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Since my time is tight and often interrupted, I will file these hit-and-run, guerrilla pieces. I’m the only one in this roadside, wall-less and dirt-floored cafe. Walking here, I paused to pet my neighbor’s cow, who’s taken an extreme liking to me. Lovingly, she licked my hand and arm with her sandpaper tongue and even bit yours truly lightly, the frisky bitch. The wind blows. It’s getting brisk in the Central Highlands.

Ea Kly has its charms, of which I’ll discuss more soon, since I’m marooned here, but today I want to talk about another hill town, Da Lat. It’s one of the cleanest and most Catholic places in Vietnam, and perhaps the most stylish and elegant. Is there some causation here?

One of my uncles was a doctor in Da Lat, so I spent extended time there as a child, before 1975. This past week, I revisited this beauty. Strolling for miles up and down its hills, I was struck by the neatness of its houses, streets and alleys, and everyone, even the poorest, tended to dress more carefully and consciously than elsewhere in Vietnam. In the always hot Mekong Delta, many people have never owned a pair of shoes, socks, gloves or a jacket, but in Da Lat, several layers of clothing are often necessary before you step outside. Heat encourages nudity and a more savage state. Naked all day long, Adam and Eve must have lived in Tonga or Hawaii. The colder the weather, the more decisions you’ll have to make about your appearance, as in which scarf and knit hat should I wear this afternoon?

The weather, though, is but one factor in Da Lat’s stylishness. The French built this town from scratch during World War I, when colonials needed a cool place to chillax but couldn’t embark for home. Although there are only a few French villas or public buildings left, their architectural influences show up all over, and not just overtly, as in the hip roofs, balustraded balconies, flower boxes beneath double casement windows or arched trellises over gates, etc., but in the general understatedness of Da Lat’s buildings, its fine lines and angles, and nuanced proportion. In Saigon, the rich favor ostentatious gates in garish gold, but in Da Lat, you can still tell who’s loaded without being screamed at by an obnoxious entrance.

Defining the ideal existence, Vietnamese used to say, “Eat Chinese food, live in a French house, marry a Japanese wife.” Online, there’s a comment, “This saying only adds to the humiliation of the Vietnamese. We don’t achieve anything, but only favor the foreign.”

On the seven-hour car ride to Da Lat, I passed so many churches, all festive with string lights, star lanterns, flags and nativity scenes, which were also displayed at many private businesses. Gates and banners proclaimed, “Joy at God’s Birth on Earth.” Skeletal Christmas trees lined streets and Santa Clauses added cheers. It’s a bit ironic, I thought, that in Communist, supposedly Godless and traditionally Buddhist Vietnam, there is a more overt and widespread celebration of Jesus’ birth than in America.

From 1975 until 2018, I definitely witnessed not just a progressive diminution of Christmas in America, but an increasing hostility to Christianity, from the sustained deification of a slut with a holy name, Madonna, to the much ballyhooed and remunerative Piss Christ, which is a photo of a crucifix dunk in the artist’s yellowish red urine. One of Madonna’s biggest hits, Like a Prayer, features a video of her dry-humping a black saint in a church. All the other blacks are celebratory, joyous and life-affirming, while all the whites, except for Madonna, are racist, evil and violent. But hey, there’s no ideology behind any of this! It’s just a healthy and organic evolution in thinking, and what the audience can’t help but crave, if they have their heads screwed on straight.

I’m wondering if Da Lat’s relative cleanliness and orderliness can be attributed to its high number of Catholics, with their constant stress on personal responsibility and guilt, and their intimate awareness of their community, through their parish? At least once a week, Catholics pray with their immediate neighbors. By contrast, most Vietnamese who identify as Buddhists have an extremely nebulous, if not chaotic, religious life, for they study no sacred text and receive no religious instructions. In their homes, there is usually not even a statue of the Buddha, but only of a standing goddess, Kuan Yin, who is almost always referred to, most generically, as Mrs.

A typical Vietnamese Buddhist’s theology is a jumble of folk beliefs and superstitions, and I’ll cite a familial example: when my mother-in-law got sick recently after a trip, she didn’t blame it on something she ate, the long ride, the weather or her aging constitution, but the fact that she had gotten into a black car, “I knew something was wrong when I saw that black car.” I’ve also seen her pray at a Cao Dai temple and a Hindu one. Granted, many Catholics also believe in heathen magic, as in a fear of the evil eye, but they’re grounded, in theory at least, by the New Testament.

In early April of 1975, my uncle’s family showed up in our Saigon home, for Da Lat had fallen. A few days later, a rogue South Vietnamese pilot bombed the Presidential Palace, just a quarter mile from my school, La San Taberd. Like all Catholic schools, it would soon be confiscated by the new regime.

ORDER IT NOW

My uncle’s family managed to get out as Saigon fell, and in the US, they were sponsored by a black family in Mobile, Alabama. These kind folks took in six complete strangers, from an entirely different culture, with no common language, and this amazing generosity occurred all over America, for there were 125,000 Vietnamese refugees that needed to be resettled, in 1975 alone. Whenever I brought up this fact years later, no American knew what I was talking about.

Gaining his bearings, my uncle ran U Totem, a convenience store in Houston, then became a doctor again in Angola Prison. Another uncle practiced medicine in rural Texas. Visiting him in 1980 or so, I remember being amused by his Texan accent, but that’s what a refugee must do. Forced by violent history, he must reinvent himself overnight. Becoming American, some of my relatives are already buried there. Spat out by the beast, I’m back home, so must watch Nineveh burn from afar. The Jewish God doesn’t toy.

If a border wall is ever built, it will be to keep Americans in, turn their mental prison, already air tight, into an actual steel cage. Travel hubs have lomg become police checkpoints. Since they didn’t even dare to name their enemy, much less put up a fight, they can only wish they were refugees.

Da Lat may have some French touches, but it’s still definitely Vietnamese, so people are constantly eating and drinking on many sidewalks, and not in elegant cafes, but sitting on low stools, all wrapped up because of the cold. Being outside, Vietnamese can huddle together to observe the foot and vehicle traffic. They enjoy being in the flow. Small men with tiny, forgettable lives, we are tugged and swirled this way and that by the sweet or brutal currents. Cupping a glass of hot soymilk, I sip and belong.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Christianity, Vietnam 
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  1. songbird says:

    I have read that Vietnam’s TFR is about 1.8, but that about 40% of pregnancies end in abortion. It’s hard to believe.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  2. anon[164] • Disclaimer says:

    On the seven-hour car ride to Da Lat, I passed so many churches, all festive with string lights, star lanterns, flags and nativity scenes, which were also displayed at many private businesses. Gates and banners proclaimed, “Joy at God’s Birth on Earth.”

    uh oh, jews are not gonna like this

    • LOL: Tusk
  3. anon[164] • Disclaimer says:

    These kind folks took in six complete strangers, from an entirely different culture, with no common language, and this amazing generosity occurred all over America, for there were 125,000 Vietnamese refugees that needed to be resettled, in 1975 alone. Whenever I brought up this fact years later, no American knew what I was talking about.

    these were REAL refugees – the Boat People of South Vietnam, escaping a communist govt that would like to have killed many of them

  4. Great article as usual. How is the situation for Christians in Vietnam in general? Is there a social divide between Christians and non-Christians? Is there evangelism and if so, is that controversial?

