August 10, 2014

Christopher Hitchens on Indochina

17-year-old Nguyen Thi Hue, who is blind, with her mother. View Nachtwey's photo essay on Agent Orange.
Christopher Hitchens said in a 2007 interview with Vanity Fair:
"The American enterprise in Indochina was, I think, foredoomed by one thing, namely its direct inheritance from French colonialism in that region. The French empire should never have been restored after 1945. I think if President Roosevelt had not died, it wouldn’t have been. The United States should not have tried to come to its rescue, and shouldn’t have tried to succeed it. It’s not America’s role to succeed Western colonialism. It’s its role to help those colonies to become emancipated. And we missed that chance, and having missed it, engaged in a war where terrifying and illegal methods of warfare, like carpet bombing, the use of chemical defoliant, like Agent Orange, and other terrible war crimes were committed. And part of the reason why Cambodia went to year zero was that it had been half bombed back into the Stone Age already. And I’m sorry that should be on the conscience of anyone who supported the war, which I did not. But thought I don’t try and evade the responsibility for what the other side eventually did, not just in Cambodia, but also in Vietnam, but there was never any chance of keeping Vietnam partitioned, and it shouldn’t have been tried. Now furthermore, no American interest was really involved there. We were told we were fighting against the Chinese takeover, whereas the best insurance against Maoism in Indochina is always Vietam. That’s been proved many times since then. So none of this applies in the case of Iraq, where we went to overthrow a hideous dictatorship that was a local aggressor, a sponsor of international terrorism, had used weapons of mass destruction inside and outside its own borders, was hated by its people, and was in thoroughgoing breach of all important United Nations resolutions. None of this, by the way, was the case with the government of Vietnam."
In full here. Read Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair from August 2006 here.

My previous posts on Hitchens on Northern Ireland here, on segregated schools here and on the "parasitic class" here. On Albert Camus and "the rats" here. On Northern Ireland's "barbaric, sectarian leaders" here. His comment that anti-semites are "mentally and morally unwell" here. On Vaclav Havel here. On the US First Amendment here, on the US as an empire and class-based society here, and on how to succeed here. On women and poverty here. On the US Declaration of Independence here. Christopher Hitchens explained that he left the UK in part because of the libel laws, see here. Christopher Hitchens spoke here about the authority of bloggers and online writers (7m30s) (original video in full here). Hitchens on "being bored" as the worst sin here. On why Hitchens is such a compelling writer here. On cliché here. On socialismhere. On Iran's "Baby Boomerang", here. On the need to defend the principles of the Enlightenment here. On thought crimes here. On the "encouraging signs of polarisation" here. On feeling "envious of someone who is young and active and starting out" here. Christopher Hitchens on the anti-Columbus movement. On opinion polls here. On the term "political spectrum"here. On Obama's Nobel Peace Prize here. Hitchens on how writing is hard, here. Hitchens on how a writer can never really stop, here. Hitchens explains why he is no longer a socialist, here. On the "some Christians fell into error" excuse here. On mass surveillance here. On ventriloquising the dead here.
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