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History Repeats Itself


John Simkin
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In 1969, Dean Rusk said something about the non-participation of the UK in the Vietnam War to a journalist, Louis Heron, that has parallels with the current situation in Iraq: “All we needed was one regiment. The Black Watch would have done. Just one regiment, but you wouldn’t. Well, don’t expect us to save you again. They can invade Sussex and we wouldn’t do a damn thing.”

I was an active member of the Labour Party during the Vietnam War. That was a time when it was a left of centre party. I can assure that even if he wanted to, the party would never have allowed Wilson to send British troops to Vietnam. (In the 1960s leaders of the Labour Party did not have the power that they have now – MPs also had the guts to stand up to leaders who tried to take them in the wrong direction.) The party was virtually united in believing in that it was a completely immoral war.

The big issue was that those on the left of the party believed that Wilson should condemn the war in public. This is what the famous anti-war demonstrations in the UK were about. This he refused to do (he did in private). The main reason was he feared that the Americans would use its considerable financial power to undermine the UK economy if he did so.

Harold Wilson was of course a political giant compared to Tony Blair.

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John

Of course Britain didn't join us in the Vietnam War...they weren't fools.

The British were the colonial force in Basra and Mosul and were

assigned the protectorate after WWI...having them in the war is like having the

French joining as allies in a war for, say, Algeria...old colonial scores to settle.

Two recent things in the news...yesterday in an article in the NYT on the

Sinclair TV film on John Kerry's military experience and Senate

testimony, Guenter Lewy's "America in Vietnam" was mentioned

as a source on American atrocities. Lewy was at Oxford, a strong

containment advocate, and downplayed U.S. violations. THis book

has a lot of good material on Wm. Colby and Operation Phoenix, though...

the best syllabus level work on Vietnam War is probably George Herring's

"Americas Longest War: US and Vietnam 1950-1975" lots of leads in both books.

Today's NYTimes has an article on over 3000 newly released transcripts of

Kissinger's talks with reporters while in power. The focus is on the

obsequious sucking up of Marvin Kalb, Jimmy Reston, Hugh Sidey and Ted Koppel when they were on the phone to Kissinger, unaware he was taping ang selectively

transcribing these "LEAKS" ....

PS

Did you know "asselike" is a Classical Latin term for a fawning underling?

"""Butt-kissing''' is just the back formation.

Also "Mufuque" is the 19th century Central African term for stubborn person,

as noted by David Livingston (1853)....

""@#%$*&%$#@%&"" is simply the grotesque back formation...

Some unusual history and current events for you and the group...

Shanet

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