12 March 2011

Myth vs. Reality: Death statistics from Vietnam

"The Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of blacks ever to serve in an American war. During the height of the U.S. involvement, 1965-69, blacks, who formed 11 percent of the American population, made up 12.6 percent of the soldiers in Vietnam. The majority of these were in the infantry, and although authorities differ on the figures, the percentage of black combat fatalities in that period was a staggering 14.9 percent. from The Oxford Companion to American Military History. Copyright © 1999 by Oxford UP."

From the 1969 Supreme Court Case Sellers v. Laird this little nugget of statistical falsehood has been recorded for posterity. " The Negroes are '10% of the U. S. population, yet 30% of the casualties in Vietnam are Negroes.' They are 'the front line foot soldiers.' He feels that the country 'will not give the Negroes any room.' He states that the Vietnamese are basically colored people and the Negro soldiers have no business there fighting other colored people.'"

Even Dr. King was attributed with the quote "Vietnam is a white man's war and a black man's fight."

One of the persistent myths I've heard about Vietnam was that it was "drafted Black soldiers" who took the brunt of casualties.  One of the good things that the Leviathon Army is good at is keeping records.

Number of "Negro" deaths 7,264
Number of "Caucasian" deaths 50,120

If the Oxford Companion to Military History is correct then 7,264/50,120 = 14.6% but as any idiot with a calculator can show you the correct answer is 12.5%.  If African Americans did serve as 12.6% of the force then a casualty rate of 12.5% of the force shows no bias against African Americans in terms of morality risk over the entire course of the war.  Just for clarity, according to the reference I could find, only 8 women GIs died in Vietnam.  It is true that the yearly statistics jumped up and down, at one time I believe African Americans made 20% 16.3% of the yearly casualties, but statistical anomalies happen, and over the course of time trends return to the mean.

Total number of deaths in Vietnam for "Selected Service" (draftees), 17,672.  17,672/58,193 = 30% of casualties.  That means 70% of casualties in Vietnam volunteered for the Armed Services.

The numbers show that Vietnam was largely a volunteer Army of young white men based on who passed on during the conflict.  I'm sorry if this isn't in line with the accepted norms of our culture, and I don't wish to diminish the contributions of either African Americans or those drafted into service, after all we could not have fulfilled our treaty obligations in Europe without draftees.

I think that the enduring myth of "white man's war, black man's fight" came about because of the propaganda war back home.  And because that sound bite (patently false) fit the narrative of certain leftists it has been passed on as truth even into textbooks.  So if you are a part of the conservative propaganda corps, keep typing.  Telling the truth is a powerful tool of dissent in this world.

Demographically it is true that those who served often came from poorer neighborhoods or rural farming communities.  That remains true to this day even with an All Volunteer force.  Remember the kerfluffle back in 2004 when the Stop Loss policy (which has been on the books since before Vietnam) was called a "backdoor draft" by Sen Kerry?  The leftists hate the military, hate the people who choose to serve (cause we are so dumb that we get stuck in the Army in a war zone), and hate that we aren't some poster organization for UN ineffectiveness and multi-culti tolerance. Fuck 'em.

Heck do Google for "Soldiers are not heroes" and "Soldiers are scary" and you'll find some nice links to democraticunderground.com and the dailykos.com.  They hate us, and they hate those that understand us.  They hate the personification of government sanctioned violence that we are.  As a group they hate us, and as an individual they hate all warriors.  You have heard it all before, people with guns have penis issues, martial artists are wimps looking for a fight, etc.  It is nothing more than propaganda in the culture war, just like Vietnam being a "white man's war, black man's fight."

All numbers from http://www.militaryfactory.com/vietnam/casualties.asp

If you served in Vietnam, volunteer or draftee, thank you.  The warrior tradition that you have passed on to me will not be extinguished on my watch and I swear to pass it on to the next generation to the best of my abilities.


Brock Townsend said...

Here's some more.

Viet Nam: Fact vs Fiction

Anonymous said...

Of course they hate the warrior types. Look at MS. Napolitano's statements about the treat to America, Returning vets and vets are the biggest threat to the US.

Graybeard said...

