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Bush's VN/ Iraq analogy gets 'The Quiet American' wrong!

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  • Bush's VN/ Iraq analogy gets 'The Quiet American' wrong!

    Bush gets Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American' the wrong way around. Brilliant!!
    In his speech to veterans recently Bush quotes from the book in an attempt to use it to garner suport for the War In Iraq:

    "In 1955, long before the United States had entered the war, Graham Greene wrote a novel called "The Quiet
    American." It was set in Saigon and the main character was a young government agent named Alden Pyle. He was a
    symbol of American purpose and patriotism and dangerous naivete. Another character describes Alden this way: "I
    never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused."

    After America entered the Vietnam War, Graham Greene -- the Graham Greene argument gathered some steam. Matter
    of fact, many argued that if we pulled out, there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people. In 1972,
    one anti-war senator put it this way: "What earthly difference does it make to nomadic tribes or uneducated
    subsistence farmers in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos whether they have a military dictator, a royal prince or a
    socialist commissar in some distant capital that they've never seen and may never heard of?"

    Can somebody over there please tell Bush's speechwriters to do some basic research before using historical analogies.
    Get it clear: The Quiet American is novel with a strident an anti- american foreign policy undercurrent.
    It is still regarded as the best novel written by a westerner about Vietnam in the post WWII era.
    The Alden Pyle character is not repeat NOT meant to symbolise 'America getting it right' as Bush seems to think but
    is a metaphor for all that was wrong about trying to impose western values and ideas on an ancient culture.
    Sheesh this really is English Lit 101 stuff!!
    Bush is no doubt confusing the 1950's movie starring fellow Texan and real-life war Hero Audie Murphy, which turned
    the novel around and which Greene hated.
    Catch the 2001 version with Micahel Caine and Brendan Fraser which captures the essence of the novel and which
    interestingly was due for release on 11 Sept 2001 but was delayed for a year in the wake ofthe attacks in NYC and
    Washington.
    A re-release may help put an end to the curent nonsense from the administration using Vietnam misquotes and phony
    analogies to justify the awful mess we have visited upon Iraq.
    lodestar was called a man with no honour, no courage, no integrity and no honesty. To which he replied: "Hey, you
    forgot to add no moral compass!! How could you miss that one?"
    keep reading the good read
    lodestar

  • #2
    did the guy even read a book? come on!

    more strangely it's the speechwriter's who seems to have done this weirdly.
    "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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    • #3
      Living proof that a rich kid can graduate from an Ivy League college without getting an education.

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      • #4
        Is it too much to ask that the Bush-Bashing 's occasionally manage to quote something in context?

        Here is the portion of the President's speech that referred to The Quiet American:
        Finally, there's Vietnam. This is a complex and painful subject for many Americans. The tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech. So I'm going to limit myself to one argument that has particular significance today. Then as now, people argued the real problem was America's presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end.

        The argument that America's presence in Indochina was dangerous had a long pedigree. In 1955, long before the United States had entered the war, Graham Greene wrote a novel called, "The Quiet American." It was set in Saigon, and the main character was a young government agent named Alden Pyle. He was a symbol of American purpose and patriotism -- and dangerous naivete. Another character describes Alden this way: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused."

        After America entered the Vietnam War, the Graham Greene argument gathered some steam. As a matter of fact, many argued that if we pulled out there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people.

        In 1972, one antiwar senator put it this way: "What earthly difference does it make to nomadic tribes or uneducated subsistence farmers in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos, whether they have a military dictator, a royal prince or a socialist commissar in some distant capital that they've never seen and may never heard of?" A columnist for The New York Times wrote in a similar vein in 1975, just as Cambodia and Vietnam were falling to the communists: "It's difficult to imagine," he said, "how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." A headline on that story, date Phnom Penh, summed up the argument: "Indochina without Americans: For Most a Better Life."
        President Bush clearly said that Graham Greene's bit of fantasy was anti-war and opposed to American foreign policy...and was just as wrong-headed then as it is now.
        Last edited by The Doctor; 28 Aug 07, 11:04.
        Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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        • #5
          If members wish to get a flavour of the political/military situation in Indo-China around 1975, in the same vein as Greene's novel (the neutral obeserver), i would recommend reading John Le Carre's 'The Honorable Schoolboy' . Large sections of the story as set within Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and give a real insight reinto the chaos of that time.

