Silencing anti-war warriors
From the rice paddies of Vietnam to the olive trees of Palestine
The time to halt aggression is at its inception. One problem -- at inception relatively few are aware of the future consequences, and the aware are usually sidetracked for being conspiratorial or radical in their thoughts and operations. When the immensity of the tragedy becomes apparent, the less aware realize their apathy and rush in to save the day. They ignore or push aside the earlier activists, seize control of the counter offensive, and prepare to right the situation -- too late; the damage has been done and cannot be easily repaired. The juggernaut of war and violence continues unimpeded until events force a halt. This happened during the Vietnam War, has happened with Israel's crushing of the Palestinians, and occurs in most wars.
The lies and deceptions that guided the Vietnam and 2003 Iraq wars have been exposed. The lies and deceptions that preceded aggression against the Palestinian people have not been completely explored. History has already judged the Vietnam and Iraq wars as unnecessary and self-destructive; examples of falsification in an attempt to gain geo-political advantage. The treachery that enabled initial acceptance of both of these wars has parallels in the activities that allowed Zionists to gain control of Palestinian lands and completely suppress the Palestinian people.
During the early years of the Vietnam war, the War Resisters League, the then existing Progressive Labor Party, the Young Socialist Alliance, and well known secular pacifists -- David Dellinger and A, J. Muster - organized protests against the growing conflagration. They were either ignored, abused, or called traitors and dupes. The rebukes occurred despite the obvious reasons for disengagement -- corruption and coups in South Vietnam, references to a non-existent "domino effect," where if Vietnam went communist all of Southeast Asia would fall to the communists, which never happened, and to implementing a dubious Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), 1954, which was constituted to react to communist aggression in Southeast Asia. Mainly a paper organization that contained only two Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines and Thailand, SEATO had no military force and functioned by independent action. The U.S. used its supposed obligations to SEATO as an excuse for sending troops to fight the war and for opposing the 1954 Geneva Accords, which "temporarily divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel and called for elections in all of Vietnam within two years to reunify the country," . US President Dwight Eisenhower spoke of the real reason the U.S. violated the accords, "I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, a possible 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader."
Disgraceful agreement to fakery distinguished the vote for the Tonkin Resolution, which passed the House on August 7, 1964 by a 416-0 vote, by the Senate on August 7, 1964 by an 88-2 vote, and was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 10, 1964. Rivaled in deceit by the later and now infamous Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution, the Tonkin Resolution authorized the U.S. president to take "all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."
"Further aggression" referred to a previous engagement by three small North Vietnamese torpedo boats, which had attacked the U.S. destroyer Maddox (conducting electronic espionage) two days after a clandestine raid on the North Vietnamese coast by South Vietnamese gunboats. No torpedoes hit the Maddox and no casualties occurred. Although the U.S. navy could prevent "further aggression" by not closely surveying the North Vietnam coast, a few North Vietnam torpedo boats were considered a sufficient threat to the United States presence on the high seas and that threat could only be stopped by sending 500,000 U.S. troops to Vietnam and waging war against the Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) and North Vietnam.
As the war increased in intensity, the Johnson administration could not disguise the falsehoods, contain the devastation, and hide the body bags returning to America. After U.S. casualties mounted, the protests against the war started to involve more of the nation. The demonstrations served to ameliorate conscience but never changed the situation. After members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators on May 4, l970, killing four and wounding nine students, anti-war protests diminished, and the war dragged on for five more years.
The U.S. administrations and American people refused to admit that the U.S. could never win. Even if they won the war and installed a "puppet" Vietnam regime, most of the Vietnamese people and the Chinese government would not permit U.S. troops to fully occupy Vietnam, and the U.S. would not be able to protect that regime. Without sufficient protection, any government that did not include Ho Chi Minh and his followers was doomed to fighting a civil war and to being eventually defeated. The lack of this simple realization showed the mistaken logic of U.S. governments and exposed the failure of the anti-war movement to properly articulate to the American people the emptiness of the war.
Two personal observations showed that the anti-war movement was doomed to failure.
On the steps of the U.S. Capitol, after one of the major demonstrations, a discussion between anti-war and pro-war demonstrators solicited the remark from one of the debaters that he "did not believe his government would lie to him."