Thanks for that info. One of my pet annoyances in life is the groups who routinely mangle facts to fit their agenda because "the ends justify the means". Facts are facts, and have no agenda.

I registered for the draft in the Vietnam era, but was never called. In my circle of family and acquaintances, no one ever spoke of volunteering for the service. It took me many years to regret that, but I ended up sorry I didn't enlist.

Anonymous said...

"Stolen Valor" by B.G. Burkett and Glena Whitley is an excellent work regarding the myths surrounding the demographics of my generation. It also foretells what you can expect from the non warriors for your generation. In RVN our jobs as gunship pilots was to protect our slicks and defend "the guy on the ground." It was a privilege to serve. I've referred your blog to many with whom I served. If you are an example of our current army leadership, we've left the Army in good hands. "Keep up the fire," thanks for your service, regards, Alemaster

Blue said...

There are approximately 24 million U.S. veterans living today. What's that? 8% of the population? There are approximately 1.5 million serving on active duty today and 850,000 in the Guard, Reserve, Coast Guard, etc.... Less than 1% of the population.

Folks don't understand what makes soldiers "tick". They never will understand. Sadly, most don't care. They aren't willing to sacrifice their safety or comfort to serve our nation. That's disgusting, in my opinion. Part of the ever-growing entitlement mentality.

Ah well.... Stay safe. :)

And always remember, some of us DO understand and appreciate what you do.

Jamie said...

Hmm. There is some disingenuity here. Firstly the trope that "lefties hate the military". John Kerry who served honourably in Vietnam was attacked by the right-wing media, while they lauded draft-dodger and man who took the US to war on the lie that Saddam was behind 9/11 (while letting Osama BL escape). Secondly there is the idea that "As a group they hate us, and as an individual they hate all warriors." and somehow implying that martial artists are right-wing. This is all simply nonsense. Vietnam protestors in the US and in London and elsewhere protested not against the soldiers but for them and for the Vietnamese people - it was not a just war, Eisenhower himself said that 80% of the population would have voted for the Communists - who had successfully fought the Japanese, and then drove the French imperialists out (just like the Americans did when they were under the British imperial thumb.) The VC were fighting for independence and self-determination - which the Americans would not let them have (when Vietnam was divided between North and South they promised them free elections - you know, democracy! - and then wouldn't let them have them). Like the Iraq War, the Vietnam War undermined US moral authority - an authority earned by brave politicians and brave servicemen in WW2 and then undermined by cowardly politicians and liars like George W Bush. It is patriotic to want the US (or wherever your country is) to stand up for what is right. It is ignorant nationalism to support one's country when it is killing civilians and it's own young men. It is patriotic to attack the politicians who warmonger unjustly. Only a fascist mindset denies this. I write as a non-pacifist left-wing black-belt in aikido who knows the difference between a just war and a moral error. A true warrior does not fight blindly (that's a robot) but fights for what is right.

AM said...

Jamie, I recommend the "Enter" button on your keyboard to separate your disparate thoughts into an organized format known as "paragraphs." Generally they are a few sentences and make a complete thought.

First, John Kerry was attacked by his former boat mates, and defended by a few of them. When the people who served with you say you are a slimy incompetent political animal odds are they have an informed opinion on the subject. War will show a persons true character, and having multiple people he served with talk about his character in the way they did was eye opening. But, all that aside, don't you love how skillfully Kerry handled the Syria situation?

Second, it isn't complete nonsense no matter how often you try to state it, protests were not "just against the war" but also against the Service members who served, a trend that continues to this day. For a few examples: http://wariscrime.com/new/soldiers-are-murderers/ and http://www.salon.com/2014/11/09/you_dont_protect_my_freedom_our_childish_insistence_on_calling_soldiers_heroes_deadens_real_democracy/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_x2Yl7xW8U and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_-TBirrPiQ althought it is nowhere near as bad as it was during Vietnam. On a happier note my three homecomings have been extremely positive, in part to Vietnam Veterans and their families working to ensure that their experiences wouldn't be repeated.

When you talk about denying elections in Vietnam, you do know elections happened in 1967 and 1971, correct? I mean you wouldn't be so intellectually lazy as to make an accusation that could be proven false with a simple Google search. So I must assume you meant something else.

