399 Comments
Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

As a Foreign Service Officer with Congo-burnished credentials for operating in ‘sticky’ situations, I twice (1965 & 1967) refused an ‘invitation’ from our ambassador in Saigon to join him. Then it was clear to me that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

We were engaged against virulent nationalism and Ho, a patriotic leader, while there was a government merry go round in Saigon. This Greek tragedy ended with President Johnson not running for re-election, tens of thousands of dead Americans, and millions of dead Vietnamese.

Back then who could have imagined that an American president would be visiting the Ho Chin Minh palace and be cementing a strategic alliance with Vietnam against China (historically an enemy of Vietnam)?

Of course, growing up in World War II, I was taught to hate the Japanese and the Germans, who, not long after the end of WW II, became vital American allies.

One of the few constants in recent history is that Russia under Putin and China under Xi I would consider irreversible enemies.

I applaud President Biden for his effective strategy in Asia.

I also salute him for honoring John McCain, who served his country nobly. That Bone Spur Donald denigrated Senator McCain by declaring that ‘he didn’t consider a hero a person who was captured’ and Lindsay Graham took a 180 degree turn against his once-close-friend McCain highlights the duplicity of Trumpublicans.

Senator McCain, while dying of cancer, made a heroic effort to come to the Senate and preserve Obamacare with his vote. I consider McCain an American hero.

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Keith, what an amazing career of public service you’ve led and am glad you followed your conscience in regard to Vietnam. I was gobsmacked at TFFG’s comments about Senator McCain—one of the way too many times my jaw hits the floor at his utterances; this from a guy who had his own “war to fight” between the sheets in NYC (bone spurs weren’t an impediment there apparently) & his pretend “smack down” WWE tough guy performance. I wonder if Lindsay Graham would even be able to look John McCain in the eye these days. TFFG is a hateriot, never has been a patriot. I will rest easier and be so relieved when he is just a distant small speck in my rearview mirror.

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Lindsay Graham is liar, crybaby, sniveling, wimp. If Senator McCain were alive today, Graham would not only not be able to look Senator McCain the eye, he would most likely avoid him. Mere words can't describe what a huge sleaze bag Graham is, he is in the league with the likes of Donald TUMP, Qevin McCarthy, and Gym Jordan, just to name a few in the Fascist GQP.

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How these people keep getting reelected is beyond me. What must their constituents be like and what are they getting out of reelecting these people? An embarrassment to the office they hold.

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Angelica, It is a wonder in some ways. My hair dresser lived in South Carolina for a long time and last haircut, I got the lowdown on Lindsay Graham. The people in SC keep electing him because he represents their own fears and prejudices.

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Makes sense, and is sad.

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And Trump has something on him!!!

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Incumbency is powerful. Once a person gets into an office it's very hard to get them out if they don't leave voluntarily. Name recognition is a big factor, as is the incumbent's ability to raise money. While I'm forever grateful to anyone who takes the time to vote, the truth is that far too many just sleepwalk to the polls.

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Sold his soul, if he ever had one. Maybe he was just a great pretender, a balloon full of hot air, soon to be deflated with the prick of a pin…

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I still think Putin has something on him and told TFFG, who uses it as leverage to keep Lindsey close. There was a 180° difference in his feelings about TFFG after they played golf together in (I believe) 2017.

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I agree, but any soul he had was totally squashed

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There are many Never Trumpers who ended up selling their souls to sate their golden idol (but he is made of fool's gold.)

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I am certain he has and something on LG and probably others.

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Jeri…hmmm how about a pin in a prick?! ;-D

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Barbara What a prickly feeling!

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Love this comment! Thanks again, Barbara!

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Fani Willis almost did…

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Looked like mission accomplished from here. No “almost” there!

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And after he is deflated, i could say, '' Pop goes the weasel'' I might add that Graham is a big COWARD!!!

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Agree, His humanity leaked out on the golf course a few years back.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

John Graham is a goddamned political weathervane. The best I can say about him is thankfully he doesn’t seem to like women and has no progeny to sully our world.

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Lindsey, the not indicted weathervane being blown by strong directional winds from the far right.

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Keith, according to my hair dresser, he has been with the same person for many years and the voters know this and overlook it.

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He's an opportunist. When Trump became a candidate in 2016, Graham badmouthed him, but after Trump got into the WH, Lindsey became his bestie and favorite golf buddy. He's been a useful idiot for years. Now why hasn't he been indicted?

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Lindsay?

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Linseed?

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No. That would make him part of OPEC.

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Reviewing the careers and utmost allegiance to country above self, as in the likes of John McCain and Captain Larry Taylor, and contrasting it with the hollowness of critical thinking and elevation of self over anything and everything else, up to the demise of our country, in the likes of the band you've characterized as the "Fascist GQP", one can only shake their head. I remember watching and disliking Keystone Cops movies, regarding the incompetence as impossibly unrealistic behavior. And yet here I am, watching with horrific fascination in real time said members of Congress with Tommy Tuberville as one of their big stars, the most epic slapstick movie ever dreamed of....

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Mr. Graham is an honorable cog in the American apparatus called:

Democracy.

Which, is one BIG reason why Trump is so popular.

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I can't forget or really forgive the John McCain who endorsed Mitch McConnell's declaration that "his" Senate would never confirm any SCOTUS appointments made by President Hillary Clinton. He had some good moments and perhaps more than any other Republican Senator in the modern era but he was no paladin of justice.

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I doubt there is ANY political figure in history who can survive the purity test. It is important to see both good and bad, but let's not throw out the good because of some failings.

I think 5 1/2 years of imprisonment and torture -- especially knowing he could have been released sooner because of his connections -- covers quite a few "sins." And Obama care is a huge blessing.

No, not a paladin of justice, but a decent, yet flawed, man. Far better than most these days.

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Well stated Cheryl.

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Flaws on top of flaws, few escape, no matter their intention. Some learn, some add to their flaws. I know this well…

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Carol/Jim I wrote up a presentation made by McCain’s long-time staff aide. McCain had good and dreadful aspects. Still, my balance sheet on him is good.

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Agreed on McCain’s failings, I’ll throw In Sarah Palin, too, but in the main he was noble.

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He knew what a monstrous mistake he had made with Palin. I remember him being on stage with her just before the election and he could hardly look at her...could you imagine a working relationship with her if he had won?

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I recall that he had little to do with Palin being chosen as his running mate. He met her 2 hours before it was announced at the convention, allegedly.

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My sentiments exactly, thank you for articulating them so precisely

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I had a military physical in 1973 and they pointed out that I had a bone spur. I applied for an ROTC scholarship, but didn't get it (thankfully).

The one question they asked me was, "Are you willing to cut your hair and shave your beard?" I said, "Yes." But I didn't until I got out of college 4 years later.

Anyway, after the physical my status remained at "1A" even with a bone spur. When they drew numbers in 1973 my birthday lottery number was 49. Fortunately for me, they ended the draft the year before.

Maybe TFFG's bone spur was worse than mine, or maybe Daddy made a contribution to the right people-- on several occasions.

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Gary Some years later Trump make a joke about his ‘bone spur,’ not remembering whether it was on his left or right foot. The doctor who discovered this draft-dodging situation [his doctor records could never be found] was renting an office from Trump’s dad and owed him a favor.

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LOL, Figures. My dad worked for the IRS from 1951 to 1983. He never had enough power to do anyone any favors. He retired at 62 as a GS-3. He had a bachelors in Accounting and was missing 3 fingers on his right hand from a wound in WWII. But, he was never good with people so he never got a promotion.

