Hollyweed – Drugs and War and Vietnam

“Dr. Strangelove” (64), “Apocalypse Now Redux” (79), “Private Benjamin” (80), “Platoon” (86), “Full Metal Jacket” (87), “Casualties of War” (89), “Born on the Fourth of July” (90), “Jacob’s Ladder” (91), “Three Kings” (99) and a short news clip from “20th Century with Mike Wallace” with a wonderful couple of pro-pot jokes from Bob Hope. Bullshit wars are stressful, and pot’s good for that … but lay off the BZ and alcohol.
Nothing “heroic” about the Vietnam war…check out this link to Chomsky talking about Vietnam.


Here’s a bunch of free online videos of different perspectives on the war, including Chomsky:


Chomsky and Bertrand Russel:


…and this Chomsky bit from Z….hell, it’s short, I’ll cut and paste it for you:


The US went to war against the Viet Minh in support of France’s effort to reconquer its former colonies. The issue was independent nationalism, which, it was feared, would interfere with the postwar plans for global order (which included restoring Southeast Asia to its “function” as a source of raw materials and markets, primarily for the former colonial powers, as part of much broader designs about reconstructing the industrial world, overcoming the “dollar gap” that stood in the way of US exports, and so on). If the nationalists happened to be “Communists,” then “containing Communist expansion” became a good pretext (though how one “contains” the Viet Minh from “expanding” in Vietnam raises a certain conceptual problem — there were no Russians in sight, and the Chinese were trying to occupy half the country themselves). If the nationalists happened to be anti-Communist, that was just as bad, if they were “radical” (meaning, independent). The documentation on this is overwhelming, in my opinion. There’s plenty in print (I’ve been using it myself for almost 30 years). There’s also very revealing documentation, from the highest level sources, showing how AFTER the US decided to support France, it then sought — desperately and rather comically in fact — to show that the Viet Minh was Communist, to give retrospective justification to the decision. Again, all in print, long ago.

As for the “ultimate failure” of the US war, that’s an interesting concept. The US succeeded brilliantly in its major war aims, though it didn’t attain its maximal goal of conquering Vietnam. The major goals throughout were to prevent the “virus” of “radical nationalism” from “infecting” other reasons (to use the terminology that appeals to high planners) by the demonstration effect of successful development — the rational version of the “domino theory.” That goal was achieved.

Indochina was demolished, with maybe 5 million corpses and huge destruction. The surrounding areas were “inoculated” with vicious and murderous dictatorships. By the early ’70s, the business press recognized that the US had basically won the war (that was my view then as well; wrote about it at the time). To call the war a “failure” is to assume that anything less than achievement of maximal goals is a failure. An interesting conception, and it’s an interesting sign of US ideological power that the left and peace movement not only accept the standard view but regard it as uncontroversial.