Aikido is the perfect martial art for a lefty, and I speak as one aikidoka to another. However, Ueshiba's life disagrees with you about serving in the military in an unjust war, being a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War himself (he purposely stretched himself to meet the minimum height after failing the initial physical to enter service). His later philosophy on conflict is much more in line with a western understanding of casus belli, but even after his service expired he still held special classes for military cadets and police.

Your subtle insult that I am not a "true warrior" because I'm not fighting for "what is right" (based on your assessment of "cowardly politicians") along with your improper use of "fascist" and "warmonger" make me chuckle at the irony of the situation. Someone claiming to only protest the unjust war, not the soldier, insulting the soldier in the very same statement.

I will give you one bit of insight that I hope will be useful. Moral authority is no authority. It only matters what you can do, and what you accomplish. Then again, since you clearly stated there is absolutely no moral case to be
made for removing a mass murderer who used chemical weapons on their own
people from power, I'm not sure your moral compass is all that reliable.

AM said...

1. You should read the second paragraph of the citation again, the one where the authors admit that GWBush never directly blamed Saddam for 9/11. They then spent the rest of the paper proposing three possible reasons why the public got that impression.

2. I'm glad you admit that Bush was not a draft dodger. Why did you make that accusation in the first case?

3. If Iraq was an unjust war, what was that bit again about people blindly following their leaders being mindless robots? I'm pretty sure that you had something pretty scathing to say about people who fought unjust wars because their leaders said so.

4. The US refusing to sign the Geneva Accords in 1956 before we had any boots on the ground at all is hardly stopping elections in Vietnam. http://www.clemson.edu/caah/history/FacultyPages/EdMoise/viet4.html

5-6. You honor the military by saying that Soldiers who fight based on their leaders orders are robots, mindless nationalists, and not true warriors. Then you claim that Soviets killing Nazis is proof that leftists support the military.

7. Now you are changing words, I never wrote that "warmongering" is not a verb, I wrote that "warmonger" is a noun, based on your improper use of the word when you wrote "who warmonger." merriam-webster.com, cambridge dictionary, thefreedictionary.com and reference.com all say that "warmonger" is a noun.

8. No, you wrote "only a fascist mindset believes this" but I appreciate the clarification.

9. Your answer is STILL more brilliant than a Guinness commercial since the US had exactly what military presence in South Vietnam at the time? Yup, our magical non-existent presence stopped elections.

10. If I made a straw man, it is not on purpose. I'm confused about how you praise Soviet Soldiers in one response as proof the left supports the military and warriors, and then say Soldiers who obey orders from bad leaders are mindless robots and not real warriors.

11. Nazi's were socialists. Socialism has jack and shit to do with trade unions and everything to do with economic control and distribution of wealth. Socialists like to use trade unions as a way to gain political influence with an aggrieved audience.

12. This is my blog, and I fully expect people like you to stop by. Nothing you wrote has done anything but demonstrate the points of my original blog post. In fact your unintended disrespect, dubious claim of moral superiority, meandering and inconsistent thoughts, and lack of understanding of how returning veterans were actually treated serve as a better illustration than I could have written on my own.

Jamie said...

Nazis did not redistribute income so they weren't socialists. It is just silly to say they were. You even say that Stalin was Fascist - but Hitler was some kind of Pinko?! I'm not going to engage further with that. It is the kind of rot an ignoramus like Sarah Palin would come out with.

The US stopped elections happening. It's right there in the source. It is established fact. C'mon, you're being disingenuous. Diem was a puppet of the US.

George Bush may never have said the words "Saddam flew into the Twin Towers" but he implied he was behind it, it is right there. It is embarrassing to pretend he didn't. The whole source you yourself provided and the ones I cited show that he misrepresented it. He mislead the US public and US soldiers. He lied. Anything else is just weasel words. And fighting purely to win by nitpicking re draft-dodging or exact phrasing while missing the central point (that he misled the public and avoided service - while the Republicans attacked Kerry) is I am afraid an example of fighting without honour.

You are at least correct in saying that warmonger is generally used as a noun. And I didn't check what I had typed. But mong is a verb http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2010/11/monger.html and language is organic. Unlike facts. Which is surely the point? This isn't a grammar blog.

