Belief in the Domino Theory Inadequate to Explain USA Military Intervention in SE Asia #VietnamWarPBS

I’ve written a few entries on Ken Burns’s Public Broadcasting Service series The Vietnam War. In this podcast, Gareth Porter discussed some aspects of the United States’s military intervention which the series did not address well. In particular, the USA military had by 1961 discounted the Domino Theory which was the public basis USA presidents used to convince the public that war was necessary. In addition, USA presidents may be ill-suited to oppose the wishes of a unified pro-war cabinet, military chiefs-of-staff and directors of intelligence agencies. So have a listen.

Gareth Porter wrote a book published in 2006 entitled Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.

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A Palestinian’s Land is More Valuable to Me Than al-Masjid al-Aqsa

image-adapt-960-high-palestinian_refugees_01aIn the wake of the United States’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Israel, I heard yet another Friday sermon on the centrality of Jerusalem and al-Masjid al-Aqsa to Muslims’ religious practice. In fact, every time Israel commits some atrocity towards the Palestinians and Lebanese, such as its 1982 and 2006 invasions of Lebanon, its using its Apartheid Wall to seize more land from Palestinians in the West Bank or its election-cycle timed massacres in Gaza, I hear some sermon like today’s. I’m sure the preacher thinks that he is exhorting Muslims to support the Palestinians, and I don’t criticize that motive. Continue reading

How Should You Answer المذهب (Sect) Question on Your Umra Application?

An acquaintance shared with me his umra visa application. On it, I noticed that the pilgrimage authorities ask for المذهب, which is translated as sect.

umra-visa - cropped
I wonder how the authorities would act if an applicant wrote:

ما ألفيت عليه آبائي

What I found my forefathers practicing

I’m so sick of sectarianism.

Domestic Opposition to USA Wars Was Not Unique to Vietnam, Contrary to the Impression #VietnamWarPBS Gives

9781440845185I know I supposedly summed up my thoughts on Ken Burns’s and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War, but I realized I had neglected to lodge one final complaint. While I don’t remember if the narrator (whom I took to be the voice of Burns & Novick) makes this claim, many interviewees act as if United States citizens had never opposed their government’s wars until Vietnam. The problem with this is that, in our moment of cultural backlash against the 1960s and 1970s, people may attribute opposition to today’s wars to be rooted in cultural developments of the 1960s and 1970s and hence dismiss it.

I’ve written several blog entries about the Burns & Novick PBS documentary The Vietnam War. I’ve also tweeted about it.

Cigarettes Are Best Image of End of USA Trade Embargo with Vietnam

At minute 95:37 of Episode 10 of the PBS Vietnam War series, I captured this screenshot:

USA cigarettes E10-9537

The preceding narration was:

In 1994, after the Vietnamese met the Americans’ demand, the United States lifted its trade embargo. Full normalization came the following year.

I hope the Vietnamese got something more than USA cancer sticks.

I’ve written several blog entries about the Burns & Novick PBS documentary The Vietnam War. I’ve also tweeted about it.

Final Thoughts on @KenBurns #VietnamWarPBS: Will We Wait 40 Years for #AfghanistanWarPBS?

I’ve blogged after watching Episode 1 and Episode 4 of Ken Burns‘s PBS documentary The Vietnam War. I’ve finished watching all 10 episodes, and I thought I’d share some general thoughts on the documentary.

  1. It’s technically extremely well-done and will please any fan of historical documentaries.
  2. Even when interviewees said things with which I disagreed, I felt I could respect or at least acknowledge their perspective. The exception to this is of course war criminal John Negroponte. Like other Burns documentaries, you are moved towards reconciliation.
  3. And of course Burns’s skill at #1 & #2 is the deadly flaw of this documentary: After 10 episodes, the documentary doesn’t editorially tell you how to react to contemporary USA wars. Like President Obama’s speeches, it gives viewers material with which they can arrive at conclusions suited to the preconceptions with which they began the film, although mellowed towards those who draw an opposite conclusion.

Continue reading