Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dancing on the edge.

If you read any of my blogs you know I love everybody. If you don't read them, I love everybody. And more than anything I want everybody to stop the headlong race to human extinction before it is too late. I try to be the voice of reason in a world mad with anger, hate, envy, suspicion, greed, all of the noble human sentiments. It is an uncomfortable position, fortunately I don't take it very seriously, because people are going to be people, and if history has provided any clues, any path for the future, it looks bleak.

For example, memoirs and notes have revealed that the US may have been willing to drop atomic bombs to support the French soldiers who were trapped in an ever tightening siege at Dien Bien Phu.

There is not enough space here to detail the horrors of the French occupation of Indochina, nor is there room to describe the terrible, rapidly deteriorating conditions facing the French soldiers trapped in the tiny valley. If you are interested in the battle you should read "Hell in a Very Small Place" by Bernard Fall, it is a gripping story of the plans and the failures, of the French command. In fairness they could never know the terrible weather that would deny them air support, and it is almost inconceivable the dedication and indescribable labor of the Vietnamese army.

But, the fact that the US had even considered unleashing the awesome destruction of atomic weaponry to support a failing Imperial power stuck in a battle in a tiny jungle covered valley on the
other side of the world should terrify us all.

France was going to lose Vietnam, imperial powers were falling everywhere, and history has proven that Vietnam is impossible to occupy. Even then it was widely known that Ho Chi Minh was a communist of convenience, he was a nationalist who only wanted to expel the foreigners. And yet, to prop up a failing regime, in a distant country, with nothing to gain the US was contemplating atomic weaponry.

Part of it was the loss of China, and the deadly slog in Korea, sure. But a lot it was the feeling that World War II had changed everything. No longer, it was assumed, could the US let things happen, we had to influence things to end on our terms.

After the war ended the US War Department (now the Department of Defense) divided the world into five zones, each was named and ranked according to activity. Which was fine, except that it provided the unshakable belief that anything that happened anywhere in the world was a direct threat to the US. Which was almost laughably ridiculous.

Almost laughable, until dropping the most destructive force mankind, in all its technologically ingenious wizardry, has been able to develop. On people who were battling for nothing more than the right to self determination. Not very damned funny then, is it?

Of course, the bombs weren't dropped, and the French left and US forces took their place. And a lot of people were killed, and it still isn't very funny. Communism is falling under its own weight. New threats arrive, and reactions are mixed, but the threat of going too far is always there, And nobody seems to be paying attention.

Why is that?

Grim Reaper by Totemicdruid via Deviant Art