    Vietnam seems to me to be a good mix of East Asian work ethic but has a more relaxed social culture.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  5. anonymoys says:

    Linh,

    You wrote:

    “By contrast, most Vietnamese who identify as Buddhists have an extremely nebulous, if not chaotic, religious life, for they study no sacred text and receive no religious instructions.”

    Knowing what we know about the crimes committed by those who studied “sacred texts and received “religious instructions” maybe we should consider those “ignorant” Buddhists as an example the learned catholics, jews, muslims, hindus etc…should follow ?

    Maybe their (Buddhists) chaotic religious life is just an acceptance of what life is….chaotic ?

    • Replies: @ploni almoni
  6. Dumbo says:

    A nice piece, thanks. I didn’t realize that there were relatively so many Catholics in Vietnam, but it makes sense, with French colonization and all. Other Asian countries such as Korea which have a growing Christian population are more influenced by American-style Evangelic Protestantism.

    A question to Mr. Linh: are you atheist / agnostic, how do you define your religious beliefs if any?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  7. Dumbo says:
    @songbird

    I found a link about that:

    https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/abortion-rate-in-vietnam-highest-in-asia-3476746.html

    Apparently, Asian countries now have some of the highest rates of abortion – and also suicide. Not sure why.

  8. Biff says:

    Godless and traditionally Buddhist Vietnam,

    My guess is after nearly a hundred years of colonialism, occupation, and war from Christian governments(with the Chinese and Japanese thrown in for good measure) Vietnam’s traditions took a hit.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  9. i always read your work whenever i see it, and this time was almost amazed. in 79 i spent a month with a vietnamese friend i had known in anapolis named tin nguyen who ran a utotem in south houston and then read here about your uncle in a utotem in houston. the same?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  10. Lelle says:

    Linh Dinh is a smooth writer, his writing is also easy to recognize, very characteristic.

    In a few words you get info which is spans from Vietnam to the US, from Japan and back to Vietnam again, you do not need to agree with his opinions to enjoy his posts, a sign of a talented author.

  11. Weave says:

    Beautiful writing. Made my heart ache. Tough times are indeed coming, there is no way around it anymore.

  12. Fought there, 67-68, I Corps (up north). Never was down south.

  13. Interesting, sobering, stuff there, LD!

  14. Franz says:

    If a border wall is ever built, it will be to keep Americans in, turn their mental prison, already air tight, into an actual steel cage.

    Yup.

    John Gray, writing in England in the 1990s, said that in the future the United States’s isolationism would be cognitive, not physical. Prescient man. There are signs of it all over the world.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
  15. If a border wall is ever built, it will be to keep Americans in, turn their mental prison, already air tight, into an actual steel cage.

    Weird how one can have different perceptions.
    My perception is the European cultures under siege, if we do not succeed in clsoing the gates, and keep them closed, we will be gone in say twenty years from now.

    And what is supposed to be the mental prison ?
    The European cultures that brought prosperity to the world began to exist around 1600, free thought, not under religious control since the ancient Greeks.

    The mental prison I see outside the gates, those outside not able to discuss at all.
    Slogans, prejudices, hatred, the will to destroy.

  16. Happy new year and keep on writing!

    I am always looking forward to your next essay.

    I grew up with the american war, even went with my parents to a demonstration against it at age seven and I am happy to read that your country is returning to some kind of normalcy after so much suffering on both sides of the divide.

  17. @jilles dykstra

    I’m from the US-Canada border and never felt like a prisoner because of the fences/enforcement on our Northern border.

    For those not from border states, US-Canadian immigration does not kid around whatsoever. When I worked in Canada one joker I knew, by then a hospital Admin, had gotten drunk on his 18th birthday and sneaked into Minnesota. He was caught by US authorities, put in Immigration Jail for 2 years and then barred from further entry into the United States. Because he was in the medical field, this affected his career opportunities and he was applying for a pardon.

    If you don’t believe the US-Canada border is enforced, try sneaking across it. You’ll be caught. You won’t be deported; you’ll be jailed for 2 years in an Immigration Jail. You’ll get more time than the average MS-13 gang member.

    Yet Midwestern and Canadian people are not in a mental prison.

    I fail to see Linh’s point there. The US ALREADY has a border that is enforced. With Canada.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
    , @Pft
    , @Biff
  18. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Dumbo

    Hi Dumbo,

    I was raised very Catholic, but stopped going to church regularly decades ago. In “Merry Christmas?” I talk about my Catholic upbringing. In “Melting Pots, New Identities and Flowering Barbarism,” I discuss my visit to a community of Vietnamese Catholics in Thailand, and in “Cambodia’s Illegal Immigrants,” I describe some Vietnamese Catholics in Cambodia.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Truth
    , @ChuckOrloski
  19. Good article, great photos.

    My mother got a certification to teach English as a second language when she was in her 80s, and taught many immigrant and refugee families. Among them was a Vietnamese couple who made it to America, the husband having survived many years in a brutal Communist prison camp. In the long run it seemed like they adopted my mother, and the years have been full of friendly visits, beautiful and delicate presents from their annual visits back to Vietnam, and birthday and Christmas cards. My old Polish mother is a sight to see in her favorite Vietnamese pajamas.

    What struck me most about this Vietnamese family is how life’s inevitable struggles and dark surprises are met with such tranquil equanimity, a worldview so distinctly different from the American tendency toward panic and anxiety over almost anything. Whenever they visit, passages from Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American”–the ones about the Asian perception of life–always come to mind.

  20. @Biff

    Actually, the French left little in genetic terms. The Spanish in the Philippines mingled far more with the Filipinos and left the Mestizo elite that rule the Philippines today.

    By comparison, Vietnam has little of its French legacy. There are not many French-Vietnamese Eurasians and certainly they don’t comprise a ruling elite. When the French were gone, they were gone.

    As far as Buddhism is concerned, it has been the religion there for thousands of years.

