jump to navigation

Mr Orange, 32 years ago December 4, 2007

Posted by dorigo in news.
trackback

On April 30th, 1975, nord-Vietnam troops entered Saigon, terminating the foreign occupation. But that did not terminate the anguish of the population. During the previous 15 years (from 1961 to 1971), the US aviation pestered the country with Agent Orange, a dioxin-based herbicide and defoliant substance. Still today, the effects of the venomous substance are apparent in the relatives of the four million people who were exposed.

Just a picture to remember the horror, copyright Livio Senegalliesi:

Comments

1. Matteo Martini - December 4, 2007

Good post, Tommaso.
Now, for par condicio, write next post about the victims of Communism.
Now, I give you a quick breackdown here:

20 million in the Soviet Union
65 million in the People’s Republic of China
1 million in Vietnam
2 million in North Korea
2 million in Cambodia
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
150,000 in Latin America
1.7 million in Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
10,000 deaths “resulting from actions of the international communist movement and communist parties not in power.”

according to the Black Book of Communism.

2. Tripitaka - December 5, 2007

Its no wonder the world at large depises regimes driven by ideology. Whatever these regimes touch seems to end in deaths.

Its awful that one of the most destructive of such regimes in the world just at the moment is also the wealthiest, did that nation learn nothing from their slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese based on an ideologically-motivated fear?

3. dorigo - December 5, 2007

Matteo,

this blog is not a coin-in-the-box machine. Open your own blog and publicize that inaccurate, ideology-ridden book dear to Silvio Berlusconi, by yourself. it costs nothing to open a blog. An advice: apply some critical thinking to what you read before reporting.

As for why I choose to discuss the crimes of the US much more than I discuss those of Pol Pot, Stalin, and company, it should be clear to you: those regimes are things of the past, while now we give credit to an ally which is applying the exact same logic today as it did in Vietnam 40 years ago.

Good luck,
T.

4. dorigo - December 5, 2007

Hi Tripitaka,

yes, they (we) learned nothing. Or to say it more accurately: they (we) do not give a damn, apparently.

Cheers,
T.

5. Fred - December 5, 2007

Umm… Tripitaka, I sympathize but,

The answer to your question can be summed up in one word: absolutely not …er maybe. It seems that not all of the U.S. contractors over in Iraq are American citizens. In that sense, we are spreading the wealth while sharing the responsibility. Kinda like a dealer. And where was the concerted unequivocal no from the other 5.7 billion people in the world? This war could have been prevented but everyone else also had their own selfish agendas based on ideologically-motivated fear. And that especially includes the countries of the Middle East. The end result is what we now see. As stated before, the leading powers of this planet have failed us miserably throughout and I see only slight deviations in pattern and course for the near future. it’s time for the rest of the countries to step up to the plate and demand real change because the U.S., Russia, China, England, France and the world’s resource cartels are morally bankrupt beyond anyone’s imagination. (All former Allied Partners) The only thing we need to despise is our own cowardice. On the bright side, the university students of Venezuela showed us how to take one small step forward. Those unknowing heroes temporarily saved that country’s ass as the U.S. would have beat them to within an inch of their lives if Chavez would have put Venezuela on the official socialist registry to promote his own brand of ignorance.

6. Matteo Martini - December 5, 2007

Tommaso,
sorry, I did not want to upset you, not my intention.
I just have the feeling, sorry for being frank, that sometimes, you are little bit biased in your conclusions ( see the other blog post about the revenge with your bank ).
Again, this is only my opinion, and I also did not have the intention to ” push ” you to publish a comment about the crimes of communism.
Mine was just an ironic request.

About the fact that the ” Black book of Communism ” should be an ” ideology-ridden book dear to Silvio Berlusconi “, I would like to hear why you say that, since it has been quoted quite extensively, and it is considered by many as fairly accurated.

Even if you do not care about that book, I suggest you to read ( in case you have not already read it ) the book ” Darkness at noon ” ( Buio a mezzogiorno ), by the anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist Arthur Koestler, which describes fairly accurately how things went during the Stalin era.

And, there are many other books about how things went under Communism in the U.S.S.R. and Asia.

About the fact that you do not want to discuss the crimes of Pol Pot and Stalin because they are ” crimes of the past “, then why you post something about the Vietnam war, which ended 32 years ago, if I am not wrong, instead of Iraq?

Again, no need to get upset🙂

7. Matteo Martini - December 5, 2007

Tripitaka,
I would like to ask you why you call the U.S. as ” one of the most destructive of such regimes in the world “?

I would like to ask you if you know what the following countries did in the past, when they had half the power that the U.S. has now:
– Russia during Communism;
– Germany and Italy during Nazi-Fascism;
– Japan during and before WWII;
– England and France during the colonial era;
– etc.

Did they behave so much better ( or worse ) than the US now?

8. Matteo Martini - December 5, 2007

Tommaso,
by the way, I find that the term ” foreign occupation ” is somewhat misleading.
The U.S. never occupied, and, probably, never intended to invade Vietnam.
There war a war in progress between the South ( which was, let` s say, free ) and the North ( in the hands of the Communists ).
Both sides used ctuel methods to win the war.
The U.S. took stance on one side, and got defeated.
You can criticize them for that, but you can not compare this, to what foreign occupations have really been ( Hitler` s occupation of Poland, or Stalin occupation of Eastern Europe ).

