The War We're Meant to Forget

And then the unfortunate marriage of Nixon and Kissinger occurred, and the war had dragged on for another five years. Everybody knew now that it was a shame but no one talked about it except the diehard antiwar activists that read too many books. There was nothing to be done except to keep demonstrating and organizing, as if you did not actually exist and your opinion was worth nothing, which is the truth actually. The war was lost and there was nothing to be done about that either.

Many were folding their tents and looking for work. The million or so veterans who had passed through Vietnam and circled back crippled only physically, psychologically, or spiritually, had raised prices for the pharmaceutical industry, had given doctors and psychologists more money and new theories and toys, and had heartened the fledgling illegal drug trade, spawning violent havoc in the cities and towns, and had employed thousands for studies so that our responsible leaders could properly understand the problems of crime and mental illness and make new laws.

But the problem, some thought wrongly, was only that particular war; but capitalist greed and dishonesty; imperialism, racism, religious fanaticism, fear, murder and drugs, the absence of any accounting for it, and government gone wrong, were irrelevant. 

No identity could be established of who was responsible for it all, so that Americans, accustomed to easy answers, unaccustomed to losing at war, and unaccustomed to prosecuting the guiltiest, blamed it on long-dead officials and especially dead Presidents, and on soldiers who could not fight, on traitorous antiwar protesters who would not fight, or the awake and responsible or simply cowardly ones who had fled to Canada or Sweden or Australia,  and on the ones who later forgave them, and on the blacks who had talked against the war, and the black “slackers” among servicemen who had fought half-heartedly, or, wised-up by ancient slavery, had secured duty in the rear, although they had suffered the highest casualty rates per capita to their numbers with whites in the war, because, as one southern white NCO had said, “Why should I send a white man to die when I can send a nigger?”

And beneath the bumbling bombast of mind-boggling conservative propaganda, “the American people”  had blamed it on liberals generally, and on half-hearted allies, or on Nixon's abandonment of the gold standard, (because Europe, turning against the war and its inevitable economic loss, was cashing in its chips and making a run on US gold reserves) and on Jack Kennedy, Robert McNamara, President Eisenhower, President Truman, President Roosevelt, the overrated CIA, the guilty Congress, and on a government with too much money and too little talent, and on McGeorge Bundy and Walter Rostow and General Westmoreland, and Admiral Abrams and LBJ and Nixon and even poor Henry Kissinger, who spent years wringing his hands behind the curtains because the goddamned communists just wouldn’t surrender, that’s all;  he was only trying to stop the war and not prolong it, and finally someone offered him the Nobel Peace Prize if he would sign the treaty, and he did; after offering membership to China in the Capitalist Club.

 And of course they blamed it on noble Daniel Ellsberg, the ex-marine RAND Corporation war analyst  who had blown the whistle at the NY Times on the whole stinking ball game (The Pentagon Papers), exposing the rottenness of the players and umpires,and how little we knew about the Vietnamese; showing how unreasonable it was, how irresponsible and unwise it was, how expensive and unproductive it was,  and  how stupid and crazy it was; but most of all they blamed it on that slick little bastard Ho Chi Minh, who was only another Hitler, and not even a Buddhist like most of his countrymen, but a goddamned atheistic communist who didn’t even believe in Jesus Christ, goddammit, and who had gone to school at the goddamned Lenin Institute in Moscow, and had disappeared from the goddamned grid for 30 goddamned years, with every goddamn secret agency and assassination team from France to Interpol to Britain and America hunting him down to kill him, the goddamned communist, because he had stolen some secret formula, and had more goddamned names than they would ever know. Not that it mattered anymore, because the goddamned bastard was deader than Alexander the Greek. Goddammit!

Even farmers went on like that.

Suddenly from all being innocent everyone was guilty of something, of some neglect, of some mistake, of some stupidity, or some crime. Many Americans with a 30-minute attention span turned to Archie Bunker on television to express their own feelings. Antiwar elements and counter-culturists kept the atrocity in front of their faces; however, small as their numbers had shrunk by then, and occasionally even got a spot on radio or television. The Press even interviewed a few of them now and then, but usually late at night after the parents had gone to bed; and with a true American conservative on the program too, to that the interview was fair and balanced.

