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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hitchens, Haditha and Viet Nam

From: Legal Alien in New York blog

While the murdering of 24 innocent Iraqi civilians by a frustrated Marines Platoon in November 2005, and its failed cover-up, is combated in Washington in the fist place with massive spin ("Weapons of Mass Distraction" as Michael Shaw of Bagnews calls it, and you'll find my post about it here), the Weekly Standard and Christopher Hitchens are having a try at a more demagogic style.

How? Guess once: It is all the fault of the "liberals".

Hitchens in Slate, Monday June 5, 2006:
Why Haditha isn't My Lai.
He explains the differences between Vietnam-1973 and Iraq-2005:
[I]n My Lai the United States was fighting the Vietcong. A recent article about the captured diary of a slain female Vietnamese militant (now a best seller in Vietnam) makes it plain that we were vainly attempting to defeat a peoples' army with a high morale and exalted standards.
Most Americans, and most other people, did not have to wait 33 years to discover, that the South Vietnamese Liberation Army was a people's army. But Hitchens needs a "recent" article about the "captured" diary of a "slain female Vietnamese militant" to learn us, that the whole Vietnam war was a "vain" attempt. Welcome to reality, Christopher! Yes, the whole American Vietnam campaign was a Vanity Affair.

And, between brackets, why has Hitchens suddenly seen the light? Is it,
  • because of the "diary" (Anne Frank), or
  • because of the "female" (Anne Frank again, and Ayaan Hirsi come to mind) , or
  • because of the "slain" (Anne Frank anew, for dead people are more credible; and, slain by whom? Some rampaging marines again?), or
  • is it because of the "bestseller" status of the diary?
- Anyhow, suddenly the South Vietnamese rebels (against an elected South Vietnamese government!) get a consecration of holiness from Hitchie.

Why? Listen:
I, for one, will not have them [the South Vietnamese "Vietcong", HR] insulted by any comparison to the forces of Zarqawi, the Fedayeen Saddam, and the criminal underworld now arrayed against us.
Hitchens needs a rosy image of the Vietcong, in order to mix up the Iraqi popular resistance against the US occupation and the US-controlled government, with extremist and racist Zarqawi and nostaligics of Saddam. Both are, if we may believe serious observers, but tiny fringes within the resistance. But this is, what colonial powers always do, when confronted with popular resistance: They complain that they are unjustly attacked by "criminals", "terrorists" and "underworld". That is, what Johnson and Nixon would have wanted the world opinion to believe about the Vietcong during the sixties and the seventies.

Hitchens: The American military in Iraq are not like the former British...:
... unwanted colonial occupiers in Burma, [no:] the coalition forces are—until further notice—the guests of Iraq's first-ever elected government and the executors of a U.N.-mandated plan for the salvage and reconstruction of the country.
Back to Vietnam in the sixties/seventies. What were the Americans and their partners then? There was a "first-ever elected South-Vietnamese democratic government", that had "invited" the US. The Vietcong were "stooges" and "criminals".

Will we have to wait another 33 years, before Hitchens or his successors will discover, that most popular resistance in Iraq comes from people "with a high morale and exalted standards", and that the "democratically elected government" does not represent much more than itself?

How many "female militants" have to be "slain" and their diaries "captured"?

  • As usual, Sonic's "Hitchens Watch" deals with most other lies and anomalies in this Hitchens article. See: "Justifying Slaughter".


Anonymous said...

Good post.

Monbiot also has some historic comparison between the British occupation of Ireland and America with its occupation of Iraq


Huib Riethof said...

Thanks, Uncle!

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