Nazis who knowingly followed orders they knew were wrong were wrong. And mindless - at best. Only following orders was no defense at Nuremburg: why should it be elsewhere? I fully honour anyone who fights for a just cause. We need such warriors. They serve us all.

But I don't respect the position you take. You are wrong on the facts and have not the courage to admit that, in my judgement. I see no point in arguing further on established fact. You are also wrong that lefties are anti-warrior. The men who signed up with the International Brigade to fight fascism in Spain is one among countless examples disproving your thesis.

In my judgement you are projecting your doubts as to the value and ethics of the Vietnam War and the Iraq War - doubts any intelligent person would have - as an attack by lefties out to get you. Countless leftist veterans of countless wars would not I think find this a noble position. To be against immoral wars is not to be against warriorhood. It is part and parcel of warriorhood.

AM said...

Huh, I guess Gotz Aly was wrong when he wrote that book about the economic redistribution policies of the Nazi regime: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54273.Hitler_s_Beneficiaries You've never read Hitler's 25 points, have you? https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/naziprog.html That might explain some of the confusion about the whole "socialism" thing, cause evidently he meant it.

George Herring is the guy who started the whole "US Blocks elections in South Vietnam" based on his interpretations of the facts, but really it boils down to the US supported Diem, and Diem made the decision, and the US continued to support Diem. Could Diem have held onto power as long as he did without US support? Probably not, but he was a wily corrupt bastard who held on as long as he could, but at the time the US involvement in Vietnam was not enough to stop elections on our own.

I never wrote that GWBush didn't use Saddam and 9/11 in the same speeches, that would be a lie. Just like you lied about GWBush saying Saddam was behind 9/11, and now you are having to acknowledge the truth that he didn't ever in recorded history say that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Just give up on the "Bush dodged the draft/service" argument. Army and Air National Gaurd units did deploy to Vietnam: http://www.mnroa.org/0703/research/vnseaunits/vietnam_research_1.htm but obviously not EVERY Guard unit deployed. Some people enlisted in the Army during Vietnam and got sent to Germany. Of course, you've already stated that a true warrior doesn't fight an unjust war, and that Vietnam was unjust, yet you claim Kerry served honorably and that Bush was a coward who avoided service. Make up your damn mind as logically you can't have it both ways.

There are classic liberals who support Soldiers (Senator Inouye for one). There are even modern progressives who support Soldiers (Representative Tammy Duckworth). I have yet to meet a Leftist who supports warriors as anything but a rabid dog on a chain to be unleashed on the enemies of the Leftist (why do you think Stalin purged the Officer Corps so frequently?). By definition a Leftist must hate America, this evil racist patriarchy of a country controlled by greedy corporations. Don't confuse someone who wants a stronger social safety net for Americans with someone who wants to destroy America to get rid of the evil it represents, and must get rid of America's defenders to do so. That is a Leftist, and I will continue to dishonor them to the very best of my ability.

Jamie said...

I'm afraid that this reads like an editorial off Fox News. You know that what I said was Bush mislead the public. Which he did. If you read the source you will know that Bush avoided service by pulling political strings. He was never going anywhere near anything dangerous. Daddy made sure of that. I made it clear that it is possible to serve with honour in an unjust war. Kerry also honourably condemned unjust actions in that war. Whether you have met a leftwing soldier or someone who supports honourable combat is beside the point. Are you really saying that the men who volunteered from all over the world to fight Fascism in Spain were not warriors? Is that what you are actually saying? If so you are debasing warriorhood with your own political bias.

I don't think the US as a nation is bad - but the actions of the governments which took soldiers to die in unjust wars to secure oil rights and disallow a peoples' self-determination were bad. You say yourself that Diem, who was propped up by the US (they spent $500 million year helping French imperialists keep hold of Vietnam in the 50s, though the US was a nation which itself was borne by overthrowing imperialists) was corrupt. The idea that Diem could do anything without US support is daft. The US prevented elections. Frankly George Herring, my arse. There is no other interpretation. You have the facts. We all have the facts. You chose to ignore them because you don't like them.

I wish the US would live up to its promise as the world's first modern democracy. It would have to reform the funding system to do so. You have to be in hoc to big business to get elected. That isn't democratic.

