Folly through a looking glass
Sudan skyline, 2024
Back In Vietnam, an estimated 3 million people died over a decade, most of them civilians. Some 280,000 US-allied forces, about 58,000 American soldiers among them, and half a million Chinese-backed North Vietnamese fighters died in attacks that spilled over into Cambodia and Laos.
Killing by the imbalance of air power and weaponry. In 1965 the US under Johnson adopted a policy of “proportionately larger reaction” to all guerrilla hostilities on the Vietnam peninsular. The theory was to stop communism flowing down through southeast Asia to Australia and beyond. To put a cork in the bottle.
In their carpet bombing and napalm attacks against jungle hideouts and tunnels, the Americans dropped an astonishing seven million tons of bombs compared to two million tons of bombs dropped in World War II.
Modern guerrilla warfare as we know it began with Spanish partisans attacking Napoleon’s French invaders. As in Zimbabwe’s liberation war, civilians generally suffer the most casualties, disruptions and displacements. In Zimbabwe’s own Matabeland province in an uprising after liberation an estimated 20,000 civilians died for less than 500 “dissident” rebels accounted for. Information on that was vigorously suppressed.
There’s an ancient Greek maxim: ‘In war, truth is the first casualty.’
It apt today. Bias is everywhere. Selection is falsification. In other words, two or three facts taken out of ten hard facts on the same war event can be chosen to give a particular slant to news of the same event.
News organisations, particularly TV stations, rely on income from sponsors, big pharma, corporates or petrodollar financiers. The pharmacutical industry, for instance, doesn’t want to sell drugs that cure, but instead sells drugs that need more dosage. Drugs with a future across the pharmacy counter get the coverage.
On the ‘military-industrial complex,’ the US says their weapons stock is a means of safeguarding and keeping the peace in the face of Russian threats. Has it worked for Ukraine? Or Israel?
Who follows what’s been happening in Sudan? In the past year 12,000 people, militia and civilians, have been killed, 6 million have been displaced from their homes and nearly 2 million have fled the country over the borders. Towns have been flattened by air strikes.
Anyone for tennis? It is easier to understand.
(An apartment in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, not in Beirut where a senior Hamas commander died in a drone attack this past week on a similar apartment building. Top photo: Khartoum air strikes. Below: Take your pick.)