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Monday, April 19, 2021

A Pinprick in the Scheme of Things

B-52 Busters - Vietnam War Communist Commando Raids
Mark Felton Productions

I've kind of been avoiding the Vietnam War. Emotions are still pretty raw from that disaster, so it's a little difficult to get any perspective on the subject. It's been fifty years, so maybe we can start to get a clearer view, if only because we aren't constantly having to wipe the mud off the windscreen.

World War Two is great. It almost qualifies as ancient history and I have heard enough about it to  satisfy my curiosity, so let's move on to more recent history.

I knew we were using B-52's to bomb Vietnam, but I wasn't quite sure whether we were bombing North Vietnam or just portions of South Vietnam where we suspected the Viet Cong were hiding. I didn't know they were based in Guam or in Thailand. And why was that? Didn't we have multiple, big fat, air bases in South Vietnam? Something doesn't add up here. I smell bean counter economics, or bullshit political wrangling.

I suspect Genghis Khan is the root cause of Asia being the way it is. We've been fighting the Communists all around the border of Asia. First there was Taiwan (I'm not sure just what happened there, but it must have been a pretty big deal). Then there was Korea, Vietnam and now there is Afghanistan. It's like the Forever War. And all we've got to show for it are South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. I suspect there might be something in Asian DNA that makes them more susceptible to authoritarian rule. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just the luck of the draw. Some Jackass manages to become the leader, boosts his security service and clamps down on the opposition. Or maybe that's the only way to keep a lid on things so it doesn't just boil over into perpetual civil war. Whatever.

B-52's are almost 70 years old. That's crazy. I wonder how much fuel the combined fleet has burned over their lifetime. A couple of zillion gallons at least. All this reminds me of the stories in Command and Control about the mishaps that occurred with B-52's carry atomic bombs.

You need to be real careful when you ask the military to do something because they will find the most effective way to get the job done. It might not be efficient and it might result in a great deal of collateral damage, but that's not really a concern when your objective is to kill the other guys and not get kilt yourself.

B-52's in the Vietnam War
Hanoi is the top placemark, Guam is at the far right.

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