Search This Blog

Sunday, February 24, 2019

What Could The USA Have Done To Win The Vietnam Conflict And What Does This Tell Us About Current And Future Wars?

Vietnam was not a declared war. It was a setup by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC).

I was there as a combatant and a US Army Intelligence Base Development Planner, working with Philco Ford CAGV, Pacific Architects and Engineers, Leo Daley and other huge corporations resident in the country supplying American occupation and making billions.

The Vietnam Conflict was an incursion; one of the first setup by the Military Industrial Complex and the "Best and the Brightest" in the Pentagon. 


"David Halberstam's book offers a great deal of detail on how the decisions were made in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations that led to the war, focusing on a period from 1960 to   1965 but also covering earlier and later years up to the publication   year of the book.

Many influential factors are examined in the book:

•    The Democratic party was still haunted by claims that it had 'lost   China' to Communists, and it did not want to be said to have lost Vietnam also
•    The McCarthy era had rid the government of experts in Vietnam and surrounding Far-East countries
•    Early studies called for close to a million U.S. troops to   completely defeat the Viet Cong, but it would be impossible to convince   Congress or the U.S. public to deploy that many soldiers
•    Declarations of war and excessive shows of force, including bombing   too close to China or too many U.S. troops, might have triggered the   entry of Chinese ground forces into the war, as well as greater Soviet   involvement, which might repair the growing Sino-Soviet rift.
•    The American military and generals were not prepared for protracted guerilla warfare.
•    Some war games showed that a gradual escalation by the United States   could be evenly matched by North Vietnam: Every year, 200,000 North   Vietnamese came of draft age and potentially could be sent down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to replace any losses against the U.S.: the U.S. would be 'fighting the birthrate'
•    Any show of force by the U.S. in the form of bombing or ground   forces would signal the U.S. interest in defending South Vietnam and   therefore cause the U.S. greater shame if they were to withdraw
•    President Johnson's belief that too much attention given to the war effort would jeopardize his Great Society domestic programs
•    The effects of strategic bombing:   Most people wrongly believed that North Vietnam prized its industrial   base so much it would not risk its destruction by U.S. air power and   would negotiate peace after experiencing some limited bombing. Others   saw that, even in World War II, strategic bombing united the victim population against the aggressor and did little to hinder industrial output.
•    The Domino Theory rationales are mentioned as simplistic.
•    After placing a few thousand Americans in harm's way, it became   politically easier to send hundreds of thousands over with the promise   that, with enough numbers, they could protect themselves and that to   abandon Vietnam now would mean the earlier investment in money and blood   would be thrown away.
The book shows that the gradual escalation initially allowed the Johnson Administration to avoid negative publicity and criticism from   Congress and avoid a direct war against the Chinese, but it also lessened the likelihood of either victory or withdrawal"

War is a racket.

Wars cost money, treasure and make millions for corporations. 


A quote many years ago from Major-General Smedley D. Butler: Common Sense (November 1935)

" I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force---the Marine Corps. I have served in all commissioned ranks from a second lieutenant to major-general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers, In short I was a racketeer for capitalism

Thus, I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place to live for the National City Bank boys to collect   revenues in…. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking   house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican   Republic for American Sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras   "right" for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in1927 I helped   see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years  I  had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded honors, medals, promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents. War Is A Racket"


It's been 40 years since the U.S. ended its involvement in the Vietnam War, and yet payments for the conflict are still rising.

Now   above $22 billion annually, Vietnam compensation costs are roughly   twice the size of the FBI's annual budget. And while many disabled  Vietnam vets have been compensated for post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss or general wounds, other ailments are positioning the war to have large costs even after veterans die.

Based on an  uncertain  link to the defoliant Agent Orange that was used in Vietnam,  federal  officials approved diabetes a decade ago as an ailment that  qualifies  for cash compensation — and it is now the most compensated  ailment for  Vietnam vets.