By the way, had the U.S. won in Vietnam, there would maybe not have been Pol Pot and his cruel regime to power ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot#Democratic_Kampuchea_.281975-1979.29 )

9. dorigo - December 5, 2007

Hi Matteo,

Not upset – it takes much, much more than that… I can’t answer in full now, today I have surgery. Will answer your comments later.

Cheers,
T.

10. Matteo Martini - December 5, 2007

Hi Tommaso,
good luck!!

11. Tripitaka - December 5, 2007

The history of Vietnam should break the hardest heart. After enduring the exploitative rule of the French for a century they eventually found themselves under Japanese rule during WWII whose rice requisitions helped bring about a crippling famine with a staggering accompanying loss of life (millions). After the war, the new world power – America – ensured that Vietnam was returned to French rule. With the eventual rise of nationalist forces the French realised their position was untenable but, with enormous “moral” and financial support from America, they continued the war with the nationalists until final defeat in 1954. A peace treaty, the Geneva Accord, was agreed which secured international commitment for nationwide elections to be held two years later following an agreed temporary division of the country. However, the southern division of the country subsequently declared their territory to be a sovereign state. As it was by then clear that Ho Chi Minh in the North would win any national election, America ensured that the southern declaration of independance was internationally respected, in blatant violation of the Geneva Accord.
America’s decade-long involvement in the ensuing civil war arguably resulted in millions more Vietnamese deaths. Specific descriptions of the attrocities committed on the Vietnamese people by the US army would not be suitable for this blog.

/\… I never said that America is the most destructive regime in history, just the most destructive one going around at this time.

12. Tripitaka - December 5, 2007

We all hope for good news soon regarding your health Tommaso!

13. jeff - December 5, 2007

Humans build and cherish their own mental prisons. I noticed it about 30 years ago for the first time when I was surrounded by people my age that didn’t have a molecule of an original thought and just repeated like parrots fashionable phrases because they were pathetically driven by the need to be accepted into a group. Once I noticed it for the first time I found the smell everywhere. It is human and does not correlate with intelligence. I, for instance, am not intelligent and yet am a soloist. Some are very intelligent and yet just love to fit in, be in a choir, and are tickled into stupidity by being slapped on the back for saying something that friends will approve. Even when they strive to emerge, as the most intelligent ones do indeed need to do, they do it with great bravery running great risks by saying what everyone of his group already thinks. Humans are lemmings and even lemmings have leaders. As for me I’ll resist to the end the urge to belong to a group. If more than three people agree about something then I start worrying.

If you got this far then, to begin to say something interesting about the US, I warmly suggest you read Andrei Markovits “Why Europe dislikes America”. Mind you the guy is a lefty!

14. Randall - December 5, 2007

Dear Matteo,

the list of death you are enlisting is probably inaccurate. This of course does not mean anything because we know for sure that communist regimes’ casualties range over the order of many tens of millions anyway, during the course of XXth century.

However, you are doing a very bad service to US if in order to save its reputation, you do not find any better than compare it with a list of some of the worst dictatorships in recent history!

It is like that in order to equalize the faults of the government of Shroeder in Germany (left winged) I would find nothing better than compare him to Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet and so on.

The point here is the following: exactly because we recognize that US is a democracy and a country in which civil rights exist (and I would add also because is the main power of this poor world) that we are worried if it does or did in recent histoy things that were against human rights.

I hope that this more or less was the though of Tommaso when he made this post.

Best,

Randall

15. Matteo Martini - December 5, 2007

Tripitaka,
you are talking about national elections.
When the Communists went to power in Vietnam, did they held national elections?

About your sentence ” I never said that America is the most destructive regime in history, just the most destructive one going around at this time “, I mind you to think that America, at this time, is the only superpower, so, for a nice comparison, you should compare America in this position, to other superpowers of the last centuries ( U.S.S.R., Nazi Germany, Japan under Hiro Hito, Britain during the colonial era, etc. ), not with countries like Sweden, as countries like Sweden, have no power to do any wars.

Jeff, who are you recommending your book to?

Randall,
good that you agree that Communist caused deaths in the order of the ” tens of millions “, not that far from my quote.
About the fact that I compared America only to bad dictatorships, I did that because, during the XX centuries, all the other superpowers of the world have only been bad dictatorships.
America, I think, has behave better than them.

16. jeff - December 6, 2007

The book by Markovits is recommeded to anyone that doesn’t want to be a parrot.

17. Matteo Martini - December 6, 2007

Jeff,
BTW, I like many things about America ( not America` s foreign policy, though ).

18. Randall - December 6, 2007

Dear Matteo,

I think you have badly misunderstood my post. Pity for that, but it is not a problem.

Best,

Randall

P.S: your total sum is of the order of more than 100 millions, I have said tens of millions…sorry but for me 100 millions and 40 are quite different numbers, especially when we are talking about human lifes.

19. Matteo Martini - December 6, 2007

Randall,
I do not really get where I would have misunderstood your post.
If you want, please explain me better.

About the point if the deaths of communism have been 40 millions, 70 millions or more, my points is that it has been one of the worst ( the worst ) catastrophes in human history.

20. Matteo Martini - December 6, 2007

Corrige
..my point is that it has been one of the worst ( the worst? ) catastrophes in human history

21. jeff - December 6, 2007

Dear Matteo Martini
if you read the book, you might very well remain convinced about disliking US policies, but at least you will have made an important step towards acquiring independence of thought. Independent thought is of course intrinsically difficult, but it becomes nearly impossible if one reads or listens only to things he likes reading or listening to. For the typical european “intellectual” the book by Markovits will be a challenge because he will end up feeling less smart, less “intellectual”. But that would be the healthy reaction

22. Matteo Martini - December 6, 2007

Randall,
you wrote ” P.S: your total sum is of the order of more than 100 millions, ”

Are you sure?

