Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 04, 2013

Remembering Giap

General Võ Nguyên Giáp died today at the age of 102.

A man who defeated two colonial powers and united his country is surely a great man. The message he send to the world was that the histories tide had turned on colonialism.

We will remember him. Here are some pictures of him throughout the years (vid) and excerpts from a French reporter's interview with him in the 1960 (vid, English subtitles). Notice the "Viet Cong? What do you mean?"

The AP's obit is deluded and in that somewhat funny. Notice how the French are depicted as colonists while the U.S. attempt to colonize it was to "a grueling effort to save the country from communism":

Vo Nguyen Giap, the brilliant and ruthless self-taught general who drove the French out of Vietnam to free it from colonial rule and later forced the Americans to abandon their grueling effort to save the country from communism, has died. At age 102, he was the last of Vietnam's old-guard revolutionaries.
General Giap would certainly have laughed at that differentiation.

Posted by b on October 4, 2013 at 14:01 UTC | Permalink


Actually, the AP obit is ridiculous. Võ Nguyên Giáp was many things, but he was not self taught. He signifies - amongst other things like, as you say, the end of French colonialism and the first huge US defeat in a guerilla war, a supreme example of blow back, and a reminder what might have been without the stupidity of the cold war.

The political-military landscape of what was then known as French-Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, and Việtnam) was very complicated during World War 2; it made the one in Casablanca look simple. As a French colony, it fell to Axis control after the fall of France in 1940. Occupied France controlled the north and Vichy France controlled the south with German supervision. Of course, Japan was the real Axis military power in the region but it was restrained from simply running roughshod over Việtnam because it was nominally a possession of their ally. That changed abruptly on V-E Day. The competing nationalist and communist movements in China also extended strong influences on regional affairs.

This was the situation into which the legendary director of the OSS, Brig. Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan parachuted his men. To this day, much CIA folklore harkens back to the days of “Donovan’s Rangers.” He was famous for his unorthodox methods and disregard for rules and the chain of command. When CINCPAC, Pacific Command, and U.S. Naval Intelligence refused to work with the OSS, Donovan set about building his own intelligence networks in Asia, trading secrets for favors and favors for secrets wherever he could. Accordingly, he instructed his South-East Asian staff to use “anyone who will work with us against the Japanese, but do not become involved in French-Indochinese politics.”

The Việt Minh emerged as a liberation movement under the leadership of Hồ Chí Minh and the Vietnamese Communist Party in the early 1940s. They were fighting against French colonialism as well as Japanese occupation. These strange circumstances meant that, for the moment, the U.S. intelligence organization and the Vietnamese communists were natural allies. What is more, both groups were headed by men who could see the advantages of an alliance and were willing push the envelope.

The relationship was actually initiated by the communists in December 1942 when a representative of the Việt Minh approached the U.S. Embassy in China for help in getting Hồ Chí Minh out of a Chinese Nationalist prison. He had been caught with invalid documents.

Whatever the U.S. did or did not do, Hồ was not released until September 1943. A month after Hồ’s release and return to Việtnam in October 1943, an OSS memo called for the U.S. to “use the Annamites [Vietnamese]…to immobilize large numbers of Japanese troops by conducting systematic guerrilla warfare in the difficult jungle country.” The mission plan counseled that their most effective propaganda line was to tell them “that this war, if won by the Allies, will gain their independence.”

In mid 1944, the OSS approached the Việt Minh for help with setting up intelligence networks for fighting the Japanese and rescuing downed American pilots. After the Axis retreat in Europe and the fall of the Vichy French government, Japan moved quickly to consolidate its hold on Vietnam by having Emperor Bảo Đại proclaim an independent Vietnam on 11 March 1945 and announce his intention to cooperate with the Japanese. This brought an even greater sense of urgency to the developing OSS-Việt Minh cooperation. Also in March, when the Việt Minh rescued a U.S. pilot who had been shot down in Vietnam, Hồ Chí Minh personally escorted him back to the U.S. forces in Kunming. While he was there, Hồ Chí Minh met the legendary founder of the U.S. volunteer group, the “Flying Tigers” and got an autographed photo. Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault was then commander of the Fourteenth Air Force.

27 April 1945, Captain Archimedes Patti, head of OSS in Kunming met with Hồ Chí Minh and got his permission to send an OSS team to work with Hồ and the Việt Minh and gather intelligence on the Japanese.

n July 1945, a six-man OSS Special Operations Team Number 13, code-named “Deer,” parachuted into the jungles near Hanoi with the mission of setting up guerrilla teams of 50 to 100 men to attack the railroad line running from Hanoi to Lang Sơn and thus slow down Japan’s movement into southern China. General Võ Nguyên Giáp and 200 guerrilla fighters greeted them. One member of the OSS team was a weapons trainer. They intended to air drop in a supply of weapons for the Việt Minh and teach them to use them.
Some members of this team soon developed a close working relationship between themselves and Hồ and Giáp. Thomas even used Hồ’s recommendations for United States Army Air Forces targets against the Japanese in direct defiance of his OSS orders.

After they received supply drops in early August, the Deer team began small arms and weapons training for the communists. The weapons trained were the M-1 and M-1 carbines as well as mortars, grenades, bazookas, and machine guns. The Japanese surrendered on 15 August and so the training mission was over almost before it began. The Deer Team gave the weapons to the Việt Minh and started making plans for their departure. This was no small matter because as late as 25 August some Japanese in Indochina had not heard the word and were still fighting.

and so on. The story is well worth a read.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 4 2013 15:17 utc | 1

What helped the Vietnamese was that the USA undermined the French effort, then by the time the USA went in the Vietnamese were already too strong. USA Policy always a joke, turn on your ally and friend then turn on your ally and friend again and again. I'm amazed at how long the USA has kept this up. The list is long and growing, Marcos, Reza Shah, Noriega, Somoza, Peron, FW de Clerk, little Turtle...

Posted by: Fernando | Oct 4 2013 16:24 utc | 2

A truly legendary man. His ideas on guerilla warfare are effectively standard operating procedure for insurgent groups since the 1960's. Even the Taliban before the 2008-onwards offensive talked about how it was going to use Giap's ideas.

While the Americans later said they "won every battle but lost the war" Giap in one of his memoirs "People's War People's Army" wrote "Successes in many small fights added together gradually to wear out the enemy manpower". In many ways a very conservative approach to slowly bleed the US. But which in the end proved very effective, especially since there was a lot of commanders in the North Vietnamese ranks who wanted to go the route of a conventional warfare.

