Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Nation Cast Adrift

I miss Minh Duc very much. He was one of my favorite commenters and bloggers, both for his wonderfully wacky English, and for his willingness to share his experiences. Here is a snip of one of his last posts, where he weighs in on the absurdity of our tax code. He explains first that he once worked part time preparing other peoples' taxes. Then he says:

Our tax system is so bizzare that the tax payers cannot report their income to the government — and on top of the already heavy tax burden, have to pay someone else to do so. My friends, you are not less intelligent because you could not fine your own tax. Many of my clients were successful doctors and brilliant engineers. The idiots are the people who wrote the tax code. To quote my drill sergeant in Basic Training, the Internal Revenue Code, “was written by four monkeys on a crack pipe.”

Boat peopleMinh Duc was one of the boat people out of Vietnam. As the Democrats’ hysteria sounds increasingly like a shameless Vietnam-Déjà-Vu, I think of him often, and wish he were still blogging.

Minh Duc may not be unique, but I don’t personally know of anyone with his experience. Not only did he endure the re-education camps and killing fields after we abandoned the Vietnamese to their bloody fate, he also survived the boat trip and made it to the US. When he grew up, he joined the military and served for several years in Iraq.

He was intelligent, funny, and informed. I do wish he were still around to serve as the conscience for those who would turn tail and run from Iraq. Every time one of them opens their mouth, I think of him and how he might reply to these quislings.

Today I came upon an essay that would appeal to Minh Duc. Wherever he is, I hope he reads it.

Here is an excerpt from “I Say Again, They Are Cowards and Tucktails” -

To the men and women who would do this, I maintain that you are nothing but a group of tucktails. If the Iraq War is so bad, so immoral, do everything in your power to stop it. Allocate no funds. Bush vetoes? Keep allocating no funds. Force Bush to choose between literal force protection and a staredown.

Stupid, immoral, cowardly excuses for human beings, the lot of you. If this war is merely a waste of lives and treasure, you are honor-bound to stop it at all costs. So do it. Relive the 1970s. Show us that you accept the inevitable slaughter of millions as irrelevant so that we can all watch the evening news without being bothered. Prove that refugees dying on boats and in camps are merely pictures, and not men, women, and children possessed of human dignity, being tortured because the United States won’t live up to its promises. Remind the world again that we are a paper tiger, and then grieve when another embassy is held hostage.
- - - - - - - - - -
Heck, why wait? Why don’t we go slaughter a million Iraqis in bombing runs, so this time the blood will be directly on our hands, and we can avoid the irritating images of boat people and other refugees fleeing genocide?

Well, this man has written my thoughts as clearly as if he looked in my head and decided to put down on paper what he saw roiling in my brain.

Please read the whole thing. Then contemplate what Minh Duc and the other survivors of Vietnam who made it out must be thinking of us now.

We have troops stationed in Germany and Korea. Where is the clarion calling them home? Why do we have troops in Europe at all? Why aren’t they in Iraq, where they are so desperately needed, instead of in Germany, where they are looked upon with contempt by all peace-loving Europeans?

We are no more than boat people ourselves: a nation cast adrift, tossed this way and that with each passing tide. We will have to answer for our pusillanimity when history judges us for fleeing once again.

What happens to a country which repeatedly fails to stay the course?

12 comments:

Adam said...

As a Vietnamese American, this touched a nerve. As a person who lost his country, I ask Americans to have faith and stand with people struggling for freedom. As proud new American though, I push for my countrymen to not compromise their values and withdraw.

It is sad that people here would cowardly endorse withdrawal at the cost of the Iraqis and most of all to the extreme detriment of this country. You bagg and scream that of US imperialism and tyranny whenever a Iraqi civilian is killed ,yet you ignore the fact without the US in Iraqi, even more civilians would be killed. Killed not because of unintended collateral damage which exist in all wars, but by systematic ethnic cleansing.

How about the freedom to exist? The freedom not to be maimed or killed because of your religion or race? Would you seek to deny the Iraqi's this basic freedom like you did in Southeast Asia after you withdraw? Do you think Iraqi want your definition of freedom(aka US withdrawal), but not want an even more basic and fundamental freedom?

People who want withdrawal, when Iraqi goes to shit a year after US withdrawal, will you bitch and moan about how Bush dragged you in there and that we should have been there in the first place? How about accepting reality the US is in Iraqi right now regardless of what you said before and now... how about acknowledging that the victorious Jihadi forces could give less of a rat ass if you were against the war. The Jihadi will kill you, the infidel, the same.

entropy said...

I am not Vietnamese like Adam but I have my own perspective based upon my Father's life and experiences. He has passed on now so he doesn't have to have his heart broken again.

He went to VN as an adviser in '62 if I remember correctly. He came back to the states for the last time in '69. He believed in the mission and was as frustrated as anyone about the way it was being conducted. He never advocated or supported the pull out. I remember him using the term "betrayal" at the time.
He had many close friends in SE Asia that he thought the world of and he mourned their sure loss.

Those that would create a legacy of betrayal in this generation and consign the thousands of dead and wounded to enforced and unnecessary meaninglessness are worse than the enemy that is blowing us up because they pretend to care about something other than their own power.

Gringo_Malo said...

Generally, personal anecdotes are not relevant to the formation of a rational foreign policy. Seizing the oilfields of the Middle East might make sense, but attempting to impose a Western-style democracy on Muslims is idiotic. In the case of Iraq, it's already been done once, and we've seen how badly it turned out.

As an American, I really don't give a damn about Iraq or anyone who lives there. I don't care what might happen to the Iraqis who have collaborated with the U.S. after our forces leave. They should have known better.

Not all who want to leave Iraq are liberals or Democrats. Paleoconservatives such as Samuel Francis saw the folly of this war from its inception. Even I predicted that we'd quickly crush Saddam's armed forces and then lose the guerilla war, as we did in Vietnam.

We're losing the Iraqi War for the same reason we lost the Vietnam War: Americans came to understand neither war really served their interests. Why we allow ourselves to be dragged into such pointless ventures is a more important question than the fate of Iraq.

Dymphna said...

gringo_malo--

Your personal point of view on the folly of the war -- and the personal viewpoints of those you bring in to back up your opinion -- are of no greater import than the viewpoint of anyone else. In fact, our history can often inform our decisions with more wisdom than mere calculations of self-interest.

In the long run, the self-interest of America will be very poorly served by a cut-and-run job, repeated again. The reverberations of our fearful retreat and the eventual killing fields of Vietnam and Pol Pot are still part of the global calculus used to assess our seriousness and our moral standing as a nation. A shameful, politically-based (and therefore short-term) decision to leave Iraq to its fate is both morally wrong and realistically short-sighted.

You remind me of parents I've met who adopt a child and then decide several years later to give it back because it's troublesome.

Had we gone all the way to Baghdad in the beginning, under Bush I, and cut off the snake's head then, we wouldn't be in this situation...it's a case of the sins of the father being visited on the sons.

We weren't wrong to invade the snake pit, we were wrong to let the State Dept anywhere near the place. They wanted Kerry to win that last election(and thus secure plum jobs for themselves) so they deliberately messed it up. Iraqis who wittnessed that debacle are rightfully bitter.

Why we "allow ourselves to be dragged into such pointless ventures" is a question to be considered after we have fully finished in Iraq. Since we now have the wisdom accrued by our experience subsequent to leaving Vietnam, we know where our duty lies.

falcon_01 said...

First my thanks to those who served in uniform, and those who serve by spreading truth. We need to see the long-term implications of leaving. The wins are almost never reported. If we go, we are abandoning people to death. Some might not care, fine. Isolationism has historically never served our own interests. If Iraq falls to chaos, it will be viewed as a sign from "god" that the terrorists are right and that we are weak. I could care less what someone thinks of me, if that was where it ended, but that's not where it ends. They will rally behind their victory, slaughter millions, and attack us on our own soil. Their long-term goal is nothing less than chaos and the end of all freedom. If isolationists have their way, and if we leave the rest to fend for themselves, the collapse of europe will speed up and the already increasing number of terrorist attacks will surge. If the middle east is abandoned, much less an already teetering europe, how much longer will we in the US last?
We can not bury our heads in the sand and think only of the short term. We must think in terms of decades! The enemy must be stopped no matter what, because if they are not, the costs will be higher than every single war related death in history stretching back to the dawn of time!

Gringo_Malo said...

I certainly never decided to adopt Iraq. If, during the buildup to the war, Saddam's Iraq had been portrayed as a child to be adopted rather than a deadly danger to Americans (which it wasn't), we wouldn't be having this discussion.

It's certainly true that my opinions are no more important than anyone else's. Neither are the opinions of those who would wage an endless and futile war to impose democracy by force on Muslims. The majority of Americans will eventually force a withdrawal from Iraq, perhaps covered by the same sort of fig leaf that covered our withdrawal from Vietnam. As for "keeping our promises," well, history should have informed you that governments make and break promises all the time, as the interests of their ruling classes dictate.

The great irony of the Iraq War is that it will do nothing to stop militant Islam - especially while an adjacent country (Saudi Arabia) remains a sanctuary for jihadist guerillas and source of supply and funding for militant Islam - especially while millions of Middle Eastern Muslims roam freely about the United States and Europe, with more coming all the time - especially while Middle Eastern Muslims are still issued student visas to attend our flight schools. I'm not necessarily opposed to war in general, mind you. If we had some ratioinal objective, such as seizing the oilfields of Iraq and the Arabian peninsula, then I'd be all in favor of the war. That would end the Islamic threat.

Alexis said...

We have troops stationed in Germany and Korea. Where is the clarion calling them home? Why do we have troops in Europe at all? Why aren’t they in Iraq, where they are so desperately needed, instead of in Germany, where they are looked upon with contempt by all peace-loving Europeans?

No German or Korean suicide bombers. No Serb or Okinawan suicide bombers either. As it appears, American troops will leave when suicide bombers attack them but stay when there are no suicide bombers around. Compare that to Vietnam where bombs were strapped to children to kill American soldiers.

Sadly, the moral of modern American politics appears to be that suicide bombing is highly effective in inducing war weariness. Few other means are nearly so effective.

Dymphna said...

Alexis--

It *is* war weariness, you are right. But it's a weariness combined with a malign intent by the left to draw our purposes as dark and imperial. Those in control of what information gets out make sure that the "information" is unremittingly dispiriting -- and so people turn aside because they feel helpless to effect any other outcome.

gringo_malo--

Seizing the oil fields would do what exactly? I mean, beyond bringing us to war with China and India in short order. That kind of policy would ensure our destruction.

That's the kind of thinking that was old by the 1930's. Let's not bring it back.

eatyourbeans said...

Seizing the oil fields would do what exactly? I mean, beyond bringing us to war with China and India in short order.

Well, dumbos like the ones in Washington might end up there, but slyer minds might get China & India interested in a condominium over all the middle east oil reserves. I bet they're not as squeamish about practicing old fashioned colonism as we are; besides give the carve-up a internationalist, NGO-type monniker and nobody will mind. ERA: Energy Resources Administration, or something. As for the inhabitants of the region who might mind, well, it's lucky that their religion tells them to like being dead.

Now, there's a '"diplomatic solution" I could get excited about!

Gringo_Malo said...

Old thinking is not necessarily wrong thinking. Islamic terrorism exists only because Muslims have money to finance it. Muslims have money only because Western governments allowed them to nationalize oil production facilities developed by British and American companies. Depriving Muslims of their oil income will put an end to Islamic terrorism, or at least decrease its scope to the point where it's no longer noticeable.

If China and India were going to declare war, why didn't they do it in 2003, when we invaded Iraq? Do you think that they really believed the Bush administration's propaganda? Why wouldn't their governments prefer to have a more reliable government manage Middle Eastern oilfields?

Dymphna said...

eat your beans--

Divide things with China?? We -- and the rest of the world -- would come out on the short end of the stick on that one. China doesn't play well with others. China doesn't even play well with her own, e.g., the fierece riots in the south.

gringo_malo--

China knew we weren't going after the oil fields and hoped Iraq would be a tar baby that would hold us back. *they* know our State Dept very well.

When you say "Islamic terrorism exists only because Muslims have money to finance it" you overlook 1400 years of bloody terror wherever they have gone...long before the concept of oil existed. They were working with the Germans as far back as WWI.

Islamism is just another form of bloody fascism, Utopian and sterile at heart.

We will face it again here before long, and would have eventually, anyhow. We will only be in as much trouble as Europe is if we ever let the Muslim population grow to a critical size, like more than 4 or 5 per cent.

Gringo_Malo said...

As I've said before, I'm very much in favor of prohibiting Muslim immigration to the United States, and removing the Muslims who've already come. If we seized the Middle Eastern oilfields and caused most of the Muslims of Iraq and the Arabian peninsula to revert to Bedouinism, very few of them would have the resources to come here anyway. That would obviate the problem of facing Islamic terror here in America. As things are, we admit more potential shahids to our country every day, even as we fight their cousins in Iraq.

Obviously, China acquiesced in our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. If China seriously opposed any American policy, China could impose an embargo, shut down Wal-mart, cause our violent urban underclass to pillage all of our cities simultaneously, and bring America to its collective knees in a matter of days. Despite the delusions of our politicians, America is no longer a superpower.

That's all the more reason for us to bring our troops home if we're not willing or able to take any effective measures against Islam. Notice that I said Islam, not Islamofascism, or militant Islam, or fundamentalist Islam, or Islamic terrorism. As things are, our idiot-in-chief still pronounces that Islam is a religion of peace. He still claims to be fighting a "War on Terror" rather than a war against the adherents of Islam. Obviously, in war the enemy must be a group of people (e.g., the Japs or the Krauts), not an abstract concept. Soldiers can't shoot concepts; they can only shoot people. It's difficult to imagine how we can win a war while our leaders are afraid to name the enemy.