Christopher Hitchens on Vietnam

December 12, 2010

CH responds to Michael Labeit's post Christopher Hitchens on Vietnam on ricochet.com, via Peter Robinson.

CH replies: "I was naturally flattered to have my opinions on the origin of the Vietnam conflict taken so seriously in your recent postings. But this feeling gave way to a sense of bewilderment as I read further. Is it really controversial, anywhere, to assert that United States support for French colonialism was at the root of the disaster?" Continue reading

Shortly after posting Hitchens' reply, Peter Robinson posted this:

Christopher Hitchens Replies: The Background...And My Answer

23 comments:

Michael Labeit said...

Thanks for the exposure. And yes, I forgot to tell you that my original post was available on the main feed and not just the member feed.

Anonymous said...

Hitchens strongest point is that FDR's successors did not necessarily share his anti-colonialism. Mr Labeit's idea that FDR's distaste for proppng up fading empires was passed in full to Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ and Nixon is naive. Certainly, FDR's successors did not use classically imperial rhetoric to justify American involvement in Vietnam. But "domino theory" and "containment" were neo-imperial language, not a new intellectual paradigm. FDR's successors thought the old man had screwed up big time at Yalta, and were determned not to let something similar happen in Southeast Asia. They decided to prop up existing colonial arrangements to do so. It was a terrible mistake. That is Hitchens' strongest point.

Michael Labeit said...

Anon,

The claim that "FDR's distaste for proppng up fading empires was passed in full to Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ and Nixon" was not mine.

Anonymous said...

True enough. Long and Robinson led that charge.

HJ said...

Hmmmm...interesting discussion. My understanding is that Roosevelt was very anti-imperialist and even joshed with Stalin that soon there could be revolutionay conditions in India that will depose British rule. He did this within earshot of Churchill because Roosevelt had a little more than a sneaking admiration for Stalin.
But from Truman onwards, US foreign policy was overwhelmingly anti-Communist by almost any means necessary. This included propping up colonial governments overseas or, in the case of Europe, funding fascist organizations as potential guerilla outfits should those countries fall to Communism.

nyomythus said...

Some our friends on the Right have a hard time seeing that Communism wasn't the worst political system in the world, and was something of a force for the better in some places. "Why settle for second best?" begged the comeback, "Mind your own fucking business." Fist to cuffs in seconds flat. Voilà, the Vietnam War.

nyomythus said...

Dumb post I know -- just being a goober.

Michael Labeit said...

Nyomythus, I would argue the empirical evidence suggests that communism/socialism have proven to be the worst social systems in recorded history. They certainly take the cake when it comes to body counts, even over fascism which contains few if any essential differences from socialism and communism. I can't think of any good coming from communism.

FGFM said...

fascism... contains few if any essential differences from socialism and communism

Always nice to hear from a hard money crackpot.

Michael Labeit said...

You deny this claim? Let me elaborate then.

Socialism is a social system where the government owns and controls all or most of the non-human factors of production, which include land and capital goods. Communism is similar, though under true Marxian communism there is anarchism, i.e., no government.

Under fascism, private citizens and firms are allowed to own their non-human factors of production but the government controls all or most of the non-human factors of production (or at least stands ready to seize control of any non-human factor of production it wishes)

Hence, the right to private property is recognized neither under socialism/communism nor fascism. As a matter of fact, socialism/communism and fascism violate property rights in myriad ways from burdensome taxation to regulatory intervention. As a result, socialism, communism, and fascism yield dire socio-economic mal-effects. They drastically reduce output by disincentivizing production and make rational economic calculation impossible. There is indeed no essential difference between living under socialism/communism and living under fascism. Mere agony is to be expected from either.

FGFM said...

Like I said, hard money crackpot.

Anonymous said...

Mr Labeit,

Don't waste your time w/ FGFM. FGFM is a pathetic, anti-social cyberstalker. He makes youtube videos of himself cooking hotdogs (titled "Cooking For One") and washing his toes (titled "Bathing For Ten"). He trolls the internet for pictures of Hitchens' daughter then posts them, along w/ suitably creepy comments, on his 9-11 truthering, anti-semitic website. In a better world, he'd be screaming at passersby in a public park between spells in the county lockup. But we live in the internet age, and Tom is generous to a fault around here.

FGFM said...

Crackpot, meet stalker.

Anonymous said...

FGFM, meet irony.

FGFM said...

Decent reductionist.

Anonymous said...

Bathing For Ten!!!!!!

FGFM said...

Posting for ten!

Michael Labeit said...

Yeah, FGFM you're scum. You haven't even offered an argument.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael Labeit, Since the topic of discussion at Ricochet seems to currently be "the Hitch" I wish that you smart folks would address the new essay at Jewish Ideas Daily (reprinted at Frontpage Magazine) that claims that CH is an anti-semite.

IMHO they should be ashamed of themselves.

Michael Labeit said...

I'll see what I can do. If it makes the main feed, I'll let you know here.

FGFM said...

"Yeah, FGFM you're scum. You haven't even offered an argument."

Like you're worthy of one. I work in finance, how about you?

Anonymous said...

"Like [sic] you're worthy of one."

I thought comments were now moderated? Can we nip this kind of stuff in the bud?

That article attacking Hitchens for being an anti-Semite is really quite remarkable. I wonder if he will respond to it.

Tom said...

Michael didn't think FGFM had offered an argument, I let FGFM respond. End of story.

 
 
 

Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir