69 million page views

Karma and Vietnam

Reader comment on item: Thinking about Kurdistan
in response to reader comment: more on Kurdistan

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jan 1, 2015 at 10:47

Hi, Charlotte

I know that Tovey already has given a good answer to your post.. I just wan to pick on a couple of things you said.

First of all, let me comment on "KARMA" (all caps, as in your original). I don't believe in "karma", and don't believe it has a place in Christian or Jewish doctrine -- despite the fact that many Christians and Jews espouse this idea. The Hindu teaching of karma is predicated on the idea that no final judgment occurs; that we can only look forwar to an eternal cycling of rebirths based on our performance in previous incarnations. This continuous "spin cycle" outlook on life does not produce righteousness, but rather a sense of futility. Even before coming under significant Jewish or Christian influence, many Hindus saw the uselessness of karma, and tried to escape it through doctrines such as Buddhism. The Bible teaching of right and wrong, God's eternal judgment and heavenly reward (treated ambiguously by Jews but more pointedly by Christians) is not karma. I just brought this up, in case you think it is.

Concerning Vietnam, I lived through that era. I was in the US Army, becoming involved there in the Antiwar movement. Unlike Ambassador John Kerry, who came from a different world from me, I am not stuck in that movement and the radical ideology of it. Instead, I have moved on and given my life to the service of the King of the Universe.

The US war in Vietnam was a tactical blunder, along a road of American policy that hasn't changed much over the years. President Kennedy had won election, based on his very popular anti-Communist stance. I believe he genuinely was concerned about the threat to the US by the worldwide Communist movement; and he once commented that he was frustrated by the fact that "the only place we can fight them is in Vietnam". The folly of this war, was that we were simply following like lemmings in the footsteps of the French. To Kennedy, this might have been a war in America's interest, against the Russians; but to the Vietnamese, whom we were trying to defeat, it was merely "Phase III" of their war of liberation from the Japanese, French and Americans in turn. From the South Vietnamese point of view, we were shoring up an unpopular dictatorship that served the interests of some 12% of the population -- namely, the Roman Catholics.

The US could not win that war, because we had no idea what we were actually fighting for, but the enemy did. If this sounds an awful lot like what we are currently doing in Iraq and Syria, this is no coincidence: As I said, overall American policy has not changed since the end of WWII. Just substitue "World Islamism" for "World Communism", and you have the gist of it. Our enemies are firmly convinced, where it matters on the battlefield, in what they are fighting for; but we are clueless. In my own case, I realized that I was being expected, as a free-born US citizen, to fight as a mercenary to prop up a petty dictator. That isn't what I believed was covered by my duty to "defend the Constitution of the US"; so I rebelled against the war. Others have not gone that far, then or since; but the general lack of direction, and the continual stumbling from one tactical bad move to another that has characterized American policy in the past decades, has taken its toll on the morale and unity of our country.

God bless and keep you. Shalom shalom.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)