The VA also recently included heart disease among  the Vietnam medical problems that qualify, and the agency  is seeing  thousands of new claims for that condition.


If  history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the  Iraq  and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and  their  families grapple with the sacrifices of combat.

An  Associated  Press analysis of federal payment records found that the  government is  still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War  veterans — 148  years after the conflict ended.

At the 10-year anniversary of  the start of the Iraq War, more than $40 billion a  year is going to  compensate veterans and survivors from the  Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the  Vietnam War, the two Iraq  campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict. And  those costs are rising  rapidly.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said such expenses should remind the nation about war's long-lasting financial toll.

"When  we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about   the cost," said Murray, D-Wash., adding that her WWII veteran father's   disability benefits helped feed their family.

With  greater numbers of troops surviving combat injuries because of   improvements in battlefield medicine and technology, the costs of   disability payments are set to rise much higher.


So  far, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the first Persian Gulf conflict in the early 1990s are costing about $12 billion a year to compensate   those who have left military service or family members of those who  have  died.

Those post-service compensation costs have totaled  more than $50 billion since 2003, not including expenses of medical  care and  other benefits provided to veterans, and are poised to grow  for many  years to come.

The new veterans are filing for  disabilities at  historic rates, with about 45 percent of those from  Iraq and Afghanistan  seeking compensation for injuries. Many are  seeking compensation for a  variety of ailments at once.

Experts see a variety of factors  driving that surge, including a bad economy that's led more jobless  veterans to seek the financial benefits they've  earned, troops who  survive wounds of war, and more awareness about  head trauma and mental  health.


Recent events involving US war "Interventions" and the incredibly out of  control nature of the Military Industrial Complex have demonstrated  their danger, their folly and their contribution to the largest national  debt ever to grace the face of the earth.

Alternatives to war in terms of scientific advancement not only are required, but are in progress. The war makers are broke and operating on world credit subject to world approval.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Two New Veterans Benefits Bills Now Law

Image: “National Veterans Foundation”


