In part to limit the damage from America’s impending loss in Vietnam, the Nixon administration undertook a dramatic new policy in early 1972, inaugurating détente with the great communist powers, China and the Soviet Union. New trade and arms control agreements were signed as part of a general relaxation of tensions. After twenty-five years of anti-communist propaganda and policies, it appeared that the U.S. could live with communist nations after all, that peaceful competition could replace militant confrontation and that mutual interests could be pursued. This seismic change in official U.S. attitudes toward communism was surprisingly well-received by the American public. Nixon and Kissinger essentially adopted the liberal program advocated by former Vice-president Henry A. Wallace in the late 1940s, and by many European leaders beginning in the mid-1950s. Had the détente policy been taken up a generation earlier, the American War in Vietnam would never have taken place.
Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the son of an émigré Hebrew scholar, addressed the issue of the moral responsibility of intellectuals in a special supplement in the New York Review of Books in February 1967. Based on a thorough examination of U.S. policy in Vietnam, he judged that it was genocidal in conduct and imperialist in intent. Like other intellectuals on the left, he viewed U.S. involvement in Vietnam as neither an aberration nor a simple mistake but rather as part of a larger design to extend American hegemony. Chomsky examined the role of the intellectuals in World War II, particularly those in Germany and Japan who failed to speak out against the atrocities committed by their respective governments. Considering the relative freedom of Western societies, he argued that academics and intellectuals had a responsibility to “seek the truth hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.”
New Year’s resolutions are pointless and never really get followed through with. However, the New Year should still be viewed with optimism and renewed energy. I definitely believe that people should cut back from technology. I do when i spend weeks at our house on Martha’s Vineyard with no electricity. Also i share with Mr. Maher’s cynicism about resolutions. My only New Year’s resolution is to not make any New Year’s resolutions…
The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. In addition to the new year, Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.
I find that I would rather not make hallow promises to my self. I think that they work for no one and when people do not accomplish their resolutions they are surprised. For what reason do you believe you would persevere? Nothing much has ever come for our asinine self assumptions for a new year.
On the note of “cutting back technology” that isn’t likely what so ever.
DeBenedetti, An American Ordeal, p. 222; and “G.O.P. War Stand Is Backed in Poll; Gallup Finds 66% in Favor of ‘de-Americanization,’” New York Times, August 11, 1968.
See H. Bruce Franklin, War Stars: The Super-Weapon and the American Imagination (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, rev ed., 2008); and Larry Berman, No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam (New York: Free Press, 1999).
Quoted in Stuart W. Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), p. 238. The worker was Jim Kain, described as a clean shaven twenty-two-year-old graduate student from Alabama. His colleague William McFarland, 29, said he didn’t regard his work on military weapons as “evil. I think the American government is composed of rational men who do not sit around all day thinking of ways to kill people.” See also Jon Nordheimer, “Protests Disturb Lab Men at M.I.T.,” New York Times, November 9, 1969.
Jonathan Schell, “The Village of Ben Suc” (1968), in The Real War: The Classic Reporting on the Vietnam War with a New Essay (New York: Da Capo Press, 2000) p. 188.
Chomsky, At War with Asia, p. 298; and Townsend Hoopes, The Limits of Intervention (New York: David McKay & Co., 1969), pp. 64, 79, 128-129. See also Richard Drinnon, Facing West: On the Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).
Fred Wilcox, Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange (New York: Vintage Books, 1983), pp. 4, 51; Fred Wilcox, Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011); “Effects of Chemical Warfare in South Vietnam,” in Frank Browning and Dorothy Forman, eds., The Wasted Nations: Report of the International Commission of Enquiry Into United States Crimes in Indochina (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 117; and Duffet, ed., Against the Crime of Silence, p. 335.
Neale, A People’s History of the Vietnam War; and Wilfred G. Burchett, Vietnam North (New York: International Publishers, 1966), p. 13. In an all-too typical incident, American bombers destroyed a leprosorium in Quinh Lap in April 1967, causing 120 deaths and over 1,00 wounded. When some of the lepers fled to nearby caves, the caves were mercilessly bombed through the month of June, killing well over a dozen more.
Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA (New York: 2007), p. 247; George W. Allen, None So Blind: A Personal Account of Intelligence Failure in Vietnam (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001); Michael Clodfelter, The Limits of Air Power: The American Bombing of North Vietnam (London: The Free Press, 1989), 134; and Barry Miller, “Litton Develops Fighter Air Data Systems,” Aviation Week, September 19, 1960, p. 95.