August 25, 2007
It is, sadly, wholly predictable the wind-up cathy-chatty doll, albeit broken and dysfunctional, George Bush, is able to repeat debunked lies and few take him to task.
"US President George Bush has drawn heavy flak from the Democrats with his warning that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq would trigger a bloodbath similar to that in southeast Asia after the US retreat from Vietnam," reports Business Day. "Whatever your position is on that debate (of US intervention), one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms, such as 'boat people’, 're-education camps’ and 'killing fields,’" declared the commander and decidership guy, speaking to the usual captive suspects, this time "veterans of 20th-century conflicts in Asia," that is to say veterans of U.S. aggression against Asia, most notably Vietnam and Cambodia.
In fact, there was no "bloodbath" in Vietnam, at least not of the sort often described by revisionist historians, although there was indeed one in Cambodia. Bush did not mention, nor does he likely know, that in fact the infamous mass murderer of Cambodia, Pol Pot, was supported by the United States. John Pilger writes:
What Kissinger and Nixon began [the premeditated destruction of Cambodia], Pol Pot completed. Had the United States and China allowed it, Cambodia’s suffering could have stopped when the Vietnamese finally responded to years of Khmer Rouge attacks across their border and liberated the country in January 1979. But almost immediately the United States began secretly backing Pol Pot in exile. Direct contact was made between the Reagan White House and the Khmer Rouge when Dr. Ray Cline, a former deputy director of the C.I.A., made a clandestine visit to Pol Pot’s operational base inside Cambodia in November 1980. Cline was then a foreign policy adviser to President-elect Reagan. Within a year some fifty C.l.A. and other intelligence agents were running Washington’s secret war against Cambodia from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and along the Thai-Cambodian border. The aim was to appease China, the great Soviet foe and Pol Pot’s most enduring backer, and to rehabilitate and use the Khmer Rouge to bring pressure on the source of recent U. S. humiliation in the region: the Vietnamese. Cambodia was now America’s "last battle of the Vietnam War," as one U.S. official put it, "so that we can achieve a better result."
This "better result" culminated in the murder of 1.7 million people, more than 20% of the country’s population. The "better result" of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, according to the Cambodian Genocide Project, "was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. As in Nazi Germany, and more recently in East Timor, Guatemala, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot combined extremist ideology with ethnic animosity and a diabolical disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale." Add to this the earlier methodical slaughter of 600,000 Cambodians as a result of a particularly brutal and relentless U.S. bombing campaign. John Pilger again: "Phosphorous and cluster bombs, napalm and dump bombs that left vast craters were dropped on a neutral country of peasant people and straw huts. In one six-month period in 1973, more tons of American bombs were dropped on Cambodia than were dropped on Japan during the second world war: the equivalent of five Hiroshimas. The regime of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger did this, secretly and illegally."
In 1969, Nixon and Kissinger "unleashed the awesome might of B-52 carpet bombing against a people still tilling the soil with water buffalo," writes Robert Scheer for the Los Angeles Times. "Fourteen months and 3,500 sorties later, 'Operation Breakfast,’ the secret code name for the bombing, had totally destabilized Cambodia. PM Norodom Ranariddh "was overthrown with the connivance of the CIA, which had long resented his independent if quirky spirit. But as in Vietnam with the CIA coup against Ngo Dinh Diem, the U.S. could not come up with a viable Cambodian ruler to suit its purposes. Sihanouk was replaced by an inept Lon Nol, a U.S. puppet who could not hold power. The legacy of U.S. policy, including the 600,000 dead and many more maimed and homeless as a result of the bombing, created the conditions for the Khmer Rouge’s seizure of power in 1975. Over the next four years, Pol Pot’s leadership left one out of five Cambodians dead."
Norodom Ranariddh’s overthrow, and the ensuing bloodbath—a real bloodbath, not a mythical one of the sort Bush mentions—is nothing new for the CIA, as the murder and drug importation organization has busily destabilized governments around the world for some time now, often with associated death ratios. In Guatemala, the CIA toppled the Arbenz government and the installed government was provided with "lists of opponents to be eliminated," writes Ralph McGehee, a former CIA employee.
In Chile from 1971 through 1973, the CIA fomented a military coup through forgery and propaganda operations and compiled arrest lists of thousands,
many of whom were later arrested and assassinated. In Bolivia in 1975, the CIA provided lists of progressive priests and nuns to the government which planned to harass, arrest and expel them. To curry the favor of Khomeini, in 1983 the CIA gave his government a list of KGB agents and collaborators operating in Iran. Khomeini then executed 200 suspects and closed down the communist Tudeh party. In Thailand, I provided the names of hundreds of leftists to Thai security services. The Phoenix program in Vietnam was a massive U.S.-backed program to compile arrest and assassination lists of the Viet Cong for action by CIA-created Provisional Reconnaissance Unit death squads. In fact, former Director of the CIA William Colby compared the Indonesian operation directly to the Vietnam Phoenix Program. Colby further admitted directing the CIA to concentrate on compiling lists of members of the PKI and other left groups.
Finally, the "communist" government of Vietnam eventually transformed itself into a miniature slave plantation, based on the Chinese model, of the sort preferred by multinational corporations and "free traders," that is to say the psychotic proponents of shock and awe followed by fire sales and the unfettered pillaging of natural and human resources. "Seventeen year-old women are forced to work 9 to 10 hours a day, seven days a week, earning as little as six cents an hour in the Keyhinge factory in Vietnam making giveaway promotional toys—especially Disney characters—for McDonald’s," explains a boycott page on the Third World Traveler website. "The most basic, simple meal in Vietnam—rice, vegetables, and tofu—costs 70 cents. So, three meals would cost $2.10, yet many of the young women at the Keyhinge factory making McDonald’s / Disney toys earn just 60 cents after a 10 hour shift. Just to eat and get back and forth to work, the women estimate they would need to earn—after deductions—at least 32 cents an hour. So, the wages at the Keyhinge factory do not even cover 20 percent of the daily food and travel costs for a single worker, let alone her family—not to mention rent ($6.00 a month for a single room) and other basic expenses."
Sane people would call this slavery and unmitigated exploitation—and yet on most evenings there is a long drive-thru line at the local McDonald’s.
Even though Vietnam did not experience the sort of bloodbath envisioned by the script-reading Bush, obviously the war and its legacy bodes very well for transnational corporations, as the "communists," who are after all simply garden variety authoritarian butchers and sadists of the sort preferred by CEOs and American presidents alike, are the best possible taskmasters for neoliberal mercantile capitalism.