Rule by Decree Best for China?

April 22, 2009

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[First published August 29, 2005] It is rare these days that I will be aghast at what I read in the press, but the article, “In China, democracy equals disaster,” by Gary Hogan in the Baltimore Sun (here) did it. At first I thought it was a parody and smiled as I read the first few paragraphs, but then it became all too clear that this was serious. For the rest of my reading I must have looked as though I was reading one of those beamed-up-to-an-alien starship stories. When I finished, I had to double-check my calendar to make sure indeed that I had not been transported by some quirk of nature back to the 1960s when this sort of article was popular.

Hogan begins by extolling the “Four Pests” campaign by Mao soon after the communists seized China. It was an attempt to eliminate sources of disease, such as flies and mosquitoes, by decreeing a daily quota to be killed and turned in. “And it worked,” says Hogan, and he uses this successful campaign as a model for the way China should be run. Oh yes, there was the “disastrous” Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, “But rule by imperial decree was and is the best way to govern the planet’s largest nation. . . . For China must be controlled. Tightly. A centralized oligarchy is vital for this. Democracy would be disastrous for China, for the United States and for everyone.

He concludes this incredibly article this way:

Like it or not, communism – or to use the boilerplate popularized by Mr. Deng, a “socialist market economy” – with its matrix of failsafe controls strictly applied by the Beijing leadership elite, works for China. And a workable China is in the best interests of the United States.

There is no recognition that the eradication of pests by quota was coincident with the eradication of human beings by the millions and later by quota also. While he does recognize that the Great Leap Forward was disastrous, he seems not to see the human horror in it leading to the world’s greatest famine that may have killed 30-40 million Chinese. And while also recognizing the disaster that was the Cultural Revolution, he seems unaware of the human toll, which may have been as high as 10 million (my calculation is about 7 million). China’s Communist Party, the government of China, was and still is (with it being the greatest executioner in the world today) a killing machine. Living bodies in, corpses out.

Then Hogan seems content that Chinese have no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, no freedom of association, no freedom to choose their leaders, no rule of law, no right to a fair trial. After all, they live in a “stable and predictable China, [which] is vastly preferable to the vagaries and vicissitudes of a 1.3 billion-strong democracy.”

I wish I could twitch my nose and as though a witch, whisk him off to live under this marvelously stable rule be decree.

Link of Note

China’s Bloody Century: Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview R.J. Rummel (1991)

I say:

Once control over all of China was won and consolidated, and the proper party machinery and instruments of control were generally in place, the communists launched numerous movements to systematically destroy the traditional Chinese social and political system and replace it with a totally socialist, top to bottom “dictatorship of the proletariat.” In the beginning their model was Stalin’s Soviet Union; Soviet advisors even helping to construct their own Gulag. Their principles were derived from Marxism-Leninism, as largely interpreted by Mao Tse-tung; their goals were to thoroughly transform China into a communist society. In this they were consistent with their beginnings, but they now had a whole country to work with, without the need to give tactical and strategic consideration to another force–the Nationalists or Japanese–seeking and capable of destroying them.

Now, beginning in 1950, carefully and nationally organized movement after movement rapidly followed each other: Land Reform, Suppressing Anti-communist Guerrillas, New Marriage system, Religious Reform, Democratic Reform, Suppressing Counterrevolutionaries, Anti-Rightist Struggle, Suppressing the “Five Black Categories,” etc. Each of these was a step towards the final communization of China; each was bloody. Self-consciously bloody. Witness what Mao himself had to say in a speech to party cadre in 1958: 

What’s so unusual about Emperor Shih Huang of the Chin Dynasty? He had buried alive 460 scholars only, but we have buried alive 46,000 scholars. In the course of our repression of counter-revolutionary elements, haven’t we put to death a number of the counter-revolutionary scholars? I had an argument with the democratic personages. They say we are behaving worse than Emperor Shih Huang of the Chin Dynasty. That’s definitely not correct. We are 100 times ahead of Emperor Shih of the Chin Dynasty in repression of counter-revolutionary scholars.

