Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Malcolm X on Afghanistan, I mean, Vietnam

His thoughts on Vietnam apply perfectly to Afghanistan if you substitute Karzai for Diem and the USSR for France. (Killing Diem doesn't apply, but I'm leaving it in 'cause I like the quote.)

Malcolm X in 1965, speaking about the US in Vietnam:
You put the government on the spot when you even mention Vietnam. They feel embarrassed - you notice that?... It's just a trap that they let themselves get into. ... But they're trapped, they can't get out. You notice I said 'they.' They are trapped, They can't get out. If they pour more men in, they'll get deeper. If they pull the men out, it's a defeat. And they should have known that in the first place. France had about 200,000 Frenchmen over there, and the most highly mechanized modern army sitting on this earth. And those little rice farmers ate them up, and their tanks, and everything else. Yes, they did, and France was deeply entrenched, had been there a hundred or more years. Now, if she couldn't stay there and was entrenched, why, you are out of your mind if you think Sam can get in over there. But we're not supposed to say that. If we say that, we're anti-American, or we're seditious, or we're subversive... They put Diem over there. Diem took all their money, all their war equipment and everything else, and got them trapped. Then they killed him. Yes, they killed him, murdered him in cold blood, him and his brother, Madame Nhu's husband, because they were embarrassed. They found out that they had made him strong and he was turning against them... You know, when the puppet starts talking back to the puppeteer, the puppeteer is in bad shape...

1 comment:

  1. I draw a parallel between Vietnam (and Korea, and similar wars) and the Apollo project. The one thing no scifi writer or futurist ever predicted was that once having reached the Moon, we would simply lose interest and quit; nor did any veteran of the world wars ever predict that we would enter a war and then just quit short of victory. In neither case was success impossible; in both cases the cost was exorbitant. And more importantly, in both cases the motivation was wrong- we were doing them for political reasons, rather than science and adventure in one case or humanitarian impulses in the other... and in both cases, when the political cause was no longer worth the cost, we simply gave up. To me this is proof that the war for hearts and minds is always more important than any technological or financial problem- solving the latter is impossible without winning the former.