Coulda, shoulda, woulda... 30 years ago, Saigon fell. The South Vietnamese Army ran out of bullets after the funds to buy them were embezeled by corrupt generals who then fled to Switzerland or America, and the defense of South Vietnam collapsed. The vast majority of South Vietnamese merely shrugged their shoulders, believing that it was nothing to do with them, after all they'd seen many governments come and go over the decades and it all pretty much was the same to them. They were soon to find out differently, as over a hundred thousand South Vietnamese were slaughtered for "counter-revolutionary activities" and as even small businessmen were rounded up and sent to "re-education camps" as punishment for daring to run a business.
The question then becomes, "how could the United States have won the Vietnam War?" and the answer is simple: "By starting WWIII." The borders of South Vietnam were indefensible, unlike Korea, which is a peninsula. The only way to "win" would have been to invade North Vietnam and destroy the source of the weapons and guerillas that were infiltrating the borders of South Vietnam. Neither LBJ nor Richard Nixon dared do that, because both the Soviets and the Chinese had stated that if the U.S. sent troops into North Vietnam, they would send troops to defend the North Vietnamese in exactly the same manner that the U.S. had sent troops to defend the South Vietnamese. And what gain would the U.S. have gotten from invading North Vietnam? North Vietnam had no resources that would benefit the United States. The people of the U.S. would have gotten nothing out of invading North Vietnam. There just wasn't any gain for America, and both LBJ and Nixon gave it a pass. At that point, it was impossible for the U.S. to win the Vietnam War, all that could be done was a bloody stalemate that killed probably five million Vietnamese people during the course of our involvement there.
In the end, South Vietnam fell because the majority of the South Vietnamese people weren't interested in fighting for their own liberty. There is a delusion amongst armchair "patriots" that the majority of people, if their nation were invaded, would engage in armed resistance. But the lesson of France under Nazi occupation is less than reassuring there. The French Resistance had a few thousand members at best. The vast majority of the French people cooperated with the Germans, supported the Vichy puppet government, cooperated with the Vichy policemen, served in the Vichy government, sold goods to the Vichy government. Similarly, the vast majority of South Vietnamese did not resist the North Vietnamese invasion. They figured that there was no difference between a French-Catholic dictatorship and a Communist dictatorship, so they stayed home. They didn't care.
Fast forwarding 35 years: Saddam Hussein stayed in power because the majority of Iraqis either supported him or were apathetic toward his rule. No ruler can stay in power if the majority of the people oppose him. If the majority of Iraqis had refused to serve in his military and instead had sacked the security headquarters, ransacked Saddam's palaces, and hung Saddam by his heels from a bridge until he died, Saddam would have been gone. But the majority of people are sheep. They don't care. I mean, we're talking about a nation where AK-47's and RPG launchers are ordinary household utensils. It's not as if five million people descending upon Baghdad armed with AK-47's and RPG launchers could not have overthrown Saddam. But they didn't bother. They didn't care.
Fast forwarding to 2004: Less than 25% of the voting-age populated of the United States voted to remove George W. Bush from office. In the aftermath of that election, the Republican Party has issued death threats to judges that do not rule the way that they wish the judges to rule, is about to change the rules in Congress so that nobody except Republicans can decide who new judges will be, re-instituted slavery in the guise of "bankruptcy reform", and is destroying the value of the American dollar by printing government bonds (dollar bills) by the bushel-load, leading to the majority of Americans seeing their relative purchasing power sink towards third-world levels. But the majority of people are sheep. They don't care. Less than 25% of us care.
Question: If the majority don't care, why should I care? The majority in South Vietnam welcomed the North Vietnamese. The majority in Iraq didn't care about Saddam. The majority of Americans don't have any objection to George W. Bush. People talk about not running to Canada or elsewhere because "you have to stay and fight." But why stay and fight when the majority don't care?
And this ventured far away from where I was going to go, which was a snarky tale of Agent Orange, lawsuits, crippled children, and love of untermenschen on the part of the American people, but more on that in another post... I guess my point is a good Libertarian point: if a people wants freedom, they need to be willing to fight for it. If they're not... (shrug). Then they deserve all the woes and tyrannies that will befall them.
Once there was a land called the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Now it's called the Land of the Groped-In-Airports and Home of the Scared Security Mom. If at least 75% of the United States has voted, in the last election, to be part of a nation of cowards, who am I to tell them different? In the end, we get the government we deserve -- alas. Just ask the South Vietnamese. The ones who weren't exterminated, that is.
- Badtux the Newly-Apathetic Penguin