50 Years Ago

“It was 50 years ago today
Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play,
They’ve been going in and out of style,
But they’re guaranteed to raise the smile,
So may I introduce to you,”

Sorry I digress….a short trip down Memory Lane….

But speaking of protests as I did earlier….a little history……

As a young man I was an antiwar activist…I had witnessed war first hand and wanted to see the whole concept disappear…..I have heard people say that protests do very little in the grand scheme of things……I dis agree….

Ergo 50 years ago this Autumn……

“Demonstrations don’t work.” Next time you hear someone (or yourself) say that, you might consider the Moratorium and Mobilization demonstrations in the fall of 1969 — both commemorating their 50th anniversaries this year.

On Oct.15, 1969, more than two million citizens took part in the Moratorium — a one-day national strike against the war. In hundreds of cities, towns and campuses throughout the country, people from all walks of life took the day off to march, rally, vigil or engage in teach-ins. Until the Women’s March of 2017, the Moratorium held the title as the biggest nationwide demonstration in American history.

Exactly a month later, on Nov. 15, more than a half-million war opponents flooded the nation’s capital for the Mobilization. That was more than double the number of marchers who participated in the famous 1963 March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. More than 100,000 rallied in a simultaneous antiwar demonstration in San Francisco.

How anti-Vietnam War protests thwarted Nixon’s plans and saved lives

Do not let them (whoever them are) tell you protests do not work….they do and the American people need to remember that and act accordingly.

In closing a bit of protest musical interlude……

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–15Oct19 #2

50 years ago today…..15 October 1969…….

Moratorium Day involved mass protests across the US. Religious services, rallies and meetings were held, aiming to bring the war to an end.

By this point, US troops had been fighting the Communist Viet Cong in Vietnam since 1965. About 45,000 Americans had been killed in action by the end of 1969.

In the frigid fall of 1969, more than 500,000 people marched on Washington to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. It remains the largest political rally in the nation’s history. While President Richard Nixon was said to have spent the day watching college football inside the White House, to the rest of the world, the protests successfully proved that the antiwar movements comprised more than just politicized youth. The November rallies were part of a string of demonstrations that took place around the world in 1969, with groups from San Francisco to Boston and London petitioning for peace. Despite their cries, the war toiled on for six more years, ending with the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.

(Time)

Check out the Great photos from this antiwar protest……

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49893239

Or for those that cannot read…..

See photos of the history of the peace symbol.

This was when the nation had a soul…..and the deaths of so many Americans for no reason was unacceptable….I miss those days.

And now for Country Joe……

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Making America Great Again–Part 29

My continuing covering the series written by Maj. Danny Sjursen….a look at American history that few have ever seen…..an excellent look in the form of Howard Zinn……

But first my reader can get caught up on this excellent series here…….

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28.

Today’s part is about the war I fought…Vietnam……there are lessons i to be learned from this war and yet NO one learned a damn thing……

It is the war that never dies. Vietnam, the very word shrouded with extraordinary meaning in the American lexicon. For some it represents failure; for others guilt; for still more, anger that the war could have and should have been won. Americans are still arguing about this war, once the nation’s longest. For those who lived through it—the last war the U.S. fought partly with draftees—it was almost impossible not to take sides; to be pro-war or anti-war became a social and political identity unto itself. This tribal split even reached into the ranks of military veterans, as some joined antiwar movements and others remained vociferously sure that the war needed to be fought through to victory. Indeed, today, even the active-duty U.S. military officer corps is rent over assessment of the Vietnam legacy.

 
If I was still teaching then this series would be required reading….this is the history that Americans need to know and not some fanciful crap put out by reactionaries.
 
Maj. Danny is a great historian that tells it like it is/was……kudos and congrats to him….and anyone that reads his series……very informative.
 
 
Learn Stuff!
 
Class Dismissed!

MACV-SOG Anniversary

Closing Thought–25Jan19

Most of my readers know that I served 2 and half years in Vietnam and that I am always throwing some history of my war into my posts….

Thursday, January 24th was the 55th anniversary of the activation of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) in the Republic of Vietnam. Formed in 1964, MACV-SOG functioned as a joint special operations task force (JSOTF) in Southeast Asia.

Means very little to anyone that was not part of the conflict in Southeast Asia….but since this is my history lesson for the day….

The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified, multi-service United States Special Operations Forces unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Second Indochina War, aka Vietnam War. Established on 24 January 1964, the unit conducted strategic reconnaissance missions in Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia; carried out the capture of enemy prisoners, rescued downed pilots, and conducted rescue operations to retrieve allied prisoners of war throughout Southeast Asia; and conducted clandestine agent team activities and psychological operations against that country.