In another demonstration in New York City, where the earlier and more vociferous peace groups walked together among newly formed anti-war coalitions, one of the new marchers, sensing a "leftist" tone from those who knew the score from the beginning and had constituted the early protestors, said impolitely, "Why don't you march across the street and stop spoiling our march?"
The two comments may seem trivial but they explained the situation.
The general public could not accept the United States as an aggressor nation, the protests only alleviated the emotional distress, and the demands of the early protestors warranted additional discourse and not absolute rejection. Patchwork to the political system would not be effective; the United States needed a complete makeover in reciting its history, in educating its citizens, in defining patriotism, in relating to the world, in subduing special interests, and in providing an electoral system that resulted in electing informed and dedicated representatives, and was not just a popularity contest. The post Vietnam War world of continuous wars, economic cycles of prosperity and recessions, increased terrorism substantiate the argument that the Vietnam War protests failed to resolve the essential issues of peace and security.
Throughout the last 100 years, obvious signs that the Zionist nationalist and militarist goals would encourage illegal seizure of lands and destruction of the Palestinian people demanded immediate attention. The Zionist war against the Palestinian people and the approaches to resolve the crisis echo the deceptions, sterile actions, attacks on those most aware of the situation, and the public's failure to recognize the realities that also characterized the Vietnam war.
Although the Zionist thrust seemed more reckless than harmful at its inception, by 1930 its danger to the world could be summarized in one word, irredentism -- a political principle or policy directed toward the incorporation of redeemed lands within the boundaries of a historically or ethnically related political unit.
Irredentist tendency to unite all Serbian peoples provoked the 1912-1914 Balkan wars and led to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and indirectly to World War I.
Irredentist tendency to unite all German folk moved Hitler to ignite World War II.
Irredentist tendency to unite Russian people in the Ukraine is causing friction between Russia and western nations.
Irredentism practiced by nations involves uniting people who speak the same language, have similar customs, share the same history, and were previously united. At times, if the adjoining people suffer discrimination and are eager to reunite with the mother country, the irredentism may be justified. None of these charcteristics existed for the Zionists.
Relatively few Jews subscribed to the original tenets of early 20th century Zionism. Jews did not share a common language, history, or culture and therefore could not be classified as a nation any more than the Mennonites or Jehovah Witnesses could be considered as peoples. They did not occupy contiguous nations -- there was no nation -- and history demonstrated that modern day Jews can only, if at all, be loosely related to biblical Hebrew tribes and later day Jews who lived in the Levant among other peoples. Despite the violence and lifelong enmities caused by irredentism, and the uniqueness of Zionism, where disparate people are brought together to redeem a land that historically is owned and occupied by others, the world allowed the Zionists to gain control of Palestinian lands.
Detailing all the obvious gestures that daily told the world of the Zionists nefarious intentions would take months of reading. Some of the more salient ones are described:
At the 1919 Paris Peace conference the Zionist organization requested, as their territory -- entire Palestine, Lebanon above Sidon, parts of the Sinai, and a section of Jordan, almost to Amman, all of which contained the important aquifers. It broadcasted to the world that foreigners intended to usurp the native populations and control their lands. The world did not react harshly to this officious scheme and the mechanisms for accomplishing the Zionist task have been almost completed.
Terrorist organizations, led by future Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, operated during the Mandate, executed British soldiers, and inflicted heavy damage on innocent Arab and Jewish and populations without facing justice.
In the UN Partition Plan, Palestinians occupied most of the land awarded to the Zionists and constituted about 40% of that population. Nevertheless, the Zionist declaration of an established state on May 14, 1948 did not include any Palestinians in the government.
Israel displaced a UN estimated 750,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homes, did not allow them to return, and confiscated their property.
Israel invaded and occupied the Sinai in 1956 before French and British coordinated attacks against Nasser's Egypt. A controversial meeting, known as the Protocol of Sèvres,1956, and reported in Anatomy of a War Plot, Avi Shlaim International Affairs, 73:3 (1997), pp.509-530, describes Israel Prime Minister David ben Gurion's proposed plan to Great Britain and France.
