7-12: Vietnam

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

From the This Day in History site for July 11 there was much to ponder concerning Vietnam. The cacophony of events on July 11, in different years, sometimes ring hollow and sometimes sound as though they were part of today’s conflicts around the world.

Here are headlines and first paragraphs (in the order they were presented).


U.S. establishes diplomatic relations with Vietnam

Two decades after the fall of Saigon, President Bill Clinton establishes full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, citing Vietnamese cooperation in accounting for the 2,238 Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War. [This was more than a fluffy fanfare-filled gesture as it has led to prolific economic growth for Vietnam in recent years. For all the good that has occurred, however, one matter bugs me: tourism. I have not returned and do not intend to, but I know people who have. Guess what? Parts of some battleground tours include firing American M-16s and Russian AK-47s. Paying visitors may also purchase their own, “genuine” dog tags. So much for diplomacy.]


Public Opinion Approves Bombing of North Vietnam

A Harris survey taken shortly after the bombing raids on the Hanoi-Haiphong area shows that 62 percent of those interviewed favored the raids, 11 percent were opposed, and 27 percent were undecided. Of those polled, 86 percent felt the raids would hasten the end of the war…. [During this period my unit was split in two and half of us moved from War Zone C, near Cambodia, to “I” Corps which was in the northeast quadrant of the country which drew the imaginary line between North and South Vietnam. I went north. I never heard of any polls, Harris or otherwise, being taken about garnering approval for military actions. The Commander-in-Chief in our republic is by order of the Constitution a civilian. That’s is surely a good thing.  But allowing an ill-informed populace to influence the efficacy of bombing raids seems kind of iffy to me.]

Senators Debate U.S. Policy in Vietnam

In Senate debates about U.S. policy in Southeast Asia, Senator Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) warns against further escalation of the war. Convinced that a military solution in South Vietnam was impossible, he urged an alternative to expansion of the U.S. effort in Vietnam. His alternative included putting the  issue of the confrontation between North and South Vietnam before the United Nations and containing the conflict by building a defensive barrier south of the Demilitarized Zone to separate North Vietnam from South Vietnam. Senator George Aiken (R-Vermont) suggested that the Johnson administration pay more attention to people like Mansfield who were questioning the wisdom of further escalation of the war, rather than relying on “certain military leaders who have far more knowledge of weapons than they have of people.” Nevertheless, Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen (Illinois), asked if he favored an increase in U.S. troops in Vietnam, replied “If General Westmoreland says we need them, yes, sir.” [Isn’t this why we have Senators and Representatives … to speak and argue on our behalf?]

 Thieu Challenges NLF to Participate in Free Elections

6-21: News Dump

Yesterday was a big day in politics. The Huffington Post led with this headline and story:

Senate Fails: Gun Control Bills Go Down

In the wake of the latest and most profligate shooting in American history, this deserves top billing. We I get upset every time bills related to gun control are proposed in Congress, because every time the result disgusts me. Gutless politicians apparently believe that a moment of silence in prayer is enough to assuage the nation. Legislation to these legislators is out of the question.

What irks me more about yesterday’s news is the next five headlines/stories, presumably set forth in order of importance. Orlando, we’ve had enough of you. Now we will tell you the really important events of the day–more important than digging deeper into the 49 lives lost in a nightclub. Here are the next four headlines.

Trump Campaign in Chaos: Donald Dumps Lewandowski

Another Advisor Quits after Tweeting ‘Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead!’

Report: Trump Children Led Ouster

Anti-Trump Delegates Prep for Convention Revolt

More follow below the fold, so to speak. This is what passes as news: everything Trump. I hope that the back room cigar smokers in the Republican Party come up empty when trying to devise a “Dump Trump” scheme. Despite all the Bill Kristol ball gazing, the harrumphing from the “establishment,” and the trivialization of his campaign by the media, Trump has wiped the floor with his staggering number of competitors and won the GOP delegate derby fair and square. He has earned the title “Presumptive Nominee” of his party on his journey toward coronation inauguration as President of the United States of America. The rules were set, he played by them, he won. The fact that candidate Donald Trump embarrasses so many in his party is, well, is too bad.

I believe a Trump candidacy is important for the nation–and a Clinton candidacy as well. The country needs to know just how “popular” the candidates’ views are. Trump’s wall is not a metaphor, it is real; is this what the majority of Americans want eating up their tax dollars. Oops, forgot, Mexico is going to pay for it. Does business success predict good governance? “W” had an MBA and led us into the greatest recession in 80 years.

These are important issues and should be taken as such by the electorate. But we are presented with hyperbolic candidates. Voters either love Clinton or they hate her, no in between,  love or hate. Democrats believe Trump is a joke and Republicans think he is a bad joke. I fall into the love Clinton camp for reasons not the least of which is the circus coming to town atmosphere I sense in Trump’s run. He has not yet convinced me that he respects the office he is trying to occupy. Ironically, perhaps, that is why I want to see him run. I want to see the actual percentage of Americans who would vote for him. My prediction, written here before, is no more than 20%.

If I am right, we could see the end of off-kilter candidates. If I am wrong, let the games begin.



6-08: Starr Update

In a recent blog I wrote about the despicable, hypocritical Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr: Clinton, Whitewater, Lewinsky, etc. The Daily Kos has run an expanded update to Starr’s duplicitousness under this headline:

Kenneth Starr, or How I learned to Stop Worrying about Republican Attacks on the Clintons

So, Kenneth Starr was fired from his position as president of Baylor University due to the university’s failure to properly address accusations of sexual assault against members of the Baylor football team. Well, not totally fired.

He has resigned his position as chancellor, but will be allowed to continue teaching law. I hope he will be teaching criminal law. After all, it takes one to know one. He is nothing more than a low life in a tie.

Starr joined Baylor in 2010, and “appears to have been devoted to helping turn the school into a football powerhouse,” according to a recent article on the unfolding scandal by Sue Ambrose and David Tarrant of The Dallas Morning News. Why? Does he think this sort of behavior makes men out of wimps like him? Continue reading 6-08: Starr Update

4-2: Paul Drew Blog


  • I grew up in Harrison (Gardens for 14 years before moving to Jersey Street; worked at Polsky’s through h.s.; graduated from St. Benedict’s in 1963.
  • I am a member of the Campbell/Russell Clan; my mother was Margaret and my grandfather was Big Paddy who lived at 14 South 5th in Chippie and Dolly Cifelly’s house.

I started a blog about a month ago which I am going to forward to the two groups. If you like it, subscribe–no fee–and it will appear in your e-mail inbox every day. If you don’t simply unsubscribe (and I won’t take it personally).

The “hook” for my blog is PTSD, but you don’t have to have it, which I do, to get something out of the posts. Knowing both groups, I know there will be little hesitation on commenting.


paul drew