Category Archives: History

McCain, The POW He Left Behind & The Men Who TRIED To Expose Him

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, History, John McCain, Military

John McCain owes much more than a mea culpa to POWS and Men Missing in Action is the conclusion of a chapter in the book “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed.” The context: Donald Trump’s unfocused, but correct, move to hate on McCain.

I would have been none the wiser about McCain, the prisoners of war he left behind and the man who tried to expose Sen. McCain’s most covered-up disgrace, were it not for Ron Unz who publicized Sydney Schanberg’s heroic efforts.

Read “American Pravda: The Legacy of Sydney Schanberg”:

The death on Saturday of Sydney Schanberg at age 82 should sadden us not only for the loss of one of our most renowned journalists but also for what his story reveals about the nature of our national media.

Syd had made his career at the New York Times for 26 years, winning a Pulitzer Prize, two George Polk Memorial awards, and numerous other honors. His passing received the notice it deserved, with the world’s most prestigious broadsheet devoting nearly a full page of its Sunday edition to his obituary, a singular honor that in this degraded era is more typically reserved for leading pop stars or sports figures. Several photos were included of his Cambodia reporting, which had become the basis for the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields, one of Hollywood’s most memorable accounts of our disastrous Indo-Chinese War.

But for all the 1,300 words and numerous images charting his long and illustrious journalistic history, not even a single mention was made of the biggest story of his career, which has seemingly vanished down the memory hole without trace. And therein lies a tale.

Could a news story ever be “too big” for the media to cover? Every journalist is always seeking a major expose, a piece that not merely reaches the transitory front pages but also might win a journalistic prize or even change the history books. Stories such as these appear rarely but can make a reporter’s career, and it is difficult to imagine a writer turning one down, or an editor rejecting it.

But what if the story is so big that it actually reveals dangerous truths about the real nature of the American media, portrays too many powerful people in a very negative light, and perhaps leads to a widespread loss of faith in our major news media? If readers were to see a story like that, they might naturally begin to wonder “why hadn’t we ever been told?” or even “what else might be out there?”

Towards the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, while John McCain battled Barack Obama for the White House, I clicked an intriguing link on a small website and discovered Syd’s remarkable expose, one which had been passed over or rejected by every major media outlet in the country, his enormous personal reputation notwithstanding.

The basic outline of events he described was a simple one. During the Paris Peace Talks that ended the Vietnam War, the U.S. government had committed to pay its Hanoi adversaries $3.25 billion in war reparations, and in exchange would receive back the American POWs held by the Vietnamese. The agreement was signed and the war officially ended, but the Vietnamese, suspecting a possible financial double-cross, kept back many hundreds of the imprisoned Americans until they received the promised payment.

For domestic political reasons, the Nixon Administration had characterized the billions of dollars pledged as “humanitarian assistance” and Congress balked at appropriating such a large sum for a hated Communist regime. Desperate for “peace with honor” and already suffering under the growing Watergate Scandal, Nixon and his aides could not admit that many hundreds of the POWs remained in enemy hands, and so declared them all returned, probably hoping to quietly arrange a trade of money for prisoners once the dust had settled. Similarly, Hanoi’s leaders falsely claimed that all the captives had been released, while they waited for their money to be paid. As a result, the two governments had jointly created a Big Lie, one which has largely maintained itself right down to the present day.

In the troubled aftermath of America’s military defeat and the Nixon resignation, our entire country sought to forget Vietnam, and neither elected officials nor journalists were eager to revisit the issue, let alone investigate one of the war’s dirtiest secrets. The Vietnamese continued to hold their American prisoners for most of the next twenty years, periodically making attempts to negotiate their release in exchange for the money they were still owed, but never found a American leader daring enough to take such a bold step. The Big Lie had grown just too enormous to be overturned.