          regards

          Gaz

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          • #6
            Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
            If members wish to get a flavour of the political/military situation in Indo-China around 1975, in the same vein as Greene's novel
            Gaz

            I would hardly call Greene nuetral. Go read a biography of him again.

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            • #7
              I think you people need realize what is going on with this Lodestar character.

              He comes in here and pastes his words of wisdom that are from somewhere else, dumps them on everyone and then disappears until he comes for the next one. He plays fast and loose with facts to make his point and doesn't stay around for the discussion or correction. Nor does he reply to anyone's comments. You can look this up if you don't believe me. I went through everyone of his posts. He is only here to pontificate second hand.

              I think regardless of which side you are on with any of these issues you might wish to stick to discussing things with real participants of these forums, instead of responding in a vacuum to someone who is using this as a place to grandstand his political monologue

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              • #8
                Umm. I've got a Masters in Philosophy and another Masters on the way, so I guess I've had an education. And yet, I've never read the Quiet American! Guess I'm not very smart either.

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                • #9
                  Reply to Miss Saigon

                  Miss Saigon:
                  Well thatís quite a broadside! Have to dust myself off before I respond by golly!
                  Firstly let me congratulate you, trailboss 49, armor 11, Half Pint, Sgt. Rock and many other AGH posters who have responded to the issues I have raised over the last few months.
                  While I may not agree with many of your responses and some issues have been deeply divisive, I appreciate you all taking the time, effort, thought and research that have gone into your replies.
                  The reason I have not posted regular reply comments or been involved in ongoing discussions is simply a matter of lack of time to do so.
                  With a full-time job, wife, two teenage children, aging mother a thousand things to do on weekends and fatigue at night, I simply canít get around to writing up answers I can actually post.
                  I must have started at least twenty responses to some posters who have commented on matters I have raised only to find that some-one else has said basically what I wanted to say, I get too tired to complete the reply, or as often happens, Iíve only got enough in me to compose a new issue. Many responses to my posts are very well articulated and argued and would take far more time to address than I have.
                  Which leads me to ask a question about some of you gals and guys on this forum:
                  How on earth do you get the time do so much writing???
                  Some of you have hundreds or even thousands of posts! Believe me I would love to be able to do that.
                  A for being some-one who Ďcomes in here and pastes his words of wisdom that are from somewhere else, dumps them on everyone and then disappears until he comes for the next one. He plays fast and loose with facts to make his point and doesn't stay around for the discussion or correction. Nor does he reply to anyone's comments. You can look this up if you don't believe me. I went through everyone of his posts. He is only here to pontificate second hand.í
                  Ouch! I havenít been spoken to like that since about two days ago when my daughter gave me my thrice-weekly dressing down.
                  I hope the posts Iíve done have at least made some valid points and made people think. If not, then may I need to try harder1
                  But really some questions I have posed have been:

                  Re Bushís VN analogy? Surely the ĎAmericaní war itself was worse than the aftermath?

                  Is some form of re-colonization the only way to stabilise Iraq?

                  Congressional defeatism: Is war to serious a business to be left to politicians?

                  Winning or ending the war, what matters most?

                  Can a war be won once home-front morale crumbles?

                  Is the US simply not up to fighting and winning an extended Ďblood warí ?

                  Is the US Army only as good as itsí last war?


                  Valid questions in the current state of affairs or not?

                  Anyway, thatís my confession to one and all, so apologies all around and I will try and respond more often.

                  Gotta go now!
                  lodestar was called a man with no honour, no courage, no integrity and no honesty. To which he replied: "Hey, you forgot to add no moral compass!! How could you miss that one?"
                  keep reading the good read
                  lodestar

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                    did the guy even read a book? come on!

                    more strangely it's the speechwriter's who seems to have done this weirdly.