To pay for college I painted houses during the summer. One day at dinner my dad casually says, "Your name came up on the delinquent accounts report today." I nearly fainted expecting someone to haul me off to jail And that was all he said. He had no other information.

My dad used to make the daily deposits for his office. Back then, everyone in Nebraska sent their returns to the office in Omaha. Many people came into the office and paid their taxes in cash. Anyway, the bank was 3 blocks away and everyday he walked the deposit to the bank. He mentioned that around April 15th the deposits would contain tens of thousands in cash. He was never robbed fortunately.

A couple of days later I received a letter from the IRS asking me to explain why I hadn't filed my quarterly report for the the first 6 months of the year. I called them and explained that I only started working each year in June and that was that.

For an 18 year old "Boy Scout" it was a very scary 3 or 4 days.

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I had a college deferment but had to take ROTC to maintain it. To my father's horror, immature me quit because I detested the power-tripping punk who ordered me around. Luckily, my on-the-border lottery number wasn't picked. But who was I compared to the millions killed and maimed?

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Thank you, Barbara for your comment today!

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My understanding is that the War also derailed Johnson signature "War on Poverty". I never have understood what our goal was in that conflict that was worth that price, even had we prevailed.

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Blinded by communism, afraid that the Republicans would accuse LBJ of being soft, blinded by a miss guided analogy to Munich, and, of course, the other present military industrial complex seeking opportunities for wars where they can make a lot of money. The march of folly continues. Sadly, it’s as if we learn nothing from Vietnam wasting trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sadly so many dead and wounded and traumatized people. Will we ever learn to beat swords into plowshares?

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

Seth In a sense the Bush/Cheney//Rumsfeld 2003 Iraq war was even worse that our being sucked into the French situation in Vietnam after China webcams communist.

Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a buffer against Iran. They had just completed a deadly 8 year war. Especially Cheney was engaged in pushing false info to launch an unnecessary war. There were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD). UN inspectors, using CIA info, found nary a one.

What occurred was pulling the plug out of the Middle East dike of manageable instability. We are still living with this dreadful calumny.

As for Afghanistan. We were as misinformed as were the Soviets when they invaded in 1979.

Our ‘least worst war’ probably was Granada in 1983. Why did we invade? One possible reason, under Reagan, was to preserve nut meg for Xmas drinks—Granada produced 50% of the world’s nutmeg.

In fact it had more to do with Reagan wishing to appear ‘strong, after his administration had foolishly cost the lives of about 240 Marines who were killed in a Beirut bombing.

Wouldn’t it nice to have the 14th century custom of having the leaders who launch wars march at the head of their troops on a horse and with a suit of armor.

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Thank you for your commentary. Brilliant. I despair deeply about our Bush wars. Notably all of these people avoided the draft in Vietnam. Cowards. All leaders should be made to study the march of folly by Barbara truckman. There is no wisdom and no sense of history. Putin is doing it all over again in Ukraine. Will we ever learn?

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Seth Barbara Tuchman’s THE MARCH OF FOLLIES is my Baedeker to historical stupidities. The Brits ignored their self interests in the American Revolution. I would love to have the movie rights for her X-rated account of Renaissance popes. Celibate with progeny. And an 11-year-old Cardinal.

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Reagan invaded Grenada to appear “strong “ after the Beirut barracks bombing ? Grenada ? Strong ? No one at that time or on 9/11 could get their mind around that kind of bombing or men flying jet planes into office building so B does not follow A here. Neocons like Reagan and Bush 2 like war as national policy because it demonstrates a strong nation. That we are not particularly good at war never seems to enter their minds.

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War, they believed, was good for the corporations. They tend to profit greatly in the market for military commodities, everything from ammunition to granola bars.

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Keith, thank you for my first smile of the am.....preserving the supply of nutmeg.

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Michele I first deduced the nutmeg reason back in 1983. One public reason was to ‘rescue’ American medical students who were threatened. (The students were astonished to hear this). Another reason was that ‘Cubans’ were building a massive airfield.

I prefer my nutmeg reason. Xmas without nutmeg sprinkled egg nog? Cause to go to the barricades. Actually, our invasion force was so uncoordinated that officers had to phone NC military base to connect with the army and the navy. It was a version of The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

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I remember that fiasco,. I just didn't know it was about nutmeg!!

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Thanks, as always, for your perspective from the "been there/done that" realm.

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Well said , Keith!

Thom Hartmann's latest supports your comments.

https://hartmannreport.com/p/america-cant-let-the-911-war-lies-26c?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2

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Thanks, Bill for the link to the Hartmann report. Always interesting and beyond informative. What we wont hear or see from msm.

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Excellent analysis. I completely agree.

:-)

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Bush and his cronies also wanted someone/something to blame 9/11 on. Most wars have no legitimate purpose other than the president saving face or convincing the public that the war is necessary.

Personally, I think it would be nice if America stopped going to war against smaller, weaker and poorer countries whose people tend to not be white and Christian.

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Of course, in the 14th century only the nobles and other rich people fought in the wars. Combatants supplied their own weapons and armor. Peasants were needed to continue with their labors and didn’t own weapons. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other neocon leaders suit up and fight in Iraq?

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Good thought, Keith. These politicians sending young men & women into a war while they sit behind their safe desks & collect their pay! All the gain & no pain.

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Patricia MBL was close to being captured by army and CIA personnel, but they mucked it. Then MBL fled to Pakistan where he was sheltered for years.

So what then was our mission in Afghanistan. Actually, in Charlie’s War against the Soviets we armed the Taliban.

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Besting swords into plowshares doesn't generate as much profit.

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Jenn What an environmental positive thought.

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The simple truth.

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Iraq/Afghanistan were initially reprisals for 9/11 and a wish to impose a so called American style "new world order" on nations not remotely familiar with nor interested in American version of just about everything. With US involvement in Iraq there would have been no ISIS, they needed to co-opt the previous administration and military instead of driving them underground and into counter-revolution. ISIS was counter-culture in spades. And of course the tragedy of trying to shift gender culture in Afghanistan, for now, if not indefinitely, wiped out by native conservatives. Remember, a key anchor was securing a "west-friendly" oil supply.

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Frank There was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein had any connection with 9/11. RegardingAfghanistan, bin Laden was hiding there, but escaped soon after American military and CIA arrived.

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Thats so right, tacitly admitted by US gov reporting eventually, and the likely deceit by neocons airbrushed. They've made a few good movies about that. Since then internation community has been mostly airbrushers too. Different story if you go elsewhere I'm sure.

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I recall that while Iraq was descending into civil war and reportedly turning a deaf ear to Iraqi pleas to help save Iraqi cultural treasures, we were keenly protecting oil rigs. It's hard to believe that we would ever have invaded Iraq if it's primary export was cabbages. I don't know very much about Middle East history and politics, but I can't help but wonder how much of the theocratic hornets nest in Iran was enabled by the CIA overthrow of Mosaddegh? Again oil seemed to motivate it. The Guardian says that the US "has experienced 23 extreme weather events costing $1bn or more already this year, passing previous mark of 22 in 2020", so that's part of the price. Nixon, despite his many crimes, was interested in alternatives to petroleum, as was Carter. The thing with fossil fuels is that with few exceptions, make a few people very, very rich and and most people dependent. Like the coal industry, there is an ugly history. War is mass murder, and it oil seems a lousy thing to be fighting wars for.

