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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The Dangers of USA Civil War Nostalgia & Romanticism

On November 5, 2015, author Robert Hicks (Twitter) talked about his book The Widow of the South and the place of the USA Civil War in history at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, USA as part of the 5th Civil War Symposium. In my opinion, he oversold the position he took in his New York Times column on the 150th anniversary of the final day of the battle in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. What I heard, which may not be exactly or substantially what Mr. Hicks said, was that the federal government’s victory in the Civil War preserved the United States so it could play a saving role for humanity “twice” in the 20th century C.E. Continue reading

Surrender and Endless War Are Not the Only Two Responses to Terrorism

Scott Hudson’s It Could Happen Anywhere (Verge, Vol 6, No 6, May 2013) presents two possible responses to the Boston Marathon bombings, surrender and endless war.

We are at war with radical Islam and we will likely be in that state of war long past my lifetime. We have two choices in this war. We can give up and convert ourselves, institute Shariah law, pray five times a day facing Mecca, stop listening to music, outlaw dancing, outlaw alcohol, pull our daughters out of school, close down the barbecue restaurants that sell pork, and force women to wear burquas. We can surrender and abandon our entire way of life, because that is the aim of radical Islam, or we can fight.

The most important problem with this passage is that the expressed motivation of every terrorist attack against the United States has been against specific United States policies, such as the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and unqualified support for Israel, not against people’s consumption of pork and alcohol and women’s apparel choices. Continue reading