And people mostly ignored the veterans who had returned from the war unheralded and quietly like pariahs; objects of pity and contempt. In Colorado, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) refused membership to Vietnam vets at first, until the VFW was busted by so many disgusted veterans that it finally acknowledged that the men had really fought a in a deadly foreign war, and that they had come home damaged like themselves from previous wars, and allowed them membership for small dues and proof of service, so that they could enjoy cheap beer, lazy cowboy music,  rock and roll, the companionship they had known as brothers under fire, and the stories, among the men who drank and said little or nothing, lost in thought or waking nightmares; and the joints shared in the backyard.

But occasionally an old vet from WW II would say something like, "We won our war; what happened to you guys?"

The beautiful thing was to see a woman there who loved and supported them all. She came with her husband or lover or alone and sat and talked and drank and made a fool of herself sometimes, just like them, but she softened their hardness and eased their pain somehow. Some were old women who had been coming to the bar and pool tables and jukeboxes and cafes of the VFW since the end of WW II, or Korea, and most of their old friends and husbands were long dead and gone, or en route to the boneyard. They gave their time to string streamers and banners and inflate balloons and set out small American flags and flowers and napkins and gave money and time and free food to the fighting men who had not wanted to fight in the first place. And some of the new vets had their women along too; though many relationships were plagued with exploitation, unaccountable rages, and domestic violence.

The dead veterans, many of them draftees, who remained permanently in Southeast Asia, their bones rotting in wet jungle heat and tender young flesh long since consumed by animals and insects, were no trouble to anybody anymore. Politicians made the most of it by lying that 3,000 were missing from the dead and wounded list, claiming like magpies that all were in squalid and hidden prison camps, tortured and starved by heartless communists every night and day; but few were perturbed besides the families and friends, and most people just did not, absolutely did not want to hear another word about the goddamned war anymore. Missing In Action flags sold like hotcakes.

They did not, absolutely did not want to even think about the goddamned thing.  Not another word more about the war that had crippled our country, while we were crippling Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, leaving 6.5 million dead and 20 million wounded, plus (maybe) 58,000 Americans (and rising); a crippling war that had swept decency and morality and the whole criminal enterprise under the rug.

Everybody lost the war, including the winners. But many people made carts of money from it, and the fattened middle class that had voted for the leaders had grown even fatter and become even more selfish and lazy minded than they were before the abomination. In fact despite for small clusters of counter-culturists and antiwar activists who kept little fires burning, they were worse and worse-off than before, information-wise. They didn’t want to think about the war, about the assassinations, about the stolen money, about the other wars breaking out, about justice, or shame, blame, mercy or contrition, or, God forbid, change.

When Nixon went to China and met Mao the old revolutionary had inquired how many soldiers the U.S. had lost in the war, Nixon gave him a number, and Mao said, “Only 55,000? Then you could not have been very serious.” China was prepared to lose that many every day in order to win a war. But Americans were not willing to fight a protracted war, and protracted war was what had won the day for the Vietnamese communists, with time on their side because Americans had no guts for that kind of war, and still don’t.

In retrospect it was obvious to everyone that leaders had underestimated their enemies’ will, determination, inventiveness, and especially their spirit. The strategy of the communists which the leaders had never understood was that they had planned for a hundred year war and the loss of 99% of their population, if that was required to drive out the interlopers. They were prepared for a hundred more years of war, which had begun a hundred years earlier, when the French had invaded North and South Vietnam and renamed it Tonkin and Annam, in 1862. The Vietnamese revolution had begun the day that the French thought they had won the exotic little country with the the army and its guillotine, a land of free rubber and other useful resources, and an inexhaustible reservoir of slaves to do the real work of robbing themselves; and an occupation army.

They said that 3,000 servicemen were still being held in Vietnam, but it was only another creaking boxcar of a long train of lies tooted for domestic political reasons, and, as the antiwar people had suspected, only three decades later did the Pentagon admit that the 3,000 missing were for some reason missing only from the casualty lists, because most or all of them were dead and the numbers had been hidden so as not to turn Americans against the war. Nearly half of the 25th (“Lightning”) Division had been wiped out.  They didn’t count the thousands of deserters who had fled in disgust to Sweden, Australia, Canada, and other places, where they didn’t have to kill anyone or listen to the Star Spangled Banner every morning.