Only when these movements and especially the final, total collectivization of the peasants and “Great Leap Forward” destroyed the agricultural system, causing the world’s greatest recorded famine–[at least] 27,000,000 starved too death–did the communist begin to draw back from or slacken their drives. Shortly after this famine, in the mid-1960s, an intra-party civil war erupted between Mao Tse-tung and his followers, who wanted to continue the mass-based revolution, and a more moderate, pragmatically oriented faction. This “cultural revolution” probably cost near [10 million] lives. Mao won, but only temporarily. With his death soon after, the pragmatists and “capitalist roaders” regained power and launched China in a more open, economically experimental direction; even, until the Tianamen Square demonstrations and subsequent massacres of 1989, on a more liberal path.

So, overall, counting the democide, nondemocidal famine, and battle dead, the total cost of Chinese communism has been about 73 million lives. But, they did temporarily eradicate the flies and mosquitoes

China’s Cultural Revolution
A Docudrama

On The Sharp Drop in Global Violence, Again

April 21, 2009

[First published December 28, 2005] As I’ve pointed out a number of times, the growth in democracies, which now number 122, has reached a tipping point, where their contribution to a global democratic peace has caused a sharp decrease in the extent of global violence. This drop is pointed out by Andrew Mack, the director of the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia, in a Washington Post article, “Peace on Earth? Increasingly, Yes.”. He says:

By 2003, there were 40 percent fewer conflicts than in 1992. The deadliest conflicts — those with 1,000 or more battle-deaths — fell by some 80 percent. The number of genocides and other mass slaughters of civilians also dropped by 80 percent, while core human rights abuses have declined in five out of six regions of the developing world since the mid-1990s. International terrorism is the only type of political violence that has increased. Although the death toll has jumped sharply over the past three years, terrorists kill only a fraction of the number who die in wars.

This change is extraordinary, and he wonders why it has been given so little attention in the media. His answer is that the media is addicted to reporting global violence. I agree, and in my terms, no violence is no news.

However, the most interesting aspect of Mack’s article is how he accounts for this decline. It is

The end of the Cold War, which had driven at least a third of all conflicts since World War II, appears to have been the single most critical factor.

In the late 1980s, Washington and Moscow stopped fueling “proxy wars” in the developing world, and the United Nations was liberated to play the global security role its founders intended. Freed from the paralyzing stasis of Cold War geopolitics, the Security Council initiated an unprecedented, though sometimes inchoate, explosion of international activism designed to stop ongoing wars and prevent new ones.

He seems unaware of the predictions at the end of the Cold War that conflicts and violence that the Soviets and U.S. kept a lid on so they would not escalate to involve them would now break out. But, lets say that this prediction was wrong, and lets suppose that the end of the Cold War meant less global violence.

As to the UN being also responsible for the drop in violence, this is an understandable claim from Mack, who was director of the Strategic Planning Unit in the executive office of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan between 1998 and 2001. I think he is flatly wrong, and even the UN’s own internal study, “Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations,” says it failed. In any case, Mack gives no credit to the growth of democracies — not a whiff.

Strange, since in personal communication he does recognize this growth also as a cause, and so does his Center’s report, ” War and Peace In The 21st Century,” that I discussed and presented in my blog, “More: The Democratic Peace Causes a Sharp Decline In Violence.” I suspect that among those who have dealt personally with the complexities of international relations and violence, it seems too simplistic, and even too idealistic, to ascribe the drop in violence to . . . democracy. With all its diverse variables and conditions, nations and cultures, and leaders and dictators, the political world seems more complex than that.

On War and Interventionism

April 20, 2009

[First published June 9, 2005] This is to clarify my position on war and intervention, given the confusion shown in the various comments here and to my website]

At first, I will provide the empirical and value assumptions on which my arguments are based.


Democratic freedom (liberal democracies) is a solution to war, internal violence, democide, famine, and national impoverishment. Thus, fostering freedom is a way to global peace and human security.

The more unfree, or totalitarian a regime, the more its rulers will murder its people, and is likely to make war.

Such thug regimes have killedseveral times more people than have wars. Thus, on the scale of bodies, thugs are more to be feared than war.