Looking back now in hindsight it is obvious if they went the conventional warfare route they would have been wiped out.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 4 2013 17:34 utc | 3

For a good obituaries of Giap there is this piece by the right-wing UK Telegraph which is surprisingly positive about his achievements.

That moment came in March 1954, after more than seven years of fighting between French forces and Giap’s Viet Minh anti-colonial communist revolutionaries. The French, looking to draw the Viet Minh into a decisive engagement, had parachuted thousands of soldiers into an airbase located in a valley in north-western Vietnam, on the border with Laos. They were unaware, however, that Giap too was looking for a knockout blow, and that his forces had acquired heavy artillery pieces.

Despite the extraordinary difficulty of moving these around the jungle, Giap managed to ring Dien Bien Phu with men and heavy guns, placed on the high ground overlooking the airbase. When the artillery fire began raining down at the beginning of March it became clear that the French were sitting ducks.

For two months they resisted, fending off incursions which came between each new barrage. But on May 1 the Viet Minh launched a huge offensive, and within a week overran French positions. The last words of the radio operator before being cut off were: “Vive la France!” More than 11,000 men were taken prisoner; fewer than 4,000 returned to France alive.

This shattering defeat forced France to the negotiating table, with talks beginning on May 8, one day after the garrison’s surrender.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 4 2013 18:45 utc | 4

no. 4--

For a good obituaries of Giap there is this piece by the right-wing UK Telegraph which is surprisingly positive about his achievements.

Perhaps only because it makes the French look bad, lol

no. 2--

The list is long and growing, Marcos, Reza Shah, Noriega, Somoza, Peron, FW de Clerk, little Turtle...

Add Mubarak. Now if we could only add Netanyahu to the list . . . . .

Posted by: sleepy | Oct 4 2013 19:48 utc | 5

Obama said before the 93rd Annual Conference of the American Legion in 2011, praising the Vietnam war Veterans, "But let it be remembered that you won every major battle of that war. Every single one.
Before his death in 1999,General Summers liked to tell about a meeting he had with a North Vietnamese colonel named Tu while he was with a delegation visiting Hanoi in 1975. At one point, Summers told Tu, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield." Tu paused for a moment, then replied, "That may be so. But it is also irrelevant."

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 4 2013 19:51 utc | 6

Honors and praise to general Giáp!
Honors and praise to him and his men who put a million bamboo splints into zusan warmongers. Where our, oh so brave leaders today do not dare so much as saying "No" to yet another attack on yet another innocent country, general Giáp and his men drove out not one but two arrogant and decadent "world powers". Even more valuable, he broke them psychologically and drove them into acting as the barbarians and cowards they were and are.

Honors and praise to general Giáp!

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 4 2013 19:55 utc | 7

Excuse me, but wasn't he just a communist who killed Americans? Not much to show for such a long life.

Posted by: David | Oct 4 2013 20:10 utc | 8

Sorry, he was a communist who hated Americans, and was an inspiration to all backward, American-haters in swamps the world over. Nice!

Posted by: David | Oct 4 2013 20:15 utc | 9

RE: Posted by: David | Oct 4, 2013 4:10:57 PM | 8

So he only had things half right. Today isn't the day to speak ill of him.

Posted by: masoud | Oct 4 2013 20:23 utc | 10

David, you are obviously a very dull witted person. What are you doing here?

Posted by: DM | Oct 4 2013 20:57 utc | 11

it seems even death had a battle on his hands taking this most tender man from us

giap was aware, quite aware of lin piao & the very great strategist, konstantin konstanovich rokossovski but his genius came from understanding the conditions & invention, inventions that are almost transcendental in their quality & depth

a great great inspiration

an exemplar

& as b notes, the beginning of the end of u s imperialism

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Oct 4 2013 21:10 utc | 12

asian lady1: Ohh, you know Davit?
asian lady2: Ahh, he gudt looking boy.


you almost got it right, it's more like American-policy-watchers and American-exceptional-ism-watchers, besides any other injustice. I know, when you point something out, it surely must be that you're a hateful person. Please have a good look in the mirror

Posted by: c | Oct 4 2013 21:46 utc | 13

The nyt was equally bizarre.

Words like terrorism. The eternal canard you hear about the Russian war against the nazis "he cared little how many of his own men died" which of course glosses over... you know ... those who actually killed them.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 4 2013 22:32 utc | 14

that is just a falsehood. never has a general been so conscious of his soldiers, regular & irregular

nyt does that because, as in jurisprudence it has never possessed a jurist of the first order, except perhaps, frankfurter or marshall, it has never possessed a real general. their boy wonders are just glorified psychopaths without any real skill while the russians had at least a dozen, rokossovski, vatutin, tcukov, zhukov, the young jewish general who was killed in the attack on prussia & others, real genius's that were learning from practice, others & books

i think the battle of the bulge was a bad joke by hitler going - boo - & watch them shit their pants, which they did, in their tens of thousands

there is now no bourgeois historian who would countenance that any of the british or american generals had any intelligence whatsoever. then & now? they were as i have said many times - men in minature while men like giap or rokossovski are still enigmas except for the fact that they won, & won convincingly

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Oct 4 2013 22:49 utc | 15

@9, "The hateful are hated, is that so strange?" -- Clytemnestra explains why Agamemnon had to die

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 4 2013 22:51 utc | 16

What I love about all these commie countries and "anti-imperialist" jerks is their countries transform into capitalistic--and even freedom loving peoples. Russia, Viet Nam, China. This pinko-commie-vietcong dude is taking a one-way trip to hell. Maybe Oliver Stone will do a movie hagiography on him! Baaahhhh.

Posted by: David | Oct 4 2013 22:52 utc | 17


go fuck yourself you & your empire is on the rubbish tip of history, already

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Oct 4 2013 23:04 utc | 18

17;If Giap had come to America,laid waste to its land and people,instead of the actual vice- versa,you might have a point.Instead you reveal your idiocy,and deep deep bias.
I wonder,given our history with Vietnam,that they don't harbor anti Americanism in spades,the Vietnamese.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 4 2013 23:25 utc | 19

Many of these guys are just foreigners who reflexively hate the United States... no just for our empire/military, but our film, exports, commercial products, intellect, freedom. Short answer: communists in rice paddies are jealous. Most of the guys within the United States sphere of influence who "hate the US" are also jealous failures.