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The replacement of Mosaddegh, a democratically elected leader, by the Shah, a dictator, by means of a coup faciltated by Eisenhower’s CIA at the behest of US and British oil interests, is entirely responsible for Iran’s hostilitiy to the US. What else could we expect?

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Putting in a pro-secular / pro oil shaw was intended as is rightly pointed out, to secure Persian in west-friendly hands. As we now know, USA / UK backing of another authoritarian regime backfired big time, blowing up in 1979 with a radical fundamentalist anti-western muslim regime. (But the Middle East knew mostly only authoritarian regimes, and still does, any window dressing to the contrary. Who's Good Guy USA to pick for it's allies elsewhere?) Likely something much less extreme might have evolved. One way or the other, westerners needed to provide space for native religious social traditions to succeed in who they backed, even though the gender mores in particular didn't appeal to western minds. And this was BEFORE feminism really took off. Lordie, movie makers are even changing the genders of key characters in big name sci-fi series: Gaab is male in Asimov's Foundation, and Lieut Keynes is a male relative of Paul the main character in Dune. No complaints mind you how their female counterparts are portrayed in the movies.

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🎖️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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YES, on the oil versus the cultural treasures which were looted by ambitious locals and not sure who else.

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Good question Seth. I ask this from time to time while wondering could Ukraine have been avoid without satisfying Putin’s blood lust and believe that his purpose in life is to

restore the Russia of the past with every other country in its orbit bowing to Moscow?

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

And inheriting JFKs "brilliant" warmmongering cabinet?

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No sadly.

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The fatal mistake n Vietnam ( in so many ways) was to back France's reimposition of Colonial rule in Vietnam after WWII which ended in disaster at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. France went on to repeat its many errors in Algeria until Colonial rule collapsed in North Africa as well. Read Franz Fanon. "A Dying Colonialism" 1959 for the details.

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Yes. That’s right. It’s tragic that Truman didn’t have the good sense to accept Ho Chi Minh’s offer to establish a strong relationship with Vietnam, we would not have ended up fighting alongside a bunch of colonialist sympathizers. He let the evil Dulles brothers get to him.

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You and I didn't have a goal. But others did. They were protecting profits.

The Oligarchs (Military Industrial Complex) have promoted the paranoia about "communism" forever. Follow the money. We had every reason to oppose the Soviet Union. But not because they were communists - that's just another economic system. But because they were a totalitarian state that threatened to bury us.

Totalitarianism can be in the form of any economic structure. Capitalism included. The purest form of communism can be democratic. Capitalism can be fascism.

Look back at what we have done to Iran, Chile, Cuba, Iraq and so many more. It was all about money. It was veiled in "protecting democracy". But it was really about protecting the interests of the rich.

All those people who died in Vietnam died because the Oligarchs thought their system of money grubbing was threatened. And making war means making money - lots of it. That's an American tradition that goes back to our Civil War and beyond. Blood money.

Thom Hartmann explains it better than I ever could:

https://hartmannreport.com/p/america-cant-let-the-911-war-lies-26c?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2

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It's always about the money.

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I agree that that communist economy can be theoretically just, although I think it would be had to keep pure without intrusive central regulation at odds with true democratic control. The Soviets seemed to think they could change human nature, but from what I have seen of history and very old literature, you can change culture and mores, but human nature, the best and worst of it, keeps peeking through. I thoroughly agree though that despotism and predatory aggression of any sort is the real enemy. Protecting the interests of the rich at the expense of the many, and branding it patriotism is a execrable con, and fundamentally corrupt.

The USSR was despotic and aggressive, but as far as specifically "burying" us , I heard a diplomatic translator (on NPR) say that was not an accurate translation and that what Khrushchev actually said was closer to "we will overtake you". My eighth grade teacher made a very big deal out of Khrushchev scary Khrushchev threatening to "bury" us. The same translator said that Kennedy technically told the people of Berlin that "I am a jelly donut".

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I am no fan of communism or of unregulated capitalism.

But I am worse than a "jelly donut". What a hoot.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

I cannot agree with you more Bill. Not possible.

China shows ZERO sign of the American sickness called "Fighting Communism".

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Hartmann explains everything better.

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Have you read " Foundation" by Isaac Asimov (or seen the series)? It is a perfect allegory for your statement.

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Thanks. Yes, in 1974. Will re-read.

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I think I read Asimov and Bradbury in the 60's. Timeless stuff. Fahrenheit 451 seems prescient.

"Empire" could be the Republican presidencies. Their all powerful robot could be the Federalist Society. Hari Seldon and the Foundation could be the legacy of FDR through Joe Biden. And the people of Terminus and the outer reaches?...Bernie, Elizabeth Warren and AOC?

Just having fun. The series is on Apple TV if you subscribe. It's a bit mind bending.

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Absolutely.

All the funds meant to fund the Great Society went to an ever-expanding disaster in SE Asia. Once LBJ and his advisers began to ramp up US involvement in Vietnam and throwing lies and money into a losing proposition.

There was no possible way for the US to prevail in Vietnam. We had no stakes. The ARVN didn’t want to fight on our terms. They didn’t want to fight on any terms. Vietnam was essentially a civil war, not the first of a row of dominoes to fall if we didn’t prop it up.

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The "domino theory" seemed like malarkey from the get-go but the media seemed to go for it.

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Part of the so-called Domino Theory of states "falling to communism" in short to suppress governments seeking social economic reform, even by autocratic methods which communists saw as the only way up from "capitalist democracy". So now we have the irony of USA forming a top level alliance with their once arch enemies. HCR has done a fine job of highlighting other right-wing support policies by anti-communist / socialist regimes and forces around the world. Of course, the Russians were running their own containment repressions in eastern Europe.... what a story!

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It was oil. Before the war, behind the scenes, oil men were finding huge off-shore oil reserves. Then they developed a black market in oil during the war, and Shell sold oil indirectly to North Vietnam - Louis Wesseling’s book: Fuelling The War: Revealing An Oil Company's Role In Vietnam, I.B.Taurus & Co., London & NY (2000)

But we backed the wrong government. “Almost the most important thing in the Pentagon Papers is that Truman was told that Ho Chi Minh was the legitimate leader of Vietnam."

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/13/1732550/-Vietnam-was-an-Oil-War

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Too bad we can’t ask MCNamara…

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

Jeri McNamara had what I considered a psychological breakdown in, I believe, 1967 when he was in Canada. My understanding is that he began to realize that his Ford motor’ fixation to run Vietnam policy ‘by the numbers’ was dreadfully wrong.

Indeed, this was highlighted by my friend, Sam Adams, book WHAT THE HELL ARE WE FIGHTING FOR, who detailed how the Vietnamese order and battle and ‘kill ratios’ were all deliberately falsified.

NcNamara eventually wrote a book about Vietnam in which he did NOT accept personal responsibility for what had transpired.

When he lost his stomach for Vietnam, LBJ appointed him head of the World Bank.

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If there’s an afterlife, one could only hope that McNamara is shoveling coal. A spineless retch of a man who has the blood of millions on his hands.

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The Pentagon Papers revealed how hypocritical the entire US involvement in Vietnam was. But the US did not learn. We had a totally unnecessary war in Iraq and stayed 8 years too long in Afghan. No one bothered to pay attention to history.

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HCR ends her LFAA this morning eloquently: "In his speech, Biden recalled Senator McCain as a man who always put country “above party, above politics, above his own person. This day reminds us we must never lose that sense of national unity. So, let that be the common cause of our time: let us honor September 11 by renewing our faith in one another.”

