Anyone watching Ken Burn’s Vietnam series on WETA this past week knows how an unwarranted fear of communism drove us to madness there. That paradigm and subsequent iterations have mired us in international turmoil ever since we failed to heed the lessons of Vietnam after 9/11.
I have not heard recent mention of these points made in James Carroll’s 1997 book “An American Requiem: God, My Father & the War That Came Between Us”: there was large property ownership by the Catholic Church in Vietnam at the war’s outset, when our President JFK and Vietnam’s President were both Catholic and Carroll’s high level Catholic Lt. General USAF father, who headed the powerful Defense Intelligence Agency, a top proponent of that war.
Seems analogous to me to the long and carefully promoted fear of “socialized medicine” which has allowed the special interests to keep our government from enacting a single payer health insurance for all of us. That of course protects the profits of our physicians, the insurance companies and the hospitals, making our yearly costs per citizen more than twice those of other developed nations. Now health costs 18% of GDP, will it be morphing to 30% by midcentury? It will likely be a long time before all Americans get the same health care packages which Congressmen and their families enjoy.
We keep falling into paradigm traps like these instead of really assessing the threats as to how they really might affect us. That Vietnam war proved a prime example that the Domino Theory about communism was utterly false.
“Killing our way to peace” actions since then have accompanied our building a worldwide empire with over 700 US military bases overseas as Chalmers Johnson so eloquently documents in his Nemesis trilogy. Is military action the only route toward satisfactory peaceful solutions? Well, Ike did warn us in 1961 about our military industrial complex, whose aggressive behavior has proved another huge power block to peace in our time. From a US Dept. of War in WWII to a post war designation as our Dept of Defense to what Suzy Hansen’s new book, “Notes on a Foreign Country” tells us is now clearly a US Dept. of Offense.
I just got an email from the head of a web site organization called Pray for Us (PFU), which hysterically hopes we will pass a pending US House of Representatives bill HR 377, the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act. PFU is concerned that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to date to designate the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as an international terrorist organization.
While one can be concerned about the enactment of the beliefs of sharia or any other theology in our highly secular society, one should recall that all religions including the Catholic Church and the Tea Party Evangelicals have been pushing dogmatic beliefs which should apply only to secular matters on our lawmakers with huge success for years. How did our US Supreme Court get a majority of Catholic justices? Not by accident.
Who says a woman should not have the right to choose when and under what conditions she can bear a child? A lot of voices with no standing except their belief in their personal religious dictatorships, but who have successfully petitioned our elected officials to enact dangerous measures against half our population. The nation’s most distinguished reproductive research agency, The Guttmacher Institute, reports that half of all US pregnancies are unintended. The only US belief group who can’t successfully seek public office if so identified as such are atheists. Go figure.
It’s time for new paradigms about behavior in a world where peace is so fragile and safe conditions of life stand so starkly at risk. However, the pressure for keeping the old failed paradigms keeps building with present leadership by both parties.
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Back in 1991, the NGO Don Collins founded in 1976, International Services Assistance Fund (ISAF), co-produced a TV quality 22-minute film called “Whose Choice?” which Ted Turner arranged to broadcast on September 21, 1992 in prime time on his then independent Turner Broadcast System (TBS). Other outlets such as PBS and several of its affiliates Collins and his colleagues contacted then refused to run it because of its forthright treatment of the abortion issue, arguing for all women’s right to choose not to have a baby. ISAF has made a new edition of that DVD. The purpose for reissuing this 3rd version of “Whose Choice?” was simply to show the historical urgency that attended those times, still blocked and attacked over 40 years after the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. This video is available for public viewing for the first time.
The Civil Rights Movement, the Catholic Church, and the Vietnam War: A Memoir (1996)
Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex
The Religious Right: Part Two | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS
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