There ae about 117 electorla democracies in the world 2005, and about 89 of them are liberal democracies. Their exisence and the corresponding democratic peace has impacted world violence, such that for over five years it has been in sharp decline.


As established by the UN and international conventions, thus by international law, every human being has a right to individual freedom and a democratic government. All dictators are criminals denying people their basic rights, if not murdering them in the process.

The life of every innocent human is as precious as that of any other; there is a moral equality among all our souls and individual consciousnesses, except for those who show by their intentions and actions that they don’t respect human life (e.g., Saddam, Stalin, domestic murderers, etc.)

War is just when the evil resulting from not going to war is greater than the evil of war itself, such as in self defense, the defense of other democracies, or in the saving of lives (e.g., as in stopping the Rwandan genocide). Not only must there be a just cause, but also the war must be fought justly, that is proportional to the threat (no nuclear bombs on terrorist camps) and with due concern for the lives of noncombatants (E.g., in line with the Geneva Conventions).


When is war/intervention justified? If there is large-scale democide being carried out, as in Sudan (As happened in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo), military intervention is justified, and so it is in Burma. North Korea is a special case, because of the proportionality criteria — given Kim’s military capability and possible nukes, the cost in lives and destruction of intervention in the North may not be proportional to the evil of, or threat of, the regime. This is one reason I have called for Kim’s assassination — it would be just. It would be more than a proportional response to his evil and threat.

If by acquiring WMD’s, a regime is a danger to the national security of a democracy. A Pre-emptive war is justified. It is justifiedi also when a regime is supporting and aiding direct attacks, as by terrorists, on a democracy.

When is war/intervention not justified? For revenge, honor, territory, resources (e.g., oil), or to spread democracy. Democracy can be spread by means other than war, and war for democracy may well unleash demons that make democracy more unlikely. For many dictatorships, democracy is an evolutionary path in line with their economic growth, trade, communications, and is encouraged principally by the example of democracy in other countries.


The war in Afghanistan was justified for two reasons. The Taliban was a murderous regime killing Afghans by the tens of thousands, and enslaving he rest. It also provided aid and comfort to terrorists, particularly those intent on attacking the United States and other Western democracies.


In light of the intelligence available to President Bush about the potentially dangerous WMDs being developed by Saddam Hussein as reported by the UN and all major intelligence services, the uniformity in these intelligence reports, Saddam’s use of poison gas –a WMD — against his own people, his aid and connections to terrorists, and his mass murder of his own people amounting to the hundreds of thousands, the war against Hussein was justified by UN resolution and Just War doctrine.

Once such a war is fought and successful, then as with Japan and Germany after World War II, democratization should become the goal of the following occupation so as to create a democratic peace oriented government, such that war will not again be necessary in the future, and to set a democratic example for other countries in the region.

Link of Note

“Far from media focus: steady democratic progress in Iraq” (6/7/05) B A. Heather Coyne

Coyne writes:

These wild swings in the security and political environment that are depicted on front pages around the globe are not as evident here on the ground in Baghdad.

In fact, having spent the past two years in Iraq, first as an Army officer and now as the head of the Iraq office of the Washington-based US Institute of Peace, I am struck by the determination and steadiness of Iraqis as they struggle to build a stable, democratic country, and by the continuing, firm commitment of Iraqis to participate in – and manage – that process.

Book 1 Never Again

Our Own Reeducation Camps

April 17, 2009

[First published December 22, 2005] When North Vietnam took over the South in 1974, they introduced re-education camps. Their purpose was to brainwash those who had lived under capitalism and an anti-communist government. First, camp leaders daily drilled into prisoners’ minds the evil of greedy, exploitive capitalism and the selfishness and self-centeredness of freedom. This was followed by drilling, drilling, and more drilling into prisoners’ cleansed minds the glories of the people’s democracy, and its selflessness, compassion, and real freedom. The prisoners had two choices: accept this or else.

Well, you may not have realized it, but we have our own re-education camps in the United States. Young people are practically forced into the camps if they want to be professionals in some field or get a good job and income. Once in the camps, these youths are required to submit to re-education sessions (called classes) led by those well selected for this purpose. As they move towards getting a signed release from the camps in four or more years, they are successively brainwashed of the mental pollution instilled by parents, and their capitalist, racist, homophobic, bigoted Christian, right wing conservative environment. And year-by-year they are re-educated into the left’s view of the world — socialism, secularism, moral relativism, rabid environmentalism, fanatical feminism, anti-anti-communism, pro-homosexuality, and finally, but not least, fervent anti-Americanism.

Before they get their release from these camps, students must undergo constant testing to assure their session leaders that their minds have been washed, dried, and ironed with the approved mental creases and folds. The students have two choices: accept this or else.

Such is the higher education system in the U.S.

What, I exaggerate? Tell that to the young conservative Democrat, Republican, or libertarian who has gone through four years in almost any university or college to see how well this re-education analogy holds true.

For those who attended college before the 60’s flower children, “anti-war”, and pro-Vietcong demonstrators took over higher education as faculty and administrators, and need additional evidence, this can be easily found on the Internet. Just some recent references: “Intellectual diversity hoax”, “What keeps conservatives out of academia?”, “College chiefs favored Kerry 2-to-1, poll finds”, “Jihad on Campus”. And here is one of a long line of formal studies, “College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds” When reading such reports, keep in mind that academic departments include mathematics, physics, chemistry, and those in the business and engineering schools. These are where the small percentage of conservatives come from. The social sciences and humanities departments, however, have virtually no conservatives or libertarians.

No informed reader can deny that the University now runs to the left; that the left owns and controls it. Why is this? It is because universities are inverted pyramids of power, quite unlike organizations outside this enclave. It is the faculty that decide the essential questions — who will be hired and fired, what courses will be taught, what grades will be given students, and what their recommendations will be. Moreover, faculty decide what students will be awarded teaching and research assistantships, and higher degrees. So as the faculty moved left, so did the university.

And the reason for this is that once leftists gradually got control over university departments, such as sociology, political science, anthropology, English, and history, they always could find a reason not to hire someone not loyal to their cause: he or she is “politically insensitive,” their research is “incompetent,” their scholarship is “lacking,” they would not “fit into our program,” or they are “anti-diversity.” Moreover, students who try to keep an open mind are soon taught to keep their ideas and questions to themselves. Leftist teachers and advisors approve and shape their term papers, MA thesis, and Ph.D. dissertation. Anyway, few lowly students have the ego to disagree with a full professor who may be well known and often cited in his field.

What to do? Any attempt to work inside these re-education camps is doomed to failure. Since administrators are generally drawn from the faculty, and therefore are often as leftist as the faculty, the left organize and control these camps. They will bloc, weaken, delay, and redefine any attempt to reduce their power. It must be done from the outside, by boards of regents, legislatures, alumni, and grant givers. I suggest that a first step is to abolish tenure, which assures the left its positions and stability, and in its place have a five-year contract system, with renewal.

Secondly, I subscribe to the Academic bill of rights, and believe it should be legislated for those camps receiving state funds, and established as a governing charter by boards of regents for private camps.

Third, these bodies should also establish an outside appeal system for faculty and students who believe they have been subject to ideological bias.

Finally, if students and the few non-liberal-left faculty there are would expose what is going on in their departments and courses, legislatures and board of regents would be encouraged to act. It is the great ignorance of the public as to how their tax or tuition dollars are being spent that enables these re-education camps to exist as they are.

And how will the leftist faculty attack all this? They will scream that this is “a direct right wing attack on academic freedom.” Yes, freedom for the left to run their re-education camps. Can’t give the same freedom to those “stupid, ignorant, immoral, fascist, and just plain wrong,” conservatives, you know.

Pakistans Megagenocide–A docudrama

April 16, 2009

[First published May 10, 2005] I have given a lot of statistics about democide in this blog. But, who can digest my mention of a 1,000,000 murdered here or there. It is near impossible to empathize with the human catastrophy such statistics dimly reflect when we have difficulty getting a feel for numbers greater than six or seven. A murderer tortures and kills three people, and that gets into our gut – three loving, feeling, human beings killed in agony. We can imagine this happening to our family or circle of close friends. But mention 10,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000, and that is beyond imagination and feeling; they are only a numbers.