  21. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Thulean Friend

    Hi Thulean Friend,

    When Ngo Dinh Diem was president of South Vietnam, Catholics and Buddhists fought in the streets, and Buddhist monks immolated themselves to protest the Catholic Diem. Nguyen Van Thieu was also a Catholic, a convert, but he wasn’t accused of favoritism towards Catholics, like Diem.

    Under Communism, monks and priests used to be heavily repressed, with many imprisoned, but the government has become much more hands off, so churches are generally thriving, as well as Buddhist temples, with many new ones being built, with some of them huge.

    My late paternal grandma used to go to church every day, and when my aunt took in tenants who were Buddhist, my grandma kicked them out. This was in 1998. She said to me, “We worship God. They worship the Buddha. We can’t have such a statue in this house.”

    In contemporary Vietnam, Catholics and Buddhists mind their own business and leave each other alone, with many Buddhists enjoying Christmas or even going to Catholic schools, for their academic excellence and discipline.

    Prostetantism is strongest among the ethnic minorities, but in general not all that visible in Vietnam.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Reuben Kaspate
    , @Johann
  22. @anonymoys

    Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, you simply destroy.

  23. Anonymous[305] • Disclaimer says:
    @jilles dykstra

    The mental prison I see outside the gates, those outside not able to discuss at all. Slogans, prejudices, hatred, the will to destroy.

    All cultures have their sacred cows and all cultures have their no go zones.

    I’ll grant you that western Europe did have a recent golden age of free speech though.

  24. @Franz

    I have no idea if this is true, but I’ve read that the Berlin Wall kept more West Berliners from defecting to the communist East than the reverse. As Berlin was in East Germany, with families on both sides of the wall, that does make sense. Even today, millions of Russians pine for the return of communism and the rebirth of the USSR. Communism sucks but American-style vulture capitalism, where endless Materialism is god, could be worse. We only ever get one side of the story in the USA.

  25. ano says:

    yes, quite pointless but well written.

  26. @Jeff Stryker

    I made a few trips to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in the ’70’s and as a newlywed. The city is much bigger and nicer than the US side. Back then no passport was needed. Many walked across the Rainbow Bridge, though I was too afraid of heights to attempt that.

    Anyway, the Canadian border agents were always friendly and waved us thru after a few routine questions. Returning to the US, the lines were slow and you were treated like a criminal. I often wish that I had been born in Canada, though, like the US, it is probably much worse today. So is everything, it seems.

  27. @Linh Dinh

    Indochina (Indian and Chinese)! The problem with the Vietnamese and also with the Cambodian and Laosian is that centuries after centuries, he has been overly influenced by the outsiders, be it his religion (Hinduism-Angkor Wat, Buddhism, Islam or Christianity), cuisine, education or politics (maybe not so much of the last perhaps) and until he first figures out how to live with himself, that is to say that the three countries should be one, and develops a brand new, nay, uniquely revolutionary society for Indochina, he isn’t going to go anywhere except a new form of slavery (by China and India, again)… Chúc may mắn!

  28. Tom Welsh says:

    I appreciated the joke about Asian national characteristics. An old European version runs this way:

    HEAVEN is where:
    The police are British
    The chefs are Italian
    The mechanics are German
    The lovers are French
    and it’s all organised by the Swiss

    HELL is where:
    The police are German
    The chefs are British
    The mechanics are French
    The lovers are Swiss
    and it’s all organised by the Italians

    http://www.jokes4us.com/ethnicjokes/italianjokes/italianheavenandhelljokes.html

    • LOL: follyofwar
  29. Tom Welsh says:

    “If a border wall is ever built, it will be to keep Americans in…”

    Ah – like the Berlin Wall, then.

  30. Truth says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Dude, you don’t link your articles when someone asks a question, you link your books. preferably on a site where someone can buy them with a couple of clicks.

    Capitalism, Old Sport.

  31. Stump says:

    Hi Linh

    Served in the Phu-Bai, Hue city area in ’69-’70. Was wondering if ,in your travels, you’ve written any articles concerning these areas.

    Many Thanks – Stump

    Thank you for your great articles!

  32. @follyofwar

    Any high educated professional tried to leave the DDR, doctors a good example.
    Of course, the party apparatus tried to prevent this.
    There was brain drain.
    But indeed, some westerners went the other way, such as the father of Merkel, a protestant minister with socialist ideas.

  33. anarchyst says:
    @jilles dykstra

    I must respectfully disagree with the author’s assertion that the “wall” will be designed to keep people in, a la the Berlin wall.
    There have to be immigration controls. A country that cannot defend its borders and be selective who it allows to immigrate will not last long.
    There used to be a time when just about ANY immigrant who set upon the shores of America was not only grateful, but willing to shed his “old world” ways and support his adopted country.
    He might have not known the language, and found some American customs and practices “strange”, but he fully embraced the idea that he could be an AMERICAN.
    He not only embraced the American ideal, but made damn sure that his children fully appreciated the land in which they were born.
    Contrast that to today’s immigrant, who is only concerned about one thing–American dollars, true assimilation be damned.
    Today’s immigrants care not about the founding principles of this country, the Constitutional principles in which our rights are endowed by our Creator, not granted by government, and that the most important thing about being an American is the sense of freedom that he doesn’t want for himself or his offspring.
    Today’s immigrant brings his “old-world” customs and squabbles here, demanding that native-born Americans kowtow to him and change THEIR ways to accommodate his “old-world” ways. His children are not encouraged to become Americans and fully assimilate, but are required to maintain their “old-world” customs and ways, even if they run counter to American customs and mores.
    These old-world customs and ways quite often are criminal in nature, and do nothing to endear him to native-born Americans. He just does not want to assimilate. Many of today’s immigrants do not deserve to be here and should go back to where they came from.

  34. @follyofwar

    Oh please, it’s laughable. No one was dying for admittance to Erich Honecker’s Orwellian shithole. Only a Communist would put out horse shit completely contrary to obvious reality, just to humiliate the recipient of the information. The number of West Berliners who went over the Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart to revel in anti-consumerist misery was exactly zero from 1961-1989.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
    , @Johann
    , @sb
  35. With fine education, world experience, and keen eye, Linh Dinh reflectively & plain spokenly wrote: “From 1975 until 2018, I definitely witnessed not just a progressive diminution of Christmas in America, but an increasing hostility to Christianity, from the sustained deification of a slut with a holy name, Madonna, to the much ballyhooed and remunerative Piss Christ…”

    Yo Linh,

    I recall how last year we discussed the fame of “slut” Madonna and you showed me her utterly blasphemous & money making video to the song, “Like a prayer.”

