August 21, 2012
I’d Rather Die Than

From the New York Times:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Afghanistan on Monday for discussions on the progress of the war, including an intensified wave of insider attacks by Afghan forces on NATO service members, even as New Zealand became the latest coalition partner to announce an accelerated troop withdrawal.

The visit by General Dempsey was characterized by NATO as one of his regular visits to Kabul. But it comes after a trust-eroding two-week stretch in which 10 American service members have been killed by Afghan security forces, in violence designated as insider or green-on-blue attacks.

My late stepfather, Ralph Ingersoll, was a magazine editor, newspaper publisher and World War II vet who had been around the block a time or two and kept his eyes open along the way. One day in 1963 the papers ran those famous pictures of the Vietnamese monk, burning himself to death in the middle of Saigon.

“Take a look at this,” Ralph said. “We’re well and truly fucked now.”

“How come?”

“You’re fucked anytime you get into a fight with people who would rather die than.”

“Than what?”

“Than whatever."

What would Ralph have said if American troops were being routinely gunned down in Saigon's streets by ARVN soldiers we ourselves had armed and trained? The question never arose. Things got bad in Vietnam, all right, but not quite that bad.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 21, 2012 01:34 PM
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And few give a shit!

Posted by: One Fly on August 21, 2012 3:09 PM

Nice to see someone covering this continuing travesty.


The generals running the Vietnam War were a quantum leap more intelligent than the ones we have now.

Take care!


Posted by: Suzan on August 22, 2012 8:10 PM

U.S. 58,000 troops were killed
the North vietnamese army 1.1 million deaths
1,170,000 people were injured

Also, estimates for civilian deaths range from .5 to 2 million. There is difficulty in nailing down this number, because of several factors:

distinguishing between VC and Civilians was often difficult
poor census numbers, leading to inability to accurately count deaths
reluctance on the part of all parties to accurately count civilian deaths (propensity to over-inflate or under-count, depending on the entity)
debate over including executed civilians not specifically related to combat (significant number of both North and South Vietnamese were killed by government forces of both sides in politically-motivated actions not remotely related to actual combat).

Note, most death counts cover 1959 - 1975.

Also, all of the numbers above EXCLUDE any deaths in Laos and Cambodia. A ballpark number for the entire regional death toll is 5+ million.

Read more:

Lots of people gave a shit and probably still give a shit because it affected so many lives and created lots of "victims" and I would include draft dodgers, people who fled the country rather than participate and the relatives, friends and lovers of the above mentioned.

I would say this escapade/exercise in futility in Afghanistan and Iraq is like immeasurably worse. I think lots of people give a shit. We just have a Military/Industrial complex that has taken over and commandeered our Democracy. Thanks, GB who stole an election and left us with lifetime appointments of some of the sorriest POSs the world has ever seen on the Supreme Court, other Federal Courts and elsewhere that preclude our getting over the train wreck that his terms in office proved to be.

Posted by: knowdoubt on August 23, 2012 4:27 PM

As a result, German soldiers in Afghanistan are now allowed to carry arms even if not out on patrol ...
Can you imagine an unarmed American soldier?

Posted by: Peter on August 25, 2012 12:44 PM
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