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Washington Plans an Aggressive War Paperback – Feb 28 1972

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Paperback, Feb 28 1972
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Davis-Poynter (Feb. 28 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0706700341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0706700343
  • Shipping Weight: 503 g
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa65abb34) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0xa6242390) out of 5 stars Planning War Crimes May 1 2012
By Acute Observer - Published on
Washington Plans An Aggressive War, Stavins, Barnet, Raskin

This 1971 book is the result of an intensive study by the authors. Two were part of the Kennedy Administration (`Preface') Who was responsible for the attack on North Vietnam and sending US troops into South Vietnam? Can the "national security bureaucracy" get involved in another catastrophe? The authors decided that this war was politically and morally wrong from the outset, and, the "nation-state" must be held responsible for their actions. The war in Vietnam was caused by the decisions of identifiable men. Most of the American people knew little of the facts. [The corporate media couldn't tell the truth.] Could a fully informed Congress or people have done something? The US leadership planned an aggressive war against people who were not a threat to America. This is defined as a war crime. Can they be punished?

Part I is about the early years, 1954 to 1960. The defeat of French colonialism led to an interim government until national elections in 1956. The US supported Diem to prevent free elections that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam would win. Diem crushed opposing groups, then used electoral fraud and an election boycott to gain virtual dictatorial powers (with American military and economic aid). This decision to support an independent South Vietnam caused twenty years of warfare with loss of billions of dollars and hundred thousand lives. Did Washington believe the atomic bomb would prevent and defeat a popular revolt? [Note the lack of any mention of land reform. The economic background of the revolt is rarely mentioned.]

The increasing oppression in South Vietnam led to a growing revolt. The Can Lao Party relied on terror and murder to support Diem. In 1959 the DRV decided on a struggle for reunification. Washington chose a dictatorial regime to prevent the unification of Vietnam. Next Kennedy and Johnson began an aggressive war against the DRV. The "Domino Theory" fantasized that if Vietnam was reunited, they would next arrive on the beaches of California! Diem's failures were his opposition to village democracy and land reform (p.20). The Viet Cong won because it had the support of the people (p.23). One general attempted a putsch. Only Washington backed Diem, but that was enough (p.24). Washington knew of the popular resentment against Diem (p.25). Diem refused any change that would reduce his power.

Oppression increased (more control over the population) with personal identification, food control, and control of movement (p.27). JFK approved the plan (p.28). Diem's rule created a need for US ground troops. But Diem refused to accept US troops as it would violate the Geneva Accords (p.36). The growing Viet Cong movement was of local origin. The biggest threat to Diem was from the military and civilians of South Vietnam (p.38). Military escalation would encourage the South and discourage the North (p.43). Americans were needed to control the South Vietnamese government (p.45). Diem's loss of support in Saigon led to his removal in 1963 (p.47). JFK rejected the advice to send ground troops into Vietnam (p.52), but not "advisors" (p.53). US combat troops were sent to Vietnam but censored in the press (p.57). JFK ordered this in March 1961 (p.58). Defoliation was approved without concern for the consequences (p.71). Pages 72 to 79 explain the hidden politics of control! JFK would not have withdrawn troops from Vietnam if he lived (p.80). JFK authorized armed helicopters to Vietnam in 1962 (p.85).

The Viet Cong continued to win battles (p.86). The US was willing to kill innocent civilians (p.87). Washington could not accept the fact that the rural population was the Viet Cong. Washington could not win in Vietnam (p.88)! Diem would not changed his political oppression, or leave the country (p.93). The US was afraid of a deal with the NLF (p.94). While they knew the VC was independent of the DRV, they went ahead with plans to attack the DR (p.95)! The Gulf of Tonkin incident was the result of a provocation (p.97). `This led to a wider war" (p.98). What do you think of this gamesmanship (p.107)? Was it based on faulty assumptions (p.110)? American public opinion was totally ignored (p.111)!

Congress was deceived into passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (p.124). Should the conflict have been referred to the United Nations (p.142)? None of the choices were good (p.145). Johnson's option for war were limited (p.148). Page 155 describes the varying rules. [Do they seem crazy decades later?] US military advisors asked for US ground troops in South Vietnam (p.164). But it would be difficult to withdraw them (p.185) and led to a high casualty rate (p.186). Reports were fabricated in the field! Mismanagement (p.189)? War was chose by the "power elite", not by Congress (p.193). The "entire ruling class" ignored the American people (p.194).

Part II identifies the men who made the war, the National Security Managers (p.201). Sending Americans to die in Vietnam would make a commitment (p.207). Their misjudgment create a disaster (p.209). The insurgency in the South did not depend on the North (p.211). Presidential power is limited (pp.228-231). Offers of a peace settlement were rejected (p.232).Why (p.233)? They explain the politics of advice of violence. National Security Managers are generalists who use isolated facts to confirm their assumptions (p.239). They do not know enough about the society of a country (p.240), or have the objectivity to understand it. A bureaucracy acts for its own interests (p.243). The US took over from French and British colonialism (p.244). Euphemisms are used to hide reality (p.247).

Part III discusses personal responsibility. The Executive usurped the power of war-making and reduced the constitutional authority of Congress. A mention of the influence of big corporations is on page 263. The National Security Act of 1947 gave power to the President (p.266). Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson sought independent power (p.280).American foreign policy sought to avoid war with a Great Power but war with smaller countries was acceptable (p.290). The Kellogg-Briand Pact made planing a war a crime (p.295). The author suggests a purge of war criminals similar to the Denazification Law (p.298). They compare the crimes of the Nazis to what was done in Vietnam (p.304). Democracy degenerates when its leaders are drawn from people who are consistently wrong (p.314). [The authors seem to assume that imperialism only occurred after WW II (p.320).] Their suggestions make interesting reading but are unlikely to be implemented by Congress.

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