    Fyi, I have convictions somewhat comparable to your paternal grandma, & surpassing my present nun/landlord’s prohibition of even Pink Floyd music, I would definitely ban any display of Madonna’s crap from my 10′ x 10′ apartment.

    This so called “hit-and-run” piece is an unforgettable and master “guerilla” piece. Thank you!

    Fyi, since you left Philly, hateful (public & private) “guerilla” action is in vogue, and there’s more intense sacking of traditional Scranton images of the Nativity.

    • Agree: jacques sheete
  36. Alfa158 says:
    @Eric Novak

    I just did a search of people killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall. As expected, the number of people killed trying to cross from West Berlin to East Berlin was 0 (zero).

    • Replies: @anon
    , @eah
  37. @anarchyst

    I fear you’re completely right.
    The leader of the Dutch Muslim party DENK stated explicitly that assimilation is not necessary, even said that Dutch who do not like it here should leave.
    Political parties exist who allow an elderman, Muslim, double nationality, to speak about Erdogan as ‘our president’.

  38. IstvanIN says:

    If a border wall is ever built, it will be to keep Americans in, turn their mental prison, already air tight, into an actual steel cage.

    No one is forced to remain in the US, physically or mentally. What has happened, thanks to massive Third World Immigration, both legal and illegal, has been the dilution of Anglo-American culture, traditions, language and respect for our laws, Constitution, heroes and history as well as outright disrespect. The 1965 Immigration Act was the death warrant for America. I would contend that even the 1924 Immigration Act should have been instituted before World War I. Despite massive Eastern and Southern European immigration from 1880 to 1920 or so those people’s descendants would eventually be completely assimilated into a cohesive American ethnicity. That will not happen now and as an American I found that both infuriating and sad. The wall, while desperately needed, is probably too little, too late.

    I do, Mr. Linh Dinh, greatly enjoy your articles.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  39. cecil1 says:

    “If a border wall is ever built, it will be to keep Americans in…”

    Funny that never applies to hundreds of other nations that have used them to keep their nations integrity.

    The illegals don’t enter at controlled border crossings.

    But ALL Americans leaving the country DO exit at border crossing. So its a ridiculous statement on the face of it.

    UNLESS you are just rationalizing your wish for America to have no borders that inconvenience anyone.

    YOu know: Africa for Africans, Asia for Asians, White countries for everyone

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  40. anon[124] • Disclaimer says:
    @Alfa158

    I just did a search of people killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall. As expected, the number of people killed trying to cross from West Berlin to East Berlin was 0 (zero).

    i wonder if any West Berliners trying to defect to East Germany would have been allowed?

    surely there must have been a few fools

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  41. I live in San Pedro Ca., where the battleship USS Iowa was retired and turned into a museum. The other day I, with my grandson’s decided to visit this relic. Not long into our self guided tour we entered the officers mess hall. It was only a week after Xmas so I wasn’t surprised that Christmas decorations were still up and lighted. In tune with our Constitution’s separation of church and state I didn’t expect to see a Bethlehem manger scene, or even a cross, and there wasn’t any. So I was surprised to see a garishly electric blue Menorah strategically placed in the center of the hall. How do they get away with this. To me it’s insulting, as for years I listened to the Jews cry and moan until the manger scene, which for decades decorated my neighborhood school’s lawn at this time of year, became a forbidden scene. So I’m tempted to pay another $18, and smuggle a crucifix onto the old beast, where I’ll tack it above that cheap candelabra. Either that or I’ll unplug it and toss it into the harbor. For this I’ll wait until next year.

  42. @IstvanIN

    The wall, while desperately needed, is probably too little, too late.

    Yeah, but it still makes a great political football and a diversion from other important, but unaddressable problems.

    Anyway, many Americans tried to limit Eastern European (Commie) immigration around a century ago, failed, and now here we are.

    • Agree: ChuckOrloski
  43. The farther away from America this CIA officer travels the more he writes like a devout Catholic who never really left America – the most violent and uneducated war mongering country in the history of the world. Catholics John Foster and Alan Dulles created the Catholic Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the modern police state. They staged the JFK election and martyrdom to make people love Catholics emotionally, rather than thinking rationally which would allow them to escape. Catholics took over the entire US government. The Church made John Foster’s son Avery into a Cardinal, the second highest reward the Church can give to a Catholic family. Catholics started and fought the Vietnam war. They told patriots to fear tiny North Vietnam in the 60s. They didn’t win Vietnam, except to turn it into a low wage factory country to steal US jobs.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  44. @the grand wazoo

    Truth in advertising. The greatest generation weren’t fighting for Christendom, even If they didn’t realize it at the time.

    • Agree: jacques sheete
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    , @eah
  45. @Linh Dinh

    Linh Dinh commented: “I was raised very Catholic, but stopped going to church regularly decades ago.”

    Suggest each of hundreds of Americans who either encountered hit-the-road with Linh Dinh have unique stories/adventures to tell. I have several pissers.

    So a couple years ago, when Linh was guest at my former-Taylor Borough apartment, I mandated he and I travel to an Ashley, Pa, Roman Catholic Church rectory, and meet with the Vietnam-born parish priest, Father Dang. Upon rectory departure, pleased and alone, Linh noticed an outdoor statue of Mary and Child. Moments afterward, he explained to me how the stone imagery hit him (emotionally?) in a way that I never saw in him. (Later we looked for a beer garden, drove northeast into Pocono Mountains border, and talking a lot, I got lost in a thick fog!!!)

    Lastly, on the Sunday which followed Thanksgiving, 2017, I dragged him to Divine Liturgy at West Scranton’s small but spirited Melkite Catholic Church. Am fairly certain Linh shall not be pissed off after I continue to describe Linh Dinh ‘s reaction to the service.

    Number one: He appreciated how Father Christopher Manuele articulated the rapid & growing disappearance of Syrian Catholic Churches; that was ever since Syria became the American-Israeli Empire’s (GWOT) prime selection-of-the-year TARGET for regime change.

    Number two: Linh Dinh became unsettled during the priest’s recital of the Mass of St. John Chrysostom, and a mandatory call for believers to “pray for the safety & security of all US miliary men and women serving overseas!”
    Wimpishly, I tried to explain how the above invocation was not Father Chris’s idea. So typically, Linh gave me a polite donkey-nod, he said, “okay, okay, Chuck.’

  46. Dan Hayes says:
    @never-anonymous

    never-anonymous:

    Correction! The Dulles Family was Calvinist Presbyterian. John Foster’s son Avery was a Catholic convert heavily influenced by Father Feeney who later got in trouble with church authorities.