Only one of the famous “whiz kids” of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Robert Strange McNamara, Defense Secretary, ever admitted that the war was crazy and unwinnable, and said in his autobiography that higher ups in the government had known since 1964 that the war was unwinnable. He was one of the first to know but had continued with his bad plans and bad advice and bad orders to support it until Nixon of the opposite party had become Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services.

Many veterans died alcoholic, drug-addicted, in extreme pain from untreatable wounds, and homeless in various hovels and arroyos throughout the western hemisphere and Europe. There wasn’t much to be done about that either. Various veterans’ programs were designed to care for them after significant numbers had gone to prison, or had committed suicide or otherwise ruined their lives, and the lives of their families and friends, and some of the programs flew and others couldn’t get off the ground. But despite appearances to the contrary the American economy was on a down slope and gaining speed with every financial and political crime covered by disinformation programs and other stupid wars to divert attention and whip up a few more pounds of patriotism among the disheartened and disgusted American people, who nevertheless kept electing political puppets like Nixon, Reagan, and the two burning Bushes. 

The government expertly analyzed the growing disgust with war as "The Vietnam Syndrome," and that was that. Americans had to forget and get back in line to support war, no matter what its cost.

And rock and roll and other concerts were encouraged and advertised not only for the money but to divert the attention of rebellious youth to things less mind-consuming and effective than social questions and activism.

And then pornography hit the scene like a speeding train, sending young men and women into privacy for sex alone or together with pictures and full musical accompaniment, and expanding the prostitution racket, a trick that the French nobility had learned and imposed on the young male revolutionaries after the disastrous French Revolution; in effect, "bearding the lion." Sex became a popular topic on television and in print, and political awareness and activism suffered accordingly; just as it had worked before.

There was nothing to be done about that either; nothing except to wait and hope that an enlightened Administration would come along and fix things quickly as Americans had come to expect from government officials who had too much money, too much power, too much arrogance, and the support of people who had too many comforts, and television to keep them deluded and lazy.

The American people love to think that they are informed. “We’re not stupid down here!” an obese southern woman told me; “We watch television.”

They were to be greatly disappointed. The antiwar and counter cultural movements fragmented, aged, and many lost hope, suffering their own form of PTSD from the trauma of losing family and friends and jobs due to radical opposition to American imperialism. It was all very confusing, and there was nothing "heroic" about it. Participation in antiwar activities ruined many.

Later the cell phones and internet had come along, and people who hadn’t talked to each other much before conversed now even less, with their eyes looking down at little machines while they stumbled blindly off curbs into speeding taxis or off the ends of piers into the water while reading and texting.

In 1968, the last great hope of white liberals, including many who fancied themselves revolutionaries, was Bobby Kennedy, and when he was murdered most people simply gave up and tried to be obscure again, going back to regular jobs and wives and kids and regular jobs and the whole bourgeois ball game. The loss of Dr. Martin Luther King and Kennedy within months of one another devastated Democrats, quietened some wiser black people, and opened the way for the criminal-minded Nixon and Kissinger to win the White House.

Radical politics was out and disco was in. The murders at Kent State University by Ohio’s federalized National Guard persuaded many rebel students that there were better things to be done with their lives. At the same time college and university tuition increased dramatically, forcing out many of the lower classes, who were more prone to rebellion than the white middle class, who had joyfully joined what they had perceived as an easy revolution of peace, freedom, and free love; which was only a periodic, generational delusion, like swallowing live goldfish and "streaking," (running naked in public); and marijuana, which was not. The spirit simply went out of them and demonstrations got smaller and smaller, until they were only a sad parody of the real thing.

But persistence brought later rewards.

If there was a Che in the United States he probably was black and shot down in Chicago or somewhere else, with domestic and foreign assassinations orchestrated by various government agencies, not to be named, because nothing could be proved. The government’s brutality and insensibility to the wishes of most Americans, who had been repeatedly polled, shocked everyone into knowing that a solution, if one ever came, would be a long time arriving. As early as 1969 up to 70% of American citizens wanted to get out of Vietnam on the double.