Jeff,
I can not read any book it is recommended, as I have no time, for that, but it seemed to me ( from exceprt I have read around ) that it is aimed to people who cunnrently ” over-hate ” the U.S., not my case, though.
Again, I can not read any book it is recommended ( yes, I know, I have also recommended one book in this thread, ” Darkness at noon “, but that is a masterpiece, believe me )

23. dorigo - December 7, 2007

Hi all,

sorry for having been unable to contribute to this thread the way I would have liked to. However, I can only say that quoting number of victims is a very immoral way of discussing the faults of this or that system or this or that tyrant.
Hitler could “only” kill 6 million jews, but his deeds are universally considered the most evil of all time, because of the deliberate intent of exterminating a whole race. The US killed hundreds of thousands civilians in the carpet bombings during WWII, and including Hiroshima and Nagasaki certainly more than a million, but nobody really denounces them of atrocity, because of the historical juncture in which those events took place. Bin Laden is directly responsible of less than 3000 dead US citizens, but he is certainly arousing more outrage than the thousands of civilians who died in Afghanistan during the retaliation by NATO forces.

What I am trying to say is, let us not lose perspective by becoming accountants. Today, the worst offenders are the United States. Period. It is up to us to decide whether to get outraged by stories which are long dead or by present history, on which in principle we have a way of intervening

Cheers,
T.

24. Michael - December 7, 2007

“2 million in Cambodia”: yes it was Pot Pol BUT we [the US] armed Pot Pol. We knew they would fight the VC; it was part if Kissenger’s [Doctor Kiss of death] expending of the war into Cambodia and Laos.

“- England and France during the colonial era;
– Russia during Communism”

This is a hard choice. We are still living with what all three of these countries left us in Asia, Africa and the Mideast; and Europe.

“by the way, I find that the term ” foreign occupation ” is somewhat misleading. The U.S. never occupied, and, probably, never intended to invade Vietnam. There war a war in progress between the South ( which was, let` s say, free ) and the North ( in the hands of the Communists ).”

I’m sorry it was occupation. When you over prevent elections because your choice wouldn’t win and then invaded its occupation.

BTW I was a draftee.

Agent Orange didn’t just hurt Vietnamese, though they have been hurt the most, many US servicemen were/are being affected.

25. dorigo - December 7, 2007

Michael, thank you for your comment. I think I agree with most of your points.

And I believe you are right with the fact that US soldiers also were affected. I had heard that statement before.

Cheers,
T.

26. Matteo Martini - December 8, 2007

Tommaso,
I think that I have to quite disagree from your perspective, which I judge seriously flawed.
Let see all the points one by one.

” However, I can only say that quoting number of victims is a very immoral way of discussing the faults of this or that system or this or that tyrant. ”

” Very immoral way ” ??
You are using harsh words here, not far from direct insult to my person
You are saying that I would have been immoral in quoting the number of victims of Communism?
This is a completely un-understandable sentence, I would like to ask your clarification over.
Is it killing one person the same as killing a million?
In which way do you think it can be ” immoral ” to quote the number of victims of this and that tyrant?
You are also quoting the number of victims of Hitler` s konzentration lagers..

Tommaso
Hitler could “only” kill 6 million jews, but his deeds are universally considered the most evil of all time, because of the deliberate intent of exterminating a whole race.

Matteo
Tommaso, Hitler did not kill ” only ” 6 million Jews, but also started a war in which 50 to 70 million people died ( more than half of them were civilians )

Tommaso
The US killed hundreds of thousands civilians in the carpet bombings during WWII, and including Hiroshima and Nagasaki certainly more than a million, but nobody really denounces them of atrocity, because of the historical juncture in which those events took place.

Matteo
No, Tommaso, only few people denounce the behaviour of America during WWII because many ( including me ) think they were on the right side.
How do you think you could stop Hitler ( and Showa ), if not figthing against him?
Would you go to him and tell him, ” please, uncle Adolf, be good, stop killing Jews “, and hope to be listened to?
Are you naive at this point?
Or, do you think America should have not attacked Hitler and let him finish the massacre?

Tommaso
Bin Laden is directly responsible of less than 3000 dead US citizens, but he is certainly arousing more outrage than the thousands of civilians who died in Afghanistan during the retaliation by NATO forces

Matteo
There is quite a difference between the murdering of innocent lives by Osama bin Laden and the number of deaths in Iraq/Afghanistan, and I am amazed that you can not see the difference.
I disagree with the way the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars were handled, but I remind you that the American forces in Iraq are setting up ( well, have the goal of setting up ) a democracy there, and they set up general elections there, in order to let people choose their government.
Not the goal of Osama bin Laden.
Also, the vast majority of the civilian victims in Iraq/Afghanistan is due to internal conflicts between different tribes, between Shiites and Sunnis, etc. which American troops are trying to prevent, not to create.

Tommaso
Today, the worst offenders are the United States. Period.

Matteo
You keep failing to grasp the main point of the discussion here.
You can not compare the behaviour of the US with the behaviour of, let` s say, Switzerland, as the two countries have a different role in the international environment.
Like it or not, the US are now the only superpower in the world, and that comes with opportunities for them, but also duties they can not avoid to fulfill.
Like it has always been in the past, for all the other superpowers ( from the Roman Empire on ).
And, considering the history of the last 2000 years, I see that the US are behaving fairly well.

27. Matteo Martini - December 8, 2007

Michael,
yes it was Pot Pol BUT we [the US] armed Pot Pol.

Matteo
I would like to see more evidence about this..

28. Matteo Martini - December 8, 2007

Michael
I’m sorry it was occupation. When you over prevent elections because your choice wouldn’t win and then invaded its occupation.

Matteo
Please, tell me when the Communist, after the war ended, held free elections in Vietnam.
As far as I know, after the US defeated Germany, Italy and Japan in WWII, free elections were held there.
Were free elections held in Vietnam after the Communists took over?

29. Matteo Martini - December 8, 2007

When communists took power in Vietnam..

Postwar
Upon taking control, the Vietnamese communists banned all other political parties, arrested public servants and military personnel of the Republic of Vietnam and sent them to reeducation camps. The government also embarked on a mass campaign of collectivization of farms and factories. Reconstruction of the war-ravaged country was slow, and serious humanitarian and economic problems confronted the communist regime

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam#Postwar

30. dorigo - December 8, 2007

Dear Matteo,

if I say that an immoral argument is being used in a discussion, I am not accusing of immorality who is using it. I have no interest in insulting anybody here. However, you are behaving a bit like a troll here (please don’t take offense), so please let’s forget about this, I have no interest in discussing with you these matters, because It is obvious that we have different views on the issue at hand and no chance to influence each other’s view.

Cheers,
T.

31. Matteo Martini - December 9, 2007

Dear Tommaso,
to say that ” an immoral argument is being used in a discussion ” is little bit like saying that I was immoraly behaving, when I was using that argument.
I have yet to see why quoting the number of persons murdered by a regime/tyrant is a ” very immoral way of discussing the faults of this or that system or this or that tyrant “.
Again, killing 6 people is the same as killing 6 millions?
I really do not understand your point on this.

Then, you tell me that I am behaving ” a bit like a troll here “, I wonder why.
Maybe it is OK to bash America, but it is not OK to bash the Communist regimes who committed all kind of crimes?
Or is it because you do not want to hear about the bad things that the Communist regimes did in the past?

Now, when in the past I wrote comments in line with your ideas, you wrote me ” thank you for visiting… and for the support ” ( link: https://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/am-i-a-sexist/#comments ) and you wrote me ” Hi Matteo, thank you, hang around here, your comments may be needed now and then. ” ( link: https://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/09/11/more-political-incorrectness/#comments ), now, when I write comments not in line with your ideas you accuse me ” [ to ] behave a bit like a troll “.

And, finally, you close the discussion saying ” it is obvious that we have different views on the issue at hand and no chance to influence each other’s view ”

I have a totally different approach when I go to talk with other people, usually I value more comments from people which are not in line with what is already my position, in order to learn more about a subject and to understand points of view different from mine.

As I have noticed, browsing your otherwise excellent blog, I have the feeling that ( please don’t take offense ), that you are sometimes ( very ) biased in your conclusions, and you always tend to see the evil in what America, Berlusconi are and have done ( things on which I agree on ), but you fail to grasp that the opponents of America and Berlusconi did not behave that much different in the past.

As I can see here, you have made an excellent post about the situation in the US penitentiaries ( link: https://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/us-penitentiaries-take-that/#comments ), I have still to see a post about the crimes of Putin in Chechnya ( crimes that even the worst czars in the 19th century and before did not commit ) or about the situation of the Laogai concentration camps in China.

We have also discussed on the same topic on the post about Berlusconi and Prodi, you keep making posts about center-right Berlusconi ( here: https://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/relieved-to-hear-that/#comments ) and corruption in center-right Forza Italia ( link: https://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/an-italian-story/#comments ), and against center-right Lega ( link: https://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/an-italian-story/#comments ), but I have still to see a post on the D` Alema-Unipol affaire or on that a*****e of Mastella, who is one of the worst and most corrupted Minister of Justice Italy has ever had.

This is called being biased, in my opinion ( please don’t take offense ).

I think Tommaso, you are a first-class scientist, but, if you want to be also a fine thinker about poilitics, you should listen more to people who think different from you and use little more of criticism of your own ideas.

Just my 2 cents.

32. Matteo Martini - December 9, 2007

Michael,
I did some research on the connection about Pol Pot and the US and I found no evidence that the US ” armed Pot Pol “.
If this is not considered as ” trolling “, I ask you to provide a ( authoritative ) link on this matter

Thanks,

Matteo

33. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Dear Matteo,

you are smart enough to understand that a blog is not a newspaper. I write in it what I like to write about. Completeness is not a value here, nor is it a sign that one is a balanced person. Nothing I can write in this blog can determine whether I am balanced or biased. I could very well have written about Putin, whom I despise, or about the situation in China. I write about what I know. I have lived in the US; and I know US society enough to write about it.

The same goes with italian politics: I write about what I know. Despite all your wishes, I still have to see a proof of misdemeanor by D’Alema (whom I do not like much), or Mastella (whom I really dislike). I prefer to write about Berlusconi (whose misdemeanors are gigantic) or Strassoldo (who writes contracts to make illegal agreements!). There is a wealth of documentation on the proof of misdemeanor in several politicians from the center right. But you would miss the point again if you were tempted to cite this or that midget politician from the center-left who took this or that bribe: again, this is a personal blog, not a newspaper. You want unbiasedness, objective balanced discussion of every topic ? You’ve come to the wrong place.

Then, about bashing america vs communism: communism is dead, do you think Putin is a communist ??? The US imperialism instead is pretty much alive, and the fact that “well, they are the only superpower, so if anybody’s got to drop bombs, it’s them” is a real howler of a defence. The US are killing people. One million in Iraq died for US actions since 2003. Sure, communist regimes killed many more in the past. So ? The US are there now, and we discuss about WWII ?

And sure, I could write about violations of human rights in China. Again, I know too little about that reality. Period. I insist, if you want to see a blog with those issues on the front page, write one.

Finally, I will always read you with pleasure, provided you do not post several comments in a row on the same column, offering accusations of biasedness and narrowmindedness. And provided you understand that arguing is good but arguing uselessly is pointless and annoying.

Cheers,
T.

34. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Ah, and about killing 6 people or 6 million: no, I really think there is not much difference. The guy who killed 6 millions had the means, but he does not win membership to a different league from the guy who killed 6 because of the larger number of casualties: he does because he did it systematically and according to an evil design.

Was Saddam Hussein on a different league from G.W.Bush ? No. Saddam Hussein is responsible for killing thousands to reinforce his power and maintain his wealth. G.W.Bush is responsible for killing many more for the purpose of reinforcing his power and increasing his wealth. Do we care about counting the heads ? I don’t. I think it is morally dubious to decide on the level of horror on the basis of the number of victims.

Cheers,
T.

35. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Matteo,

about the US “arming” Pol Pot: between 1967 and 1973, the US carpet-bombed the cambodian area bordering Vietnam. They killed several hundred thousand civilians, and reinforced heavily the lines of the khmer rouge through the hatred they caused among other factors. I have in front of me a copy of “The Pol Pot regime” by Ben Kiernan, Yale UP 1996. I quote from the introduction:

“Although it was indigenous, Pol Pot’s revolution would not have won power without US economic and military destabilization of Cambodia, which began in 1966 after the American escalation in next-door Vietnam and peaked in 1969-73 with the carpet bombing of Cambodia’s countryside by American B-52’s. This was probably the most important single factor in Pol Pot’s rise.” (p.16)

“In 1974, Kissinger was unsure if the Cambodian insurgency was ‘regional’ and ‘factionalized’ with only ‘a veneer of central control’ or whether ‘the real power’ lay with Pol Pot’s center (Cable from the secretary of state to US Embassy, Phnom Penh, April 1974). The tragedy is that the former had been largely true in 1972, the latter was largely true in 1974, and Kissinger and Nixon were largely responsible for the change. Attempts on their part to rewrite the record are not surprising”. (p.25)

Cheers,
T.

36. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Hmm, or maybe our friend Michael referred to what happened after 1979. Read this (from http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/hermansept97.htm):

The Times editorial of June 24 recognizes a small problem in pursuing Pol Pot, arising from the fact that after he was forced out of Cambodia by Vietnam, “From 1979 to 1991, Washington indirectly backed the Khmer Rouge, then a component of the guerrilla coalition fighting the Vietnamese installed Government [in Phnom Penh].” This does seem awkward: the United States and its allies giving economic, military, and political support to Pol Pot, and voting for over a decade to have his government retain Cambodia’s UN seat, but now urging his trial for war crimes. The Times misstates and understates the case: the United States gave direct as well as indirect aid to Pol Pot—in one estimate, $85 million in direct support—and it “pressured UN agencies to supply the Khmer Rouge,” which “rapidly improved” the health and capability of Pol Pot’s forces after 1979 (Ben Kiernan, “Cambodia’s Missed Chance,” Indochina Newsletter, Nov.-Dec. 1991). U.S. ally China was a very large arms supplier to Pol Pot, with no penalty from the U.S. and in fact U.S. connivance—Carter’s National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski stated that in 1979 “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot…Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him but China could.”

Also worth reading: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Global_Secrets_Lies/Friends_PolPot.html

Cheers,
T.

37. Matteo Martini - December 9, 2007

Tommaso
[..]
Completeness is not a value here, nor is it a sign that one is a balanced person.
[..]

Ah, if it is OK for you..

Tommaso
[..]
Nothing I can write in this blog can determine whether I am balanced or biased.
[..]

I do not agree with that, however..

Tommaso
[..]
I could very well have written about Putin, whom I despise, or about the situation in China. I write about what I know. I have lived in the US; and I know US society enough to write about it.
[..]

Does not change my position that you are biased.
America has done a lot of great things in the recent past, in the politics arena ( http://www.moveon.org, there is no conflict of interest in the U.S., Net neutrality, etc. ), too..
You are not talking about those too..
However, as you have pointed out before, this is your blog.

Tommaso
The same goes with italian politics: I write about what I know. Despite all your wishes, I still have to see a proof of misdemeanor by D’Alema (whom I do not like much),

Matteo
D` Alema has been intercepted talking with Consorte about bank operations which are outside his area of jurisdiction.
A Forign Minister should not mess with banks, finance, even if he did not take any money out of that
I would be called ” misdemeanor ” in the US, where for such things people get kicked out of governments
There is a lot of evidence about the connections about D` Alema and the UNIPOL affaire all over Italian newspapers

Tommaso
or Mastella (whom I really dislike).