  47. @anon

    As far as I know there was never any restriction on going from west to east.
    That is, restriction in the west, for going through the Iron Curtain from west to east was quite a job, paperwork, as was returning.
    Just after the Berlin Wall as erected quite a few from the west smuggled friends or relatives from east to west.
    An interesting case was smuggling his girl friend from east to west in an open MG of which the windshield could be let down completely.
    They simply drove on under the barrier, heads down, of course.

  48. Pft says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Interesting point. Yet if the much longer Canadian-US border can be enforced as well as you say without a wall, why cant the shorter US-Mexican border be enforced without a wall?. With technology today, drones, IR cameras, etc it should be a relatively simple process to detect border crossings and deploy assets to capture those who cross over. My guess is its open for a reason

    • Replies: @GMike
    , @republic
  49. Cow did not like you. You silly. Cows need trough with salt. She licked you because she scented salt on your skin.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Linh Dinh
  50. @the grand wazoo

    I didn’t expect to see a Bethlehem manger scene, or even a cross, and there wasn’t any. So I was surprised to see a garishly electric blue Menorah strategically placed in the center of the hall.

    For more than a few years, the downtown Christmas decorations have been forbidden in the small city where I live, but guess what’s on prominent public display? You guessed it; the “cheap candelabra” but I bet the city paid dearly for it.

    The US is occupied territory.

    • Agree: ChuckOrloski
  51. @An American in Germany

    The greatest generation weren’t fighting for Christendom, even If they didn’t realize it at the time.

    You are correct.

  52. Talha says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    I like Mr. Dinh’s version better.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  53. @ChuckOrloski

    Number two: Linh Dinh became unsettled during the priest’s recital of the Mass of St. John Chrysostom, and a mandatory call for believers to “pray for the safety & security of all US miliary men and women serving overseas!”

    I’m happy to hear that he only became unsettled and not full bore pissed. However, I’ve been pissed about that sort of thing for decades and I’ve been so pissed, for so long, that I have plenty to spare, so I can be pissed for him, and probably anyone else who needs or could use some! 😉

    Bless you Chuck, for we have all sinned! 🙂

    • Replies: @ChuckOrloski
  54. Franz says:
    @follyofwar

    John Gray wrote his warning in a book called False Dawn, which hosed the “global economy” before it got rolling. Another Brit, James Goldsmith, wrote The Trap, a shorter work which said much the same in more direct language.

    In the States, Ravi Batra and Ed Luttwak (especially the latter, in Turbo-Capitalism) rang the warning bells for the current bullshit as loud as possible.

    Near as I can find, these thinkers were totally ignored in the prestige press and the yakking class on the television news. And from what I see their worst nightmares were not quite dark enough for what’s actually going on.

  55. Johann says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Linh
    I had read that Diem’s assassination was carried out by the American CIA and to this day the deep state has never denied it and frankly the American media and academia have ignored it too. It is not ironic but revealing that two weeks after Diem’s murder JFK was shot inthe head under still mysterious circumstances. Of course there were reports that Diem was shying away from support for the American massive build up and that JFK was not totally on board with it. Of course the election of Johnson brought up the totally fabricated Gulf of Tonkin where a few Viet Cong boats allegedly attacked a mighty USS warship and the landing of a half million American troops into Vietnam . The deep state does not even try to justify Tonkin anymore , just more lies upon more lies. The more things change the more they stay the same ; recently Trump’s expression of his desire to withdraw troops from the Middle East set off fire alarms in the deep state . The fact that someone in power no longer wants to keep this permanent state of war which has been going on since December 7th 1941 as a big part of the American Empire is pissing off our war loving ruling class. Americans do love their wars and are more willing than ever to sacrifice their children or other people’s children to their god Molloch.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  56. @jacques sheete

    Hey Jacques!

    Each time either an eastern Catholic or Roman Catholic priest calls for prayer petitions intent on “the safety & security of all military men & women,” I cringe, eyes roll, and I whisper a prayer that acknowledges & submits to The Christ’s admonishment for “peace.” And for all the troops (heroes?) to come home, now.

    Fyi, when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia, L.D. wanted me to visit him and watch the city pageantry. Regrettably, I had to work and soon afterward, I became “pissed off” when listening to Francis speak to Americans, from the Capitol portico, he smiled, said, “God bless America,” and bye-boom, sis-boom, bye, minus having invoked a petition (prayer request) for ending the ZUSA’s immoral GWOT.

    Glory to Jesus Christ, and right back at ‘ya, Jacques, & straight from the choppers of a veteran “sinner,” God bless & Protect you!

    P.S.: Prior to Pope Francis’s ZUS visit, I co-wrote an open letter, addressed to the Pope and pleaded that he meet with the great Chicago-based, Kathy Kelly, of Voices for Creative Non-Violence. Like in the Simon & Garfunkel forlorn song lyric, The Boxer, I (we) “got no answer,” and such includes silence from even the Scranton chapter of “Pax Christi.” Nonetheless, Kathy Kelly extended gratitude for our having supported her Way.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  57. eah says:
    @Alfa158

    0 (zero)

    Well, the situation is not entirely straightforward — a number of West Berliners were shot and killed by East German border guards (Grenztruppen), who in general shot anyone seen in ‘no man’s land’ or near the wall/border of East Berlin; they assumed any such person was either trying to flee East Berlin, or trying to help someone flee East Berlin.

    Liste der Todesopfer an der Berliner Mauer

    You will find Werner Kühl on that list:

    Der Mauerspringer kletterte mit einem Freund am Britzer Zweigkanal über die Grenzsicherungsanlagen, um sich in der DDR niederzulassen. Dabei hielten Angehörige der Grenztruppen der DDR die beiden für Flüchtlinge und nahmen sie unter Beschuss.

    He was a West Berliner who was shot and killed by East German border guards when trying cross from West Berlin into East Berlin.

    (“Mauerspringer” is a general term used to describe anyone trying to cross West to East — per that Wikipedia page, there were at least 400 such cases, including 5 deaths — all the dead are listed.)

    It seems safe to say this: the West side was only lightly patrolled (by police, not soldiers), and they did not and would not have shot anyone trying to cross in either direction; the East side was closely watched by heavily armed men (more like soldiers than police) — they shot anyone spotted going over the wall/barrier from East to West, also anyone spotted in the Grenzbereich, ie ‘no man’s land’ — if the East Berlin border guards had been able to know for sure that someone spotted in ‘no man’s land’ was trying to cross from West to East, they probably would not have shot that person — but even this is not certain.

    Interesting to note: Bernd Langer, who tried to cross from West to East with Werner Kühl, was shot and wounded — he was treated at an East Berlin hospital, and later sent back to West Berlin along with the ashes of Werner Kühl.