Ben-Gurion presented a comprehensive plan for the reorganization of the Middle East. Jordan would be divided with Iraq getting the East Bank in return for a promise to settle the Palestinian refugees and make peace with Israel while the West Bank would be attached to Israel as a semi-autonomous region. Israel would expand up to the Litani River, thereby helping to turn Lebanon into a more compact Christian state. The Suez Canal area would be given an international status while the Straits of Tiran in the Gulf of Aqaba would come under Israeli control to ensure freedom of navigation. A prior condition for realizing this plan was the elimination of Nasser and the replacement of his regime with a pro-Western government which would also be prepared to make peace with Israel.
In the 1967 war, Israel fought a defensive war in an offensive manner and seized large amounts of territory. The war created another flood of Palestinian refugees, a total of 300,000 fled the West Bank and Gaza, of which 180,000 were first time refugees and another 120,000 were already refugees from previous actions. One clue to the reason for the war - illegal settlements under direction of the Labor government quickly followed the occupation of the West Bank.
The first Lebanon war (1982-1985) started from Israel's pronouncement that, despite a July 1981ceasefire between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the PLO committed 240 "terrorist actions" against Israeli targets, an exaggerated number that included the PLO units that attempted to enter Lebanon from Jordan. President Johnson's UN ambassador George Ball stated that the PLO had observed the ceasefire and, "Israel continued looking for the internationally recognized provocation that Secretary of State Alexander Haig said would be necessary to obtain American support for an Israeli invasion of Lebanon." George W.Ball, Error and Betrayal in Lebanon, p. 35.
Stirrings of protests to Israel's actions occurred at the end of the 1980's with the formation of Americans for Peace Now (APN), essentially an Israel import, led by Zionists who claimed dissatisfaction with the militarist trend in Israel. Now in existence for 25 years, APN seems to have accomplished absolutely nothing for advancing peace and much for advancing Israel. The late 1990's and early 2000's brought several mass demonstrations by Palestinian and activist peace groups, similar to those who started protests at the beginning of the Vietnam War. Soon, several interfaith and other organizations were holding informative meetings on the Middle East peace process in churches and synagogues. As happened in the Vietnam War, the latter protestors presented a narrow view for resolving the crisis and succeeded in sidetracking those who comprehended the more global relationship of the Middle East situation with other conflicts.
Those who had for years shown personal boldness and acumen in understanding the crisis - Columbia University professor Edward Said, Director of Clinical Cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, and "the First Lady of the Press." Helen Thomas were hounded by pro-Israelis, called ant-Semites, and suffered economically and emotionally. The newcomers did little to assist or defend them.
Palestinians, together with more radical activist groups were able to arrange mass demonstrations but many felt intimidated by the possibility that Israel would take away any rights they or their families had in Israel and the occupied territories, including visits.
Some synagogues allowed groups to have discussions with "peace activist" Israelis. However, these Israelis were all Zionists and their ability to obtain changes in Israeli policy never showed results. The better known and more radical, such as Uri Avnery, were not given forums at synagogues and other U.S. institutions. It seemed that many of the "peace activists" who spoke at protest meetings were either sent by Israel with false credentials or received invitations by made-up organizations with a mission to pretend peace movements were alive and active in Israel, to serve as a distraction from real peace movements, or represent "politically correct" organizations that raised funds, gained publicity, and accomplished nothing. The thrust was to have "balanced presentations," which meant confusing all and dampening the effects of Israel's oppressive tactics.
Arab groups failed to challenge Israeli propaganda and counter defamation.
I tried to involve an Arab anti-defamation group into changing a National Geographic exhibition that defamed Arabs. They were not interested, and I was forced to personally obtain the National Geographic to change the exhibition and eliminate the prejudicial statements. Reference to this effort appears at:
Even after I informed the Arab group that I successfully obtained the modifications, they showed no interest and made no comments.