Matteo
Tons of evidence against Mastella.
He has placed all his relatives all over public offices.
His son has free gas filling at the gas station of Ceppaloni ( who pays? Guess )
Ha has bought several flats in the center of Rome at a price of a garage box for car ( How? )
He has performed money laundry with his newspaper ” Il Campanile ”
He has many of the members of his own party indicted for mafia/corruption..
and the list goes on..
Again, this is your blog, not mine..
If you do not like to post anything about Mastella, fine for me

Tommaso
I prefer to write about Berlusconi (whose misdemeanors are gigantic) or Strassoldo (who writes contracts to make illegal agreements!). There is a wealth of documentation on the proof of misdemeanor in several politicians from the center right. But you would miss the point again if you were tempted to cite this or that midget politician from the center-left who took this or that bribe: again, this is a personal blog, not a newspaper. You want unbiasedness, objective balanced discussion of every topic ? You’ve come to the wrong place.

Matteo
Fair enough.
Then you are basically saying that you do not have an unbiased approach?
OK

Tommaso
Then, about bashing america vs communism: communism is dead, do you think Putin is a communist ??? The US imperialism instead is pretty much alive, and the fact that “well, they are the only superpower, so if anybody’s got to drop bombs, it’s them” is a real howler of a defence. The US are killing people. One million in Iraq died for US actions since 2003. Sure, communist regimes killed many more in the past. So ? The US are there now, and we discuss about WWII ?

Matteo
1) there is no final evidence that one million Iraqis have been killed after Saddam was ousted, not even half of that, I had a long discussion about this in other forums );
2) the vast majority was not killed by American soldiers, but by other Iraqis, which does not mean Bush was right to invade Iraq, just that US soliders usually do not kill civilians for the sake of it, like Hitler, Stalin, etc. etc. did ( just for putting the things in perspective )
3) about the fact that Communists killed only in the past, would you please tell me when is the news that Laogai are closed in China?
4) I have never said that Putin is a communist, I said that you are only commenting crimes from one side, not crimes from other sides ( the second Chechynia war is quite recent history )

Tommaso
And sure, I could write about violations of human rights in China. Again, I know too little about that reality. Period. I insist, if you want to see a blog with those issues on the front page, write one.

Matteo
Then, I would suggest you to learn more.
Just to have a clearer and more complete picture of how things go on in the world.
Again, just a suggestion
If you do not like the suggestion, fine for me

Tommaso
Finally, I will always read you with pleasure, provided you do not post several comments in a row on the same column,

Matteo
You also posted four comments one after the other ( 33 to 36 ).
Oh., I forgot, this is your blog and not mine.
So, I will try to post only one ( long ) reply here, and then stop

Tommaso
offering accusations of biasedness and narrowmindedness.

Matteo
I have never accused you of being narrowminded
I have the feeling the you are biased, but you also kind of admit it, when you say ” Completeness is not a value here, nor is it a sign that one is a balanced person ”
Anyway..

Tommaso
Ah, and about killing 6 people or 6 million: no, I really think there is not much difference

Matteo
Good, then we disagree completely here

Tommaso
G.W.Bush is responsible for killing many more for the purpose of reinforcing his power and increasing his wealth.

Matteo
There are two big differences between Saddam and George W., that you keep not seeing.
I will repeat them again:
1) the American force in Iraq has the goal to bring democracy there, Saddam did not; elections were held in Iraq after, and not before, Saddam was kicked out;
2) there are a lot of deaths in Iraq, but, apart from few cases, American soliders do not kill civilians, while Saddam did

Tommaso
about the US “arming” Pol Pot: between 1967 and 1973, the US carpet-bombed the cambodian area bordering Vietnam. They killed several hundred thousand civilians, and reinforced heavily the lines of the khmer rouge through the hatred they caused among other factors.

Matteo
Yes, Noam Chomsky said the same thing.
But, this is quite different from saying that the US ” armed ” the KR, right?

Tommaso
I have in front of me a copy of “The Pol Pot regime” by Ben Kiernan, Yale UP 1996. I quote from the introduction [..]

Matteo
OK
Again, what you say is that the action of the US indirectly helped Pol Pot rise to power.
Which is quite a different thing from saying that the US armed Pol Pot, that is, gave guns in the hands of Pol Pot

Tommaso
Hmm, or maybe our friend Michael referred to what happened after 1979. Read this [..]

Matteo
” Stai sfondando una porta aperta ” ( = you are trying to open an open door ).
I am already discussing the subject in another forum ( look here: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=100432 and here: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=87498&page=50 ), where I am often insulted as an ” America basher ” and ” Euro trash”, as I keep criticizing America and his foreign policy.
I ahve done some research about the connection between the KR and the Kissinger-Nixon administration, and the proof of a military involvement of America in actively supporting Pol Pot is just in the two sites you have shown me ( which I had already read, as you can see from here: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=100646 )
Unfortunately, there is no ” proof ” that what the say is true, unless you start believing all what is written in the web

As you see, I am happy not to be biased, and I always look to see both sides of the facts.

Matteo

38. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Matteo, you are not biased ???? Sorry, that is not true either:

“there is no conflict of interests in the US”
Lol…

“the American force in Iraq has the goal to bring democracy there”
LOL!

“there are a lot of deaths in Iraq, but, apart from few cases, American soliders do not kill civilians”

Tens of thousands have died under US bombs. Your sentence, again, is immoral. I am sorry I cannot smile at it. If you are not ready to admit that you wrote something quite biased and one-sided, the discussion here is over.

Cheers,
T.