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Angelica ‘Shoveling coal’ is a polite phrase.

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Something other than coal?

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I had an exposure to McNamara’s management-by-numbers when I was a Foreign Service Officer in Congo. He had obliged the State Department to try his PPBS (related to zero base accounting). In Leopoldville, we received a massive questionnaire to complete.

I told my ambassador not to worry. I would handle it. My response was a series of questions.

1) The questionnaire relates to a 40 hour work week. In Congo we often work 60-80 hours. Should our response refer to the first 40 hours or should we take the final 40 hours?

2) Our offices are crowded. Much of our thinking is done in the john. Should this be counted as work-related thinking or simply a flush break.

We never again heard about PPBS from Washington.

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Excellent, Keith!!

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Is that the same World Bank that Wolfowitz was foisted off on. Lordy, are they still viable.

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Jeri Yea verily and forsooth.

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A comment I'll never forget: why not? We do everything else on drugs.

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Very well said Keith from the foundation of your significant on-the-ground, the foreign ground, service to our country.

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You showed foresight, Sir, when you avoided involvement in the attempt to prop up South Vietnam's dead tree.

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Peter As a Foreign Service Officer I voluntarily put my life on the line in the Congo rescue operation of 3,000 foreigners under rebel death sentence.

Regarding Vietnam, I felt strongly that American policy was misguided and was ready to back my opposition by resigning from the Foreign Service. (I believe that Anthony Eden faced such a situation in 1938 dealing with Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time.’)

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Policy in the Indo-China region seems to have been developed on the basis of an abstract general idea -- domino theory -- which may tell us more about the mindset and ambitions of America's elites at the time than about the then geopolitical realities. Generals lose wars when they study and apply the strategies they think would have won the last war...

The only relevant reality taken into account would be experience of the Korean war.

This age-old business of attempting military solutions to political problems in foreign countries while totally ignoring their history, terrain and culture.

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Peter Spot on. Actually, I believe that Dean Acheson first used the ‘domino theory.’ My favorite was Senator Knowland—a jerk, even by senatorial standards—who carried the domino theory to Kansas City.

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What? All the way to Kansas City!!!??

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Peter YUP!

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Your last paragraph say it all.

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Absolutely Keith... well said, all of it. I'd add to your comments, but see no need, as you said it all - minus other choice expletives to characterize he who had zero character and honor, things he despises as he / it will never possess them.

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Speaking of zero honor, when I picked up my phone this morning, I read a story about the Fulton Co. sheriff noting a man of tfg’s ‘standing’ getting mug shotted (a word?). It’s the OFFICE we should respect, not the man who sullies it. I have NO sorrow for tfg—he absolutely brought this on himself. Now he pays the piper.

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Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?…

And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obeyed in office.

– William Shakespeare

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Wow! Did the monarch’s censors miss that metaphor?

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That was King Lear speaking...

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a man of tfg’s ‘standing’

He slithered in.

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His Nazi father had something to do with it. Djt's mother died somehow when he was seven.

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I see I have been corrected. Thank you. Someone showed me a photo of his elderly mother. Ugh.

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She was 88 when she died in 2000. I know she was hospitalized for a long period after he was born.

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Political expediency often requires this kind of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" thinking. But the virulent embrace of corruption and authoritarianism instead of democratic elections and leftist thinking (such as that of Ho, who should have been our ally if anyone with any sense had been pulling the strings in the State Department; same for Allende in Chile) is a legacy from US imperialist ambitions in the 19th century and the stupid decision to embrace the desperate clawback of France and England to retain its imperialized territories. Just as the end of WW1 led to a race between France and England over territories in Africa that Germany was forced to cede in the Treaty of Paris, so, too, did France think that it could retain its power over French Indochina and Algeria (just to name the worst of these situations) and England over any number of regions--including turning the decolonization of the Indian subcontinent into a religious and ethnic war zone. All of the messes of the current global situation are at least in part the legacy of western imperialism (and Russia is part of the West, folks). And yet US policy is to treat all of these situations as individual and not interconnected, and to fail at every turn to push France and England (which is still engaging in imperialism at home with the continued occupation of Northern Ireland and the refusal to release Scotland from the UK) to do the right thing and acknowledge their roles in this mess.

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I shudder to think of what will happen to all of this if Trump would be elected.

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Harry If Trump were elected in 2024, I might move to Vietnam for a better system of justice.

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Norway accepts double citizenship. Only 5 million or so people and their infrastructure totally blows ours away. The oil company is state owned so the profits go to public works projects. They are truly a first world country plus about 98% of the population speaks English.

If Trump isn't found guilty for any of the 91 counts, I'm definitely going to apply for Norwegian citizenship.

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If he is re-elected, it will be the end of our Constitutional Republic. Nothing less.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

Keith,

"China under Xi I would consider irreversible enemies."

Why? Because China allowed the US to use Chinese human resources to make cheap stuff for America? Or, perhaps because Xi is building his own military, much as we have built up our own military in non-wartime?

Or perhaps it is because the US allowed its tech giants to offshore key technology that China was happy to get legally by just building plants with their eyes open?

What has China done that is a threat to the USA?? Seriously Keith. Your statement is a puzzle to me.

Sure, while we spent 20 years dropping bombs all over countries that did nothing to us (Afghanistan and Iraq), China prioritized building peaceful partnerships with the rest of the world based on HELPING those countries with infrastructure. An approach that BIDEN has now adopted.

China also deployed a vast diplomatic corps of people who could speak the local language in many countries to build those partnerships. How does that make China an "irreversible enemy"?

Keith, I truly do not understand that sentence or your sentiment.

Disclaimer: I do not work for the Chinese, have no connection to China and am not a troll. I am, rather, interested in how countries have pursued "foreign policy" that is something other than dropping bombs and shooting up the local (innocent) population, like US foreign policy has been since 1953.

Let me know your thoughts on why China is an "irreversible enemy". Sounds WAY off to me Keith.

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Mike Check my Notes. I’ve written extensively on Xi’s China in recent days.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

Keith,

OK, I found parts of the notes you refer to and saw this statement of yours:

"I recall the Cold War where the US had dicey relations with the Soviet Union. We didn’t trust them and, certainly with Stalin, vice versa.

That’s Where I think we are with China. In dealing with them, at least we should back into the room so that we can only be front stabbed, while our back is protected."

I will be honest and say that our massive expenditures on weapons and massive waste of money, and waste of young American men, "fighting communism" in other countries because of Russia paranoia is one of the greatest mistakes in world history.

I mean, under the auspices of "fighting communism" the US overthrew one popular government (with the people) after another and put in bloodletting dictators. You want to go back to THAT again? For more information on our ill conceived overthrow of Iran, go here:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/10/740510559/four-days-in-august

So, we are probably not going to agree on China. Sure, China is becoming a powerful state. Having another country on earth that has smart people who work hard, way harder than Americans work, that builds partnerships, that seeks its own interest does NOT make it an automatic ENEMY of the United States Keith.

It just means that country is run by human beings who prioritize their own needs above every last thing on earth. Like we do.

China is simply reflecting human behavior just like the United States has done since 1953 when we overthrew the duly, democratically elected leader of Iran and put in place a bloodthirsty dictator. The Shah of Iran. Because of Russia paranoia.

IF you see China putting in place bloodthirsty dictators, THEN, Keith, maybe I will see some evidence you are right. But so far? China is nothing be peaceful and smart.

