not fought to beat back the communists; it was fought for profit.”
“Timothy: What proof do you have of your assertions? Yes, those companies profited from the war. Profits in and of themselves are not evil. (Well, to communists they were evil) However, those profits were merely an outcome of the conflict unless you can provide specific proof that those organizations actually caused the US entry into the war. Where's the proof?
Harry Truman became famous for investigating and uncovering "war profiteering". These were people who "took illegal advantage" of the opportunity. They paid bribes and gave favors to those who insured that they obtained government contracts at excessive profits. However, even in that case, he never found that the proof that they inspired Hitler to invade Europe or the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. Likewise, there is no proof that any American organization colluded with Joseph Stalin to strive for world domination or encouraged North Vietnam to invade their southern neighbors.”
“There's not enough room here to provide the evidence. Please read my latest work, "The President's Mortician." http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ASIN/098882907X
Sorry for the link and shameless plug, but I have neither the time nor the space here to give you a good answer. Have no doubt, though, that I DO have rock-solid evidence that Vietnam was fought to line the pockets of the wealthiest, most powerful defense contractors...the kind of corporations that can make kings, write the laws, control the information, and subvert democracy for their own means.”
“Timothy: Out of respect, I will put your book on my TBR pile. Unfortunately, it is a huge and terrifying thing. Although, I must admit that I've read evidence purporting to prove the same case (maybe different from yours, maybe the same) and all ranks up there with other conspiracy theories alongside such venerable examples as the "Grassy Knoll" conspiracy or the fact that George Bush had explosives planted in the WTC Towers and had it detonated in time with holographic projections of airlines crashing into them. Alternatively, I have read credible history regarding the events we've been speaking of.and found perfectly reasonable explanations for our involvement in Vietnam.
Furthermore, I have studied the history of Korea and Cuba (of which I've written novels) and see the same diplomatic bumbling as evidenced in all US attempts to steer foreign relations. My research has led me to wish on occasion that some secret cabal would take over our relations with other nations. They couldn't do worse than the State Department and would be entitled to some reasonable profits for their efforts.”
"Fair enough, Jack. It is a terrifying thing, but I want to know my real history...not the crap we've been fed to assuage or deepest suspicions. As Thoreau said, "More than love, than riches, than fame. give me the truth!"
Nice talking to you...and please send the link for your Cuba novel."