Although history books of school districts contain falsifications of history that favor Zionist intrusion in the Levant, Arab groups have not contended that history. As an example, a world history course of one school district contains a biblical history of the Hebrews, from Moses to destruction of the Temples, and presents history as authentic. The unnecessary and elaborate portrayal of the Hebrews, using descriptions from an unhistorical Bible, describes the Hebrew tribes, rather than religious and ethical concepts of many persuasions during the early period of Christianity, as being directly important to the development of western civilization. The presentation is spurious, violates the separation of church and state laws and is obviously inserted to give support for Zionist claims to the land of Palestine. Hidden Histories: Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean, by Basem L. Ra'ad, London: Pluto Press, 2010 is one of more recent books that have exposed the falsehoods. A book review by Sally Bland in Al-Jazeerah, August 30, 2010, highlights some of the issues.
At the heart of the matter is "an intersection of literal religious thinking with colonial ambitions," which engendered false notions about the emergence of monotheism and Western civilization (p. 80). Archaeological finds in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria (Ugarit) and Palestine/Jordan (the Dead Sea Scrolls) attest to the diverse origins of monotheism, indicating that it grew gradually out of polytheism in a number of locations, rather than emerging in a single flash of divine intervention. Yet, these findings have most often been neglected or interpreted in a way to merge with the dominant narrative. Though at least two gods are named in the Old Testament, and messianic traditions predate the time when Jesus is thought to have lived, mainstream Western and Israeli thinking has employed the Bible as though it were a unique factual source -- the compass for charting the geography and evaluating the history of the Holy Land. As a result, the interaction between the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations and the Cana'anites are denied, which means concealing the latter's contribution to what came to be regarded as Western civilization. Similarly, monotheism has been severed from its polytheistic roots -- also a denial of Cana'anite history and contributions to civilization. Hiding this major part of the past made it possible to present the Israelites as the most significant people of ancient Palestine, Hebrew as the key language, and Judaism as the oldest and predominant monotheistic religion.
This subtle molding of the minds of American youth, even if done inadvertently or by ignorance, shows the insidious affect of the Zionist mission, both Christian and Judaic, on the American psyche. Yet, no group contests the distortions.
Similar to the peace movements during the Vietnam War, the peace movements throughout the continuing Middle East strife have failed to accomplish their missions. In both cases the aggressors have continued their offensives, while disguising their actions as defensive measures. In both cases the peace movements failed to properly articulate to the American people the true meanings of the wars; namely that in the long run of history the United States could not win in Southeast Asia and Israel cannot succeed in defeating hundreds of millions of Arabs and more than a billion of Muslims or deceive the world forever..
Once considered a powerful expression, the words "peace movement" are hardly heard. They have been replaced by the word anti-terrorism, and for good reason; without subduing terrorism, peace will never happen.
Change a few words in the introductory and a later paragraph to this article (underlined) and the battle against terrorism displays a similar perspective to the battle against war.
The time to halt terrorism is at its inception. One problem -- at inception relatively few are aware of the future consequences, and the aware are usually sidetracked for being conspiratorial or radical in their thoughts and operations. When the immensity of the tragedy becomes apparent, the less aware realize their apathy and rush in to save the day. They ignore or push aside the earlier activists, seize control of the counter offensive, and prepare to right the situation -- too late; the damage has been done and cannot be easily repaired. The juggernaut of terrorism and violence continues unimpeded and events have not forced a halt. This has happened due to U.S. support for Osama bin Laden during the Russian intervention in Afghanistan, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. complicity with NATO in the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya, Israel's relentless crushing of the Palestinians, Saudi support of the Taliban and Radical Islam groups in Iraq and Syria, and the Saudi regime's alliance with Muslim fundamentalism, which has encouraged development of international terrorists.
Patchwork to the political systems of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia will not be effective. These nations need a complete makeover in reciting their history, in educating their citizens, in defining patriotism, in relating to the world, in subduing special interests, especially the Religious Right and AIPAC in America, and in providing electoral systems that result in election of informed and dedicated representatives and are not just shams or popularity contests. The post Vietnam War world of continuous wars, economic cycles of prosperity and recessions, and increased terrorism substantiate the argument that the Vietnam War protests failed to resolve the essential issues of peace and security. The rapid escalation of international terrorism, which now encompasses much of the globe, demonstrates the failure to institute effective means for eliminating terrorism. This failure includes supporting those whose policies feed the terrorists and refusing to support those who may have or had exhibited domestic tyranny but had been aggressive in combating al-Qaeda and are energetic in fighting Daesh.
january 6, 2016
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