So, to do something more than just provide statistics, I’m going to present a docudrama about one democide you probably know nothing about. It will demonstrate how much of democide is unknown—not hidden, but put away like all unwanted memories, and in the particular case I will relate, for political reasons. I’m going to tell you what Pakistan’s military rulers did in 1971—not the present government, but a previous one. Its genocide is still unmentionable, since Pakistan is an ally of the United States and a part of its coalition in the war against terrorism.

Pakistan is India’s neighbor to the west. And squeezed into the lower southeasern side of India is Bangladesh. Until 1971, that country was part of Pakistan, and was called East Pakistan. Its major ethnic group was Bengali, and their religion, as in West Pakistan, was Islam, although a slightly different variant.

Leading up to 1971, East Pakistan had been working politically and nonviolently toward independence from West Pakistan, almost a thousand miles away. It was on the verge of success after Pakistan’s 1969 national election, when the Bengali Awami League gained an absolute majority in the national legislature.

However, the ruling generals of Pakistan were absolutely opposed to East Pakistan gaining independence, so in 1971 General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, the self‑appointed president of Pakistan and commander-in‑chief of the army and his top generals, prepared a careful and systematic military operation against East Pakistan. They planned to murder that country’s Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite. To reiterate what is hard to believe, at the highest level of this regime, the rulers planned, prepared, and executed the cold-blooded murder of the best and brightest Bengalis in East Pakistan, and murdered indiscriminately many of its Hindus, driving the rest into India. This despicable and cutthroat plan was outright genocide.

Now, imagine that you were a student there. Before going to bed one night, you may have been in the library studying, working on your term paper, or doing a lab assignment. You may have written home or been out in Dacca with some friends. You may have given your friend a secret kiss before parting, already looking forward to seeing each other the next day. You go to bed that night with a future for which you are studying hard, with a future of loved ones and children, with a future of hope and bright dreams. You have not the slightest hint that the next day will be any different than the last; you close your eyes without any thought that you will be lucky to see the dawn, or if you do, that you will not live through the day.

So students the world over have gone to bed, to be destroyed there by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes, and fire. But these are nature’s doings. What would happen this night was done by fellow human beings. Intentionally.

In the middle of the night, with no warning, West Pakistani tanks began shelling the dormitories of the University of Dacca, where students like you were sleeping.

Visualize it: you are blasted awake by tank shells suddenly bursting through the dorm walls and windows to explode throughout the dorm amongst your beds, your study rooms. Red-hot shrapnel flies, randomly seeking out those who will die, lose a leg or arm, or have their belly slit open so wide, their guts tumble out. Then the trembling fear, wild panic, and screaming; the mute dead, the crying wounded, the smoke and fire, destruction and blood, everywhere. And the forever unknown courage and heroism as you and others help the wounded and try to escape the flames and explosions.

You try to run or crawl out of the dorm, and help others to escape. You’re shaking. Your heart is beating wildly. You can’t get your breath. But you finally climb over smoking debris and make it outside.

But outside, the West Pakistan troops are waiting, and you are rounded up at bayonet point to stand or sit in trembling shock. You don’t know what happened or what they will do to you. You can’t believe it. You think this must be a nightmare as you watch the dormitories burn down with your fellow students still screaming inside or jumping from windows. If you have only minor injuries or none at all, you may try to help the crying, moaning wounded on the ground around you.

Dawn slowly shows through the smoke, and soldiers begin pushing and prodding all of you through the haze toward a grassy area near a parking lot. The soldiers bayonet those who resist, or who are too wounded to move. You are stunned and trembling — you cannot believe what you just saw. Students are being murdered, some you know, and as they are repeatedly bayoneted their screams and pleas for mercy rip through your mind.

Self-preservation takes over and you allow yourself to be herded along with the other survivors toward the grassy area, where you see a pile of shovels, hoes, and digging sticks that a small truck nearby has dumped. You are jabbed and shoved toward the pile and then the soldiers form a tight ring around all of you. An officer shouts, ‘Dig a trench. Dig it deep. Or be tortured to death.’