Everybody who could went back to work or finished college and found work; or didn’t. Business majors became carpenters and philosophy majors were driving taxis or subways and painting apartments and houses. Newspaper reporters became freelance vagabonds living in trucks and writing incomprehensible tracts in noisy bars. Nobody seemed to be where he wanted to be, and everybody seemed sour and discouraged, because everything had changed from the moment that someone had arranged and paid to have John Fitzgerald Kennedy shot dead in Dallas.

Nothing, except the traditional rule of the rich, was ever afterward the same.

And everybody had a Theory. Most of them were adopted without proper investigation or evidence after heated barroom debates. If something even seemed likely—“The mafia did it to pay the Kennedys back for the investigation, and because Joe Kennedy was Mafiosi, and they considered him a traitor”, or, “LBJ did it because he wanted to be President and hated and envied the Kennedys"—or, “the military did it because JFK wanted to get out of Vietnam”; or, “the CIA did it with Cuban "exiles, because he wouldn’t allow air support at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba”—or, “the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in league with CIA renegades, the Mafia and the Hunt family of Texas did it, because he had overridden the military and would not invade Cuba during the nuclear standoff with Russia”; or, “Castro did it for revenge because the CIA was trying to assassinate him,” or "J. Edgar Hoover did it as a favor to his friend Jimmy Hoffa and because he hated Attorney General Robert Kennedy," and even, “Jackie had it done because Kennedy was a philanderer who had to have a different woman every day, and he had given her a venereal disease.”

Conspiracy theories need only one element of truth to make them believable. But the real test of a conspiracy theory is how logical it is; or is not. Nothing ever will be proved, so one theory seems as good as another, according to one’s prejudices. A perfect crime is unprovable.

My own theory is one I never heard from anyone:  the North Vietnamese communists paid the Corsican and French Mafia to knock him off, and they subcontracted the job to the US Mafia, which had contacts in and out of government from J. Edgar Hoover to Jack Ruby, and certain renegade CIA contractors not to be named because there is no documented proof.

I also believe that they were behind the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King; because his death caused riots all over the country and real, divisive mutinies among black servicemen in Vietnam and Cambodia, further hastening an end to the war. He was against the war, you protest? But he would have been only a pawn to the communists. 

If a test of a theory is its logic, and the proof is Charlie Chan’s famed dictum, that, “To find guilty party, one must determine who profited from crime”; It does not matter at all who pulled the triggers; any good mercenary marksman could have shot his head off. The only thing that matters is who paid for the job, because blowing off the head of the United States President is not the sort of work that one performs without good pay.

While the Mafia profited from his sudden demise and the end of investigations, and some secret operatives profited with satisfaction and perhaps money, and the Texas oil and nuclear gang profited from Lyndon Baines Johnson’s presidency, and LBJ profited from getting the job, and the military profited by the gain of that much more power, and even Jackie might have had her revenge, the ones who profited most were the Vietnamese communists, who won a country and the most valuable prize of all, freedom and national independence. Because the simple fact is that they took our Number One and replaced him with Number Two.

I am making no moral judgements here. War is war.

John Kennedy was a cold warrior from the moment he stepped back onto American soil after losing his PT boat to a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific (some say because he and his crew were drifting and sleeping when they should have been patrolling). First he was a U.S. Representative and then, as a senator with Richard Milhous Nixon, the future disgraced president, had sponsored legislation and resolutions calling for the introduction of a half-million troops into Vietnam, in 1954.

When JFK was President he made it clear that he would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender from the Vietnamese communists. He wouldn't settle for another armistice and a partitioned country like Korea. Before he and President Eisenhower had departed the White House for JFK’s swearing-in, Ike reportedly had told him, “You will have to send troops to Vietnam,” and the new President had agreed. 

By 1963 the communists had determined that JFK was the sort of man who would adapt most successfully to their strategy and tactics, and would at least delay (but would never halt) what they knew was an inevitable victory. Kennedy was intelligent and witty, widely read and learned, and verbally proficient and persuasive, and better able to muster popular support for a war from an unsuspecting public. The Kennedy regime merely inherited the war from the Republicans, who had inherited it from the Democrats. Their only real difference was over tactics and the kinds of lies they told. But both major parties had set the stage for the Vietnam War.

