Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sex, lies, and videotape

On August 4, 1989, the movie “Sex, lies, and videotape” was released to the public. The low budget film became a commercial and critical success, and it was the catalyst that led to other successes for the young director, Steven Soderbergh.

Exactly twenty five years to the day before “Sex lies, and videotape” was released, another “incident” occurred that would have an enormous impact on our country. Although the incident wasn’t technically a lie, the “threatening actions” of another sovereign nation were never actually proved, which didn’t stop our country from engaging in the longest war in our nation’s history.

Three days after the “attack”, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which led to the rapid escalation of military action in what became known as the Vietnam War, even though an act of war was never officially declared by the United States.

The seeds of our involvement in what used to be known as French Indo-China go back even further than the Gulf of Tonkin “skirmish“. On August 4, 1953, President Eisenhower, while speaking at a Governor’s conference in Seattle, warned that the situation in Asia was becoming “very ominous” for the United States. As a result of his concerns, he approved a $400,000,000 aid package to the French in order to prevent what eventually became known as “the domino theory”. When the French were defeated a year later, the first American “advisors” were sent to the region, and the first two casualties (both Navy pilots) were recorded.

Although the region didn’t have any “weapons of mass destruction“, or oil, it DID have large quantities of tin and tungsten, which the United States felt were valuable commodities.

Ultimately, 58,200 American troops were killed in Vietnam, and as many as 3,000,000 Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. Financially, the cost to us taxpayers was $111 billion dollars. Although that's an awful lot of money, it's still significantly less than the $341 billion we spent during WWII.

To date, there have been roughly 7000 coalition casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far, we’ve spent $1.23 TRILLION, but the meter is still running, and will definitely go higher.

The irony of war is that “enemies” eventually become allies.

We’ve fought wars against England, Germany, Italy, and Japan at various points in time, and all of them are now strong allies.

China supported enemy troops in North Korea and North Vietnam, but measures to improve relations between the countries started as early as 1969. Today, China is the leading foreign holder (at 26%) of U.S. Security Treasuries. As a result, the recent brawl in Washington about the debt limit likely made the guys in Beijing VERY nervous.

We established diplomatic relations with Vietnam on July 11, 1995. Since I have six “work polos” in my closet that were made in Vietnam, it’s possible that Vietnam will eventually replace China as a supplier of low cost goods.

Sad to say, there will probably ALWAYS be an armed conflict going on somewhere in the world, but wouldn’t it be great if John Lennon’s dream came true, and we had a “brotherhood of man”?

It may never become a reality, but it IS good to imagine.

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