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Mike Thoughtful people can disagree.

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:-)

Yes We Can.

Well, it's always good to awaken to a thought provoking bit a writing Keith. Thank you. I will read more of your notes.

Appreciate your amiable responses. Everyone should respond so professionally to challenge.

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Keith, thank you! What you write makes me tear. The NYRB had a piece on JFD in (?)1963, where I learned that Ho Chi Minh was “the George Washington of Vietnam.” Today I learn about President Truman and Ho. Maybe when we grow up, if we can manage that, we will be wiser. Certainly President Biden is trying to show US how it’s done. This week we have the contrast of a revival of the UN dream on the one hand and the possibility of a government shutdown on the other. “When will we ever learn?/When will we ever learn?”

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Virginia My wife keeps asking me what I wish to do ‘if I grow up.’

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Wandering finger killed comment. Will start over:

“My heart leaps up when I behold/ A rainbow in the sky./ So was it when my life began,/ So is it now I am a man/ Or let me die./ The child is father of the man/ And I could wish my days to be/ Bound each to each by natural piety.”

Thinking of your wit and thinking of my father and other “funny” men I have known. It’s only those with deep roots and the playfulness of children (nobody can afford to lose his childhood; look at congressional Republicans: they never had childhoods for playing) who “grow up.” Then from sixth grade! Wordsworth! If I can’t be witty, gotta borrow some wisdom. I may be the first to accuse a nature poet of “wisdom,” but think this time I got it.

Just hang onto those canes and keep moving. [Bromwich is at Yale, not Princeton. I confuse the two, because compared to UNC-CH with all the Harvard profs and the shared history, P and Y always seemed so buttoned up.]

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Kudos to President Biden for engaging with Vietnam with constructive, positive plans for the future. But I find it interesting that the US has a complete financial embargo against Cuba, a country with which we’ve never been at war.

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Marg Our policy towards Cuba has made no sense for a long time. The Cuban refuge political influence in Florida is a weak explanation. Actually, JFK had a covert contact with Castro to improve relations shortly before his assassination.

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Mr. Wheelock I wonder if you ran into my Godfather Ambassador Philip Bonsal? I know he was in the Geneva talks following Diem Bien Phu in 1954 (where the Viet Minh defeated the French) where he was encouraging the American delegation to recognize Ho. Bonsal was replaced and ignored by Allen Dulles. Bonsal later was sent to Bolivia where he succeeded in keeping their nationalist revolution friendly to the US. They then sent Bonsal to Cuba where he was making progress with Castro before being recalled. Dulles again had a different agenda which included the Congo. My father was a Bonsal protege serving on the French Desk at State in ‘54 and in Ethiopia in ‘59-61 when he was killed in an airplane crash chartered by the Coronado Oil out of Texas exploring for oil in Ethiopia. Dark times!

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

David I never had the privilege of meeting Ambassador Bonsal. Nonetheless, he was one of my few Foreign Service heroes. His efforts in Geneva were legendary in the FS grapevine.

A FS buddy of mine recounted Bonsal’s common sense in Bolivia. Ditto in Cuba with Castro.

[After 6 years working in/on Congo, I sought to be Political Officer in Chile, where the Christian Democrats were involved in some positive initiatives. I was surprised that I obtained the assignment. I later heard that FS career Latin Americanists didn’t want to risk their careers by going to Santiago where there was a ‘rambunctious’ government. In preparing to go to Chile, I read TIBURON AND LAS SARDINAS (shark and sardines), which was an accurate account of how Latinos viewed America’s historical role in Latin America. When I left Chile in 1969 (my exit interview from the FS was conducted by Acting Secretary EliotRichardson) I wrote a farewell dispatch—tradition was that it required no clearance by the ambassador—in which I stated why I thought an Allende coalition government was better than a right wing Alessandro government in the 1970 presidential election. But what then occurred was not a feather in the cap of the Nixon-Kissinger dreadful Latin American ‘diplomacy.]

I was in COMINT (communications intelligence) at State during the Bay of Pigs. After my experience with nationalism rather than communism in Nasser’s Egypt, the idea that CIA could gather some Batista-period mercenaries to overthrow populist Castro was absurd.

Your dad had several hot spot assignments. The French Desk in 1954 was involved in CIA supplying French troops at Dienbienphu. (Who knew that Ho’s ragged soldiers would bring artillery through the jungle as they bicycled to surround the French?).

He was in Ethiopia in 1960 when there was an attempted coup against Haile Selaisse. I enjoyed the telegrams describing how our embassy assisted Selaisse getting his ass out a palace window before the ‘good guys’ restored order.

Sorry to hear of your dad’s death while serving our country. You should be proud of his Bonsal antecedents!

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"Who knew that Ho’s ragged soldiers would bring artillery through the jungle as they bicycled to surround the French?"

Anyone familiar with fighting to throw off Colonialism. For example, like John Adams.

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Mike Sounds like Knox dragging cannons from Fort Ticonderoga and placing them in hills above Boston. The surprised (astonished) Brits had to abandon Boston. Also, John Glover’s Marbleheadmen rowing Washington’s troops across the Delaware to attack the Hessians in Trenton on Xmas day with no Americans killed.

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Thank you for your service in a career of dealing with sticky situations and, I imagine, lots and lots of boring bureaucratic ones as well! Sure, people like Xi, Putin, and Trump may be able to wheedle their way into power, but they have no real claim to the leadership of the people they presume to represent. There’s a world of difference between a boss and a leader. Regrettable that Truman could not recognize a different path in our relations with Vietnam and that George H W Bush could not recognize Mikhail Gorbachov’s offer to turn enmity into alliance. I’m hoping we’ll one day reach a point where false leaders no longer make ‘irreversible enemies’ of countries whose people deserve our friendship.

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Jamie George H W Bush was cautious in his initial dealings with Gorby. They finally hit it off in a ship meeting in the Mediterranean. When HW was chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships, because of his having been the first US rep in China after the Nixon breakthrough, he was able to organize two all-Chinese EF groups.

I appreciated spending time with them and subsequent Chinese Fellows, though the pace of coming has slowed down.

GHWB initially as EF chair would appear in his navy flight jacket. He was the youngest navy combat pilot in WW II.

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Thank you.

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As I heard a kindergartner say once: "talk don't hit."

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That surely was one of the many grotesque comments gurgling up from a fetid mind, and one that branded him forever incapable of understanding “honor”, much less, decency.

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Even his daughter shows the same fortitude. To stand up to trump in spite of all odds and losing her position, she still perservered.

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I don't think we need to worry about the Vietnamese and Chinese - they've not-so cordially hated each other ever since the Han ran the ancestors of the Vietnamese out of South China in around 2,000 B.C., a little fact all the New Frontiersmen geniuses were unaware of back in the day that might have changed a lot had they had the brains to have brains and find out. Too bad FDR didn't live to carry out his post-war colonial policy: the European imperialists denied return to their southeast Asian colonies, the US working with the former colonies to bring them to independence. The Vietnamese were the only Southeast Asians not to welcome the Japanese kicking the French out, the way the Burmese and Malayans and Indonesians welcomed the British and Dutch getting kicked out, and they were our only indigenous allies during the war. Most people don't know that the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence is ours, with a few editorial word changes regarding locality. Had we recognized them in 1946, the situation today would likely be what it is, except 58,000 of my brothers and sisters would have lived to see old age, along with their kids and grandkids - and an untold millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians would have gotten the same break.