The Republican Senator Barry Goldwater wanted “to bomb them back into the Stone Age,” and Kennedy would not abandon a Catholic regime. Kennedy’s Catholic family and JFK himself was tight with the Catholic President Diem, of South Vietnam, and the former chief aide of the emperor Bao Dai, who was a playboy in Paris while Ho Chi Minh and others over a 30-year period were assembling and training the crew and sailing the ship of revolution toward a distant port of freedom from foreign domination. Bao Dai formally handed over the reins of power to Ho soon after the latter had read the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence in Hanoi in August, 1945, and returned to Paris. Diem was set up to be President in an almost totally Buddhist country.

Johnson was a down-home ruthless country type power broker who lifted his beagles by their ears to make them yelp. (“They lak it. They lak it,” he told the shocked press.) Lyndon Johnson was not as smart or adaptable as Kennedy, although he was a superior politician and legislator, and everybody knew that too. It is unlikely that Kennedy would have gone to the Paris Peace Talks unprepared like LBJ, if he had gone at all. But there was nothing to be done about that; the deed was done, the man was dead, and the guard had changed. The intellectual who could learn was gone, and the anti-intellectual Texan who never learned took power and a year later buried Barry Goldwater in the biggest landslide since Roosevelt had whipped Hoover. But people were voting for Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson lost the war and the next election to Walter Cronkite, the lovable old CBS anchorman, who tore the rationale for the war apart on the six o’clock news, and a few years later LBJ was cancelled by cancer. In a very few years the savvy old master himself was dead, and the Democrats had no one to talk their talk or walk their walk, except Harry Truman, old and dying in Missouri. Republicans swept into power in the South, where they had been shunned like the mention of Abraham Lincoln, and called “white niggers” for a hundred years.
Nixon and Kissinger came on like Gangbusters with their own western oil gangs and diseased Harvard brains. 

Even so, while bringing their own know-nothings into the game, they were stuck with the stilted protagonists and, overconfident, chewing gum-and-safety-wire planners of the war from previous administrations; so they prolonged the war by stalling the peace talks with trivialities (the shape of the conference table), and even more ferocious bombing, and killed more American soldiers and Asians than Johnson and Kennedy combined; continuing the unconscionable bombing of Laos, which CIA had done secretly for 10 years, depopulating the breadbasket Plain of Jars for the first time in 13,000 years, and eventually killing half of Laos’ population of two million; and invaded Cambodia in a hunt for Communist Headquarters; causing 2.5 million more deaths to be credited to their unblemished record of lawlessness and genocide;  and did other horrendous and dishonorable things, which produced verifiable misery for millions from Vietnam to Chile; from Guatemala to Uruguay and to all points east and west, while they simultaneously squashed the spirit of rebellion in universities and colleges by tightening the rules, raising tuition, spying on and sabotaging progressives of any party, and by  shooting down students and black activists, and by filling the prisons, that could not be built fast enough, mostly with drug offenders, who had committed the heinous crime of getting high.

And, admittedly, putting some very dangerous criminals behind bars too.

But Richard Nixon was a raving liberal compared to the simpleminded, expert teleprompter-reading “conservative” Ronald Reagan and his gang of Howdy Doodys.  Reagan had whipped the gentle but firm-minded Jimmy Carter with a one-liner that went, “Where’s the Beef?”; a famous slogan of a fast food chain, and another, “There you go again,” causing both crowds to erupt in laughter. It was a good show to the Silent Mediocrity.

Poor Jimmy Carter, who served more time in in the military than any President except Grant and Eisenhower (11 years) got a bad rap for long gas lines and for telling the truth to the American people. They were discouraged and suffering a crisis of spirit. The press called it “malaise,” and discredited him for saying it, when he never had.

Jimmy Carter was not responsible for the creation of the Organization of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC), newly-born and raising the ante for oil $20 a barrel; nor was he responsible for the Iranian Revolution or the Hostage Crisis, which were caused by the actions of other Presidents and their Administrations from Eisenhower to Nixon. When he gave the Shah of Iran hospital leave in the U.S., at the insistence of the dishonored President Nixon, it was the final straw for the Shia Muslim fundamentalists, who had driven the pompous Persian dictator from his plush lair, putting a price on his head; and to the Iranians that was Jimmy Carter’s crime: allowing the Shah to get medical treatment in a country that might even prolong his miserable life. For that, and for trying to rescue the hostages, President Carter was a hated man in Iran. And the voters of America supported this hatred; for failing to rescue the hostages.

