Comparisons to Vietnam, ye gods

by Daniel on May 19, 2004

I don’t really want to make this look like a Hitchens pile-on, but one cannot allow things like this to pass without comment. Via Roger Ailes, we have Christopher Hitchens making the following claim:

I think my quarrel with the media would be different from yours. I think what isn‘t conveyed enough is the sheer evil and ruthlessness and indeed brilliant organization of the enemy. The media cliche about the war is that it‘s like Vietnam. The Vietnamese were a very civilized foe and if they had had weapons of mass destruction, for example, wouldn‘t have used them and didn‘t target civilians, did use women as fighters and organizers, were not torturers and mass murderers and so forth.

Shall we say that this is quite radically at odds with most mainstream histories of Vietnam? Hitchens may here being confusing the North Vietnames Army and the Communist Party of Viet Nam with some other force which fought a purely heroic war of liberation in a gentlemanly manner and had no links to totalitarianism. Perhaps he was thinking of the Hobbits, or somebody. It makes you wonder why several hundred thousand boat people decided to take their chances on the open seas rather than live under such a “civilised” regime.

Meanwhile, if it’s comparisons with Vietnam you’re after, this historic document (Col. Robert Heinl’s Armed Forces Journal article on the collapse of morale) is pretty good on the long-term consequences of being stuck with no hope of exit in a war nobody really wants to fight. It is profoundly to be hoped that things won’t be allowed to get this bad again; it took years to rebuild the US Army as an organisation.

Two More Envelopes

by Brian on May 19, 2004

“John complains”: that the version of the two-envelope paradox I give is not theologically accurate. I was trying to come up with a more theologically accurate one, but I couldn’t really. Still, the following is intended to be a little closer to theological reality.

[click to continue…]