“Here’s what the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act and the Forever GI Bill Housing Payment Fulfillment Act mean for veterans and military families. “
“1. No more punishing GI Bill students for the VA’s mistakes.
Last fall, major technology failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs led to delayed and inaccurate payments for thousands of Post-9/11 GI Bill users, as the agency failed to implement a provision of the Forever GI Bill law that changed the way housing stipends are calculated.
In some cases, students grappling with late rent or mortgage bills as a result of the delays faced another challenge: Their schools charged late fees for tuition bills that VA didn’t pay on time, blocked access to campus facilities or did not allow them to register for the next semester of classes until their balance was covered.
Ashlynne Haycock, deputy director of policy and legislation for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, said members of her organization were even advised by schools to take out loans to cover tuition costs — even though the payments were late through no fault of their own.
A portion of the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act, signed into law Dec. 31, requires schools to end these practices if they want to keep enrolling students using GI Bill benefits.
“We are very excited to see this finally come to fruition,” Haycock told Military Times as the bill was making its way through Congress. “We wish it would’ve been in place when things happened with the Forever GI Bill that weren’t so great, but clearly that was a sign that this needed to happen.”
2. VA must fix incorrect payments
About those late payments. The new Forever GI Bill Housing Payment Fulfillment Act holds the VA accountable for retroactively fixing payments that were inaccurate as a result of the technology problems.
To accomplish this, the law establishes a so-called “tiger team” to oversee these reimbursements. The team is required to report to Congress every 90 days on the reimbursement plan, and, by July 2020, report how many GI Bill beneficiaries were impacted, and to what extent.
The bill also holds the department to its promise not to collect on any overpayments made to GI Bill users.
“For many student veterans, every dime counts. That’s why the VA needs to get this right and pay student veterans the full amount of money they were promised,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said in a statement. The senator co-sponsored the legislation, which also became law Dec. 31.
In a Jan. 4 address to some 2,300 student veterans attending the annual Student Veterans of America National Conference, VA Sec. Robert Wilkie assured students that anyone who was underpaid as a result of the technology issues will be made whole.
“The bottom line is: We owe you every penny that you’ve earned,” he said. “That is what the nation has promised you, and that is what you deserve.”
GI Bill users who did not receive a cost-of-living increase on their fall 2018 payments will get a check in the mail for the difference by the end of the month. The rest of the fixes won’t happen until at least December, when the VA is slated to have its updated technology systems in place.
3. More leverage with landlords
VA is also required to do something else for student veterans under the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act: provide them with electronic proof that they will be receiving housing payments from the VA. Students can then show these to landlords.
Students who live in high-cost areas, especially, can have trouble finding housing without a job to put on their application, according to a House Veterans Affairs Committee staffer familiar with the legislation. The documentation from VA would provide information for landlords, such as how much and how long a veteran will be receiving benefits that help them pay for housing.
Another provision of the new law allows the spouse of a service member who dies on active duty to terminate a residential lease for up to one year after the death without being penalized. This expands on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which allows service members to break lease if they deploy or PCS.
4. Local help for transitioning service members
For troops transitioning out of the military, the VA will now post a list of programs and organizations that can help.
The law requires the VA to contract with a non-federal entity to identify these programs, which will include smaller, more community-based organizations, according to the committee aide.
5. Better access to jobs programs for homeless veterans
This provision of the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act is “an absolute game changer” for homeless veterans, said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, which has been advocating for a law like this for five years.
Previously, veterans had to be either on the streets or in a shelter to qualify for employment assistance under the federal Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program. But now, veterans have 60 days after moving into housing to apply for these services.
The provision applies to veterans participating in the Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing program and a similar initiative for Native American veterans, as well as the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. It also applies to veterans who are transitioning after being incarcerated and other recently homeless veterans, according to a summary of the legislation released by Congress.
“It’s basically the difference between housed and going back to homelessness for some of these veterans,” Monet said, adding later, “We know from our work how important this bill is to fix systemic problems that create unnecessary barriers to housing stability for veterans.”
6. Employment benefits for more reservists
Certain members of the National Guard and reserves called to active duty will have more time to use benefits under the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program, or Voc Rehab.
The program provides job counseling and other services for veterans with a VA disability rating of 20 percent or higher. Veterans that qualify must use the program within 12 years of separating from the military.
The clock gets paused for Guardsmen and reservists called to active duty. So, if they get activated for a year, they will get another year to complete Voc Rehab.
Before the new law, this did not apply to members serving under particular orders relating to national emergencies and combatant commands. As a result, such service members would lose time to use the benefit as they continued to serve. Now, the clock gets paused for them the same way as it does for their fellow Guardsman and reservists.
Daniel Elkins, legislative director at the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, said the new law will help many of the organization’s constituents. Voc Rehab benefits are “hugely important” for those who are service disabled, and this “is an extremely beneficial expansion to those benefits and long overdue,” he said.
7. Voting changes for military spouses
Military spouses can now elect to use the same residence as their active-duty spouse for state and local voting purposes, regardless of when or where they got married and whether they are currently living in that state because of military orders.
Previously, a spouse had to meet the residency requirements of a state on his or her own merit for the purposes of voting.
8. Enhanced burial rights
The new law allows spouses and children of active-duty service members to be buried in veteran cemeteries, even if they pass away before the service member — something that was previously allowed but only with the VA’s approval.
“We did expedite that,” said Patricia Lynch Watts, director of legislative and regulatory service for the National Cemetery Administration. “We tried not to make that too burdensome on the family, but there is certain information that we had to ask for, and it had to go through the process of being approved here by the secretary or the undersecretary, which could delay plans for burial by the family.”
The law also provides headstones and markers for burials in tribal cemeteries that receive grants from the VA. Watts said this corrects a previous oversight, which granted these for state veteran cemeteries but not those on tribal lands.
There are currently 11 tribal veteran cemeteries across the country and another two under construction, according to information provided by the VA.
Watts said the VA is supportive of both changes."