Posted by: David | Oct 4 2013 23:46 utc | 20

RIP giap you will go down in history wth men like pemingway as being generations ahead of your time in your grasp of gurilla tactics, you will be missed

Posted by: ryan | Oct 5 2013 0:05 utc | 21

Chuck Norris knew how to deal with these foreign communists.

Posted by: David | Oct 5 2013 0:07 utc | 22

I can only wish Giap a fond passing. A hugh figure, who I disliked in my youth, but grew to respect through introspection as I aged. My part in the Vietnam theater was small, but much regretted, as one can feel after being fooled. Giap was a true patriot.

Posted by: ben | Oct 5 2013 0:11 utc | 23

@22 Those were the days eh girls and Agent Orange....Apocalypse Now Baby!! Yeehah!!

Posted by: dh | Oct 5 2013 0:16 utc | 24

@ryian- pemingway?

@giap - RIP

interesting insight on the relationship between nationalism and antimperialism in an interview in the Cbs series "the people's century (1998-1999):

Q: Why do you think Vietnam is almost the only country in the world that has defeated America? Why only Vietnam?

Giap: Speaking as a historian, I'd say that Vietnam is rare. As a nation, Vietnam was formed very early on. It is said that, in theory, a nation can only be formed after the arrival of Capitalism -- according to Stalin's theory of the formation of nations, for instance. But, our nation was formed very early, before the Christian era. Why? Because the risk of aggression from outside forces led all the various tribes to band together. And then there was the constant battle against the elements, against the harsh winter conditions that prevail here. In our legends, this struggle against the elements is seen as a unifying factor, a force for national cohesion. This, combined with the constant risk of invasion, made for greater cohesion and created a tradition -- a tradition that gave us strength.

Posted by: claudio | Oct 5 2013 0:37 utc | 25

@22 Like all American claims to grandeur, fit only for a movie set.

You flinging small and petty comments at a great man, great people, and great events is like hoping to dry out an ocean with your breath.

Get lost, pig.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 0:37 utc | 26

Many of these guys are just foreigners who reflexively hate the United States... no just for our empire/military, but our film, exports, commercial products, intellect, freedom.

If what you vomit here is any measure of zamerican "intellect" - and it certainly is - only mentally deranged people (like those in charge of zuk) could possibly have any kind of envy.

"empire/military" - that were unable to achieve victory against a brutally weakened country with no adequate weapons to defend themselves.

"intellect" - >= 85% of the zusa "soldiers" (read: primitive, criminally inclined cowards) wouldn't be able to roughly point at the location of the countries they terrorize.

"freedom" - as seen in the brutal suppression of the occupy movement; or in the wanton murders of veterans.

About the only limit to zamericans self-delusion is their severe lack of intelligence, education and culture.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 5 2013 0:45 utc | 27

lol, "David" is staking out an impregnable position in cartoon-land.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 5 2013 0:46 utc | 28

Right now Dave is stuck in the LZ waiting for a chopper.

Posted by: dh | Oct 5 2013 0:50 utc | 29

A few months ago, a young nephew was doing a high school assignment on "the 60s" and so he bucked up the courage and decided to interview his uncle. He had questions about music and hair and television. He asked me who my hero was back then. I said General Giap, and explained who he was and what he did. He had to convey that part of the interview to his teacher and classmates. I hope it made an impression.

Posted by: Browning | Oct 5 2013 1:00 utc | 30

Someone correctly pointed out upthread (prolly r'Giap) that amerika has never had a truly genius military leader or tactician.
The answer as to why is obvious when you consider it. That is amerika has never had to fight a war in defense of its homeland.
The first battles against the 100th generation indigenous citizens cast amerikans in the role of invader.
The war of independence was a fight over who got to control the tax revenue not a fight for survival.
Later on in the war between the agrarian capitalists & the industrial capitalists no one was really fighting for their homeland - just fighting for a particular bunch of sell out politician's lies.

Every battle or war since then has been a war of aggression fought in other people's homelands, consequently the leadership role is taken by professional killers, contract hitmen whose job is to make money for their employer by killing in the most cost efficient manner so it is unlikely that a farmer or a scholteacher is gonna turn the plough share into a sword & become an inspired & passionate military strategist.

It is always a little sad when a society is forced to offer up a general Giap, because it indicates the straightened situation the leader's society in in.
On the other hand it does illustrate the soundness of that society and the culture from which it springs, that a great military leader does appear.
There is another important and unmentioned (in the amerikan media) aspect of Giap's greatness.

He was all about liberating his homeland & not about just replacing foreign oppression with his own brand of domestic oppression.
Giap worked with Nguyễn Sinh Cung (Uncle Ho), not against him hoping for himself to become the bossfella.
Compare that to amerika where every half-assed bean-counter of a general dreams of 'running amerika just like my last command' or whatever.

Those of us who live in 'western nations' which depend upon historical revisionism to maintain the facade, miss out on some wonderful & heroic stories of how men & women fought the invaders.

In the years I spent lurching around the Pacific providing technical assistance to indigenous cultures requiring insight into whitefella scams and perfidy, I heard many tales of heroes who sometimes appeared from nowhere to aid their people.

Of course not all were school teachers etc some were traditional leaders.
One of my favourites is a tangata whenua chieftain named Rewi Maniapoto whose courage & humanity had me scrambling across old battlefields as a 9 year old schoolboy.
There were many persistant stories about him passed down in tangata whenua oral histories. One persistent one concerned Rewi's siege strategy. Rewi learned the hard way that the englander army would avoid battle whenever possible, preferring to starve opponents out even where it meant the slow death of thousands of women and children.
Rewi Maniapoto perfected the design of the battle Pa. ( A Pa is a Maori village which would be placed on a hill for security whenever possible. The original Pa designs were susceptible to cannon and/or lengthy siege.)

There were a couple of instances where Maniapoto had the englander army surrounded & under siege but Rewi refused to consider 'giving them a dose of their own medicine' by keeping up protacted siege to starve em out.

Rewi supplied the englanders with food, water, medicine & ammunition saying he would rather lose & die honourably than win with dishonour. "let this be decided by battle".

So one can be crass & say, "no wonder the englanders won' but I guess Rewi like Giap, had worked out that survival of a culture, a belief system, is much more important than winning a battle by becoming just like that which you abhor.

So General Giap, in the words of Rewi Maniapoto
" 'Ka whawhai tonu mātou, Ake! Ake! Ake! - We will fight on for ever and ever!'"

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 5 2013 2:23 utc | 31

merci debs

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Oct 5 2013 3:12 utc | 32

amerika has never had a truly genius military leader or tactician.
The answer as to why is obvious when you consider it. That is amerika has never had to fight a war in defense of its homeland.