Your knees are almost knocking together, your heart thudding in your ears, and tears drip from your face as, in utter, mind-devastating terror, you pick up a hoe and begin hacking at the ground where one soldier is pointing. Through your fear, through your shock, through the terror, you have only one impossible realization—this trench is for you. For your dead body. You are going to be killed.

You hack away; you pull the loose dirt out with the hoe; you hack again and again. You stop crying. You don’t hear the cannon in the distance or the shooting nearby. You hear but barely recognize the scream of the girl who was digging near you, but made a break for it. She is tripped by one of the soldiers, and then is stabbed in the leg—you refuse to look as she writhes on the ground and shrieks and screeches while being stabbed in the other leg, and then in one arm, then the other, and finally in the stomach. It’s a calculated lesson for you, which you dimly recognize, and you blank out the girl’s moans and cries for her mother.

Now you’re resolute and focused. You hurry up your digging. You want to get it over with. Your body has grown cold. You shiver. Your mind closes down as you hack and pull the dirt, and deepen the trench with the others. Your soft hands, used to books and pencils, are bleeding and sore; your body is getting heavy and fatigued. But you feel nothing.

You and the others have dug three feet down. You are on automatic. Four feet. Then five. Several of the girls and two of the boys have collapsed in heaps at the edge from the unaccustomed labor, or have fainted from fear.

Someone yells, “Stop. Enough. Get out of the trench and line up on the edge.” This is it, but your mind refuses to recognize it. Your body obeys and lines up with the others. You see soldiers standing about twenty feet away with automatic rifles, but it means nothing.

You stand. You think of nothing. There is no passing time. You don’t see that the fire in the dormitories has nearly burned out, or that the smoke is drifting away, leaving the beautiful morning to prize. You don’t see the robin’s egg-blue of the sky, the gentle white clouds; you do not register the sound of birds chattering. You don’t even think of your loved ones, of your lost future, of your lost hopes, of your dead dreams. Of all your wasted study and effort.

Then, Brrrttt! Brrrttt!

Your body twitches from the impact of bullets ripping across your chest, blowing your last breath out the holes in a red mist. Now your body is as dead as your mind; you fall backward into the trench to be covered with dirt.

And how was your death received? The actual messages between the soldiers that killed you and army headquarters were intercepted. We know what was said. Your soul might be happy to know that you contributed to a prized well done.

The message was this:

“What do you think would be the approximate number of casualties at the university—just give me an approximate number in your view. What will be the number killed or wounded or captured. Just give me the rough figures”.

“Wait. Approximately three hundred.”

“Well done. Three hundred killed? Anybody wounded or captured?”

“I believe in only one thing—three hundred killed.”

“Yes. I agree with you that is much easier. No, nothing asked. Nothing done, you do not have to explain anything. Once again well done. Once again I would like to give you shabash and to tell all the boys . . . for the wonderful job done in this area. I am very pleased.”

The Pakistan military ultimately went on to murder about 1,500,000 Bengalis and Hindus. Only India’s invasion stopped them. The Indian army rapidly defeated them, and midwifed the formal independence of East Pakistan, which promptly named itself Bangladesh.

Link of Note

”Statistics of Pakistan’s Democide: Estimates, Calculations, And Sources” Chapter 8 of Statistics of Democide By R.J. Rummel

After a well organized military buildup in East Pakistan the military launched its campaign. No more than 267 days later they had succeeded in killing perhaps 1,500,000 people, created 10,000,000 refugees who had fled to India, provoked a war with India, incited a counter-genocide of 150,000 non-Bengalis, and lost East Pakistan.

This is the equivalent of a Rwanda in duration and murdered. Yet, it is Rwanda’s genocide that has gotten the publicity.

Never Again Series

PAGE \# ‘Page: ‘#’
’ wow, very effective scene, Rudy.