    One problem with all of this is that the vast majority of deaths happened in the first 15 years of the wall (put up in 1961) — so by the time the wall fell, and they started trying to research and document all the deaths, there were difficulties due to the passage of time and a general lack of reliable info.

    English language sources are probably less accurate/reliable than German sources.

  58. Harfang67 says:

    How refreshing to read you. Have been in south-west China but not to Vietnam. Hope to go some Day. Had two university friends in the late sixties with whome I did some engineering assignments. Anyway, it was à pleasure to read you.
    Harfang67

  59. Dan Hayes says:
    @Johann

    Johann:

    Ho Chi Minh exclaimed “How can the Americans be so stupid” when informed of the Diem brothers assassinations carried out under the direction of US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.

    Wishful thinking to the contrary, Kennedy was directly involved in this political/moral fiasco.

    • Replies: @gsjackson
  60. SafeNow says:

    Paul Theroux is probably the world’s best travel writer. Linh Dinh’s essays are superb and remind me of Mr. Theroux’s writing. The keen eye for the anecdotal observation that is telling, touching, and fascinating. The historical, philosophical, anthropological ponderings. The place descriptions. The willingness to be controversial and even curmudgingly. I am certainly not a travel-writing expert, but I will recommend Theroux to readers who like Mr. Dinh. Theroux has traveled the world; pick the area that interests you most. And, there is Theroux’s Tao book, a travel compilation.

  61. RJJCDA says:

    While enjoying an “in-country” R&R in 1965, I stopped off at Da Lat. Beauty was everywhere, and distinctly remember terraces with flowers near the city center. Also, having a drink at the hotel bar, a Frenchman at the end showed his displeasure with my presence by his look. Once in Saigon when I entered a jewelry store, a french family immediately left because of my presence. Screw the frogs.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Anonymous
  62. “It’s one of the cleanest and most Catholic places in Vietnam, and perhaps the most stylish and elegant. Is there some causation here?”

    Methinks, yes. If you travel to Martinique or Guadeloupe, you’ll see the same thing with the black people who live there. They don’t dress garish or ghetto, and they often look more put together than the mostly white tourists. It must be a combination of Catholicism and French culture that causes this.

  63. @ChuckOrloski

    “Pax Christi.”

    I bet ‘Ol “Christi” would be unpeacfully rolling His holy eyes at what the “churches” pray for these days. Crying shame.

    A Pox on them! Nothing from me in the collection basket, either!

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  64. @jacques sheete

    Speaking of collection baskets and such, I’m happy that the churches don’t have the power to tax us.

    And speaking of which, if the government is so great that everybody needs it’s “services” then why don’t they rely only on billing for services used or donations like everyone else does?

  65. @Talha

    I like Mr. Dinh’s version better.

    Peace.

    I do as well, particularly since he’s probably correct and Ms Know-It-All is likely wrong again. All opinion and no substantiation…

    Anyway…I once parked a car where a herd of cattle were grazing and was surprised upon returning to see that is had disappeared in a veritable sea of cattle. The thing, inside and out, (yes, inside, it was summer and I left the windows down) was full of soil flecked cow drool. There may have been traces of salt on the steering wheel and visor, but I doubt there was a “lick” (that’s Southern talk for “a tiny bit”) of any salt on the outside or on the roof liner inside.

    Most animals seem to be curious about new things and cattle are no exception. They also lick for social reasons. I’m pretty sure they licked my car out of curiosity or as a friendly gesture toward the “new gal” in the pasture.

    Here’s more.:

    Grooming
    Cattle have a distinct urge to lick and be licked by their peers. Licking behaviour is a normal behavioural manifestation. All the animals in a group are licked, but not all the animals lick. Animals of similar rank lick each other more often than animals of very different ranks. Social licking is often associated with a change of activities, such as before or after a rest. Licking seems to have a calming effect after cattle have been disturbed. Cattle need social grooming and if this need cannot be met because the animal is tethered or such like – the need accumulates and will result in intensified grooming activity as soon as the possibility arises.

    http://www.milkproduction.com/Library/Scientific-articles/Housing/Cow-comfort-5/

    It’s also possible that the cow felt like being “motherly” toward LD, something that would no doubt be foreign to “Ms. Salty.” Don’t laugh!

  66. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Hi Ilyana,

    How sexist of you to insist that a female can’t love without an ulterior motive?! My cow is pure. Sodium never crossed her mind when she decided to slobber on me. I, likewise, would unconditionally devour her without worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or just a grain of salt. We love each other.

    Linh

    • LOL: Talha, niceland
    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
    , @Vic
  67. gsjackson says:
    @Dan Hayes

    According to the book Devil’s Chessboard, JFK was blindsided by the murders, and extremely upset about it. Foreshadowed his own doom.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  68. Biff says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Yet Midwestern and Canadian people are not in a mental prison.

    I disagree

  69. Dan Hayes says:
    @gsjackson

    gsjackson:

    Thanks for your response.

    Nevertheless I am unconvinced about JFK being blindsided by the Diem assassinations. As I am also leery about of his supposed planned rollback of Vietnam operations. These fantasies were just spun by his academic and press corps adulators!

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Sparkon
  70. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @craig dudley

    Hi Craig,

    No, my uncle is named Chuc Dinh. My father, brother and I stayed with my uncle’s family in the same apartment in Bellaire, TX. It was jam packed with people, with us kids sleeping on the floor. Though I was there for two months, I never saw much of Houston beyond one visit to the zoo, and a few glimpses of the Astrodome, seen from the freeway. We did go down to Galveston a couple of times to catch crabs, with we baited with pieces of chicken.

    Linh

  71. Johann says:
    @Eric Novak

    Actually Frau Angela Merkel ‘s father a Lutheran minister and Marxist moved his family from Hamburg area of West Germany to the People’s Republic of East Germany in 1948 so that his little Angie could get a good Communist education to prepare her to be the future leader of the “free world (in the words of Joe Biden).

  72. As is my habit, I never miss reading your essays, This one is yet another great piece. BUT

    “…even bit yours truly lightly…”

    Cows cannot bite. They lack the upper incisor teeth, replaced by a dental pad. Horses do. You probably meant “gum” instead of bite. If the piece will become part of a future book, you may want to revise that. Bovine anatomy 101, LOL.

  73. Ron Unz says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Nevertheless I am unconvinced about JFK being blindsided by the Diem assassinations. As I am also leery about of his supposed planned rollback of Vietnam operations. These fantasies were just spun by his academic and press corps adulators!