While I think that debs is right there I'd like to extend it by sth. that debs in a more indirect way said: It's about culture.

Of course, zusa is at a grave disadvantage there considering the social strata and the genetic pool its inhabitants where extracted from and put on ships. On the other hand those specimen were well selected for a purpose, namely to do the ugly groundwork for their sponsors.

Interestingly debs story also hints at another important factor: honour, an immensily important ingredient for any army as well as any military leaders. Not only does honour work as a safeguard for society but it also influences thinking and strategy.
To make it short, it can be said that in the end it comes down to intelligence vs. massiveness and bestiality, to credibility and to social and political "fertility" after the war.

In fact, this can be seen with both israel and zusa (and formertimes zuk). They all were "superpowers" be it on a regional or a global scale but their demise was built-in from the beginning and so was the destruction beyond military operations whereever they went.

Putin doesn't win because he has better weapons (although he certainly has) and not even because his military isn't a bunch of primitive, bestiality prone cowards (although that is true) - it is because Putin is intelligent where obama is simply calculating, because Putin is respectful - also in his thinking - where obama is an arrogant jerk whose superfifical smile (and "values") are but a cheap mask, because Putin and his country and people have a solid cultural foundation where obama and his fellow zamerican thugs major cultural achievement are hamburgers and drive-ins.

israel again is the essence of everything that defines zusa. They had a life and hope-spending dream for hundreds of years "If only we had our own country" and they didn't understand the obvious: That country wouldn't turn out to be their new beginning - it will turn out to be their grave, it will be the hole in which this abomination will perish. zusa will quite probably survive is some broken down version; not because of any quality in itself but because of human qualities of their victims - and zusa insignificance for this planet.

Ceteru censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 5 2013 3:29 utc | 33

What's wrong with being "a communist who kills americans"? There are no laws in my country defining "anti-americanism" as a crime.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 5 2013 3:43 utc | 34

Giap's military achievements speak for themselves.
His greatest contribution to Humanity, however, was making obvious the fact that colonial powers go into battle believing too much of their own bullshit. Taking that as a starting point, one can produce an over-simplified history of the Vietnam War.
France, which 'saved' embryonic USA from Britain, decided to colonise and subjugate Vietnam by military might alone and failed dismally. The US, which 'saved' the World from the Nazis ('forgetting' the contribution of Russia and others), watched the French being outsmarted by apparent inferiors, and decided to blunder into Vietnam to show the World how to .... be outsmarted by apparent inferiors.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 5 2013 3:49 utc | 35

*American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles offered French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault two atomic bombs to save the outpost.52 The French government rejected the offer*

else the muricuns would've added another genocide feather to their cap !

Posted by: denk | Oct 5 2013 4:26 utc | 36

Giap has never been anti-American. That is a misconception. The Vietnamese leadership is a very enlightened and highly educated group of people.

Wikileaks cable



On April 25, the Ambassador met Vietnamese national hero and Ho Chi Minh’s chief military strategist, General Vo Nguyen Giap, at the General’s Hanoi home. Due to his age and frail health, Giap receives visitors only infrequently. In seeking this meeting with the General, our note underscored the Ambassador’s desire to discuss bilateral educational exchanges. Giap has been outspoken about the need for reform of Vietnam’s educational system, most recently last year issuing a public letter calling for systemic reform (Reftel).


The General began by noting that the United States and Vietnam are enjoying peaceful relations, with Vietnam now hosting a fourth post-war American ambassador. Giap relayed that he met with most of the Ambassador’s predecessors, who “demonstrated goodwill” towards Vietnam. Giap implored the Ambassador to bring the overall relationship to an even higher level. He said the GVN has achieved a lot of late and is “trying hard” in all areas. The Ambassador responded that he shares the General’s desire for better relations and pointed out that he is committed to doubling the number of Vietnamese students who study in the United States.


The GVN is focused on improving its educational and scientific capabilities so the country can join the ranks of the developed countries, Giap said. Hanoi has progressed in the education area, but much needs to be done, he added. The increase
in the number of Vietnamese exports heading to the United States is just an “initial development” in the relationship and economic ties are bound to grow, he offered. Giap said the most important thing — pointing his finger in the air for emphasis — is the “human element.” The Communist Party has made improving Vietnam’s educational system its number one priority, he stated.

¶6. (SBU) The United States and Vietnam could talk a lot, but “deeds are more important than words,” the General continued. He asked that the Ambassador pay special attention to education because what has been done so far to get Vietnamese students to study in America “has not been sufficient.” Although a large number of Vietnamese students are enrolled at U.S. educational institutions, this is just a start, he added. He averred that a U.S. university should establish itself in Vietnam. Perhaps it could be a joint U.S.-Vietnamese university, he said.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 5 2013 5:29 utc | 37

President Nixon and LBJ certainly knew how to deal with the Vietnamese. Hearts and Minds boys. Hearts and Minds.

Posted by: David | Oct 5 2013 5:32 utc | 38

38) :-)) losing US hearts and minds on the way?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 5 2013 6:29 utc | 39


about that *human wave* bit, i would take it with a pint of salt.

fukusi [fuck fr+uk+us] habitually used this to explain their defeat at the hand of third world peasnats in asia, especially the korean war.
see, how could we *civilised* people fight with those who dont value human lives, who could throw wave after wave of human hordes at our machine gun pits n artillery ?

Posted by: denk | Oct 5 2013 6:48 utc | 40

40) From the article you linked to

On 7 May, coincidentally less than twenty-four hours before the scheduled opening of the talks on Indochina in Geneva, Dien Bien Phu fell to the Viet-minh. The siege lasted for fifty-five days. The French suffered 7,184 casualties, including 1,142 dead and 1,606 missing; Viet-minh losses were 7,900 dead and more than 15,000 wounded.

That does not sound "human wave strategy", more of equal fight.

Also this

In a recent article, Giap admitted to having postponed the attack because "we were not 100% certain of victory." He was distressed mainly by the fact that most gun/cannon emplacements were exposed and easy to spot and, therefore, "would become targets of enemy air strikes and artillery bombardments." In a recent article, Giap admitted to having postponed the attack because "we were not 100% certain of victory." He was distressed mainly by the fact that most gun/cannon emplacements were exposed and easy to spot and, therefore, "would become targets of enemy air strikes and artillery bombardments."

So it was a careful plan, not something that got changed midway from human wave to trenches.

