How do you win a lost war? Rewrite the ending


It’s 40 years since the US were defeated in Vietnam leading to the “fall of Saigon” in 1975. Despite the horrific carnage and brutality that the US inflicted over many years, the official story on the fall itself  has become one of a mission to save innocents from the marauding Communists. As Christian Appy over at TomDispatch writes:

Oddly enough, however, we’ve since found ways to reimagine that denouement which miraculously transformed a failed and brutal war of American aggression into a tragic humanitarian rescue mission. Our most popular Vietnam end-stories bury the long, ghastly history that preceded the “fall,” while managing to absolve us of our primary responsibility for creating the disaster.

One can only imagine what bizarro stuff the US state will be saying in a couple of decades about Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s just say things didn’t go according to the neocons’ psychotic and delusional plans for domination, and the misery and horror that their actions unleashed is absolutely devastating. How could there ever be any positive angle? $billions made by arms manufacturers)?

Sure, there are heart-warming economic tales like Halliburton making $39.5 billion on the Iraq war, but generally speaking things are still pretty raw; it’s obvious that Iraq and Afghanistan are a mess so no one’s game to even attempt a positive spin on the invasions. For example, erstwhile front-runner in the Republican presidential race, Bush-bot Mach III, Jeb, said on Fox News (no less!) that, yes, he would have authorised the Iraq invasion if it were up to him. Absolutely no-one – Fox News and/or Republicans included – thought it was a sane thing to mention.

But, as they say, time heals all wounds…  and in time history books can be tweaked and revised. Here in Australia – the home of Gallipo-fest 2015 – we know this all too well. An idiotic imperialist disaster that killed many and radicalised thousands of others has, with time (and effort on the part of the RSL and our various rulers), been turned into something quintessentially ‘Strayan, tremendously merchandisable and almost utterly beyond criticism.

We know the human cost will never cause the US state to rethink military aggression, and if ever there is something resembling peace in Iraq and Afghanistan (or Libya, Syria, Palestine etc etc) they will spin their barbarity into an ultimate force for good.

It’s up to us to tell the real stories.

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