Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bully Boy lies about Vietnam -- who calls him out?


Wednesday, August 22nd, Bully Boy went to Kansas City to speak to the VFW convention. He was all smiles. Why wouldn't he be? He was about to attempt a major rewriting of history as he pushed revisionary lies about Vietnam.

The online revolution is upon us -- or so we've been told repeatedly. So it was surprising (or maybe not really) who called out the lies and who didn't. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted the speech before it was given. Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) noted the "rewriting of history" the day of the speech. Ron Fullwood (OpEdNews) also came out strong day of.

Okay, well maybe (no surprise) the net really hasn't taken us into the 'real time' world. But who else, day of or later, took Bully Boy and/or his lies about Vietnam to task? Anne Zook (Peevish . . . I'm Just Saying) did, Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonzales, returned to the issue on Thursday's Democracy Now! for an indepth discussion with Gareth Porter, Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) called it for the lies it was, Robert Parry (Consortium News) refused to let the lies slide by without challenge, Rosa Brooks (Los Angeles Times) challenged the lies and Marjorie Cohn (at Common Dreams) refused to be silent while another attack on history was launched. There are a few more and, despite including Zook, our concern here really isn't with independent bloggers. Our concern is with the independent press.

What of 'the leading magazine of the left'? It might interest you to note that John Nichols weighed in on Wednesday. Cpl. John Nichols Klinger.


Bully Boy was telling repeated lies about Vietnam so The Nation's Nichols suited up (possibly with the scarf pictured above) and cried, "Gather round kiddies while I tell you about Korea." Yes, that is right: Korea. In over 100 lines, over 1500 words, John Nichols elected to weigh in on Korea.

Wow, we told ourselves, we must have missed something. Maybe we just thought Vietnam and Iraq were the focus. So we checked the transcript. It did provide laughter such as here:

In other words, we agree the veterans deserve the full support of our government and that's what you're going to get as George W. Bush as your President. (Applause.)

Laughter both because the decay in veterans' services has happened repeatedly under Bully Boy's watch and for the mangled "that's what you're going to get as George W. Bush as your President." (That is the official White House transcript.) We're eyeballing "Korea" used 16 times. "Indochina," "Vietnam," "Cambodia" and "Laos"? 21 times.

The word count for the Korean section? 517 words spoken by the Bully Boy.

The word count for the Vietnam section? 882.

And never once did Bully Boy refer to the "Korean specter" -- yet, for some reason, Korea is what John Nichols elects to go on about for over 1500 words.

Were we missing something?

On Wednesday, a number of groups were spoken to/with by C.I., Kat, Ava, Dona and Jess. As the speech began to get news coverage, it became a focal point in four different discussions with students who wanted to know about Vietnam. Was Bully Boy being honest? Was this a rewriting? What really happened?

On that day, on Thursday and on Friday, not one student ever asked about Korea. Clearly, the concern among young adults who heard the speech that the five encountered was with Vietnam.

Bully Boy, in his speech, elected to give a questionable "vocabulary lesson" and, as Kat noted Thursday, Wednesday, C.I. presented students with vocabulary "gained" from the war on Vietnam. At Kat's urging, a few of the terms made it into Thursday's snapshot:

Bully Boy made ridiculous comments about how US withdrawl from Vietnam led to a host of things when the realities are that the illegal war itself led to that. Bully Boy felt the need to speak of new vocabulary the withdrawal created (it didn't create it) and while it's nice to know he is attempting to increase his Word Power, let's explore some of the actual vocabulary that illegal war did create. "Double veteran" was someone who killed a woman after he'd had sex with her. "Expactants" was a 'cute' term for those who were 'expected' to die. "Glad bags" were body bags and "litters" were what the dead and wounded were carried on. "Willie Peter" which was white phosphorus added to napalm to prevent water from stopping the burning of skin. "Fragging" which was when those serving under an officer elected to kill him often with a grenade. "Dust offs" were when service members were medically evacuated by helicopter. Those are only some of the words that illegal war added to the vocabulary.

The Nation offered nothing else on the topic (until the weekend when a kind of note appeared). Why was that? Why was Nichols' falling all over himself to address Korea?

Who knows? But on Thursday, noting the Vietnam revisions, The New York Times Jim Rutenberg, Sheryl Gay Stolber, Mark Mazzetti, Damien Cave and Erich Schmitt observed: "With his comments Mr. Bush was doing something few major politicians of either party have done in a generation: rearguing a conflict that ended more than three decades ago but has remained an emotional touch point." Something few attempt? Certainly that's worthy of comment from 'the leading magazine of the left'?