                    If you read you are unqualified to be a Bush speech writer.

                    Sorry couldn't resist.
                    Boston Strong!

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                    • #11
                      Everybody likes to ping on Bush. One must remember that he had 9/11 thrust upon him and despite what some "conspiracy fanatics" say, I'm quite sure he would rather it never happened. However, 9/11 came and the American people and the Congress all cried for action (read: payback).

                      With this mandate, Bush went into action and the rest of the mess is history.

                      Note that this is an exact repeat of the lead into Viet Nam, Congress chopped off on it and off we went to do battle with the forces of evil.

                      Henceforth, here is what I suggest:

                      1) Never let Corporate CEO types become SecDef. Both Rumsfeld and McNamara (in his time) attempted to "manage" the war, not fight it.

                      2) If Congress wants to chop off on a war, then require that they declare the war, not sit around and write checks for military action. As it has gone down, as soon as things turn a little sour, our wishy-washy, fence-straddling, hot and cold running Congress gets cold feet and points fingers at the President.(Even Hillary the Horrible has stooped to that trick.)

                      3) Congress must be held accountable for their part of this fiasco. Bush is just a convenient target.

                      4) If we get into a conflict henceforth, let the Generals define strategy and fight the damn war. We spend tons of money and years of training to teach them how to fight wars. Civilian oversight, yes! Civilian micro-management, no!

                      5) Freedom of the press notwithstanding, keep those liberal leaning sob sisters from reporting one sidedly. We get lurid details of every goof up, friendly fire incident, every accidental killing of innocent buystanders and the press plays it to the max. Sucessful ops by our guys don't receive nearly the attention. (I can't blame the press entirely, everyone knows how Americans thrive on scandal and sensationalism.) We spend millions on the latest technology and weaponry to insure that our military is lethal to the extreme in battle. With that level of lethality, innocents are going to get hurt, no matter how careful we are. GET OVER IT! It happens.

                      GG
                      "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

                      "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
                        Is it too much to ask that the Bush-Bashing 's occasionally manage to quote something in context?

                        Here is the portion of the President's speech that referred to The Quiet American:


                        President Bush clearly said that Graham Greene's bit of fantasy was anti-war and opposed to American foreign policy...and was just as wrong-headed then as it is now.
                        Perhaps, but he didn't say it in the piece you quoted.

                        ************************************************** *****************************

                        Grognard Gunny: Bush is a man who is ethically and morally bankrupt, and is infamous for his egocentric attitude as demostrated by his behavior in the National Guard. When he had a chance to play politics he betrrayed his nation, his unit, his uniform and his oath to serve in order to pursue his personal agenda.

                        The problem isn't the occasional Bush bashing - it's what's wrong with the rest of America that a sorry little person like that is even acceptable in public office.
                        Last edited by Mountain Man; 29 Aug 07, 17:59.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MountainMan View Post
                          Perhaps, but he didn't say it in the piece you quoted...
                          The piece I quoted was from the President's speech to the VFW. His reference to The Quiet American in that speech is the basis of Lodestar's first post in this thread.

                          Originally posted by MountainMan View Post
                          ...Bush is a man who is ethically and morally bankrupt, and is infamous for his egocentric attitude as demostrated by his behavior in the National Guard. When he had a chance to play politics he betrrayed his nation, his unit, his uniform and his oath to serve in order to pursue his personal agenda...
                          Originally posted by MountainMan View Post
                          ...As for Bush "being around" during the Viet Nam war, this is a guy who deserted his soft, cushy National Guard duties. He is not qualified to comment on anything military...
                          Your allegations that President Bush "betrayed his nation, his unit, his uniform and his oath to serve" and that he "deserted his soft, cushy National Guard duties" are based upon BALD-FACED LIES.
                          Last edited by The Doctor; 30 Aug 07, 09:17.
                          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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