Peace Love, Compassion–A Vietnamese Story

April 14, 2009

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[First published October 18, 2005] I had a hard time sleeping last night. I had just finished Le Ly Hayslip’s, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, the autobiography of a Vietnamese peasant girl who grew up during the Vietnam War. Many times, she was threatened with death by both sides in the war, raped, tortured, prostituted herself, was deceived and abused by her lovers, and barely survived. Eventually, she married an American contractor and, even with all her hardship, reluctantly left her family and the Vietnam she loved, to come with her husband to the United States. Here, she made marvelous use of her new freedom to help the poor and repressed in Vietnam through her East meets West Foundation (here) and the Global Village Foundation (here). That’s her photo in the upper right.

Her book is centered on her village and her family. It was split up by the war, some family members going North to fight with the communists, some joining the South’s army or government. This story is played as point, counterpoint against her eventual risky return to Vietnam in 1986 (the Vietcong had sentenced her to death), and reunion with what was left of her family and a former lover, and meeting with communist officials, one of whom also was family.

It is truly a moving and educational story of a Vietnamese family’s love, courage, intelligence, and will, especially that of Le Ly and her mother.

Now, Le Ly was also a Vietcong. Keep this in mind as you see what I have written about Vietnam:

Perhaps of all countries, democide in Vietnam and by Vietnamese is most difficult to unravel and assess. It is mixed in with six wars spanning 43 years (the Indochina War, Vietnam War, Cambodian War, subsequent guerrilla war in Cambodia, guerrilla war in Laos, and Sino-Vietnamese War), one of them involving the United States; a near twenty-one year formal division of the country into two sovereign North and South parts; the full communization of the North; occupation of neighboring countries by both North and South; defeat, absorption, and communization of the South; and the massive flight by sea of Vietnamese. As best as I can determine, through all this close to 3,800,000 Vietnamese lost their lives from political violence, or near one out of every ten men, women, and children.1 Of these, about 1,250,000, or near a third of those killed, were murdered. And that 3,800,000 figure of course does not include the 3,000,000 in Cambodia.

To understand this, you could do no better than to read this book.

It personalizes these abstractions, helps to understand why poor peasants could become Vietcong, and how ordinary people suffered in this war.

I stand behind no one in my hatred of what the communists, and secondarily the South, did in Vietnam, and yet I have nothing but sympathy for this former Vietcong and her family and for the poor peasants, who were lied to, deceived, misinformed, and threatened by both sides. Always, in wars by dictators, the people have no choice. And even if they enthusiastically participate in the dictator’s game, it is because they have been brainwashed (a useful and unfortunately discarded term). If I had lived in Le Ly’s village, was largely uneducated as villagers are, experienced the degradation of French rule as they all did, then seeing the Americans as new colonialists, and then convinced by the North that the Vietcong were fighting for freedom and independence, I would have joined them also.

Le Ly’s story itself got to me, but what did me in last night was the many sad and happy memories of my near three years in Japan during the Korean War. I arrived there as a soldier in 1950, my mind still stuffed with WWII propaganda about the Japanese. They were inscrutable, buck-toothed, savage, and fanatical, bloody monkeys. Instead, I found in Japan people who could cry, laugh, and love, who appreciated beauty, music, and ideas, who could be sympathetic and understanding. That is, I found human beings. What we had fought in WWII, was not the Japanese people; it was their fascist military rulers.

Always remember. It is not the people democracies fight in wars with dictators. It is against the thugs who rule, enslave them, and brainwash them This is why the democratic peace works. In democracies, it is the people that have ultimate power, people like Le Ly and her family.

Links of Note

” A welcome surprise: war waning globally “ The Christian Science Monitor

On the Human Security Center’s report I discussed yesterday (here), the CSM says:

Why the vast improvement? The report credits an “explosion of efforts” in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The number of UN “preventive diplomacy” missions and government-based “contact groups” aimed at resolving conflicts has risen sharply in the last decade. Other specialists note that the number of democracies in the world is growing. And democracies, recent history suggests, do not go to war against each other.

RJR: Cheers. The media is getting it.

“Study says conflicts, genocide in decline” The Boston Globe

RJR: Not all media is getting it. Here, there is no mention of democracy.

“Cold War makes way for world peace “
RJR: And here is an Australian Newspaper that not only misstates the findings, but also goes out of its way to avoid mentioning democracy.