While Nichols was off in Korea, 2008 Democratic presidential nominee hopeful Bill Richardson was calling the Vietnam revisionary nonsense out:

The correct conclusion to draw from our experience in Vietnam is that dragging out the process of withdrawal will be tragically worse in terms of U.S. lives lost and worse for the Iraqi's themselves in terms of the ultimate instability we will create by staying longer.

In 1968 Nixon ran on a platform of ending the war with honor. It took 7 years to get the last American soldier out of Vietnam. In the meantime, tens of thousands more Americans died. The costs in terms of tragedy in Southeast Asia itself are a matter of historical record. Millions of civilians ultimately died in Vietnam, in Cambodia and the killing fields and millions more ultimately had to flee their homes.

We have now been in Iraq longer than it took to win World War II. My plan for Iraq is designed to end this war with the least possible number of U.S. casualties and with the least damaging effects of Iraqi's reconciliation process. This means getting all of our troops out as quickly and safely as possible. Leaving residual troops in Iraq as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have suggested will only drag out the process to the detriment of all involved. Reconciliation can only occur when the U.S. has completely withdrawn. Everyday, more and more experts are coming to the same conclusion I drew seven months ago. My position has been consistent and unwavering. A fast, safe withdrawal with no residual troops.

I am pleased that Senator Clinton, today, recognizes that the surge has produced no progress of any long term significance to the Iraq debacle. That is different from what she said yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But, it is that audience, who has sacrificed more than any of us, who deserves to hear a clear statement that our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers are not going to be sacrificed because of an irrational commitment to a failed strategy.

The President is asking the country to wait for next month's progress report from General Petraeus. The chances are that report will be just another White House spin job and attempt to justify this war. This has been the bloodiest summer yet -- our troops have done an admirable job at trying to make a bad idea work, but the surge has failed, the war has failed, Bush has failed. It is time to end this war and bring all of our troops home as soon as possible. I'm glad Hillary Clinton has retracted her comments yesterday and has declared the surge a failure today -- but I still haven't gotten an answer to my question -- a peace in Iraq will fail as long as we leave troops behind -- how many would you leave behind? Every other major candidate would leave thousands of US troops in Iraq for an indefinite. I will leave no U.S. forces there. Zero.

The only way out of the Iraq mess is to remove all U.S. troops, and to use that leverage to get the warring parties to resolve their differences, and surrounding Muslim nations to help stabilize the country. Any residual U.S. force reduces the chances for success, and exposes our troops as targets. Our brave troops, and the American people, deserve better.

Here's reality. The revisions on Vietnam didn't just happen. You had a lot of left and 'left' refusing to address reality. Some because they thought it wasn't 'nice manners,' some because they were scared off by the attacks. So the lies have taken hold. And every time they are pushed forward again, they need to be called out.

As Jane Fonda explained in the amazing Sir! No Sir!, "You know, people say, 'Well you keep going back, why are you going back to Vietnam?' We keep going back to Vietnam because I'll tell you what, the other side does. They're always going back. And they have to go back -- the Hawks, you know, the patriarchs. They have to go back because, and they have to revise the going back, because they can't allow us to know what the back there really was."

Yeah, the right-wing always does. And the battle for truth will be lost as long as so many elect to sit it out. Good news for The Nation, however, former US Senator Max Cleland delivered yesterday's Democratic radio response to the Bully Boy's radio address and Cleland called out Bully Boy's revisionary history. In other words, the Democratic Party has given the Green Light. Now all the little Nation writers who can't have a thought without permission from the DNC can prepare their "You know, I've been thinking about that speech Bully Boy gave last week where he lied about Vietnam and . . . "

Thank the ones noted above (and any others not noted) who bothered to call out Bully Boy's lies about Vietnam. But grasp that the majority of our left media opted to sit it out 'led' by . . . The Nation.

For any wondering, in this community it was called out in C.I.'s Wednesday "Iraq snapshot,"
in C.I.'s Thursday "Iraq snapshot," in C.I.'s "When the left plays dumb, Bully Boy advances,"
in Rebecca's "robert parry, vietnam," in Kat's "Glen Ford, Iraq, Vietnam," in Elaine's"Matthew Rothschild, John Nichols, Katha Pollitt," in Mike's "Ron Fullwood, William S. Lind," in Cedric's
"Professor Bully Boy," in Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY GIVES ANOTHER HISTORY LESSON!," in Kat's "Music, Ron Jacobs," in C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . .," in Rebecca's "robert parry, a.a.r.," in Elaine's "Grace Paley and other items" and in C.I.'s Friday "Iraq snapshot." For the record, accuracy watchdog FAIR has issued no action alert on made no comment on the speech.
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