Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
The notion that America fought in Vietnam to preserve freedom and democracy in the world - the moronic “domino effect” idea - is thoroughly bankrupt. It is a lie, it always was a lie, and it was known to be a lie while the conflict was going on and the White House and the Pentagon were filling the world’s ears with bunk. But bunk is popular and politicians cannot succeed in the business of politics by bursting publicity balloons and denying myths, hence the fierce struggle between the anti-war movement and the conservative American status quo in the 1960s and 70s. Any society can barely tolerate challenges to its myths, especially legitimate challenges, as we see all around us every day. Plus, the status quo is always fiercely conservative, no matter what kind of status quo it is.
We see it today as American politicians like Republican Senator John McCain, or Democratic Senator John Kerry before him tout their Vietnam service records in a presidential election campaign as an ennobling, qualifying feature of their resumes. Just the opposite, I suggest. The Vietnam War was a disgrace and their war records ought to disqualify them considering how stupid, wrong, morally, intellectually and strategically bankrupt the escapade was. Senator McCain’s campaign continually boasts about his Air Force service and subsequent imprisonment. What we do not hear mentioned is the Senator’s proven efficacy at killing innocent civilians, women and children, or his complicity in war crimes. So I suggest that Senator McCain’s claim to expertise in defense policy - at least so far as it is based on his Vietnam service record - is a vacuous boast, and that former President Bill Clinton’s and current Democratic challenger Barak Obama’s lack of military service in no way disqualifies them from claiming expertise in defense matters. Indeed, a public record of flag-burning or anti-war demonstrations by itself is not enough to make me think ill of a candidate, or disqualifies the candidate in my opinion. And, considering conflicts like the Vietnam War or the current illegal escapade in Iraq, such records could be called endearing.