The Nazis taxed. Tax is redistribution. You are fixating on the use of the word socialism - taking at face value the shallow promises of a notorious liar - he might have co-presented with Bill O'Reilly were he alive today. The Nazis were massively funded by big business. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/07/big-banks-funded-the-nazis-and-launched-a-coup-against-the-president-of-the-united-states.html Big business does not support socialism. It is a ridiculous thing to say and frankly a distortion of history of the kind the Nazis specialised in.

I'm going to leave this here. You clearly have on the ground experience of fighting a war about which I can only guess. However as a history teacher I find your disregard of established fact troubling and your arguments incongruent and insincere - witness your contortions around Bush's misrepresentations on the basis that he didn't say the exact words (even he isn't that stupid). Further discussion would not I think serve any purpose. Bush misled the public and avoided active service. The Vietnam and Iraq Wars were not fought for democracy but for power and money - the US people were victims of their own governments distortions. Though their suffering was dwarfed by that of the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Iraqi people. I salute the men and women of the Viet Cong for defeating the American imperialist forces who attempted to stifle their freedom. I hope you and yours never have to fight again but if you and they do I hope that the war is a good one.

AM said...

Really? "I'm afraid this reads like an editorial off Fox News" is the best you can come up with? "Oh my dear sir, but are you aware that you could possibly sound like a news organization?" You should really try harder.

Serving in the National Guard is still serving. Even if you never deploy. Kinda like the guy who signs up for "Air Defense Artillery" and then gets stationed at a Patriot battery in Guam. Or the guy who signs up for the Signal Corps and spends their entire time at the White House switchboard. Claiming that George Bush Sr. was capable of keeping an entire ANG unit from deploying is just lazy thinking. Who knows, maybe he was gifted with the Halliburton time traveling mind control machine to make sure that no one ever deployed his son's unit. Of course if that's the case, I'm sure Daddy would have stopped him from doing all that coke.

How much aid have we given to Egypt? How have those worked out for US interests? Just saying your interpretation of the facts ignores free agency of individuals and makes the US some sort of omnipotent entity. Blaming the US for stopping what would have been rigged elections (the last time "free" elections were held in Vietnam there were more votes cast than voters eligible by a significant margin, so arguing that the elections would have allowed self determination is just a stretch too far for the reality we happen to live in) is easy to do, just assume that the time travelling Halliburton mind control machine is responsible for that too.

No I'm not saying that people who volunteer to fight fascists are not warriors. But neither is volunteering to fight going to make you a warrior, sometimes it just means you are a sociopath. The Red Terror and White Terror killed plenty of people purely for ideological reasons without military necessity or justification. But here I am, once again addressing one of your strawmen.

I'm saying that leftists hate America, and in the context of the original post, the American experience in Vietnam, that should be clear unless you are trying to expand your argument beyond the original scope of my post. You can be a mass murdering psychopath like Che or Stalin and hate America. Of course take a look at what happens to the warriors after the "Revolution" happens. The purges. The people in power start getting rid of competent warriors so they don't have to deal with the Pinochet problem. There is a reason that leftist countries kill military leaders with regularity, and the reasons why leftists in America put lies into our history books.

As far as Kerry having "honorable service" goes, h managed to wrack up 5 medals in 4 months. I'm not saying that's impossible, I'm just saying that the only other guy I know of who managed to do that feat is "Bo Gritz" who is a piece of shit human being.

But seriously, is not fighting in an unjust war a good thing when Clinton used a student exemption it but a bad thing when Bush served in the ANG? Or is it a bad thing that Clinton used a student exemption? Because you've written both and can't seem to make up your mind. Or does your argument simply boil down to, "I think GWBush is a bad person" despite John Kerry being the one to admit to war crimes to Congress and the press?

You are all over the place, and still haven't managed to do anything but prove my point that leftists hate warriors. You bring up, "Hey look, Communists fought Fascists!" without looking at how those warriors were marginalized or purged after the fighting was done. You bring up GWBush and John Kerry as a sideshow to distract from the weakness of your argument.

Keep trying. I've left comments open on this blog for the least 7 years. If you have time to read through al 1,800 plus blog posts maybe you'll find a better argument to make against me.

