June 4, 2013
The last war America fought openly through proxy was the Vietnam War. The idea was not necessarily “new”; General Smedley Butler’s exposé on his career as a conqueror-for-hire, titled War is a Racket, uncovered a long history of bloodshed by U.S. government and corporate interests in third world countries designed to destroy sovereign nations and plunder their resources. This was done through the use of mercenaries for hire, military men acting covertly or guerilla forces with a pre-existing agenda supplied through back channels.
The sad and disturbing reality is that most wars fought by our country over the course of the past century have not been fought on principle. Instead, they have been fought for profit and for the consolidation of power and oligarchy.
Vietnam was a break in the tradition of secret puppet conflicts, sending the U.S. into the realm of openly admitted proxy. The establishment wanted the American people to know that we were supplying funding and weapons to the South Vietnamese nationalists, meddling in a civil war which had absolutely no bearing on U.S. international relations or domestic policy. The rationalization then was that America had to stop the spread of communism. Ironically, the communists of North Vietnam were a minimal threat compared to the elitist communists within our own borders sitting in positions of political power.
Ultimately, the Vietnam War had absolutely nothing to do with fighting communism, and everything to do with manipulating the public into accepting the concept of foreign intervention. That is to say, we were being conditioned to think of interventionism as a perfectly normal U.S. policy.
The war in Vietnam was achieved in stages. First, the U.S. aided then abandoned the government of Ngo Dinh Diem, who was assassinated during a military coup inspired partly by Diem’s despotic mistreatment of the Vietnamese populace. Money was then sent to cement the power of the military junta in the name of countering the rise of the communist North. Soon, weapons and heavy ordinance were being shipped to the South. Then, U.S. “advisors” were sent to train South Vietnamese soldiers.
Full intervention was successfully avoided by the John F. Kennedy Administration until his assassination, after which President Lyndon B. Johnson launched into a full-spectrum U.S. invasion which the mainstream referred to as a “police action.” Simultaneously, Chinese and Russian interests began supplying the North, though their involvement never officially led to boots on the ground.
I rehash this history because I think it is important to note that the Vietnam theatre seems to have been recycled in Syria today, though the cast of characters has been rearranged slightly. This time, the U.S. and Europe has supported the insurgency. The government of Bashar al-Assad has been cast as the “villain”. Russia and China are now playing the role of mediators and peacemakers, while the West now sends men like Senator John McCain to throw money and weapons into the hands of a rebellion permeated with members of al-Qaida, who decapitate and eat the hearts of prisoners on video, and who, last time I checked, were supposedly our enemy.
The process and escalation of the conflict has been very similar to our adventures in Southeast Asia. Money has been openly sent to the rebels. Weapons have likely been covertly sent (evidence suggests that this program was perhaps a part of the reason for the Benghazi incident and subsequent cover-up). Now, certain parties within the U.S., Israel, and the EU have suggested open armament of the insurgency, while destabilization of the region is blamed on Assad by the Western media.