39. Matteo Martini - December 9, 2007

Tommaso
“there is no conflict of interests in the US”
Lol…

Matteo
I mean, a macroscopic conflict of interests like we have in Italy, where Belusconi owns 3 televisions, decides the board of RAI, is ( was ) Prime Minister, and has a lot of interest in finances, etc.
Does Bush own televisions, newspapers like Berlusconi does?
There are links between the Bush administration and oil companies, but nothing like Bush owning an oil company, right?
Carter was forced to leave his company to a blind trust when elected, did the same happen to Berlusconi?

Tommaso
“the American force in Iraq has the goal to bring democracy there”
LOL!

Matteo
Why?
Were elections in Iraq held under Saddam` s ” administration “?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_National_Assembly_election,_2005
Who set up free elections in Iraq, Saddam or the American ” invaders “?

Tommaso
Tens of thousands have died under US bombs. Your sentence, again, is immoral

Matteo
Again, I was speaking not about the invasion of Iraq.
During invasions, alas, civilians do get killed, as it happened in WWII ( just an example ), when the Allies dropped bombs over Milan, Turin, Berlin, and so on, ( was that immoral too? )

I am obviously speaking about willingly killing civilians ( not terrorists ), before and after Saddam was ousted, that is, now.

One thing is to unwillingly cause the death of civilians when fighting against terrorists and so on ( things like that happen, during wars ), one different thing is to willingly kill civilians for ideologic and/or religious reasons ( like Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, etc. did )

There were cases in which this happened ( and some American soldiers were punished too ), but the vast majority of the victims get killed by road-side bombs, etc., not by gratuitous violence by American soldiers.

If you have a different opinion, please, send me a link to where it is shown that American soliders put road-side bombs, or execute civilians, like Mao, Che Guevara, Castro, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Suharto, Pinochet, Stalin, Lenin, and many others did.

If you have a look at the list of the civilian victims in Iraq, here http://www.iraqbodycount.org/analysis/numbers/biggest-bombs/, they are almost all killed by road-side bombs.

Who puts them, the American soldiers or the terrorists?

However, I notice that you have a Mussolini-like ( please, do not get offended ) way of speaking, when you write ” If you are not ready to admit that you wrote something quite biased and one-sided, the discussion here is over “.

I have never forced you to admit that your opinions are one-sided or biased ( even if I think they are ), and I have never said that your views are immoral, just because I do not agree with them.

40. Tripitaka - December 9, 2007

Well anyway, Amercia’s time in the sun will pass, and it remains to be seen whether the next eventual world order will be better or worse – if history is any guide then, tragically, we probably won’t see improvement. In any case, one thing we can continue do as citizens of the world is to call attention to the most troubling abuses of power in the hope that these might be resisted. Can there be a greater abuse of power than initiating a war of choice?

41. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Matteo, I mean to say that if you are not willing to come down from the pedestal and admit that you too have your ideas and that they shape the way you argue, and that therefore you are not different from me in that respect, biases and all, then I have no further interest in discussing with you, and that therefore the discussion here is over. I am not closing this post for comments, but will you recognize my right to decide if I want to argue about world politics or post about the weather instead, without likening me to a very nasty dictator ?

In any case, I repeat that saying the US army does not kill civilians is immoral, and that is a judgement on the sentence, and the adjective has nothing to do with agreeing or not with you, but defining what I believe is morality. Negating the huge responsibilities of US foreign politics and their direct causation of suffering in entire populations, just because others in the past have done much worse, is immoral.

You can have your own morality, which says that you are less of a criminal if you caused 1 million deaths by declaring a war unilaterally than if you kill 25 millions in a “great leap forward”. I have a different one, that’s all. Again, I see no point in arguing.

And please understand, I think you have a distorted perception of what a blog is. There is a very big difference between a blog and a forum. I am happy to see interesting discussions arise here, but if I want endless arguing I go to a forum. A blog is not expected to provide multiple views of a problem. Your accusations of one-sidedness are silly because you fail to see what the medium is.

I hope you understand why I sort of reproached you for posting four comments in a row, after you started a discussion which was a bit off-topic, centered on trying to demonstrate that I am biased and thus untrustworthy in what I write.

Cheers,
T.

42. dorigo - December 9, 2007

Yep Tripitaka, you see the abuse, others do not. The world is beautiful because it is so varied.

Cheers,
T.

43. Matteo Martini - December 10, 2007

Tripitaka
Well anyway, Amercia’s time in the sun will pass, and it remains to be seen whether the next eventual world order will be better or worse – if history is any guide then, tragically, we probably won’t see improvement.

Matteo
Good point.
I want to really want to see how good the world order will become, if the Chinese will become the major superpower in 30-40 years..
Maybe Tommaso will then recall the time of America world leadership as a good time.
Let` s see of the Chinese/Indians/Russian will do a better job..

Tripitaka
In any case, one thing we can continue do as citizens of the world is to call attention to the most troubling abuses of power in the hope that these might be resisted. Can there be a greater abuse of power than initiating a war of choice?

Matteo
Yes, there is ( unfortunately )
Please, have a look here: http://www.laogai.org/news/index.php

Tommaso
Matteo, I mean to say that if you are not willing to come down from the pedestal and admit that you too have your ideas and that they shape the way you argue, and that therefore you are not different from me in that respect, biases and all, then I have no further interest in discussing with you, and that therefore the discussion here is over.

Matteo
Of course I have my own ideas.
My whole point, from the beginning, is that we should try ( me inclued ) to see the two sides of the problems, while I have the feeling that you are little bit stuck with one side only
Again, this is just my opinion

Tommaso
I am not closing this post for comments, but will you recognize my right to decide if I want to argue about world politics or post about the weather instead, without likening me to a very nasty dictator ?