Over the years, rumors surrounding the remaining POWs became widespread in veterans’ circles, and eventually these stories inspired a series of blockbuster Hollywood movies such as Rambo, Missing in Action, and Uncommon Valor, whose plots were all naturally dismissed or ridiculed as “rightwing conspiracy theories” by our elite media pundits. But the stories were all true, and even as American filmgoers watched Sylvester Stallone heroically free desperate American servicemen from Vietnamese prisons, the real-life American POWs were still being held under much those same horrible conditions, with no American leader willing to take the enormous political risk of attempting either to rescue or ransom them. Over the years, many of the POWs had died from ill-treatment, and the return of the miserable survivors after their secret captivity would unleash a firestorm of popular anger, surely destroying the many powerful individuals who had long known of their abandonment.

Eventually, America’s bipartisan political leadership sought to reestablish diplomatic relations with Hanoi and finally put the Vietnam War behind the country, but this important policy goal was obstructed by the residual political pressure from the resolute POW families. So a Senate Select Committee on the POWs was established in order to declare them non-existent once and for all. Sen. John McCain, a very high profile former POW himself, led the cover-up, perhaps because the very dubious nature of his own true war record left him eager to trade secrecy for secrecy. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, our media declared that the abandoned POWs had never existed and closed the books on the long, lingering controversy.

As it happens, not long after the committee issued its final report and shut down, a stunning document was unearthed in the newly-opened Kremlin archives. In the transcript of a Hanoi Politburo meeting, the Communist leadership discussed the true number of POWs they then held and made their decision to keep half of them back to ensure that America paid the billions of dollars it had promised. Former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger both stated on national television that the document appeared genuine and it seemed undeniable that American POWs had indeed been left behind. Although the national media devoted a couple of days of major coverage to this uncomfortable revelation, it then reported denials from both the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, and quickly dropped the story, returning to the official narrative: There were no abandoned POWs and never had been.

As I reviewed Syd’s massively-documented 8,000 word exposition, …

Read the rest of “American Pravda: The Legacy of Sydney Schanberg.”

A July 4th Toast To Thomas Jefferson, Author of The Declaration

America, Constitution, Founding Fathers, History, IMMIGRATION

For most, Independence Day means firecrackers and cookouts. “The Declaration of Independence—whose proclamation, on July 4, 1776, we celebrate—doesn’t feature. To be fair to the liberal establishment, ordinary Americans are not entirely blameless. In fact, contemporary Americans are less likely to read it now that it is easily available on the Internet, than when it relied on horseback riders for its distribution.”

Back in 1776, gallopers carried the Declaration through the country. Printer John Dunlap had worked ‘through the night’ to set the full text on ‘a handsome folio sheet,’ recounts historian David Hackett Fischer in Liberty And Freedom. And President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock urged that the “people be universally informed.”

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, called it ‘an expression of the American Mind.’ An examination of Jefferson’s constitutional thought makes plain that he would no longer consider the mind of a Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, or the collective mentality of the liberal establishment, ‘American’ in any meaningful way. For the Jeffersonian mind was that of an avowed Whig—an American Whig whose roots were in the English Whig political philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. …

… Jefferson’s muse for the ‘American Mind’ is even older.

The Whig tradition is undeniably Anglo-Saxon. Our founding fathers’ political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution. With the Declaration, Jefferson told Henry Lee in 1825, he was also protesting England’s violation of her own ancient tradition of natural rights. As Jefferson saw it, the Colonies were upholding a tradition the Crown had abrogated. …

Naturally, Jefferson never entertained the folly that he was of immigrant stock. He considered the English settlers of America courageous conquerors, much like his Saxon forebears, to whom he compared them. To Jefferson, early Americans were the contemporary carriers of the Anglo-Saxon project.”

The original Independence-Day column in its entirety is “A July 4th Toast To Thomas Jefferson And The Anglo-Saxon Tradition.”

Certain Americans will never own the founding history of this country and one of perhaps three just wars Americans have fought.

In 2012, the foul-mouthed Chris Rock called July 4th “Happy white peoples independence day.”