It is also more likely that protraced warfare was the plan all along as the outcome was timed (and achieved) for the Geneva conference.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 5 2013 8:12 utc | 41

Mr. Pragma, your hatred of Americans really comes through when you start attacking the alleged cultural vacuousness of an entire country. the fact you're full of shit also comes through.

Posted by: lizard | Oct 5 2013 13:12 utc | 42

"...Mr Pragma, your hatred of Americans really comes through when you start attacking the alleged cultural vacuousness of an entire country..."
Mr Pragma is not attacking all Americans; as his references to "ships" and "gene pools" shows, he is particularly sneering at the descendants of forced labourers, from slaves, through coolies and peons to indentured servants, who form such a large part of the American People. This is merely racism of the kind endemic among ignorant and uncultured people.
The truth is that Russia was in these respects very similar to the United States in that most of its people are also recently descended from bound labourers such as serfs, those who had "left their countries for their countries' good," prisoners, religious minorities and so on.
All men are equal and the descendants of slaves and serfs tend to be a little more conscious of the dangers of elitism and the disgrace of human trafficking than others, which gives them, culturally, advantages.
General Giap, whose name will always be recalled where the wretched of the earth gather to improve matters, knew these things. So did most Russians then, before the spivs stole the people's inheritance.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 5 2013 13:31 utc | 43

no. 42

Mr. Pragma, your hatred of Americans really comes through when you start attacking the alleged cultural vacuousness of an entire country

Doesn't matter to me if he hates the US. As a citizen, my feelings are negative as well.

What I find a bit odd is the fact that he consistently adopts the flip side of American exceptionalism in a reverse way--instead of being breathlessly exceptionally better than every other state in history, the US is breathlessly, exceptionally worse than every other state in history.

Both are more on the order of campaign rhetoric than analysis.

And, no, I'm not here to defend the US in any manner. Just saying that there are better ways to critique things than emotional rhetoric.

Posted by: sleepy | Oct 5 2013 13:44 utc | 44

Cultural vacuousness is one of America's greatest strengths; all things to all people and there is a sucker born every minute.

Posted by: Gareth | Oct 5 2013 13:57 utc | 45

as a poet, and someone who appreciates music and the visual arts, I will absolutely defend the cultural contributions of American artists to the vibrant pantheon of the human experience.

Posted by: lizard | Oct 5 2013 14:13 utc | 46

"...Mr Pragma, your hatred of Americans really comes through when you start attacking the alleged cultural vacuousness of an entire country..." Mr Pragma is not attacking all Americans... Posted by: bevin | Oct 5, 2013 9:31:35 AM | 43
He isn't? well, he should be. There are innumerable ways to do it. To begin with, USAians have no moral or geographical right whatever to call themselves 'Americans', thereby implying with every breath that only they, not the little brown humanoid life-forms to the south or the british-owned androids to the north, are members of the properly human species. In the second place, it is noticable that even in this supposedly advanced age, it is impossible for a USAian politician to confess publicly to not believing in 'God', because if they do, they will be driven out of public life. In the third place, and underlying the second, is the fact that since the real god of USAia is private property, anyone with radical views about that is liable to be shot, incinerated, locked up for the rest of their natural life, or tortured with electricity until they recant or perish, whichever comes first. And in the fourth place, as I mentioned earlier today on another thread, the USA has now become the largest and most aggressive fascist state in the world, which should surely cause those who still possess minds of their own to attack it with the utmost vigour.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 5 2013 15:03 utc | 47

go for it, Rowan. attack us vigorously. if you see some USAian traveler, beat the shit out of them, take their money, do whatever.

or maybe you could separate the sociopaths in positions of influence across the globe from the plebes who don't have much say in what their particular brand of fascist overlords do in their name.

Posted by: lizard | Oct 5 2013 15:11 utc | 48

Gee whiz Mr. Pragma, you sure do know how make a guy feel like defending something he really has no interest in defending.

Ah, but that's how it goes. The holocaust victims make the next holocaust. The world goes round and round.

The fact is that the people of the US is the same as all over. The good and the bad.

As for a Russian who wants to talk about "gene pool" and "social strata" well... I guess the lessons of Nazi Germany just didn't sink in. Of course I won't be so gauche as to blame that on the "Russian gene pool" or anything so stupid.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 15:47 utc | 49

Thanks Lizard.

Posted by: j montana | Oct 5 2013 15:56 utc | 50

Remembering Giap

Posted by: cloned_poster | Oct 5 2013 18:46 utc | 51

Funny, because I wasn't attacking zamericans. I'n not the least surprised though that what I really did got lost on many (in particular zamericans, it seems, which was to be expected).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to cover myself. I *do* detest zamericans (is it really necessary to say "most of ..."? *Of course* not all, *of course* there are intelligent and fine humans there, too; does one really need to mention that each time? Does one really need to complement "good morning" by "Oh, and of course, no disrespect intended against those who happen to live in a different time zone. Just replace "morning" by "day" or "evening" or "night" ...).

So, yes I *do* detest zamericans. Pretty each and everyone of the people who had to suffer from zusa attacks (incl. the native Indians) is nearer to my heart than zamericans.

But: That (post above) was *not* hate against zamericans.

It was about some important points brought up by debs which I wanted to elaborate. Obviously many here like to discuss war issues - theoretically, that is - but lack any non-trivial insight and experience.
*Of course* the zamericans looked bad in the given context; after all, they are zamericans. But they were only one part of the issue.

zusa had/still has a military budget bigger than the next 20 or so states - coincidence?
zusa sends 20 patrol cars to minor incidents where in most countries 2 or maybe 3 are sent - coincidence?
Yet zusas crime rate is *horrible* - coincidence?

"Quantity" is what they bet on. No matter where you look at, zusas doctrine spells "quantity" and its sibling "massiveness".
This, of course, suggests some thoughts.
Quantity is one thing, zion could never hope for (other than in slaves); of course it's attractive to them and so was/is zusa.
And: Quantity is the intellectually poor mans quality. Quality and evolution as a human go hand in hand.

Put next to that was the Maori leader introduced by debs. He chose to act honourable and to even help the humans who were his enemies - where, as we all saw, zamericans fire on kids with a large cal. machine gun and they comment that despicable deed with "dry remarks".

You feel I was bloodily anti-zamerican? Well, let's look back just some days: zusa *did* threaten with and prepare for *war* and "aggression* - while Putin *did* solve the problem and went for *diplomacy". Coincidence again? I don't think so.