Matteo
I did not compare you with any dictator, I was comparing your way of speaking in that particular sentence.
And, if you feel offended, I apologize

Tommaso
In any case, I repeat that saying the US army does not kill civilians is immoral, and that is a judgement on the sentence, and the adjective has nothing to do with agreeing or not with you, but defining what I believe is morality.

Matteo
I clarified this issued in my post above, I hope you have read it.
I was making the point that there is quite a difference between unwillingly cause civilian deaths during an invasion/war ( like it is happening in Iraq ) ad willingly killing civilians for ideological or religious or other reasons, like it happened ( unfortunatelu ) many many times in the past.
I have yet to see Maerican soldiers take civilians, bring them in front of a wall, and shoot them dead, like it happened just few months ago in Burma, for example, and few decades ago in the USSR, where millions of innocent people were sent to die in Siberia, or in China, where people are imprisoned and tortured because of religious ideas ( please, have a look at what is happening in Tibet ).

Disclaimer
I am not in favour of America` s invasion of Iraq.
I consider it a crime.
I think all the current administration has based their policies on lies.
I was pointing out that America is not the only criminal here.

Tommaso
Negating the huge responsibilities of US foreign politics and their direct causation of suffering in entire populations, just because others in the past have done much worse, is immoral.

Matteo
Again, I have never done that.
I have sent you many links ( did you have a look? ) of my posts in another forum ( made months ago ), where I bashed American for their crimes.
I am called an ” America basher ” there.
However, I think it is wrong not to see that all the other powers in the last century have done ( and are doing now ) the same things ( if not worse ) as the US.
This is my whole point, I am having a problem in making myself understood on this.

Tommaso
You can have your own morality, which says that you are less of a criminal if you caused 1 million deaths by declaring a war unilaterally than if you kill 25 millions in a “great leap forward”. I have a different one, that’s all. Again, I see no point in arguing.

Matteo
I said that killing 6 people is quite a different thing than killing 6 million ( see above ).
I AM convinced that killing 25 million people in a ” great leap forward ” is a huge crime, this is why I asked you why you post about the crimes made 30 years ago in the US and not about the crimes made 30 years ago in the USSR..

Tommaso
And please understand, I think you have a distorted perception of what a blog is. There is a very big difference between a blog and a forum. I am happy to see interesting discussions arise here, but if I want endless arguing I go to a forum. A blog is not expected to provide multiple views of a problem. Your accusations of one-sidedness are silly because you fail to see what the medium is.

Matteo
I did not accuse you of anything, I just expressed my opinion, on which you can agree on or not.
And I perfectly understand that this is only your blog, not a forum, not anything else.
You have all the rights to stop replying, block me, close this post and so on..
I am perfectly aware of that.

Tommaso
I hope you understand why I sort of reproached you for posting four comments in a row, after you started a discussion which was a bit off-topic, centered on trying to demonstrate that I am biased and thus untrustworthy in what I write.

Matteo
I admit that my first post was a bit off-topic.
Also, I have never wrote, not intended to write that you are ” untrustworthy “, as untrustworthy is something very different from biased.
I only had the feeling that, while you bash America for their crimes ( OK for that ), you never post on the crimes of China, Russia, etc.
Do you know that many people in Japan today ( year 2007 ) are convinced that going to China ( and massacre 20 million Chinese ) during and before WWII was NOT a bad thing?
I am living in Japan and I know that.
Do you know that China supports the evil regime in North Korea ( crimes, crimes, .. ) and sell arms to the Government of Sudan ( hundreds of thousands of deaths )?
That France has been accused by many to having taken part in the training and to have sold guns to the people who did the genocide in Rwanda?
That many people in Spain ( today 2007 ) have a good opinion about that killer, called Francisco Franco?
That many European powers had a major role in arming Saddam when he attacked Iran?
That many people in Switzerland, were and are against giving back the money of the ( descendants of the ) victims of the Holocaust?
http://amitaietzioni.org/documents/B294.pdf
http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/swiss-kept-billions.html
http://www.contra-mundum.org/essays/berthoud/swissgold.html

44. Michael - December 12, 2007

Sorry I have been working and running around so I have not kept up with this discussion.

Matteo, I wasn’t trolling; though your method of posting is trolling.

Funny, I did search of “Pot Pol Arms United States” and got several hits. You may not agree with what is written but it is easily Googled.
Next, Matteo you’re going to tell me US troops weren’t in Laos and Cambodia.

“Michael
I’m sorry it was occupation. When you over prevent elections because your choice wouldn’t win and then invaded its occupation.

Matteo
Please, tell me when the Communist, after the war ended, held free elections in Vietnam.”

First, in case you have forgotten the Viet Cong and NVA were Vietnamese.

I did not say the NVA and Veit Cong were good bad or anything. I was addressing US policy. Saying that Stalin was nasty does not mean you approve of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Saying that the US invasion of Iraq was wrong does not mean you thought Saddam was a nice guy.

AND specifically saying US policy in Southeast Asia was dumb does not mean I thought the NVA were nifty.

45. dorigo - December 13, 2007

Hi Michael,

I agree with all your points. It is especially important to stress that it has to be possible to criticize some foreign policy by this or that country without being automatically labeled or without any cross-implications based on syllogisms of dubious logic.

Cheers,
T.


Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: