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A Vietnam Vet on Patriotism and Terrorism

It has not at all changed since 11 September. In fact, real patriotism barely exists.

Since learning–firstly, as a civilian intelligence officer managing a Vietnam Province, 1967/8–just how consistently our government lies, fabricates and covers-up what can’t be excused, I believe claims of “Patriotism” made by anyone except the young or naive most likely result from some combination of fear and ignorance. That is when the remarks are not simply self-serving, as is most commonly the case, particularly with government dependent workers.

Later, once understanding the true history behind our forty -year aggressions in Indochina (1945-1985, both covert and overt), I researched, read and experienced much else concerning US government and corporate economic exploitation and outright criminality. Actions overseas mostly, but also at home. Such an education helps determine an honest basis for feelings of Patriotism, helps clarify national myths and false history. Shows us what may be true and what may be indoctrination blindly to be accepted without thinking beyond briefing manuals and TV news programs.

(When seeking opinions on Patriotism one must also be aware of the vast number of Americans who work in some area of that octopus nominated the “National Security State” by sage commentators. Statistically it is the largest Industrial grouping in the world: now employing somewhere over ten million workers producing products and services totaling over fifty percent (50%) of the US Gross Domestic Product)

With little abstract sense of patriotism – it’s usual, unreflective, emotional side – I admit to maintaining some hope that the good ideals of many Americans will slowly continue to awake to the reality behind the distortions, lies, and false history they have been so well propagandized with over the years. Although our Arcadian-minded founders repressed the social pathologies they imported into their ‘New World’, upon escape from what they called the “evils” of Old World Europe, America’s leaders post-World War II have studiously enriched the worst parts of Machiavellian politics into a highly sophisticated business-political art form.

For example, slavish England is, particularly, aggressively proud resting behind US power, while independent France flavors their aesthetically humane disdain with touches of mentor jealousy at our neo-colonialist profits. Even some Germans speculate that the Third Reich possibly could have lasted longer had it not perpetrated so much evil against fellow Europeans, but, instead, had concentrated its superiority complex on enslaving and exploiting ‘inferiors’ in the Third World. As Seigneur Silvio Berlusconi honestly reiterated the other day with unusual Old World feudal honesty.

There rests my patriotism! With the working class American people only. Not at all with our various governments, whether elite Republican or Democrat, operating at the same unethical and or illegal levels, selling-out their pocketbooks, minds and souls to Big Business. Thereby blatantly compromising the honesty, integrity and equity of our idealistically founded systems of republican government and capitalist economics: to the iniquitous degradation of everyone below the top 10-20 percent of the public. As a number of economists and social analysts, from Gailbraith and Chomsky at MIT onwards, have well shown in substantial publications.

So, hopefully, maybe this tragedy will somehow prove a catalyst, helping the people begin to dispel some of the historical, political and cultural ignorance under which they have been nurtured and media inundated. A system the US oligarchy – by far the most sophisticated greed merchants in the world – counts upon to continue its efficient economic exploitation of the “other” everywhere in lays it bloody hand.

If we do learn, and change our policies, possibly America will stop being counted one of the most distrusted, disliked, even hated, countries operating in the Third World. Similarly, by many in Europe where people on the street often classify US as first-rate hypocrites of greed.

Only when Americans so educate themselves on what the government really does in their name overseas shall we also stop being the only country in the world, outside of Israel, whose embassies, cultural centers, tourist and visa offices, etc. often appear like prisons – protected and managed as if forts in the middle of Indian territory. If we no not think more clearly, and so learn, from these attacks but merely retaliate with historical Western aggressiveness against that “other”, there will be more to come. Maybe acts even more inhumane.

Is it any wonder that while most foreigners tend to like us as individuals they also consider Americans generally unconscious about different cultures and values, naive about any history not directly effecting their personal security? Perhaps this national narrowness of perception is why many people in rich America are much more insecure in their own so-well-policed homesteads than peoples elsewhere; as well, insecure when out in the larger world where their self-centered paranoia has been noted a not uncommon symptom. CP

Richard Manning lives in Antibes, France

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