Carter had negotiated the release of the hostages in a daily, persistent and tolerant yearlong effort to bring them all home alive, which he did. William Casey, Reagan’s campaign boss and later head of CIA, with others, had gone to Iran secretly to make a deal with the Iranians to hold the hostages until Reagan assumed office. Then the Republicans would buy illegal arms from Iran, on the list of “terrorist nations,” and as illegal as marijuana, and give the weapons to the “Contra” killers they were training to invade and conquer dangerous Nicaragua, where capitalist exploiters had suffered only a spanking.

The hostages were sitting for hours on the tarmac of an airport, waiting for the detested Jimmy Carter to exit the White House, so Reagan got the credit—people boasted that the Iranians were “afraid of Reagan.” But it was Jimmy Carter who was there to greet those hours later when they landed in Germany.

One soldier was killed on Jimmy Carter’s watch, when he flew his helicopter into the C-3 that had landed in a remote Iranian desert, causing the team to abort the rescue effort. On Reagan’s watch, 245 marines, without ammunition, were murdered by a single suicidal truck driver, who sailed past the main gate in Beirut, laughing his head off, because neither the guard nor the Officer of the Day had ammo in their pistols. Then Reagan turned tail and fled with the marines to invade and conquer little Grenada, an English-speaking country in the Caribbean that had staged a small but successful revolution, and was employing Cuban engineers to build an airport to handle tourists like the airports in Aruba, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and elsewhere. To prove what a tough guy he was with people who could not fight back, Reagan’s gang had murdered President Maurice Bishop and occupied the small island for months. But he had run like a coward, when the marines were slaughtered in their sleep.

Imagine Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, or even Nixon, Ford, or Carter turning tail like that. But the pompous Reagan had assumed that the mere showing of the grand old flag would be enough to send Muslims fleeing in terror to the hills. Why give the marines ammo? (They might accidentally shoot their officers.) Reagan and his team lived in a dream world, and he had Alzheimer’s disease during his first term. It was obvious to anyone with a working brain that there was something wrong with him. The movie star who knew nothing about education had already destroyed the best education system in the country, when as governor he slashed public funding for California’s fine universities and colleges, crippling every program meant to empower the poor or disadvantaged with learning.

And another thing: when Three Mile Island’s nuclear reactor was melting down, and the engineers were debating whether to simply get up and run for it, President Carter walked into the facility with a protesting Secret Service escort to find out what the trouble was. Carter, a nuclear engineer who had been Admiral Hyman Rickover’s chief deputy in the construction of the first nuclear submarines, and who had commanded some on their maiden test dives, took in the information, looked at the gauges and charts, told the engineers what to do about it, and departed. And a total meltdown was prevented; but was soon forgotten, except by Pennsylvanians, when radiation  was found in the milk of cows, who had eaten the cesium and plutonium along with the grass.

Imagine George W. Bush, who skipped from military base to military base during Nine-eleven, afraid to return to Washington, D.C.; imagine that know-nothing, that Yalie test-cheater and Vietnam War-avoider, walking onto the grounds of a nuclear meltdown. Got it? Jimmy Carter was noble, brave, and heroic by comparison.

The only real crime I can fault him with was cutting off medical aid to Nicaragua, after the Sandinistas had won a popular revolution that sent the dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle scooting for safety, carrying his hated father’s bones with him. Somoza left more than 20,000 injured Nicaraguans behind, because one of his last acts was to hire Korean pilots to bomb the poor neighborhoods of Sandinista supporters in cities and towns all over the Wisconsin-sized nation.

Cuba filled the vacuum by sending 500 doctors, nurses and medical equipment to care for the wounded. This was one of Reagan’s complaints about the terrible Cubans, when he started his despicable Contra War, which the World Court of the United Nations found to be illegal,--especially the blowing-up of oil storage tanks in Corinto--levying a fine of $50 million on the US; yet to be paid. Reagan, despite the fact that the U.S. had helped create the World Court and had supported every decision, said that the judgment, “does not apply” to the United States. 