But again, my point wasn't hitting on zamericans, it was to explain and elaborate some points by putting them next to others.
But then, *of course* zamericans aren't about understanding, they prefer to fight down what they perceive as threat (even when they are humanly and intellectually incapable to understand the "threat" or even their "fight" or the theater - that's why they always make lots of noise and immense dammage but fail to win the war).

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 5 2013 18:55 utc | 52

The reign of quantity, yes. Are you a fan of René Guénon?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 5 2013 19:09 utc | 53

RB (53)

Probably I should be ashamed for my educational lack in too many areas but frankly, I hardly know R. Guénon.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 5 2013 19:49 utc | 54

Ah. I suppose I only thought of him because of the way you talked about quantity. But also, ages ago, when I was describing one form of the doctrinaire right wing, I mentioned Evola, who was a follower of Guénon but also a sort of heretic. The two of them together comprise the basis of the whole Traditionalist right wing, which is not large but is influential worldwide, in one variant or another.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 5 2013 20:19 utc | 55

I try to stay away from "wings" (and hence from academic world-views) and prefer to evolve my own approach.

The reason is simple: "wings", "schools"(of thought), etc. very typically are bound to have an agenda and a (more or less evident) missionary paradigm, often with "preferred foes", too.
Actually I studied philosophy (and later was invited to teach it, Haha) but I always was under the impression that the very core (theory of cognition, which typically is called "epistemology", which in itself is a strong hint ...) were humped over way too quickly and superficially while different "schools" of philosophy (which basically all turned out to be politicised) got plenty room.

Funnily most "stars" of philosophy failed the simplest test of all; while eloquently mentioning it and talking about giants and their shoulders they failed to recognize an immensely simple (yet very important) truth: I'm smarter today because I was more wrong yesterday (but succeeded to recognize my weakness/error).

Humans are bound to strive for more. A first approach to recognize people is hence that question "how do they define 'more'?" (beyond "enough to (more or less comfortably) survive") - a bright person will tend to unfold "more" qualitatively while an intellectually simple person will tend to understand "more" as "more of what there is now". This already holds far more (*smile) information - and potential for both good and bad - than one typically sees. Just one example: (Reasonably) assuming that our environment is de nature limited (the amount of apples is limited) the primitive more is a direct path to selfishness, an increasingly tight cage (intellectually) and in the end war; it's based on taking something away which then isn't available to others. An intelligent version of "more" is inherently creative and tends to generate growth rather than tighter limits.

More importantly, the intelligent "more" is constructive, puts the human in a creators role and fosters positiva while the primitive "more" is inherently destructive, puts the human into dependency and fosters negativa.

A practical example in reality: Putin says "It's wunderful that we have so much oil; it enables us to grow into a modern society and to (re)built a powerful industry. Let us be aware though that we must not supidly rely on oil alone. The question is 'what can we build with that richesse?'"
zamericans one the other hand (just think "bush") say "They (e.g. Iraq) have oil. Let's take it away and break their spine, too, so as to not let them have any chance to ever resist our dominance".

And there is a reason for that. Russia has a long and profound culture and an intelligentsia that has never been treated like superstars but have been valued and usually well treated. zamerica has plain nothing. Yes, at first sight they have ivy league universities but actually those institutes (I had the "pleasure" of a fulbright scholarship) are infested by being money and elitism vanity driven (most students, too), politicised beyond any tolerable measure and completely controlled (sponsors, gov, darpa, milind complex, etc.).

Let's have a look at israel.
The zionists were few, are few and will always be few (compared to the world). So they have chosen the way of poison (which has been proven useful in animals; poison allows a small animal to stand it's place against big animals). Now, when I talk about poison most will think of cobras or spiders. Nope. The most infamous and dangerous of all poisons (and, yes, it's scientifically a poison) is that of the jewel wasp (I hope I remember the name correctly): that little beast stings an animal of many times its own size with a poison that allows the wasp to parasitically control its victim (a large cockroach, funnily an american one).
That is how zionism operates and zamericas role is evidently - and fittingly - that of the large and remote controlled cockroach.
That despicable jewel wasp pattern is recognizeable in zamericas wars, in their politics, in their false flags and finally in their demise. Because that, of course, is the destiny of the cockroach in the poisonous game.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 5 2013 21:50 utc | 56

"I'm not trying to cover myself. I *do* detest zamericans (is it really necessary to say "most of ..."? *Of course* not all, *of course* there are intelligent and fine humans there, too; does one really need to mention that each time?"

I would suggest that yes, one does need to mention it each time. Maybe that's my political correctness coming out. It seems the simplest albeit extremely important bit of social nicety that certainly great men like Putin and Chavez know to perform and are serious about, so why not you too?

The battle over Syria was not won because the Russians have a better gene pool or come from a "finer" social strain. It was won because the Russians had the right position and the willingness to back it up... and the whole world could see it.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 21:58 utc | 57

Sorry, guest77,

I usually really value your thoughts but I will not engage in political correctness infested arguments.

If it pleases you or anyone, please feel free to consider me an asshole, I don't mind.
Allow me, however, to remind you of all the families who had to experience the gross difference between zamerican pc blabla and their *actions* like killing children and pissing on the dead bodies of their victims.

political correctness really has created enough dammage in this world. It has dumbed down the people, has perverted discussions into "it's about _how_ one says it" empty nonsense and established the principle of lying - because that's what pc is essentially about - in a more blunt and reckless way than ever before.

I am *not* one who wants each and every zamerican dead, no. But I'm also not one to consider more than about 1% of them as home sapiens and even less as a halfway decent specimen.
I'm also not willing to consistently *lie*, calling it "politeness". Fact is that we are not all equal. Our basic rights should be equal, yes, but we humans ourselves are absolutely not equal - thank God for that!
The solution is not to bluntly negate the obvious fact that there are primitive and aggressive people that still have to make quite some steps towards homo sapiens. The solution is to stop them mass murdering and imposing their rules and to then support their evolution.

And that whole issue is dead meat anyway. The empire of the mistaken cockroach is coming to an end.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 5 2013 22:22 utc | 58

"There are no laws in my country defining "anti-americanism" as a crime"

Of course not. You have to live in the United States to be leashed to such a law. And don't you dare rail against Israel, either, if you don't want to be labeled as a "enemy combatant". Damned terrorist supporters, anti-semites, one and all. Thank God for the Patriot Act and the NSA!

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 5 2013 23:06 utc | 59

instead of being breathlessly exceptionally better than every other state in history, the US is breathlessly, exceptionally worse than every other state in history

Originally a normal planet, Htrae is now cube-shaped.