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Always history that I didn’t know. This paragraph includes more history than any history book in my schools ever did. Since the dead paid with their lives, it is up to us, the not yet dead, to try to set things right. Go Joe. Crap on you, chump, who never could be bothered learning, well, anything. Except whining…

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Tom Spot on. Ho went to the Versailles peace conference to seek recognition for ‘self determination.’ He was rebuffed. During and after WW II he worked closely with OSS and State Dept folks. He spoke in Jeffersonian tones. He sought independence from the French. We dug in our heels with the French.

Subsequently several Foreign Service Officers were hounded out of the State Department because of their ‘pro-commie’ reporting while with Ho.

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The change in US policy to supporting the French in their struggle in Indochina came in 1950. Most students of the war have believed the change came after the outbreak of the Korean War, but this was not the case. When I was writing "Holding The Line: Naval Aviation in the Korean War," one of the veteran pilots I interviewed told me how the USS Boxer - which made the first Far East deployment of a carrier since 1948 in January 1950 - received orders in March 1950 (four months before the outbreak of the Korean War) to make a public "air display" and fly the entire air group down the coast from Hanoi to Saigon, as a public statement of US support for France. So we had decided to intervene on their side separately from the Korean War.

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I think we need to acknowledge the role of white supremacy in all this. Eisenhower's use of "domino theory" in speeches is basically racist in that he and the whole WASP theology of the Dulles brothers believed that the people of Southeast Asia were not capable of understanding that communism/socialism were "Godless terrorism".

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Yes - white supremacy has governed our relations with the non-white world since the first settlers arrived in Jamestown.

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Tom We were then endeavoring to launch NATO and the. French were pesky. What was galling de Gaulle during those years?

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That France was no longer "grand".

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Did not know about Ho and OSS. I wonder how the switch in understanding happened as the OSS mutated into the CIA. Is there a recommended Dulles brothers bio? RFKJR is clearly interested in this period and has written about it. Anyone read his books? It is hard to hear about this dark history

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David There are lots of books about the Dulles. One of my favorites was written by a friend of mine: THE DEVIL AND JOHN FOSTER DULLES. I recall the phrase: Dull, Duller, Dulles.

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It’s out of print, but I got a used copy (last one?) from Amazon.

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I'm amazed RFK Jr can write three words that make grammatical sense, the fucking traitor moron.

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I am not a fan, especially the anti-vax, anti Ukraine stuff. I do think his thoughts about the murder of his father and uncle are worth at least checking out. He has credibility and demonstrated empathy in talking about grief which he did in remarks to those of us on Maui. As does President Biden who was also just with us. I also agree with you that it is time to get tougher with the Rs in Congress.

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After researching my two books on the Vietnam War, "The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club" and "Going Downtown," all my JFK-fan malarkey finally went to the dumpster for removal (my first political act was hanging door knockers for JFK in 1960 when I was in high school). It turns out that the guy who went tip-toeing through the tulips to Vietnam was JFK - in a fit of pique after he got tweaked by Krushchev at the Vienna Summit in 1961. He never had any plans to leave Vietnam, despite all the post-assassination fantasies from the cult members. LBJ's big mistake was keeping the New Frontiersmen - particularly Strange MacNamara and Rusk - in the cabinet. The "graduate of Southestern Texas State Teacher's College" as he liked to refer to himself, was intellectually cowed by the Harvard morons, who were the ones who dragged him into fruitless escalation after fruitless escalation - each of which he initially refused. And then they were careful to scrape all the Vietnam mud off JFK and slather it on LBJ. So far as I am concerned, the whole damn Kennedy family from Joe the Bootlegger and Wall Street Scammer on were and are a cancer on America.

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Looking forward to reading Keith Wheelock’s recommended Dulles book. Starting on your books on Amazon. My father was a communications officer on the cruiser Helena spending time in the oil soaked waters of Kula Gulf.

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Sad, sad truth...

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Alt-history is always interesting to ponder. Chock of info, imagine a full raid into Wiki on all of this. It was never just the Americans doing imposition. This was civil war level conflict, with the same antagonistic socialist/capitalist polarities at work. Two other examples. Indonesia's slaughter in 1966 of maybe a million revels under the guise of suppressing communism. On the other side, Pol Pot. Chaing Kai Shek lost China, handily set up a successful dictatorship in Taiwan which has since turned into a hugely successful capitalist democracy with the Chinese now pushing on, considering Taiwan was traditionally a Chinese province. South Korea was another major success for America. So it's a mixed legacy, right? Maybe we could all have fun watching The Man in the High Castle, alt-history on WW2 with much fantasy added of course.

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Here's a serious alt history: The CIA doesn't join MI6 in overthrowing Mossadegh in Iran. The country, led by a moderate, pro-western "British Labor Party" style PM (Mossadegh) and with control of its own resources (which they eventually got anyway in real history), becomes extremely successful, reforming the country and establishing constitutional political control, education for all, and a social democratic European-style democracy. This sets the stage for moderate, secular, modernist political movements across the Middle East, which over the next 15 years changes the face of the region as other governments are either forced to enact such reforms or are swept aside by domestic popular democratic movements.

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Oh the dreams we can dream! Of course we are seeing things in terms of our own secular biases. Aiatola had a LOT of help by resentful fundamentalists against secular / gender rights policies underway. That tendency was resersed. Afghanistan same but more extreme version. Right off he was going on about the Great Satan, an already established theme among muslim fundamentalists. Of course Iran gave that additional currency and helped put Shiites on the map big time with momentous consequences eg Syria.

Say, by you clicking Like on my comment, then commenting, let me go almost directly to your comment by letting me clicking on my comment. Getting to another person's comment is often a big problem here.

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Agree on the challenges of reading replies to comments. The earthquake in Morocco brought back memories of a vacation in Marrakesh in Jan ‘79 (with my FSO mother) when the Shah arrived and the surreal scene at La Mamounia hotel where Pierre Salenger, Martin Fletcher and the Shahs plane crew were drinking mint tea and harder stuff at the pool bar hoping to interview the Shah.

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Sep 13, 2023·edited Sep 13, 2023

I gather this was holiday before the fall, abt 6 months after the Cinema Rex Fire, a stimulant for major protests. (Wiki, of course :) Yes i went to my Liked comment and found yours right below. It's the best way i think! Oops that was Pavlavi going into exile!

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A month later was the takeover of the U.S. Embassy. My mother had worked for Bruce Laingen in Malta two years prior. So we followed this closely.

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Come on, TC! Don't you play dominoes?!?🤣

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Only in theory.

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Anyone know what Truman was thinking in '46 when he didn't recognize Vietnam?

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He wasn't that versed in foreign policy and was listening to his "knowledgeable advisors" who were all salivating over becoming the new "British empire"

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This letter highlights the huge difference between tfg's non-existent foreign policy aside from his fascination with dictators, and the skills and diplomacy of President Biden and his team since he took office.

Dr Heather closes by stating: "In his speech, Biden recalled Senator McCain as a man who always put country “above party, above politics, above his own person. This day reminds us we must never lose that sense of national unity. So, let that be the common cause of our time: let us honor September 11 by renewing our faith in one another.”

I wish that it were possible, but this country has never been so divided as it is today. Perhaps the next generation can make it so. My faith in our fellow citizens has been sorely tested ever since 2015, when so many chose to support (and then in 2016 elect) a completely unqualified candidate as POTUS, and even more incredibly, that he is once again the leading candidate for another run despite having proven to be a complete and utter failure as POTUS, as well as facing criminal charges. Surreal.