We are special. Laws are for others. Treaties are meant to be broken. Promises are assumed to be insincere, and there probably are plans on hard drives to exterminate even Britain and France, if they ever become a problem to the United States’ version of capitalism.

The great Olaf Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden, lover of the actor Shirley MacLaine, and staunch opponent of Reagan’s war, was mysteriously assassinated one night as he exited a movie theater with his wife, and the killer was never caught. Who could have pulled that off? Sweden, which has mostly avoided every war in the interval of 400 years since it whipped Peter the Great of Russia—Russia’s only recorded defeat—is a haven for political refugees from the dictatorial regimes of both Batista and Castro, and has political refugees from many countries; refugees from Somoza and Sandinistas alike, refugees from both Allende and Pinochet, who enjoy full rights and privileges of every Swedish citizen, including free medical care.

A Swedish doctor told me that any country in the world will give a Swede the best medical attention available in case of illness or accident, because they know that Sweden will pay the bill without argument. And American citizens think they have the best health care in the world.

They only have more money, but none of the spirit and fight of little Cuba, which gives free eye surgery to anyone in the world, even North Americans, or the simple far-sighted generosity of Sweden, which provides sanctuary for any legitimate refugee from anywhere who can make it to Sweden.

The American Medical Association has been quietly clamoring for years for an end to the Cuban Economic Embargo, so that it can see how Fidel has done it. How can mental patients be trusted with scissors, for example, without them stabbing someone or themselves?

Fidel Castro has made public health his personal crusade and his pet project. Cuba a few years back had 15,000 doctors and nurses treating the poorest people of Amazonia, people who had never seen doctors.  How many American doctors are in places like the humid, insect-plagued jungles of Brazil? Aren’t most of our doctors Christians? And aren’t Christians supposed to minister to the poor; to the poorest in fact? Do you see where I am going with this?

Countless towns and rural areas in the U.S. have been without doctors, clinics and hospitals for decades. And even if hospitals and well-manned clinics existed, like others, they would be mostly unaffordable or bank-breaking to common citizens, whose bank accounts have been decimated like crops devoured by seven-year locusts, as recession, unemployment and inflation, inflation, unemployment and recession, has perceptibly and irresistibly transferred their savings to the pockets of the rich, and raised the price of a multi-grained loaf of bread to nearly eight dollars; and rising.

And during all this trouble, the poor United States has had to suffer the sabotage of its industries and agriculture by Cuba, the deliberate burning of thousands of acres of farmland in the Midwest by Cuban terrorists trained by the KGB, the infiltration of every facet of our society by Cuban spies, the bombing of a national airline, killing off a whole professional football team, and the constant badmouthing to other nations from the upstart communists of Cuba. Our patience is nearly exhausted. The trustees in government who have argued that starvation of the Cuban people and the denial of consumer products was the kindest thing we could do for the poor Cubans suffering under Dr. Castro, the medical fanatic, are losing ground to those who finally want to do something back to Cuba for these offenses.

But like decent Christians we have withheld the stroke. Not for us, the bombing of airlines and burning of sugar cane crops. Not for us the dirty game of espionage and sabotage. Not for us the malicious falsehoods of governments or reckless armed invasions; not for us a 24/7 propaganda radio and television campaign to undermine a government; and not for us the pernicious effects of free health care and subsidized housing for the poor. It is unkind and inhuman to give free services and things to the poor, because it robs them of the initiative to go out and make a living like everyone else. Even Jesus the Dreamer implied as much in his address, when he said, “The poor will always be with you.” He only wanted people to get a job and work for a living, after all.

It is downright un-Christian to help the poor, when the propertied middle class is so in need.

And the middle class is threatened now, only decades after its establishment by way of Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” which put money into the hands of the poor so that they could spend it, and proprietors could expand inventories, putting factories back to work, and  buy new stores, employ more people, and by their own ingenuity improve everyone's lot with the sudden profits, providing the country with a middle class of managers and proprietors and educated children, who could make even more with their inheritances, most of which they did not have to work for at all.


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