Posted by: DM | Oct 5 2013 23:35 utc | 60

Debs said: "amerika (sic) has never had a truly genius military leader or tactician."

I respectfully disagree, however I will not use the occasion of this thread, a memorial to General Giáp, to engage in a pissing contest about my ancestry.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 6 2013 5:33 utc | 61

Some great commentary by debs, r'giap, and others.

Humility in defeat has never been an American strong point. Our Civil War provides examples. The representatives in the US House returning for readmission from the defeated confederate districts, actually wanted to be sworn in, prior to the crucial vote on the 13th Amendment, the amendment pertinent to the issue of ending slavery. Of course the vote was taken first.

Giap deserves honor as we remember him for being on the right side of history; for he helped his country to repel colonialism in all its insidious forms, both the French and the American. The heinous acts committed by US Armed Forces have been ignored and obscured by the farcical rhetoric of our politicians; and yet the malignant shadow cast by these crimes against humanity, continues to fall over Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Tripoli, and other scenes of destruction.

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 6 2013 7:08 utc | 62

Rest in peace General Giap!

A few months ago, I was speaking with a friend who is deeply interested in British politics, especially the British Labour Party. He mentioned that he read, in an obscure book on the history of Labour, that in 1945 Pr. Atlee helped restored French colonial rule of Vietnam, by using Japanese POWs to put down the Vietnamese independent movement! This was done by Atlee as he could not bare to think an imperial European power losing her imperial domains as this will have an domino affect on Britian's empire. Apparently this little
known fact is kept outside of "normal" British history books and hence not many people are aware of it.

There isn't much on the internet - but I did find this:

Posted by: Irshad | Oct 6 2013 14:44 utc | 63

Also during the Vietnam war - although Britain did not partake in this US adventure, apparently Britain did send the SAS to help the Americans.

Posted by: Irshad | Oct 6 2013 14:50 utc | 64

"Great" military leaders are a curious phenomena in human culture. They almost universally inspire respect, the reason for that being that no individual can succeed as a war leader unless they share these certain characteristics... They are generally extremely intelligent and deeply thoughtful. They tend to be persons who have developed deep and complex personal philosophies around questions of morality, honor and the human condition. They make terribly difficult decisions, often involving the deaths of thousands of the soldiers to whom they are responsible. Officers who succeed in the chaos and difficulty of war are persons of very high integrity and character. They must be, because the process of war itself very quickly deals with the weak, the vain, the users, the useless, and the pretenders. The great generals almost always seem to combine a very focused will and extreme self control with deep humility and a basic distaste for the effects of war and of its necessity. Giap was clearly a great General Officer of this rare stamp. Dien Bien Phu will remain one of the greatest battles of the twentieth century and be studied by historians for years. Tet was also, though it suffered errors in execution, jn the end an astonishing campaign/victory. Particularly telling was the way Giap almost casually toyed with Westmoreland (sadly almost a textbook example of an inferior officer) in the months leading up to Tet; I refer to the bizarre events being played out around Khe Sanh. Someone earlier mentioned his contribution to the development of asymmetric tactics and to the proof that even vast technological superiority is not any guarantor of success in warfare. This man was a great General Officer of the the true rare type, as well as a patriot, a defender of his people and culture. For some reasons, not all entirely rational, these men still inspire us. I will take issue with the comment that The United States had no great generals and point, at least, to R.E Lee and Andrew Jackson. There are contemporary accounts of the Battle(s) of New Orleans available on the net which show Jackson fighting a brilliant guerrilla action against a professional, highly trained and technically superior force. Anyway, farewell Vo Nguyen Giap, Well Done. Respect.

Posted by: Z-Dane | Oct 7 2013 1:32 utc | 65

Very well spoken, Z-Dane @65.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 7 2013 3:05 utc | 66

Irshad, great link

Posted by: claudio | Oct 7 2013 6:57 utc | 67

Z-Dane (65)

Pardon me but that's theory.

The way the machine works in pretty every country, chances are that one is lucky if 1 in 10 generals is not simply a yes-man and mil. bureaucrat. A, probably the, negative factor to basically guarantee that bad outcome is the fact that the highest generals are basically always political appointees. The question how the (usually completely incapable) politician who makes the decisions likes the general candidate is *way more* relevant than the generals abilities (which those making the decisions can't judge anyway).

Furthermore there is no "a general" (as in "ideal prototype") - There are generals for planning, for strategy, for logistics, aso; there are generals for widely diverse troups and branches. A brilliant navy strategist could perfectly well be a rather lousy commanding officer, etc.
And then there's doctrines. Russian, for instance, fight their wars very differently from zamericans: Or look at Iran, which has changed dramatically for a very pragmatic reason: the threat scenarios have considerably changed and the weapons (due to mainly 2 reasons) have changed in major ways, too - accordingly to those major structural changes the definition and criteria of a good general have changed.

And what are the criteria? Losing very few men? Winning most battles? At what cost and taking which risks? aso, aso.

Short, you might as well say "A president (or secretary) is (list of positive adjectives)" - that's almost always simply not true.

It's perfectly reasonable to state that Gen. Giáp was an excellent general - measured against the then situation, his task, - and the given opponent! - etc. That is tangible, qualifiable and verifiable. To "extract" any set of features and generalizing them, however, doesn't make much sense.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 7 2013 8:58 utc | 68

This is Ramzy Baroud's take:

Posted by: bevin | Oct 7 2013 20:36 utc | 69

Sorry, but my impression is that while Ramzy Baroud says quite some interesting things and probably has good intentions, he basically abuses Gen. Giáps death for his own cause.

Of course, it might look attractive to mix up the vietnam war, the terrorized Palestinians, the black movement, and the zusa prison system - and to then "detect" commonality in that construct.
But "There was so much in common between Giap and Wallace." is simply annoying, to put it mildly.

The major connection - not commonality - in that wanton construct would be "freedom of oppression". But, and that's a major but: Gen. Giáp fought *external* oppression of his people, while zusa *was and is, in fact, the major oppressor* of other people. To also oppress inside their system is just immanent. One might also like to mention the fact that blacks were and are not only oppressed; they are part of the oppression forces themselves.

Short, Gen. Giáp forced the major criminals out of his country while in zusa the worst criminals are at the top in their country and israel just is a criminal non-country through and through.

Probably that wasn't barzouds intention but putting Gen. Giáp in that context and contruing "commonality" is smearing him.

Honour and praise to General Giáp!

