DVD: Vietnam: American Holocaust

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Paul Krugman Gives Clue to Why U.S. Wars are Endless
> In the roundtable discussion about our current economic crisis on ABC News' This Week 9/5/10, Noble Prize winning economist Paul Krugman made a very telling statement:
What we need is more demand. I've been looking at the polling and other things from 1938. This actually kind of resembles 1938 when FDR cut back too soon and the economy went back to recession, people were deeply pessimistic. They said that it's never going to recover, the budget deficit is too big, it's going to last for a decade or more, just more demand won't do it, we need to cut that budget deficit. Then we were, in a way, very fortunate. The war came along and took off all the restraints and we had a recovey and it was not structural, we just didn't have enough demand. I know that most politicians and the economists who work for them insist that this is a recession and not a depression, whereas the growing ranks of those in the unemployment lines may beg to differ.
Now it would appear that the Great Depression that so devastated the U.S. in the 30's has gone the way of Pluto. It has been demoted to a double-dip recession, which is pretty much what we have now. But that's just an aside. That's not why I'm quoting Krugman.
He sees the problem now as one of a lack of demand. This was also the problem in what I will continue to call the Great Depression. It is a problem that is inherent in capitalism and one that necessarily becomes more and more critical as capital becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Karl Marx called it the crisis of over production. The majority of the people become so poor that they can no longer afford what they produce no matter how badly they need it. Goods build up in warehouses, workers are laid-off, then they can't afford to buy stuff either so even less product is sold and the vicious cycle continues until demand returns for some reason.
Paul Krugman also tells us what created the demand that finally broke the Great Depression:" we were, in a way, very fortunate. The war came along..."

I have heard World War II called many things. This is the first time I have heard it called 'fortunate'. But economically speaking, he is exactly right. While FDR's 'New Deal' brought some relief to millions, it took a World War to break the back of the Depression, and we have been dependent on War for our economic 'health' ever since. [War Is The 'Health' of the State. - ed.]
With the drop in government spending at the end of WWII, the U.S. went into an 8 month recession from February to October 1945. and then another 11 month recession in 1948/49. Fortunately for the economy, by then the Cold War with it's massive spending on Weapons of Mass Destruction, was rapidly being developed. Perhaps the Recession of 1949 showed that a Cold War wasn't enough. Fortunately for the U.S. economy, the Korean War started in 1950 and the economy got better.
In the Korean War, the U.S. mowed down civilians who were merely trying to flee the fighting, bombed cities out of existence, and we now know, made the use of biological weapons [see The Crimes of Empire, p. 134] as part of our fighting doctrine, and actually used biological agents including the plague, anthrax, scarlet fever and encephalitis against Koreans and Chinese. Anyone with a slightest doubt about the incredible barbarity and criminal conduct of the U.S. military in the Korean War really owes it to themselves to watch this excellent BBC documentary "Kill Them All" on Google Video. Obstinately, we entered the Korean War because the communist insurgents that had been fight against the Japanese and for Korean independence since 1910 were looking likely to win. We killed no less that 2 million civilians and probably another million Korean combatants on both sides. But our economy did bounce back. Clearly that wasn't enough. Even with all the artificial demand created by our Cold War and our murderous hot ones, the economy was falling into recession every 2 or 3 years. Five recessions occurred between the end of WWII and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Like the Korean War, the Vietnam War was a racist war conducted by the U.S. in a very barbaric manner. I have already detail how we murdered as many as 4 million civilians in my documentary Vietnam: American Holocaust. If you don't think that the Vietnam War was a racist war or warrants the title holocaust, and you don't think the question important enough to spend 87 minutes watching my doc., I suggest you at least look at this picture of how the U.S. troops treated Vietnamese bodies. And if you don't think the practice of throwing Vietnamese POW's out of helicopters was routine, I can provide you with at least four independent sources for that too.
But on a brighter note, all this meaness did result in one of the greatest periods of economic prosperity since the Great Depression, almost 9 years without a recession. In spite of the war now going full bore, there was a slight recession in 1969. Then when the Vietnam War started to wind down, and the troops started coming home, we fell into a much more serious funk with the 1973-75 recession in which unemployment hit 9%.
There was little appetite for war among most Americans in the direct aftermath of Vietnam, and while the military budget never slowed down, President Jimmy Carter was a decent man who sought to replace war with it's moral equivalent. The result was that the economy again began to falter and Ronald Reagan was able to ride into the Whitehouse on the Recession of 1980. The recession continued until November 1982 and unemployment reached almost 11%. Reagan was only able to turn that around with a whole series of mean little wars in many places and massive increases in the military budget. By the time he left office the military budget was 43% higher than it was at the height of the Vietnam War, but he also gave us eight years without a recession. When the Soviet Union fell apart there was supposed to be a 'peace dividend', instead we got another recession.
When we didn't have the Soviet Union to kick around any more, and the War on Drugs failed to generate enough demand, the War on Terror fortunately came into focus. It is almost as if they loaded the old Cold War propaganda into the word processor and did a find: communism, replace: Islamic terrorist, replace all, and they were off and running with a new motivation for the old spending and then some.
And so it goes for the U.S. economy. Since the Great Depression the U.S. economy has required war for it's very survival. Blood sucking capitalism is not a metaphor to be taken lightly. Our relative prosperity has been built on a foundation of corpses, and it is systematic, so went Obama comes into office behind the warmonger Bush, he has no choice but to continue and even expand his policies. With the country in what increasing looks like a depression to me, and unemployment around 10%, he dare not bring the troops home, or stop the drones from flying and the babies from dying. Our capitalist economy requires this at this late stage of its life.
Paul Krugman missed one important difference between our economic situation now and that of 1938. In 1938 we were a country at peace. We hadn't played the war card yet and that could and did bail us out. Now the economic situation is very similar except for this very important difference: Today we have wars going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. We are preparing them against Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. We spend 48% of the entire world military budget and we are still heading into a depression.
Capitalism is going down. It is already past its expiration date. It is rotting alive now. The main question we have to address is whether we will go down with it or go forward without it.
in the spirit of Mark Twain {"History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."}, I offer the following:

"Combined Brief History of the Vietnam and Afghan Wars"

Although the War in [Vietnam|Afghanistan] was started by the previous occupant of the Whitehouse, President [Johnson|Obama] made it his own and greatly expanded it. There were problems from the beginning. The [Diem|Karzia] regime installed by the U.S. proved to be a very corrupt one that became increasingly problematic as it lost all support among the [Vietnamese|Afghan] people. On the other hand, the [Viet Cong|Taliban], having already succeeded in it's struggle against [French|Russian] colonialism, proved ready for a long struggle against American imperialism as well. The [Vietnam|Afghanistan] War would prove to the the [second longest| longest] in our history. Support for the [Vietnam|Afghan] War, already at an all time low, fell even lower after [Daniel Ellsberg|Julian Assad] released the [Pentagon Papers|WikiLeaks Documents] that revealed much that the government had kept hidden about the war. By the time reports came out about U.S. soldiers in [Vietnam|Afghanistan] killing civilians and collecting [ears|fingers], most people were ready to bring the troops home. Instead, the President expanded the war from [Vietnam|Afghanistan] into neighboring [Cambodia|Pakistan] with a series of "secret" [B52|drone] strikes and commanding General [William Westmoreland|David Petraeus] called for more troops to implement his strategy of [search and destroy|clear, hold & build] on the ground and still more civilians died and because of the special weapons used by the U.S. in the war, both our soldiers and the people of [Vietnam|Afghanistan] would suffer from cancer, birth defects and many other diseases cause by [Agent Orange|Depleted Uranium] for generations to come. By the time the U.S. pulled out of [Vietnam|Afghanistan], the number of young Americans to die in the war numbered over [58,000|?????]. The first American soldier killed in the Vietnam War was Lt. Col. Pete Dewey on September 26, 1945. 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese were to follow him in the next 30 years, but nine years into the war, less Americans had died in the Vietnam fighting than the 1,372 that have so far died in Afghanistan. I don't hate America but I do hate what capitalism has done to her.
Clay Claiborne, Producer
Vietnam: American Holocaust
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