Kerry & His EU La Familia Know Nothing About Bonds Between Peoples

America, Britain, EU, Europe, Foreign Policy, History, Paleolibertarianism, The State

Other than suggesting that “Brexit might not happen,” man of the people John Kerry said something more subtly statist after Brexit:

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry vouched for the bond between the UK and the US by alluded to treaties signed by Power, not by The People. For his mandarin mambo-jumbo, Kerry, no doubt, would have been eviscerated by UK’s Independence Party Nigel Farage.

To the extent that the Anglo-American people share a bond—it’s not because Bush, Blair, Obama and the outgoing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron ratified agreements we’ve never read. It’s because of a common ancestry, folkways, history, language, literature.

America as it was founded was a rib from the British ribcage. Kerry and his EU La Familia know nothing about bonds and a lack thereof between peoples of different nations.

On Trump Tribalism And Clinton’s Sinophobia

Africa, Capitalism, China, Democrats, Donald Trump, Economy, History, The West

“On Trump Tribalism And Clinton’s Sinophobia” is this week’s column, on The Unz Review, America’s smartest webzine. An excerpt:

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee for 2016, has something in common with Donald Trump: Sinophobia.

During a 2011 visit to Zambia, she warned about “a new colonialism in Africa.” This time, the Chinese were to blame. As Clinton sees it, the Chinese are extracting wealth from the continent by buying its raw materials. “We saw that during colonial times it [was] easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave,” she griped.

Clinton was adamant. She did not want to see a European-style colonial redux in Africa.

Certainly Chinese state capitalism is not free-market capitalism. But is Chinese mercantilism not preferable to American militarism, an example of which is Libya, a north-African recipient of madam secretary’s largess? Not according to Mrs. Clinton.

As Clinton sees it (as do, no doubt, the Paul-Ryan Republicans and the Bernie Sanders socialists), the “old colonialism” saw underdeveloped nations “bilked by rich capitalist countries,” a phrase used by Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington in Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress.

According to these highly politicized, socialist, zero-sum formulations regarding colonialism, class warfare and “income inequality,” one person’s plenty is another’s poverty. The corresponding antidote invariably involves taking from one and giving to the other—from rich to poor; from North to South.

The notion, however, of a preexisting income pie from which the greedy appropriate an unfair share is itself pie-in-the-sky. Wealth, earned or “unearned,” as egalitarians term inheritance, doesn’t exist outside the individuals who create it; it is a return for desirable services, skills and resources they render to others. Labor productivity is the main determinant of wages—and wealth. People in the West produce or purchase what they consume—and much more; they don’t remove, or steal it from Third Worlders. Wrote the greatest development economist, Lord Peter Bauer, in Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion: “Incomes, including those of the relatively prosperous or the owners of property, are not taken from other people. Normally they are produced by their recipient and the resources they own.”

Not unlike Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, who “dramatically increased U.S. foreign aid” (as reported approvingly in Foreign Affairs magazine); Mrs. Clinton also committed more funds to the Agency for International Development during her tenure as secretary of state.

When it comes to Africa, it’s worth noting, however, that four or five decades since decolonization; colonialism, dependency and racism no longer cut it as explanations for Africa’s persistent and pervasive underdevelopment. “Pseudo-scholars such as [the late] Edward Said and legions of liberal intellectuals have made careers out of blaming the West for problems that were endemic to many societies both before and after their experiences as European colonies,” noted Australian historian Keith Windschuttle, in a 2002 issue of American Outlook.

The truth is that colonization constituted the least tumultuous period in African history. This is fact; its enunciation is not to condone colonialism or similar, undeniably coercive, forays, only to venture, as did George Eliot in Daniel Deronda, that “to object to colonization absolutely is to object to history itself. To ask whether colonization in itself is good or bad is the same as asking whether history is a good or bad thing.” …

READ THE REST. “On Trump Tribalism And Clinton’s Sinophobia” is this week’s column, on The Unz Review.