The unit participated in most of the significant campaigns of the Vietnam War, including the Tonkin Gulf Incident which precipitated American involvement, Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, the Tet Offensive, Operation Commando Hunt, the Cambodian Campaign, Operation Lam Son 719, and the Easter Offensive. The unit was formally disbanded and replaced by the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 on 1 May 1972. fuse trackers.

http://www.modernforces.com/macv_sog.htm

There were three “studies”….Water, air and land…..I was a grunt so I was part of the “Land Studies”……

Most people know little to nothing about SOG but they are probably familiar with the patch…..

Your history lesson is complete.

Learn Stuff!

Class Missed!

Vietnam Is A Prime Example

Our wars should be examples to our leadership so that we do not make the same mistakes time after time…..the France had a long war and then the US came by and thought it would be a good idea to make same mistakes France did in Vietnam….oh sorry….Indo-China.

The First Indochina War…….

Ho’s efforts during this period were directed primarily at conciliating both the French themselves and the militantly antiFrench members of the ICP leadership. The growing frequency of clashes between French and Vietnamese forces in Haiphong led to a French naval bombardment of that port city in November 1946. Estimates of Vietnamese casualties from the action range from 6,000 to 20,000. This incident and the arrival of 1,000 troops of the French Foreign Legion in central and northern Vietnam in early December convinced the communists, including Ho, that they should prepare for war. On December 19, the French demanded that the Vietnamese forces in the Hanoi area disarm and transfer responsibility for law and order to French authority. That evening, the Viet Minh responded by attacking the city’s electric plant and other French installations around the area. Forewarned, the French seized Gia Lam airfield and took control of the central part of Hanoi, as full-scale war broke out. By late January, the French had retaken most of the provincial capitals in northern and central Vietnam. Hue fell in early February, after a six-week siege. The Viet Minh, which avoided using its main force units against the French at that time, continued to control most of the countryside, where it concentrated on building up its military strength and setting up guerrilla training programs in liberated areas. Seizing the initiative, however, the French marched north to the Chinese border in the autumn of 1947, inflicting heavy casualties on the Viet Minh and retaking much of the Viet Bac region.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/vietnam1.htm

The Vietnamese dealt a final blow with the battle of Dien Bien Phu…..a short video to explain what happened during this battle…..

After the France gave up the region the US thought it would be a good idea to get involved…..keep in mind the old “Domino Theory” fear mongering…..and then an incident gave the US its excuse for an all out invasion (not called that but a rose by another name thing)…..thinking Gulf of Tonkin incident….

Here in the US we have a selective memory and what they show on the tube as history of that war is not much that I saw during my 2 and half years in country….that is the key…selective memory……

The Vietnam War was obviously one of the most disastrous of this country’s past mistakes – and the Pentagon’s “50th Vietnam War commemoration” is a near-perfect example of how both national and military leaders and a willing public have avoided facing important truths about Vietnam and American wars ever since. That’s not just a matter of inaccurate storytelling. It’s dangerous because refusing to recognize past mistakes makes it easier to commit future ones. For that reason, the selective history the Pentagon has been putting out on Vietnam for more than six years, and what that story tells us about the military leadership’s institutional memory, is worth a critical look.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/11/08/misremembering-vietnam/

MY point is (I finally got there, huh?) we have made the same mistake in Afghanistan and Iraq that the French and then the US made in Vietnam….they, the leaders, did not learn from the history and we have repeated it…..

A “Gulf Of Tonkin” Moment!

As I research I see a couple of “Gulf Of Tonkin” moments…..I see a couple of situations that could be pushed to the point of no return…..but what is a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident?

I could waste your time with a wordy description or I could make it simple……I chose simple….

Now that we know what I mean where can there be the situations that could be disastrous?

Russia/Ukraine in the Sea of Azov…….

Ukraine, Russia and US Navies are in close contact in this region and a small incident could explode into more troubles……

The jockeying for position goes on……Ukraine wants the West to up its sanctions on Russia…..

Speaking at a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the foreign minister of Ukraine denounced the recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russian forces off Crimea, saying it represented another assault on international law.

“It is a matter of urgency to provide a prompt and consolidated international response to this act of aggression. Declarations are not enough. There must be action,” Pavlo Klimkin told the annual gathering of OSCE ministers.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-osce/ukraine-asks-west-to-ramp-up-sanctions-on-russia-idUKKBN1O51J3

There are those that do not think Ukraine deserves undying loyalty……

The recent clash between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait has generated a flurry of alarm. NATO was compelled to call an emergency meeting with Ukraine and the UN Security Council convened an urgent session to discuss the crisis. Exercising their usual tendency to oversimplify murky geopolitical rivalries, Western officials and journalists embraced the knee-jerk narrative that the incident is yet another case of Vladimir Putin’s blatant aggression and “outlaw behavior” against its peace-loving, democratic neighbor. Right on cue, CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets dispatched stridently anti-Russian editorials masquerading as news stories.