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If a Republican wins in 2024--any Republican--all of Biden's foreign policy accomplishments will be jettisoned immediately. Indeed they want to wipe out all of Biden's initiatives.

The Heritage Foundation has it in black in white in their manifesto Project 2025. They are quite clear that they would be the puppeteers behind all policy initiatives in a Republican administration. And they speak with the voice of their big money donors.

These guys have shown how good they are already at taking over institutions. We don't need further proof. The Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society executed an extremely successful strategy to take over most of the judicial system in this country. There is no doubt in my mind from reading Project 2025 that they plan to do so for the Executive branch.

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Agree, Georgia, my hair has been on FIRE since I came across the Project’s “mandate” awhile back. I see it is just now, sort of, getting airtime & warnings to pay attention and resist. I’ve been trying to get friends/family to take it in but the response is mostly crickets….which I do not understand. At. All.

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I think what we need to do is break it down so that when something new hits the media about Biden's accomplishments, along with shouting out how great it is we have to add in a comment on how it would be different if the Republicans win. Project 2025 is too massive a plan to talk about as a whole, and is quite unbelievable in its brazeness. But it covers almost every aspect of dismantling every government agency, challenging every diplomatic agreement and introducing another layer of political appointees to more directly control a purged bureaucracy.

I still haven't read the whole damn thing but I am asking this question about every day's news "What would it be like with that if the Republicans won?" And then I can go to their handy dandy table of contents and get the answer--no interpretation required,

You and anyone alse whose hair is on fire has to do this.

There is one more thing we have to do. Almost EVERYONE sees the greatest threat from the Republican party as the insurrectionist MAGAts. I see them as a shiny object meant to distract. The real threat is the intellectual elite policy makers at Heritage and the Federalist Society. They have been honing this since the Reagan years. They managed to remake the judiciary over into their own image under Trump. If they win in 2024 the Executive branch will not be far behind.

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Georgia I think you are right on target! What has allowed, even encouraged this dramatic takeover and dissolution of the levers and gears of government has been the Citizens United decision by SCOTUS and the ongoing secrecy regarding who or what is bankrolling all these efforts to subvert our government "of, by & for the people." SCOTUS has made corporations outsized people! ...and then insists that they deserve anonymity in their "free speech"?!!! WE MUST SHINE LIGHT ON SOURCES OF MONEY!

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Spot on, Georgia. It's like a carnival slight-of-hand game; the MAGAts are the bright, shiny object that people focus on while the real threat is those at Heritage and at the Federalist Society. Laboring behind the scenes, ready to present a fait accompli.

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You nailed it Georgia. Have you seen Tom Hartmann’s Substack on this issue? Gives a great backstory/history on how this effort has metastasized over the last 40 or so years.

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They told us in 1985 in the St-Louis Post Dispatch, Mar 17, article by Lewis Lehrman. Wish I could post it here.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

"I’ve been trying to get friends/family to take it in but the response is mostly crickets."

I think it is two things:

1) Unfortunately, it is very difficult to actually bring up the ways in which these foundations and donors really control the right-wing agenda/media without sounding conspiratorially-minded, like a liberal mirror image of the right-wingers who keep finding new "connections" between globalist ills and George Soros. Folks like those at the Heritage Foundation know this, and are brazen enough to just go ahead and publish it all publicly because

2) manifestos are not a thing people typically read on the subway, and are therefore homework, and who wants more of that? Boooooring!

Quite a neat trick, really.

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Yeah, and they’ve been at it, albeit a bit more behind closed doors…now just think they are emboldened to put it in a mandate. Agree that it “sounds” looney, but then they are (mostly) rich loon-atics. Yeah, I don’t want to come off as “off the deep end” to those I share it with, but if you look at the inroads they’ve made so far, it “can happen here”.

[Hey, you’re up late too, eh?]

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A conspiracy by another name? Manifesto.

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A sign that they think that the devotees won’t care and the opposition will be ignored…

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I read a small amount of that Project 2025, and i was both alarmed and appalled by the small amount of that horrific BS i read. Made me want to apply for a Passport as soon as possible. If the Fascist GQP wins, i just don't think i can stay in the United States, If my health is still reasonably good by then.

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Sometimes I’m glad I’m old, sometimes I regret that I’m too old to have many options, other than the final one.

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Jeri - Well said. Just as so many of us feel.

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John, I might consider it if I was WAY younger and had the means to do so (but that would also mean leaving a close extended family). But think I’d rather stay and resist to the best of my old lady ability. I’ve posted here a number of times my go-to resistance anthem (listened to it A LOT in the last 6+ years!): Jackson Browne’s Til I Go Down https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bmzimxfqgfw

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I also would hate to leave my extended family too. They rely on me for financial help a whole lot here lately. My grown daughter, son, and teenage grandson all live with me. It's going to have to get really bad here in the United States for me to leave. I have the financial means to leave, and although my daughter works 2 jobs and my son works also, i don't know if they could pay the monthly mortgage since homeowners insurance and my property tax has tripled in the last 5 years. My escrow account which is included in my mortgage payment is now as much as the loan mortgage. I do wish our Government would do something about these insurance companies making such drastic increases. They are gouging us to death. I just hope with all my heart that SOB Donald TUMP doesn't win the election next year. I hope there is some way they can invoke the 14 amendment, section 3, on him and not allow him to even run for President especially after all of the crimes he has committed. He is rotten to the core!!!

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John, I was truly gobsmacked when the TFFG won in 2016–NOT the popular vote, but the electoral college, an anachronism if there ever was one. He lost the popular vote AGAIN in 2020 and this time the electoral college as well…..tho’ we must all cringingly suffer his whining about the election being stolen (as he was already whining about even BEFORE the tally in 2016!)…..ENOUGH…..time to “Stop the Squeal” once and for all!!! As for leaving the USA, for many decades now I’ve wanted to spend time in New Zealand—from what I’ve read about it, folks I know who’ve visited/lived there & a couple of young women from NZ hitchhiking the USA my then husband (early 70’s) and I gave shelter to for several days as a respite from their journey. IMHO the USA tells a great tale, but we have yet to live up to our promise….to my mind, with the help of the Congress & Courts, we’ve given over our present and future to the “greed is good” crowd. Not impressed… At. All. It’s like they’re driving the wrong way on a one-way street. In regards to the TFFG, I can’t imagine him winning an election for POTUS ever again….even many folks (not his cult followers) who voted for him in the past are turned off….he really has shown us who he is. I think he’d lose the popular vote again….remains to be seen what the Electoral College will do however. How, exactly, did we land in a George Orwell novel I wonder????!!!!!

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I agree about Project 2025 setting one's hair on FIRE. I had to stop reading it because it was full of such nauseating bullsh*t. Basically lawlessness writ LARGE.

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Ha! Totally agree, literallly gave me a queasy tummy too! Having worked for decades dealing w/ Fed, state & Univ. regulations (Fed being the big daddy of ‘em), I would have to read applicable Federal Registers when new regs came out, or in researching a reg….selecting sections of the “mandate” read not unlike a Federal Register & that’s when I knew, whoa, these folks are dead serious. They have certainly been busy there in the shadows preparing for this debut. Time for us to resist/organize so they don’t take this show on the road.

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It can't be said often enough.