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 7 2013 21:27 utc | 70

contruing "commonality" with Wallace might be wrong, but it doesn't smear anyone

Posted by: claudio | Oct 7 2013 22:13 utc | 71

Your doctrine, Mr Pragma, would hold that the average Russian citizen was responsible for the excesses of both soviet and tsarist regimes.

Which is nonsense. The only Russians who need to be told this are the proto-fascists who regard the current regime there as an improvement on its predecessors.

General Giap was a communist, Mr Pragma, who dedicated his service to the wretched of the earth, including the late and heroic Mr Wallace who served more than three decades in solitary confinement because he was on the same side as the "vietcong."

Comrade Giap was on the same side as the Black Panthers. To forget that is to dishonour his memory,underestimate his achievement and misunderstand the nature of the armies he forged and the battles they won.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 8 2013 4:36 utc | 72

Your doctrine, Mr Pragma, would hold that the average Russian citizen was responsible for the excesses of both soviet and tsarist regimes.


The only Russians who need to be told this are the proto-fascists who regard the current regime there as an improvement on its predecessors.

The "regime" as you malevolently call it has way more democratic legitimacy than the zusa regime. And it still enjoys solid majority support - not at last because the Russian government, rather than starting wars and running terror operations, does what citizens in most western countries can only dream off; the Russian governments cares about and works for the Russian citizens.

General Giap was a communist

So what? First and foremost he was a man serving his people.

who dedicated his service to the wretched of the earth, including the late and heroic Mr Wallace who served more than three decades in solitary confinement because he was on the same side as the "vietcong."

Wow. What a wanton mix of crap.

Gen. Giáp dedicated his service to his country, his people.
Whether Mr. Wallace was heroic or not is a matter of view; in any case he can't be compared to Gen. Giáp. Now, don't get me wrong, I respect Mr. Wallace and I'm getting angry when thinking what the zamerican regime has done to him, that they stole most of his life, that lowest-life creatures were allowed to treat him like that. But that doesn't make him someone like Gen. Giáp (nor is it reasonable to put the Black Panther fight into one pot with the Vietnamese fighting against zusa terror (which to no small degree was implemented by black troups)).

I do, btw, based on what I have read so far from you, not see you in any position to lecture me in military and related matters.
You are, of course free to perceive the world any way you like and to make your views known. You are, however, not free to attack others here for having different, and often considerably better founded, views.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 8 2013 5:36 utc | 73

One of the aspects of the post-modernist mess was the imaginative identification between western cultural nationalists such as the panthers and 'third world fighters' (who themselves were becoming increasingly detached from the people they were supposed to revolutionise, at least in che guevara's central america). Po-mo is all about subjectivism and the 'triumph of the will,' as I said.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 9:35 utc | 74

"Pm-mo all about subjectivsm and triumph of the will" Madonna showed the world what po-mo was, decades ago. Strike a pose?

Posted by: wicky wacky | Oct 8 2013 9:50 utc | 75

Decades ago, you mean the 1980s, but I'm still talking about the 1960s.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 10:02 utc | 76

To give some specific examples: Andy Warhol was po-mo, and so were the Velvet Underground. Leonard Cohen was po-mo. William Burroughs & Brion Gysin were po-mo. And Kenneth Anger was very po-mo.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 10:10 utc | 77

PPS: To really sharpen this to a point, I am going to get hold of a copy of Regis Debray's book "Revolution In The Revolution?" and decide whether that was po-mo too. I think it was, because the 1967 Grove Press edition had a puff from Newsweek on the front cover, calling it "a primer for Marxist insurrection in Latin America," and getting a puff from Newsweek for a supposedly 'marxist primer' is about the most po-mo achievement anybody could imagine.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 10:18 utc | 78

"But that doesn't make him someone like Gen. Giáp (nor is it reasonable to put the Black Panther fight into one pot with the Vietnamese fighting against zusa terror (which to no small degree was implemented by black troups))."

The point, Mr Pragma, is that Giap was just like any other honest man. To compare him with Wallace is to elevate out of the ranks of Generals and other killers into the ranks of those who fight against injustice and evil- as most Generals do not.

As to the Russian government, I do not doubt for a moment that it is as legitimate, probably considerably more legitimate, as that of the USA.

But the point that you make, again, That US "terror (which to no small degree was implemented by black troups))" is, as I indicated, analagous to blaming the drafted-for-life muzhik soldiers of the Tsars, for the excesses of the Russian Imperial armies.
I am of course supposing that you are aware that there were such excesses and that it would be wrong to blame the rank and file soldiery for them. I could be wrong on both counts.

Incidentally the arguments "Bullshit!" and "Wow. What a wanton mix of crap" may past muster as examples of idiomatic proficiency but they do not actually constitute replies to the points that I made. And they certainly do little to support the idea that your views are so well founded that they require no explanation.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 10 2013 0:35 utc | 79

Incidentally, Mr Pragma, your comments on this report from AP (I know AP is not a pure spring of truths) would be of interest:

"A staggering 35 percent of household wealth in Russia is owned by just 110 people, the highest level of inequality in the world barring a few small Caribbean islands, a report by a major investment bank says.

"By contrast, billionaires worldwide account for just 1-2 percent of total wealth, Credit Suisse said in its report published Wednesday. Russia has one billionaire for every $11 billion in wealth while in the rest of the world there is one for every $170 billion.

"The fall of Communism saw Russia's most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs. President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for their political loyalty.

"Metals and banking tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Fridman, who made their fortunes in the 90s, are still high on the list of Russia's richest men. But the past decade saw a rise of new billionaires who draw their wealth from state contracts and some of whom are known to be the presidents' friends, like Gennady Timchenko.

"Credit Suisse said that there were hopes with the demise of the Soviet Union that Russia would turn into a high skilled economy with fair wealth distribution but "this is almost a parody of what happened in practice."

"The 35 percent of wealth that Russian billionaires own is equivalent to $420 billion.

"'Russia has the highest level of wealth inequality in the world, apart from small Caribbean nations with resident billionaires,' the bank said in the report."

Please note that I am not arguing that the Russian regime is any worse than any other. The inequality of wealth distribution I regard as a direct result of Imperial interference in the internal affairs of the citizens of the USSR.

You argue that
"The the Russian government, rather than starting wars and running terror operations, does what citizens in most western countries can only dream off; the Russian governments cares about and works for the Russian citizens."
That it has done great work by preventing another imperialist military adventure is undoubted but evidence that it "cares about and works for the Russian citizens" in other ways would be welcome.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 10 2013 1:27 utc | 80

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