Jamie said...

Please direct me to the part where I said Clinton avoiding the war was good?

In what way is Che Guevara a mass murderer? He is responsible for less civilian deaths than Kissinger and probably Bush.

Please show me where I said that democracy flourishes now in Vietnam? I didn't. I said that the Americans suppressed democracy in Vietnam. As they did when the US backed an overthrow of a democracy in Chile - the first 9/11.

Please show me how International Brigade fighters were marginalized? Or the leftwingers who fought against the Nazis and voted in a Labour government in the UK?

So now having medals is evidence of being dishonourable. Right....

Are you really saying that a Democrat like Roosevelt hates America? Or that American trade unionists in the 30s hate America? Anyone who questions corporate power or believes in strong public services hates America? Presumably Obama hates America for trying to give Americans the free healthcare enjoyed by all in the UK? Sounds like un-American suppression of free speech and dangerously close to Fascism to me.

I guess finally you are conceding that Bush did mislead the public. Good. Facts are important.

Fox isn't a news organisation. If you think it is, there's your problem right there. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/feb/26/fact-checks-behind-daily-shows-50-fox-news-lies/

AM said...


The international brigades weren't exactly part of a successful operation, so you wouldn't see the typical purges after a successful political outcome. Still, the international brigades weren't universally loved. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/05/spanish-civil-war-monument-court

And you are wrong about Chile: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/chile/2014-05-22/what-really-happened-chile Much like our meddling in the Congo, the "puppets" were not puppets and acted with their own free agency and did what they thought was best. Often times the CIA was more enthusiastic in meddling than effective in creating favorable outcomes to the US.

But if you want to get into the media bias in the US...
http://www.iop.harvard.edu/media-bias-alive-and-well and http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Media-Bias-Is-Real-Finds-UCLA-6664 and https://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/media-bias-critique.pdf

But I'm not talking about liberals, I'm talking about died in the wool leftists. People who believe that revolution is necessary, that the system must be torn down and replaced. People who will put lies in history books to influence liberals in the hope of making more useful idiots. The fact that I've had to explain this a second time lets me know you are having a hard time paying attention.

Jamie said...

Was the American Revolution necessary? How about the Vietnamese against Japanese then French rule? Were British leftists purged after WW2: thing is when you talk about leftists meaning everyone from violent (though arguable justified) revolutionaries to social democrats and even the (by European standards) centre-right US democrat party then the words loses all meaning except as a muddy perjorative (given the huge disparity of values in that 'grouping'). If you are criticising totalitarian Communists then I agree, they are not good. I don't think there are many in the US, and they certainly did not constitute the critics of the Vietnam war. I am not sure what you mean by lies in history books: do you mean under Communist rejimes? You can't be referring to the Washingtonpostblog I was citing.

Re the CIA in Chile "The CIA is acknowledging for the first time the extent of its deep involvement in Chile, where it dealt with coup-plotters, false propagandists and assassins.

The agency planned to post a declassified report required by Congress on its Web site today that admits CIA support for the 1970 kidnapping of Chile’s top general for refusing to use the Army to prevent the country’s congress from confirming the election of socialist Salvador Allende as president. The kidnapping failed, but Gen. Rene Schneider was shot and died two days later, the day Allende’s election was confirmed....The report also disclosed a CIA payment to Gen. Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, head of the Chilean secret police, whom it knew to be involved in post-Allende human rights abuses. In 1993, Contreras was sentenced to prison for a rare act of foreign-sponsored terrorism on American soil — the 1976 car-bomb killing of a Chilean diplomat and an American associate on Embassy Row in Washington." http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=82588

Similar anti-democratic activity in the Congo (a long-term disaster for its people) by MI6 and the CIA with the assasination of its elected leader http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22006446

Of course this stuff wouldn't come out in a totalitarian rejime like China - I am a democrat and want my democracy and the most powerful democracy and potential force for good, the US to be the best it can be. Democracies need critical friends.

