C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tell Me Lies about Vietnam

Where else but in The Australian do we see a shameless attempt to re-fight old culture wars, and bring back to life the long-since discredited spectre of the 'domino theory'? A fellow named Colebatch has decided that the domino theory was 'largely borne out' in events in South East Asia and Eastern Europe. Colebatch avers that we cannot allow 'Western military defeat' in Afghanistan, whatever this means, as Europe, having a large minority of Muslims, would be in strife - 'jihadist elements would be encouraged everywhere.'

This is the sort of imperialist bullshit that one expects to find on the stupidest of right-wing blogs (or in The Australian). There are lies and distortions from almost the first line. Take the claim that the domino theory was demonstrated in 1975, because 'Cambodia and Laos fell as, and plainly because, Saigon fell'. Putting aside the mass carnage wrought by US forces on all three Indochinese countries in this period, (strengthening support for the Khmer Rouge in particular), Cambodia went down the revolutionary path in spite of the Communists winning the war in Vietnam. It was actually the latter who eventually liberated Cambodia in 1979. Opposition between Vietnam and Cambodia was itself sympomatic of the Sino-Soviet split, wherein Cambodia was backed by China (and armed by Western Europe and the US), whilst the Vietnamese were backed by the Soviets. Hardly an example of 'domino theory'.

This shoddy, dishonest logic is at work throughout the piece, where Colebatch makes vague and sinister claims that defeat in Afghanistan (a campaign largely concerned with aerial bombings these days) will have 'consequences' for the West, because of the latter's supposedly latent radical Muslim population. In addition to the shameless bigotry, Colebatch insists that this scenario 'puts Australia's commitment of an additional 450 troops there into perspective'.

Indeed it does, but not in the way that Colebatch thinks. Once the 'good war' to Iraq's fiasco, Afghanistan has, for a long time, been a 'quagmire', where Coalition forces have supported all manner of butchers, warlords, and (despite official rhetoric) Islamists, for reasons that were dubious in the beginning, and utterly unjustifiable now. Casuistry such as the domino theory aside, there can be no military solutions to what are longstanding political problems.