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A theory about the Vietnam War

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:39 am    Post subject: A theory about the Vietnam War Reply with quote

A rough listing of theories about this war might be divided into patriotic, moderate, and deconstructive categories, i.e. the theory either defends the war, is relatively neutral about it, or severely condemns it. In a certain respect, my theory falls into the third category. However, it does so by deconstructing not only the interior patriotic narrative of the war but the entire paradigm of interpreting it as a military event.

Besides, the patriotic explanation fails on account of the fact that there really was just too much violence unleashed in this conflict. It is one thing to need to use a lot of ammunition and ordnance over a long period of time; it is another thing to unleash 17,000,000 tons of bombing and artillery upon regions as small as the ones in question. The moderate explanation also is insufficient purely on this ground. And yet then what would seem the obvious strength of the deconstructivist picture is never realized because these as they traditionally stand (e.g. in Chomsky) do not explain this fantastic expenditure of firepower.

The reason they do not is because the patriotic axiom (that the US military was primarily targeting enemy military personnel) and the para-Chomskian deconstructivist paradigm (that the civilian population was the primary target) simultaneously fail to explain why so much energy was unleashed against neither target class. That is, the US neither fully annihilated the communist military (in any country under attack) nor erased the natives in utter genocide. Instead, the energy was often randomly volleyed into predictably deserted regions en masse.

* * * * *

One conclusion or suggestion (or w/e) in one of the US Strategic Bombing Survey analyses of the nuclear bombing of Japan, was that a particular subnuclear strike sequence, if conducted on an appropriate scale, could simulate atomic firepower. This was to use conventional explosives in tandem with napalm and cluster-bombs, a rather particular pattern. In 1961 an article in an Air Force magazine included an estimate that it would require 10,000,000 tons of bombs to destroy the USSR. Also around this time, right before the real war in Vietnam commenced, the Cuban Missile Crisis transpired.

Now it might seem obvious the global nuclear war would spell the end of life or humanity on Earth as we know it, or whatever, but in fact this question has been debated. In the pseudo-utilitarian positivistic/behavioristic atmosphere of the American government bureaucracy of the Vietnam era, deciding this question on empirical grounds, that is by experiment, could have easily arisen as a viable policy initiative. That the US had proven willing to kill defenseless civilians on a massive scale using such weapons only reinforces the image of a government willing to do terrible things in the service of its nuclear idealism, for this is often defended on a utilitarian sort of ground. Anyway, the thing is, if the gain were knowledge of survival chances in the event of thermonuclear apocalypse, what would have motivated the American government not to run the experiment? The only thing would be that it couldn't use actual nuclear bombs. But the USBSS said how to do something parallelwise, and with the unseemly Agent Orange thrown into the mixture, the consequences of those 10,000,000 tons of bombs (and 7,000,000 tons of artillery) wrought in Vietnam were a simulation of continental nuclear war, within a controlled area, so to speak. Postwar commentators have noted from to time that we can evaluate the effects of Agent Orange in such a "clinical" manner since the substance was inflicted on the South (that we were "defending from communism") and not the North.

Some or another pilots sometimes expressed a slight puzzlement over why they were scheduled to constantly drop bombs irrespective of any apparent or direct or indirect military explanation. Like, the bombing/H&I fire was transformed into a sort of artificial climate, a destructive rain. This wasn't necessarily killing people every single day (or it was, but not everywhere the "rain" fell), but it was a matter of "ecocide," as was rightly noted.

But so why? To prove a point. To justify its willingness to use nuclear weapons in general, the US government needed to show to itself that nuclear holocaust wouldn't be so terrible. On an almost plausible enough pretext it ignited a war of apocalypse to test this proof. Since Vietnam "survived," the US "justification" passed the "test."
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