In regard to media 'bias' - if as the you give reports suggest journalists are more likely to vote Democrat than average that could mean their interpretations are leftist by American standards - but the 'centre' is so far to the right in the US that isn't saying much. And if being to the left means not parroting the out and out lies of Fox News (which lies, and lies and lies - it is not biased, it is just bullcrap) then that has to be a good thing. You'll probably accuse me of 'elitism' (intellectual elitsm being bad but financial elitism being fine adn dandy in the mantras of the American right) but journalists on average are far more informed that the average American voter (who still thinks Saddam was linked to 9/11).

And as Stephen Colbert says "Reality has a liberal bias".

"Beyond these measurement concerns, GM face a deep
epistemological problem that plagues all research on “media
bias”—the lack of a well-defined and widely-accepted definition
of unbiased reporting. Even if we accept their
assumptions, it is not clear that we should endorse their
argument that journalistic deviations from the center are
evidence of bias. In some cases, as the comedian Stephen
Colbert has famously argued, reality may have a
liberal bias. In other cases, it may have a conservative
bias. The center has no monopoly on truth and we should
not ask the media to follow it slavishly." (from your Dartford citation).

The useful idiots are not those who read the liberal press but those who unquestioningly obey bad politicians who take the country to war on a lie and believe the lies of Fox 'News'.

AM said...

I would state again, that being "liberal" or "progressive" is not the same as being a leftist. Like the Weather Underground: http://academic.evergreen.edu/curricular/ageofirony/aoizine/jacob.html

I will say that as you sojourn during your time in the dojo, think about Aikido as the refinement of jiu jitsu, and how Ueshiba did serve his empire in what you consider an unjust war. Think about how all those "leftist" Soldiers you've claimed fought for their country were really conscripts fighting only because they were ordered to like the robots you despise, fighting for fascists and madmen you despise.

As you find harmony with an attacker, understand that fundamentally Aikido is meant for parity opponents and does not change the quaternary choices that a predator presents to their prey. Fight, flight, freeze, or submit. Think about how Aikido as a philosophy is incompatible with a world where there is no defense, no blending with an attack. Where the first attack is so lethal there is no getting off line, there is no re-directing the energy. Sometimes there is only attack first.

If you think on this, you will appreciate that the dojo is a smaller world than the one containing it. Eventually you will understand that there is no "decisive victory" in Aikido, and that at best you come away a better person than you started. The morality of conflict is artificial, and a distraction when your enemy does not engage you on the mat. When the enemy engages you with a rifle, you die. When the enemy engages you with nukes, you die. When the enemy engages you in a way you cannot counter, you die.

And that is the reality of Vietnam. A proxy war in a global struggle between freedom and oppression. The same as Korea. The same as Afghanistan (1980 to 1989). The same as countless other conflicts in central and south America and Africa. When the conflict stops being on the mats where uke accepts the fall to let someone else master the technique, and instead the "winner" is only the one not dead, the morality of Aikido becomes one of the mandarin class. Aikido is the martial art for living well in society, for understanding conflict resolution with minimal violence, for becoming a better person. Aikido is not the martial art for survival.

Jamie said...

I'm sorry you're unable to accept/(admit?) the obvious truth that many people on the left (like the VietCong or countless other revolutionaries including the American ones) fought freely for their freedom and for ideals. Ho Chi Minh was neither madman nor fascist. If you suppress democracy you're not fighting oppression. If you assassinate elected leaders you are not fighting oppression. You have become oppression. You should also note that I did not describe a the Russo-Japanese war as unjust. It depends entirely what you mean by parity: is a small but skillful aikikai 'less than' a larger but less skilled opponent? Did the Viet Cong have parity with the US. They beat them so presumably they had more than parity. You take my attempt to harmonize as submission - that is an error. It was your chance to win too. By seeking to win, to dominate, you lose. Rather like the US in Vietnam.

AM said...

Their freedom to murder people and ideal ethnic cleansing? http://www.degarfoundation.org/ho-chi-minhs-gifts/HRUE-D%C6%AFM...27-06-2009/MRO=122


Lest you think that they were the product of a bygone era: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/capitalism-must-die#/story

And that is why your reference to Scandinavian countries is laughable. There are no Leftists who believe in capitalism. Sure there are democracies that have chosen to set up socialist redistribution schemes and service networks, but that is a far cry from the killing fields and camps that the revolutionaries require, for our own good of course.