Reading Kevin Nguyen’s piece on Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War got me thinking about so much, namely the jingoistic attitude of many Americans… and also this picture, which I conveniently saw this morning.
A lot of Americans have always thought of our country as heroic and infallible, but many of the wars we’ve fought suggest the opposite… we are a hyper-militaristic state that often imposes our way of life on other countries or invades them for resources. We’re falling apart because our go-to is often violence, which leads to violence and further division in retaliation, and it’s just a cruel cycle.
I’ve also been thinking about the protest music the fledgling American anti-war movement was beginning to spur around the time of the Vietnam war. I recently was introduced to Phil Ochs’s music and it’s wonderfully satirical, and pretty biting at that.
In Vietnam, a 19-year-old Vietcong soldier screams that Americans should leave his country as he is shot by a government firing squad. His American counterpart meanwhile is staying up nights thinking up ways to deceptively destroy his health, mind, or virility to escape two years in a relatively comfortable army. Free enterprise strikes again.Phil Ochs
Ah yes, capitalism, imperialism and The American Way: bringing freedom for all yet again!