Tuesday, May 13, 2008
McCain's military views and the stab-in-the-back theory of the Vietnam WarPhil Carter's blog Intel Dump is now resident at the Washington Post site, where hopefully it will get even greater visibility. Carter is an attorney who has been writing for years on intelligence issues and has served in the Iraq War as an army captain.
He writes in Vietnam Ghosts 05/10/08 about the stab-in-the-back version of the outcome of the Vietnam War and its influence in the officer corps:
Ah yes, the "stabbed in the back narrative."Glenn Greenwald picks up on Carter's post in John McCain's Vietnam-based view of war Salon 05/12/08.
Greenwald talks about how that stab-in-the-back myth informs the views of "100 Years War McCain. I'll note one thing here that is a little confusing. In an update, Greenwald mentions there may be some question as to whether McCain in a quote from 1990 he uses was referring to Vietnamese or American casualties. It seems clear to me that in describing the 1972 Christmas Bombing of North Vietnam, McCain was referring to the heavy use of air power minimizing American casualties.
I would note that while the bold Maverick seems to think the Christmas Bombing was 100% successful, the US actually experienced major losses of aircraft during that operation. And except in the militarist fantasies of people like McCain, no political gain to speak of. The terms of the peace treaty signed just afterward were essentially identical to the one they could have signed before the Christmas Bombing campaign.
Greenwald is right in this analysis:
John McCain is the ultimate embodiment of America's hoary, Vietnam era "stabbed-in-the-back" myth. [That theory holds that] We should fight wars with massive bombing campaigns and unleashed force, unconstrained by excessive concerns over "collateral damage" and unimpeded by domestic questioning. That's how we could have (and should have) "won" in Vietnam and how we'll "win" in Iraq. That's why the central truth of the 2008 election is that, when it comes to foreign policy, the Kristol/Lieberman-supported John McCain is a carbon copy of the Bush/Cheney warmongering mentality except that he's actually more extreme about its core premises.The one point I would add to Greenwald's analysis is that when McCain talks about the American people not caring how long the US stays in Iraq as long as American casualties are not being incurred, that most likely means that McCain believes that an intensified air war would minimize opposition to the Iraq War among the US public. As I've discussed before, this belief of his is based on extremely shaky premises. But my guess is that's the real notion he has in mind: intensify the air war whose magical powers will force whatever it is that the bold Maverick sees as "victory" in Iraq.
Tags: iraq war, mccain, vietnam war
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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