I read today an obituary for Brigadier General Robin Olds (1922 - 2007). He flew 107 combat missions in 1944 and downed 12 enemy aircraft. But he is apparently best known for leading the biggest air battle in Vietnam, and I quote from the Los Angeles Times obit:
"Commanded an Air Force wing that shot down seven communist MIGs over North Vietnam."
Who would've thought it? A communist MIG. Not even "Communist MIG". No, that MIG apparently believed that wealth should be re-distributed equitably throughout society (or perhaps just among other MIGs?).
Perhaps the silliness of this statement would be clearer if the obit applied the same rule to both "sides", as in:
"Commanded a capitalist Air Force wing that shot down seven communist MIGs over North Vietnam."
What's my point? That the propaganda of that war ("Stop the spread of communism!") was so insidious, is so deeply ingrained in our society that even decades later, the writers of the obit could not bring themselves to describe those planes as the Viet Cong MIGs they were.
Back in the 1960s, President Johnson lied to the US people about a fictitious battle in Tonkin Bay to justify the war in Vietnam. That lie, and the millions of others, large and small, that followed all the way up through 1975 (not the least of which involved Henry Kissinger's war crime of secretly diverting B2 bombers to devastate Laos and Cambodia with which we were not at war), fueled the "line" that the US of A was on the front lines of the battle to stop the spread of Communism.
In fact, the military my parents supported through their tax dollars conducted a brutal war against an entire people, killing some 2,000,000 Vietnamese - many of them women and children.
Yet this still cannot be generally and easily acknowledged in our media. How sad, how tragic, how disturbing.
Especially given the same process is now being used to conduct the war in Iraq. And now they are my tax dollars being used to fund the way. This really sucks. What a crappy democracy we have here. Soon, I will have the exciting choice of Clinton vs Guliani or Clinton vs McCain or Obama vs Romney or.... well, it is really very nice of those in control to at least give us two people between which to choose.
'Cause if I could only choose from one person, well, then clearly we would not have a democracy.
Of course, when I am using a black-box voting machine built by Diebold or Sycamore (both companies controlled by heavy contributors to George Bush and the Republicans), who knows? I might only really be choosing from among one person!