    Seymour Hersh in his DARK SIDE OF CAMELOT made some very interesting claims about the Diem assassinations.

    According to his sources, the Diem brothers were attempting to negotiate some sort of peace agreement with the North, and for that reason Kennedy authorized their overthrow, possibly including their deaths.

    Supposedly, JFK *also* planned to negotiate a peace agreement with the North, but only after he was safely reelected in 1964, and he felt that by independently jumping the gun, the Diems might be endangering that reelection.

    I don’t have enough expertise in that period of history to judge the plausibility of Hersh’s claims, but if they’re correct, it would certainly be a perfect example of the remarkable cynicism of American political realpolitik.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @RobinG
  74. @anarchyst

    Couldn’t agree more, excellent post!

  75. Dan Hayes says:
    @Ron Unz

    Chairman Ron,

    Thanks for the information. Geopolitics, like life, gets curiouser and curiouser.

  76. @Linh Dinh

    Thank you!
    God sense of humor.
    No disrespect just reminder: Sodium chloride.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  77. Top news!
    The world ” Motherf,,er’ was up to now only in racially correct dictionary, has become a prominent word in in politically correct dictionary. I presume that it is now permitted to use it on all websites.
    p,s
    Yellow vests did try to break into Parliament, but they were beaten back by French police.

    • Replies: @Prusmc
  78. I’m wondering if Da Lat’s relative cleanliness and orderliness can be attributed to its high number of Catholics

    Interesting, if tempting, hypothesis. But the Philippines is one of the most Catholic countries anywhere, but cleanliness and orderliness are far from being prevalent. In fact I do not recall witnessing as many instances of street urination as I have there, prompting many walls to place warning signs of “Bawal umihi dito” – do not pee here, aside from an equal number that prohibit dumping, with garbage piling right under the notices! True also for some Central American countries. Yet the Japanese, with an estimated 75% Buddhist population, do indeed have a reputation for orderliness and cleanliness.

  79. Take Seymour Hersh with a big grain of salt. Although he “revealed” that Pakistan cooperated in “the US assassination of UBL” in Abbottabad in 2011, he hid the fact, which he knew, which everybody knew, that UBL died of natural causes in 2001, after being treated at a US naval hospital in the Middle East in the summer of 2001. UBL was allowed to “escape” from a sham attack on Tora Bora and died shortly thereafter in Pakistan. For his part, JFK was not informed about the Bay of Pigs, and he was not even informed by the CIA about his own impending assassination by the CIA. So why should he have known about Diem? It is well known that JFK was preparing to pull out of Viet Nam. No small part of the JFK assassination is also character assassination which still goes on, and the people who really hate him are the ones to whom he denied the Atomic bomb, a decision which LBJ immediately reversed.

  80. @RJJCDA

    Vietnamese still love them and dislike the Americans, so go figure.

    However, their society is facing civil war from North Africans and Muslims in the US are not running around burning cars.

    So who is right and who is wrong?

  81. da lat…sounds like shangrella to me..

  82. Clyde says:

    I like how this dispatch was part a well done flowing stream of consciousness and the other half factual and informative to us here at home in America, Europe etc and others.

    When pressed for time, for a stress free Unz column you might try a longish list of “random thoughts”. I bet you will get many reactions.

  83. Vic says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Beautiful article. And great image of the love-stricken Da Lat cow likking you. The anecdote took me right back to the woods around Lai Khe ’67-’68. Apart from the ubiquitous land mines that stopped our tracks with a bang, the things we feared most were the red ants and the water buffalo. My grunts made big detours around those malevolent horned brutes, placidly herded by little girls with thin sticks but charging instantly when enraged by the sight of a passing GI. Why? But the ants were much worse. When our APC whip antennae inadvertently knocked a shower of them out of their nests in the rubber trees, the angry beasts went straight for GI flesh. Guys would throw down their M-16s and strip off their shirts in agony, just to slap at the nasty critters. They were even known occasionally to have interrupted firefights. Both sides knew that the ant attack was the more immediate threat. Otherwise, though, I found Vietnam to be a beautiful country which should have been left alone. Keep up your great stories.

  84. GMike says:
    @Pft

    The Mexico border remains open for the drug cartels that undoubtedly funnel $millions in kickbacks to the DNC. Nancy Legosi thinks ms13 as ‘her children’.

  85. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @cecil1

    But ALL Americans leaving the country DO exit at border crossing. So its a ridiculous statement on the face of it.

    This fellow didn’t:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mark_Dougan

    There’s a documentary on him somewhere on YouTube also.

    One can imagine that as America gets more oppressive, the number of people having to escape off the radar will increase.

  86. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @RJJCDA

    Your story is incomplete without mentioning what race you are.

  87. republic says:
    @ChuckOrloski

    re: “pray for the safety & security of all US miliary men and women serving overseas!”

    these remarks are probably illegal in terms of the tax status of the churches. Would like to see some
    political activism on this topic.

    • Replies: @ChuckOrloski
  88. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    No disrespect just reminder: Sodium chloride.

    Actually Linh is more correct. Salt craving is about sodium, not chloride. Sodium citrate, ascorbate, acetate, etc, could all work.

  89. republic says:
    @Pft

    Highly likely that some sort of exit controls on US citizens leaving the US are being implemented.

    These types of exit controls are commonly used in police states.

    Already the US is refusing to give/renew passports to tax delinquents and for other reasons, like school debits. Also remember that your US passport is the property of the US government and can be declared invalided for any number of reasons.

    many US citizens have been searched and questioned upon leaving the US on the land frontiers of Mexico and Canada.

    Money controls are being increased. Many US citizens have lost precious metals to US customs on exit from the the US for failure to declared those on two forms, one which is very obscure .

    • Replies: @Biff
  90. Prusmc says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Fred Reed said he never heard it until after his high school and short early college years. Then things changed in a big way-the people he associated with and the environment was different.

    • Replies: @utu
  91. RobinG says:
    @Ron Unz

    Last night C-SPAN radio re-aired a Book-TV presentation, Derek Leebaert’s talk on his book,
    Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957. This was introduced as revisionist history, and indeed presents a new view on the transition from UK to US hegemony. Relevant to this column, how Britain, to protect their interests in Malaya, engineered US involvement in Viet Nam. https://www.c-span.org/video/?453686-1/grand-improvisation

    The Q&A was particularly good. While the book ends at 1957, Leebaert addressed how JFK increased US troops in VN from 400 to 17,000.

    From a commenter at Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Grand-Improvisation-Confronts-Superpower-1945-1957/dp/0374250723

    David Fromkin with his magnificent so-aptly titled THE PEACE TO END ALL PEACE chronicled the end of World War I. When I bought it years ago in Israel before a long flight home during which I couldn’t put it down the title was THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE, with the new title on subsequent reprints then a sub-theme.

