It’s a “haunting legacy,” alright.
That’s the name of the book Marvin Kalb wrote with his daughter about the Vietnam War and how it has affected Presidents before, during and since. He was plugging it on that oasis of calm civility known as “Washington Journal,” which airs daily on C-SPAN.
It’s also what we can call the amazing persistence of journalism’s shibboleths regarding American wars.
Responding to a caller’s question about the economic motivations for US involvement in Vietnam, Kalb flogged the old tripe about people seeking “conspiracies” and causes that don’t exist. That the truth is, quite simply, that a series of “strategic errors” just happened…one after the other…until Presidents just found themselves in an unintended mess.
This is the haunting legacy of American journalism’s blindness to their own complicity in this economic power system, of their unwillingness to see beyond their Beltway bubble or to investigate root causes…and of their failure to ever ask the simple, ancient question: Cui bono?
For instance, LBJ’s political connections to Bell Helicopter had nothing to do with Vietnam becoming the “Helicopter War.” In fact, the hundreds of millions made by Brown and Root, General Dynamics, Boeing, Dow Chemical or any number of military contractors had nothing to do with the reversal of JFK’s evolving policy of disengagement, right?
Kalb and his daughter ignore the groundbreaking work of historian Alfred McCoy…it was groundbreaking in 1972, by the way…that exposed the CIA’s efforts to pry into the lucrative heroin trade of the infamous Golden Triangle and how the escalating war was tied to that effort.
Kalb and his daughter must not know that Vietnam actually has some oil. And American companies knew it. In fact, some are there right now. Heck, why would Texas-based oil barons have any interest in prodding a known Texan named LBJ to stop Communism in favor of American capitalism? It surely wasn’t the millions of airline tickets taxpayers purchased to fly soldiers into Asia on Dallas-based companies like…American Airlines. That might cause a huge spike in demand for airline fuel, by the way.
Nope. None of the millions and millions and millions made had anything to do with the war. It was just a series of “strategic errors.” Just like the Iraq War, in fact. Same story.
Blunders, not plunder.
That’s the story, and they are sticking to it.Tweet