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Leonard Leo spends his summers in Northeast Harbor, ME in house(s) he wouldn't have been able to afford if not for being kingmaker of the GOP judicial appointments. Several times a week protestors demonstrate at the end of his driveway as others have reported here. He was and may still be head of the Federalist Society and brags about how his selections to the USSC led to the Dobbs decision.

The Dems have been able to install many judges since January, 2021 but only one of the USSC judges so far. We cannot have another Republican in the WH until at least 2028 so we can hopefully get rid of Alito, Thomas and Roberts by then.

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It almost provokes a brain seizure to keep seeing the effects of constant propaganda on people I once knew to be “good people.” People, like Bill Maher, keep saying that they just have political differences. Cults are not political differences. We used to know that. They are dangerous attempts to take over the lives of those who don’t buy their macabre fairy tale. Wasn’t Hitler enough proof. Even the smartest people in Germany (except that dumb Jew Einstein) bought the crap. Some just wanted to make Germany great again (MGGA), others had a chance to make their worst dreams come true as they could prey on any “other.” Chump will do worse if he gets the chance. His MAGAts will be helping. The fact that many will be our loved ones almost makes it worse than grieving their death.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

Jeri,

A very well written lament to our current situation in America.

Who knew (well, actually a LOT of people) that when we allowed Ronald Reagan to talk us into destroying the middle class, cut taxes on his campaign donors and funding his big campaign donors with huge military defense spending, that the result would be the production of a bunch of poor, uneducated white folks AND many educated white folks with kids who cannot get jobs except for Uber driver,

and them getting angry and resonating with the BS that Trump is fed by his Russian masters.

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The “creep” that swallowed America, like a slow molasses flood.

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The price to unite us seems *too high for wanna' be leaders; It's going to require total honesty.

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Sep 12, 2023·edited Sep 12, 2023

Reading about people's recollections of how personally, gut-level devastating 9/11 was to them and their perception the world as Americans is strange to me every year. At 28, I have no recollection of it at all. I *could* have had a memory of it on TV, but my parents thought it far too scary a concept to be appropriate for a 1st grader, and it wasn't like the other 7-year-olds routinely brought up geopolitical dangers over apple juice. So it exists in my mind only as a learned historical event. I simply cannot feel the same collective trauma of something brought up from memory. I feel the same removed sense of "Wow, how terrible, I can see how that might have shook things up!" as Pearl Harbor, or the Kennedy Assassination. A bit of YouTube footage for a research project ("These people seem so devestated!"), rather than a knot in the stomach ("That was so devestating!"). And I'm not a wee innocent babe; I have friends who are having kids and saving up to buy houses!

My best insight is that the real reverberation of the event was not the malicious plan and tragic loss of the attack itself, but of how it seemed to form a dividing line for most Americans after which their assumption of safety in the world was shattered irrevocably. The sense of safety was not the only casualty; the political events of the years that followed - from more forever war to the crash of '08 to the return of paranoid nationalism that led to the Tea Party - also took away a sense of the inevitability of American progress and prosperity.

I cannot feel that loss, at least not directly. I have never felt the presence of those comforting assumptions of safety and prosperity, and I wager no one younger has been able to either. We have simply occupied a different America. Seeing media and hearing stories from decades past is like connecting with an alien wavelength. I know people romanticize and nostalgia is a drug... but could people have ever really been this generally assured and happy? (White people at least?) Wild!

Today Joyce Vance compared the attack on Ground Zero with the attack on our democracy that occurred in spiritual form upon tfg's election, and in physical form 4 years later on our Capitol. Only Joyce insinuates that this attack is more damaging and confounding; 9/11 provoked briefly overwhelming unity in the face of an attack from without, but 1/6 could do no such thing, as it was an attack from within. It is now the other Americans we have reason to guard against. I am sure many would think it crude for her to draw such a comparison, but I thank her for it. Indeed, the events of the last few years have provoked a new unity and purpose among pro-democracy Americans. It involves all generations, but is an especially acute fight for we younger ones. While the brief post-9/11 unity devolved into poisonous nationalism, this fight will likely have more staying power, as it looks to not just protect, but to tend and improve.

Those of us who cannot remember 9/11 have heard the stories of a safer world and an America of upward mobility and neighborly cooperation. We would like to get a chance to experience that for ourselves. Now, please!

Thanks to all who help in the fight, and thanks to Dr. Richardson for her tireless scholarship! I hope you all are having a great week so far!

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Will, I too resonated with Joyce’s comments. Personally, I don’t think things were all that hunky-dory before 9/11, but except for Pearl Harbor, it was the first time we’d been attacked on OUR soil (the benefit of having large oceans bordering two sides—allowing for the potential exception of nukes from afar….and yes, I’m old enough to remember the grade school drills of hiding under our desks). Another Substack I read today had a commenter post this cover of The Sound of Silence…and I found myself ugly crying, just as I had back then: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyJRdJd5SGo

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Wow, that video was so moving. Thank you for sharing. I have loved that rendition of the Sounds of Silence for a long time; coupled with those images it was stunning.

Regarding our (older folks’) sense of security pre-9/11, I don’t think we felt more secure. The threat of nuclear war was too present. It was the specter of 9/11 writ very large. I, too, remember drills where we hid under our desks. My mother had a plan in case of nuclear war to grab the three of us kids and just go outside to die. I can’t remember if we knew that back then; I was pretty little, but at some point she talked to me about it. I was alive when Kennedy was assassinated, but I was far too young to have any memory of it. I have only the vaguest memories of the other huge events of the 1960s, but things were so unsettled then and did not provide any feeling of safety. Growing up with endless images of body bags on the evening news does not make one feel safe.

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KR, writing this I thought to pluck from my bookshelves a children’s book my cousin Laura illustrated in collaboration with author Jamie Lee Curtis. I don’t have kids, but I buy all the books I am aware that my cousin illustrates, to support her art and because I love her! The book, suitable for ages 4-8 was in process when 9/11 happened. My cousin, Laura, lives (now splits her time between CA, where she grew up, and NYC) in NYC & was there when it happened and all fell down….and the search/recovery/trauma. Being a children’s book she in no way would overtly reference that horrific day, but managed to weave in subtle tributes nonetheless. One of the characters is wearing a fireman’s helmet & gear—with the #12 on helmet (and other so so subtle references throughout) are an homage to the NYC Fire Dept ….some of the books illustrated on the kid’s bookshelf had covers depicting fire rescue, etc. you have to pay attention to the “background” in the illustrations to catch all the references. The slim children’s book, published in 2002 by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell is “I’m Gonna Like Me…Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem”. Here is a link to (one of) the FDNY….in the pics you can see the helmet w/ the #12 just like on the helmet of the kid in the illustration: https://firefighterspot.com/2007/10/21/fdny-engine-3-ladder-12-911-memorial/

I think it was her way to DO SOMETHING positive in the midst of so much pain, fear and suffering. Here is a link to Good Reads review: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/158176.I_m_Gonna_Like_Me

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Barbara, thank you for such a thoughtful response. You’re a bit older than I am, so I think the tv images hit us differently, although, I too thought of Where Have All The Flowers Gone. Sometimes I wonder whether if more women were leaders, there might be less war. Perhaps because we are better able to see and feel the human cost of the tragedy of war? Or maybe just care about it more. Or possibly those women who become leaders might be more like Margaret Thatcher, and it wouldn’t matter. I think trail blazers almost have to suppress the impulses that make them different from those who came before, so maybe it wouldn’t matter much at first.

The book looks quirky and charming. The title is so clever! Next time I’m in a book store, I will go leaf through it.

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