35 Years After Vietnam

I admit to have been one of those people who actually supported the Vietnam war in the beginning of 1967. After all, it was an American war, I was an American, ipso facto, Q.E.D. My opposition to the conflict evolved over the next year or so…


Was it only six years ago when I realized that the Vietnam war, contrary to the historic record, was not over after all? I’m talking, of course, about Vietnam vet John Kerry and what he did (or didn’t) do in protesting a war he once fought in, dredged up during the 2004 Presidential election between Kerry and George W. Bush, whose own military record also came into question.

I admit to have been one of those people who actually supported the Vietnam war in the beginning of 1967. After all, it was an American war, I was an American, ipso facto, Q.E.D. My opposition to the conflict evolved over the next year or so, starting with the Beyond Vietnam speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he died. (Was that just coincidence?)

The group that most influenced me at the time was the VVAW, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. It was one thing for civilians to oppose the war. It was quite another thing to see soldiers who had been fighting the war then come out against it.

In time, I found about some of the history of conflict in Vietnam, the fighting against the Japanese and the French, among others. The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 might have signaled the end of colonial occupation, but it led to greater involvement by the Americans, first in small numbers of analysts in the 1950s to massive numbers troops in the mid-1960s, facilitated in no small part by the prevarication that was the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in August of 1964.

No doubt that many of the soldiers may have operated honorably, but it’s also true that the My Lai massacre in 1968 was not the only atrocity in this drawn-out engagement. My buddy Steve Bissette wrote a piece about a couple films delineating military failings during Vietnam and a more recent conflict. (I actually chuckled when I discovered his post was dated February 2, for that was the date in 1972 when the draft for those born in 1953 took place; that’s a LONG story.)

My general disinclination towards war is fueled by the belief that even in a “good war” (a true oxymoron), bad things, unintended things occur. Even the “good guys” get it wrong sometimes, regardless of the safeguards. Thus war should always be a last resort, not a first option.

In a bold attempt to be “fair and balanced, I point out to you The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Vietnam War — “the latest installment in Regnery Publishing’s bestselling Politically Incorrect Guide™ (“PIG”) series — [Phillip] Jennings gives you the surprising truth, and backs it up with facts that liberals ignore.”

I should note that I haven’t read the book. Among the assertions:
*The Tet offensive was a debacle for the North Vietnamese
*Communist Vietnam is now trying to emulate a more capitalist approach
I actually agree with both of those statements, but not with most of the others.

Thirty-five years after Vietnam and we’re still fighting the war.

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Pete Seeger: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Pete turns 91 on Monday.

ROG

I am painting

I am painting the attic. The daughter helped me with the primer coat, but still–
I am painting the attic because, after we got half of the attic insulated – in JANUARY – the Wife said we had to paint that half of the attic.
I am painting the attic, even though she didn’t mention painting it BEFORE we got the attic insulated.
I am painting the attic, since she thought it was “obvious” that we would have to paint it after the insulation.
I am painting the attic, even though the only time painting is “obvious” to me is when paint is peeling or obviously faded.
I am painting the attic, even though I think it’s “just the attic”.
I am painting the attic because all of the items in the one half of the attic are now jammed in the other half of the attic, making everything in the attic inaccessible.
I am painting the attic because I want to play my LPs.
I am painting the attic because I want to access my summer clothes.
I am painting the attic because it’s the only way to get to about half of my books.
I am painting the attic because there are things on the second floor, including the Christmas decorations, that really need to go up to the attic.
I am painting the attic despite the fact that I hate painting – the feel of paint, the smell of paint. Don’t tell me that modern paint has “no smell”.
I am painting the attic despite the fact that I can’t see the difference between the current light gray walls, the white primer and the yellow paint, so I keep painting over the same areas. Maybe I’m just colorblind.
I am painting the attic now, even though it would have been better to paint the attic in the winter, when it’s not as warm.
I am painting the attic, even though it takes time away from writing a decent blog post.
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Go look at these quite spectacular pictures of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
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May Day, May Day! Free Comic Book Day, the Kentucky Derby and May Day all converge on May 1.
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Do pacifiers lead to drug addiction and masturbation?

ROG

TV Fandom Meme

Please, Spock, do me a favor… and don’t say it’s `fascinating’

From Mr. Frog.

Pick five of your favorite shows, in no particular order, before you read the below questions, then answer them!

1. M*A*S*H
2. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
3. The Dick van Dyke Show
4. Homicide: Life on the Street
5. The Twilight Zone

Continue reading “TV Fandom Meme”

O is for Olympics


You thought that when the closing ceremonies took place in Vancouver, BC at the end of February, the high-caliber athletes had almost all left town. But there would be, in March, a parallel “Olympics”, he Paralympics, coming to the Canadian city. This involves a number of athletes who compete at the highest levels despite their physical disabilities.

The Paralympics started in 1960 (summer) and 1976 (winter), and has its own governing board, separate from the IOC. Yet, since the Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, the location of these games have paralleled the locations of the Summer and Winter Olympics. At least for the next Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the Olympics and the Paralympics share a common organizing committee. I called the U.S. folks in the Paralympic movement to clarify the relationship between the two groups, but the public relations person was not available.

The summer and winter games include the following sports, governed by the IPC: Alpine Skiing, Athletics, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Powerlifting, Shooting, Swimming, Wheelchair Dance Sport, plus several sports regulated by international federations, and a handful of others under the jurisdiction of International Organization of Sport for the Disabled.

The Paralympics are not to be confused with the Special Olympics, founded by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. “For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves.”

Not incidentally, this year is the premiere of the Youth Olympic Games;you can find more here.

Of course, there are the Olympics, which ran for about 1000 years, then was canceled for over a millennium, with a few furtive attempts to restart during that time. I’m not going to talk about the modern Games, which started in 1896, except for three things:
1) if I ever get to Switzerland, I MUST go to the Olympic museum
2) a really cool feature on the olympic.org site is feature that can retrieve all the Olympic results from 1896 through 2008; Vancouver is not yet represented.
3)Juan Antonio Samaranch, former IOC head, recently died. Got to say that he really modernized the financing of the games, though there were some issues over the Salt Lake City Games. And, except for American Avery Brundidge, he was the only IOC head I could name.


Sumi, the Paralympics mascot

ABC Wednesday
ROG