Links I Must Share

“Iraqi officials checking ballots “

Iraqi election officials are conducting random ballot recounts from Saturday’s constitutional referendum because there were particularly high numbers of “yes” or “no” votes in most of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

RJR: That this will be done is almost as positive at the outcome of the referendum. Although the government wants to have the constitution pass, they are CHECKING ON ELECTION FRAUD. In the United States, not even Cook County (for those of you from Molokai, that’s where Chicago is) does that.

” Media Parasites Undermine Bush’s Attempt to Rally Troops “

The “mainstream” media today, in a stunning display of left-wing bias, engaged in a coordinated anti-war propaganda campaign designed to overshadow an attempt by President Bush on Thursday to rally America’s troops. The effort was so gratuitously spiteful, partisan, and transparent that Joseph Goebbels himself would have applauded it.

RJR: See for empirical substantiation, see in the article the day’s round up of stories on Bush’s videoconference with the troops.

“Poll says Iowans like Rice in ’08”

Among 400 Republicans who said they are likely to attend the 2008 caucuses, Rice received the backing of 30.3 percent. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona was second in the survey with 16 percent, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received support from 15.3 percent. Roughly 20 percent were undecided.

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Peace Studies Vs. Peace Research

April 13, 2009

[First published February 14, 205] When I fist started my studies of war and peace as an undergraduate in 1956 there was no peace studies or peace research generally identified as such. There were well known scientists and scholars working on war, international conflict, and peace (I will let war stand for all three related interests), however, such as Lewis Fry Richardson, Quincy Wright, Karl Deutsch, and Harold Guetzkow. In the early 1960s, their work and that of others began to form a critical mass that researches soon identified as peace research (or peace science). I was one of those that promoted this by my MA thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, and subsequent publications on the causes and conditions of war and violence. The idea was to apply to the study of war the scientific method that had been so successful in physics and medicine, conjoined with solid scholarship.

Peace research is now a concentrated field of study, with such excellent researchers and scholars as Bruce Russett, Nils Petter Gleditsch, and J. David Singer, and such rigorous journals as the Journal of conflict Resolution and the Journal of Peace Research. Much of our understanding of war causation and conditions have come out of peace research, as has the modern conception and empirical substantiation of the democratic peace. My web site is a peace research one.

However, peace is a political term, and a favorite among those on the far left. Now, I want to be careful here not to use too broad a brush. There are peace studies organizations, programs, and departments that are doing very good peace research. But they are in a small minority. Of peace studies as whole, however, it has attracted many of the anti-war, peacenik, and leftists who see peace as a flag in the struggle for ideological supremacy, or don’t know any better. Thus, much of what comes out of this group displays ignorance, and deep misunderstanding of war and international relations; or are diatribes and propaganda, largely against the United States. You know the mantras—American imperialism, war for oil, or murder of millions (Johan Galtung, a major organizer and entrepreneur of such peace studies has claimed that the U.S. has murdered six million); inequality the cause of war; capitalist hegemony; 9/11 was terrorists getting even; and so on.

Now, the peace studies industry has overshadowed peace research, as shown by the link below, and few outside of the field know the difference. This is too bad, but what I suppose one should expect, given that peace studies is imbedded in the left-wing academic culture. And I believe it will remain that way until American universities, as least, return to true academic freedom and political diversity of thought.

Link of Note

”Peace Studies’ War Against America” (4/30/03) By Greg Yardley

”Peace studies is hardly a mainstream course of study in America, but it just might be the latest academic fad. Over two hundred and fifty colleges and universities in North America offer ‘Peace Studies’ programs; many allow students to obtain complete graduate or undergraduate ‘Peace Studies’ degrees. If trends continue, more are on their way. That’s unfortunate – from the first major study of Peace Studies programs, a cutting pamphlet by human rights activist Caroline Cox and conservative philosopher Roger Scruton, these programs have been condemned as incoherent, incapable of being a serious topic of study, and loaded with political bias. . . .

“Unfortunately, these Peace Studies courses are nothing more than the academic bastion of the ‘blame America first’ crowd. America is presented as the aggressor in the Cold War, as a society founded on militarism, colonialism, and oppression, and as a society that sustains itself through racism, sexism, and class conflict. “