In reality, the Kerch Strait incident involves a complex mixture of factors. They include the tense Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relationship, Kiev’s broader foreign policy objectives, and Ukraine’s volatile domestic politics.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ukraine-doesnt-deserve-americas-blind-support/

There is more to watch in region around the Sea of Azov……

No one wants war, but this is how one gets a war. Two angry states are poking and probing at the flammable edges of an extended war zone, each acting in what it believes is a controlled fashion with little risk of escalation, but each ready to risk the next step if the price of retreat seems too high. Here begins the chain of actions and reactions coupled with miscalculations leading to a conflagration neither wants or expects.

The violent incident on the approach to the Kerch Strait is not how many in the West envisage the path to war in Europe. That path is different from Russia using stealth to take a bite out of the Baltic states. It is also not Moscow heating up the war in Donbas before launching an assault on all of eastern Ukraine or conquering a land bridge from Donbas to Crimea. Nor was it Russia using a snap exercise to disguise an attack on a soft portion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s defenses.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nightmare-how-war-ukraine-could-go-regional-37557

That region is a possible hot spot and there is another Gulf of Tonkin incident waiting to happen…..Iran.

There are those that see a war in the making…….

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeated an earlier threat to block ships from leaving the Persian Gulf if the U.S. government continues to seek to block Iranian oil exports. Rouhani’s comments came a day after the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf on Monday in an apparent “show of force,” ending the longest period the U.S. had gone without an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf over the past two decades.

While some – at the time – anticipated that the U.S.’ deployment of the aircraft carrier was an empty threat meant to intimidate Iran, new developments suggest that there may soon be a military showdown in the Persian Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz as Iranian and regional media have reported that the Iranian Navy has deployed a large naval contingent of 58 fleets to the northern waters of the Indian Ocean near the Persian Gulf. According to Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the naval contingent is closely monitoring the area as they await orders from the Iranian government.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/persian-gulf-of-tonkin-ingredients-all-in-place-for-us-war-on-iran/5662075

Seriously?

This seems inevitable……all we can do is hope that calmer heads will prevail…..but with these Neocons in positions of power around Trump….calmer heads are out numbered.

Another Lost Lesson?

They say (whoever “they” are) that each conflict educates our leaders and strategists…..but I find that not so accurate……for what did we learn about our short visit to the battlefields of World War One?  For that matter WW2 or Korea or especially Vietnam?

I know that we learned nothing from our ten years in Vietnam….for I see the same mistakes being made with our cute “War on Terror”…..a cute slogan only….you cannot defeat a tactic….

But I digress.

Will we, the US, make the same mistakes we made in Vietnam?

According to reports, the Army has delayed the publication of a 1,300-page internal Iraq war study commissioned by General Ray Odierno in 2013. The volume, which few in the public were even aware of, was an admirable project. After all, the U.S. military famously ignored and jettisoned any lessons after its defeat in Vietnam. Most of us would agree that simply can’t happen again.

So why the delay? Some fear the Army might be hesitant to publish a study that takes its leadership to task for decisions critical to the execution, and perhaps outcome, of the war. (Basically, while the Army says it wants to learn its lessons, it doesn’t necessarily want to see them in black and white.) One chief Army historian claimed it would “air” too much institutional “dirty laundry.”

Indeed, retired Colonel Frank Sobchack, a study team director, expressed concern about the delay in the report’s release, asserting “that the Army was paralyzed with apprehension for the past two years over publishing it leaves me disappointed with the institution to which I dedicated my adult life.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/will-iraq-become-another-lesson-lost-like-vietnam/

If not then tell me what it all has meant?

Possibly the most poignant line of the 1984 breakout hit “19” by electronic musician Paul Hardcastle was the one it deliberately drove home with synthesized drumbeat repetition: “In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26. In Vietnam he was nineteen…nineteen.”

When this song hit the radio airwaves, much of the Vietnam veteran cohort—those who had seen the worst fighting in that war—had been home for a little more than a decade. They were in their early 30s now—building careers, raising families, and politically active. The war’s horrors and fallout began reemerging in national headlines and sympathetic Hollywood films, along with Agent Orange and PTSD. A page had turned, too, in the national consciousness. Americans were finally beginning to separate their anger at the government from the young men who fought its war. The mantra became internalized: never again.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ten-years-gone-iraq-and-afghanistan-vets-on-what-it-all-meant/

Will there be a lesson learned?  Or will we remain in the arrogant belief that we do everything properly?

Here is something to think about when it comes to Vietnam…..

“I’m going to Saigon,” said Secretary of Defense James Mattis last month before correcting himself. “Ho Chi Minh City – former Saigon.”

It was the fifth time that Mattis would meet with his Vietnamese counterpart, Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich, and it marked the defense secretary’s first visit to a former U.S. military base outside of Ho Chi Minh City. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, Bien Hoa Air Base was home to 550 aircraft. Today, it is one of many sites heavily contaminated by America’s toxic defoliant of choice, Agent Orange.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/11/08/misremembering-vietnam/

Now you know!