The Utter Madness of American Politics
The following illustrates just how mad, how insane our “involvement” in Vietnam was: First, the government of Vietnam, that is, Diem, and the U.S. destroyed the village life that most Vietnamese in southern Vietnam knew and had known for hundreds of years, by barring the French from executing the laws and banishing the Chinese merchants who provided the financial basis of village life. And then, when “the stronger men of the village banded together to get water, salt, and the other necessities of life by the oldest means known to man: banditry,” which was "not political or ideological” but was “a last resort to obtain simple and elementary needs,” the following happened: “Back in Saigon, the Diem government and its American advisers were totally unaware of the true causes of this unrest, but they were ready with their Pavlovian interpretation.. It was, they said, the result of ‘Communist subversion and insurgency.’” [JFK, the CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, L. Fletcher Prouty, 92-93]
And so, after creating unrest, the Diem government and its American advisers reacted to it as if it were communist inspired, thereby creating the basis for US intervention in Vietnam and the deaths of millions of Vietnamese and 58,000 plus American troopers before the madness was ended in 1975. Prouty argues that this is the result of a grand conspiracy that wants endless war because such wars are profitable. Somehow, that speculation seems to me a more comforting explanation than that this state of affairs was the result of good, old fashioned hubris, of the utter ignorance and inhumanity of America’s “best and the brightest.” For it is the latter explanation that makes me want to take the flag “a grateful nation” presented to my parents at my brother Charlie’s funeral and burn it.