    With this latest book Derek Leebaert has tremendously helped us understand what really happened at the end of World War II, how the U.S. got into the role of policing the world as “the exceptional country”, why Eisenhower warned us of the “military-industrial complex”, and why we have been in a perpetual state of war worldwide ever-since with our basic freedoms as well as the governmental checks and balances we Americans are raised to believe in consistently whittled away.

    In these ways this is another magnificent book about the many conferences and secret meetings this time after WWII that resulted in another round of “Peace To End All Peace”. And now as a result we may be entering the final apocalyptic phases, which is precisely why those now in charge of our destiny should be reading and pondering this book with some urgency.

  92. @republic

    Reaching for sense in ZUSA”s allowance for religious institutions to avoid taxes, republic said: “these (Catholic Church invocation of prayer for US armed services) remarks are probably illegal in terms of the tax status of the churches. Would like to see some political activism on this topic.”

    Hey republic!

    Good try, above, but as a 1970-Grunt, fyi, I routinely followed issues concerning the broad-based religious RIGHTS of active duty military personnel services & which are designed to serve the troop’s diverse religions, spiritual needs.

    Perhaps shortly after the W. Bush adminiZtration’s flippant declaration of War against “Evil,” I read a weird article, perhaps from the NYT, which reported on how practicing Satan-follower soldiers were given equal “rights” to have on-duty worship masses.

    Ever so cynical even then, republic, I figured that, as individually desired, Satan worshipper troops could reasonably apply for an honorable “Conscientious Objector” military discharge, & as legally grounded in their deep spiritual support for “evildoers.”

    (Zigh) The US “Homeland” is a very sick, Matrix-variant. In fact, the alien Superman could have looked into the eye of his (earthbound) coexisting “Bizarro World” and still do crime-cleansing business with it.

    Thanks, republic, for provoking alternative “political action” thought! (Zigh) One never knows what could one day qualify as a legal & tax exempt religion?

  93. utu says:
    @Prusmc

    Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

    “Roland Weary and the scouts were safe in a ditch, and Weary growled at Billy, ‘Get out of the road, you dumb motherfucker.’ The last word was still a novelty in the speech of white people in 1944. It was fresh and astonishing to Billy, who had never fucked anybody-and it did its job. It woke him up and got him off the road.”

  94. Biff says:
    @republic

    Money controls are being increased.

    I got thrown in the goon tank with my own money – missed a flight, and it cost me thousands. The goons thought it was all good fun. Yes, it’s getting real.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  95. Sparkon says:
    @Dan Hayes

    No, it has been established unequivocally — and confirmed by Robert McNamara — that by early October 1963, Pres. Kennedy had made the decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Viet Nam by the end of 1965, beginning with a quiet withdrawal of the first 1,000 by the end of 1963.

    We know how that worked out, and prevention of U.S withdrawal is one of the plausible motives for JFK’s assassination.

    The precise instructions for withdrawal delivered by Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to his fellow Chiefs on October 4, 1963, in a memorandum that remained classified until 1997.

    Taylor wrote:

    “On 2 October the President approved recommendations on military matters contained in the report of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The following actions derived from these recommendations are directed: … all planning will be directed toward preparing RVN forces for the withdrawal of all US special assistance units and personnel by the end of calendar year 1965. The US Comprehensive Plan, Vietnam, will be revised to bring it into consonance with these objectives, and to reduce planned residual (post-1965) MAAG strengths to approximately pre-insurgency levels… Execute the plan to withdraw 1,000 US military personnel by the end of 1963…”
    […]
    The full development of the plan, including the final timetable, came during the summer of 1963. By that time, official reporting — previously falsely optimistic — came into line with Kennedy’s own understanding, as he expressed it, that “we don’t have a prayer.”

    As of October 2, 1963, the decision had been made. The plan existed. It had been approved. It had even been announced, albeit low-key, and by McNamara rather than Kennedy himself.

    https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/09/26/jfk-ordered-full-withdrawal-vietnam-solid-evidence/

  96. @jilles dykstra

    ‘…Slogans, prejudices, hatred, the will to destroy.’

    As opposed to here in the US.

  97. sb says:
    @Eric Novak

    Michelle Bachelet – the former (Marxist) President of Chile and current United Nations Commissioner of Human Rights – passed up the opportunity for exile in Australia during the Pinochet Interregnum ( where she had family ) for East Germany

  98. Anonymous[343] • Disclaimer says:
    @Biff

    Are you thinking about leaving? There are plenty of nice countries to move to, some of which might even put you on a fast track to a passport.

    • Replies: @Biff
  99. Ender says:

    When will Vietnam normalize LGBT and get around to holding pride marches and gay marriage? Why are transgenders in Vietnam orders of magnitude lower per capita compared to Thailand and the Philippines, despite a largely similar racial stock?

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  100. Druid says:
    @the grand wazoo

    The chosen loudmouths rule and will never give quarter.

  101. Dan Hayes says:
    @Ender

    Ender –

    All in good time: Give them (the Vietnamese) a little time (for LGBT, gay pride marches and gay marriage).

  102. Biff says:
    @Anonymous

    Are you trying to be dumb, or are you a natural?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  103. Anonymous[145] • Disclaimer says:
    @Biff

    Neither. You?

  104. Hi Linh,
    Fellow intergalactic cruiser here currently in the land of snow and ice Canada. Wow. Yours is revolutionary writing boy.
    Its great to see it published online on truthseeker. Best social commentary on usa these days. Love your writing every time. Send my 15 yr old daughter to your articles for a fresh perspective undiluted, or rather despite social programming. Keep up the great work. Be safe. Write more.

    • Agree: Talha
  105. headrick says:
    @ChuckOrloski

    It seems like the US is now militantly secular, the worse sense. A secular religion has sprung up backed by powerful forces in the media and academia. I am disillusioned
    by modern US Catholicism. Russian Orthodox holds some attraction but it seems like it is carrying water for powerful political forces. I am now a lost soul, this late in my life.
    The man who saw the Menorah on the USS Iowa has a lot of company. Where I used to work, Christmas was a gaudy display of lights and Christmas tree’s — and a big Menorah. So I asked the building manager about that, and he saw the Christmas tree as totally non Christian, but then was mostly speechless when confronted with the obvious contradiction with the Menorah. I think the Jews have managed to have it both ways. They thrice in a militantly secular world because they lean on -we are just a sub tradition and even an ethnicity . Christians are many many sects, so why don’t we get that deal. Because secular = Anti Christian.

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